by Irina Jacobson, MA, MBA, MH
The times of the Full Moon usually bring into focus a personal awareness of subconscious patterns of relating to self and others. During these times of emotional patterns illumination we need to ask ourselves: are we relating to others out of the desire for love and connection, or out of fear of abandonment and loneliness?
The fear-based relationship dynamic is often manifested in a belief that we need to place the needs of others above our own. This belief is usually triggered by deeply rooted abandonment issues, stemming from a distortion that we cannot be loved for who we are. This distortion is based on a hidden thought pattern that we are defective in some way, and once these defects are revealed, we will be abandoned by our lovers or friends. Children raised by emotionally or physically abusive parents assume this false belief as a copying strategy. They don’t stop loving their parents, but instead they stop loving themselves. In order to protect their fragile psyche, abused children assume subconscious beliefs that they are the ones who are damaged and do not deserve love, and that they can survive in relationships only by always being of service, by never contradicting, and by shutting down their own emotional and even physical needs. Later in life these beliefs re-surface in dysfunctional romantic relationships as well as any other.
In order to be able to heal the past and create authentic connections to ourselves, we need to make a conscious decision to truly accept, appreciate, and love ourselves. We need to learn to genuinely believe that we deserve to receive an unconditional love from others.
Kristen Neff, a renowned authority on Self-compassion points out that “when we give ourselves compassion, the tight knot of negative self-judgment starts to dissolve, replaced by a feeling of peaceful, connected acceptance – a sparking diamond that emerges from the coal.” I advise my clients to start a journey to self-love with evaluation of their current sense of selves in a context of self-compassion. In the book “Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, “K. Neff gives helpful questions to access our typical reactions to ourselves.
1. What types of things do you typically judge and criticize yourself for- appearance, career, relationships, parenting, and so on?
2. What type of language do you use with yourself when you notice some flaw or make a mistake – do you insult yourself, or do you take a more kind and understanding tone?
3. If you are highly self-critical, how does this make you feel inside?
4. What are the consequences of being so hard on yourself?
5. Does it make you more motivated, or does it tend to make you discouraged and depressed?
6. How do you think you would feel if you could truly accept yourself exactly as you are? Does this possibility scare you, give you hope, or both?
At the times of open connection to the benevolent emotional energy of the Full Moon, we can help ourselves to deal with negative self-judgments by repeating a self-compassion mantra recommended by K. Neff :
This is a moment of suffering,
Suffering is part of life.
May I be kind to myself in this moment.
May I give myself the compassion I need.
Ones we are able to treat ourselves in a compassionate and accepting way, we would naturally and gently transform this feeling into building genuine and loving relationships with others.
Neff, K. (2011). Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. New York,
NY: HarperCollins Publishers.