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Making Friends with Yourself

The worst loneliness is not being comfortable with yourself.  -Mark Twain

almost ready

Are you on good terms with yourself? Your relationship with yourself is very important to your happiness. Still, this key relationship may spend a lot of time flying right under your radar.One way to find out how this relationship is going is to listen in on that inner conversation you carry on with yourself. When you talk to yourself (everybody does it) does it sound like you’re talking to a friend, an enemy, or an unruly child? If you are using an aggressive tone with yourself, you’re not alone.

Many of us pick up this way of talking to ourselves when we’re children. It’s hard to protect yourself when you’re a child and someone keeps attacking you. One thing you might do to cope is to start talking to yourself in the same nasty way. At least then you’re the one in control.

So you probably brought that aggressive voice inside a long time ago to feel safer. Unfortunately, sometimes you end up carrying it around long after the original aggressor is gone. Therapists call these inner aggressors “interjects.”

So what can you do if an internalized jerk is making your life miserable? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Notice how you talk to yourself. When the inner jerk rears it’s ugly head try to relax and have some compassion for yourself. Remember, that misguided jerk inside is trying to protect you.

2. Practice being gentle with yourself. Say something kind. It can be difficult at first but keep at it. Practice treating yourself like a friend who deserves love and respect. You do!

3. Notice when you put conditions on loving yourself. Take a break from trying to improve yourself. You’re a person, not a project. You deserve to be loved for who you are right now.

4. If you look underneath the things your inner jerk keeps telling you, you’ll often find some deeply held, negative beliefs:
“I’m damaged”…”I don’t deserve love”…
If you don’t notice these are just beliefs, you’ll probably keep believing them.

5. Try out a different belief:
I’m unique and beautiful. I deserve love.

6. When you’re confused about something, have a conversation with yourself, or a Higher Power. There are a lot of wise voices in there too.

mirror kissNobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it.                                                                                       – Tallulah Bankhead


Photos: “Almost ready” by Infrogmation (top) and roseoftimothywoods at http://flickr.com/photos/madfox/29367611/ (bottom)

This article is copyright 2010, Lee Scher, L.P.C.. All rights reserved. For more info on Lee Scher, L.P.C.’s psychotherapy practice, please visit: http://www.goldenkeypsychotherapy.com

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