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The Art of Relationships

with Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD

There is an art to maintaining the intimate relationships in our lives. Read on to explore our experts' perspectives, and learn new techniques to improve your own relationship skills.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Just Saying… You are Special

By Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD

Happy Woman

You – yes, you, the person reading this – are special. No, I’m not just being nice. I mean it. I was recently sitting with patients and a relatively common thought for me became almost palpable: Each one of them would be so much happier and feel so much more of a sense of well-being if they could just really accept and feel their own worth as a human being. I so wished that I could just hand that to them during the session; like giving them the ultimate Hallmark card that could infuse them with a message. And then it occurred to me that I wish all of the people who read my blogs could also feel their value.  You might wonder how do I know you have such value when I’ve probably never met or interacted with you. Well, let me explain…

If I were a clergy person, I’d tell you that God made you and so you must special. But, as a psychologist, my thoughts about this are less grand. They are based in the very common experience that we all have when we see a baby. A part of us softens; if not melts. Babies don’t talk or perform, and even worse, they cry, need to be fed, and require their diapers to be changed. Yet, even without earning it, we intuitively recognize infants as precious. There is something about their very being. And this quality is one that continues to be with us throughout our lives.

Even when you can’t see it in yourself, you can probably see it in others. You would instantly see it in a child crying on the playground. You feel it when you see strangers suffer. And, you are quick to see it in friends.

You might feel the urge to counter my suggestion that you also have this quality. But rather than fight this, consider accepting it. How would it be for you to accept yourself as precious and deserving of being treasured? I’m not talking about holding yourself above others, but rather as viewing yourself as one gem amongst a treasure chest filled with them.

Think about the people you love. Bring each one to mind, feeling their value, and wish them the sense of well-being that comes with knowing that they are worthy of love. You might even want to try this exercise with the images of acquaintances or strangers. And, lastly, do this with yourself. Take that warmth and love you have felt toward these people and feel it toward yourself. With practice, this feeling will grow.

My wish for you this holiday season is that valuing yourself as special will be a natural part of your daily life.

If you would like to join a general discussion about this topic on the Relationships and Coping Community, click here.

Photo: iStockphoto

Posted by: Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD at 3:09 am

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