The world seems to revolve around relationships. The ones you have with your family, friends, co-workers, lovers, partners, cat, dog, therapist, the list goes on. But the most important relationship you’ll actually ever have is with yourself.

Whether you realise it or not, the relationship you have with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have. The way we think, act, communicate, listen, love and so on.

So ask yourself this: Are you happy with who you are?

It’s a loaded question, because I think we can all say yes and no for different reasons. But on the whole, are you happy with who you are, where you’re headed and who you aspire to be?

When we struggle to have a good relationship with ourselves we can often find ourselves having unhealthy relationships with others. That’s why it’s important to be honest and look at the way you think about yourself. Some people who struggle to accept their own identity often look towards others to define them, but being dependant on someone else’s acceptance and approval doesn’t lead to a happy existence.

Who we are as a person is often defined by how we look, where we live, what kind of car we drive or what we do for a living, but we are so much more than those ‘things.’

Who we are is defined by how much we love, what makes us tick and the people we have around us. It’s our favourite colour, food and animals. It’s our taste in music, fashion and interests. It’s our quirks and mannerisms. It’s how we treat ourselves, the way we treat others and the way we treat those that can’t do anything for us.

The sad part of 21stcentury life is that we battle with accepting ourselves more than anything. We’re craving perfection because that’s what we’re being sold. The perfect body, clothes, looks, relationships and lifestyles. It’s all too much, but the great news is you don’t have to buy into it.

Only you can say: “Enough. I’m happy with who and where I am today.”

Only you can figure out what you want out of life, and once you know, no one can take that away from you. So many of us look to others for direction, or we allow societal pressures and our perceived talents to put us in one direction or another. But that isn’t always the path to where you’ll be happy.

People put so much pressure on themselves to decide what they want out of life not always realising this evolves over time, and will evolve constantly as we grow. Give yourself a break. If you don’t know exactly where you’re going, hold on until you get a clearer picture. Sometimes you just have to trust the journey you’re on.

You have to learn to live with your pain, self-esteem, self-worth, anger, bitterness, fear, laziness, jealousy, resentments, ego, attitude, bravado, all of the above. You have to look into the real you and accept that person, including all the parts you don’t always like.

Only when you fully accept yourself can you start work on being a better you. We all have the power to be the better versions of ourselves but the key to getting there is taking it one step at a time: Setting realistic goals, appreciating progress and positive changes.

When you fully accept who you are, own it and live your life unapologetically, that’s freedom. You don’t have to be in a perfect place, you just have to be trying, doing better than you were doing yesterday. Being content has such a positive impact on your life and the relationships you have.

Ultimately you need to implicitly trust and love yourself. Once you can do that, you can handle anything life throws your way.

Something I do is detach myself from the situation and ask what you say to a friend going through the same thing? Sometimes we’re so unnecessarily harsh to ourselves and we can’t even see it.

A little self care goes a long way.

Self-care is about looking after yourself and your mental health. The relationship you have with yourself is vital to your own wellbeing and also creating and maintaining happy and healthy relationships with others. Being kind and considerate to yourself on a regular basis is one of the best things you can do for your mental health and well being.

Self-care isn’t about being selfish, it’s putting your phone down, spending time outside, going to the beach, seeing and speaking to friends and family regularly, reading and switching off from the world.

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation.” Audre Lorde

Too many people are trying to find the right person instead of being the right person. You don’t need someone else to complete you, you are complete. I know it can be cringe-inducing to hear, but the saying is right: The only person standing in the way of our happiness is ourself.

Self-care isn’t selfish. Sometimes you just have to put the world on pause and put yourself first.

Follow Tom Knight on Twitter – @TJ_Knight