Understanding & Overcoming Anger: “I don’t want to be an angry person!”

Understanding & Overcoming Anger: "I don't want to be an angry person!" www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #mentalhealth #anger #psychology

Understanding & Overcoming Anger: "I don't want to be an angry person!" www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #mentalhealth #anger #psychologyIf there’s one emotion people have a hard time with, it’s anger. I know I’ve certainly struggled with it. I admit, I can get pretty roiled up sometimes, and when I do, I hate how I feel and especially how I act. That leaves me feeling angry toward myself, too.

 

“I don’t want to be an angry person!”

After my sister died, in 2007, I was pretty angry, yet it took me months to finally admit it. When she had died I had inherited my two nephews–and all her unfinished problems. It was too much for anyone to handle, and yet I soaked it all up, stuffing my emotions, trying to be “strong.” “I don’t want to be an angry person,” I told myself.

But anger, stuffed, doesn’t just go away. Eventually, it comes out in even less desirable ways. I knew that. I had taught so many clients about anger and how to handle it. But it’s different when it’s YOU. One day, I finally “got” it. I realized the facts I’d been teaching so many others for so many years before: Anger is just an emotion. Like sadness, or heartache, or even happiness, anger is a feeling. I realized “Anger is not me. It’s not who I want to be or what I believe is good. But it is how it feel. It underlies why I am so confused and hard on myself.” (This is How We Grow, p. 145)

 

Understanding Anger

Anger is an interesting emotion. An emotion of action, anger gets us to do the things we otherwise may not. This can be a good thing, such as the mother who stands up for her child who has been wronged, or it can be a not-so-good thing, such as the frustrated child who starts a fistfight. It can be intense, overwhelming, even frightening. Anger can consume us–if we let it–turning an ordinary you or me into a big, green Hulk! But again, anger is just an emotion, and, like any emotion, anger is neither “good” nor “bad.” Rather, it’s how we express our anger that gets us into trouble.

 

Dealing with Anger

Most of us fall into one of two categories for how we deal with the emotion of anger: 1) outward expression, what I call Understanding & Overcoming Anger; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comaggression, or 2) inward expression, what I call self-loathing.

Aggression can be physical, psychological, or emotional—yelling, fighting, slinging cutting words—often at those you love most.

Self-loathing can come from extreme disappointment in yourself, often because you’re feeling angry, or it can result from anger toward someone else that is turned inward in and effort to “avoid harming others.”

Both aggression and self-loathing are consequences of failing to express anger in healthy ways, and usually the costs are high.

 

Overcoming Anger

The key to overcoming anger is to give it a voice so it doesn’t overpower you. There are many ways to do this. Some of the most helpful include:

  • Talk it out.
  • Write furiously (feel free to throw away or burn it when you’re done).
  • Throw your anger into intense physical activity (kickboxing works great!).
  • FEEL the anger. Sit still and focus on the feeling of anger inside. Remind yourself this emotion is not YOU. Focusing on intense emotions and feeling them is a powerful way to release the emotion and help you feel free of it. (For more on how this, read FEEL: How to cope with Powerful Emotions (& video))
  • If you’re angry at a specific person, write them a letter expressing everything you feel. You don’t have to give it to them, and you might choose not to once you calm down, but writing specifically to them will help get the anger out. Then, after you finish the letter, do something kind for yourself. Go out to dinner, take a hot bath, get a massage. Do an act of love for yourself to reward you for your work in dealing with your anger.

It is also very helpful to look for the underlying emotions feeding into your anger. Anger is what we call a secondary emotion.   This means there is almost always another, primary emotion, feeding the anger. Primary emotions—like sadness, pain, fear, joy—are core emotions; they can exist alone or form the base for secondary emotions like anger. Usually anger is fed by sadness, pain, fear, or a combination of these. A trusted friend, loved one, or therapist can help you see what’s feeding your anger and work on overcoming it on this deeper level.

For example, when I do couple’s therapy, it’s common for a couple to come in angry. The more I let them talk out their emotions, usually, the angrier they become. So, instead, I help them see that their so-called “anger” is really coming from a place of sadness or pain. I help them see how they each feel unloved and wish the other person would show how much they care. I then encourage expression of the sadness and pain. You can see how this softens the fire of anger and makes space for empathy. Empathy is an act of turning toward another person in love, and where real love is present, anger is not. When we identify and speak from the deeper emotion we are not only more likely to address the real issue, but we may also find ourselves feeling love. Instead of acting aggressively or harshly toward ourselves, we find tears, understanding, relief. Instead of lashing out at someone dear, we find compassion, forgiveness, letting go.

 

Learning from Anger

In most cases, it’s best to work through anger before trying to resolve the situation that created your anger. Use the suggestions above to process your feelings of anger, first. Let your feelings of anger teach you what you need to learn. Take all the time you need. Then, when you’re ready, you will have a clearer mind and heart to help you decide how to best handle whatever circumstances need to be handled. You will handle the anger-provoking situations–and people–in your life in much healthier, more compassionate ways.

~This post is based on a deleted excerpt from This is How We Grow.

 

How do you feel about anger? Do you ever struggle with it? What helps you understand, deal with, and overcome your anger? Leave a comment below!

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out Dr. Hibbert’s Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow
available now on Amazon.com!

 

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Spring-Cleaning for the Soul: 18 Ways to be Happy, Healthy, & Sane

Spring-Cleaning for the Soul: 18 Ways to be Healthy, Happy, & Sane; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #happiness #mentalhealth #health

Spring-Cleaning for the Soul: 18 Ways to be Healthy, Happy, & Sane; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #happiness #mentalhealth #healthMy house got pretty out of order last year while I was busy writing and publishing This is How We Grow. For weeks this winter, I would walk around analyzing and listing all that needed to be done. Recently, I finally jumped in—brutally tossing piles of “stuff” we’ve accumulated over the past months (and with 8 people in my home, it’s a lot of stuff). I’m starting to re-paint our house, and we’ve been putting our kids to work raking pine needles outside. It feels good to get my home in order once again.

 

Spring-Cleaning for the Soul

Think about what’s involved in spring cleaning a home. First, you take stock of the areas that need a little cleaning out or fixing up—inside and out—and prepare your plan of attack. Next, you start the purge—decluttering, tossing, getting rid of all the “stuff” you no longer need. Finally, you create—organization, order, and beauty.

The same principles apply to cleaning your internal space. Here are 18 ways to spring-clean your body, mind, and yes, your soul.

 

18 Ways to Be Healthy, Happy, & Sane!

 

Step 1: Take Stock & Prepare

1)   Ponder “What matters most.” Before you begin your soul cleaning, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. What matters most to you? Is it family? Relationships? Career? Faith? In a journal or notebook, list your “top 5” most important things. It’s much easier to know what kind of soul-cleaning you need to do if you first know what matters most. (Read What Matters Most)

2)   Analyze where you currently are. Examine at all “realms”—your physical, emotional, mental/intellectual, spiritual, and social sides. Which areas need a little “tidying up?” Grab your journal, notebook, or a piece of paper, and list it all.

3)   Set small goals. Small goals are a great way to get your soul-cleaning done. Even 10-15 focused minutes a day in any or each of the above “realms” can add up to a big difference down the road. For more on how to set goals you’ll actually keep, read Goal-Setting.

4)   Prepare to take action. Preparing for the changes you want to make is important to achieving your goals. What do you need to do for your goals to work? Do you need to investigate a new nutritional plan? Or perhaps you need to learn a couple parenting strategies so you can regain a little order with your kids? Prepare, and you’re much more likely to succeed. (Read How to Make Lasting Change)

 

Step 2: Purge and Declutter

5)   Cut the physical clutter. Perhaps you need to purge the sugary treats from your kitchen, or perhaps you need to Spring-Cleaning for the Soul: 18 Ways to Be Happy, Healthy, & Sane; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comcut the excuses for why you don’t exercise. What is blocking you from being your best physical self? Is it poor sleep, nutrition, exercise, or stress? Once you see the mess, work to clean out whatever’s causing it. (Read Sleep Better, Cope Better, & Get Mentally & Physically FITT: How to Create an Exercise Program that Works)

6)   Cut the mental and emotional clutter. What issues are bothering you? Do you have unresolved grief, or a relationship problem? Are you constantly feeling overwhelmed and stressed? Whatever is clouding your mind, work it through and let it go. You might consider seeking help from a therapist for this one, or joining my This Is How We Grow Personal Growth Group. (Read Thought Management: Part 1, M5 Steps to a Clutter-Free Mind (& Life!, & Stress  Management: 15 Proven ways to Stress Less and Smile More)

7)   Cut the social clutter. Are there people in your life who are unhealthy for you? If you struggle with negative or unhealthy people in your life, it’s time to purge the clutter. You can still have a relationship, but either let it be one that inspires and uplifts you, or else choose to spend less time in that relationship. (Read the ABC’s of Making and Keeping Friends)

8)   Cut the distractions. Do you spend too much time on social media, TV, or the internet? If so, purge the distractions. It’s hard to feel connected spiritually, and it’s hard to really focus on what matters most if you’re always tuning out.

9)   Purge a “bad habit” or two. Being inside so much during cold winters can bring bad habits come spring. Perhaps you’ve been exercising less, sleeping in too late, or watching more TV because you’ve been inside so much. Whatever the case, pick one “bad habit,” and work to purge it. Spring is the season when the cold—and excuses—melt away. (Read Understanding the Seasons of Personal Growth)

10) De-clutter your “To-Do” list. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all you have to do each day, then try this. Next to each item on your list, write either an “A” (absolutely must do today), “B” (really should to do today), or “C” (would be nice to get done today). Then, cut all the “C’s”. And all the “B’s.” Simplify by focusing only on what matters most. (Then, if you happen to get a “B” or “C” done, bonus for you!)

