This is the Foundation of Every Relationship

A foundation is the ground that we build upon. Obviously if you want to build something that can weather a storm, it’s best to start with a sturdy foundation.

So what is the foundation of all relationships? It’s the relationship you have with yourself. 

If your internal foundation is shaky – has cracks and holes (insecurities and negative self-concepts) – then the relationships you build on top of it are going to feel shaky, too.

However, if you move in the world with a solid sense of self, then you’re less likely to crumble when things don’t go as planned.

And things aren’t going to go as planned.

When we’re internally insecure, we naturally try to control the people and things around us. Unfortunately, we fail. How come? Because it’s impossible to control things that exist outside of you (especially other people)!

Your deepest sense of strength and safety lives within you; this is where your true poise resides. 

So how do you create this type of internal confidence? Simple (but not always easy):

Know who you really are.

When I say this, I don’t mean that you know your name and how you like to spend your time (although these things are important). I’m talking about going beyond that – knowing what your true essence is.

Know that you are magnificent.
Know that you are supremely important.
Know that you are worthy.
Know that you are love.

When we know ourselves in a deep, spiritual way, we know that we are much greater than we give ourselves credit for.

Many of us identify with our wounds and faults: “I’m bad at relationships,” “I’m not good with money.” Or even worse, “I’m not very smart,” “I’m not attractive enough.”

But these things aren’t the truth about you! Not even close! These are your ego’s stories – your limited self-concept.

If you identify with your limited self-concept, then naturally you try to get other people to make you feel worthy. However anytime you depend on something outside of you to feel secure, you’re in trouble…

Because everything outside of us moves and shakes. This is the nature of life.

Rise above that shaking and realize there’s a truth that exists beyond all these stories. This is the truth of your soul and it knows that no matter what, you are an amazing person.

Do you make mistakes?

Yes.

But underneath those mistakes is a desire to do better next time; to let the best version of yourself shine.

Things are going to knock you off course; people are going to try to convince you that you’re not that great. Don’t listen to them!

Build your internal foundation. Know who you really are and hold on tight.

Find this inner source of love and don’t let go. It will keep you steady through all the changing tides.

Please leave a comment below and tell us the truth about you. I look forward to hearing from you!

Comments

Margherita

I have been struggling with this concept for some time now and I am going through a divorce. This could not have come to me at a better time. Thank you for your wisdom and compassion.

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Shelly Bullard

You’re welcome! Thank you for sharing. Just stay close to yourself and you’ll make your way through. XO

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rich

Wow…this makes so much sense to me..guess we need to validate ourselves and not depend on others.

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Ellie

Thank you for sharing. I too am reeling from the shock of my husband leaving me before Christmas and am now about to start divorce proceedings. I need to believe in my true self to get through this. I can’t deny it’s a struggle but I am hopeful.

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jazmjn

This couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, thank you! Im still searching for that self-love and this article just brought me one step closer to my lil happy place inside of me (: 

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Care

I just wanted to let you know that I absolutely love your blog. Each article seems to pop up at exactly the right time :-) Thank you!

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EricaNGee

This is a great article!! Thanks so much for sharing. I feel like as much as I would rather not admit it, this is the place I’m currently at right now. And your words are confirmation for me that I need to push forward with continuing to build my solid foundation. I’m excited! Again, thank you!! :)

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Cindy

Thank you Shelly! I truly identify with this piece. This has been a theme in my life and one I am trying to pass along to my dear son… I will definitely share this with him. Well put! Words of wisdom are the best! :)

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Maureen

Reading this brought tears to my eyes. Thank you! My marriage ended in divorced because yes my foundation was shaky just like what you wrote. Now I realized how unfair it was for me to placed my own happiness in the hands of my ex husband! I am re-learning to discover my true self and to love me again. Three years after the divorce and now that I am in a new relationship I feel so much at peace, so much better because I now know that happiness is an inside job, it comes from within me. Love this post!

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Safae

I have been struggling with this concept for some time now and I am still struggling to get over a relationship. This could not have come to me at a better time. I feel better now that I read this. Thank you for your wisdom and compassion.

