Coaching for Individuals
Self Confidence in Relationships is about being emotionally secure... and feeling emotionally safe... in your partnerships.
COACHING FOR INDIVIDUALS
How does this work? Can you tell me the basics?
This is individual coaching, or "solo" coaching, for one person. Coaching sessions are scheduled weekly, for 45-minutes. Longer sessions are available too, for when more time is needed to discuss what's going on.
Some people prefer to meet twice a month, instead of four times a month, and that's okay too. You decide what level of interaction makes the best sense for you.
Think of your coach as an "emotions consultant" who's working with you on gaining clarity, perspective, and understanding about the things in life that are concerning you or holding you back. With awareness comes choice. And self-acceptance. And a sense of personal empowerment that leads to feeling more confident in your relationships, and in your life overall.
How do I pay for sessions?
Payment is made in advance of the session, which you can easily do from this site by clicking on the MAKE A PAYMENT link. You'll need to log in with your username and password.
You may pay for one session at a time or for a multi-session package that gives you a slight discount. Recurring payments are available so that you can set it up and have it automatically renew each month until you pause or cancel.
GOALS FOR INDIVIDUAL COACHING
Below are just some of the common goals that we work with in Individual Relationship Coaching:
- Learning to handle stressful, anxiety-provoking situations differently (better)
- Being able to shift perspective on situations that once looked depressing or hopeless
- Increasing self-esteem and reducing negative self-talk
- Learning new communication strategies for complex relationships or family dynamics
- Being a proper advocate for yourself; sharing your wants and needs openly and honestly
- Processing present-day thoughts and feelings about past life events that were stressful
- Becoming better able to identify your emotions in the moment that they are occurring
- Sharpening your decision-making and boundary-setting skills
- Discovering more about who you are, what you want, and where your values lie
- Having a space to talk openly about sex, sexual identity, or gender identity
- Inviting more mindfulness and presence into everyday life
- Making self-care a priority
AREAS OF FOCUS
For people who are ready to get started with Relationship Coaching (and for anyone who's curious about a list of topics), check out the Areas of Focus form to identify the subject areas that are important to you. (Requires login. Click Save and Send, when complete.)
ABOUT CONFIDENCE COACHING
One way to think about self-confidence is that it’s the courage to be yourself, in whatever form that takes.
Self-confidence is a natural result of healthy self-esteem, self-worth, self-acceptance, and self-love.
What if you don’t feel confident, particularly in relationships?
When it comes to relationships, it’s not unusual for people who do well in most all other areas of their life to have some self-doubt or insecurity when it comes to making relationships work. It doesn’t mean that anything is wrong or deficient. It just means that you're probably repeating some old patterns, or using communication that isn't designed for closeness and connection. Perhaps you have some unresolved emotional triggers that get activated in relationships, which creates stress. Not to worry, this is totally improve-able.
A lot of times, the stress that comes up in relationships is a carry-over from emotions from childhood. Things like feeling loved for the person you are; feeling good enough; feeling like you matter, like you belong; or that your feelings are valid and acceptable.
Do you ever feel that if people really knew the person you are deep down, they might not feel about you the same way? As if there's a true part of you that you cannot show, or that isn't loveable? Do you ever feel that maybe other people’s wants or feelings are more important than yours, or are deserving of more attention than yours? Were you ever taught that it’s not okay to say things if it makes other people upset? That maybe it’s not okay to show your real emotions? Or, maybe you're not even sure of what your real emotions are...
So, the kind of self-confidence we’re talking about here is the kind that happens when you build a solid sense of self. Re-building, you might say. When you acknowledge and accept all that you are, and are able to show it to others, you get validation, support, and respect – from yourself! Confidence Coaching guides you in growing and improving the most important relationship you have – the relationship with yourself. That’s how self-esteem grows and self-confidence flourishes, making you better equipt to enjoy being in relationships with others.
RELATIONSHIPS AND THE AUTHENTIC SELF
To be your authentic self in the company of others, particularly with your intimate partner, is the ideal way of being in alignment with your true self. Being your authentic self means living life as the whole person you were born to be, not some paired-down version of yourself to fit into someone else’s mold. Parents, spouses, partners, friends, religion, culture, society… all have an impact on your definition of who you are in this world.
