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Issue 17 Out Now

Check Yourself

Self-reflection is a crucial part of growth. When you look inward, you can identify toxic behavior that hinders you. Reflecting on how we hurt or treat others never feels good, but it’s not supposed to. When you recognize your red flags, you can begin to have healthier relationships with everyone in your life, not just partners.

To build a better relationship with the people in your life, set boundaries with them. Limitations reduce the chances of conflict, resentment, and anxiety that can arise in partnerships. Setting boundaries ensures that you and your partner feel respected and that both needs reach fulfillment. When you allow people to cross or disrespect your limits, you only do yourself a disservice. Allowing this without restating boundaries will only lead to repeated disrespect and conflict.

To be a friend or a partner, you need to listen. When you actively listen to a conversation and not just parts of them, your discussions will be more fruitful. Show that you’re listening by maintaining eye contact and giving non-verbal cues like a head nod. Arguments or disagreements can be solved quickly when you intentively listen. You’ll be able to find the root of the problem by listening and discussing it with friends or family. Developing listening skills can be a strenuous task, but working at it will yield healthier connections.

Speaking up for yourself is just as important as setting boundaries. When you don’t speak up, no one can know what’s hurting you or what they’re doing wrong. Not only does it lead to mistreatment, but also feelings of inner agony and torment every time you go unheard. If fear of conflict or opinions of others keeps you from speaking up, understand that you should never diminish yourself for the sake of others. Speaking up will help you gain confidence in many aspects of your life.

Seeking the validation of others is a basic human need, but basing your worth on what other people think of you will impede your growth. Validation-seeking will keep your self-esteem low, allowing you to feel important only when other people deem you as such. Behavior such as this leads to growing attached to people that may be toxic for you. They give the validation you seek, so you keep them around. Those that find happiness in others frame their personality around what others think of them.

Treat yourself how you treat others. When you neglect your basic needs, you risk facing burnout. Working multiple days without breaks can put stress on the body and mind. Give yourself more time and care, take baths after long days, fulfill your needs before you help, take breaks, pay attention to your body, and rest. Doing any of these will help you recognize your needs and give you the time to take care of them.

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