Looking outside the self and treating the illusory reflection as a mirror is the first problem. — Donna Rockwell, Psy.D.
Self-actualization determines the core of our existence. It is the phase in our lives where we evaluate how far we have become in our pursuit of success in life. Self- actualization enables us to evaluate how we were able to bring out the best in us and maximized our potentials in accomplishing every goal we have set for ourselves. It gives us a sense of fulfillment and purpose in life.
The most important relationship for us to develop is the one we share with ourselves. — Genevieve Gellert, LSW
We are all a work in progress with an end in mind of becoming a better version of ourselves. However, as we work things out for our personal growth and development, it is inevitable for us to experience some ordeals in life. These trials determine our endurance; they can make or break us.
It is part of becoming human to experience problems in life, to be familiar with pain and become acquainted with struggles. All these tribulations demand to be felt and get over them. On the other hand, we are responsible for our life; we take accountability on how we live our lives. With this, the only person that can determine our success in life is ourselves, thus above everyone else, we should make sure that we can help ourselves.
I know that in our society, the woman who is left behind bears all the shame and humiliation. “Oh, you know. Henry left Lisa because she doesn’t know how to cook.” I also heard someone say something like this about me – “Lisa is not a pious woman. That is why Henry was weak. His wife wasn’t that Godly.” I don’t know where they get these stories, like as if they know so much about me, and they judge me just like that. “Lisa is fat. Lisa is lazy. Lisa is not a good mother. Lisa is not working. Lisa is working. Lisa is not talented. Lisa is NOT in EVERYTHING! No wonder Henry left Lisa for a younger woman, right? It’s because Lisa is a worthless being. Lisa is nothing.
Some sayings might be well-intended, but that doesn’t make them true, let alone easy to hear. Case in point: “You can’t find love until you learn to love yourself.” — Vicki Botnick, MA, MS, LMFT
For weeks after Henry left me, that was my mindset. I was broke, and a housewife since Henry didn’t like me working. And now, I was shocked when my daughter told me that the new woman is a lawyer. Henry hired her for one of his contracts for business, and boom! They made the relationship prosper. And here comes Lisa – fat, frumpy, moneyless, and ugly at forty-five years old. Who would want that?
How could Henry do this to me? How could he forget all our hardships and sacrifices together as a couple? I even helped him with his business when he started it. I was with him when he had nothing until he had a lot. And he told me that I had to take care of the girls while he took care of us. That was how we planned it. But this, now. He left me, and he hates me. Why is Henry doing this to me?
It is a blessing that I am a great mother. Yes, the gossipmongers said I was not a good mother – that’s because I am a GREAT mother! My daughters took time off from their work and traveled hours to be with me and plan everything out – on how I will rebuild myself again.
First, they brought me to a lawyer for advice. Next, they took me to a salon. The hairstylist cut my hair and colored it. They also gave me a mani-pedi. Then, we had lunch, and there, my children poured out their plan.
Social support allows us to feel cared for and lets us know there are people in our lives who can help us when we need it. — Genevieve Gellert, LSW
“Mom, Dad will not get away with this. I saw a note in the attic. It was a promise to pay note by you and Dad to Uncle Mervin. It was to capitalize on his business. It stated there mom that you two are business partners. You will get money from that, and we don’t care whatever loophole he has against you.”
My children facilitated the case while I took a step back and renewed my soul. I went to therapy and also joined a local yoga class. All of it, my girls foot in the bill. “Mom, we got you. We will never leave you alone, mom.” I’m not in for the money with Henry, although my daughters believed that I deserved half of everything he owns. I want to start over and move past the depressive state that I was in for I love myself now. I refuse to go down the drain.
Self-care helps trauma survivors discover how to calm themselves and find healthier relationships. — Robyn E. Brickel, M.A., LMFT
When you believe in yourself, you will fight and move on from the heartaches of life. And that’s what I did. I thought that I had to live a life that I wanted and if that meant being away from Henry, then, so be it.
Update: I was awarded half of what he owned, royalties in the business, one of his cars, and the house!
It’s a thin line between having compassion for yourself and having it for others. Working on both pieces at the same time is helpful. — Vicki Botnick, MA, MS, LMFT
It wasn’t easy for me to move on from a 20-year marriage that was broken in a snap. My husband of two decades left me for a younger woman. There, I said it. I am not ashamed of it, though because it’s not me who cheated. It was him who broke his vows over and over and over again for all those years that we were together.
