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I had a conversation with a friend the other day regarding authenticity—a value that I place close to my heart. It seems, in these times of “fake news” and the questioning of the integrity of many of the systems around us, the idea of living an authentic life is sometimes met with a shrug.
Some sayings might be well-intended, but that doesn’t make them true, let alone easy to hear. Case in point: “You can’t find love until you learn to love yourself.”
Good relationships run smoothly and enable you to enjoy your life, work, and activities beyond the relationship. You’re not always worrying or talking about it. Like a smooth-running car, you don’t have to keep repairing it. You may have disagreements and get angry, but you still have goodwill toward one another, talk things over, resolve conflicts, and return to a loving, enjoyable state.
No matter how strong your romantic relationship is, at some point you’re going to have disagreements. And while never arguing is an unrealistic goal, arguing better is an essential one.
Lack of motivation and interest. Low libido. Feeling bored. Feeling tired. Withdrawing from others. Feeling negative about yourself — how you look, your sense of the future, feeling stuck. Negative about others — pet peeves rising up, feeling critical and sensitive. Life is gray.
While the concept of self-care can in itself be problematic (see Leigh Stein's brilliant and disturbingly realistic satirical novel Self-Care), let’s start with the assumption that caring for the self is generally a good thing. The problem happens when our super-motivated brains put self-care in the same bucket as everything else in our lives. Oftentimes, I’ve heard from clients that when they try to integrate more soothing self-care into their lives, it ends up stressing them out even more.
As mental health professionals, we are always concerned about the risk of suicide with depression. As a nation, we acknowledge this week as National Suicide Prevention Week to spotlight the importance of prevention. Given the stressors modern life presents to all of us, awareness of this vital mental health issue is now, more than ever, important for us to discuss.
In our previous posts, we introduced you to what self-empathy is and the importance of noticing that which takes place within your own experience. We showed how noticing with self-empathy brings insight into your own mental reactions and habits as well as the possibility to consciously act and react in the world surrounding you. Yet in order to do so, one needs to have the courage to explore, which requires us to contract ethical responsibility.