By Ashlee Secord

We have high expectations for ourselves.  If you are reading a blog written by a therapist I can surmise that you have read a self-help book or two on how to do something different in your life.  I can surmise that you have both desired change and pursued it in some way shape or form.

I’m curious what initiated this change. Do you have an overwhelming sense to enrich yourself and “grow” interpersonally?  Are you tired of how you look in the mirror?  Do you become anxious in the same situation with the same people?  What gives?

We are unsettled.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to knock anyone for trying to improve upon who they are, to better their lives.  Remember, I’m a therapist!  What I am talking about is the compulsion that propels us in that direction.  We are typically unsatisfied with who we are, what we see in the mirror and use that repulsion as the flame under our foot to generate change in our life.

For example, if Jenny looks in the mirror and sees that she has 20-25 pounds to lose she thinks, “Ugh, I am so fat!” She does this enough times that she is fed up with how she feels when she looks at herself and gets a gym membership and joins a spinning class.

So what’s wrong with that?  Jenny is making a decision to change the way she feels about herself by attempting to lose the weight that causes her so much distress. The problem is what is fueling her actions. The problem is that Jenny doesn’t see the excess 20-25 pounds as a cue or possible imbalance in her life, she views it as unacceptable, deeming her unacceptable.  “I’m so fat!” and if she is fat, then she is ugly, and who wants to love someone that is ugly?  No one.  Unacceptable.

She’s not addressing the ACTUAL problem.

Is she overweight?  It sounds like it.  But why is this physical imbalance present?  She’s putting a Band-Aid on a broken bone.

She is driven by a disgust with herself.  The belief is that WHEN she loses said weight THEN she will not be fat, not ugly, not unacceptable.  She will THEN be worth loving. She is living with the lie that she is unacceptable based on experiences she had BEFORE she ever gained weight. In short, her actions are propelled by fear.

We have high expectations for our selves and very little compassion. Yes, improve.  Yes, grow interpersonally. Yes, discover who you were meant to be.  Also remember that this is the only moment you have and accepting yourself in this moment, as is, is essential to becoming who you were always intended to be.


Ashlee Secord is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at Thrive Therapy who provides therapy to couples, families and individuals who are looking for relief from their symptoms of anxiety and depression. Contact Thrive Therapy for your free phone consultation and set up your initial counseling session.