The Struggle with Self Compassion

As a therapist, I see clients who come to the counseling office with numerous issues. Loss of a relationship, job changes, anxiety, depression, grief, trauma, illness, or just plain unhappiness with the way life currently is going.

One thing that is common amongst humans. We are innately wired to be on the outlook for danger, always assessing their surroundings to protect themselves. It is our habitual nature to turn towards the negative, and blame outward sources for our unhappiness.

Today, this habit serves less of a purpose, and can manifest in an outward blaming game.

When clients come to therapy, initially there is what therapists call a “presenting problem”. My boss, my wife, my job, my circumstances, if only I had the money, the promotion, the relationship.. the list goes on.

By creating a safe environment for understanding and growth, slowly clients come to realization that their perception, not circumstances, must change for true growth to occur.

And that growth isn’t linear. It doesn’t look pretty written in glitter ink. But it’s honest. And it’s vulnerable. And it’s real. And honestly isn’t that what we are all here for in the end?

The struggle with self compassion is, we have to be vulnerable with ourselves and look in the dark corners and crevices, deep down in the root of the mind that may have memories and circumstances that don’t feel good.

By exploring these emotions in a safe environment with a trusted person, self compassion can begin to manifest on the journey to healing.

Are you ready to truly forgive yourself? Are you ready to look in the dark corners and roots to heal?

Rumi once said “maybe you are searching amongst the branches, for what only appears in your roots”

Wishing you health and wellness!

Michelle Smith

LMHC, MS

michelle.smith.lmhc@gmail.com

Language of Love

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner which means never ending advertisements to buy more chocolates, diamonds, roses, and expensive getaways to show the one you love how much you care.

Are these advertisements even factual? Is the only way to express your admiration by spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars? Psychology disagrees.

Gary Chapman, a leader in couple and relationship research, has founded one of the key factors to successful marriages and relationships around the world is to understand a person’s love language.

Just like each person is individual in their likes, dislikes, thinking patterns, habits, and cultural background, we also are unique in the way we best receive love.

Chapman identifies The 5 Love Languages that bring insight into the best way to approach emotional intimacy with our partner.

Words of Affirmation: Feeling wanted, valued, and positively praised in a relationship is a priority for a WOA partner.

  • If you love language is WOA, you probably enjoy when your partner compliments you and genuinely shares with their words how much they care through conversation, writing, notes, etc.
  • TIP: If your lover’s primary love language is words of affirmation, try purchasing a dry erase board specifically to write quick love notes back and forth in the midst of the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Quality Time: Spending uninterrupted, engaged, and focused time with your partner. This does NOT include sitting in the same living room working simultaneously.

  • If your love language is Quality Time, you probably enjoy exploring new experiences with your partner, whether it’s taking a pottery class or going on a road trip, you know your partner cares when they take the time from their busy schedule to spend with you.
  • TIP: If your lover’s primary love language is quality time, try planning an adventurous date idea for V-day and surprise your partner. Participating in new experiences with your loved one is a wonderful way to increase your emotional connection.

Physical Touch: is not just about sex, but all forms of physical intimacy.

  • If your love language is physical touch, you feel loved when your partner shows their love physically by holding you hand, rubbing your scalp in bed, or massages your feet.
  • TIP: If your lover’s primary love language in physical touch, try increasing the amount of playful touch during your date night to increase affection or plan a date that includes massage such as a luxurious spa day away from the kids.

Acts of Service: includes helping with any task that will take stress off of our partner such as taking out the trash, cooking dinner, paying a bill that is late etc.

  • If your primary love language is acts of service, you feel appreciated when your partner takes the time to notice you could use help and does the task at hand to support the family system continuing to function optimally.
  • TIP: If your lover’s primary love language is acts of service, try tackling a project that you struggle to get around too due to time to surprise your partner. The mental stress of the “to-do” list can many times get in the way of intimacy.

Gifts: includes receiving mementos that show genuine value and love towards the other person.

  • If your primary love language is acts of service, you feel appreciated when your partner brings a token or memento to show they were thinking about you.
  • TIP: If your lover’s primary love language is gifts, try picking up simple trinkets for your loved one when you travel for work without them to show you thought of them during your experience. The physical item will hold a feeling of gratitude for your partner, no matter the amount spent.

Many times the way we best show admiration, does not align with our partners authentic love language.

If you are struggling to increase intimacy in your relationship understanding your partner in a more in depth manner may be key!

Wishing you an abundance of loving energy Valentines Day!

Michelle Smith

LMHC, MS

(305) 204-6378

Buy 5 Love Languages on Amazon