Self Acceptance

One of the things I come back to again and again in my coaching practice is self-compassion. 
In a culture in which success is valued above well being, most of us end up putting an enormous amount of pressure of performance on ourselves. Performance at any cost. Self acceptance is for many foreign, unattainable or even offensive. This is inhuman. Rejection starts from within when we refuse to be compassionate with ourselves. And we often project it onto others.
When we do this to ourselves we inevitably do it to the people we love and those we work or live with. We put pressure on ourselves and we put pressure on them. What results is emotional pain which leads to numbness (depression, apathy), anxiety, hopelessness and an acute feeling of insufficiency. Nothing is enough. Life is not enough. Others are not enough and we are not enough. This is an illusion, and it’s an illusion we can transcend.
We can learn to recognize our intrinsic value and preciousness outside of any conditions whatsoever. We can learn unconditional positive self-regard and self-care. When we do this, when we show up fully for our humanity, even when it’s difficult, even when it’s uncomfortable, we free ourselves from the manufactured societal pressure that murders our vitality and we create meaningful and generative connections.
An affirmation which I often offer my clients is:
“I am enough as I am”.
I usually get a lot of backlash for this. It’s so hard for us to imagine that we are worthy of peace, joy and rest as we are, that the continuous striving, trying, doing isn’t really adding anything to our value.
Self acceptance doesn’t happen overnight. It needs to be practiced. Repeatedly. It needs our patience and our willingness to be uncomfortable sometimes. It will feel awkward and untrue at first. That’s normal. Stay the course! The journey to self-compassion is gradual and sometimes it advances in very small increments.
There is work to be done. In our culture, in ourselves. There is a balance between doing too much and complacency. There is room for both. We can experience and integrate both become more whole as we do that.

Letter To Someone Who is Having a Hard Time

Dear friend who is struggling right now,

I know you are overwhelmed and scared and lonely. I know you are questioning your worth, your enoughness and your lovability. I know you are frustrated with what you see as yet another thing you are failing at.

Please take a moment to be gentle, patient and kind with yourself. You are doing so much better than you think.

You are not broken. You are not defective. You are whole and beautiful and complete. I know it doesn’t look like that at all, but I also know, that down deep inside, you can feel that this is the truth.

Please take a deep breath with me. Fill your lungs, all the way, hold that for a few seconds and then slowly let go. Let’s do it again. Feel your body receive the gift of oxygen. Feel your shoulders release down just a bit.

This too shall pass. And as it does it will transform and you will transform with it. Everything good takes time to change. Look at how winter slowly transforms into spring. Look at how hungry caterpillars turn into beautiful butterflies. Gradually, this will become the launching foundation for a renewed and powerful direction for your life.

In a few years you will remember this time as the season in which you learned just how resilient, how resourceful and how protected you are.

You are growing, and it’s painful and intimidating as hell, but I promise, it gets easier. Stay present, stay in tune with yourself, keep asking for support. You are not alone! Call onto the guidance of your ancestors, of all the people who have been in situation in which you are now. Their spirit will support you and guide you, just like you will help those that come after you.

Spend as much time in nature as you can. Let mountains have your back. Let water transfer it’s wisdom of million years into you. Let the ground remind you that everything is impermanent, including this sorrow.

And even if you may not know me, know of me, even if you may not see me or hear me, know that I am always holding you in my heart, rooting for you, encouraging you and loving you. I am always ready to remind you of your wisdom, your power and your awareness.

Sincererily,
The Still Loving Voice Inside!

The Illusion Of Good Enough

I think it’s pretty safe to say that most of us would love to be good enough for everybody all the time. And we probably all have examples of times we were told we were a disappointment or when we couldn’t seem to be good enough for certain people no matter how hard we tried. 
In this article I’d like to invite you to look at 3 things:
  1. The illusive nature of this idea of good enough.
  2. The power of accepting that there will inevitably be times when we won’t measure up to our expectations of ourselves or to other people’s expectations of us
  3. And the reality that we are still totally lovable even when feel like we have fallen short.
So let’s start with some questions. What does it even mean to be good enough? Good enough for whom? Good enough in what way? Who decides if I’m good enough or not? My spouse? My boss? Myself? You’ll probably say, well it really depends on the situation and people involved.
Most of the time when we are worrying about being good enough we are usually seeking approval and validation- we want to feel reassured that we are worthy of the love, respect and admiration we desire.
Wanting to be good parents to our children, good partners in our relationships or good team members at work means that we want to matter. Most of us think that we matter to others when we are meeting their needs or expectations, when we make them happy. But wait, our needs and expectations change all the time and they sometimes even come in conflict with each other. Sometimes I’m not good enough for myself much less me AND everybody else.
the illusion of good enough, emotional needs and how to be okay with neediness
Your Yogurt Is Totally Good Enough

 

