Build a Better Relationship With Yourself | CP181

In this week’s episode of Empowerment Solutions, we dive into the essential yet often neglected aspect of our lives – the relationship with ourselves.

Amid the daily grind, it’s easy to forget how pivotal our self-relationship is to our mental and emotional health.

Are you ready to challenge your perceptions and embark on a journey of self-discovery? Join me as we unravel the importance of nurturing a positive relationship with oneself and how transforming your inner dialogue can lead to profound changes in your life — Together let’s take the first step towards becoming your own best friend, unlocking the secrets to a happier, more fulfilled you.

Dr. Friedemann’s Takeaways:

  • Intro (00:00)
  • Relationships (04:08)
  • Rest + Self-Care (11:30)
  • Building Trust + Self-Confidence (16:25)
  • Self-Awareness, Trust + Vulnerability (23:27)
  • Personal Growth (26:56)
  • Self-Appreciation (33:41)

Friedemann Schaub, MD, PhD, is the award-winning author of The Fear + Anxiety Solution. Dr. Schaub has helped thousands of people with his Personal Breakthrough and Empowerment program to overcome their fear and anxiety by addressing the deeper, subconscious root causes of these emotional challenges.

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Dr Friedemann Schaub: Hello, and welcome to empowerment solutions. Another week has gone by and I am today talking about the relationship with yourself. Just gonna wait a few moments for some more of you to hop on. If you want to learn more about my work, check out my YouTube channel, which is up there in the bio. And also, on the YouTube channel, I posted now the guided meditation journey to the Dreamland, which I talked about last time when I talked about sleep anxiety. So now you can sleep better by going to my YouTube channel, and listen to the journey to dreamland, that is just yesterday, post it and sure you're gonna enjoy it. Let's get started. Because I don't have so much time. So do you believe that your relationship with yourself? is the most important relationship in your life? Or do you feel like you on the on the hierarchy of importance are pretty much on the bottom. Because I do believe that since we are the ones that are spending the first and last breath with ourselves, it's really, really important that we have a good relationship with ourselves. And at the same time, I also find that most people don't. In fact, I believe that 80 to 90% of our mental health issues, anxiety or depression or a deep sense of insecurity comes from that. Yeah, either ignorant or non existent relationship with ourself. We just don't really know how to make that relationship better how to deepen that relationship. And I certainly had a hard time with that, because I was identifying myself for a long time with being a physician and being someone who is you know, pretty brainy. But I wasn't necessarily identifying myself with who I am as a, as a human being. And so when I was stripped away from all and I kind of did a redo and started fresh in Seattle, it's about 25 years ago or longer. It's actually longer than that. I was completely and utterly confused on who I actually was because I wasn't this German doctor anymore, I wasn't really good in research, because I just started, I didn't know anybody in the new CD. So I was lost. And I remember how insecure and negatively self aware I was. And so my relationship with myself was, at that time, pretty much non existent. And I had to learn how to deepen the relationship with myself. And I certainly have studied many ways, but I also have studied myself and I've studied since over 20 years, my clients so I can tell you a little bit about what works on how to make your relationship with yourself a priority and make it better. And this way, I also have a much more fulfilling and gratifying experience in life. Because my anxiety and my certainly my insecurity shifted dramatically. When I finally understood how to treat myself, and how to relate to myself as someone I care about. They're not someone who is just