As I’ve been reflecting on self love and relationships over this past month, I am reminded of a client I worked with last year. Bridget** was in her early 30s and had come to see me for therapy following a complicated breakup. She shared that a large part of her identity had been tied up in her girlfriend, and she felt confused about how to have a positive relationship with herself that was separate from a relationship with a significant other.
After exploring and honoring her very valid and painful feelings about the breakup, Bridget and I turned our focus toward the future, and identified improving her relationship with herself as her main goal. I remember feeling inspired by Bridget’s motivated and energetic pursuit of self love. She read books on self esteem, made and used an affirmation jar, focused on developing her skills as an athlete, and actively participated in exploring and identifying her strengths during sessions with me.
Throughout all of this, Bridget remained patient with her progress and focused on developing a gentle attitude toward herself. She shared that it felt helpful for her to look at a photograph of herself as a child in order to connect with feelings of affection and tenderness for the person she was back then, and the person she is now. Bridget shared that her ability to form a positive relationship with herself was one of the most empowering and fulfilling experiences she had ever had. I felt so proud of her ability to do this but more importantly, she felt proud of herself.
What is your reaction to Bridget's experience of learning to form a positive relationship with herself? Do you relate to the obstacles she faced? Books, affirmations, and hobbies helped Bridget. What helps you?
*Remember this Whitney Houston song from last week’s playlist? It may be little cheesy, but it’s hard to a find a song that better describes self love.
**I have changed Bridget’s name and identifying features in order to protect the privacy of my clients