Relationships: You, me, myself

Relationships: You, me, myself

Imagine you’re at a party or some other social gathering with people you’ve never met before; someone asks you: “Are you in a relationship?”. What’s likely to be your first reaction? Probably that they’re interested in whether or not you’re single! But suppose you answered: “Actually I’m in lots of relationships, including the one I’m having with you”, what do you think your new acquaintance would make of that?

Joking aside, ‘being human’ means being ‘in relationship’ with others and with ourselves at all times, even when we’re alone – or single. As the poet John Donne put it:

No man is an island, entire of itself, Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.


Relationships – they start young!

If you think about it, from the very moment of conception we are ‘in relationship’ with our mother who is carrying us in her womb and providing nourishment through the umbilical cord that joins us; as we grow up we form relationships with all sorts of different people and we learn that there are different rules to go by depending on the type of relationship it is – you most likely wouldn’t behave towards your teacher in the same way as you would towards your brother or sister, for example.

We’re also in relationship to non-human beings; such as our pets. And even to non-living things, like our cars, our homes, our teddy bears, our photographs, our mementoes. Often we hold on to things because of the emotional values or meanings that we place on them; I have a relationship with (I’m attached to) some mementoes from my dad’s time in the RAF because they hold an emotional significance for me.

Our relationships with people, non-human beings and things all go toward how we define who we are.

Me and myself

We also have a relationship with ourselves and it’s one that’s often overlooked. If someone asked you: “How’s your relationship with yourself?”, how would you respond? It may be a question you’ve never really considered before, particularly in the hectic rush of life these days. And yet is it really an intrinsically different or less important question than: “How’s your relationship with your mum/dad/sister/etc…?”.

It’s important to take time out every so often to think about that relationship with yourself, to check in with yourself: are you content with your life? What are your dreams and goals and how have they changed over time? What are your worries and concerns for yourself and those you love? What do you need to do more, or less, of? How do you feel about yourself and the life you lead?

Our lives are driven by deadlines and demands; take time out now and then, and give time to that important relationship between Me and Myself.


  1. Gwyn Hughes
    May 10, 2014

    I think relationships define our reality, we could not exist, or at least function without them. I agree that we are in a relationship with all objects, living and non-living, but most of us don’t realise how important these connections are, or understand the importance of them. Life experience would be more meaningful if these connections are perceived differently. I love the layout of your site, by the way.

    • Libby Webber
      May 10, 2014

      Hi Gwyn, thanks very much for your comment. Glad you like the layout of the site too!
      I t think one only has to remember the awful pictures of children abandoned to Romanian orphanages years ago and left without any meaningful relationship to their so-called carers to realize the importance of relating to others and having it reciprocated too at least by living beings

  2. Tracy Hallam
    May 10, 2014

    What an interesting Blog which I enjoyed immensely.It made me think Libby about all the relationships we have and how we sometimes forget that one of the most important ones is indeed with ourselves and how we need to take to enjoy it.If we don’t like ourself and enjoy our company and who we are then how can we expect others to?. Very thought provoking .Thank you.

    • Libby Webber
      May 10, 2014

      Hi Tracy, thanks very much for your comment. You’re right to say that we can’t expect others to be comfortable with us until we are with ourselves. As therapists, self reflection is part of our training and best practice, but even so it’s easy to overlook its importance as we get busy with life and work!

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