I often encourage my patient’s to take periodic self checks. The idea behind my encouragement is that we often move through life without paying attention to ourselves. Life forces us to be outwardly focused. As a wife, mother, friend, sister, aunt, and therapist I can easily spend my days focusing on the needs of others. The needs of others can often eclipse my own personal awareness. Continuing in the process of ignoring self does not lead to healthy outcomes. The process of self-awareness is the first step in confronting the issues of life. The following are examples of patterns of behaviors that can be subtle obstacles towards healthy confrontation:
- Avoidance- It is a natural reaction to avoid that which is painful or difficult. Sleep, watching TV, spending time on social media are common forms of avoidance. These activities are harmless when done in moderation but when done excessively or in the place of dealing with something important, then it becomes a barrier.
- Rationalization- We can often be our own greatest deceiver. We can often tell ourselves something doesn’t matter or isn’t a big deal even when it really is in order to avoid confronting an issue. When we do this we fail to recognize that ignoring an issue does not make it go away.
- False Guilt- I often find this phenomenon in care givers. The idea that if you take a moment for yourself you are somehow failing everyone else. I have to often repeat the reminder that self-care is not selfish.
As we are continuing with many new challenges this year it is very important that we be aware of our own needs and be mindful to seek peace.
Alicia Lurry MA LPC