Important Steps On The Path To Self Love
Do you ever wake up with the thought of ‘Where do I begin today…?’ Feeling pressure to be active in the ‘right’ way, eating the ‘right’ thing, and acting and feeling the ‘right’ way in order to be seen as achieving in life?
Living in today’s society, we as women may often feel increased pressure to be the ‘perfect woman.’ To be the best in balancing our careers, our homes, our relationships, our health, and our wellbeing in order to be ‘acceptable’.
As a fellow female, and a practising psychotherapist, I have felt those pressures on me on a regular basis. And to address them, and to begin to live my version of happy, I have had to channel my core training and beliefs on a daily basis.
My core training was in ‘Person-Centred Therapy’. This approach ultimately sees human beings as having an internal want and ability to develop towards their full potential (also called self-actualisation). Its core purpose is to facilitate this self-actualising tendency through growth both personally and in the relationships of an individual, by allowing them to explore and utilise their own strengths and personal identity.
However, the ability to obtain self-actualisation is so often blocked or distorted by our life experiences – particularly those that affect our sense of value. My role and desire as a psychotherapist is firstly, and most importantly, to help reconnect people with their inner values and sense of self-worth.
This reconnection with our inner resources enables us to find our own way to move forward. The aim is to change our self-perception and regain responsibility for our own existence and happiness.
The man who came up with Person-Centred Therapy – Carl Rodgers – theorised that as humans, we have a need to feel not just okay, but positive about ourselves (positive self-regard).
Growing up, we receive love and approval from authority figures in our life – our parents, teachers, friends, media, and society in general. In order to retain that feeling of love and approval, we start feeling, thinking and behaving in ways that meet with others’ and society’s approval.
We acquire a condition of worth: I am only acceptable and of value if I am perfect / show no weakness / have lots of success / drive an expensive car / have status / wear a certain dress size / am seen doing this by these people… and so the list goes on.
We strive to satisfy these unrealistic conditions… which leaves us feeling unhappy and lacking self-worth. We live in bad faith – not trusting ourselves and living our ‘truth’, but aiming to obtain fulfilment from external factors.
So… I hear you asking: ‘Where do I even begin…?’
It starts from inside us. Putting our energy into loving and accepting ourselves as a person and the life we are living.
What can be used as the first step to loving and accepting ourselves then?
Take moments throughout your day to check in with yourself.
- Set an alarm in the morning, afternoon and evening to take a moment to reconnect with our internal guide.
- Ask yourself how you are feeling. Recognise what feels and thoughts are present, accepting them as they come.
- Allow yourself to just feel and think the way you are without judgement.
- Repeat the phrase ‘I am okay to feel and think x, y and z… this does not define me’ allowing yourself to think about how you desire to think and feel. Once you gather this, repeat what desire this may be.
It is emotions, feelings and sensations that influence perception and behaviour and these are within our control. We decide if we give them time, thought or power over ourselves.