Maybe you're a woman who has been in therapy before and found it to be helpful but you haven't been able to integrate or hold onto the changes you had made. You continue to struggle with finding and holding your own voice. You keep finding yourself living out the same patterns over and over. And you're just not clear on how to change these patterns that are blocking you from being who you want to be. Does this sound like you?
In my experience, as a psychologist and in my own life, I think living a life with yourself at the center is a real challenge. Now, let me first say what I am not saying. The goal is not to be a lone ranger, or to be self absorbed and act like you're above the people in your life.
I think the goal is the same for all adults really, men and women. In this one life, to aspire to live towards your answer to "who do I want to be as a person?" To do your best to live life with your values as your "North Star". As Mary Oliver writes, "tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
So, where do we start? One of my favorite books is Stephen Covey's "7 Habits of Highly Effective People". One of the habits is "Begin with the End in Mind." Chart your direction before you start out on your journey. Values are your direction. No one knows where we will end up, life's destination is often unplanned by us (isn't that the truth?! :-) It's about letting our values show us the way forward.
And not just any values, cultural values or family values we were raised with, but your own personal values. Identifying what matters most to you, what are the most meaningful parts of your life.
Answering the question, "I can't control all that life puts in front of me but who do I want to be as a person facing whatever is in front of me?" Who do I want to be? Those are your values.
Do you hold a value of being there for the people you love? Or the value of being generous? Or kind? Or responsible and accountable for your own actions? Clarifying your core values, what matters most to you, can provide a roadmap going forward. It's kinda like a personal mission statement.
And then when you do have a clearer sense of your valued direction, and you start living more of your "right life" (meaning a life that is right for you), how do you take care of what you've learned, what you've worked so hard to put in place? That's where finding your voice comes in.
Holding onto the changes you've made calls for being able to set boundaries (with yourself and those around you), while at the same time, not pushing people away.
Finding that balance, between considering what works for you and what works for the other. That's the sweet spot.
How does that sound? Are you ready to take the next step?
“One of the best guides to how to be self-loving is to give ourselves the love we are often dreaming about receiving from others. ... It is silly, isn't it, that I would dream of someone else offering to me the acceptance and affirmation I was withholding from myself."
- bell hooks
"You'll never leave where you are
until you decide
where you would rather be."
"I've had to learn that my voice has value.
And if I don't use it,
what's the point of being in the room?"
"Today you are you,
that is truer than true.
There is no one alive,
that is you-er than you."