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Individuation - Our Self-Responsibility
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Moving From Self Neglect Towards Self Nurture
Self-Responsibility - Building A Healthy Relationship With Ourself When challenges occur we may blame ourselves or others try to make them responsible. We may hold on to a belief that somehow we are not enough, something, someone out there can make it right (see also Codependency (Co-Dependency) - Caretaking). If the truth is that other people are responsible for what happens inside of us, we will have to wait for others to change. Once it becomes clear to us that we are personally responsible for our own psychological needs, general wellbeing, thoughts, feelings, actions, behaviours, decisions, choices, reactions, pressures and willing to change anytime we want, owning our own life, have a degree of independence, we are able to take charge of our life, empower ourselves, be in our own authority, anchor our self. Our personal boundaries support this, alongside our selfesteem, confidence & assertiveness. In every moment we can choose our response (see also Our Free Will). We don't need to blame ourself when we take responsibility. We can ask ourselves what we need to learn. Some of us may experience taking personal responsibility & accountability as a chore or punishment, as if it has to be about being burdened, tied down or trapped, that things are our fault, having to do things right, having no fun and giving ourself up. We may abandon ourself, bury our heads in the sand, rather than take personal care of our self and ownership of our feelings, behaviours. Others may hold back, waiting for someone else to do something for them, or to change. (Some may struggle to grow up.) We can choose to respond to all our challenges in each moment - response-ability.
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Many people are caught in a knot of selfdestructive behaviour and are unable to see or appreciate how they themselves have tied it. Each believes the problems lie somewhere 'out there', surrounding them but beyond them,James Masterson
rooted in external circumstances. They also believe that the solutions to their problems are 'out there' too
- the right man, the perfect woman, a more appreciative boss, a more interesting job, the right diet.
Self-Abandonment At some points when younger, we may have felt abandoned or been without role models to love ourself. Most of us have experienced being isolated, yet some of us isolate ourselves especially when overloaded with anxiety. When we think about abandonment we may associate it to being left by someone. Abandonment can be about leaving someone we are responsible for, that we need to take care of, so when we feel abandoned now as an adult, it may be important we don't abandon ourself, become selfless and when we do we become almost invisible to others who end up treating us the way we treat ourselves (e.g. what we ignore in us, so too may others ignore). We may abandon ourself in one area (e.g. emotional abandonment, being stuck in our head), yet take responsibility in another area. We can isolate & abandon ourselves in many ways (e.g. numbing our feelings, closing down or bypassing them, feeling ungrounded - not anchored or inhabiting our body, having an unhealthy diet, being a perfectionist, pleaser or fixer, judging ourself). We can live our lives as if somehow we are not enough. People usually treat us in similar ways to how we treat us. Therefore if we are abandoning us & have given up (self-abandonment), we often experience abandonment by others. It can be as if we are imprisoned in a cell of our own making & shut down. We may feel separate, unlovable, disconnected. We may choose to protect our self, and make us feeI safe, so no one takes advantage of us or uses us. The lengths we go to may include closing off - isolating ourselves, becoming aloof, low, depressed, compliant, angry or acquiring unhelpful habits or addictions. Caught in our own self-abandonment, as if somehow we are not a priority, we may also fear abandonment, rejection in our relationship. We may not only have abandoned us but also our partner (see also Isolating Us Or The Relationship). Some of us may lose who we are, regress to a younger age (where the neediness of a wounded part of us may be located) or have become very dependent on receiving approval, affirmation, reassurance, recognition, validation, appreciation, praise, permission & confirmation, attention. This inner abandonment can have the effect of feeling anxious, depressed, angry or ashamed, and may be connected to our early life or wounds. No longer abandoning who we are - our essence, being in touch with our intrinsic worth, validating ourselves, may now be important for us.
Closing Off Some of us can allow the wounded part of us to criticise, judge, control our thoughts & actions. We may fear or even believe we are incapable of handling painful feeIings, so we can internalise our feelings, close off our heart, become cynical. We can often end up treating us or others in neglectful, damaging, blaming or hurtful ways. Our world may have become mundane. Struggling to lighten up, we may have lost our sense of humour, taking everything seriously. Unable to bear, tolerate or soothe this needy (maybe shameful) part of us, we may close off, shut down, become isolated.
Helplessness Feeling like a victim, martyr, learnt helplessness disempowers us yet when we own our helplessness from a different place it empowers us. Some of us may let circumstances, events and external factors (e.g. the economy, our wealth, career, other people & the state of our relationship, our health, our emotions, our past, present and future) rule our life. And when we shift responsibility to someone or external factors, this renders us powerless, as if we have no control. The counselling for helplessness can explore this further. On the one hand we can turn helplessness into the experience of loneliness and linked to depression. We can feel in painful, intense turmoil, unable to control the outcome of things (see also Control Issues, Controlling Behaviour In The Relationship). We can feel powerless how others feel & behave and helpless over others being judgemental, rejecting, not seeing or valuing us (see also On The Receiving End Of Someone's Negative, Draining Energy - Our Initial Reactions). We can choose to get angry, judge ourselves or others, rather than compassionately feel those uncomfortable feelings or get others to take responsibility for them. Shaming & blaming us (or others) often compounds this, as we abandon ourself. Our patience, self-acceptance, acknowledgement of the reality of situations and compassion for our own painful helplessness, and that we are OK, may be in short supply. In certain situations accepting our helplessness or powerlessness (e.g. over outcomes, what isn't in our control, life's uncertainties, not knowing things, trying to change others including our partner, that we can't enforce our boundaries onto them, that painful feelings and suffering are a part of this at times) whilst remaining strong, personally empowered, can be a real challenge. It can be uncomfortable yet releasing for us to feel helpless, shed any tears, especially when in touch with our own wounds, vulnerability. Accepting ourselves through surrender, release and liberation, staying strong & powerful inside, will intact, grounded, centred, knowing that at times we are helpless and we are OK can inform our wisdom - taking charge of our helplessness, so we help ourselves, take responsibility for what matters to us, holding hope, being in touch with our self and free will can be freeing.
Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.Mark Twain
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No Longer Abandoning Us When we are in a wounded place it may be because of our inner abandonment and we become empty inside, needy, anxious or stressed. Our wounded self often believes we can't handle things & this part of us may take control, as we attempt to make others understand or connect with us. If we have abandoned who we are, we may have learnt to give to others by trying to please them or fix things, to control them, so they don't abandon us. As we notice our responses, we can manage our wounds, take personal responsibility rather than blame us or others, accompany ourselves, be emotionally freer, connected to a deeper sense of who we are, supporting our peace of mind. Ways we can abandon ourselves including becoming over-defensive not speaking our truth or when our hooks or triggers become activated, allowing them to take us over. We can isolate or abandon us physically - by not taking care of us & our body, emotionally - by being stuck in our head and ignoring, denying or not expressing our feelings (or make others responsible for our feelings), sexually - e.g. by not expressing our sexuality or having unsafe sex, or spiritually - by not taking personal responsibility for our values and others (some of us may turn to unhelpful habits or addictions). As we compassionately experience & embrace all our authentic feelings - both positive & negative (rather than avoid them), we are able to treat ourself differently, empower ourself. Our conscious intention can shift from that of protection against pain to willingness to learn & find new ways of managing our core pain & hurt. Focusing on the love outside of us, we may have expected others to be our source of love, validate ourself. Turning our attention inwards, licking any wounds, accepting "what is", taking care of ourselves, no longer abandoning our inner child and learning how to let go may be a significant challenge (see also Self-Acceptance, Loving Ourselves Unconditionally).
Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.Jean-Paul Sartre
Being Connected To Who We Are Many of us weren't loved in the way we needed to be (see Unmet Needs), yet we can learn to do this. Some of us may struggle to define our self-worth or loveability. We may have low self-worth, or even believe we have no self-worth. Building our self-worth may be important for us. Anxious, low or despairing, we may make others responsible for our own uncomfortable feeIings, for making us OK, which can end up disempowering us. We can do things in certain ways in an attempt to control how others feeI about us, whether they accept or reject us. We may feel anxious, depressed, because we have neglected ourself or have not been who we are (self-neglect). If at some level we have abandoned & stopped caring for us, we may become lonely inside. We abandon us when we judge, discount or ignore our feeIings. And when we disconnect from them, we can make others responsible to approve and accept us, which can lead to relationship difficulties. This can also happen if we don't speak up, abandoning who we are through resistance or compliance. Staying in touch with our self-acceptance, being true to who we are, without giving us up to others, or expecting them give themselves up to us, may be our challenge. A further challenge may be allowing us time to reflect, without distraction. A part of us may struggle to grow up. These selfabandonment issues can be included in counselling & psychotherapy.
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Neglect Or Nurture Over time we may have learnt to take things for granted, not standing up for who we are, have an uncaring attitude or end up focusing on tasks which take us away from what's really important to us. Another form of self-neglect may be disrespecting our own human needs, values, conscience, integrity. And being in touch with our integrity we may want to nourish ourselves including spiritually - whatever this means for us. Being in touch with our own needs (helped by being in touch with our feelings), expressing our needs & getting our needs met can be challenging. As we treat ourself respectfully, we may notice changes in how others respond to us. The counselling & psychotherapy can support us in no longer neglecting ourself (some of which may have its roots in childhood), so we feel safe enough, look after our own psychological needs.
The truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid sufferingThomas Merton
the more you suffer because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you
in proportion to your fear of being hurt.
Self-Neglect We can neglect, disrespect (or sabotage) ourselves in different ways, even when we kid ourselves we are taking care of ourself. We may put things off. We may neglect ourself by being permanently late, disorganised, abandoning organising things properly, chaotic, without order or creating a mess around us and this may ripple into our relationship. We may shut down or withdraw, become isolated. Some may talk a lot - overshare their thoughts, feelings, as a way of avoiding being controlled, rejected or invaded. Others may remain stuck in our head, and not our whole body, or have closed down our heart, struggling to be loving to us and others. We can neglect what's important to us, our own power, our health, body and physical wellbeing, our activities & exercise, diet & nutrition, sleep, personal care - how we look after our appearance, personal cleanliness, our self-compassion, caring for ourself, our responsibility to ourself, our existence (that we are) and our essence - the heart and soul of what we are. We may also neglect people who matter to us. We may not only have neglected ourself, but also neglected taking responsibility for our relationship, our friendships (see also Aloneness, Loneliness, Emptiness, Alienation). Certain aspects of our life may have been neglected: our behaviour, our time, relationship or marriage, financial life (we may expect our partner to take responsibility for us in these areas, even if they feel uncomfortable doing so), our home environment, passions, interests, wellbeing, sense of community, personal reflection. We may have isolated or neglected an important aspect of our personality, feelings and emotions, mind and creativity, affectionate sexuality, spirituality.
Hoodwinking Ourself We Are Caring For Ourself As if certain things, objects, can make us happy, we (or rather our wounded self who may be seeking momentary, transient comfort) can convince ourself that we are taking loving care of ourself or pacifying our inner child by:
- Rewarding ourself with our treats of unhealthy foods, overdoing our wine or beer consumption (see also Unwanted Habits & Addictions) in order to reduce our stress, even though they don't contribute to our health & wellbeing rather than occasionally enjoying these for our pleasure, social enjoyment and taking responsibility for our feelings
- Rewarding ourself by buying things we can't afford rather than buying something for the pleasure of it that we can afford, not in an addictive way out of stress
- Staying up late, even though we are tired or will be tired for the next day rather than going to bed early enough because our health & wellbeing are important for us
- Listening to others complaining because we want to be seen as a good person & not hurt others' feelings (see also The People Pleaser Or Pacifier - Addicted To Pleasing Others)
- Withdrawing when someone makes unreasonable demands on us without speaking up for ourself, giving clear limits in how we expect to be treated rather than speaking our truth when others are dumping their negative energy on us
- Having to get angry when someone treats us bad or there is conflict, rather than disengaging from conflict, without the necessity of anger
Self-Nurturing Some of us may have put up walls of protection to not only keep others out, but also stop ourselves from looking after us (we may also turn to unhelpful habits or addictions to try and soothe ourselves). When we self-compassionately take full responsibility for our own authentic feelings (including our own helplessness or loneliness, grief or sorrow, heartbreak or heartache - see also Courage), especially those uncomfortable ones we would not rather have (e.g. overcoming our fear of failing or succeeding) and are able to regulate & soothe ourselves, we are able to thrive. Compassionately paying attention to our subtle and not so subtle attitudes and behaviours, e.g. how we censor & select the information we absorb, how we look after our body, feelings, thoughts, finances can be self nurturing. Counselling & psychotherapy may explore our own selfcompassion and willingness to give ourself the attention, reassurance & approval we need, to be both worthy & lovable, in touch with our core self. We may also want to use the therapy to find our own path in life, become more self aware, the person we want to be.
