“I feel so guilty when I have to say ‘no’ to someone.” I hear this sentence regularly in my work with my female clients. They sometimes then say they believe it is because they have been conditioned by society to be kind, compliant, and to never upset anyone. I believe this to be true. Yet, I think there’s more to it.
No matter your political stance, pro-Trump, anti-Trump, or Trump neutral, I think we can all agree that right now, people are stressed. And fearful. And angry. Tensions are running high. Since even before the 2016 election, clients were coming into counseling talking about their concerns related to politics. I continue to hear story after story about how it is affecting people and their relationships. I hear about families having blowout arguments, some even choosing to skip family events due to the likelihood for political debate. I hear about people being unable sleep, various groups being terrified of their rights being taken away, fears about the economy and jobs, fears of being physically harmed, and people just being fed up with discussing it.
One of the hardest parts, in my experience, of beginning to practice self-compassion is getting an idea of what it would sound like to do it. Does self-compassion sound like pity (“Oh you poor thing”)? Is it like cheerleading (“It’s okay! Get back up again, you can do it! You’re #1!”)? Does it sound like coaching (“Okay, so you messed that up. Here’s what you need to do next…”)? Continue reading
In my last blog, Why We Self Criticize and What To Do About It, I raised a question about what makes it so difficult for us to extend the same compassion to ourselves that we give to others. So many times, after a client has disclosed a self-critical thought they have toward themselves (i.e. “I am unlovable” or “I am a bad parent”), I have asked them whether they would ever say that to anyone else. Typically people will emphatically say that they would never say such a nasty thing to someone else, yet they consistently have the thought about themselves day after day. Continue reading
“I just don’t know what to do”. This phrase has been uttered innumerable times in sessions with clients, usually accompanied by them hanging their head or looking at the floor. The statement typically follows some description of a feeling or situation in their life that is causing intense pain or anxiety, and does not seem to be improving. Seeing someone so dejected can be heart-wrenching and I think that most people then feel a pull to give an answer. To fix it.