23 Jan

Today, I had a session with one of my long-standing clients, who is a nurse. She was drawn into nursing due to her caring and emphatic nature and wanting to be there for others. She holds these qualities close to her heart, often times going well out of her way,  wanting to be there for her patients and also her friends. 

Her kind and helpful nature worked well for her over the years, winning her many friendships and, significantly expanding her social networks. Now in her 30's, she often struggles to maintain the same level of commitment to her friends, often feeling guilty about it, while trying to balance both her professional and personal responsibilities.

This creates a significant sense of discomfort and confusion for her, making her at times question her sense of self and how she wants to function in the relationships, at times being unsure how to best prioritise her efforts.

As a result, she often over-compensates, feeling anxious during social interactions, masking her discomfort by being overly pleasing or acting against who she really wants to be and what is important to her. In retrospect, such moments make her feel not so good about herself, feeling that she has lost her sense of authenticity by prioritising others over her own views and needs.

How to hold onto yourself in the moments when we are feeling pulled in contradicting directions?

Some of the basic tips assisting with these kind of moments include:

- when you notice becoming anxious/ losing the sense of self during the conversation slow things down and remove yourself  from the situation, finding a peaceful environment where you can think.
- practise grounding/ mindfulness techniques, if needed, bring yourself back to the moment of here and now; this might include: focusing on your breath, utilising your senses through e.g. identifying 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can smell, 2 things you can hear etc.
- check in with your intuition to observe what is in your own best interest at that moment.
- check in with your values and what is really important to you, what do you want and need in this moment that is aligned with your own value system?
- you may need to set some limits of what you can offer, or practise assertiveness skills in asserting your own perspective.

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