The Counselling Shed
I sometimes think that what all of this counselling and psychotherapy work boils down to is the question of whether or not you can love and value yourself.
Can you accept that you are a worthwhile human being, just as you are right now?
This should come naturally to us, right? But sadly for many many people it does not; and it can take time to develop a relationship with yourself that is kind and supportive.
If you are unable to grant yourself the deep sense of affirmation, love and safety that all human beings deeply need, then you might, unconsciously, be looking for your partner to do this for you.
And that’s fine… for a while.
All of the time that you are with a partner who is able to provide you with the kind of attention that you need, then life can seem great. But when your partner gets sick, or is busy with friends, or is tied up with work, and the attention fades, you might then feel that your world has fallen apart: you might feel that your sense of who you are has been deeply impacted.
Basing your sense of worth upon how someone else sees you is common, many of us have been brought up to do this, but over time, it can leave you on very shaky ground: your own sense of who you are is a little unstable. Whilst this can lead to feelings of lack of confidence and low self esteem in yourself, it can also lead you to feel insecure in your relationship.
“I look to my partner for all of the things that I hate about myself: I hate the way I look so I need to make sure that my partner finds me attractive at all times; I have no confidence, so I need my partner to be the assertive one in our relationship; I feel insecure about my body and feel really rejected if my partner is not up for it,” so the thinking often goes.
Or, “when I’m in a relationship I feel ok about myself, but if and when a relationship ends and I find myself single again, then I just don’t know who I am anymore”.
It can be helpful to hold in mind the idea, that as an adult, your first relationship is with yourself.
Instead of relying on other people to let you know that you are clever enough, likeable enough, attractive enough, loveable enough, competent enough etc. it can be fruitful for you to work on developing a relationship with yourself where you can feel these things for yourself.
Frequently I invite my clients to check-in with themselves. How do they regard themselves? What are their thoughts, feelings and beliefs about themselves.
In the safety and non-judgemental atmosphere of my counselling room, my clients are able to get in touch with the often overriding negative way in which they see themselves.
But if you can start to relate to yourself in a positive, caring, encouraging and respectfully non-judgmental way, then your self esteem starts to grow.
As well as this being beneficial for your own sense of confidence and well-being, it is also beneficial to the health of your relationship because rather than be dependent upon your partner for your sense of self esteem, you free your partner up from this role and so can finally just enjoy being with one another.
Do you feel that low self-esteem – your sense of somehow not being enough – might be affecting your relationship. And just to be clear, this affects both women and men!
Get in touch for a no-obligation chat or drop me an email to see how I can support you. I look forward to hearing from you.
M: 07757 859650