I've begun to notice an interesting pattern among my clients. When people come to see me, they're ready to deal with the negative. They tell me all about the presenting issue; when it began, what triggers it, what they've done to manage it, how it impacts their life, etc. People are often relatively willing to go to the darker corners of themselves and dig out age old emotions. They are willing to accept hard truths and ope themselves to new realizations. By the time someone is in the position of seeking any kind of therapy, they have already admitted to themselves that they might need outside guidance to help them progress.
After some time, the issue has been thoroughly discussed. The age old feelings have been vented out and mostly dealt with. Then comes the part of the therapy where it's time t build up. When someone is going through a life change, they go through a process of tearing themselves down so they can start fresh. For example, if someone is on a weight loss journey they come to grips with the ramifications of their health choices. They decide to make a major change to alter their lifestyle. In order to do that, they have to focus on their eating habits, if there are emotional triggers, why they might struggle to exercise, among other things. Some interesting things can crop up and we can really get into the past associations and habits that have made it hard to change thus far. That person now has all the tools they need to move forward.
So what's next? Building up. It's time to empower that person with positive intention. They have to learn how to have compassion and love for themselves and their process. At this point, the client has spent so much time dissecting the negative things that brought them into therapy. They've become self aware in a new way. But the second part of self awareness is knowing your positive traits, and the good in your situation as well as being able to recognize where you can grow. This is essential to the therapy because without being able to recognize your worth, it's easy to lose sight of why you deserve change.
I challenge my readers to embrace this second part of being self aware. Learn how to accept a compliment because someone has recognized something beautiful in you. Learn how to praise yourself and recognize when you're done something well. Get to know yourself; your beautiful qualities as well as your limitations. Know what you have to offer the world because when you do, you set a new standard for the way you interact with the world and the way you allow others to interact with you. It's awkward, especially when we're told not to brag, and self-deprecation is encouraged. But it is a worth while trait to have.