In my work as a psychotherapist and coach, I hear people’s secrets. I have often heard, “You are the first person I’ve told this to” and “I’ve never told this to anyone” and “Now only you and my (partner, mom, dad, or best friend) know.’
It’s a sacred privilege. I do not treat this lightly. To be willing to say out loud, to another person, our secrets and sometimes shame, is courageous.
I always say something to my clients, like: “Thank you for sharing this with me. That took a lot of courage. I’m grateful you shared this with me.” I don’t jump into the analyzing, fixing, or coaching. I am intentional about guiding a client to hang out there for a moment, letting that new embodied experience of no longer being alone with their secret or shame settle into and integrate into their nervous system. Inevitably, there is a settling that happens and a new sense of feeling empowered emerges.
Something so powerful happens when we feel seen – and not seen just in our “perfect moments” when we appear to have it all together, but also in the moments when we are a mess, afraid, and ashamed.
As powerful as that experience is, we as human beings can go decades denying ourselves this healing experience. We often suffer alone. And literally, suffering alone kills.
We get so wrapped up in our stories of “I’m the only one who……” and “It’s only me who feels……”
These stories impact the way we treat ourselves. And most often, we treat ourselves pretty harshly. We say things to ourselves that we’d never say to a stranger, let alone our best friend.
I am privy to this “inside information.” I know from working with thousands of clients now over two decades that every single one of us needs a dose of self-compassion. Every single one of us feels inadequate, insecure, alone, and ashamed at times. Every single one of us – no matter one’s title or position, no matter how much money a person makes, no matter how confident and put together a person appears – has struggled to love ourselves.
So that’s why self-love — self-compassion – is one of the main themes in my work with clients.
And most people think they are alone in having to build up their self-compassion muscle – that they are the only ones who are harsh with themselves or critical with themselves because everyone else “must be more advanced” or “not as messed up me” or “had a better childhood” or “feels more confident” – whatever other story we tell ourselves.
And it’s B.S. Every single one of us could deepen our love for ourselves. And if that sounds hokey to you, I have seen folks like you in my work. I’ve heard “Talking about self-love feels like I am a wimp or I can’t handle something.” Or “Focusing on loving myself feels selfish.”
One of THE strongest, most courageous things you can do in life is to drop the fricking armor and tough guy act – that whole Lone Ranger macho ideal – that breads toxic working, living, and relating – and choose to love yourself!
You are not alone. You deserve to love yourself. You deserve to feel seen. You deserve to be loved.
That’s why I created this poetic call – invitation, inspiring rant: to inspire you to love yourself with a full heart — and if that feels like too much, well, we start with just 2% more – loving yourself just 2% more — today, right now, in this moment.
Let’s practice self-compassion and self-love together. Listen to my latest podcast: The Choice to Love Yourself.
And if you have been wanting the sacred space to deepen your self-compassion and elevate your professional or personal life, come talk to me in coaching. I offer leadership coaching for workplaces and leaders and integrative personal coaching for your personal life. Sign up for a free consult to see how it can feel to work together.Blessings,
This is so awesome Lisa. While reading this I thought of “self-aggression” and how easy it is to aggress against ourselves. I see it and hear it often and of course I see it in myself when I am doing it. I love what you have to say!!!
I find it’s easier to love when I realize I am loved My faith empowers me because I do not rely on human love(although I treasure it when it comes). I can love because I am fearfully and wonderfully made by the One who first loved me. My job is to pass it on!!