On top of that we are taught that being needy isn’t desirable (though we all are both needy and wanty) and that we should be ashamed of ourselves for our natural human neediness. It’s not trendy to be needy,  it’s not cool, is definitely not ideal. But is sure is human, isn’t it.
So then we fake it– “fake it till you make it”we fake being ok when we’re not, we say yes when we really want to say no and we take care of others when we are already running on empty. The “fake it till you make it” syndrome is a very lonely and very painful choice and I call it, more accurately- fake it till you break it because it seems that no matter what we do and how well we fake it eventually we end up breaking our hearts or someone else’s heart, we break up or split up our relationships or we break our bodies. Plus, nobody wants to receive fake stuff. We all know fake purses, fake love and fake news never last.
So why then do we spend enormous amounts of energy trying to achieve something doesn’t even exist? Why do we exhaust ourselves seeking something that is unattainable? We know we can’t meet everybody’s expectations all the time. We know that others can’t meet our expectations all the time either because they’re human too. Can we all agree that human beings are at best only temporarily good enough?! Can that be ok?
good enough
good enough sometimes
When we expect to be good enough all the time, we are in fact asking ourselves to be more than human. To be human is to have bad days, to be susceptible to weakness, to sensitivity, to pain. How have we become so allergic to our humanity? How can we hope that others will accept us for who we are if we are not willing to accept ourselves or when we’re constantly trying to change others into who we want them to be? To be able to struggle less and less with the times we think we are failing or others are failing us we must be willing to increase our emotional resilience to disappointment. To be ok with less than ideal, to be ok with not enough means to be ok with the times we can’t be quite as good as we want to be.
Being good enough all the time is an illusion. It doesn’t exist. That’s really good news, y’all. It’s okay to show up, do our best and forgive the rest. We are still worthy of love, respect and admiration even when we feel unworthy of it all.
When we let go of this perception of ourselves that we have to be perfect all the time to matter, that we have to make everybody happy to be likable, we organically have more peace, more fulfillment and more energy in our lives.
So next time you may FEEL like you’re falling short, see if you can remind yourself, that YOU still MATTER, you are important and you are lovable.

Additional Resources:

Article: Understanding the fear of “Not Good Enough”

Video: Beyond Good Enough

 

7 Ways Working With a Life Coach Improves Emotional Health

Working with a life coach is a highly personal experience that involves quality one-on-one time and deep meaningful inquiry. Most people who choose a life coach are not only looking for someone to partner with to relieve and heal emotional pain but also someone who can teach them how to do that for themselves. It’s a more intimate process than reading a book or doing an online course, and that’s why, when clients and coaches are matched well, profound life changes take place organically.

So, who goes to a life coach?

It’s often people who seek a deeper understanding of their situation and challenges—individuals who have perhaps already tried a method or two on their own and were left with gaps still unaddressed. Through one-on-one life coaching such persons can access a more individualized approach to their emotional healing and, together with their coach, can co-create a process that is both effective and feels genuine. Such a program is often customized with the guidance of the client during the coaching sessions and built to respect and consider that individual’s ways of thinking and feeling, as well as allow the appropriate amount of time for progress to take place.

Contrary to popular belief, seeing a coach is not about being given advice; it’s about learning to give oneself advice that can be trusted. The best coaches combine their powerful self-inquiry tools with their clients’ personal life experiences to build new nurturing patterns, release sabotaging behaviors, and implement long-term fulfilling strategies. At first, the coach will act as an accountability partner for the ongoing emotional work, but in time, the coach will be needed less frequently as the client will become continually more confident from within.working-with-a-life-coach

 

Here are 7 of the most common ways working with a life coach impacts individuals:

  1. Improved self-acceptance and self-compassion. Most people tend to put a lot of pressure and expectations on themselves. Life coaching encourages a gentler attitude toward the aspects of being a less-than-perfect human being while finding ways to facilitate progress.
  2. Expanded perspective. Advice from a friend or family member tends to offer information filtered through personal attachment. Coaches are trained to remain uninvolved and can more effectively expand their client’s perspective. Soliciting a second opinion about an important aspect of life from a professional coach can offer the reassurance needed or a brand new way of seeing the situation that wouldn’t have been otherwise considered.
  3. Identification and best use of strengths and weaknesses. Few people are aware of all the intricate aspects of their own personalities and character. Self-assessment skills built in life-coaching sessions allow individuals to discover versions of themselves they are not yet aware of—it’s like running a personal audit.
  4. Awareness of emotional needs and the support necessary to have them met. Just like most buildings require scaffolding during a renovation, most people also need a structured coach for the additional support necessary as they go about creating progress in their emotional lives. Some of the most successful people in leadership and business work with coaches on a regular basis to help fine-tune and support them through their growth.
  5. Reduction of self-sabotaging behaviors. Emotional health achieved through life coaching helps people move from “emotions are hell” toward “emotions are supportive.” Coaches combine clients’ self-awareness with implementation strategies to create healthy new habits.
  6. Reduced anxiety and depression. Many life coaches act as partners in healing, assisting clients to minimize stress and design personalized and comprehensive stress-management programs.
  7. Healthier relationship development. Having clear boundaries with others, and raising emotional resilience and emotional intelligence are important benefits of working with a life coach.

Life coaching enables regular people to become their own built-in, take-along inner therapist—whom they can access wherever they are and no matter what is happening. This offers lifelong benefits of self-reliance and self-empowerment.

This article was published in Natural Awakenings Low-country Edition.

diana-deaver-published-article

Boundaries- How to get better at protecting yourself

Boundaries help us experience the world and our connection to other people in a in a safe way. You can imagine your boundaries as internal warriors that allow or don’t allow intruders to come in. The stronger our warriors are the more protected we are. Two ways you can strengthen your ability to honor yourself and what feels safe for you is to:
1) delay responding to an invitation when you’re not sure whether it’s something you want to do, offer or engage in
2) offer compassion and understanding when someone takes your boundary setting personally, instead of trying to change yourself to please them

warriors are a great metaphor for boundaries.

We allow what we believe we deserve. Poor boundaries reveal unconscious beliefs about our lack of worthiness. If we weren’t allowed to protect ourselves against the shaming of others as children we will grow up to believe we don’t deserve to keep ourselves protected from the emotional aggression of others.

Emotional Health Homework on the topic of Boundaries:
  • What are some personal boundaries you struggle to set every day?
  • How do you experience your boundaries to be currently? How would you like them to be?
  • What are some things you have experienced due to strong or weak personal boundaries?
  • When in the past have you forsaken yourself for maintaining a relationship with someone else?