only conditionally accepted, acceptable or someone who usually I was beating up on. So why is it that we have such bad relationships with ourselves? Why do we struggle with ourselves and I think there are three C's that I find are usually what we do to ourselves. The first one is that we criticize ourselves a lot. And that really starts with being criticized right when you're younger, and you feel like hey, I'm totally okay with who I am and it's okay to scream when I need food. It's crazy to you know, don't go to the bathroom, but use a diapers you feel like completely free just to be yourself and all of a sudden, someone says no, this is not okay or yells at you or even you know, worse punishes you and you get confused. You get confused. So does that mean it's is not okay to be myself. And at that point, you're learning what it means to somehow not get into that, you know, negative focus of the parents or the teachers or the friends, you learn to kind of navigate around it. And as you learn to navigate around it, you also do what is done to you, you criticize yourself, you put yourself down, you tell yourself, this is not okay to be. And your whole owner's manual is basically written by what other people show to you what they want from you to be what's acceptable for you to be, and what's not. So that's already how you lose touch with yourself. And then there is this whole idea, my parents are really good at that. You have to compare yourself with others, you have to always look what others are doing. And then you have to compete with them, you have to be better than them. And so again, this external focus makes you really just someone who is not really sure of what you want, or what's important to you, or what are you good at what are your gifts are what are your desires are, what are your needs, all of those things don't really matter that much. What matters is, who do you need to be to get acceptance, approval, maybe to, you know, look be looked at as someone who is successful, that's what matters. And without external focus, unfortunately, you become further and further distant from yourself. And the more distant you are from yourself, the higher the likelihood for you to feel lost, and the much greater likelihood for you to feel anxious. And so that's why a relationship with yourself is such a such a healing journey for you to take. And it's not a waste of time, it's not self centered, or self important. It's actually what we all need to do, and all need to remember, in order to finally live the life that we are meant to live and not live the life that other people tell us. This is what you're supposed to do. And I certainly took me until my mid 30s, to figure that out. Now, there are three fundamental aspects that kind of describe a good relationship. And you may have really good relationships. And you may do exactly those three things in the relationships. The first one is, you need to respect the person that you have a relationship with, then you need to trust that person. And you need to appreciate that person. I'm not even talking about the L word love or not. Let's just put this aside for a moment. It's really to create a deeper relationship with yourself. You need to learn to respect yourself, trust yourself, and appreciate yourself. So let's start with the respect. What is it to respect yourself? Well, to respect yourself is to admire someone to respect in general, someone has to admire someone for their abilities or for what they have been doing, but also to have a regard for their needs and their desires. So when you ask yourself, Am I really someone who is respecting myself for my capabilities? Or am I usually much more telling myself that I'm not doing things good enough? Or this is once again, not as good as the other people? Or are you much more disrespecting yourself? The way you talk to yourself? Let's say waking up in the morning, what's the first thing you think? And if that first thing you're thinking the morning, someone would tell you who's laying next to you? Would you like that person next to you more or not?