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Denise Erickson

Surviving brain cancer myself, Mom passed suddenly 3 yrs ago, I am searching for myself, realized that I have always given to & lovingly cared for others for most of my life. Sometimes I wonder if I will find “ME”.

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Shelly Bullard

You can and you will. Just go within your, listen to yourself, start to pay attention to who you are and what you desire. That is how you will find out who you really are. Lots of love to you. XOXO

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DR

Hey Shelly. Your article describes exactly what im going through. I’ve always lacked self confidence. Esp when i joined college..i felt even worse..i felt like i was nothing.

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Shelly Bullard

Find the love inside of you; feel your strength from the inside out. It’s there, you just have to look for it. Lots of love to you. XO

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Ken Passa

Thanks Shelly, your article confirms what I’m trying to do now. Yoga is helping me as well to become more centred and mindful about myself. Thanks again!

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Acer

I couldn’t agree more! This is so true. After a hard time I have come across my true self, and let me tell you, it’s so amazingly liberating!!! :-) Just one thought, when do your actions (for oneself) become egocentric? how to know when you have to think of yourself and when to think for others? I find this troubling… I want to concentrate on doing things for myself, taking care of myself. But sometimes I feel a little egocentric, and that I should also think of others. How to find/know a balance?
Thanks for your posts!!

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Shelly Bullard

The ego acts for itself (which excludes and sometimes harms others) the soul is for the good of everyone involved. For me it’s just a felt sense–am I acting from what I can tell is the highest good for everyone involved, or am acting selfishly? Selfish behavior feels edgy and doesn’t necessarily feel good–it’s usually done out of fear.

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Jean

Thank you for your explanation. And this makes so much sense and has helped me to see some truths today about where some of my thoughts come from.

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Aggy

This was so beautiful to read and I felt my heart warming and my whole energy shifting. It took me 31 years to get to the point where I am finally content with myself and look at myself with love and compassion. Reading this has reminded me how far I have come and how beatiful life can be when we open our heart.

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Mick

Shelley, very true words indeed. It took me quite some time to realise that my Relationship with my partner had very little chance of success whilst she struggled with her own worth. The solution is going to take time and lots of support. The TED talks by Bren’e Brown where also an inspiration and give a great foundation on understanding this Subject. Thanks. PS – love the Soul Maftes article.

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Shelly Bullard

So glad you liked my Soul Mates article, too. Lots of love xoxo

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Amnery

Shelly- Thank you for this post. Like many have mentioned already this has come at the best moment in my life and it was exactly what i needed to read. I do, however, have a hard time going about discovering/getting to know myself (my real self) sometimes i think that i have to follow a check list or that i just don’t get it. What are the questions i should be seeking to answer or understand about my inner self. Is there such a thing?

Thank you !

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Shelly Bullard

I think where most people go astray is that they over-think this process. It is not really a process of the mind, it is of the heart. So getting to know your true self simply happens when we take time to listen to what is happening within our hearts. It is a musing rather than a gathering of answers. We are always unfolding, therefore the answers about us are always changing. But if you start to listen to yourself, you will find answers (in the form of hunches, intuitions, gut feelings). The questions I would start with are: Who am I? What am I all about? What do I want to do with my life? Why am I here? What is my purpose? Again, don’t get too consumed with getting the answer right; allow yourself to explore. Hope this helps. Happy New Year. :)

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ingrid

love this, shelly! was just speaking w/ a friend about the importance of loving & nurturing ourselves, taking care of & building the relationship w/ self before trying to build an intimate relationship w/ another.
you write so clearly, and so much from the heart, your words hit home! thank you!

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Louise

Hi Shelly
When my husband of 21 years decided that his tennis partner was more important than his family then I really started to look at my life and what had happened.
I had this feeling that I was on a beautiful journey with someone who respected me and I could trust, however I have found out that even though you take your marriage vows seriously in front of all your friends and family if you partner at any stage decides he has had enough and not wanting to work at a relationship you cannot make them stay, it is their decision. I have to move on from the “what ifs” and that is where I have found an inner strength that I did not know I had. I can make a new path, I have my children and my health and now new plans (I am going back to school, which I put on hold as my family was more important) so now it is ME TIME.
Thank you for your words of inspiration and affirmation.