Willingness To Feel Any Core Painful Feelings When younger, we were usually unequipped to respond to and manage our painful feelings (see also Our Painbody). Being willing to feel & experience our painful feelings at our own pace, and then name each of them, helps us understand what is happening for us. And bearing these painful feelings with our own compassion (as if we are bringing kindness to comfort a child who is hurting) may help us. Staying with these feelings, allowing them to move through us and release them may free us up, as may learning what our feelings are telling us about us & others and doing what is most loving to us and others. Being there for ourselves, so we are not alone, no longer helpless, reminding us that others' behaviour has nothing to do with us, so we don't take it personally (or carry any unnecessary shame) may support us, so we can manage, regulate & transmute our emotions, core, painful feelings, find our way through our pain. (See also Healing & Liberation From Our Past Feelings)
Being Carefree Our psychological wellbeing may be important to us. Letting go, being in the moment, in touch with what makes us less impatient, more content (as we relinquish what we no longer need to hold on to), satisfied with ourselves - caring, listening to ourself, following our interests being in touch with our lightheartedness, playfulness, carefreeness, laughter, fun, pleasure and our sense of humour may be important for us, as may being carefree in-spite of all our responsibilities. In touch with our free will, carefreeness, doesn't have to mean we don't care - more that we do care, that we are careful and do things with care, yet at the same time enjoy life, so we don't feel drained, burdened or like a victim - we are just "being". (See also Peace Of Mind, Stilling Our Mind, Contentment, Inner Peace, Calmness - What May Help)
Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves; they will have no end of fun.Joseph Folliet
Blessed are those who can tell a mountain from a molehill; they will be saved a lot of bother....
Lightheartedness, Playfulness, Carefreeness, Laughter, Fun & Our Sense Of Humour We may have lost our lightheartedness, sense of humour along the way, maybe no longer taking pleasure in things so much (anhedonia). We can find humour in mundaneness, even in serious situations. And it is said that laughter (especially from our belly) is the best medicine. Laughter may give us a sense of connectedness, belonging. Being open to spontaneity & surprises, pleasure, entering into the spirit of life, being light-hearted, lightening up, carefree at times, letting go of taking things so seriously, seeing the funny side of things, laughing about life's absurdities, having a playful attitude (it's not just reserved for children), being playful, as if reconnecting to the innocence of our childhood, may boost our elevated mood, make life more fun, joyful, support our vitality, help diffuse our stress, make us resilient. It is our laughter and tears which can get lost yet is our natural way of expressing, releasing feelings. (See also The Pain & Joy Of Life - Opening Our Heart)
Pleasure We may struggle to honour what gives us pleasure or make pleasure a priority in our life - building it in to our days. Some may hand over responsibility for others to give us pleasure, yet we can end up disappointed if we are dependant on others for this. (Martyr-like, some of us may spend a lot of time pleasing others or believe we don't deserve pleasure, finding it hard to treat ourselves.) Listening to our voice within, with what gives us pleasure and following this through so we take our pleasure seriously, may matter to us, so we take responsibility for our own pleasure - not being dependent on others to give this to us. We may have forgotten to simply enjoy the pleasure of living, taking pleasure in ordinary tasks, the small things in life or struggle to take risks, experiment and explore what gives us pleasure. We may want to structure pleasure in our life from the frivolous to the profound making it a priority. Lost in the thoughts of our mind, we may have eroded the pleasure of opening up to all our senses. Alongside expanding our capacity to feel pleasure moment by moment, we may also want to consider bringing pleasure into our experiences (e.g. our lightheartedness, playfulness, carefreeness, laughter, fun and our sense of humour, playing music, dancing, drinking our favourite drink, having evocative images, smells around us, sexual pleasure).
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Relationship To Life & Its Challenges
Our Relationship To Life What is our attitude to life? Do we make our relationship to life difficult, complicated, dependent on how life treats us, martyr-like, or simple, healthy (see also Our Perceptions, How We See Ourself)? Improving our relationship to life may include how we treat life, reminding ourselves what life gives us, what we give to life, taking responsibility for our own happiness, noticing our energy vibration, life's interconnectedness and continuous growth (see also Evolving Consciousness - The Meanings We Make).
Life is a moving event with external and internal changes.
Life's Challenges Challenges in life come along from time to time. And challenging situations call upon our resilience, confidence, competence and at times our sense of humour, pointing us towards what we need to learn. Fun at times, these challenges can also test us, be the making of us, as we transform.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.Ambrose Redmoon
Courage The value of our courage helps us survive difficulties, overcome fears, face things or try new things, and the more courageous we become, the more resilient we can become, boosting our self worth. Understanding our own anxieties, limitations, may initially be important. Practising our courage (coming from our core) - taking small steps, new risks, maybe gradually at first, seeing where this takes us can be like strengthening a dormant muscle into life, as we choose to sometimes take the longer way home (see also Building, Maintaining Supportive Habits, Routines, Patterns).
Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow.Mary Anne Radmacher
Courage gives us strength, empowers us and allows us to:
- Set our intention
- Trust that things will work out despite not seeing how
- Risk opening our heart to our own courage, being in touch with it
- Feel our feelings
- Listen with our heart, less our head, so we catch not just the facts, but feelings
- Be vulnerable
- Be honest about our mistakes, our shortcomings
- Compassionately be with our own suffering and truth
- Love ourselves
- Pick ourself up after a fall, setbacks, call upon our integrity, resilience & personal boundaries, so we no longer abandon ourselves
- Overcome, manage our anxiety
- Overcome disappointments
- Overcome procrastination
- Go beyond our limits, fears & take action when we are afraid
- Have willingness (love and will) to be who we are
- Be bold
- Be real
- Stand in our ground & stand by what what we believe in
- Overcome obstacles
- Take risks
- Listening & following winds of change
- Establishing new supportive habits
- Face others, whose opinions & beliefs are different to ours, face rejection
- Experience others disapproval & disappointment in us
- Overcome our embarrassment, shame
- Be resilient
- Speak up for ourselves, ask for what we need
- Dare to live our dreams, follow our desires, passions
- Transform what we need to
- Risk, share a more real love in our relationship
- Be encouraging of others
A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.Mahatma Gandhi
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Soothing, Loving, Accepting Ourselves & Others
Healthy Side Of Being Self(ish) On the one hand, we may not want to be selfish - living as if only we count, being mean to others - disregarding their feelings or needs. And similarly, we may not expect others to give themselves up for us, or become demanding of them. (We may also be unhealthily selfish when we are taking care of ourselves from our wounded place, or ignore the effects of our own behaviour.) We may believe that being selfless is being good, yet when selfless we can over time feel empty, low, depressed because we have abandoned ourself. We may avoid being and expressing all of our Self in any way because we are not taking care of ourselves, projecting onto others (including our partner) our own unwanted, uncomfortable feelings. Yet if we are not self(ish) and independent to some degree, we may be living a life as if not fully existing (as if there is no self), give up on things, feel miserable - become self(less). We may also allow ourselves to allow others who annoy us or we disagree with to get under our skin because we are out of touch with our own energy, vibration yet pick up on others' energies. Avoiding conflict, confrontation, we may only end up trying to fix things, pleasing others, become like a rescuer, martyr or victim-like, be in a codependent relationship, giving to others, struggling to receive. Duty bound, we may have some false beliefs about selfishness, which stop us not only asking for what we need, but also getting our basic dependency needs met, denying our need for love, being joyful, even if others around us don't like this, happy if others around us aren't by becoming self-sacrificing (e.g. in our relationship). Our healthy side of being selfish boosts our esteem and may include:
- Being able to receive love
- Being in touch with our core self, real self
- No longer feeling shame
- Being our own strong loving adult - loving & caring for our self
- Being in touch with our self-worth
- Anchoring, centring & grounding our self
- Reassuring our self
- Freeing our self
- Being in touch with our independence, free will
- Being able to self-reflect
- Having self-respect
- Having self-control
- Having self-discipline
- Not giving our heart away - protecting it
- Having our own personal boundaries
- Our assertiveness
- Making quality time for our self, being in touch with what fulfils us
- Living our truth
- Overcoming any fears of abandonment, rejection
- No longer believing that someone out there can make it all right for us
- Balance of giving, receiving, sharing
- No longer confusing selfishness with self-responsibility
- Having a level of self-acceptance
- Allowing ourselves to be all of who we are
- Living to our full potential
Soothing Ourself Soothing ourselves for our own good, love (also so we aren't dependent on others or don't project our unwanted feelings onto others, e.g. our partner) may be very important. This may mean soothing our emotional and physical distress, taking care of, regulating our own feelings (e.g. of any physical and emotional distress), giving what we need to give to ourselves, e.g. forgiveness, self-reassurance, comfort, nourishment, love and empathy.
Loving Ourself, Self Care - How Do We Love Ourself? - Being Our Own Strong Loving Adult, Loving & Caring For Our Self When taking care of ourself we can come from our wounded place kid ourself we are being caring, hold on to our resistances or come from our loving adult. In any moment we have a choice to be open to learn about loving ourself or try to have control over getting love and avoiding pain. We can't just turn a switch on, decide to love ourself. First we may need to be in touch with what blocks us, stops us loving ourself (our beliefs, what we tell ourselves, feeling resentful, depressed, esteem, etc.) We may have made caring for ourself a low priority or question how we can feel love for ourself rather than focusing our action on what we can do to love ourself. Some of us may be afraid to give special attention to our own needs, leading to potential sadness, hopelessness or despair. Making connection with our own source of love may now be a priority. And it is said we can't give what we don't have and it is an old maxim that we can't love others (see also Love & Approval), unless we love our self - accompanying, tending to ourself in caring, loving ways. And when we feel good about us - have some self compassion, fill ourself with love and care for who we are, not only may we flourish but so too our confidence, as may our relationships as we share our love. We all have a capacity to be loving - without the need to get love back and live from this place of experiencing love. And from our love more love is created. At times we may need to nudge ourselves towards self love, as if we see ourselves and are here, present in the moment, attending to ourselves (see Contemplation, Creating Space & Quiet Time, Taking Pauses - Self-Awareness, Observation & Reflection). Our loving adult can be also viewed as our sense of internal presence. Alongside identifying, disidentifying and integrating all aspects of us, how we love ourself may include the following considerations:
- Acknowledging, embracing, releasing our loneliness in the face of others' resistant or disrespectful behaviour. Accepting our helplessness over this & deciding how to look after our feelings & take our best possible action (see also On The Receiving End Of Someone's Negative, Draining Energy - Our Initial Reactions).
- We may be in a wounded space and whether or not we stay in our wounded place, may be important for us.
- Simply by telling or shaming ourself that we should love ourselves by thinking nicer thoughts may not help us. Loving our self does not happen by feeling ashamed in who we are, telling ourself that we should, must be thinking kind or loving thoughts about our self or others.