Let's say you wake up in the morning, and the first thing you think is I'm so tired, or I don't want to go to work or I feel so old or I'm fat or all those things. Imagine someone would say this to you. I'm sure you wouldn't be very happy with that person. But you do it all the time to yourself. So we do probably lean more on disrespecting ourself than respecting herself. Because not only was negative self talk, but if you are dividing yourself into three parts, so there is the mental emotional part. Then there is the physical part and then there is the heart. If you really look at these three parts, all of them deserve respect. And probably all of them are often disrespected, especially if you're strong. Dealing with yourself. The mental disrespect happens when you do have negative self talk that gets you down into the deepest of rabbit holes. It can be negative self talk about, you know, the shoe gonna drop, something bad's gonna happen. It can be negative self talk about the unfairness of the world and how never everything's going to work out for you. Or of course, it can also be the negative self talk about yourself where you just constantly judge yourself, blame yourself, tell yourself that you're not enough or that you, once again are failing. But then you also probably have negative self talk in those favorable or favorite personal suffering topics that you go into where once again, you know, if I gonna go and think about my ex, and I'm going to tell myself how terrible it is, that it's over, and that this person is now with somebody else, and that they probably have a much happier life, and Why could you not have that life, if you let yourself go to these topics that you know, hurt you, it's like stabbing your eyeballs every day. And if you do this without having any boundaries with yourself, once again, that is disrespecting your mind. And certainly also disrespecting your heart because it hurts you. And you still do it. Because you don't protect yourself from yourself. And that is a form of disrespect. Now, I was certainly someone who was very much disrespecting myself physically. Because especially when I worked in the clinic, I didn't really pay attention to my needs, I was not aware when I needed to eat, even go to the bathroom, I smoked Yes, as a doctor, oh my God, how horrible. And I ate really bad food because I was just on this idea of No, I have to function I have to go I have to succeed, there was no real respect for my physical body. And you may notice this too, that sometimes your body is aching, and you just still push yourself through. Or maybe your body says, Hey, I need a little movement, and you just sit glued to the couch. Or maybe your body tells you hate this food. This is really bad that gets me an upset stomach, it gives me a headache, or whatever those things are that you're putting inside of you. And you still do it, you do it because you're not respecting your body. And if you don't respect your body, eventually, it will also not really respect you. And this is when these illnesses can happen. It's just this disharmony, this disconnect between the steward of the body which is the mind and the body itself. So respecting your body, and really listening to it and noticing how much it serves you every day and being more fine tuned into its needs. And then once is another way for you to get a deeper relationship with yourself. And then of course, there is also the whole resting, you know, we don't give our body and also our mind enough time to rest. I often think like that, in the good old days, you know, in the 80s or so, TV TV was pretty much shut off. It's 11 o'clock. And then you had these, I don't know these pause images, you know, where there were only stripes and, and some colors there. And that was it and some white noise. And all you had to do is basically go to bed because there was no other distraction. I think there was really healthy because we got enough sleep and we we gave our mind and body enough time to unwind. Now we don't because we have this infinite amount of ability to distract ourselves keep ourselves very busy go on the treadmill at 11 o'clock at night at the 24 Hour Fitness. And everything seems to be somehow on the go. And so that is also a disrespect because our mind in our physical body certainly needs rest and needs time to to just rejuvenate and we don't give it and that's where our relationship also can really be improving. If we are paying attention to when we are tired when we are overloaded when we feel overwhelmed and not chastising ourselves for that because it's just normal but accepting with compassion. Yeah, it's it's time for me to rest it's time for me not to hit my head against the wall because there is a problem I cannot resolve. But really except I maxed out. I have a right to just shut it all off. and regenerate and re upload my batteries. And with your heart, I just talked about how often we are stabbing our heart by going into topics that are painful. And also certainly talking in words to ourselves that we probably wouldn't use with anyone else. I do hear a lot of people saying, I hate myself. And when you really think about how very rarely will you would say to somebody else, and if somebody would actually tell you, they hate you how painful that would be, then you also understand I cannot be nonchalant with the way I communicate with myself, I need to communicate with much greater respect and much greater care than I have in the past. And when you are respecting yourself, then you also realize that you're starting to create a foundation, a simply a foundation, where you are seeing yourself as worthy, seeing yourself as that you matter that you least matter to yourself. And then you can go to the next step, which is building trust in yourself. Because that's really equally important. I often work with couples. And when I see couples disrespecting themselves, that's already really bad. And you know, this relationship is in trouble. But when there is no trust anymore, no trust for the good intention of each other, or the goodwill that in the end, they do want the best for the relationship and for each other, when that trust is broken. You know, this is really, really difficult to repair. And often it's actually done. Trust to be rebuilt, is something that is a daily work. And the trust in yourself to be rebuilt is one of the most powerful things you can do to improve your mental health. Because trust goes right away into confidence, it's not the same thing. When you trust yourself, you just know that you have your back. And that you won't let yourself down. When you have confidence. It's more about the confidence to overcome an obstacle or to succeed or to have what you want. It's more like the energy that goes out. But the trust is about how you relate to yourself. And that is the first step to build confidence to trust yourself again, because how do we lose trust? Well, we lose trust, because we maybe is children didn't get really the permission to make our own decisions to make up our own minds. And this is even worse now than ever before. Because parents are so concerned about the children's future, that every minute every step is planned, you need to go to tennis, you need to have this extra curricular activity that looks good on your resume, you need to have extra study groups so that you're going to have an excellent GPA, there is no space anymore. And the children are not even ask if they want this because it's obviously in their best interest. But they don't really learn to make decisions on their own, they don't really learn to be their own advocate or raise their voice. And so it's really like something where the trust in yourself gets undermined right from the start. Because you don't really know if you have a right to say something or have you have a right to want something different than what the parents want from you.


