The most important element of any
relationship is self acceptance. Without self
acceptance it will not be possible to effectively communicate and thus build good and lasting relationships with family, friends, colleagues or indeed anyone with whom a person come into regular contact. Why...because if you cannot accept yourself as you are, then neither will you be able to accept others as they are.
How we relate to others
In his book ‘I’m OK, Your’re OK, Thomas Harris outlines 4 ways in which an individual relates to themselves and others.
1. I’m Not OK, You’re OK – The is essentially self rejection and the reliance on others for acceptance and support. Thus the individual’s emotional wellbeing is dependant on the actions of others, which is a very dangerous position to be in.
2. I’m Not OK, You’re Not OK. These people reject both themselves and others, leading to unhappiness and isolation. Their negative attitude towards themselves and others usually results in negative responses being reflected back at them.
3. I’m OK, You’re Not OK. This group is very self sufficient; they do not allow others to get close to or influence them.
4. I’m OK, You’re OK. These individuals have significant and meaningful relationships with others. They make others aware that they are valuable, without reference to their strengths or weakness. At the same time they value themselves, in spite of any perceived faults.
Anyone wanting to have successful, meaningful and happy relationships with themselves and others, must operate the I’m OK, You’re OK principle.
High self esteem of which self acceptance is a significant part, is the pre-requisites to building happy, honest and open relationships with others. Without it, individuals will deliberately hold themselves back, in fear of being rejected when others find out what they were really like. Thus without high self esteem, deep and meaningful relationship, which depend on open communication are not possible.
Self acceptance and growth begins when the individual with low self esteems acknowledges their feelings about themselves to others. If the response is supportive, encouraging and accepting, it will, over time, result in the confiding individual acquiring increased confidence, increased self esteem and thus increased self acceptance.
No lasting and progressive relationship is achievable without self acceptance. A person lacking in self acceptance will ultimately live an unhappy life, one filled with poor/mediocre relationships.