 

Step 3: Create

11)  Create internal space. Without internal space, it’s hard to hear the whispers that guide and direct us in life. “By submitting, humbling ourselves, and actively listening to those whispers, we receive answers, and by obeyng those promptings we receive an ease and certainty about life.” (This is How We Grow, p. 389) Sit still and watch the world around you, practice meditation, mindfulness, or deep breathing. They’re all great ways to create internal space. (Read The Mind-Body-Spirit Connection)

Watch “How to Practice Deep Breathing—3-Minute Therapy” on my YouTube channel. Then, continue reading, below.

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12)  Create a vision and/or daily mantra. Now that you know what matters most, and you’ve cleared the clutter, what do you envision for yourself? Close your eyes and imagine the rest of today. Imagine the rest of this week. Imagine five years down the road. What do you see? Let it guide you to create the life you desire. Then, each morning, set your focus for the day by creating a daily mantra. Today, mine was, “May the Spirit fill my body, mind, and heart.” This helps me focus on what I want/need for today—peace and love for myself and my family. Your mantra could be anything, from a single word, to a favorite quote. (Read Create the Life You Desire)

13)  Create positive emotions. Don’t just wait to feel the good stuff. Seek it. Seek to put more feelings of love, gratitude, and joy into each and ever day. (Read Turn a Rainy Day Sunny: How to Overcome Feelings of Depression; 10 Ways to Practice Gratitude Today; 50 Ways to Love your Loved Ones; Beyond “Happiness”: 10 Ways to Increase Joy)

14) Create “quiet time” and solitude. We need time alone. Time to rest, relax, do what lights us up; time to think, feel, and process. Make space for some solitude in your life. Check in with how things are going. Get out a journal and write about it. Use your solitude to discover deeper understanding. Use it to replenish and refill you. (Read Mom Mental Health: The Importance of Alone Time)

15) Create connection and memories. In spring, the days are lighter, warmer, and longer, so use that extra timeSpring-Cleaning for the Soul: 18 Ways to be Healthy, Happy, & Sane; www.DrChristinaHIbbert.com wisely. Reconnect with loved ones. Focus on strengthening important relationships. Have fun. Play together. Laugh. Live and enjoy your life with those you love. (Read 9 Ways to Build Intimacy, Improve Communication=Improve Relationships=Improve YOU)

16) Beautify your external surroundings. Yes, keeping your home clean and orderly can significantly impact your soul for the better. And, be careful about who you let in to your newly renovated “internal” space, too. Keep all your spaces clean and beautiful. 

17) Use your creativity often. Being creative is a spiritual process, one that comes from something greater than yourself. How do you like to express your creativity? Painting, writing, dancing, crafting? Use your creativity often. It keeps the soul sparkly and bright.

18) Focus on the good as you continue to refine the “could-be-better’s.” Forget perfection; it’s impossible anyway. Instead, focus on the “good.” Sure, plenty of things could be better, and they will be if you keep working on them. For now, however, see the great people, experiences, and moments right in front of you. Focusing on the good leads to a continually sane, healthy, and happy soul.

 

Do any of these suggestions, above, stand out for you? What tips do you have for “soul spring-cleaning?”Leave a comment, below, and share! 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out Dr. Hibbert’s Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow
available now on Amazon.com!

 

Spring-Cleaning for the Soul: 18 Ways to be Healthy, Happy, & Sane; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #happiness #mentalhealth #health

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“My Kids are Driving Me Crazy!” (again) Why Parenting is so darn Tough.

"My Kids are Driving Me Crazy!" (Again) Why Parenting is so Darn Tough; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #parenting #motherhood #fatherhood

"My Kids are Driving Me Crazy!" (Again) Why Parenting is so Darn Tough; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #parenting #motherhood #fatherhoodI don’t usually post this often–3 times in one week–and I don’t usually hit the keyboard furiously the second I finally get all my kids out the door. But today, I can’t help it. My heart is racing, my head is pounding, and I feel like, if I don’t write, I may just hop in the car and head to an undisclosed location for an undisclosed amount of time.

 

Why is parenting so darn tough?

Today, I lay the “psychologist” aside and speak as “the mom,” and really, just as “me.” Why is parenting so tough?? It shouldn’t always have to be tough, right? We should feel like it’s tough only sometimes?

To me, it feels like it’s always something. Maybe it’s because I have six kids. Maybe it’s because with so many, the needs just keep flowing like a never-ending river. Maybe it’s because my four oldest are all teenagers now, and that means they live in a universe in which they are the center and everyone else must fall into orbit according to their daily gravitational pull (or mood). Maybe it’s because my husband’s been out of town most days the past weeks, with another trip coming up, and I’ve been going solo for too long. Maybe it’s because, try as I may, I never seem to get a full night’s sleep (except a week ago Saturday when my husband “took charge” for a day and I actually slept for 11 hours!) The more tired I am, the more “crazy” I feel (and act). Maybe my hormones are starting to kick in again (let me check the calendar—a little over a week away? Maybe. Maybe not.)

 

My kids are driving me crazy—again!

Yes, my kids are driving me crazy–again–and it’s a cycle that seems to repeat about every six weeks or so. They get incredibly lax on things like, oh, chores, getting to bed, getting up on time, remembering to do homework or take it to school, personal hygiene, etc, etc, and I get pushed and pushed by the piling of these “little things” until I go on a rant of some sort, which makes them listen and makes me feel guilty (I really do not like getting so frustrated with my kids!). This motivates us all to regain some order in the home, to make apologies, to work a little harder. And this brings peace once again…ahhh…until we start to get too tired and too busy and too lax again, and voila! The cycle repeats.

 

It just makes me feel better to let it out…

I know I may be facing social media mockery and isolation by writing my true feelings—or rather how I truly feel today

Left the milk out, and their breakfast. And, two "forgot" their lunches this morning, again.

Left the milk out, and their breakfast. And, two “forgot” their lunches this morning, again.

—about my kids and parenting. All I ever seem to see on Facebook are posts about how great other people’s kids are. Yes, I have posted my fair share of “success moments” with my kids, too, so yes, I get it. But most days I really want to post, “I’m so proud of my six little kiddos! They stopped fighting in time to actually listen to me (the fourth time they were asked) and do their chores! How did I get so lucky? What a proud mama I am!”

I know, that’s sarcastic, and so far I’ve refrained, because I don’t believe in shaming my kids. Instead, I believe in encouraging them to do better, and today, I did just that. Instead of going on a rant, yelling about all the things they’re not doing right now, (and by yelling and rant, I mean a very long, intense talking to in which they sit perfectly still because they can see if they push even one bit my head might just explode). Instead of this, today, I tried a new approach. Ok, yes, I did “rant” a little after they left by taking pics of all the things I’d asked them to do a million times–for proof, later, if I need it. But, overall I was very impressed with my non-ranting solution.

 

“Kids!–Do This!”

Like my “Lame-o-list”—which I made when I reached a similar point of frustration with my husband and myself (yes, I

It's not pretty, and you can see from my handwriting I was working through some issues. But my "Kids! Do This!!" list is definitely effective.

It’s not pretty, and you can see from my handwriting I was working through some issues. But my “Kids! Do This!!” list is definitely effective.

expect all of us to do what we’re supposed to do—even, and especially, me). Similarly, I grabbed a colored pencil (because of course all my pens are lost—again), and in my building anxiety, began to scribble all the things my kids need to remember to do each day and each week, and all the time.

I wrote at the top, “Kids! Do this!” and underlined it twice. Yes, instead of ranting about all my kids have not done, like I would usually do, today I focused on what my kids should do. This is a great psychological and parenting principle I learned long ago: teach kids what to do instead of telling them what not to do. So, I did just that. I wrote a list of all they need to do, because, maybe they just can’t remember on their own. Maybe they just need to be reminded. A million times. Yeah, right.

Well, now, they are officially reminded, as you can see, to the right. They are reminded to change their underwear and put away the milk and do their homework before before school the next day. They are reminded to take the lunches I wake up very early each morning to make for them (because I’m nice like that), and to thank me for making them. They are reminded to turn out the lights and pick up the toys and shoes off the floor so the dog won’t chew them to bits while they’re at school (like she did to every one of her leashes and the items pictured below!). They are reminded to remember everything they need for school before they leave or they just won’t have it, and to actually

The remains of a maraca, Pinkie Pie pony, pants, packing tape, and a sleeping bag after our dog, Coco, had her fun this morning.

The remains of a maraca, Pinkie Pie pony, pants, packing tape, and a sleeping bag after our dog, Coco, had her fun this morning. This is why we pick things up, kids!

listen when their dad and I are trying to help them or give them important advice. (Seriously, why don’t kids just listen to us? It would make life—theirs and ours—so much easier, wouldn’t it?)

You get the picture.

Writing this list calmed me, and I even saw a few of my kids read the list, and behave extra respectfully to me after they did. Apparently, they can get the picture without me having to say one single ranting word. They can, instead, read my suggestions and do them—or not, but we all know what the end result of that choice will be.

 

Parenting is tough, by nature, but it makes us grow.

The hard truth is that parenting is tough, and sometimes, it’s really tough. It pushes us in ways we never expected and

This "zone" was supposed to be cleaned last night. My husband and I both asked two kids to do this three separate times. Ugh.

