Simply put, if you are not healthy yourself, you are not healthy in relationships. In other words, the better you take care of yourself, the greater the likelihood that your relationships will thrive. We call this striving for "wellness."
So, what is "wellness?" It's an approach to living. It is you saying to yourself everyday, "What can I do to make sure that I am sound in body, mind, and spirit?" And if you are sound in body, mind, and spirit, then you have created a gift that you can give to others -- yourself.
This is the "wellness wheel" from the National Wellness Institute. It tells us that, for a person to really feel good about his or her self and function well in the world, he or she needs:
A satisfying work life of some kind – either at home or outside the home, or a combination.
- Is in decent shape physically, eats well, gets enough sleep, and exercises regularly. In addition, feels sexually fulfilled and also receives sufficient non-sexual touch.
- Has a social life of some kind – gets out regularly and mixes with other people.
- Seeks intellectual stimulation – reads, explores new things, etc.
- Is in touch with a spiritual life, connecting self to some larger power, even the universe
- Knows his or her inner emotional life and how to get emotional needs met
In any work I do with an individual or couple, we go through each of these six dimensions of the wellness wheel. We take a careful inventory. And, where some aspect is not up to par, we strategize about it.
Looking at wellness is part of any quality counseling or psychotherapy. It has to be. If you’re not good for yourself, you “can’t be good for yourself.”
And if you’re not good for yourself, there’s no way that you can really be a fully functioning and optimal partner to your loved ones.