What happens when we are not living in accordance with our authentic selves? We pick the wrong partners, we operate with defense mechanisms (knee-jerk reactions to emotional triggers), we don’t have good boundaries, we don’t feel confident and empowered in our relationships, and we are not as present and tuned-in as we could be. Perhaps there is too much chatter going on in our heads. Perhaps we second-guess ourselves? Perhaps we are so focused on how others are going to react that we edit ourselves and hold back what is really true for us.
Living life as your authentic self is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself, and to the world. But many of us were not groomed to be our authentic selves when we were first starting out in life. So we have to learn how to be authentic. It takes practice. And it’s worth it.
BOUNDARIES: INTERNAL & EXTERNAL
When we think of boundaries, we oftentimes think of things like saying “No” when you don’t want something, or saying things like “That’s not okay with me,” or “This is not what I want.” Those are thought of as external boundaries, because they have to do with responding to something outside yourself, usually in response to another person’s words or actions.
But there are other kinds of boundaries, which are referred to as “internal boundaries.” Internal boundaries have to do with having a solid sense of self. Knowing who you are, what you want, and where you stand. And communicating that to the people in your life. Internal boundaries are about knowing where you end, and others begin. It’s about knowing who you are as a unique individual, totally separate from the wants and needs of other people around you, like spouses, partners, parents, and so on.
Good, healthy internal boundaries allow you to be your true self in relationship to others. And when you’re clear about yourself, it makes it easier for you to see people for who they are, to love them and appreciate them in spite of their human deficiencies (something we all have), without the need to fix, take care of, or change them. It’s like the saying, ”You do you.”
When you have solid internal boundaries, it’s sort of like having a transparent, permeable bubble around yourself (your heart and your mind). You can see through it, feel through it, and others can see you too. People can see you, and feel you, but they can’t take from you. They can't possess or control what's inside the bubble, because that belongs to you and no one else. Your thoughts, your feelings, your wants, your needs, your wishes and dreams, your fears, and so on all belong to you.
If you don’t have solid internal boundaries, you will either have to erect a brick wall around yourself for protection, or (if you don’t), it feels like people can come in and exert some kind of influence over you that you don’t want. In our coaching work, we focus on strengthening the internal boundaries as well as the external ones. And that’s what it means to develop a solid sense of self. This kind of work can be a game-changer; making life and relationships more manageable, more satisfying, and definitely more fulfilling.
BEING ME, WHILE BEING WITH YOU
Maintaining a healthy sense of individuality while being in a relationship with another person is challenging for some people. For those who find themselves compromising who they are a bit too much in their relationships, this topic is for you.
A healthy relationship supports each partner to be the best version of themself. So ask yourself: Are you able to be the best version of yourself in your relationship? Do you shine, speak your mind, follow your passions, and express your unique opinions and reactions to things going on around you?
Or is the opposite true… do you find yourself holding back, compromising, editing your words? Being your genuine, authentic self – all the while being in close connection with a partner – is one of the many topics we discuss in our work.
INTEGRATING DISOWNED PARTS OF SELF
Coaching helps with blind spots. If we could recognize and see all our blind spots, we probably wouldn't need a coach because we would see where/how/why we're stuck and "un-stick" ourselves. But we all have certain blind spots that can take a fair amount of intentional self-awareness to finally see in ourselves.
One of the more elusive types of blind spots is when we have certain parts of ourselves that we have shunned - or "disowned - and have placed these parts of self out of sight, out of our conscious awareness. Locked in our own psychological basement, so to speak.
Feelings like anger, where one might believe, "I can't feel angry; they did the best they could," or "What right do I have to be angry? Things weren't as bad for me as they were for others..." In situations like this - where you've concluded that it's not okay to feel angry, the anger gets shunned... and the part of you that feels angry gets pushed away... exiled.
Another example might be feeling sad about something, and having a belief that says, "Don't be sad. That's weak," or "Don't be a baby," or "It is what it is, so there's no sense in thinking about it," or, "It's over. It's done. Move the f*** on." When there is no space for emotions like sadness or grief, those feelings get pushed away. And the part of yourself that holds that genuine experience of feeling sad gets pushed away too.