This “zone” was supposed to be cleaned last night. My husband and I both asked two kids to do this three separate times. Ugh.

can make us feel things, and act in ways, we never wanted.

Writing this, I feel like both a terrible parent and a great one all at once. Terrible, because I wish I could just handle the stress that is a natural part of parenting (and especially parenting six kids) without getting pushed to the edge of sanity. Great, because I am learning to handle these frustrations in more and more creative and healthy ways. Yes, parenting is tough because it forces us to grow.

In fact, I am now recalling I posted something similar to this not too long ago. Let me check… Yes, the last time I wrote about this was in my “Parenting Teens” article, 9 ½ weeks ago. So, maybe I am actually improving. If I can last almost 10 weeks in between my parenting meltdowns, I must be. Yippee!

One more time: Parenting is tough because it forces us to grow.

In my first Skype-in This is How We Grow book club, the other night, the group asked eagerly, “How are all the kids

Yes, my sons were making dorky faces on purpose, ruining an otherwise cute pic, but I still love these crazy kids. They sure do help me grow.

Yes, my sons were making dorky faces on purpose, ruining an otherwise cute pic, but I still love these crazy kids. They sure do help me grow.

doing now?” It’s the most common question I get after people read my memoir. I told them the truth—that they are great kids, trying to do the right thing and be their best, working hard to excel in life. And, they struggle. They’re going through the regular ups and downs of teen and tween years; they make mistakes, grief still hits at times, and they argue just like normal siblings. “It can be hard for us, as parents, to know how to parent each of them in the individual ways they need and not just treat them as a group whole,” I said. “But, I try to see them as individuals and give them individual attention, even while holding them accountable to the same rules and expectations. It’s tough,” I admitted.

“So, it’s just parenting. Still,” one woman wisely said.

“Yep,” I replied. “It’s just parenting. Still. Forever.” And parenting is just hard sometimes–because it forces us to grow.

There are so many moments of beauty and joy and delight as a parent, and there are all these other moments just trying to keep up and get it as right as possible. Parenting is a tough job, but when we dig in and plant ourselves, it’s the best ground to make us grow.

Here’s to growing as parents! And, may the force be with you; if you’re anything like me, you’re gonna need it!

"My Kids are Driving Me Crazy!" (again) Why Parenting is so darn Tough; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

Ok, let me have it. Do your kids ever drive you as crazy as mine seem to? How do you handle yourself when they do? What are your thoughts on the tough job of parenting and how it’s designed to make us grow? Leave a comment, below! 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out Dr. Hibbert’s Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow
available now on Amazon.com!

 

 

"My Kids are Driving Me Crazy!" (Again) Why Parenting is so Darn Tough; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #parenting #motherhood #fatherhood

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Mom Mental Health (part 2) -HOW to Get Alone Time (25+ Strategies!); www.DrChristinaHibbert.comIn part 1, we discussed the importance of “alone time” for mom mental health and happiness. Today, we focus on HOW to actually make that happen.

 

HOW to get “Alone Time”

That’s the number one thing I hear from moms when I’m helping them learn to prioritize alone time: “I know I need it. I desperately want it, but it feels impossible to actually make it happen.” Believe me, after 18 years of marriage, 17 years of parenting, and six kids of various ages and stages, I know this feeling well. But I can also attest that it’s NOT impossible. It just takes a little work to get the alone time you need.

 

There are basically 2 steps…

Step 1: Prioritize and commit to alone time. We talked all about this in part 1, so if you’re not convinced, go check it out and keep rereading until you are! The truth is you will never get alone time until you make it a priority. It’s a sad truth, but so it is. No one else can do it for you; you have to take the lead and work to make it happen.

 

Step 2: Gather support. Even if you want to make it happen, it usually won’t happen all by yourself. You need support. Here are some tips to gather it…

Watch this 3-Minute Therapy video on my YouTube channel on Motherhood Mental Health: How to Get “Alone Time,” then, keep reading, below!

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Get your husband/partner on board.

When I posted part 1 on the importance of alone time the other day, I heard several FB comments like, “Can someone please get my husband on board with this? Lol.” I know some partners are more likely to get on board than others, but these suggestions can help:

  • Validate his need for “alone time,” too. It definitely helps when he feels like you’re on board with what he needs (i.e. time for sports, to hang with friends, to do whatever he loves). Help him see how you need this, too. When you’re both able to get a break, it only makes you stronger—individually, as parents, and as a couple. (Read Couples & Romantic Love: 9 Ways to Improve Intimacy in Relationships)
  •  Help him see the benefits of your time away. Come back happier, grateful, and refreshed, and he’ll begin to see that everyone benefits when mom is whole again. (My husband has literally pushed me out the door or into my room at times for this very reason. “You need to go away now, and I know you’ll feel better, and so will we all,” he says. This, of course is after years of teaching him.) (Read 17 Ways to Make Marriage Work)

 

Get your friends/family on board.

Especially if you are a single mom or have an unsupportive partner, this is important, but it’s really important for all of us.

  • If you live near family, ask them to help watch your kids or drive them to activities so you can get a couple hours alone.
  • Start a babysitting co-op with several friends. You each put in your time, then you get hours that are all for you—to do a project, relax, or go have some fun.
  •  Hire babysitting help. Sometimes you have to pay for a break, but believe me, it’s worth the money to keep yourself mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually strong and happy.

 

Get your kids on board. As your kids grow, they need to learn about the importance of mom alone time, too. It not only helps you get the time you need; it shows them how to get their own needs met, too.

  • If you have a baby, nap times have to be “down time” for you. If you also have older children, then it becomes quiet time for everyone. Even children as young as two or three can learn to lie down, listen to quiet music, look at books, or play quietly in their beds while you get a break in your room.
  • As kids grow, teach them why alone time matters. Teach them how we all need a break sometimes, and why this is what you need. Encourage them to take breaks and seek alone time when they feel overwhelmed or stressed, too. Kids are so over-connected these days, with electronics, they need to learn how to spend time thinking, feeling, experiencing real life. I tell my kids all the time, “It’s good to be alone sometimes. If you’re bored, good. It’s good to be bored because it gives you time to figure things out.” (ReadParenting Success: It’s More About the Parent Than the Child)
  • Older kids can definitely be taught to respect your alone time. Help them see how much better you are after you get a little time away. Make a deal: “If you leave mom alone for an hour, I’ll come out and play after, or take you somewhere, etc.” I also educate my kids all the time, “Let me have my time or ‘mean mom’ is gonna show up.” They know all about “mean mom,” and how she gets when she’s way too tired. They’ve learned to let me be.
  • Older kids and teens can also help by watching younger siblings, taking them to the park or away for a “date,” and helping fill the gaps when you’re taking a break. My oldest son who drives takes my littlest (or even all the kids) away for ice cream, to the park, or even our to lunch sometimes. She loves the time she gets to spend with her older brothers, and I love the time I get to spend alone. (Read Parenting Teens: Am I Doing a Good Enough Job?)

 

 

Other Tips/Strategies/Crazy Suggestions that just might work…

 For You

I love this picture I took on our family trip to Mexico. Even during "family time," it's good to take a little "mom time."

I love this picture I took on our family trip to Mexico. Even during “family time,” it’s good to take a little “mom time.”

  • This is important: You must actually ASK for help with your alone time. Don’t expect him to just figure it out. “I looked OJ in the eye and said the words today,” I write in This is How We Grow. “’I need help. I need a break.’ It’s one lesson I’ve learned well. If I don’t ask, it won’t happen.” (p. 343)
  • There’s no set amount of time away that works for everyone, and at different stages of life your needs and ability to get what you need will change. With newborns, it may just be 15 minutes sitting outside, writing in your journal, or a couple hours going to Target (until baby needs to eat again). With older kids, you can definitely shoot for an hour a day most days or a few hours a week. And eventually, you can get away for a few days either as a couple, with friends, or yes, even all alone. (Read Recharge: Lessons Learned from Solitude)
  • Do what’s right for you. Not everyone has the same “alone time” needs, so figure out what yours are, and then get them met. Though it may feel hard to do, it really is that simple.

 

Husbands/partners

  • When first starting out, try time-for-time. My husband and I started this when our kids were little. If he went golfing for five hours on Friday, I got five hours on Saturday to spend however I wanted.
  • As kids grow older and your understanding of mutual alone time matures, you can forget time-for-time and instead just focus on helping each other take breaks as needed. After 18 years of marriage, my husband is the first to encourage me to go into my room and rest, to threaten the kids to leave me alone when I need a break, and to suggest I take a little time away from home for a day or two when I really need a break. In return, I support his frequent golf tournaments, trips, and time with buddies playing basketball or dirt biking. We’re both so much happier when we get a little time to recharge.
  • Be patient and keep working on it. Even if your hubby is willing to be in charge, it doesn’t mean it will always work. I’ve had so many times when he was supposedly in charge of the kids but they were constantly sneaking past him, interrupting “my” time. He’s finally learned to set up a barrier and pay a little closer attention, but be patient. As long as they’re trying, encourage them to keep at it.
  • After he comes home, give him some time to relax for a bit, then trade off and hand the kids over. He can sit with the baby while you take a bath, and yes, he can even take turns putting the kids to bed so you can be “free” for a night.

