Sam – at the age of 30, is a very successful senior financial accountant, who has been doing extremely well in her career. Life since graduating from university has been about earning money and aiming for the highest position in a company. Working long and crazy hours is a norm for her and being on the laptop even after work hours is acceptable to her. However after some time, even after reaching such a stage where she is regarded highly professionally, she is not happy and everything seems static for her and each day is a struggle.
After a conversation with her, we realised that one of Sam’s passion was dance. Since the age of 3 to 18 years old, she had been dancing. However when it came to choosing her life career, she went into Finance because it was acceptable in her culture whereas dance was not. From there she stopped dancing in her spare time too as she devoted all her time to work and earning money. And one of Sam’s core values was to be true to herself however her actions in her daily life showed she was not doing this. This was her first acknowledgement to herself. She realised she had invested so much time into others that she stopped doing the things she loved. Sam then began to start her dance classes once a week and about a month after when we met, there was a sudden shift in her perspective. She was happier and spoke more about her dance than work. She was talking about the things which were true to herself. And from there she also began to view her professional life positively and felt happier there. Sam began to slowly introduce things that she enjoyed doing in her life, be it from long walks to attending events she had always wanted to. By investing time in herself and being loving to herself, she became loving to her external environment.
The shift from the realisation that Sam was not balancing her life and was not being attentive to her owns needs and was accepting herself for whom she is came as a big change in her life which was visible to others around her too.
Begin by looking at each day over and making a list of all the things you do on a daily basis, for example, work, writing, socialising, gym etc. Then evaluate your day and put a number on a scale of 1-10 from Loving Others on one side of the spectrum and Loving Yourself at the other side, like below:
This will help in seeing how much of our time we are investing to others and whether there is a balance. If we begin to continuously see that each day is always more towards ‘loving others’ then that is a clear indication of you are not doing enough for yourself and things that are in line with your core values. If this continues, you will begin to feel resentment, guilt, frustration, self-neglect and other negative emotions.
Look deeply within yourself. Ask yourself what my core values are; what do I need to do that makes me happy each day. Look back to when you were a child, what did you enjoy doing, what was fun and gave you excitement and fulfilment? Also, meditation is a great way to focus on our inner self.
Now this is difficult to do, but ask 5 people who are close to you on their perception of you. Do they find you do enough things for yourself or is your life based around other people? Ask them to put a score against how they see you loving yourself vs loving others.
Finally do not be afraid! Be open, honest to how you feel – live in a world of how you want to see it. Leave a legacy of your love behind.
In the coaching process, identifying the underlying beliefs and values are core here. This will encourage the client to reveal their dreams, their hopes and desires and eventually will open up their hidden potential. By opening up to the things the client loves, we can begin to identify the missing things in their life and how to bring it back to the client for them to start loving themselves again.
Ask the client to be aware of the things they do for themselves and for others. What is the balance like? Does there need to be a shift? Create a mapping exercise where there is a table like:
Do any of these connect and can you map them together? Or is there no connection at all, if so this would clearly indicate the client does not love themselves in any form.
Keeping track of the emotions and the energy shift of how the client feels once they are taking action towards their goals is imperative – ask the client to possibly write a journal or make notes on how they feel when they complete their action.
Believe in your client – validate them as your support and motivation is vital. At times we are the only support system for our clients and making changes in their lives can be overwhelming at times, therefore acknowledge them for loving themselves and going for it!
Creating structures in the clients schedule will help them in completing their actions. By identifying any external factors or any obstacles which may prevent their goal being achieved and creating slots for them to complete their action could also help. It’s important to be flexible but also dependent on the type of structure a client prefers.
Note during this process of self-love, the client may go through emotions of feeling selfish and guilty as this is not natural to them. Try to keep reminders for the client as to why this is important and how these changes can positively impact other areas of their life.
Follow this formula for the client:
Love Yourself + Love What You Do + Love Others = Real Success and Happiness
- What is the first thing that comes to your mind once reading this tool?
- What do you do to make you think you truly love yourself?
- What do you like about yourself?
- What is it that I am doing that does not make me feel fulfilled?
- What is the first thing that I am going to work on achieving that I’ve stopped doing in my life?
- What is my daily score of how much I love myself and love others?
- What structures are you going to put in place to ensure you complete your goals?
Everything in the universe is within you, Ask All from yourself Rumi