The times, they are a changing

As you can see there is a different look and feel to the Practical Wellbeing website. This reflects some changes in the focus of my therapy work in Practical Wellbeing.

After a six months of soul-searching and reflection I have decided to focus my work on helping people develop compassionate self acceptance. It’s taken a bit of time for me to work out that this is the kind of work I am here to do. At the grand old age of 50 I finally discovered “what I want to be when I grow up”.

Now that I’ve discovered this interest it seems obvious to me looking back along the road how I have worked my way towards this all my adult life. First with Person Centred Counselling, meditation, Buddhism, yoga, NLP, EFT, hypnotherapy and many other steps along the way as I have worked towards a sense of self acceptance for myself. I’m fascinated in this work and it seems only right that I should put such fascination to good use.

So what’s the problem with lack of self acceptance?

The short answer to that question is that there is a lot of it about. In this culture a great deal of our early socialisation is about making us feel bad about ourselves. To have us fit in with our family, friends, colleagues or society at large and to motivate us to be good little consumers. After all “we’re worth it”, but only if you buy the right product.

A few years ago the Dalai Lama attended a gathering of some Western Buddhist teachers. At one point one of them was talking about self-criticism and the Dalai Lama stopped to ask his translator to re-translate because he hadn’t understood what had just been said. The translator obliged, but the he still did not get it, in fact it took a couple of goes before he understood.

The misunderstanding wasn’t because of faulty English but because the idea of treating oneself with contempt was completely alien to him. This attitude is much more common in the West (to the point of being endemic) than it is in the East.

What are some of the symptoms of lack of self acceptance?

  • You give yourself a hard time as your own worst critic. It says a lot that ‘he is his own worst critic’ is a very common turn of phrase.
  • You treat and speak to yourself in a way that you wouldn’t dream of using on anybody else.
  • Your relationship with yourself is poisonous, if you could get away from yourself you would. Unfortunately wherever you go, there you are.
  • You use every problem or difficulty you have as a stick with which to beat yourself up. However many problems or difficulties you work on there are always more to use to give yourself a hard time.
  • You think that you deserve all this because you are a ‘bad person’

What’s the good news in all this?

You weren’t born this way. No-one is born hating themselves, it is a learned behaviour.

Just imagine for a moment that at birth there was a mix up at the maternity ward and you went home with the wrong parents. Luckily for you, they were the perfect parents, they loved you, cared for you, taught you and you grew up a happy well-balanced adult.

That’s possible isn’t it?

If that was the case you might be reading this article and thinking “What’s the big deal? Doesn’t everyone like themselves?”.

If this article is ringing bells for you then it probably didn’t happen that way.

We get the parents and life we get and everything that went with that.

If you learned it, you can unlearn it, you just need to know how.

Just imagine for a moment that you:

  • could be a calm compassionate advisor to yourself
  • could treat yourself with the same kindness, courtesy and respect that you would treat anyone else with.
  • have a good relationship with yourself; being kind, encouraging and productive.
  • see problems and difficulties as just that, something to work around or accept and not use as a stick to beat yourself with.

Does that sound good to you?

OK, so how do you get more self-acceptance

There are three broad strategies

  1. Resolving inner conflict between the parts of you that are at war. We express these kinds of ideas as ‘I hate myself’ or ‘I can’t forgive myself’
  2. Changing unhelpful beliefs we have about ourselves. We express these ideas as ‘I am a bad person’ or ‘There is something wrong with me’
  3. Learning how to bring compassionate acceptance to yourself and your experience.

All these are achievable using NLP, EFT or other strategies. This is what I have worked on directly for the past six months and indirectly for the last 30 years. In following newsletters I’ll be covering various aspects of self-acceptance work and more general aspects of EFT and NLP training.

If this is of particular interest to you then you will be interested in the Self Acceptance Workshop on June 19th in Newcastle.

In case you think that I had abandoned everything else. My general purpose NLP and EFT work will continue and I will continue to run EFT and NLP trainings

2 thoughts on “The times, they are a changing

  1. Interested to read of these developments. In the Christian tradition we are enjoined to love our neighbour as ourselves. The last two words often are forgotten. If people don’t love themselves, how can they actually love others? Too often there is confusion between the proper kind of self love and the selfish self centered “me” attitude that one finds in much of western society. The two are poles apart.

    I hope you find every encouragement in this new area.

    Best regards

    Alasdair

  2. Hi Alasdair,

    Thanks for taking the time to put finger to keys. I agree about the ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’ injunction. I think there are two difficulties with that idea.

    First it’s difficult to know how exactly we are supposed to do that. We can agree with the sentiment but it doesn’t give us many concrete ways of doing it.

    Second by the time we come to know and appreciate that sentiment we may have already had a childhood that has demonstrated that we are not loveable, undoing what has already been drummed into us may be quite a challenge. (That’s where the processes I’ve been working on come in handy).

    I think you are spot on about confusion between self-accepting and self-centred. Many with difficulties in self-acceptance would feel that they couldn’t accept themselves because that would lead to the ‘bad’ self-centeredness. Of course that is what a lack of self-acceptance would say to keep us stuck.

    The funny thing about it is that self-acceptance is accepting of self and able to relate clearly to the outside world and other people, whereas a lack of self-acceptance requires all sorts of strategies and manoeuvres to make ourselves look acceptable even if we don’t feel we are – which is a very compelling piece of self centeredness. I hope that makes sense.

    Thanks for the encouragement and my best wishes to you both

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