Being in a relationship can be one of the most exciting, fulfilling and special experiences we have as human beings. And because we love the person we are with and we love spending time with them, it’s easy to put all of our energy and time into the relationship. But, don’t forget that before the relationship, there was you and it’s essential to maintain a sense of self and individuality. The best relationships allow us to not only grow our relationships but to flourish as individuals. Here are six things you can do to empower your sense of self and grow into the best you yet.
1. Make time for your individual hobbies, interests and passions.
We all have things we love to do. You know that feeling—whether it’s an activity, an issue you care about, or a beloved pastime—it’s the happy place where you feel like your true self. And if you can’t think of something that makes you feel that way, then go out into the world and try something new. Pick something that seems like it might be fun, exciting, interesting, challenging, or different. Work to find things that make you feel alive.
2. Prioritize alone time.
Make time for yourself, in the full glory of just you. Even if you’re someone who likes to spend a lot of time with your significant other, it can be refreshing and rewarding to be by yourself. Set aside time in the week to be alone and reflect. For example, on Sunday night before the week starts back up again, create a list of things you want to accomplish during the week. You can even make this a weekly routine so that you know you have created space and time to prioritize your needs so that you can actualize them.
3. Spend time with your friends.
The world is full of love: there are people who you love and people who love you. Don’t forget about the cool, smart, interesting people you were friends with before you met your significant other. And what about getting to better know all the exciting, inspiring, awesome people you met after you started dating your significant other? Each person you meet has so much to share with you, so don’t miss out by not including them in your life. Get brunch, pick their brain over coffee, go to a museum, or just sit outside and talk—treasure your non-romantic relationships.
4. Learn how to do things for yourself, by yourself.
If you just ordered an awesome bookshelf for your new apartment, don’t wait for your significant other to come over and help you build it. Why not just build it yourself? The bookshelf has come with all the tools and instructions you need to construct it yourself. Be willing to take the time to work through the process of putting it together with your own sheer effort. Learning how to do things for yourself is an empowering move. It shows you that you can take care of yourself and that all the other awesome, fun, cool stuff your significant other adds to your life is really the cherry on top of being an independent individual.
5. Be open-minded but stand up for what you believe in.
In a relationship, it’s impossible for your significant other and for you to always see eye-to-eye on every issue. That’s okay. Be open-minded and listen to what your significant other has to say. Value their point of view as their own and be receptive to whatever they are sharing with you. At the same time, remember to speak your own truth. Trust yourself and your opinions and share them. Someone who loves you will respect you for not only having your own thoughts but choosing to share it with them. Give yourself the same kind of respect you want to give your significant other.
6. Think about who you are and who you want to be.
Take a good, hard look at yourself in the mirror. Who is the person looking back at you? Who do you see that person becoming? Evaluate the things you’re proud of and the things you like about yourself. Also have the courage to acknowledge that there are things you don’t like about yourself. Maybe you love that you have a positive attitude and that you’re doing a great job at work. But you realize even though volunteering is important to you that you haven’t done so because you have been so focused at work. That’s okay; you’re right where you’re supposed be. But knowing that and knowing where you want to be, challenge yourself to become a better you everyday, in whatever way you think “better” means. Become a person you fall in love with more everyday.