“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.
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
A common goal for people coming to me for therapy is to have better self-esteem, more confidence, or just to not feel so down on themselves all the time. 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.