 

Friends/Family

  • Start a preschool co-op with young children where each mom takes turns teaching for a week. This can give you several weeks off for at least a few hours.
  • Get away with your significant other for a weekend of romance, fun, and/or relaxation by enlisting family members to watch your kids.
  • Ask for “babysitting coupons” as holiday/birthday gifts. My parents always give me a “weekend of babysitting” for my birthday now, and believe me that is way more valuable to me than any store-bought gift could be (especially because, with six kids it’s hard to find anyone else willing to stay with them! Except my fabulous mother-in-law, of course)

 

KidsMom Mental Health (part 2): HOW to Get Alone Time (25+Strategies!) (+video); www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

  • I admit, I have locked myself in my bathroom or closet several times just to get a few minutes of quiet. Even ifthey’re crying outside the door, sometimes those few minutes can get me recentered enough to go back out and handle things with grace.
  • Ever since my youngest learned to read, we’ve also started using sticky notes. My husband posted this one, right, last weekend, when I was desperate for a good night’s sleep. I slept for 11 hours straight! A miracle! And when my hormones come to wreak havoc on my emotions I’ve been known to post a “Quarantine” sign: “Do not come in, or you will suffer the consequences.” All my family members have learned to respect that sign.
  • Time-for-time can also work for kids. Explain you’ll give them x amount of quality time together or doing what
    One Saturday, after my kids had helped me get a little time alone, I took them for a family bike ride. I win. They win. We all win when mom gets time alone.

    One Saturday, after my kids had helped me get a little time alone, I took them for a family bike ride. I win. They win. We all win when mom gets time alone.

    they love if they help you get x amount of time for you. Win-win. (Also, try this: Give Kids the first 10 minutes!)

  • And yes, movies and TV shows can be great to buy you a little time. A lot of moms feel guilty plopping kids in front of the tube, but remember this is buying you mental health and happiness. And there’s nothing more important for kids’ growth and development than a healthy, happy mom.

 

What helps you get “alone time?” Share your strategies and thoughts by leaving a comment, below!

Read Part 1: Mom Mental Health (& Happiness)-The Importance of Alone Time

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out Dr. Hibbert’s Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow
available now on Amazon.com!

 

Mom Mental Health (part 2) -HOW to Get Alone Time (25+ Strategies!); www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

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Mom Mental Health (& Happiness): The Importance of Alone Time (+ video)

Mom Mental Health (& Happiness): The Importance of Alone Time; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com  #motherhood #postpartum

Mom Mental Health (& Happiness): The Importance of Alone Time; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com  #motherhood #postpartumIt’s hard being a mom 24/7–all year long, for years and years. Sure, there are plenty of benefits (the love of your child, for one), but it’s a tough job—truly one of the toughest.

 

Trust me—I get it

As a mom of six, I’ve experienced the ups and downs of pregnancy, postpartum, toddlerhood, starting school, middle school, tweens, high school, teens, up late, up early, no sleep, exhaustion. I know how hard it can be as a mom to simply keep up, let alone get any time for yourself.

Like most moms, I’ve struggled over the years to give myself a break, but I finally get it, deep in my bones: It is imperative I make time to be alone. As I write in my memoir, This is How We Grow, “I crave alone time. It’s a basic need. Too much time together drains me, and I feel tired, overstimulated, and not like myself. Give me some time alone, however, and I come alive—pondering, creating, and engaging.” (p. 152) I’ve learned about the power that alone time has to offer, the power of reconnecting me, recharching me, and inspiring me so I return even stronger than before.

 

The Importance of Alone Time

Watch this “3-Minute Therapy” video on my YouTube Channel on Motherhood & Mental Health: The Importance of Alone Time. Then read on, below!

You need to install or upgrade Flash Player to view this content, install or upgrade by clicking here.

 

As a psychologist, I know the research, and the research is clear: Alone time is essential for emotional/mental/ spiritual/social/physical health, and a key element of true happiness.

By “alone time” what I really mean is time away from your role as a mother—time to be YOU, to unwind, relax, rest, revive. This can include taking a nap, sleeping in, reading, hiking, going out with a friend, doing a project or activity you enjoy, or anything that helps you feel like the real you and builds your health and strength. Some need more or less alone time, but all will benefit from a few minutes each day, hours each week, and/or days away each year.

 

Consequences of No Alone Time

When we fail to give ourselves regular “breaks,” we are more likely to suffer the following consequences:

  • Physical health disturbances like headaches, backaches, sleep disturbance, weight gain, greater susceptibility to illness, heart problems, and overall poorer health.
  • Failing to take care of our needs is also associated with poorer parenting practices, greater parenting distress, less patience, satisfaction, and joy in our role as mothers, and yes, more extreme discipline and even child abuse.

Failing to give yourself a break is like loading a seesaw from both ends with heavier and heavier weight. Eventually, the board will snap! Your brain, without time away, will eventually do the same. In fact, recently a client of mine who is a wonderful mother and person—someone many people admire—found herself in the mental hospital because she had been unwilling to slow down, unwind, and ask for help.

We don’t have to do this to ourselves.

 

Alone Time: It’s Worth It

It’s disturbing to see so many clients, friends, posts on Facebook, wondering whether it’s really important to carve out some time alone. They express frustration about even trying because it can feel so impossible. They start to wonder if it’s worth even it.

I’m here to set the record straight: It’s worth it.

It’s not only worth it, it’s crucial. When we keep pushing ourselves without a break, it’s like drawing from a well we

I love spending quality time with my kids, but I love it even more when I've had some time to myself, too.

I love spending quality time with my kids, but I love it even more when I’ve had some time to myself, too.

never refill. Eventually, it’s going to dry out, and so are we. It’s not a matter of IF we burn out and suffer these consequences mentioned above. It’s a matter of WHEN.

And when we do, we are not the only ones who suffer. When we’re unhealthy, our kids suffer. Our husbands/partners suffer. Our families suffer. Our world suffers.

We need healthy moms who understand the value of time away, time alone, time to be well.

 

What stands in your way?

If you’re a mom who struggles to give yourself some alone time, what stands in your way? Do you feel guilty if you take a break, if you relax, rest, enjoy yourself? Do you feel like you don’t deserve it? Like you’re not working hard enough if you let yourself get away for a bit?

I find the number one thing that stands in our way of alone time is OURSELVES.

We feel like it’s not absolutely necessary, so it must not be important, or we feel like a “bad mom” if we’re not playing with our kids all the time, or we feel like, in taking some time alone, we send the message our kids aren’t important enough to be with them all the time. These are just not true.

First, it is absolutely necessary to get away regularly, for the very reasons I stated above, and also because it’s part of discovering your own happiness and joy. It’s part of becoming your true self, feeling your self-worth, and living a life of meaning and purpose.

Second, you are a much “better” mom when you give yourself time away, to just be “you,” than when you don’t. Don’t Mom Mental Health (& Happiness): The Importance of Alone Time; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com  #motherhood #postpartum #happinessyou agree, one of the most important things for a child is that he has a  mom who is healthy and happy? I sure do. Being a healthy, happy mom is important to raising healthy, happy kids.

Third, taking some time alone sends the message that self-care is important and shows your kids how to do the same. It teaches them to love themselves and rise to their highest potential. Your kids might complain when you leave their side at first, but eventually, they’ll learn the bigger, more important lessons.

 

Commit to Your Own Health and Happiness Today

I hope this gets you thinking about what alone time might do for you (and for your children and family). I hope you can see how important some time away from being a mom is to your health and happiness.

I ask you to commit today. Commit to your own health–mental and physical. Commit to your own well-being and happiness. Commit to prioritizing alone time. Your whole family will reap the benefits.

 

I know. Now the question is, “HOW do I actually get alone time?” 

Check out Part 2: Mom Mental Health: HOW to Get Alone Time (25+ Strategies!)

 

I want to know what you think/feel about this. Is it hard for you to give yourself alone time? If so, what stands in your way? Do you feel the importance of alone time? Leave a comment, below, and let us know!

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out Dr. Hibbert’s Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow
available now on Amazon.com!

Mom Mental Health (& Happiness): The Importance of Alone Time; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com  #motherhood #postpartum

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Related Articles/Posts:

Mom Mental Health (part 2): HOW to Get Alone Time (25+ Strategies!)

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Beyond Depression: Postpartum OCD Treatment–part 3 (& video)

Beyond Depression: Postpartum OCD Treatment--part 3 (& video); www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #PPD #pregnancy #postpartum #mentalhealth

Beyond Depression: Postpartum OCD Treatment--part 3 (& video); www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #PPD #pregnancy #postpartum #mentalhealthIn this 3-part series we’ve been discussing Pregnancy/Postpartum Obsessive-Complusive Disorder (PPOCD). In part 1 we took a good look at the symptoms of PPOCD and why it is so misunderstood. In part 2 we discussed why PPOCD is so misdiagnosed and how to make a proper diagnosis. In this final part we take a look at treatment for Postpartum OCD. 

 

Postpartum OCD Treatment: Best Options

When it comes to pregnancy and postpartum mood/anxiety disorders, there are a variety of treatment options, including medication, psychotherapy, self-help, and complementary and alternative modalities. It’s also helpful to consider addressing/treating sleep issues, couples’ and relationship issues, and making sure dads and partners get the treatment they need. (Please see my Postpartum Depression Treatment series for more.)

 

(For a quick overview, watch this 3-Minute Therapy YouTube video, Beyond PPD: Postpartum OCD Treatment. Then, read on, below.)