But I stayed. Even if he was silently disrespectful to me by cheating, I still chose to stay. You know when you live in the past, the family is everything. Your mother will tell you – “Katarina, you have to do everything to keep Ricardo in your arms. If he cheats, it is your fault. You have to bear all the consequences of the situation, Kata. This is the role of a woman in any marriage.” What a backward way to think, I know. Too bad for me, I believed my mother of that pitiful thinking until I realized that it was false.
I was on self-pity mode, and I am pretty sure now that I was in a state of depression back then when Ricardo left me. I cried day and night. My whole room was a mess, and I stink for not taking a bath three or four days at a time. I didn’t dare to get up and seize the day. My only daughter lived states away, and Ricardo was telling me I had to leave the house. They found a loop, and he is saying that I can’t have the house or any part of his business. I believed him. It was the “stupid” in me that failed to fight for my right.
Parents and loved ones can help the healing process by returning with new compassion to that moment: “I’m so sorry I was taken by surprise. I just want you to know that I love you and I understand that there’s something going on for you.” — Robyn E. Brickel, M.A., LMFT
“Who does he think he is?” Rita, Ricardo’s sister, told me on a phone call days after he left me. “Kata, I will go there, and we will give this brother of mine the spanking he deserves. He will NOT leave you broke and penniless. After everything you sacrificed for him and Kasey? This is what he does to you? No!!! Our mother, God bless her soul, would roll over her grave if she witnessed Ricky acting like this and making you suffer. You know how much she loved you, right?” It was such a relief that my sister in law was supportive of me and is willing to assist me.
And so, Rita came and slapped her brother. He was so afraid of her that Ricardo asked for forgiveness and called up an attorney to draft what he was going to “share” to me. Of course, the attorney came in haste since Ricky had the money to pay for it. All the while, Rita was there watching and waiting. Rita made Ricardo award one million dollars to me and his condo. I know he had a couple more properties, but I didn’t care about it. Rita has helped me a lot with this, and from there, I can go on with my life even if it is a life without Ricardo in it.
I still love him after everything. And while I bask on the money he gave me, I live frugally. I bought a small building with five rooms for rent, and that’s how I make my monthly living. I also pursued my love for baking, which was my therapy during those downtimes. I posted the goods online through social media apps and sold them in the mall too.
The most essential tool for any kind of personal change is awareness. With awareness, we can begin to learn how to make the best choices for ourselves. — Genevieve Gellert, LSW
What I went through wasn’t easy at all. For more than fifteen years, I let myself go and believed that life revolved around my husband and my kids. He took advantage of me and my gullibility. I thought, love was like that – he can trample on me anytime he wanted. In my mind, that was normal. When I became free, I realized that for a long time, I forgot to love myself. That’s the reason why I allowed him to use and abuse me.
At some point during our marriage, I know for a fact that he loved me. I held on to that thought, which was the doorway to his lousy treatment towards me. If I could go back and rewind time, I would change the way I saw myself so that he would have treated me the way that I deserved – a woman who is loved, cared for, and respected. But if you have low self-esteem, you will be blind, and try your best to reason out for the people that mean so much to me.
If you are wondering what I meant by reason out, I can give you an example.
He used to stay out late at night because of poker. He would join poker tournaments during the weekends, but at night, during weekdays, he would play cash games. This is his “work.” It is his “profession.” He was a professional gambler, but I didn’t say it that way to our children, my family, and friends. What I would “reason out” to them was “He is such a great card player that the Poker Club hired him to their in-house player. This is a real job, and that is his profession.” That was one of my reasons.
Empowerment requires us to seek, cultivate, maintain, and support our inner power, as well as that of others. — Genevieve Gellert, LSW
At times, he would not participate in family gatherings. What do I say to relatives who are looking for him? My reasons: “Oh, he is not here because he has a business deal going on right now. He is sad that he can’t go to your party, auntie, but we have a family of five to feed wherein he is the sole provider. I don’t do anything to earn money, auntie. It is just him. I don’t help out, and so, he has to work even on weekends.”
One interesting way to gauge if you’re compassionate to others is to ask if you feel like others are judging you. Although it sounds conflicting, a worry that you are being judged is often an indication you have been taught to judge others. — Vicki Botnick, MA, MS, LMFT
But now, I am not doing it anymore. I am not allowing myself to reason out for him or anyone else ever. People who lack self-esteem would do that, and I am trying to change it. I am worthy of respect and love, which is why I will not anymore subject myself of his lies and his crap.
When you realize your worth, you will not let other people put you down. You will not let other people mistreat you. The reason for that is self-love. You will prioritize your feelings and thoughts more if you put yourself first before others.
