You feel like a mess.
You think you’re a disaster, and you know it’s high time you fixed yourself. You’re not alone; many people seek counseling because they see their issues as something to be fixed. You know you need some type of emotional healing, but you don’t know where to begin.
Maybe you don’t like how intense your anger gets with your partner. You might feel desperate to stop yelling at your children. Your anxious thoughts might hinder your ability to maintain long-desired relationships or get a much-needed job. You wish your ever-present sadness would stop following you around no matter how hard you try to shove it away. Apologizing is difficult for you because you grew up watching your parents’ habit of deflecting blame, and you feel frustrated that you can’t seem to fix the problem even though you’re aware of it.
You might ask yourself why you can’t just do better.
Whatever the problem, it keeps poking its head up again and again. Problems like these can get so distressing that you wish you could rip that part of yourself out and go on with your life. Even though you might despise parts of yourself, emotional healing starts with two components: Curiosity and self-compassion.
Instead of a Fix-It Mentality, Get Curious
Let’s start by learning how humans get better. Healing doesn’t usually happen by ripping out a part of yourself and trying to will yourself to be different. Healing and change occur when you have understanding and compassion towards those “problem” parts of yourself and express curiosity towards them.
This can sometimes seem counter-intuitive and feel unnatural.
Why express compassion towards an unhelpful emotion or behavior pattern that causes so many problems in your day-to-day life? It’s because when those parts of you become very loud (the anger, anxiety, sadness, etc.), they must have something to say. And if you don’t listen with curiosity, they will only get louder with time.
Emotional Healing Through Listening (To Yourself)
What is that anger trying to do for you? Maybe it is trying to protect you from getting taken advantage of or being blamed for something you didn’t do.
What about that anxiety? Is it trying its hardest to keep you from failing in your job? Perhaps those self-deprecating thoughts are coming from a place inside you that really just wants you to be a good person so others will like you.
Most likely, these parts of you do have your best interest at heart. Sure, the way they go about their job is terribly unhelpful and often very damaging to you. But remember, the first step to change is curiosity and compassion.
Give Yourself the Compassion You Deserve
As you express curiosity towards yourself, you can also practice having compassion (and it does take practice). Your problem has been exhausting, and you have been trying to solve it for a long time. Remind yourself that all humans carry things like this, and you are not alone.
You deserve space for grace and understanding.
This part of you deserves kindness and patience; it just needs some help. Because you are human, you deserve a hug from yourself. You deserve to hear kind, true, and comforting words. You are allowed to make mistakes. Every human makes mistakes.
Make Way for Change
After you practice living in this space of curiosity and self-compassion, then you can begin the work of change: changing habits, changing thoughts, changing how you relate to others, and changing how you react to the world. Compassion and curiosity clear the path toward healing in our brains, so change can come more naturally.
You might even find that through the practice of curiosity and self-compassion, much of that work has already taken place.
New Ways of Relating to Yourself Take Practice
Self-compassion and curiosity are skills. Like any skill, they take a lot of practice and can also take a bit of coaching and teaching to master. This is a difficult skill set to learn alone. It can help to find a friend who has walked the path before, or you might work with a counselor who can help guide you and help you learn to apply these skills to your specific situations. It can take work, but once you have mastered it, you will have a tool to help you through almost anything that can come your way. Can you imagine feeling like you can handle just about anything? Let curiosity and self-compassion become your new superpower.
Interested in a helpful resource? Check out https://self-compassion.org
Begin Your Emotional Healing Process Today
Are you ready to change the patterns and emotions that don’t serve you? Do you want to relate to yourself with more curiosity and self-compassion? Do you want a counselor to help you apply these skills to your life? This is the sign you’ve been waiting for – call and make an appointment with Mary Carol Damon today, (601) 362-7020.