What Exactly IS Self-Work and Are You Doing It???? – With Dr. Tari

Dr. Tari unpacks what exactly “self-work” IS so you know if you’re doing it or not!

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Episode Transcript

What Exactly IS Self-Work and Are You Doing It???? - With Dr. Tari

Welcome to Dear Dater, the PodCast for people who want to change their disappointing relationship patterns and finally access the love they deserve. My name is Dr. Tari Mack, and I’m a psychologist and celebrity love coach. My journey has been one from disconnection and loneliness to love and miracles. And I want this podcast to give you the tools and awareness to help you create and access the love you want in your own life. What we yearn for is meant for us. So if you yearn for love, you’re meant to have it when we change; our relationships change. I’m so glad you’re here.

Hey everyone, this is Dr. Tari. Welcome to another episode of Dear Dater. Today It’s just gonna be me, and we’re gonna be talking about something that I, I know a lot of you wonder about, which is, the self-work that we talk about, are they doing their work? Are you doing your work? And so I wanted to define and unpack what the work actually is, so what is the self-work, and how do we do it?

The first piece is awareness. Self-work is about self-reflection. It’s about turning the lens to yourself and asking yourself what part do I play in all of my relationships? And I’m going to be talking specifically about self-work in regards to your relationships and your relationship patterns since this is Dear Dater. So a lot of us have a tendency to believe that as soon as we meet the right person, then we will have the relationship that we want, but we are the common denominator in our relationship. And so we are, co-creating every relationship, every dynamic that we’re in and that we have been in. So if relationships are not turning out the way that you want them to, you have to start looking at the only part of those relationships that you are in control of, which is you. So the first step in self-work is self-reflection and awareness, right?

Awareness about several things. First of all, awareness about, what are my patterns, who am I attracted to, and why? If you follow me at all, you hear me talking a lot about unconscious attraction and unconscious attraction. Means, that even though consciously we know the kind of partner that we want to end up with, usually somebody’s kind, somebody’s nurturing somebody successful, you know, all these qualities that we think we want. Unfortunately, our unconscious is what does, the choosing. So we tend to pick the same types of partners over and over again and have the same relationship with them, which is not really what we want. And there are two types of unconscious attraction. The first type says that we are attracted to people who reinforce how we feel about ourselves.

So if you don’t yet know how truly lovable a person you are, if you are not in touch with your neighbors. And you don’t know yet that you deserve deep love. Then you are going to feel attraction and chemistry for partners who do not make you a priority, who don’t see all of that good in you, who don’t want to commit, who are not emotionally attuned to you, who really replicate the way that you feel about your hair.

And again, you’re not gonna know that you’re gonna feel intense chemistry and attraction to these types of partners. So, it’s really important to understand, and this is another part of the self-work that we’re going to talk about that loving yourself and developing a very compassionate, respectful, and loving relationship with yourself is super important because. Otherwise, you’re going to continue to feel attraction for and choose partners who don’t honor you, who can’t love you, who don’t give you what you want—so awareness of why you’ve been choosing the partners you’ve been choosing and why.

The second type of unconscious attraction says that we choose partners. We are attracted to partners who help us recreate the frustrating roles and templates from childhood. Now, this sounds complicated, right? And I’m a psychologist, of course, I’m always going to go back to childhood, but basically, if you’re not yet aware of the role you played in your family, And the rules in your family and the templates for love that you learned, then you have some awareness to gather because basically we replay and we recreate all of those roles, all of those patterns, all of those templates with adult partners, which never really works out because as children, we internalize everything and we make everything about us. And we, we know we choose roles in our families that help us feel safe and loved. And then we grow up, and we continue to choose partners that keep us in that role. So as an example, In my family, I was the caretaker. I was the nurturer. I am naturally empathic, and I was raised by two parents who were very young when they got married and had kids.

My mom was 16 when she had my brother and 20, when she had me, and my dad was just a couple of years older than her. So I learned that it was my job. And that it helped me feel safe to constantly be taking the emotional temperature of my mom and dad. I would constantly need to know how they were feeling, how they were doing cause they didn’t know how to take their own emotional temperature. They didn’t know how to meet their own needs. They were just surviving and. So I grew up being very attracted to men who are emotionally unavailable; that’s who I would be attracted to, that’s who I would feel chemistry with because it put me in that old role of having to work, to really get to know someone and break down walls and I also felt needed. I could help a man understand what he was feeling.

And ultimately that was not a role that I needed to be in because I essentially ignored myself. But that’s what love felt like to me. So I kept recreating that once I became aware of that pattern. And who my unconscious attraction was leading me to. I was able to change that. And now I am not even just not attracted to a man who is not emotionally available and knows himself in a, self-aware, I’m repelled by that type of guy. And that’s the cool thing. Right? So once we become aware of something, we’re already starting to change it.

