Occasional Thoughts on Psychotherapy

Blog | Dr. Jamey Hecht | Beverly Hills, CA

Survival vs. Growth

Surviving is a lot easier if you have a reason to survive. But even if you have no reason at the moment, it is still your job to survive while you search for one. It is your job to become a happier man or woman, more and more capable of loving self-acceptance. You must grow, because that is what human beings are here to do. You do not have to become perfect. Even if you never accomplish anything—and you will accomplish plenty—you are worthy of love just as you are right now. Even if only a tiny part of you realizes that, you can make it. You don’t need a reason to love yourself.  You don’t need an excuse to love yourself. You don’t need permission to love yourself. You don’t need to meet criteria to love yourself. It isn't achieved by striving, because it is the necessary baseline above which all striving occurs. It's achieved by letting go: you are already a living organism on this planet; therefore, loving-self-acceptance is already within you somewhere. Shift it into the center.

Does loving yourself feel selfish? How about breathing? Does breathing feel selfish, too? A good cliché can help here. Recall the old saw about the oxygen mask on the plane: you have to put on your own mask first, so you don’t pass out while trying to get your kid’s mask onto his little face. As with breathing, so with love: you first, so you have the strength to help others next.