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Jaime

I enjoyed reading your article and great reminder that everything begins within ourselves. Thank you!

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Rosslyn Picton

Hi Shelly,
Thank You for this wonderful, insightful article. Oh, have I struggled with low self esteem over the years!. I absolutely know that lack of self worth has kept me from my dreams of performing (I wanted to be a Singer..and Songwriter), earning a proper income (I’m on a disability pension for depression and anxiety)….and LOVE. I have been on a journey to heal myself of the child wounding and ‘trauma’ trapped in my body. I have much self awareness but still struggle in move the blocks out of the way. As I read the article, I envisioned what my Essence is….LOVE THROUGH AND THROUGH!!!! If we could just get out of our heads and “BE”, we would all see we are just like the rising sun, or the budding rose or waves on the ocean~~~~Thank You Shelly!!!

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Shelly Bullard

So beautiful and so right, Rossalyn. Love through and through – I love that! If you haven’t read Waking the Tiger by Peter Levine, you might want to check it out.

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Teth

Thanks so much for this, i loved all ur article. It helped me a lot to handle gracefully my fears when am face with my issues/wounds.

Rediscovering and reclaiming oneself is hardwork but its all worth it.

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Angie

Thank you, Shelly for another wonderful and beautiful inspiring article. Please keep them coming!!! Much love!!

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G

Hi Shelly,

Thanks for your wisdom! I have been working on being kind to myself. I thought I never had to seek external validation but I wasn’t aware that I wasn’t being kind to myself at the same time. I think they have to go hand-in-had: kindness and love to self and independence. Because despite the fact that I was emotionally independent, I was also compromising more of myself.

Quick question: what are the things that define you as the “real” you?

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Shelly Bullard

Great question – the real me is lots of things that make who I feel I authentically am. On the deepest, spiritual love these things would be: powerful, wise, loving, kind, knowing, passionate, truthful, clear, happy, joyful, abundant, etc. :)

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sara

Yes! I agree perfect timing. Sometimes it feels like the whole world is against me. And true peace and happiness must come from within to weather the storm. God bless you!

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Treena Harrington

I struggle with this concept very much I have been seeking all over for ways to develope the skills to do this. I am recently separated and lost my mother I feel completely lost. I frequently seek outside of myself for contentment and meaning but seem to come up empty at the end of the day. I am tired of living this way and want change so bad and start enjoying my life and myself.

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Shelly Bullard

Treena, this is a struggle for many of us, but we can all learn how to build a solid foundation within. On Oct 1st I’ll be launching an eCourse that will teach you how. Stay tuned for that. xo

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Angela

Thanks Shelly,

This article was so insightful! As I lay hear with tears rolling down my face I realize that I have been the root cause of the demise of so many relationships . My lack of self esteem, self love, and self worth all diminish when significant others stop loving me! This article has given me the strength to truly get to know my self, so my wounded ego can stop harming myself and others and my soul can express love fearlessly instead.

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SU

Hi Shelly,

I love reading what you write, but have trouble believing them! It is painful and I constantly think I am not enough. I think nobody criticises me more strongly than myself, and my objectivity causes others to see the flaws in me more. I am fair, I have a decent job, and have always been top of my class, yet…( WOW.. It feels good that I am finally able to write this much, thanks!). I don’t know how to stop being so self-critical.
I have been alone for 5+ years now, and deep within I believe I am reluctant to change.

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Shelly Bullard

You have to take small steps everyday towards what you want to achieve. So, if that is self-love (which is sounds like it is), take small steps in complimenting yourself. You did a couple times in your comment, which is great! Continue doing so. In you mind, say things like, “I’m a good person,” “I did that well,” “I know I can do it.” Very small compliments. If you stick with this, your self-esteem will gradually rise, and you’re life will change as a result.