And then there is also the not trusting yourself when you have made a mistake. And then you are just hammering on yourself all the time blaming yourself for having made this mistake, how could I be so stupid, that is certainly something where your trust gets dragged gradually and deeply undermined. And then when you are listening to others all the time. So you already have a hard time making decisions. You don't really believe in yourself. And let's say you have that person that you always can go to with your troubles. Now, I'm not saying anything about therapists. I mean, obviously, I'm working as one myself. But the problem is when you are every week going there and talking everything through and having all these unresolved issues and you don't even take a moment to find your own answers. And that can be something where you become dependent on other people's input versus making up your own mind and that is not necessarily healthy for you to build trust, just to keep that in mind. It's okay to ask others but try Need to first think about what do I feel? What do I think about this? What's important to me. And the third way or the another way that we undermine our trust, is when we are promising ourselves something that we don't really follow through with. And that happens probably all the time, where you say, I get to go to the gym, and then you don't I get to this year, clean up my diet, for sure. And then you're finding yourself the next day at the drive thru. Again, just be aware of how often you break your promise. And if that anyone else would do, you probably wouldn't trust them at all anymore after two or three times, they are saying they're doing something and they don't. You get are a shaky with your trust. And a few more times after that you give up. And that's what happens with ourselves. If we don't do what we say we do. If our word doesn't count, our trust gets down the drain. And that is certainly not something that is improving the relationship with yourself. So how do you build trust? How do you make it something that you would say, is one of those foundational layers of a deeper relationship with yourself? Well, as I just said, follow through with what you say don't make loose promises that you know you cannot keep only say I going to do it when you know you can do it Camarena or snow or whatever you can follow through with it. And that is certainly something that a part inside of you will take note of, okay, apparently, this is someone we can rely on. And then also be aware of your thoughts and your feelings. That's something that I certainly felt was so amazing when I was in that, in that void of having to find myself again, after I had a restart, coming to Seattle and going to this Ph. D program and, and being stripped away of everything that I had identified myself with and, and realized, whoa, this is really loud up there. I didn't know how many thoughts I had going on there and how many feelings I was all a sudden confronted with because I was so comfortably distracting myself with my work, or with the things that made me feel good, or I was drowning out the thoughts and feelings before with bad habits. And then all sudden, they had to face them. And I didn't like them. Sitting by yourself and feeling your feelings and hearing your thoughts can be extremely healing and empowering. But at the beginning, they also really scary because sometimes you hear things that you don't even know where it comes from. So the best thing you can do is just take note that there are voices inside of you. That may sometimes tell you that, you know, something bad's gonna happen or blame you or guilt you or are doubtful about your future or rehash things from the past that you thought you had long forgotten. It's okay. Just have compassion with yourself. Because all of those things are simply enter questions that one some kind of answers, resolution, and reassurance. So if you want to be aware of your thoughts and feelings, write them down. Maybe three a day doesn't have to be many. But then also when you see wow, this goes down into the rabbit hole of negativity that goes into self shaming, self blaming. Stop yourself, ask yourself, Is that really true? Do I really benefit from believing that and then simply guide your mind in a new direction, so your mind can trust you? It can trust you by showing you another way of looking at this a more positive, more optimistic, more empowering and uplifting one. Learn how to reframe and that's a whole nother topic. I'm happy to talk about if this is of interest to you. But learn just to see that what ever you think and feel is not your reality. And it's really up to you to shift your reality by changing your thoughts and feelings. This is how you become the creator of your reality. And then also, once you're more clear with yourself, notice that there are so many times where you were undermining your trust because you weren't really yourself. You didn't really express who you are You didn't really express your thoughts because you didn't want to be judged or get into a conflict or get too much attention. So you made yourself much more mute a small A version of yourself. And if you believe you have to be smaller and quieter and, and more docile in order for you to be safe, well, that doesn't seem like you are really having a trusting relationship and yourself. So try out just to speak up a little bit more, speak a little bit more truth, say a little bit more the things that you usually are hiding, not to everyone, not to somebody that you don't even know or trust in, but just to people that you know, have your back that you can rely on them. So you can learn to rely on yourself, by being more yourself. I had a client once who only showed her badly fun, joyful sight. And everyone loved her for that she was the life of the party. And then she wasn't going down into a deep depression. Out of the blue, she couldn't understand it. But all sudden, she saw everything kind of dark. And she didn't really feel good about herself, because she was no longer that bubbly person that she was used to. So she was hiding. And she didn't want to share any of her troubles with anyone. And that made her feel even worse. And when she decided to gradually have confidence in some of her closest friends, and talk about her deeper thoughts and feelings and, and her struggles, what she realized that this vulnerability was actually a big part of her authenticity. Not this being depressed necessarily, but this having deeper ideas and thoughts, questions about the meaning of life, things that usually she didn't really express. And her relationships with those close friends that she opened up to became much more fulfilling and much deeper, because she was real. And so just notice that there is some realness inside of you, that you can give yourself permission to share. And as you do, you will also realize, I trust myself, yeah, maybe not everyone will like it. But I trust myself that I deserve to show up as who I am, and not as some kind of a distorted version of myself. If you want to learn to trust yourself, you also want to be honest with yourself. And that's a big one. Because sometimes when we are honest, we can easily fall then into self blame, guilt, shame, all the good ones. And we don't really see that if we make mistakes, it's always an opportunity for us to grow from it and become better from it. Because sometimes, you know, I know people that take advantage of others, they don't mean to, but it's kind of a habit, to manipulate them into doing things for them, something they have learned a long time ago. Or sometimes there are people that know, they love to take care of others, because then they don't have to really look at their own problems. And when you see patterns that you do that are actually either destructive to yourself, or maybe really negative for the relationships you're in, just be honest, and say no, I want to change those patterns, I want to no longer sabotage my happiness. And in my connection to myself, I want to do this differently. Now, in my new book, The empowerment solutions, there are six of those patterns that you can probably all relate to. And that you can change Simply by understanding there is another way to navigate through life a much more empowering, and a much more fulfilling way than that.


