Why we love Accelerated Resolution Therapy as a self-love practice
February is often associated with Valentine’s Day; Valentine’s Day is often associated with romantic love. During this month, we focus on showering love on others. Yet, it’s quite common to feel alone or like a failure on this “coupled” holiday if you are unattached. If you are feeling alone, remember that you are still important and unique, whether or not you are in a relationship or not. Take time to honor yourself and practice self-love. If you sometimes feel it is difficult to love yourself, realize that you’re not alone and a self-love practice is a lifelong journey.
Those who are suffering from trauma, depression, anxiety, or any number of mental health conditions often feel as though they don’t “deserve” self-love or feel responsible for circumstances that are out of their control.
As a result, they find it challenging to practice self-respect. Do you struggle with self-love?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I compare myself to others? Do I tell myself I “should” be “further along” in life?
- Am I a perfectionist? Am I hard on myself when things don’t go perfectly or I don’t perform perfectly?
- Do I hang around people that make my self-esteem worse?
- Is my self-talk generally negative and scolding?
- Do I have difficulty using my voice and asking what I need?
- Do I recognize my feelings as valid? Do I honor them?
It’s ok to ask for help or reach out for a “self-love boost.” Often we need help changing our self-perspective.
How does Accelerated Resolution Therapy help with self-love and self-compassion?
Many memories and perspectives you have been holding onto since childhood present themselves as your realities. Many have been in traumatic environments that failed to foster self-esteem or model self-love. You have often adopted “self-talk” language close to how caretakers or teachers have spoken to you in your developmental years. Since corresponding language and behaviors have been hard-wired into your thinking patterns, they are frequently tricky to correct.
The cornerstone of Accelerated Resolution Therapy is centered around rewriting and rescripting memories and beliefs. In fact, we consider ART a crucial practice in self care. In a typical ART session, several elements facilitate new empowering narratives:
Creating relaxation with eye movements.
Like a sleep REM cycle, bilateral eye movements create a relaxing sensation. Your ART therapist will invite you to connect with your body and lead you through this relaxing exercise to prime you for addressing key memories related to your self-love journey.
Identifying the key memory.
Many of us have “negative self-talk” histories and can recall several childhood instances where underlying beliefs are created. In a session, you are prompted to remember these key scenarios as though you were watching your life like a movie.
Did you have an intensely negative experience being scolded by a parent? Did a teacher embarrass you for giving an incorrect answer? Did a peer make you feel unsafe with bullying? Scenarios like these can impact our self-views and are important parts of your “life montage” to witness.
Your ART therapist will assure you that whatever image or movie displays itself needs to be seen and is relevant to your self-love journey.
Creating a sense of calm around these memories.
Your ART therapist will again guide you through eye movements as you witness these memories. You are moved into a more relaxed state, priming the brain to rewrite these memories.
A big part of self-love and self-esteem is helping to create feelings of calm and safety in your day-to-day experience. When your brain is not busy scanning your environment for possible threats from a state of survival mode, it can focus more of its energy on rewiring and healing. Research has shown that eye-movements are excellent in creating this relaxed state for healing.
Calmly observing the memories like a movie helps create distance between the past and present. You are now distant enough from the memories and the corresponding identities made. The negative beliefs about yourself have been separated.
“Painting” over memories with image replacement.
As the name “ART” ends up being almost literal in its abbreviation, you get the opportunity to “paint over” some of these painful memories with a relaxing scene (maybe the beach?) or a color.
Now that you have created distance between yourself, your memories, and your beliefs, you can “rewrite” the recurring script holding you back. This is an essential step in ART for creating lasting self-love. Bringing a new perspective to a narrative, you have been telling yourself or a visual you have been seeing that paints you negatively helps you be more compassionate. Often, as you relax around these images, other possible narratives can emerge. People at this stage may often say, “I was doing the best I could at the time,” or “I did what I had to do to survive and take care of myself.” These statements are self-forgiving and can alleviate your feelings of guilt and shame.
The human brain loves images, stories, and narratives. These are used quite often to make sense of situations. bi uses metaphors to help you rewrite your stories. Your therapist may have you use visual metaphors, such as walking over a bridge from your old life to a new life. In a session, you may be prompted to see yourself as a strong victor. Such metaphors are potent for creating a new identity for yourself. Once you have a new, victorious view of yourself, it is easy to realize your value and self-worth.
Practicing self-love is vital for fostering growth and seeing progress in your life. When it comes to self-love, we may often wear blinders that prevent us from seeing ourselves to the fullest. Sometimes we all need a little help seeing our self-worth.
When you work with an ART-trained professional, you have the power to move through stuck memories that prevent you from fully realizing your capacity for self-love.