Turning 50: The Relationship You Have with Yourself Matters Most

Do you like yourself? Do you love yourself? Do you accept yourself as is? I hope so, because just like any relationship, liking, loving, and accepting yourself are foundational for developing a relationship with yourself. If you’re having issues with either of these three, there are plenty of self-help books, gurus, and of course, therapists, who can lead the way. I suggest starting there, before reading about my version of developing a relationship with yourself:

Years ago, I wrote a book called The Unhappy Wife. In it, I’d interviewed 12 women, one being myself. As I listened to each woman’s story, it became clear to me that we didn’t love ourselves. It was also apparent that we were detached from our bodies and emotions, and subsequently…ourselves. Yet we had bent over backwards in immeasurable ways to figure out how to be in relationship with men. I remember wondering what it would look like to give yourself as much attention as you did another human being? What would it be like to pour into a relationship with yourself? I think this is important, because withstanding mental illness, no one can really care about you more than you care for yourself.

So, that’s what I did.

One year, I began a self-love campaign. I asked 30 women, who I knew personally, what it meant to love yourself. I’m not going to debate about if pedicures or therapy is the “real” self-love approach, because guess what? There is no argument. For some women, it will be imperative to go to the spa. For others, it will be important to schedule a breast exam. And some may just need to sit down somewhere and be quiet, without distraction. We have to stop being so binary about this. All it does is cloud and confuse the overarching issue, which is simple: Cultivate a relationship with yourself that matters to you.

Another year, I thought about what I’d do if I was dating someone. What would that look like? I would want to find out what that person liked and disliked to see if we vibe or not. I’m married, so on some level, the point was moot, but I decided to change “someone” to me. I began trying different activities. We may think we know what we like, but a lot of times it’s based on tradition and repetition. It’s easy to get into a rut and believe that you only like to watch Netflix on Sundays from 12p-12a; however, there are other things you may enjoy that you haven’t even entertained.

Here are a few other ways to develop a relationship with yourself:

  • Go somewhere by yourself! This isn’t just about “dating yourself,” which is a thing. This is more like thinking about if someone said they wanted to take you on a date, where would you tell them to take you? Now, do it for yourself. Try that new restaurant. Go on a day trip. Take yourself on a picnic. Whatever you can conjure up is what you should do, without any qualms or fears. One time, I took myself on a weekend trip to Panama City Beach. I had a blast…all…by…my…self.
  • Write a list of 10 things you’d do if you had time, space, or money. Now, choose one, and find the time, space, or money. To get to know who you are today, in this moment, you have to be intentional. You think you don’t have time, space, or money, but that’s probably not true. For example, I was invited to a two-hour networking event. When the day came, I felt as if I didn’t have the time. The reality was I didn’t want to make the time. That Saturday, instead of reading or writing blogs, I attended the event, and it was beneficial.
  • Check your city’s Groupon list. One way to learn what you may or may not like to do is to check Groupon. A couple Christmases ago, I saw an offer for viewing Christmas lights in St. Augustine, which is about 20 minutes from me. In that city, vacationers ride on a trolley, with strings of lights, while singing Christmas carols! That sounded really cool to me. Full disclosure…I didn’t do that activity, but my husband planned something similar for us on a small boat around the same city. Remember, learning what you like to do doesn’t always mean you have to do it alone, just that you honor the idea.

Finally, I know I’ve emphasized the importance of women doing this. That’s because I’m a woman, and I know sometimes, women end up acquiescing to other people’s whims, leaving us in a whirlwind of resentment of the consequences of our unconscious choices. However, no matter our gender, we should all learn to develop a relationship with ourselves, because it’s the most important relationship we’ll ever have.

I’m turning 50 on May 23rd, and in true kegarland form, I need to process and document it. Being on the earth for half a century, interacting with people, has taught me a few things, and I’ll be sharing them with you through June. Here is the first one:

Turning 50: Advice I’m no Longer Taking


62 thoughts on “Turning 50: The Relationship You Have with Yourself Matters Most

  1. Happy belated birthday! I do agree with each point you make here. Loving myself was one of the most tricky things I had ever had to do. But once you do it, there’s no going back. You start loving yourself radically, and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not worthy of love. You also don’t need others’ approval anymore, and this helps your future relationships with others, too. I can detect a narcissist from miles away now that I love myself more.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! But you’re early lol It’s not until 5/23. I’ll take the well-wishes, anyway 😉

      I agree about radical self-love (and acceptance). There really is no other way, well, there is, but there’s no turning back, like you said.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the sisterly advice girl. Turning 50 opened my eyes and heart to me. I felt free, almost like Shanice’s song.
    It might be awkward for some as they start their self-love campaign, but it totally worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this list and your latest series!