It brings me to another point that helps you with Trust, which is understanding what are my values? What are what I'm really standing for, what are my morals, my ethics. And once you're defining those, and there are plenty of ways to do this, and I offered this before, if you want to learn more about your values, just send me an email at Hello at Dr. friedman.com. And I can send you a little value exercise. But if you do that, then you also much more are much more aware of what is important to you. And what is not let's say for example, you really want connection and and stability and love. But somehow your your time goes all into making a lot of money and your connections, your friendships, your relationships, all are suffering from that priority that you set for yourself. While that is not really living up to your values and your trust in yourself because you're not really honoring your values will also take a hit. So you need to realize, Well I'm so unhappy, even though I'm making all this money because I'm not really listening to what's important to me. And listening to maybe what someone told me is important, make a lot of money because that sets you free or make a lot of money that shows that you have worth. And in the end, your real values may have been completely ignored. So it really helps to know what you should focus on what makes you feel whole and complete. And what probably you should ignore, at least, you know, not make such a priority in your life when you know your values. And the last thing to build more trust, is to take really impeccable care with yourself. And care is not only about you know, going and getting a massage, or all of these wonderful things care is really about, similar to what I said about respect, being aware of what you put inside of you, if it's what you eat, or drink, or smoke, or what you think what you consume, what you look at, it's not really if you're every time that you're on social media, you feel bad, especially when you look at these certain people that make you feel like you're less than or somehow they are way further ahead than you, every time you do it, you feel a little bit more contracted. Don't do this to yourself, protect yourself from that habit. And realize this is one thing where I can do better with self care. Self Care is certainly also doing physical work, whether it's just going for walks, which is very healthy out in nature, or going to the gym, or yoga, or you name it, all those routines can just also feed your physical body, which again, builds trust in yourself. And then don't forget your dreams. Because I know we all had dreams. For me my biggest dream when I was little was living in France, because we lived close to friends in Germany. And I always heard the radio, French people talking it in their standard word, but it sounded so nice. And the food was wonderful and just felt like that paradise over there. In Germany, it was much more I don't know, it just felt a little bit more stiff, and more rigid and not as fun. And it took me a long time to fulfill this dream. But now I fulfilled it. And it was something I could just never really fully forget. And maybe their dreams for you doesn't have to live in some other country, it could be a dream of maybe doing some art, or it could be a dream of one day you want to actually ride a horse. So it could be a dream of one day maybe writing your own book, whatever it is, don't forget those dreams that are inside of you for a reason. And that when you're actually bringing them and earthing them and bringing them into form, you will feel such a great sense of accomplishment. And you will truly feel like well, if there is a checkbox of all the things I want to have in my life, that's certainly one checked off. And again, that builds also a deeper trusting relationship with yourself. And then there is as I said, there is respect, there is trust, and there is appreciation. And we all can do better with appreciation, we can all just focus more on being grateful for ourselves, again, grateful for our mind, for our emotions, for a heart, and certainly also for a body. When I ask people when I work to them with them to write down things that they appreciate about themselves. Either they forget about this homework completely because it's such far out there in what they usually do. Or they are writing about everybody else they appreciate but not about themselves. So it's definitely not a habit that most of us have. But it's a habit that's worthwhile doing. Have a little self appreciation lock every night write down three things that you feel thankful for with yourself. Maybe there was a moment when you were really kind to someone or maybe someone was angry at you and you could stay completely calm and actually even understand where they're coming from without reacting. Or maybe you notice that you got up in the morning. And even though you felt sick the night before. You were fine and you just appreciate how fast your body recuperated and how well your immune system worked. When you focus with appreciation and yourself you're automatically feed yourself with all those wonderful endorphins, oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine, and all those things again, make you Want to spend more time with yourself? You know that you have a deeper relationship with yourself, when you enjoy being by yourself. I just talked to a client yesterday, who didn't really have any relationship with Himself. And when I told him this in the first session, he was literally pale. He was shocked. What What are you talking about, I have no relationship to myself. But he had to agree because he always was in relationship with someone else. He always had a girlfriend or wife, someone that somehow gave him a direction, a sense of being something to do. So he was successfully avoiding himself until he was 50. And when we work through this, getting a closer relationship with Himself process, what he realized is that he actually didn't want to be in the relationship with them. Because it didn't make him feel good. It didn't uplift him, it made him very much again, act according to somebody else's wishes, and not to what he really wanted. And for the first time ever, he was happy to be alone. And for the first time ever, he took a vacation on his own. And he said, that was the best vacation he ever had. Because he realized, I can make friends easily people like me, I can talk to anyone. And I can also just be by myself and really have a good time. Because fundamentally, and he even said it, I love myself. So if you struggle with your relationship with yourself, just know, it's never too late, you can always improve it. But it just takes basically the first step, which is to turn inwards, to not just let yourself be mirrored back by others around you. Or again, going into the three C's of comparing yourself competing with others or criticizing yourself for not being like them. But really going inside and being curious, who am I? What do I want?


