Have you ever felt that no one likes you? Or maybe that you don’t matter? You find yourself noticing that people don’t text or call, or you only hear from them if you reach out first. When you scroll your social media feed, you notice that people look like they are having a great time with family and friends. They have lots of “likes” and comments. Everyone else in the world is connected and feeling loved and you are alone.
This period in time during the COVID pandemic has magnified that sense of isolation as many people are working remotely, experiencing shut downs, feeling anxious and fearful about illness, noticing people taking sides around certain issues and feeling distant because of this. You have been carrying a lot in your personal life, and the social climate has changed the ways that you relate with your friends, peers, and family. And you can’t shake this feeling that maybe your loneliness also means that really no one likes you. Or you’re not good at relationships. And it’s hard to do life feeling so alone.
While you can’t control the ways that other people act, it is possible to make a difference in how you feel towards yourself. Often this tends to have a domino effect in our lives and can impact our relationships for the better. What you believe about yourself is often reflected back to you. Many people struggle with being their own worst critic, being hard on yourself, expecting perfection, or a general feeling that you just aren’t measuring up somehow. These feelings are often validated as you interpret interactions and reactions (or lack thereof) through the lens of your own view of yourself.
One way that you can alter your feelings about yourself is through the practice of self-compassion. Much like it sounds, self-compassion is the practice of giving grace and kindness to yourself, like you readily do for others. You have probably heard your friends criticize themselves and you tell them that they are actually really great and wonderful and you didn’t think any of the negative things they are saying. What would it look like if you could be so kind to yourself?
Self-compassion is an important step that you can take to getting to a place of feeling loved and accepted. It starts within yourself and can grow outwards from there.
What keeps you from being kind and gracious to yourself? It can be different for everyone. For some, growing up in a harsh environment created a natural harshness within. For others, it could be a drive for perfectionism. Difficult relationships, trauma, mental health struggles, grief and many other factors can contribute to developing an unkind stance towards yourself.
Moving the barriers
A lot of the changes that you make can start in your mind. When you examine the thoughts and beliefs you have about yourself, you may notice that they tend to be supporting certain beliefs. You can shift the thoughts and the beliefs that you have that are working against self-compassion. You can do this through a process of identifying, challenging and replacing your thoughts with different ways of thinking.
Taking the next step
Changing your thoughts towards yourself takes practice and time. Self-compassion isn’t a destination, rather it’s a process that can develop and change. Yet, even if you develop this more compassionate stance towards yourself, the idea that you’re likeable needs external reinforcement. It is important to engage in relationships with others and notice how you react and interact with them while holding yourself compassionately. You may find that you are quite likeable after all!
If relationships are particularly difficult, we have a place for you to join us in doing work like self-compassion among others who are in a similar situation. Our Relationship Processing Group is a great place to explore the ways that you experience yourself in relationship to others. Self-compassion is within reach, and the help to get to that place is right here.
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Other Therapy Services Available at Catalyss Counseling:
Here at Catalyss Counseling, we want to meet all of your counseling needs in the Denver area. Our supportive therapists provide depression counseling, therapy for caregiver stress, grief and loss therapy, stress management counseling and more. We also have specialists in trauma and PTSD, women's issues, pregnancy and postpartum depression or anxiety, pregnancy loss and miscarriage, and birth trauma. For therapists, we can also provide clinical supervision! We look forward to connecting with you to help support your journey today.
Alicia Kwande is a psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, and blogger. Alicia helps adults (especially mothers and caregivers) who give all they have to others, leaving themselves with next to nothing. Alicia assists adults in managing their anxiety, depression, work-life balance, and grief and loss. Follow Catalyss Counseling on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.