    I turned 50 a few months before the 2 straight years of pandemic lockdowns in Canada so I had a lot of time to incubate what was next for me in the second half of my life. (I plan on living to 105 😉

    The funniest part is that from age to 50-52 my “public” psychology career took off in a way that was unimagined (ok I dreamed about being famous when I was 14) and then when I hit 53 I realized I needed more S P A C E (hence my December 2022 blog post) to do NO thing.

    And that’s what I am doing now. I whole lot of no’s (to interviews, speeches, etc) so that the universe can come in and surprise me with my DESTINED yes. And it’s working.. no more pandering to my fearful ego .. no I am relaxing and letting the best of the best come to me. RECEIVER FEMALE MODE — LITERALLY DR. G. THAT’S HOW WE ARE BUILT

    From your list – I resonate with all 3.

    I love doing things on my own. It sets the bar high for friendships and family time. Because just because someone ‘needs’ you. Doesn’t mean you have to come calling and rescuing ‘on a dime’. Literally. Now I keep a stack of ‘cards’ to hand out every time someone asks for ‘a minute of my time’ for advice in the parking lot – it says “my time is NOT free’.

    Dr. D ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That last part made me LOL I can literally see you LITERALLY passing out a card, like here’s my contact info for my skill set and degree lol but it’s true. That’s another one of those things we tend to do as women, not value ourselves.

      I never thought about the idea of “receiver mode.” I’ll have to think about it, but of course, I’m inclined to agree, because it makes a lot of sense that that’s who we are naturally. So much of what we naturally do as women has been conditioned out of us, and I really think we’re on our way to reclaiming all of the things back to wholeness.

      Also, I agree about knowing what you want and what you like to do. It makes it so much easier to accept or decline invites that aren’t aligned with who you are, or even just to set time boundaries when engaging in activities you’d rather not.

      Thanks so much for this affirming comment, Dr. Deeeee 💕

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Happy 50th Kathy! Hope your time is awesome!

    As an extroverted introvert, I have long loved going on little adventures by myself, usually exploring something in the area I’m living in. I find things fascinating, so if I see an old crumbling church, I get an urge to explore.

    Wherever I am, I try to look for interesting things to photograph. I’ve found that if I’m with someone they don’t always have the patience to see me moving around a space to get a perfect shot of the sunlight on certain textures, or why I’m zooming in on a tiny object. Being alone gives me freedom to just let my eyes roam free, unhurried by another person’s schedule!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Tamara! I’m sure it will be 😉

      I understand about having the time and space to move as you please. I feel the same way when I’m taking my moon photos. When my husband is around, I have to explain why I like the moon, why I’m taking so many photos, isn’t this photo just like the one from last month, why, why, why lol

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL, yup!! That’s it, exactly!! “…but what GOOD is it for??” It’s good for my mental health, that’s what!!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you for sharing a part of your world and journey!.. a Happy Birthday and hope the day, and every day, is filled with love and happiness… I generally follow my heart, rarely go wrong… 🙂