What do I really need? And what are really the gifts that I'm here to share with the world. If you start with these questions, and then go into treating yourself, like you always wanted to be treated, and maybe treating yourself how you treat others, but never have been treating yourself, then you're on your way to creating a deeper relationship with yourself. And that's absolutely time well spent. I think during the pandemic, many of us were challenged by having to face ourselves without all these distractions. And many of us realized, well, I really have a problem being by myself, this is really hard. And I completely understand. But at the same time, it is also something that we don't want to avoid this being with ourselves. Because if you feel at peace with yourself, if you're happy with yourself, when you wake up in the morning, if you are your best friend, you never are alone, and you're never afraid of the unknown, because you always have that best ally within you. So I hope that's helped you a little bit. And there's certainly much more to talk about. It's for example, if you struggle with anxiety, or when you struggle with depression, you just don't like this about yourself, how can you get a closer relationship with yourself in there, I would just say the best way is to start with having compassion for those feelings. Because those feelings have a reason to be there. Often they come back to old wounds are old beliefs and ways we are feeling and thinking about ourselves. So rather than battling them down or cursing them as something that's wrong with us, really just understanding that this is the work we need to do in order to heal ourselves. Because most of us didn't come out of our childhood, undamaged. Most of us are. You know, even if we're just still in our teenage years, all of us have probably some wounds and some confusions and some pains that eventually we need to attend to. And the fact that the anxiety or the depression is right in your face. It just basically signals to you. It's time to do that it's time to take care of yourself. I see looking back my anxiety as an invitation that invitation for me to really connect to myself again to find myself again. And that is also what you may want to just shift in your awareness when it comes to those so called negative emotions. That You may have just try to avoid or get rid of as fast as possible. Maybe they are the first step the bridge to a deeper connection to yourself. Well thank you for being here and for your interest in having a deeper relationship with yourself and, and trust me once you do, your relationships with others will also dramatically improve. Take care