- Risking turning our compassionate attention towards our feelings, not so we allow them to swallow us up, but by being in touch with the part of us that can see what we are doing, taking small steps back from our self, witnessing the feelings we are feeling, any stuckness, the coping strategies we have used up until now.
- Turning our awareness towards what's happening inside, moment by moment simply acknowledging what's happening, accepting, embracing exactly where we are now, including any negative feelings, behaviours (without ignoring, condemning, withdrawing, anaesthetising). Being accepting and curious about all aspects of ourself (all the parts of us that need to be heard, including our shadow) - simply here for ourselves, see what we are doing, so we create a caring friend within.
- Some of us may have tried to love ourselves in the best way we can and be critical, that we shouldn't need to be doing this, or we are doing it wrong. This part of us may also need a lot of attention, acceptance.
- That other, hungrier, competitive, painful or even jealous aspects of us may also be vying for attention.
- Finding our compassion for our mistakes, failures.
- Whether our intention is to protect ourself from pain, remain in our wounded self, closing down our heart or opening our heart to learn about loving ourself.
- Whether we seek love on the outside or from within, extrinsically or intrinsically.
- No one is a permanently loving adult - we all can get caught in old wounds. Yet denying ourself love and care, we may struggle to accept our own obligation to take care of & nourish ourselves in life-affirming ways, be our own inner friend, guardian, protector, yet no one else can do this for us. Some may do so superficially, relating self-care only with temporarily pampering ourselves with possessions, gadgets, luxury holidays or quick fix solutions, habits or addictions, etc. as if to relieve our distress.
- Moving towards compassion for us & lovingly connected with our inner child.
- Acknowledging how we are feeling, giving ourself permission to feel self-compassion, empathy, compassion & empathy for ourself.
- We may believe, or were brought up to believe, that love is only something we get from others (see also Love & Approval in our relationship), that if we cared for ourself we may end up alone. Others may interpret self-love in negative ways, as if that is conceited, vain or self-indulgent that we become narcissistic & only has negative consequences (see also Healthy Side Of Being Self(ish)).
- Whether we try to use or direct love, rather than become it.
- What is loving to us right now & how we fill ourselves with love.
- Topping up our own "love bank", "love tank", so we don't run on empty or expect others to fill it.
- Paying compassionate attention to ourself, exploring ways to feel better about ourself, loving our own life, the right to be "me".
- Valuing, taking care, soothing & reassuring ourself.
- Establishing a deeper connection with our inner self, being open & peaceful inside, learning to self-nurture.
- Discriminating between what we could, should, want & need
- Being in touch with & asking for what we need - speaking up for ourselves & letting others, our partner know what works best for us
- Not giving our heart away. Whether our love is linked to our need, dependency and conditional, or is unconditional for all, as we open our heart, let love flow.
- How we generate loving & compassionate feelings, comfort ourselves.
- Seeing our self as we actually are, being here for us - creating an inner friend.
- Listening, trusting & responding to our inner voice.
- Valuing our intrinsic self-worth
- Acknowledging that life is not still, forever moving.
- Sensing what we are picking up from our environment.
- How love heightens our outlook, informing all our actions.
- Noticing our being & doing
- Exploring love in its many forms.
- Opening our heart, living from our heart.
- Our relationship style
- How we want to connect, share, belong with others & the wider world.
- Are we able to include suffering, love of humanity, connecting to a love of others, a love greater than ourself in its divine form, which for some may lead to spiritual enquiry, a need to connect to a spiritual source of love or offer acts of service?
- Wondering what that deepest part of us would like to create now.
- Being more care free, enjoying playfulness, laughter, having & expressing our own sense of humour.
- Choosing courage.
- Being open to truth, guidance
Self-Acceptance, Loving Ourselves Unconditionally Coming from an empty place, we may be seeking unconditional love and acceptance from others, yet don't find it easy to accept ourselves in many ways, especially if we don't feel good enough and may prefer to choose safety over love. There is some truth in the cliche that when we value, accept who we are, love ourselves, we are able to love others, share love. When we accept ourselves we feel more confident, have self-esteem, are less anxious, worry less, accept and witness life's ebbs and flows, can be more in touch with reality. Alongside our peace of mind, accepting ourselves also affects our body and we can become more relaxed, at ease. This experience may also put us in touch with our inner strength, inner will - being internally powerful, personal will, personal power, personal empowerment. The qualities of self-acceptance, loving ourself may include:
- Our choice, readiness, willingness to love - putting our focus on loving ourself & others.
- Being here for ourself ("I see you and I'm here for you").
- Recognising that we may not have loving thoughts or even want to love our self (which may paradoxically lead us closer to a place of acceptance & responsibility for our wellbeing).
- Recognising our qualities & gifts alongside ugly spots, flaws, shadow side, weaknesses, failures, resistances, obstacles, blocks, reluctances. (e.g. I need to make things perfect, know everything, be overly competitive, especially in conflict).
- Accepting the times we feel at our worst, our bad days, challenges, losses, judgements, self-criticisms, treating ourself respectfully, taking care of ourselves without pressuring ourselves.
- Accepting all the parts of us - no longer caught in believing that someone else must be to blame, we have no choice or that we are unworthy or unlovable.
- Being curious, maybe seeing things we would not rather see, e.g. our anger or shame, so called negative feelings, unhelpful thoughts & behaviours.
- Surrendering or letting go of our disappointments and unrealistic expectations (of what should be, our helplessness about what isn't in our control)
- Letting go of regrets, how we should be, living closer to how we actually are and a willingness to listen to the voice of our Self - our heart, believing in our own intrinsic worth - "this is me, all of me, even the parts I may not like or want"
- No longer unhealthily comparing ourself with others.
- Validating ourself whether or not we receive approval, affirmation, reassurance, recognition, validation, appreciation, praise, permission, confirmation, attention from others, regardless of what is happening.
- The healthy side of being selfish
- Accepting what we didn't want to happen, has happened, that we are not resisting this and are open to our life now - whatever this brings.
- Our uniqueness - that there is no one else like us, that we are OK, realising we are enough (giving what we need to give to ourself).