    Hope your path and journey is paved with love and happiness and until we meet again..
    May the road rise to meet you
    May the wind be always at your back
    May the sun shine warm upon your face
    The rains fall soft upon your fields
    May green be the grass you walk on
    May blue be the skies above you
    May pure be the joys that surround you
    May true be the hearts that love you.
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I love this post and made the same realization around 50 when my children were grown and I was happily single. I had theater tickets, traveled on school breaks, explored my city, moved 1000 miles away and started all over again. Then the pandemic hit and it was hard to plan. I’m still trying to figure out what the new normal looks like, but I joined an in person gym this month and made a new friend so I guess I’m on my way.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Laura! I’m soooo happy you shared this. THIS is what I’m saying. At some point, you have to figure out who you are and what you like and wanna do. Starting all over again sounds DIVINE to me, and I’m happy, that for the most part, this has worked out for you 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is great advice, Kathy! We do need to take our relationship with ourselves very seriously. (It took me a long time to realize that a whole lot of my internal dialogue was very negative, and also to recognize just how much that held me back from living my true life.) I especially liked the part about taking the time to figure out what we really do like. As someone who easily falls into ruts, that one really spoke to me!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Ann! I understand about that voice in your head. A lot of times, it can come from a voice we heard in the past, but you’re right…if we don’t quell it, then we end up holding ourselves back, even if it’s just not loving ourselves fully.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is an ongoing battle with me, but I believe the tender ability to love myself is spilling over in other aspects of my life, including my marriage. We can only give from our own well and when we’re dry everyone goes thirsty. I fill my well with the people and activities I love as often as possible, and then I draw from that sweet water. Wonderful post Kathy, lots to consider here, and refocus on. Happy early birthday, we were born days apart, but also decades! I’ll be 63 on May 19th. Oh my, how the years fly. Hugs, C

    Liked by 3 people

  9. This right here?!

    “However, no matter our gender, we should all learn to develop a relationship with ourselves, because it’s the most important relationship we’ll ever have.”


    Liked by 2 people

  10. As always, Katherin, you have wonderful advice here. I did a few new things last year, and it was great. I feel like I am definitely in a relationship with myself, especially since my divorce. I am comfortable with my life and it’s quite different from when I felt like a slave to my family!

    I am inspired by your ability to approach this milestone birthday with such reflection and thoughtfulness. I’ll be eager to see what you think about your fifties, down the road. May it be glorious, as mine was!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oof! Even though I don’t know specifics, I understand how you could’ve felt like a slave to your family. At one point, I thought being a mother was just carting people around, etc.

      It’s so easy to get wrapped up in pleasing everyone, except ourselves. So glad you’ve found YOU (so to speak). And thank you for this compliment. I know I’m going to do well, because I feel as if I’m shedding so much and kind of starting as a new me 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  11. This is a fabulous post!!! I e been in this very same journey for 6 years now in earnest! The more time I spend alone, the more I fall in love with myself a little more. Even those once perceived “negative” traits are now so enjoyable! This year I’m focusing on embodiment. Thanks for putting these wonderful thoughts out there to push us and challenge us to step fully into our our Selves! ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Great post. For me, self love = acknowledging that because of long-ago childhood events, I need a lot of decompression time / down time. Not because I get exhausted or depressed, but because if I did not take this large amount of me-time, I *would* experience those things. After a number of years of marriage, I accepted that my husband values me for other reasons than my earning power. He never minded if I worked part time. So I’ve done that as often as possible. It lets me feel like myself. I can work full time if I need to, but if I don’t have to, I won’t.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Fran, I get what you’re saying. It’s so liberating to know what your personal needs are, so that you don’t have to blame someone else (or circumstances) when you’re feeling overwhelmed. YOU know what you need and can do it before things fall apart 😉

      Any time a spouse values the other person for more than external things is wonderful!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. There are some really good ideas here! I especially like the idea — Where would you want to go on a date? I thought of something immediately, and so I plan to find time to do that (maybe alone, maybe with my husband) either way I know I will enjoy it. Thanks for changing my perspective a bit.

    Liked by 5 people

  14. This is awesome, and thanks for the reminder about Groupon, I had the app on my phone for a long time and when I changed phones I forgot to reload it. You’re right, there are plenty of cool ideas steeply discounted on there if only you remember to look. 🙂

    Happy early birthday!

    Liked by 4 people

  15. Last year, I decided to “go steady” with myself. It’s one of the best, most important things I’ve ever done for me. The journey continues…finding myself means creating myself and the life I want. ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  16. You are absolutely right! I’ve learned to ask my husband (a covert narcissist)for what I need instead giving him all the power and control. It’s taken yrs to be able to get to that point and I still get it wrong sometimes. However, I am trying! 👍🏻

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Eek! What’s a “covert narcissist?” Does that mean he doesn’t realize he’s one?

      Well, either way, kudos to you for taking the reigns, no matter how long it takes. We’re all just journeying along, so that’s progress 🙌🏽

      Liked by 3 people

Comments are welcomed

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s