Why can counselling be off-putting to people?

I like to think of therapy as being not so complex for people to understand. It is the job of the counsellor to try and explain a little bit about the process, starting with you as a person and why you may have decided to contact or search for a therapist, one that you can have a bond with or feel like he or she definitely understands the way you are feeling.

I often hear people saying 'I can't love myself, others would think I was self-obsessive or vain, maybe even selfish for putting myself first'. So, I thought about what that may mean in terms of you understanding what a therapist may mean by asking 'why is loving yourself selfish?'. Below is a little taste of why it could actually pay dividends to you, and those around you, if you just understood its meaning.

How do you actually learn to love yourself?

Four steps to inner bonding

1. Are you willing to feel pain and take responsibility for your feelings?

Feelings let us know when something is wrong or right, whether we are loving ourselves or abandoning ourselves, or if someone around us is acting in a loving or controlling way.

Being mindful about your body, and allowing yourself to be present in the moment compassionately, allows you to embrace feelings by moving forward to your feelings rather than away from them. Abandoning yourself may look like 'judging yourself', turning to 'addictions' to numb out, or making someone else responsible for your feelings.

2. Move towards learning about yourself

Instead of avoiding responsibility and adopting addictive and controlling behaviour, learn about what you are doing or thinking that may be causing you stress and pain, or what may be happening between you and another person or situation so that you can move into a more loving action on your own behalf.

Open yourself up to learning about yourself.

3. Learn about your false self/or beliefs

Learn exploration about your process as a person, your beliefs, and your behaviour. Ask your feeling self - your inner child - 'what am I thinking or doing that's causing these feelings of anxiety, anger, loneliness, or emptiness?'. Once you can understand what you are thinking, feeling or doing that's causing you these feelings, then you can explore the possibilities of moving forward.

4. Sometimes people think of 'loving yourself' as selfish

Once you begin to 'self-care' and see where your pain, anger, and shame are coming from, you may feel the inner peace and calm that it brings you will understand the gifts that caring about you pays dividends in your relationships.

I think it takes courage to take steps towards seeing a counsellor; not everyone knows why they feel like they do or why things are happening to them or significant others around them. One thing is certain for me, and that is that everyone has a story, a past, and some sort of future, and as individuals we deserve to know the best way in understanding how to be the best we can with whatever life throws at us.

Take care of yourself.

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Written by Tracy Emanuel-Pearson Registered MBACP

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Written by Tracy Emanuel-Pearson Registered MBACP

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