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However, when looking specifically at Postpartum OCD, the following treatment options are considered the “gold standard of care”:

Psychotropic Medication

Antidepressant/antianxiety medications are highly recommended for PPOCD. These medications heal the misfiring of the brain chemistry that is causing the intrusive images/thoughts. They help reduce symptoms of anxiety, worry, and fear, and can also treat the symptoms of depression that may accompany postpartum OCD. (More on medication: Postpartum Depression Treatment: Medication; Antidepressant? Or not? 12 Facts on Depression & Medication)

 

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy aims to teach new, healthy coping strategies. This can be especially helpful for women struggling with Postpartum OCD. Working with a therapist, counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist who understands your symptoms and can offer reassurance, encouragement, sound advice, and new ways to deal with the troubling symptoms of PPOCD is a highly effective treatment approach. (More on postpartum psychotherapy, here.)

 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is considered one of the best treatment methods for PPOCD because of its focus on helping mothers identify and alter unhealthy thoughts and beliefs.

 

Couple’s therapy is also helpful, for it addresses not only the mother’s concerns, but the couple’s relationship. It allows fathers to get involved in treatment and also addresses any issues he may be facing. (More here for Dads/Partners or on  Paternal Postnatal Depression)

 

Social Support

Social support may involve support from your partner, friends, family, and faith community. Reaching out and letting others help and support you through PPOCD is important to your recovery. (More on social support, here.)

 

Support groups specifically for pregnant/postpartum women can also be a great help to PPOCD moms. Many communities around the world now have Postpartum Adjustment support groups, and the camaraderie, support, and encouragement these provide can help women with Postpartum OCD realize they are not alone. Hearing another mother say, “I’ve experienced that, too,” is often the thing you need most. (Find a support group near you here.)

 

Combination Treatment

Of course, research shows the very best treatment for Postpartum OCD, Depression, and most of the perinatal mood/anxiety disorders is a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and social support. Combined, these treatments provide the PPOCD mom with the physical, mental, and emotional support and care she needs.

 

Postpartum OCD Treatment: Things to ConsiderPostpartum Depression & OCD Treatment; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

For moms/dads/families:

1)   It’s important, when possible, to seek treatment from a medical/mental health provider who has been trained in the diagnosis and treatment of perinatal mood/anxiety disorders. Postpartum Support International is a wonderful resource for finding experienced providers in your area.

 

2)   If you can’t find someone who specializes in pregnancy/postpartum mental health, then look for a provider who is at least understanding and willing to learn about PPOCD and consult with others, as needed.

 

3)   It can be very helpful to have your husband/partner/parent/friend go with you to your first treatment session. This can give you support and a second opinion on the treatment. It can also help the provider to obtain information from another person who is close to you, in order to make a more thorough diagnosis and treatment plan.

 

4)   While it’s important to find an educated, understanding provider, it’s just as important to find somebody you like and trust.

 

5)   It’s okay and even recommended to seek a second (or third or fourth) opinion until you find the provider(s) that is right for you.

 

For Providers:

1)  Part of the treatment for women with PPOCD is providing understanding and reassurance. I’ve had mothers call just to hear me remind them they are not going crazy, to help validate these thoughts are not their fault, and remind them of the coping strategies they have learned. This, along with making a proper diagnosis, is one reason providers must seek as much education and training on this issue as possible. There are wonderful educational courses on perinatal mood/anxiety disorders, so please consider learning more, as needed. (See the resources section below for more information.)

 

2)  If you do not feel comfortable diagnosing and/or treating PPOCD (trained or not), please seek supervision or consultation from a provider who specializes in pregnancy/postpartum mental health. This is imperative in making the proper diagnosis and protecting the health and safety of the mother and the child. You may also consider referring the mother to a provider who specializes in perinatal mood/anxiety disorders, if that feels like the best option.

 

3)   As mentioned above, it is very helpful when diagnosing Postpartum OCD for you, the provider, to involve the client’s husband/partner/parents/friends in the assessment process. It may also be helpful to obtain a signed release to speak with the mother’s obstetrician or other care providers. A team approach is an ideal way to ensure the safety of the baby while also giving the mother the diagnosis and treatment she needs.

 

Bottom Line…

Together, we can reduce the stigma, misunderstanding, and mistreatment associated with Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. The more educated mothers, fathers, families, and providers become on this disorder, the better the diagnosis and treatment.

Mothers, remember you are not alone. Remember, this is highly treatable, and with patience and proper treatment, you will be well.  Trust me–you will.

 

Please share your thoughts/suggestions/questions by leaving a comment, below! 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out Dr. Hibbert’s Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow
available now on Amazon.com!

Beyond Depression: Postpartum OCD Treatment--part 3 (& video); www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #PPD #pregnancy #postpartum #mentalhealth

Join my  This is How We Grow Personal Growth Group!

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SUBSCRIBE, below, “like” my Facebook pages (Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow) and follow me on Twitter,Pinterest, & Instagram!

You may manage your subscription options from your profile

 

 

Related Articles/Posts:

Beyond Depression: Understanding Pregnancy/Postpartum OCD (Part 1)

Beyond Depression: Diagnosing Postpartum OCD (part 2) (& video)

Pregnancy & Postpartum Emotional Health

Postpartum Depression Treatment

Postpartum Depression Treatment: For Dads & Partners

Postpartum Depression Treatment: For Couples

Postpartum Depression Treatment: Complementary Alternative Modalities

Postpartum Depression Treatment: Psychotherapy

Postpartum Depression Treatment: Medication

Postpartum Depression Treatment: Self-Help

Postpartum Depression Treatment: Sleep

Postpartum Depression & Men: The Facts on Paternal Postnatal Depression

The Baby Blues & You

Postpartum Survival Mode

16 Things I’d Like My Postpartum Self to Know, 16 Years & 6 Kids Later (PSI Blog Hop)

Moving Beyond Shame: The Ultimate Power of Support & Time (PSI Blog Hop) 

Pregnancy & Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders: Are Women of Advanced Maternal Age at Higher Risk?

In Praise of Fathers: 10 Research-Based Ways Dads Impact Kids for the Better

5 Reasons Self-Esteem is a Myth

How to Feel Self-Worth: “The Pyramid of Self-Worth”

Thought Management, Part 1: The Relationship between Thoughts, Feelings, the Body, & Behavior

Womens’ Emotions & Hormones– Series

Achieving Balance–Why You’ve Got it Wrong, & How to Get it Right

Pregnancy & Postpartum Loss, Grief, & Family Healing (Part 1)

How to Cope with and Treat Perinatal Loss & Grief (Part 2)

 

Pregnancy/Postpartum Resources & Help:

Postpartum Support International Website

-Worldwide help and support for new mothers and families, including a bilingual hotline and state/country coordinators to help you find the right treatment provider or support in your area. PSI also provides educational courses on Perinatal Mood/Anxiety Disorders.

Postpartum Progress Blog

-Excellent source of education and support for mothers and families.

Arizona Postpartum Wellness Coalition

-Support for AZ families: Support Warmline, Brochures, & Provider/Family Education.

Postpartum Stress Center

-Education & support for Providers and Families)

Postpartum Couples Website

Pregnancy & Postpartum Resources

 

**This article is not intended to replace proper medical/mental health care. If you think you may be suffering from Postpartum OCD, please contact your medical or mental health provider, or PSI, for referrals/help/support.**

“The Pyramid of Self-Worth”: Step 3–Practice Self-Love (& video)

"The Pyramid of Self-Worth": Step 3--Practice Self-Love (& video); www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

"The Pyramid of Self-Worth": Step 3--Practice Self-Love (& video); www.DrChristinaHibbert.comIt sounds simple, yet so many of us get stuck on this one. Some think, “I love myself,” then, hesitantly wonder, “Don’t I?” Others believe, “I don’t love myself enough” or “I’m not even sure how.” (If you missed parts 1-3 of this series on How to Feel Self Worth, catch up here.)

Self-love is at the core of feeling self-worth, so it’s imperative we each learn to love ourselves more completely. It would be easy for me to therefore say, “Go love yourself,” and leave it at that. But I know from experience that for many of us, knowing how to “love yourself” can feel downright tricky.

 

What Self-Love is NOT

Before we can practice self-love, we must understand what self-love means. First, let’s get clear on what self-love is NOT:

Self-love is NOT…"The Pyramid of Self-Worth": Step 3--Practice Self-Love; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

  • Selfishness. It’s not selfish to love yourself. In fact, selfishness involves very little self-love.
  • Narcissism. Self-love is not narcissistic either. Narcissists don’t actually know how to love themselves—or others, really.
  • The opposite of other-love. Nope. Self-love is an important part of loving others. You will never fully love others until you learn to love yourself. You cannot give what you do not already possess.

 

What Self-Love IS, & How to Practice Self-Love

Then what IS self-love? The way I see it, self-love has four important elements, and when we’re able to focus on and practice each of these, we begin to experience true self-love and feel our true self-worth.

Watch this 3-Minute Therapy video on my YouTube channel on “Feeling Self-Worth: Step 3, Self-Love.” Then, continue reading, below.