- Letting go of what we no longer need to hold on to, accepting "what is", things as they are - embracing & acknowledging ourselves, our essence and others, as we and they are.
- Being in touch with our sense of gratitude (which may point us towards spiritual enquiry), loving our self unconditionally, being in touch with our forgiveness, grace, letting us off all our own hooks.
- Being in touch with our "being" in our "doing".
- Reassuring our inner child.
- No longer being so attached to outcomes.
Accepting Others Being in touch with unconditional love, letting others be, accepting them as they are in their own humanity (see also Wanting To Change Others, Our Partner), may be important for us (see also Acknowledging, Accepting, Managing Our Differences In Relationship). And when we accept others, it can give us peace of mind.
Compassion & Understanding For Ourself - Letting Ourselves Be The Receiver Of Our Love Letting go of trying to get others to take our pain away, acknowledging that the only person who can be there for us all the time is us, establishing this bond inside us and having the courage, willingness and compassion to feel our pain may empower us. Having compassion and understanding for ourselves, for being human can give us a broader view of ourselves and others, help us connect with others. This may involve:
- Letting go of our hurt & holding on to what heals
- Having empathy for ourself & others
- Being honest with ourself (acknowledging our struggles) and responding to our needs, accepting ourselves.
- Really receiving what we want for ourself - giving ourselves the sincere attention we need that touches us where we need to be touched (e.g. warm praise, appreciation, encouragement), taking responsibility of defining our own worth and areas we may neglect, listening to and putting faith into following our heart.
- Taking responsibility, accepting & acknowledging "what is", our experiences, all of who we are, including our shadow, limitations, woundedness, vulnerability, tenderness, differences, fears and lack of forgiveness, loneliness (alongside our need to belong & share with others).
- Allowing our self-compassion to wash through us, our expectations, uncomfortable feelings - the good, the bad & ugly bits, our self-criticism, shame, etc.
- Having further compassion for the times we act without being very loving to our self and others.
- Supporting ourselves to make fresh choices, being in touch with our home truths, taking loving actions, staying in a positive emotion.
- Being ready or willing to embrace, challenge, change & transform, feel painful feelings (which can open our door to old memories), reach out to others, be in touch with a deeper level of self-compassion, the world & mankind, connected to the universality of suffering & love and open our heart to others.
- Introducing compassion into when we judge ourselves.
- Being open to guidance, truth
Embracing Ourselves With Compassion & Understanding For Us & Others, Being Loving, Sharing Love With Others We may rush to opinions about others, yet when we allow for our compassion, we can hold that their circumstances are different and we may never fully understand others' motivations, choices, that where they're coming from they may be doing their best. Some may act compassionately, yet not feel much kindness, caring or gentleness. We may also be quick to judgements (about ourself or others) yet can't understand our own or others' motivations. Listening to our inner voice, having compassion is a choice we make and adding compassion to our judgements may support us. Compassion is frequently at the basis of many cultures & religions, where through suffering and love we are motivated to help others. We all need to belong & share with others and we may want to have & hold a loving attitude towards ourselves and others and embracing ourselves with compassion enables us to be compassionate and caring to others (see also Giving, Receiving & Sharing Love - Loving & Being Loved). For many, inviting compassion into our heart also opens us up to be compassionately loving in our relationship (see also Opening Our Heart To Others - Even When Things Are Difficult) when mutual love and acceptance for exactly how we are can enable us to love, accept ourselves. Being compassionate, balancing self-compassion and compassion for others may matter to us. Yet, deferring our own painful feelings, we may find it hard to take care of ourselves or others. We may need to attend to ourselves & others well, in a calm way (taking time to reflect may support us). When we are loving ourselves, taking loving action, just being, we may naturally want to give to others (as opposed to needing to give), because it brings us joy - helps nurture relationships. Others can be responsive, feeling compassion, being moved by others' pain, opening our heart, feeling their feelings within us. And when we are being compassionate - doing to others what we would have them compassionately do to us, it can have a healing quality, so we are not so self-focused. And when we feel better about ourself (the oxytocin effect), we ma treat other people better, which has a ripple effect. We are able to show we care, are compassionate through understanding, reaching out, empathy, altruism, kindness, tenderness, gentleness & reaching out to others, inspiring them, without attachment to outcome - qualities of the soul. Through compassion, some may also experience a sense of the spiritual.
courage therapy, courage help, increasing self worth, finding self worth, self-worth help, isolated, isolation, worthlessness, feeling worthless
Unhelpful Beliefs We May Hold About Ourselves We may believe that:
- We can't forgive (us or others)
- The care we receive from others means more than caring for ourselves
- Others should love us to make up for what we didn't receive as a child
- We are not capable or worth having love for us, that others have to love us to prove our own self-worth
Counselling Central London, Compassion Counselling & Compassion Therapy, Sense of Self-Worth
Self-Worth, Safety & Security
Externally Based Sense Of Worth, Unworthiness It is important for all of us to create a supportive and helpful external environment around us, have supportive others in our life, receive care. We may value some important, supportive external aspects of our life, like the work we do, our achievements, performance, success, and we can feel good about these. Yet if we base our self worth entirely on success, achievements, then when things go differently this could negatively affect us. Understanding that we - our Self, our qualities are not our achievements, that our self worth comes from within can enable us to put things in perspective and still feel good about ourself if things don't go well. Some may only feel worth on the outside yet have a sense of worthlessness, unworthy inside. Convincing ourselves that if we get a new job, lover, car, etc. we will be fine and we may seek only quick fixes, temporary pleasures or be caught up in unhelpful habits, addictions. Believing that happiness is only found outside of ourselves, only in our heads, through trying to control others, outcomes or our partner or that the whole world only revolves around one important thing (which we can become overly-reliant upon), some of us may only define our sense of self-worth, self-love, through external factors - important though these are for us, which can give us an illusion of safety. Feeling inadequate, we may continuously pamper or indulge ourselves by our material possessions, including the latest technology we have, defining our worth on achievements, money, our appearance, the way we look & our body shape, our interactions, the validation, approval, affirmation, reassurance, recognition, appreciation we get from others (though receiving the attention and support of others can also support our internal sense of worth), whether we are in a relationship (see also Emotional Dependency - Losing Who We Are) or have a child, the amount of sex we have, becoming obsessed by religion or fleeing to the spiritual. We may try to say affirmations, pray or meditate in order to control. Listening & learning may be in short supply. It can be tempting to base our self worth outside of our self (extrinsically). Yet ultimately nothing outside of ourselves can give us validation of our worth. We may constantly strive to feel OK, that to fail (or not reach our goals) is not OK, so failure or success or our emotional evaluation can unhelpfully end up defining our inherent sense of intrinsic worth. We don't have to look outside ourselves for our strong self-worth.
