What’s in the Way?

Be kind to yourself.

Love yourself.

Be yourself.

How often do we see stuff like this on social media? Perhaps we’ve heard words like these from a well-meaning friend. Maybe we’ve said them ourselves.

I know I have.

Yes, we should all be kind to ourselves, love ourselves and be ourselves.

It’s good advice.

It’s great advice.

But for many it’s just not that simple.

For some of us, because of our experiences and the beliefs we hold as a result, advice like this can feel trite and hollow.

How can you be kind to yourself if you think your needs are immaterial?

How can you love yourself if you feel worthless?

How can you be yourself if you believe you’re not good enough?

While we may desperately want to, we can’t get there.

Because there’s something in the way.

The road to self-acceptance can feel like trying to roll a giant boulder up a hill in a rainstorm. The harder we push, the more our shoes sink deeper into the sticky mud.

And that’s where the work is.

Not in forcing ourselves to love and care about ourselves – but in understanding why that’s so damn difficult.

The work is in the mud, the rain and the struggle.

Where life is messy, confusing and difficult.

But with the challenge of exploring what’s in the way comes the possibility of finally meeting ourselves – of discovering that, perhaps, the picture we’ve been given of ourselves doesn’t match who we truly are.

There’s no shame in the struggle and we’re not alone in it by any means.

Let’s not add to our pain by feeling bad because we don’t feel good about ourselves.

Instead, let’s do the work and reflect on our unique roadblocks to happiness.

We can’t force ourselves to be kind to ourselves, to love ourselves and to be ourselves.

But we can work out what’s in the way.

©️ Julie de Rohan 2020.


39 thoughts on “What’s in the Way?

      1. I haven’t seen that news – that’s very grim. Life still a bit too hectic, I’m afraid, but hoping to regain some balance soon. Hope you stay safe and well, good to hear from you.

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  1. I think the best thing to do when I’m feeling negative or depressed is to look in the mirror and say, you are lovely, I do love you and smile even if I don’t feel like it, it works and instantly makes me feel better.

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  2. I totally agree the work is the mud, rain, and the struggle. It’s good well needed work. I also think though in the background a bass must be laying down that love vibe for oneself. I agree it may not start off very loud, but it’s always there. We just stopped hearing it after so much. During the lowest of my lows I saw the words I Love You, Dwight everyday on my mirror. It did start working for me. Great post, Julie.

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    1. I love that analogy, Dwight. I think when we begin to explore and dismantle what’s in the way, we can really start to hear that bass – as you say, it’s always there, it’s just hard to hear. Thank you so much for sharing your experience – it’s very much appreciated.


  3. You raise some really important points here. It isn’t easy to change entrenched core beliefs – such as I’m not worthy of love, or I don’t deserve to be treated well. It’s a journey to change them. And a long hard one. Any progress should be noticed, highlighted and praised as a step in the right direction. Baby steps over time ….

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    1. I think we can feel worse if we can’t follow “inspirational” messages because of those entrenched beliefs. Better to accept where we are and why it’s hard, rather than to feel we’re failing. As you say, it’s tiny steps sometimes and any progress should be acknowledged and celebrated. Many thanks for your comment – it’s great to hear your thoughts on this.

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  4. This is timely advice, Julie – I spent (distanced!) time with a friend recently who said she feels she doesn’t have value, and I struggled with how to help her. When I tell her how wonderful she is, she argues. I might suggest she talks with her therapist about exploring what’s in the way of her seeing her own value – maybe they’re already having that conversation, but it feels like it will help our conversations too. Thank you!

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    1. It’s impossible to convince someone they’re worthy if they feel utterly worthless – if it were possible my job would be a lot easier! It’s so hard to be with, though, if a friend is beating themselves up – you don’t want to collude with that side of them, but it just won’t allow anything positive to get through. I hope your friend is able to do the work and find what’s in the way of a caring relationship with herself. I feel for you, Karen. Thank you for sharing this, I’m sure many people can relate.

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  5. Thank you for sharing!!.. Perhaps while dealing with life’s challenges we fall a bit short of the daily goals we set for ourselves, but one should be happy in the fact that one did not quit but kept trying “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” -( Michel Angelo)… 🙂

    The words of Theodore Roosevelt come to mind;
    “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, the man who at best knows achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” – (Theodore Roosevelt )… 🙂

    Until we meet again..

    May flowers always line your path
    and sunshine light your way,
    May songbirds serenade your
    every step along the way,
    May a rainbow run beside you
    in a sky that’s always blue,
    And may happiness fill your heart
    each day your whole life through.
    (Irish Saying)

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  6. That’s a very good point, Julie! We can’t ever really love and accept ourselves unless we figure out what has been getting in the way of our doing so in the first place.

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  7. Being Kind to oneself and Taking Care of Oneself is very important. I send you many Blessings Julie. Keep going and I send you Many Blessings. And having Healing Energies as I type. Be Strong ❤

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  8. Very good advice, but suffering from awful depression can make life seem quite meaningless. It really is very hard getting by and all the negative emotions and thoughts that I fight on a daily basis. But thank you kindly .

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    1. Yes, that’s exactly my point. I’m so sorry to hear about your struggle with negative thoughts and emotions, and I hope you’re OK. Many thanks for taking the time to share your experience.

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