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Self-love IS…

 

  • Self-Compassion (developing loving thoughts and feelings about yourself). I love the concept of self-compassion. It takes into account all of who we are—our good and not so good—and allows us to apply a loving hand when we most need it. As self-compassion researcher and author, Kristen Neff, writes, “Compassion, then, involves the recognition and clear seeing of suffering. It also involves feelings of kindness for people who are suffering, so that the desire to help—to ameliorate suffering—emerges. Finally, compassion involves recognizing our shared human condition, flawed and fragile as it is…Self-compassion, by definition, involves the same qualities.”[i] When we exhibit self-compassion, we choose to think and feel kindly toward ourselves, despite our suffering and mistakes. It allows us to see we’re just like everyone else—perfectly flawed—and it allows us to touch our flawed nature with self-love. Self-compassion stems from our thoughts—we choose to think with kindness and compassion about ourselves. (More on this, read “Perfect?” or “Fake”: 8 Myths about Perfectionism & 8 Truths to Cure It)

 

  • Self-Kindness (doing nice things for yourself). Beyond taking care of yourself and practicing self-compassion, it’s also important to do nice things for yourself. For some, this may mean giving yourself a break by getting someone to watch your kids for you, or letting yourself go for a hike with friends instead of cleaning the house. It may mean getting a massage for a sore back, savoring a tasty treat, watching your favorite TV show, or finally booking that long-overdue vacation. It may be as simple as telling yourself you look terrific when you look in the mirror, smiling and shaking it off when you make a mistake, or reminding yourself, “I am a good person.” A good question to ask is, “What would I do to show kindness to someone else?” Then, do that for yourself. (For more on this, read Learning Self-Love: 5 Tricks for Treating Yourself More Kindly)

 "The Pyramid of Self-Worth": Step 3--Practice Self-Love; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

  • Letting others love you. Let down your walls and let the love in. Letting love in not only builds strong, healthy relationships that reinforce your self-love, it creates a stronger healthier YOU. Let others do kind things for you to show you their love. These small acts of kindness and love can make a big impact if you will let them into your heart. Practice receiving a compliment with a simple, “Thank you.” When others ask if they can help or serve you, say, “Yes, that would be wonderful.” Even returning a smile from a stranger can help the walls come down and the love begin to enter our hearts. And listen: if you think no one loves you, you’re wrong. Look around you. Seek to open up a little bit more each day and let the kindness of others plant the seeds of love in your heart. It’s one of the kindest things you can do for yourself. (For more on this, read 10 Ways to Let Love In & 5 Things I Know For Sure About Love)

 

 

Build Your Sense of Self-Worth:

Self-Love Tools

1)    Practice Self-Care, as described above and here.

2)    Practice Self-Compassion: Listen to what you say to yourself throughout each day. Are you compassionate when things go wrong? What would the compassionate response be, instead? Work to replace negative or hurtful thoughts with your new compassionate alternatives.

3)    Practice Self-Kindness: Each day, do one kind thing for yourself. It might be a nap, or time out with your friends, or it might be a massage, or a little extra sleep. It might, and should, often include choosing to believe the compassionate thoughts and feelings you’re attempting to create.

4)    Read, “Learning Self-Love: 5 Tricks for Treating Yourself More Kindly,” for more ideas.

Join me next week for the final part of this 5-part series on How to Feel Self-Worth. SUBSCRIBE, below, so you won’t miss a thing!

(Part 1) How to Feel Self-Worth: The Pyramid of Self-Worth

(Part 2) “The Pyramid of Self-Worth”: Step 1, Self-Awareness

(Part 3) “The Pyramid of Self-Worth”: Step 2, Self-Acceptance

How do you practice self-love? What gets in your way? Share your thoughts on this important topic by leaving a comment, below!

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out Dr. Hibbert’s Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow
available now on Amazon.com!

 

 

"The Pyramid of Self-Worth": Step 3--Practice Self-Love (& video); www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

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“Perfect?” or “Fake?”: 8 Myths about Perfectionism & 8 Truths to Cure It

"Perfect?" or "Fake?': 8 Myths about Perfectionism, & 8 Truths to Cure It; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

"Perfect?" or "Fake?': 8 Myths about Perfectionism, & 8 Truths to Cure It; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comAre you a perfectionist? Not sure? Well, do you…

  • Set unrealistically high goals/standards for yourself and/or others?
  • Judge yourself based on what you do/don’t accomplish?
  • Have a hard time stopping a project until it’s exactly how you want it?
  • Have trouble relaxing in even a small mess at home?
  • Feel like a “failure” if you can’t do things just right?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of these, you probably struggle with perfectionism.

 

“Perfect?” or “Fake?”: The Problem of Perfectionism

As a women’s mental health expert, I’ve helped my fair share of perfectionists. They don’t usually come in for help with perfectionism, though—more like help with underlying depression, anxiety, relationship issues, or overwhelming stress. Yes, these are all consequences of perfectionism, along with other things like poorer health, mental well-being, and overall life satisfaction.

That’s the problem with perfectionism–it isn’t what it appears to be at all. Perfectionism is a false exterior that covers up other, deeper issues. It’s a mask.

 

8 Myths about Perfectionism & 8 Truths to Cure It

Only once we identify perfectionistic behaviors and personality traits can we begin to do something about it. Let’s look at some of the myths of perfectionism, therefore, and some of the truths. Hopefully, these will open our eyes, educate us, and begin the perfectionism recovery process:

 

1) Myth: “Perfect” means “without faults;” with hard work and dedication, it’s possible to achieve this state of being.

Truth: “The Greek translation of the word ‘perfect’ actually means, ‘complete,’ ‘so good that nothing of the kind could be better,’ and ‘that which has attained its purpose.’” (This is How We Grow, p. 270) This is a much different ideal than striving to be “without faults.” Perfection isn’t possible; it isn’t real, and this makes perfectionism a real problem for many people, especially women. None of us is or ever will be “perfect,” or “without faults.” “Seeking to do right, to be complete, to live authentically, is the opposite of perfection.” (Ibid, p. 271) And doesn’t that sound so much better, anyway?

 

2) Myth: Perfectionists simply strive to be their very best."Perfect?" or "Fake?": 8 Myths of Perfectionism, & 8 Truths to Cure It; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

Truth: Perfectionism is actually the opposite of healthy striving. We tell ourselves it’s good to be a perfectionist; “I just like things to be the best they can be,” we say. But this isn’t true. In fact, research shows there’s a distinct difference between perfectionism and healthy striving:

  • Perfectionism is trying to reach an unrealistically high goal or standard—one that can never be reached.
  • Healthy striving is setting high but achievable goals/standards.
  • Perfectionism is seeing mistakes as evidence of unworthiness.
  • Healthy striving is understanding mistakes are part of the process, and being able to more easily get back up after setbacks/mistakes.

 

3) Myth: Perfectionism leads to success.

Truth: Research tells us perfectionism actually “hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life-paralysis.”[1]

 

4) Myth: It’s good to desire positive outcomes, and that’s what perfectionists do.

Truth: Perfectionism focuses only on the outcome, and it leaves no room to feel “positive” about it. Life isn’t about achieving a perfect outcome—whether it’s a dinner you’re making, keeping your house spotless, or the vision you have for how your life will turn out. It won’t turn out perfectly. Trust me. Life is about curves and twists and surprises. If we want to be healthy and happy, we must learn to recognize the beauty in the process of life, not the outcome.

 

5) Myth: Perfectionists are just natural leaders, and that’s why they like to be in “control” of things and people.

Truth: Perfectionists actually feel out of control. That’s why they so desperately need to control everything around them. Deep down, perfectionists are terrified of being seen as they really are—as a real individual with strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, much of life is out of our control, and no matter how hard you try to control life, it’s never going to work. That’s why perfectionism leads to stress and unhealthy habits/conditions: it’s a never-ending pursuit of a false ideal.

 

6) Myth: Perfectionists are confident and secure, that’s why they work so hard and always look and act “perfectly.”"Perfect?" or "Fake?": 8 Myths about Perfectionism & 8 Truths to Cure It; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

Truth: Perfectionism, at its core, is all about insecurity. When working with perfectionists, I always end up working on self-esteem and self-worth. That’s the true cure for perfectionism—discovering your true, innate worth, getting in touch with and learning to love the real you.

 

7) Myth: Perfectionism is a strength.

Truth: Perfectionism is a weakness, and at its worst, an illness. That’s why I used the word, ‘cure,’ above. Though there are certainly some benefits to perfectionism–like the motivation and drive to, say, stick with an exercise plan or achieve a big goal–perfectionism is all about working to achieve an unrealistic standard. It usually involves holding others to that same standard, driving everyone crazy (yourself included) in the process. Perfectionism is a mask for the underlying problem—not feeling like “enough.” Those who struggle with perfectionism feel unworthy of love and attention, so they seek it through what they do. But this is a recipe for overwhelm, stress, poor health, and yes, failure. Thus, in the end, perfectionism acts more as a weakness than a strength.

 

8) Myth: If you’re a “perfectionist,” you’ll always be that way.

Truth: Perfectionism is a choice, and with education, hard work, and dedication, you can choose to cure your perfectionistic side. You can choose to let things go. You can choose to see beauty in the process. You can choose love—love of your life, your family, and yourself.

 

The Good News About Perfectionism

If you see yourself in any of these myths, please take heart in the truths. Let them open your eyes to another way of living–let them inspire you to begin today to kick the perfectionism habit. Take a searching look at how perfectionism treats you. Like a bad boyfriend, it tells you you’re never good enough, makes you work to receive love, and never lets you quit. “He’s no good for you,” I say. No darn good. Time to let him (or rather, it–perfectionism) go.

 

Check out my series on “How to Feel Self-Worth.” It’s a great place to begin to dump perfectionism and learn to love the real, beautiful, imperfect you.

Are you a perfectionist? Do you see yourself in any of these myths or facts? What stands out for you after reading this? Leave a question/comment, below, and let us know what you think!

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out Dr. Hibbert’s Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow
available now on Amazon.com!

 

"Perfect?" or "Fake?': 8 Myths about Perfectionism, & 8 Truths to Cure It; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

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Related Posts/Articles

References:
Brown, B. (2010) The Gifts of Imperfection, p.56.