Externally Based Sense Of Worth - Unworthiness, What May Be Happening Inside Empty inside, we may have a low self-worth, or tell ourselves we have no self-worth, feeling unworthy. We may believe we are the problem, blaming ourselves (a long way back, we may for example blame ourselves for any of our family's shortcomings) which reinforces what we tell ourselves, that we are unworthy (and unworthy of love). We may be our own worst critic. The effects of our internal dialogue may also play a part. We may feel emotionally insecure, inadequate. low inside, finding change difficult, procrastinate. We may look for others to give us our self-worth or rescue us. We may continuously look for approval, affirmation, reassurance, recognition, validation, appreciation, praise, permission, confirmation, as if we can get all our self-worth from what others say or think without considering how we can validate ourselves. Dependent on others for our sense of worth, we may become resentful or jealous at times, and in our relationship or marriage we may deny we have needs, are dependent or are overly needy & dependent. Stuck in our own sense of worthlessness, we can end up defining our worth based on others, including how they perceive us or becoming judgemental & critical of ourselves. We can get caught up in comparing ourselves with others, either unfavourably or very favourably, because we competitively can't bear coming off second best, struggling to accept us as we are. Our externally based sense of worth may be overly focused on "doing" things, neglecting our "being", affecting whether our motivation comes from internal or external resources. Paradoxically we may have been living as if only we count, yet inside believing we can only get our sense of worth through others.
Intrinsic Self-Worth - Valuing Who We Are Defining our intrinsic inherent worth, our self, our human givens - the internal inborn qualities in us - ones we've had since birth - the qualities of our soul, which never fade with age may enable us to cope, thrive - despite the impact of life so we feel more at ease, empowered, accept who we are (this may also entail bringing any self-judgements, shame or guilt, out of the dark). Despite what's happening around us, being centred, grounded, setting clear boundaries may be important for us. We may want to be more in touch with our self-worth and the significance of who we are by connecting to our inherent nature and attributes - the breadth and depth of all of who we are, embracing our authenticity, our caring, empathy, warmth, joy, vitality, passion, compassion, kindness, creativity & inspiration, our vulnerability & tenderness, courage, curiosity, goodwill, sense of humour, generosity of spirit.
What Supports Our Self-Worth How we see ourselves, what we tell ourselves or were told by others influences our own self worth. Appreciating ourselves, being grateful for our life, our qualities, inner strength, personal boundaries, enriches our self-worth. Having a positive self-talk & attitude, liking, loving, reassuring ourselves, being attentive, respectful, may also enhance our sense of worth, as may being in touch with our own, values, integrity, internal identity, feelings, attending to our feelings and validating what they are telling us. Believing in our own worth & uniqueness, that there is no one in the world quite like us, that we are enough, validating our own worth may matter to us. What we do now - our contribution to the world, ability to assert our own needs through our intrinsic sense of self-worth - what we contribute to ourself & the way we are with others (without necessarily wanting anything back in return) can foster our sense of worth. Being more aligned as an expression of who we are, no longer based on external definitions of our worth as a person may now matter to us. We can view failure as being more about what we need to learn, so it no longer defines any lack of our worth. We may also find it easier not to take other's behaviour so personally, understanding that it is about them, rather than our intrinsic worth. Building a healthy lifestyle, valuing the process more than the outcome, looking after our own human needs, taking care of our own health, body, supports our being, choosing attitudes & thinking which support us, being engaged and connected with others, as well as limiting our exposure to stressful situations & people, can be of benefit. In touch with our own moral compass, utilising our personality traits, drawing upon our personal qualities, abilities and character strengths, taking actions, addressing our own, important concerns, being in touch with our intrinsic self-trust, trusting our own innateness, inherent nature, may also support our strong self-worth. Building our own range of character strengths, strength of character, creating a positive environment around us, including our own home, making space for our self, so we belong, building strong relationships with supportive others and encouraging the good choices others are making, being empowering, setting examples for behaviours we value and like to see, may further enhance our sense of worth, safety, being worthy of love, being loving.
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External Safety At a basic level we all need to be safe out in the world in order to survive. Being in touch with what matters, what we really want, and having positive experiences can enhance our sense of safety. It may be important for us to personally create a good enough, helpful & supportive external environment, e.g. our home & living space, work, seeking out supportive people, being with a partner who is loving & caring, etc. However, if we base our sense of worth on external factors, or by pleasing, fixing, rescuing others this may give us an illusion of safety. No others can entirely make us feel safe. However being safe enough, in an uncertain world where we can't control many things external to us or know everything may be important for us.