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Sandisa

Hi Shelly, I mostly think negatively especially thinking that I’m not good for relationships. To the point that I get suspicious of a man that is truly loving & sweet, due to being hurt in the past. But thank you for this advise.

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Shelly-Ann

Hi Shelly this article just reinforced what I was speaking about today on work. After coming out of a bad relationship late last year and meditating for over a year I’ve finally come to realise what self love is all about. Great article. I wish more people would understand or experience self love. Thanks again.

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Fafa

Hi Shelly, i just came across your articles on mindbodygreen and your website!your wisdom is phenomenal. i like to read you!your words speak to my heart!Thank you for sharing this with us.

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Rachana

I really love reading your blog…. I was facing some harsh times….your articles always help me ….THANK YOU

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Shelly Bullard

I’m so glad to hear that my message helps, Rachana. Thank you for saying so. Sending love. xoxox

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Ana Rita

Thank you dear SHelly,this is amazing!yes,sometimes i doubt about myself,my path and sometimes i let the insecurities fall over me.I know i’m a god person,always trying to do better but fear is here and i have to work on that.
Big kiss from Lisbon,
Rita

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Vale

Loving myself and believing that I deserve a good life have been struggles for me since childhood. I want so badly to see myself the way others say they see me, but I’m not there yet, unfortunately.

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Shelly Bullard

Keep practicing self-love/ self-kindness, bit by bit, everyday, and you’ll see progress, soon. xo

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Jerry Kosem

Shelly
You are not only a light to the world. You are a blazing torch.
Thanks for having the courage and love to be yourself.
Jerry

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Emeli Ericsson

Hi Shelly,

Your words are beautiful, true and inspiring.
Having just turned 41 I finally feel a deeper self-love and a sense of connection with myself that I have not experienced before. I am much less harsh on myself and appreciate my body and see myself as beautiful, something many of us women have vast problems with due to unrealistic ideals. I believe working on yourself is a constant process, a life-long one even! But now I do not only Know the importance of loving oneself but I can also Feel it.

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Helen connolly

Hi Shelley I love reading your emails! I am struggling with this self love how do I do this?? Thanks. Helen

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Shelly Bullard

Helen… big question that can’t be answered in a blog post. :) Check out my course manifestyourlovecourse.com to really transform your experience with self-love/love in relationships.

xoxo

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Kris

Hi Shelley, thank you for this gem. You are so right. I’ve been reciting a ‘goddess mantra’ everyday since September 2015. I made it up on a whim to reinforce to myself good things about me. To hear my own voice validate my worthiness. “I am a goddess, I am a woman, I am lovely, I am full and whole, I have so much to offer, my soul is pure, my love is flowing-it’s ever-present. Everyday I bring love, everyday I bring hope, everyday my vision is for a more wonderful world where I can contribute to it by just being myself…” This has gotten me through some tough days. I love your site and the emails are always right on time!

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Nerine

Wow, I was just writing in my diary the exact things u were saying in ur last email on knowing urself! It was great to have it verified back that someone as beautiful as you feels the same. U truly get it and I’ve only just started to. I realised the relationship that I really need to work on is the one with myself or in better words my soul. I will be refining her for eternity so when times get tough I check in with her, she has wisdom beyond my human self and she is full of compassion and understanding when I don’t want to be. Sounds a bit skits but it feels right. It’s who I am when no one is looking.. and it’s only my soul I have to impress to feel that deeper connection. Xx

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Shelly Bullard

Beautiful, Nerine. I love how Life gives us confirmation that we’re on the right track! Lots of love to you xo

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Melissa

This is my problem. Thank you for you kindness and compassion,it really comes to the emails.

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Kersten

I’m glad I read this, even though I know it’s true, I have recently been struggling with my own self confidence and worth! I’ve went through some things emotionally this past year that I believe Satan used to try and knock me off my own personal pedastool and I need to dust myself off, straighten my crown, and remember who I am, and whose I am. I haven’t struggled with self worth befor at least not to the magnitude I’ve struggled recently and I choose today not not stay there. Thank you!

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