Beyond Depression: Diagnosing Postpartum OCD–Part 2 (& video)

Beyond Depression: Diagnosing Postpartum OCD (Part 2); www.DrChristinaHibbert.com  #PPD #Postpartum #Pregnancy #OCD

 

Beyond Depression: Diagnosing Postpartum OCD (Part 2); www.DrChristinaHibbert.com  #PPD #Postpartum #Pregnancy #OCDIn Part 1, we explained the symptoms of Pregnancy/Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (PPOCD) and what makes this disorder the most misunderstood of all the Perinatal Mood/Anxiety Disorders. (If you have not yet read Part 1, I suggest doing so before moving on.)

 

In Part 2 we discuss the diagnosis of PPOCD, what makes it so tricky, and tips for families and providers to help mothers get the best possible diagnosis and care.

 

Postpartum OCD: The Most Misdiagnosed Disorder

Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is not only considered the most misunderstood disorder; it’s also considered the most misdiagnosed. Many people—even well-established medical and mental health professionals—confuse Postpartum OCD with Postpartum Depression (PPD), thinking these mothers are “just depressed,” and failing to recognize the extreme anxiety and duress these mothers and families are experiencing. Though treatment for PPD might help with the depressive symptoms, the misdiagnosed PPOCD mother often fails to get the treatment she needs to address the intrusive thoughts and reduce her anxiety.

Even more harmful, PPOCD is too often misdiagnosed as the more rare and potentially life-threatening Postpartum Psychosis (which affects 1 in 1000 mothers). In my 13 years as a psychologist and expert on pregnancy/postpartum mental health, I have witnessed the unfortunate hospitalization of several mothers experiencing postpartum OCD. Misdiagnosed with Postpartum Psychosis, these mothers were seen as a threat to their infants and subsequently hospitalized in behavioral health units, placed on antipsychotic medication, and separated from their infants—many for up to a month or more. Most were also told they must stop breastfeeding, and some were reported to Child Protective Services.

The damage done to these mothers–and their husbands, infants, and families–is, understandably, heartbreaking. Only once they were released and began to research their symptoms did they learn about Postpartum OCD. They were eventually able to find me, or another expert on Perinatal Mental Health, and receive the proper diagnosis and treatment, including a referral for the right kind of medication, and psychotherapy.

This is why I am writing this article—because medical and mental health providers, and families, need education on perinatal mental health if we are to prevent the unnecessary suffering of so many mothers, babies, and families.

 

Why is PPOCD so often Misdiagnosed?

Having trained hundreds of providers over the past nine years as Founder of the Arizona Postpartum Wellness Coalition, I’ve learned a few things about why PPOCD is so misdiagnosed:

1)   These are usually well-meaning providers who are trying to do the right thing. They simply lack important information, education, and/or clinical experience to make the right diagnosis. Unfortunately, some have never even heard of Postpartum OCD.

2)   Providers want to protect the baby, and rightly so. Keeping babies safe is obviously a top priority, as it should be. Unfortunately, providers hear “thoughts/images about harm coming to the baby,” and they panic. They immediately fear the mother may be a threat to her child, so they act in order to protect the baby without taking the time to research, assess thoroughly, and consult.

3) However, protecting the mother is part of protecting the baby (I think most providers would agree). Babies need healthy, strong mothers who are receiving the best treatment to help them get well soon. With proper training, education, and diagnosis, we can protect both babies and their mothers. We can heal families and not cause more harm.

 

Diagnosis: Postpartum OCD vs. Psychosis

 Watch this 3-Minute Therapy video, “Beyond PPD: Diagnosing Postpartum OCD,” on my YouTube Channel, and watch Part 1 video, “Beyond PPD: Understanding Postpartum OCD” here. Then, please continue reading, below.

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Following is a list of the distinct differences between Postpartum OCD and Psychosis. Understanding these differences can help families and providers distinguish PPOCD from Postpartum Psychosis to help make the correct diagnosis. Please note: This is article is merely for educational purposes, however, and should never replace true medical/mental health assessment and care.

Postpartum OCD:

  • Thoughts are in the mind–they are non-psychotic, intrusive thoughts. This means the woman is still “in reality,” and the thoughts come from her mind and not her outside environment. She does not want the thoughts to come. They intrude upon her.
  • Women recognize thoughts/images are unhealthy. They are highly aware these thoughts are not “okay,” and they may work very hard to try and stop the thoughts from coming (hence the compulsive behaviors).
  • Extreme anxiety related to thoughts/images. These mothers are worried, stressed, and fearful of the thoughts. They experience great distress because of them.
  • More gradual onset and brief duration. Sometimes OCD starts in pregnancy, then continues and perhaps intensifies postpartum. Other times it starts days, weeks, or even months after the baby is born. Episodes tend to last for seconds or minutes, though the aftereffects (like anxiety) can last much longer.
  • Overly concerned about “becoming crazy.” They will research and ask loved ones/providers, over and over, “Are you sure I’m not going crazy?” This only proves they are well-aware of what they are experiencing, and not at all out of touch with reality.

 

Postpartum Psychosis:

  • Thoughts are psychotic in nature—including delusions (false beliefs) and/or hallucinations (hearing/seeing things). This means the mother is experiencing a break with reality.
  • Women do not recognize actions/thoughts are unhealthy. Psychotic people do not know that what they are saying/doing are wrong, scary, or in anyway abnormal.
  • May seem to have less anxiety when indulging in thoughts/behavior. Psychotic people typically seem to feel less anxious the more they indulge in their psychotic thoughts/behaviors. Their affect is usually very flat, with a detached, spaced out sense about them.
  • Acute onset—a sudden noticeable change from normal functioning. Postpartum Psychosis usually occurs quickly, often in the first seven days postpartum. Symptoms come suddenly, and family members often describe a sudden, distinct difference in behavior and personality.
  • Thoughts are longer in duration and more all-encompassing. Psychotic episodes may last for hours or days, and it’s as if they take over the person, as if she is not herself.
  • Thoughts come from the environment. She may have thoughts in response to people/situations around her, wheras PPOCD mothers’ thoughts intrude into their minds and are not a result of their outside world.

 

Final Important Things To Know about Diagnosing Postpartum OCD

My intention with this article is to open the door to greater awareness and education about PPOCD, so we can help mothers, babies, fathers, and families get the diagnosis and care they need and deserve. Again, this article is in no way intended to replace medical/mental health care, though I hope it might enhance it.

For Mothers & Families:

  • Postpartum OCD is highly treatable, and there are some excellent providers out there who can help you with what Beyond Depression: Diagnosing Postpartum OCD (Part 2) (& video); www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #PPD #postpartum #pregnancy #OCDyou need.
  • Postpartum Support International (PSI) is the best resource to help you find the proper provider for you. They also provide phone support and advocacy, so please contact them for help. I have been a member, volunteer, state coordinator, and board member with PSI over the past 15 years, and I can attest that they are the best postpartum resource around.
  • Remember to keep trying until you find the provider that is right for you. It’s not only okay to seek a second (or even third) opinion, it is recommended if you feel you’re not receiving the proper care.
  • Involve your partner/husband/mother/family in your care, too. This will help you feel like you have a team supporting you and will help you keep at it until you get the right care. (More on treatment of OCD to come in Part 3, so Subscribe, below, or check back soon. Also, check out my Postpartum Depression Treatment series for more on overall treatment options.) 

 

For Medical/Mental Health Provders:

  • Connect with others in this field, and consider joining PSI. Attend their annual conference and others like it, for more in-depth education on perinatal mental health. I’ve been attending for 14 years, and they are incredibly informative every time.
  • Most importantly: If you feel uncomfortable diagnosing PPOCD on your own, seek consultation or supervision. If you can find a perinatal mental health expert in your area, consult with them, or refer your client to them, if that feels like the best option. Call and explain your concerns, discussing them together. This is the best way to ensure you are keeping both baby and mom—and the whole family—safe and well.
  • Another important factor in making the right diagnosis is involving the mother’s husband/partner and family in the assessment. Ask them how she has been and how they feel about her. Involve them in helping you monitor her symptoms and getting her to other providers for treatment, as needed.

 

This is such an important topic, and one I fear gets far too little attention. So, join me–let’s start this discussion, and keep it going. Let’s get talking, so our mothers, fathers, families, and healthcare providers will understand Postpartum OCD. Let’s get educating so our postpartum families will no longer have to suffer in silence–so they will receive the concern, help, and care they so rightly deserve.

 

Read Part 3 of this “Beyond Depression” series, on Postpartum OCD & Treatment.

Read Part 1:  “Beyond Depression, Part 1: Understanding Pregnancy/Postpartum OCD

 

I’ve received more feedback, messages, emails, and discussion on this topic than any other, ever, on my site. If you have something to say about this, I would like to hear it. Please leave a comment, below, with your thoughts/questions/concerns. Let’s get and keep this important dialogue going.

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out Dr. Hibbert’s Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow
available now on Amazon.com!

 

Beyond Depression: Diagnosing Postpartum OCD (Part 2); www.DrChristinaHibbert.com  #PPD #Postpartum #Pregnancy #OCD

Join my  This is How We Grow Personal Growth Group!

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SUBSCRIBE, below, “like” my Facebook pages (Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow) and follow me on Twitter,Pinterest, & Instagram!

