By realizing why she did not allow herself to be close, she could then start processing her father’s death, and feel compassion for herself. Feeling compassion for yourself is one of the first steps to self-acceptance and self-love. Realize that there have been good reasons that you have been acting or feeling a certain way, even if the reasons are rooted in your childhood. Once you consider what you've been through, acting that way takes on a new hue and makes perfect sense in light of your failure to deal with something meaningful that happened in your childhood. However, you would like to change that behavior. That behavior doesn't apply to your present life, although it sure did apply when you were younger. For Debbie, she never talked about her father’s death, so she did not want to get hurt again by getting close to someone and have it not work out. She felt she had to protect herself by shutting down, but that was not working. She realized that she did not want to spend her life without a satisfying relationship! By dealing with her past, her present and future self could evolve into someone who could have a satisfying, close relationship.
Self-protection begins to backfire at some point. The root of our anxiety lies in not being able to express our true authentic self. We try to cover up what we really think and feel. This leads to stress and anxiety. Once your anxiety becomes elevated, you cannot evolve out of unwanted feelings because you cannot accept having them to begin with. This creates a cycle of anxiety.
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As long as you hate or reject vital parts of who you are, you will be at war with yourself. Your self-esteem will suffer. You will struggle with personal decisions, like whether to stay in a relationship, and with more external decisions, like whether to vote for Obama or Romney. Dealing with these issues can be painful, depressing, and stressful. However, there are many excellent methods now for helping ease the path. Talk therapy, EMDR, neurofeedback, and Somatic Experiencing can help. Give me a call, so we can discuss what would work best for you.