I am not saying that you have to be selfish. What I am trying to express here is that low self-esteem will make you a target, and you must not let that happen. If you let yourself go, people will see that you’re a pushover and they will take you for granted.
Far from being selfish in a negative way, self-care helps trauma survivors let go of behaviors that don’t serve them well, and take part in healing both internal relationships with themselves and externally with others. — Robyn E. Brickel, M.A., LMFT
You are worth something. Don’t let others fool you into thinking that you are nothing. Remember, self-love. You are worthy of respect and everything else good in life.
Feel like you’re dragging an anchor along with you? I’ve heard a theory that feeling like this might mean you are sabotaging yourself and your own chances of success and growth. — Stuart B. Fensterheim, LCSW
How can you improve yourself? I have asked myself that question so many times, and while I know the answer to this hard inquiry, I still can’t make that move towards self-improvement. Why? I was lazy. And I also used to make up excuses so that I don’t have to move.
Are you like me? Do you also feel lazy when it’s time to make a move of self-improvement? Are you also making up excuses as to why you cannot go the extra mile? If you are like me, then, STOP. Stop your laziness and stop your excuses. Now is the time to get up, man up, move for the better, and improve yourself and your life.
How can I do that when my husband left me? Is it possible to be motivated now that my mother just died? I am sick (a bit), and I cannot move much (or so you thought) – how can I make it since I might die (which is not true)?
Again, excuses and laziness. So what if your husband left you? Fifty percent of people in the United States are divorced. This is a fact of life. Not everyone has their happily ever after. A lot of people have broken marriages, but some choose to move on and get past it. It’s because they love themselves more than they loathe themselves. They want to improve on their life, and one way to do that is accepting that your spouse will no longer be in your life romantically.
It is a matter of acknowledging the truths in your life and making the most out of the given situation. So what if your husband has another woman and he left you? Is it the end of the world? Did God come out of heaven and splashed waves of thunder towards you? While there is still time, you make do of what you have and what is left for you.
He cheated on you? Make yourself beautiful. Buy that dress that you always wanted to wear. Change your hairstyle. Try out different colors for your clothes. Do something different with your life, with yourself, and that is how you can start to rise, move on, and improve.
Having compassion for others is good practice for being kinder to ourselves. — Vicki Botnick, MA, MS, LMFT
So, you are sick. Go to your doctor and get the real deal on your sickness. Is it fatal? If it is far from that, then, ask how you can get treatment. When you are physically healthy, you can do a lot of good things for yourself and your life. You can join sports activities, or enjoy art and other creative movements. Some people start painting, and even ballet in their forties. You know, in life, as long as you are breathing, it is never too late to achieve anything. All you have to do is love yourself, and live your life, one day at a time.
Now, if your loved one just died, you are allowed to grieve. But remember this, will your loved one like it that you are suffering so much because of him or her? The person will turn on his grave if you are not living the life that you are supposed to live because of grief. Why don’t you start praying for clarity, calm, and tranquillity? It is not easy to live without your loved one, but if you want to improve, you will have to push yourself out of that melancholic mood.
Life is both complicated and simple at the same time. That’s a fact since people make it that way. But you can always choose to make it better – take a deep breath, and soldier on. Kick lazy and excuses to the curb.
When we feel good, it creates a ripple effect because of the way our bodies coregulate. — Andrea L. Bell, LCSW, SEP
Every person wants to be the best at what he does. Whether you like it or not, it is human nature to aim for excellence and success. Our minds are programmed to reach our highest potential because we believe that it is the key to a happy life. According to a therapist, we all want to get satisfaction for all the things that we do and aspire to become. At the same time, we also want to gain recognition and appreciation from the people around us. We want them to see how far we have come as we strive hard to achieve our goals and objectives.
Any combination of these circumstantial predicaments makes it easy to approach our self-improvement efforts with an attitude of self-reproach, if not self-contempt. — Andrea L. Bell, LCSW, SEP
If you are interested and willing in reaching your full potential, then make sure to read this article from top to bottom. We are going to create a list or share some of the exciting tips and tricks that can help you accomplish your goal. Before anything else, the most significant step that you must master is the ability to get to know yourself. As much as possible, be aware of who you are. Do not give other people the power or opportunity to dictate you on how to live your life. Instead, prove to them that you can make decisions on your own and that you can succeed even if you go differently. Familiarize yourself with these techniques:
Know What Motivates You
One of the things that you must never forget is the ability to find out what truly keeps your soul on fire. Look for the things and items that will always motivate you no matter what happens. Keep in mind that there is a need to find out about these motivational factors so that you have nowhere else to go but up. Take note that there are times in your life when you will experience struggles and adversities. During these moments, you need nothing else but motivation to keep you going. Without it, you may find it easy to stop, which will eventually lead to failure in reaching your full potential.
