Becoming a safe space for yourself is not only part of the healing process, but it also facilitates healing. Many of my clients, high-achieving Christian women, walk around with clouds of shame, guilt, and self-criticism hanging over their heads constantly. Despite seeming confident and sure of themselves to the outside world, they’re anxious and insecure about various aspects of their lives.
Often, they reduce their worth to how much and how well they can accomplish to make others proud or happy, or as a means of securing their well-being. But where does it end? If you’re constantly performing for everyone, when do you give yourself permission to just…be? And what is the quality of your interaction with yourself?
Before diving deeper into the first step of becoming a safe space for yourself, try something. Pause for a moment and take a deep breath. Tune into yourself. What do you hear? Are you listing off your to-do list? Are you “coaching” yourself into your next performance?
Honoring Your Humanity is a two-tier approach. It starts with acknowledging, forgiving, and contextualizing your past self. Many people are so hard on themselves because of internal and external demands and pressures they’re attempting to live up to. Usually, this pressure is initiated from past experiences or how they were taught to engage with themselves and the world by key people in their lives.
If you’ve had past experiences where you made mistakes and weren’t taught to be kind to yourself, this is the root of your relationship with yourself. Imagine if you had a child and they knocked over a cup and broke it. If your first response was to yell at them and tell them how stupid they are and how they’re always in the way, this is the voice they will hear internally in the future. How safe and secure do you think that child will feel about coming to you in the future for guidance and support? Likely not very.
Similarly, you feel at odds and distant from yourself because you’ve likely internalized a perspective about yourself that is shame-based and, at the very least, not gracious. The way to change this interaction is by acknowledging your past self in context to your experiences. Think back to the moments or versions of yourself that you feel the most shame or guilt about and see yourself from an outside perspective.
Were you really a “bad” child, or did you need more attention and love from your caregivers? Was it your fault for inviting violations, or were the perpetrators dead wrong? Is there something wrong with your body type, or should the adults in your life have been building up your confidence? Once you put your experiences in context, you’ll find that you may not have given yourself a fair chance.
Now you can forgive (if necessary) and even thank your past self for bringing you to your present self. Without them, you wouldn't exist. Once you've made peace with your past, let’s reconcile with you today.
Did you know that excellence and grace can exist together? As a high-achiever, you may hold the perspective that giving yourself grace is similar to “letting yourself off the hook.” Grace isn't the same as absolving yourself of responsibility. It's about giving yourself a soft place to land. If every time you’re less than perfect, you speak harshly with yourself, you put yourself into an anxious state and remove the joys of learning from your life.
Here’s something you may not know: as a human being, you’re not always going to get things right. It’s okay to have a desire to succeed and do well at things, but honoring your humanity means acknowledging that mistakes are part of life and being present and kind to yourself when they occur. The "expert" level of this is to live in a state of self-compassion and healthy inner dialogue that challenges you and loves you well.
What are your thoughts on Honoring your humanity?
How can you begin to implement this process as part of your healing journey?
I’d love to hear from you!
Be Healed and Whole,