Internal Safety, Inner Security Emotional safety comes from being anchored, grounded, resilient, loving to ourselves & others, not just trying to get validation, approval, affirmation, reassurance, confirmation, permission, recognition, appreciation, praise, attention, adoration, admiration from others or through controlling others, including our partner. Validating ourselves may be important. We can't always seek out others, depend on our external environment to give us what we need. Establishing a deeper connection with ourself, listening to what we need, enhancing our inner safety may be important, help give us a structure. Our own sense of worth, centredness, security, structure, being in our body can support us and help us feel safer as can our emotional security, supported by our personal boundaries. Being unkind, unloving & judging of ourself can be a form of self-neglect, we can feel unsafe and we may now want to be kind & loving to ourself, as it enhances our sense of safety. Being in touch with what's happening inside us (e.g. our stress, fear, anxiety), our interactions, what we take in - the experience of ourselves, including uncertainties, our vulnerability & tenderness, how we are & how we are treated, met, affects our esteem and sense of safety. Sometimes we may have taken in experiences and attributions about ourself, which are no longer helpful and it may benefit us to re-examine our Self-beliefs & Believing In Ourself, which no longer support our sense of safety. We may want to take care of any areas we neglect ourself, be more in tune with truth, our values, which keep us safe, creating a helpful, supportive, non-critical, self-soothing, internal environment to connect to our inner strength and sense of personal empowerment, control. Our self-compassion & ability to take care of our own wounds, painful feelings, soothe ourselves, may help us feel safer. Being safe enough, yet willing to be adventurous, take risks may be a further challenges. What governs our sense of safety may influence how safe we feel internally. This for some may have roots with our early connections and bonding patterns (see also Safety In Our Relationship, Marriage, Feeling Sexually Safe). Some of us may ask "How can we control feeling safe?" this may lead to fear, defensiveness, withdrawal. What is loving to us and others may enable us to have a different feeling of safety. (See also Creating & Being In Touch With Our Inner Sanctuary, Our Anchor Points)
Choosing Safety Or Love Sometimes we are faced with prioritising safety, choosing to align with our personal fears (or fear or relationship fears, hurt, pain), trying to have control on the outside over being safe and secure or whether to choose love or learning (see also Dilemmas Of Love, Fear Of Love, Scared Of Love, Afraid Of Love). The counselling and psychotherapy can be a space to explore this further and whether we are coming from our old wounds or self-acceptance, loving ourselves unconditionally. (See also Safety In Our Relationship, Marriage)
Counselling Central London, Compassion Therapy or Compassion Counselling, Supporting Ourselves
Self-Support & Responsibility
Our Own Responsibility Sometimes we can feel bad or ashamed about what we have done, certain feelings (e.g. vulnerability, tenderness) & thoughts, projecting these unwanted judgements & thoughts onto others. Managing feelings can be difficult at times. Being honest & trustworthy to us & others (see also Putting Trust In Us), without compromising our own integrity, can be challenging, as does taking responsibility for our own happiness & pain, heartache responses, sense of self-worth & safety - self management. We may have handed over our responsibility to society, others or no one without taking any personal responsibility and consequently not living from our own ground. Becoming the author of our own life, in our own authority can be a challenge, as may be no longer automatically absorbing the values & beliefs of external authorities. As we take ownership of our life, being responsible for what we make of experiences, we can feel more grounded, connected to our own values, conscience & responsibility. Taking responsibility for what we bring to our own table, to others, may matter to us. (See also Our Own Path)
Responsibility In Our Relationship In our relationship, if we avoid attending to our own emotions, we may make our partner responsible for them, be tempted to blame, control them. We may block off our partner, withholding, withdrawing. Most of us want the best, so statements like "All I want is the best for your or others" may for some in unknowing ways be a subtle way of believing that things have to be on our terms or that we actually know best. When others complain about us or "go on" about something, it usually points to something needing to be resolved between us, and we may struggle to take responsibility for this, especially when we become defended, e.g. "I don't want to talk about it, because it may not matter to us, if we have difficulties talking about things. And when things get left unsaid, gridlock, deadlock & resentment can build up.
No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.Voltaire
Taking Responsibility For Others Some of us may want to take the whole responsibility, e.g. for our partner's pain & hurt (for details see Codependency (Co-Dependency) - Caretaking) or try to please others, fix things.
Polarities Of Responsibility Some of us can take full responsibility for everything & everyone, and blame ourselves when anything goes wrong. Others take no responsibility, blaming everyone else, believing the problem lies our there, beyond them.
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Preparing Our Own Conditions To Support Us Like plants, which need the right healthy conditions to thrive, so too do we. How to be self-accepting, compassionate in our own ground (without being harsh, critical or judgemental of ourselves) may be important. Freeing ourselves from unhelpful distractions, doing what we need to do to feel more at ease with ourself, so we able to self-reflect and listen to us, may help us. Our boundaries & self-discipline support us in taking personal responsibility in healthy ways. Creating the right conditions in our relationship or marriage may also be important as may seeking the supportive others, asking for what we need.
Being Honest With Ourselves Being authentic, transparent and accountable with our own integrity may also be important to us, as may being truthful and emotionally honest in our relationship - speaking, sharing our truth. When we are honest about who we are, why we do what we do, we may also feel more relaxed (see also Peace Of Mind, Stilling Our Mind, Contentment, Inner Peace, Calmness - What May Not Help).
Counselling Support Counselling & psychotherapy can help us define our own self-worth and what it means to take care of ourself as a potent, powerful, compassionate, loving adult accessing our own internal resources. The therapy may also look at our own contributions which support our basic human needs, sense of self-worth - how we take worthwhile action for ourself & others, owning what we do, so we are in tune with us and the wider world, our interdependence.
Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.J.F.Kennedy
Questions About Counselling For Self-Worth, Self-Neglect, Isolation, Self-Abandonment, Self-Acceptance, Self-Compassion & Self-Responsibility We may have some questions about finding self-worth, improving self-worth, building self worth and increasing self-worth, self-worth therapy, e.g.:
- Isolation - how do I contribute to my sense of isolation & what can I do to feel less isolated?
- Self-worth help - why do I have low self-worth, or no self-worth at times?
- Finding self-worth - how can I improve self-worth?
- Self-worth issues, increase self-worth - what are the ways of finding self-worth, increasing self-worth, and can self-worth therapy help?
- Helpless help - Is helplessness permanent?
- Human need - How can I get my basic human needs met?
- Self-neglect - I go through periods of self-neglect - how can I get myself out of them?
- Self-responsibility - self-abandonment is something very familiar to me - how can I take self-responsibility?
- Compassion therapy - what is self-compassion therapy? And how does compassion counselling help?
- Help with courage - How can I get courage help?