If you’ve had failed relationship after failed relationship and find yourself always wanting to blame the other party, you may be in denial about your difficulty maintaining a fulfilling partnership with another person or your part in the failure of the relationship. — Stuart B. Fensterheim, LCSW
Connect With The Right People
Another thing that you must always keep in mind is the importance of building your network. It is essential on your part to connect with the right set of individuals. As much as possible, only be with the people who have the same goals and objectives as you are. Otherwise, you will surely end up experiencing problems in motivating yourself to go forward. If the best people always surround you, it will be a lot easier on your part to experience success and contentment in life.
You can gain insight into how you see yourself: your goals and ambitions, your flaws and failures, where you would like to grow. — Vicki Botnick, MA, MS, LMFT
On the other hand, if you have too many persons in your life, but only a few of them are real, then there is a high probability that you will only suffer from these negative connections. They may even be a bad influence for you, which is why you have to be careful. Do not be afraid to cut ties if it means helping yourself to achieve the best version of yourself.
You will never reach your ultimate destination if you continue to procrastinate or delay the completion of things. Stop thinking that you have so many time because the truth is that time may come when you will realize that you have wasted so much time doing nothing. When something needs to be done, it is best to complete it as soon as possible. Do not wait for others to remind you when it should be submitted. Make it a habit to be responsible enough to check your deadlines and meet them when necessary. Most importantly, never make the mistake of blaming other people for your own doing. Keep in mind that only you can control your life and no one else.
Lastly, you must also not be afraid of taking risks. As already emphasized above, life can be full of struggles and challenges. What truly matters is the attitude that you will give to all the problems that you encounter. Stop being afraid of going after with what you want, even if you have no idea as to what is on the other side of the fence. Always believe that you will be rewarded every time you start to take risks – may it be big or small. Do not be afraid of committing errors or mistakes because it is part of life. Through taking risks, you will start to see what works and what does not. Be patient in getting to know the kinds of risks that are worth considering for.
There are days in your life when things are going to be difficult and challenging. No matter what you do, you cannot skip this phase because it is part of growing up and transforming into a better version of yourself. As such, you have to be strong enough to overcome these struggles. As most psychologists advice, you need to gather all the strength in you and toughen up the moment you encounter things that can make you doubt yourself as well as your relationship with others.
Please note there’s a substantial difference between lazy entitlement and being stuck due to freeze, overwhelm, or previous traumas. — Andrea L. Bell, LCSW, SEP
During these moments, it can be of great help to remind yourself with some comforting words that can inspire you to keep going. All you must do is to determine the right words to encourage yourself to keep fighting your life’s battles instead of giving up right away. Be sure to change your perspective. Here are the five comforting words to keep in mind at all times:
“Things Happen For A Reason”
You have to believe in the process of how things unfold in your life. Whether you like it or not, the truth is that things happen for a particular reason. You did not get the job you want because it is not meant for you. Something better will come your way. Your relationship with an ex ended because you deserve to be with someone worth it. These reasons may not unfold right away, but you will soon realize that they make sense. As such, stop stressing yourself about it.
“There’s A Rainbow After The Rain”
Cliché as it may sound, but it is also a reality that life is not filled with dark days all the time. There will always be a way out of the misery that you are going through at the moment. You need to believe that things will turn out fine soon. It is not going to be easy to find comfort in these words, especially if you have been suffering or struggling for a long time already. However, you have no other option left but to remain positive that someday, the sun will shine again in your life and you can be happier than ever.
If we experience an overwhelming sense of dread and are limited by the belief, “It’s not going to work out, no matter what,” we are unlikely to even want to put in the effort and try to make things work. — Stuart B. Fensterheim, LCSW
“Many People Love Me”
Learn to accept the fact that several persons in your life are willing to help and assist you at all times. These are the ones who love you as a friend, a family member or a loved one. Make sure that you accept their willingness to be at your side, especially at times when you need them the most. Stop thinking that these people only pity you because such kind of thinking can make your current situation worse. Instead, believe in their innate goodness. They want to help you with your struggles because you are a particular part of their lives.
“I Can Do Anything I Set My Mind To”
Another thing that you have to remind yourself is that you are a powerful individual who can turn her life around. As already mentioned above, it is time to change your mindset about how you look at things. What do you want to change your life? Is there a particular situation that you want to improve? Do you think that now is the ideal time to change your old ways and start something new? Believe that you can accomplish everything that you set your mind to. You will be surprised or amazed at how it can drastically bring abundance in your life.