You may manage your subscription options from your profile

 

Related Articles/Posts:

Beyond Depression: Understanding Pregnancy/Postpartum OCD (Part 1) (& video)

Beyond Depression: Postpartum OCD Treatment (part 3) (& video)

Pregnancy & Postpartum Emotional Health

Postpartum Depression Treatment

Postpartum Depression Treatment: For Dads & Partners

Postpartum Depression Treatment: For Couples

Postpartum Depression Treatment: Complementary Alternative Modalities

Postpartum Depression Treatment: Psychotherapy

Postpartum Depression Treatment: Medication

Postpartum Depression Treatment: Self-Help

Postpartum Depression Treatment: Sleep

Postpartum Depression & Men: The Facts on Paternal Postnatal Depression

The Baby Blues & You

Postpartum Survival Mode

16 Things I’d Like My Postpartum Self to Know, 16 Years & 6 Kids Later (PSI Blog Hop)

Moving Beyond Shame: The Ultimate Power of Support & Time (PSI Blog Hop) 

Pregnancy & Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders: Are Women of Advanced Maternal Age at Higher Risk?

In Praise of Fathers: 10 Research-Based Ways Dads Impact Kids for the Better

5 Reasons Self-Esteem is a Myth

How to Feel Self-Worth: “The Pyramid of Self-Worth”

Thought Management, Part 1: The Relationship between Thoughts, Feelings, the Body, & Behavior

Womens’ Emotions & Hormones– Series

Achieving Balance–Why You’ve Got it Wrong, & How to Get it Right

Pregnancy & Postpartum Loss, Grief, & Family Healing (Part 1)

How to Cope with and Treat Perinatal Loss & Grief (Part 2)

 

 

Pregnancy/Postpartum Resources & Help:

Postpartum Support International Website (Worldwide help and support for new mothers and families, including a bilingual hotline and state/country coordinators to help you find the right treatment provider or support in your area.)

Postpartum Progress Blog (Excellent source of education and support for mothers and families)

Pregnancy & Postpartum Resources

Arizona Postpartum Wellness Coalition (AZ Support Groups, Events, Education)

Postpartum Stress Center (Education for Providers and Families)

Postpartum Couples Website

 

References:

Facts for this article were taken from The Arizona Postpartum Wellness Coalition‘s 2-Day, research-based course, Perinatal Mood/Anxiety Disorders: Assessment & Treatment, and my 1-Day, research based course, Perinatal Mood/Anxiety Disorders: Advanced Clinical Skills. For more on these programs, please visit www.postpartumcouples.com or www.azpostpartum.org, or email me. For more on PPOCD and links to research, please visit www.postpartum.net.

 

**This article is not intended to replace proper medical/mental health care. If you think you may be suffering from Postpartum OCD, please contact your medical or mental health provider, or PSI, for referrals/help/support.**

“The Pyramid of Self-Worth” Step 2–Practice Self-Acceptance (& video)

"The Pyramid of Self-Worth" Step 2--Practice Self-Acceptance; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #selfesteem (Part 3 of this 5-part series)

"The Pyramid of Self-Worth" Step 2--Practice Self-Acceptance; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #selfesteem (Part 3 of this 5-part series)“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.” ~Laozi (Lao-Tsu)

 

So far we have discussed how The Pyramid of Self-Worth can help you feel your true worth, and then how Self-Awareness is the first layer of the pyramid, or the first step. Today, we focus on layer two—Self-Acceptance.

 

Step 2: Practice Self-Acceptance

Once you can see all of you and how you are in this world (Self-Awareness), it’s time to work on accepting it. Now, I know that this can be one of the hardest steps for many people, especially women, but it’s also one of the most important. It’s important because, until you learn to accept yourself, you will never feel good enough. You will continue to battle against yourself, holding yourself back and preventing love. You don’t want that, do you? I didn’t think so.

 

Why is Self-Acceptance so hard?

Years ago, as I developed and started using The Pyramid of Self-Worth in my psychology practice, I was surprised to find how many people struggled with self-acceptance. After we had been working on self-awareness for a while I would ask my clients, “Can you accept the things you’ve discovered about yourself now?” I’m not sure why I expected that in seeing who they really were, they would naturally then accept who they were. Over and over I would hear things like, “I see it, but I don’t know how to accept it.”

I was also surprised to find that people (my clients, friends, and myself included) struggled more to accept their strengths than weaknesses. “People always say I’m a giving person, but I don’t feel like I give enough,” they’d say. Again, I wondered how to help someone feel something they’d never felt before.

Psychologist Carl Jung once said, “The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.” Why is this so? What is so terrifying about seeing and accepting the truth? This is a question which can only be answered individually, but there are a few things I think make self-acceptance hard:

  • For one, we aren’t sure how to accept ourselves. We fight with ourselves, trying to protect ourselves, without even knowing we’re doing it. Instead, we must learn to give up the fight, and to submit to self-acceptance.
  • Some mistakenly think self-acceptance is “bragging” or “selfish,” and may fear what others think if they accept who they are. This is a case of misunderstanding self-acceptance. Self-acceptance isn’t saying, “I’m better than others.” It’s simply saying, “I see who I am right now, and I embrace it.”
  • Finally, fear gets in the way of self-acceptance. We may fear that, in accepting, we agree with how we are—that accepting means we plan to stay that way. Some are afraid because to them, self-acceptance requires us to change, and certainly change can be scary and challenging. Niether of these is true. It is up to us if we choose to change the things we accept or not, but one thing is certain: we cannot make any change, or choose to grow, until we first accept how things are right now.

 

Watch this 3-Minute Therapy video on my YouTube channel: “Feeling Self-Worth: Step 2, Self-Acceptance.”

You need to install or upgrade Flash Player to view this content, install or upgrade by clicking here.

 

What is self-acceptance?

To me, self-acceptance is the process of being where we are long enough to appreciate where we have been and where we are headed. It is an end to the pursuits of “self-esteem” and “trying to be something or someone,” for self-acceptance allows us to simply be who we really are.

At this moment, you are how you are. You feel what you feel. You’ve done what you’ve done. Your circumstances are your circumstances, and all of these must be accepted. Some definitions of the word, “accept,” include: to come to terms with something; to process something; to receive for review. Accepting yourself, therefore, means you are ready to come to terms with yourself.

If you’ve been working on Step 1, Self-Awareness, then you’ve seen some of your strengths and weaknesses—things you"The Pyramid of Self-Worth" Step 2--Practice Self-Acceptance; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com (part 3 of this 5-part series) #selfesteem love about yourself and things you do not love. With self-acceptance, it’s time to process what you have seen, and to receive it for review. Review implies you can change that part of you if you choose, but only after you’ve accepted it. It’s saying, “I definitely have a quick temper (deep breath). Ok. I accept that is how I am now. I would, however, like to work on that.” Or, it’s saying, “I am really great at helping people feel loved. I really like that about me, and I want to share it.” You don’t have to suddenly like what you’ve seen or even want to change it; you simply have to accept that it is.

 

How to Practice Self-Acceptance: 3 Keys to Keep in Mind

1)    Self-acceptance, at its core, is a choice. It’s a decision we make about ourselves. When I fail to accept myself, only I stand in my way. I choose to hold myself back because I simply cannot let go and let the way things are be “okay” with me. Do you understand the power of what I’m saying? It is in our head. It is up to us. Self-acceptance is our choice.

 

2)    Self-acceptance is unconditional. It’s not that we accept what we like and reject what we do not. That’s what gets us into self-esteem trouble in the first place. No. Self-acceptance is an “all-in” deal. It means you are willing to let go of judgment and let things be as they are. It does not mean you’re giving up or giving in. In fact, the opposite is true. As you accept all things unconditionally, you open the door to true personal growth and development.

 

3)    Self-acceptance is a process. It can feel like a huge thing—accepting yourself as a whole. Some are able to put all the pieces together and say, “This is how I am, and I accept me,” while others struggle to accept event he smallest piece. Though some people are able to accept all parts of themselves in one motion, for most of us, it’s not that quick or easy. For most, self-acceptance is a day-by-day, moment-by-moment process. As new traits, behaviors, and qualities in us arise, we find ourselves needing to accept them once again. In many cases, I’ve found, it’s most helpful to begin by accepting the small pieces as they come. As you become aware of a part of you–of a trait or ability or weakness–you can choose to accept it. Then, you can choose to accept the next thing you see. It can feel less overwhelming this way, yet still leads toward the eventual goal of complete self-acceptance. Some will likely be difficult to accept, but with time and work, the process of self-acceptance will cleanse and free you.

 

Bottom line…

Self-Acceptance is a daily—sometimes moment-by-moment—choice we make. It is a lifelong process, and it is unconditional. As we work to accept who we are, we open ourselves up to self-love (which we’ll talk about next time). As we accept who we are, we begin to feel our true potential and the worth of our precious soul.

 

Build Your Sense of Self-Worth

Self-Accptance Tools

1) Ask yourself the following questions. They will help you better understand how accepting you are, and what might be holding you back.

  • What is most authentic about you?
  • What is your greatest fear?
  • What do you most fear people will find out about you?
  • What do you wish people knew about you?
  • When do you feel most truly yourself?
  • Who are you without your mask on, without your “persona,” without your ego?
  • What gets you in touch with your spirit?
  • What makes you feel alive?

 2) Choose to accept what you see in yourself today. When a trait pops up, take  deep breath, then say, “I accept this about myself.” You don’t have to love it or feel anything about it, and you certainly don’t have to judge what you see. Simply choose to accept–bit-by-bit.

Leave a comment, below, and let us know…

How do you feel about self-acceptance? Is is hard for you? If so, what holds you back? If not, what helps you accept yourself?

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out Dr. Hibbert’s Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow
available now on Amazon.com!

"The Pyramid of Self-Worth" Step 2--Practice Self-Acceptance; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #selfesteem (Part 3 of this 5-part series)

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