Shame is another emotion that gets pushed away. The feelings that go with shame are sometimes so intolerable that it makes more sense to bury the parts of yourself that feel like you are bad, or inadequate, or unworthy, or broken - than to sit with these feelings and face them head-on, or worse yet have other people see them...
All these emotional experiences that feel intolerable to us result in cutting certain parts of ourselves off, and tossing these parts away, or burying them. And the result of this? A terrible feeling of disconnection with yourself, as a blanket of depression washes over you. Disconnection with yourself leads to disconnection from others, where your relationships start to give you a feeling of "something's missing..."
The resolution lies in reintegrating these "shunned" parts of ourselves. This is accomplished in relationship coaching by way of first of all - validating the need to push away the intolerable emotions in the first place. You exiled those parts of yourself for a good reason, at one time. Next, we work on self-compassion which leads to self-acceptance. Not having to put emotional energy into keeping certain emotional parts of yourself tucked away can be very relieving, and even energizing. This is the first phase of reintegrating the shunned parts of self. The journey of relationship coaching can take you all the way through to the other side of the resolution: which is integration. Being whole.
When we talk about living as your true authentic self, we are not merely talking about sharing who you genuinely are with the world, but we are talking about being fully you: all parts of you - the great parts, and the human parts that are fallible or limited. Accepting and having patience and compassion for all of you is one of the greatest confidence boosters in the world.
FOUR BASIC EMOTIONS
Having good self-awareness about emotions is important when you are working to build self-confidence. Human emotions can get complicated, but there’s an easy way to break them down with one simple checklist.
Part of being a human being is having human emotions. We all have them. Some of us wear them on our sleeves; others keep them neatly tucked away and out of view. Some of us have words for every emotional experience we encounter, and others have no idea what we are feeling, at least not right away.
What’s great about emotions is that they serve as a guidance system for when something “doesn’t feel right.” When your body tenses up, it’s telling you there’s a feeling going on underneath that warrants your attention. When you “follow your heart,” emotions are telling the truth about something that is meaningful and important.
For those who find the language of emotions to be just a little bit foreign, this article is for you. I’m going to break it down into four simple types of emotions.
If you’re old enough, you might remember a nutritional guideline called The Four Basic Food Groups. (Up until the early 90’s, kids were taught in school that Meat, Dairy, Grains, and Fruits/Vegetables are the four basic food groups. The list has been broadened since then.) When I think of the four basic human emotions, it reminds me of the four basic food groups: something that is simple and easy to grasp.
The Four Basic Emotions are:
Mad, Sad, Glad, Scared
Pretty simple, huh? It almost rhymes.
When you are trying to sort out what you feel in a given situation, you can run through the four basic emotions, and ask yourself, “Do I feel mad? Am I feeling sad? Does this make me glad? Or, am I feeling scared?”
When you’re feeling annoyed, resentful, ripped off, mistreated, impatient, frustrated, overloaded, disrespected, taken for granted, you are probably feeling some version of MAD.
When you are feeling lonely, missing something or someone, hurt, rejected, left out, unloved, hopeless, you are probably feeling some version of SAD.
When you are feeling excited, interested, looking forward to something, relieved, grateful, victorious, comfortable, satisfied, you are probably feeling some version of GLAD.
When you are feeling anxious, nervous, apprehensive, unsure, worried, trapped, unsafe, uncomfortable, not good enough, ashamed, you are probably feeling some version of SCARED.
When you identify what you feel and put your emotions into words (especially calm, clear-headed words) you increase your emotional intelligence. And who needs emotional intelligence? Anyone who wants to successfully interact with people.
Understanding emotions (both yours and others') increases communication skills and reduces potential conflict. Strong communication skills have a direct correlation to healthy relationships and lower stress.
If you haven’t been fluent in the language of emotion so far, it’s never too late to learn. After all the emotions are already there. They’ve been there all along. It’s just a matter of getting better acquainted with them.
AUDIO RECORDING: SELF CONFIDENCE IN RELATIONSHIPS AND THE FIVE HABITS TO AVOID [10:56]