When you take time to examine who you are and who you want to be, you get more clarity about all of you—not just the elements that others have liked or disliked. — Vicki Botnick, MA, MS, LMFT
“Not Everyone Is Going To Like Me”
This is another set of comforting words that you have to tell yourself always. It feels liberating to recognize the fact that not everyone in your life is going to like you. Some people will judge you regardless of all the efforts you make to show them that you are a different person. As such, it is best if you will focus on your wellness instead. Do not let others affect you, even the naysayers who talk behind your back. Nothing you do or say will ever change their mind. Hence, shift your focus and energy to things that truly matter.
Make it a top priority to comfort yourself in times of troubles and challenges. You can get through these moments!
One of the many reasons why online therapy has become an enormous hit to troubled individuals is its promise of giving help anywhere the person may be. That is something that conventional therapists cannot provide, considering they want to meet the client first before they offer any advice. Thus, the ones suffering from depression who also do not want to risk being seen by their acquaintances in a mental health facility tend to keep to themselves without getting psychological assistance at all.
Now, regardless of who you turn to, you should know that everyone will say that your healing will depend on you. So, here are some practical ways you can try to overcome depression today.
Bring Out The Child In You
Depression can make you look old or feel old because it’s a fact that depressed people have only three facial expressions: frowning, angry, and poker face. For you to be able to get out of it, you need to try to go back down the memory lane and do again what makes you happy when you were still a kid. After all, those were the untainted, innocent things that you did before you had all the materials that money can buy. Once you manage to do so, you can start getting out of the depressive abyss.
Pain and fear accumulate over time, weighing us down like an anchor we drag everywhere we go, from relationship to relationship. — Stuart B. Fensterheim, LCSW
Confide To A Stranger
I’ve done this before, and it’s absolutely true. I chatted up an old lady on the bus whom I’ve never seen or met anywhere before, and I was able to tell her about my significant worries. E.g., feeling scared to say to my parents or friends about my decision to quit college and thinking that they might misunderstand me. But you know what? I felt so much lighter afterward. Sometimes, problems are easier to talk about with strangers because they are like blank slates; they’re very objective, until such time that you confide to them.
Chemicals are not the only things that can be poisonous to a person; there’s too much work, family problems, or even an annoying colleague that might try to bring you down. If you are overly depressed with any of these, go out of town for a few days or retreat to a place where you won’t be able to see any of the things that I’ve mentioned above so that your troubled mind can have the chance to relax and detoxify.
By showing only the parts of yourself that you think look best to others, you hide other pieces which are equally important and valid. — Vicki Botnick, MA, MS, LMFT
People say that you have to look good to feel good. That’s why if you’re depressed, you need to watch your food intake. Without a doubt, you’ll be depressed more if you feel that you can’t button up your pants anymore or your arms can’t even get into the armholes of your once loose shirt. So, chop, chop on the carbs and fatty foods, folks!
Burning off your excess energy to the massive and sweat-stimulating equipment in the gym or doing yoga can help you relax your mind and have a lighter outlook in life. Do it regularly to become fit not just in the body department but also in the brain department.
Experience The Bliss Of Quietude
There are times when a person has to retreat in the comforts of quietude to be able to get back on their feet. If you’re someone who has stumbled on the rocky part of life and you’re having a hard time in standing up, try to stay tranquil for a few moments so that you can clear your foggy mind. After you’ve done that, you’ll feel much better.
Fix Minor Problems
One primary reason why people go into a state of depression or severe anxiety is that they have a lot of overlapping problems that they don’t know anymore which one to handle first and which one can wait. I suggest that you take a deep breath and fish out the minor problems first before you start tackling the bigger ones so that all your worries will be gone in no time.
What I’m suggesting is you have to be your team captain, your best player, and your most enthusiastic fan base. — Andrea L. Bell, LCSW, SEP
Free Your Emotions
Technically speaking, the ones who can’t talk to anyone about what’s bothering them are the ones who fall deep into depression. If you’re not ready to tell someone about it then at least try to find another outlet for your kept emotions. You can shout at the top of your lungs or break all your kitchen wares on the wall if the sound of the crashing glasses and porcelains can make you feel better. Make sure that you’ll throw away all your heartaches with any of them so that you won’t have to do it again.
Depression is supposed to be an incurable mental health illness according to the medical experts. There is no drug available that can get rid of it; the therapists need to try different treatments as well for every patient. What they hardly emphasize, though, is the fact that the cure is within the troubled individual.
Follow the suggestions above to start healing from depression.