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  • Caleb Birkhoff

Finding Yourself and Aligning with Your Inner Values Through Therapy

Finding yourself can seem like a daunting task, especially if you're struggling with feeling lost, stressed, or uncertain. In times like these, therapy can help you rediscover who you are and develop a deeper sense of self-awareness. Whether you're dealing with relationship issues, anxiety, depression, or simply feeling stuck in life, meeting with a therapist can be a powerful tool for self-exploration. Therapy can help you find yourself and create lasting change.

That lasting change ca be especially helpful when you feel lost and unsure of where you stand. Sometimes this is due to a relationship that didn't work out, a job or business that didn't yield the expected results, or the sudden realization that you have drifted away from your inner values. Therapy can help you re-align with your inner values, or even identify what they are, and how making the effort to do so can improve your mental and emotional wellbeing.

1. Define your core values

The first step in finding your sense of self or aligning with your inner values is to identify them. These are the guiding principles that you hold dear - the ones that shape your thoughts, decisions, and actions. However, sometimes we're not even aware of the values we hold. You may have internalized certain beliefs or ideas from your upbringing, culture, or peers without ever questioning their validity. Therapy can help you explore these ideas, challenging those that do not align with your deeper sense of self and reinforcing those that do. Working with a therapist will allow you the opportunity to explore, examine, and safely question things that always felt true, even if they were just true for you or your family. Keep the ones that work, tinker with the ones that are close, dismiss the ones that no longer serve you.

2. Develop Self-Awareness

The first step to finding yourself through therapy is developing self-awareness. This means becoming aware and accepting of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Psychotherapy often thinks about this as your “observing ego,” that capacity to step back from yourself to see yourself clearly. Through therapy, you'll be encouraged to reflect on your past experiences and explore how they've shaped your current beliefs and actions. This deeper understanding of yourself can lead to greater self-compassion and provide a foundation for positive change.

3. Identify the dissonance

One of the ways that we lose touch with our inner values is through the dissonance that arises when our actions don't align with them. For instance, you may find yourself involved in activities or relationships that clash with your values, leaving you feeling uncomfortable or dissatisfied. In therapy, you can explore the root causes of this dissonance and find ways to address it. Perhaps you've been unconsciously seeking external validation, or you've been too scared to assert your own needs and boundaries. Whatever the reason, therapy can help you gain a clearer understanding of your inner workings.

4. Overcome self-doubt

When we don't align with our inner values, it's easy to fall into a pattern of negative self-talk, which is very common and has the capacity to be destructive in our lives. We may beat ourselves up for not being "good enough," "smart enough," or "successful enough," even as we're pursuing goals that go against our values. This constant self-doubt can be crippling, leading to anxiety, depression, or even self-destructive behaviors. You can learn to challenge these negative beliefs and develop a more compassionate and supportive self-talk.

5. Build Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Life can be challenging, and we all need healthy coping mechanisms to help us manage stress and obstacles. A therapist in San Francisco can help you develop personalized coping skills that work for you. Whether it's practicing relaxation techniques, setting healthy boundaries, or learning new communication skills, your therapist can help equip you with the tools you need to manage life's ups and downs.

6. Strengthen Relationships

Healthy relationships are essential for personal growth and happiness. If you're struggling in your relationships, therapy can provide a safe space to explore and improve your communication, boundaries, and emotional connection. Your therapist can help you identify unhealthy relationship patterns and develop strategies for building stronger and more meaningful connections. People are often surprised by the behaviors they used to engage in, or accept from others, after making progress in therapy.

7. Create a roadmap

Once you've identified your core values and the actions that do and don't align with them, it's time to create a roadmap for your life. This is where therapy can be especially valuable - your therapist can help you craft strategies that are tailored to your unique circumstances, personality, and goals. With a clear roadmap, you'll be better equipped to make decisions that align with your inner values, even in the face of uncertainty or external pressure.

8. Find meaningful connections

One of the most important benefits of aligning with your inner values is the sense of connection and purpose that can arise. When you're clear on what matters most to you, you'll be more likely to seek out relationships, communities, and activities that align with those values. This can lead to a powerful sense of belonging and meaning that can sustain you even in difficult times. In therapy, you can explore how to create and maintain these vital connections.

9. Create Positive Change

Therapy is an investment in your future self. Through the process of therapy, you'll not only learn more about yourself, but you'll also develop the skills and tools to create lasting positive change in your life. Whether it's improving your relationships, managing anxiety and depression, or simply feeling more confident and fulfilled, therapy can provide the guidance and support you need to achieve your goals.

The more you you're you, the more you you become

Finding yourself through therapy is a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. It's a process that requires courage, openness, and a willingness to explore uncharted territories; and sometimes talking about those things you just don’t want to talk about. But the rewards of therapy are immeasurable.

Living a life that aligns with your inner values is not always easy, but it can be immensely rewarding. Through therapy, clients can gain a clearer understanding of who they are and what they stand for, identify the areas of discomfort or dissonance in their lives, and develop goals/relationships that support their true self. With guidance and support, it is possible to overcome self-doubt, find meaningful connections, and live a more intentional, satisfying life. If you're struggling with a sense of purpose or direction, consider seeking support from a therapist who can help you navigate the journey. Remember, you're not alone - we all experience moments of confusion and disconnection. But with the right tools and mindset, it's possible to emerge stronger and more aligned with your inner values.

If you're considering therapy, know that you're not alone. Seeking help is a sign of strength, and it can be the first step towards creating positive change in your life. Remember, finding yourself is a journey, not a destination. With the guidance and support of a therapist, you can discover the courage and resilience needed to navigate life's challenges and rediscover who you truly are.

I hope that this list helps you feel more confident to understand yourself through therapy in San Francisco. If after reading all of that, you’re still swirling with questions feel free to call me at 415-990-1452 for a free 15-minute phone consultation and to get some questions answered. I would be happy to hear what is happening for you, what you’re looking for and provide some direction to finding the right therapist for you.

If you are seeking help with discovering yourself, couples therapy, drugs and alcohol, life transitions, or therapy for men’s issues, you can read more about how Caleb Birkhoff might be able to help by clicking here!

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