Growth: Better By Monday

“Tolerating the pain involved in growing; mobilizing yourself toward growth you value and aspire to; soothing your own hurts when necessary, without excessive self-indulgence; supporting rather than berating yourself.” –Dr. David Schnarch

Differentiation, as Muray Bowen described, is the ability to recognize “self” with realistic dependence on others, having thinking which is “rooted in a careful assessment of the facts.” The choices are based on a thoughtful process not a reaction to pressure, it is not pushy or wishy-washy but oriented by a strong sense of self and relation to others.

To be more differentiated is to know yourself very well. Because you know who you are, you know what you accept. This orientation helps you reject being controlled, manipulated, or bullied into a decision by others. It also helps you not over-function for others or be overpowering.

We live in a social context and therefore get to know who we are by the ways we are different from the people around us. An important aspect of differentiation is personal growth, as defined by Dr. Schnarch in the quote at the beginning of this article.

He includes: not avoiding pain (such as the emotional pain of learning you hurt people sometimes), pursuing growth within a belief you value, self-soothing when things don’t go your way but not dropping into a victimized narrative, using positive self-talk instead of harsh criticism.

One Thing to Do: Think about what helps you with your growth goals. Use the following questions to self-assess your hesitancy or readiness to take action towards personal growth.

  1. Is my fear keeping me from taking action?
  2. Am I accountable to myself for the actions I take or don’t take?
  3. Have I let others change my plans?
  4. Does the action I want to take add value to my life?
  5. Can I handle the setbacks which might occur once I take action?
  6. What words can I use to stay realistic and motivated?


Dawna Daigneault

Dawna Daigneault, Eds, LPC

Dawna Daigneault, Ed.S., LPC.

Zest of Life, LLC. Professional Counseling.

Rejected: Better By Monday

“A person with a well-differentiated ‘self’ recognizes her realistic dependence on others, but she can stay calm and clear headed enough in the face of conflict, criticism, and rejection to distinguish thinking rooted in a careful assessment of the facts from thinking clouded by emotionality.” –The Bowen Center

When we pin our self-worth on acceptance or love from someone else – we only feel good while that person loves us. But no partner is always a loving partner, so, we set ourselves up for small rejections.

Adding more people to our circle seems like the solution to the limitations of one partner but spreading the need for incoming love around to friends and family doesn’t guarantee a perfect amount of love. The more sources of love you use to fill-up with the more you are open to feeling rejected when the people you need love from are having an off day.

I do believe that the more people who love you – the better. However, that is only if the love from others supports your self-love. There is a difference between outside love which props up a broken sense of self and receivable outside love which honors true self-worth.

If you need the love of others because you don’t love yourself – you will run out of it from time to time. If you practice self-love, and all the love you get supports this personal practice, you will feel full of love.

We need both. The equation starts at birth with being loved by others. A time when we do not know how to love them back yet. It seems that being given love just because we are alive is the best way to develop self-worth. Once you believe you are worth loving – you get to keep that feeling. You can feel worthy from good parenting, or you can parent yourself into feeling worthy.

One Thing to Do: Remember your worth by using positive self-talk. Don’t cheat yourself with a pep talk or false dialogue of what you wish you were. This Self-esteem Self-Talk is about what you deserved to hear as a baby. “I’m okay.” “I matter.” “I am enough.” “I have made mistakes, and I am learning.” “I make a difference.”

Dawna Daigneault, Eds, LPC

Dawna Daigneault, Eds, LPC

Dawna Daigneault, Ed.S, LPC.

Zest of Life, LLC. Professional Counseling.