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The Unspoken Key to Lasting Relationships: Connecting with Yourself



By Marlène Gravenberch


Sometimes, navigating relationships can feel like wandering through a maze. But there's one simple truth that took me way too long to figure out - almost 30 years: The key to good relationships with others is to have a good relationship with yourself, FIRST. It makes sense when you think about it. Looking back on my life, I now know that if I had understood this wisdom sooner, it would have given me the clarity I needed to build a foundation based on my core values and set healthy boundaries. Being aware of my core values then, when and how to set my boundaries - in fact – would have been the start of developing a relationship with myself.


As with all relationships, during the developing stage, you are getting to know that person – what they do or don’t like, what they accept, AND … communicating their boundaries. Fast forward: understanding and grasping my core values for some time now has given me a deep understanding of self-esteem. This knowledge became the fundament for all my interactions and relationships, how to communicate and set my boundaries. The importance of this awareness plays a role in all aspects of my life, in the personal and professional spheres. For example, Being associated with a company that shares my values has given me a sense of ownership and purpose, I experienced that my potential was maximized and the foundation for a long-term professional relationship was laid.


What if we teach children at a young age how to talk about what’s important to them, articulating their core values —helping them express it in ways that are deeper than words? That can equip them to build relationships — FIRST with themselves and others. This will help guide them to function in the complexity of human relationships based on their shared beliefs. While the social story tends to emphasize external relationships, intimate relationships with ourselves remain the cornerstone of our lives. In my experience, women are the ones who carry the burden of society’s expectations, and we often flesh out our own needs and values to meet them. However, the tide is changing, self-discovery and empowerment resonates now louder than ever.


Getting to know ourselves better means harnessing the power of self-respect, self-love, and self-compassion—the arsenal that fortifies us against life’s storms. Embracing our values without shame and apology is not just an act of conscience; It’s a work of transformation that ignites the spark of authenticity in our relationships. So, to the women of yesterday and today who write their stories - let your values be the guiding light through the wonderful relationships. Embark on a journey of self-discovery, for therein lies the key to sweet, inclusive, blossoming relationships. In the end, it’s not just about having the right relationship. The most important thing is to nurture you —your relationship with yourself, because there is the seed from which every new relationship blooms.


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