So awareness is the first piece, awareness of our patterns, awareness of why we’ve been choosing the same types of partners over and over again, awareness of our unmet needs as children for me, I. Easily would fall for validates and compliments and tons of attention and love bombing because I didn’t receive a lot of that mirroring growing up; mirroring is when parents are flecked back to us, what they see the value we bring to the family. What are natural gifts and talents are outside of achievement outside the role we play in the family, but really just who we are. And most parents don’t accurately give that to their kids because they’re limited and they’re cute. So I grew up searching for that confirmation, that validation that I was beautiful, that I was, that I mattered. What do people see in me? So give me a man who gave me all that easy attention in the beginning, and I would become quickly attached even though that does not equate to someone with long-term interest or integrity, consistency, all the things you need in a loving, lasting partner.

You also need to be aware of your emotional models that you learned. When you feel sad, when you feel angry, when you feel happy, when you feel scared, how do you cope? How do you express those feelings? Or do you express those feelings? Because most of us grow up again using our childish strategies because it’s all we know into our adult relationships, and those don’t work. Those typically push away love and push away connection and people. When what we want the most in our relationships is to feel connected. So it’s becoming aware of all of these things that we’ve learned that used to work for us that really helped us survive our families. And I use that word, you know, it’s not a dramatic word, even really loving families. We had to survive. We had to navigate all the unspoken rules. We had to navigate all the different people, all the different.

And find a way to get through our childhoods in the most peaceful way possible. So we take those childish strategies that help us feel loved and safe. That helped us protect ourselves. We use those as adults, and they don’t work anymore. So we need to become aware of that so we can shift those strategies or let go of those strategies and learn new strategies.
So awareness is the first piece of self-work, turning the lens on you, saying, what role have I played in all of my relationships? What choices am I making that are either getting me what I want or not getting me with it? Right. What have I learned about boundaries? Do I have healthy boundaries? Am I scared to set boundaries?

There are so many things to be aware of in terms of why we do the things we do, why we think the way we think; another big thing that we want to become aware of is what are our triggers. So there’s the saying, you know, he pushed my buttons, or she pushed my buttons, and that’s referring to the buttons or triggers, and we all have these unmet needs, these childhood wounds. And basically, what that means is that there are these certain soft spots. That all of us have that if somebody touches it emotionally. We go from zero to 60 in a second; we have a huge feeling out of the blue. And if we’re not aware A of what our triggers are and B that we’re triggered. Then we will create a lot of havoc in our relationships.

If we don’t know that when we’re triggered, we should not respond. We should not act out. We should not try to communicate, but first, we need to calm down and get back to our adult self because when we’re triggered, it’s that childhood wound that’s been touched, we are not acting in awareness, and we’re gonna create problems in our relationship. So are you aware of what your common triggers are for me? One of my biggest triggers is abandonment. But I had no clue about that, the first half of my life. So if I felt, if I even got a sense that somebody was pulling away or not available, I would internally get so scared.
And then behaviourally, I would act out, you know, send a million texts, need to talk, need that reassurance. And that would sabotage my relationship. Why do I respond the way I respond in the beginning of a relationship? If somebody doesn’t text you back in the timeframe that you wanted, or if somebody says a certain thing or as you get closer to someone, why do you always respond in the same way?

Do you understand that about yourself? And do you know that there’s a different way to respond? That might be helpful? That might actually be a way to get you love as opposed to pushing love away. Before we have that awareness, we just keep doing the same thing. Even if it doesn’t work, we’re not even aware of what we’re doing, and we’re not aware that it doesn’t work. So awareness is the very first part of self-work.

The second part of self-work is self-love and developing a nurturing relationship with ourselves. And some people hear this, and they’re like, how the hell do I do that? Or they’re like, eh, whatever, it doesn’t sound sexy. It sounds like a lot of work, or I don’t need to do that. I like myself. But this area is so important because the relationship that we have with ourselves sets the stage for every other relationship in our life, especially romantic relationships. The way that we respond to ourselves when we’re sad, when we’re angry, when we’re fearful, when we’re having a bad day is how we’re going to expect somebody else to respond to us in those situations. The level of admiration and respect and care and nurturing and compassion that we have for ourselves is going to set the bar for what we expect from other people. And the truth is we cannot accept a level of love greater than the level of love we have for ourselves.

So if consciously, you know you want this supportive, loving, nurturing partner? If you have not developed that relationship with yourself, if you meet somebody who treats you that way or could treat you that way, you will find a way to sabotage it. You will not be able to receive that. And that’s what a lot of people don’t understand. They think, well, I’ll feel better when I just meet someone who can love me, but it’s never going to work that way when we seek externally what we also need to give to ourselves. It doesn’t last; it’s temporary. So if this is something you struggle with, you may, in the beginning of a new relationship, love all the attention and compliments and validation; it feels so good, but that level of attention and validation. It doesn’t last; it’s a fleeting part of a relationship. And if you’re entering a relationship hungry for that, then when it starts to subside as the relationship develops, you’re going to feel frustrated, you’re going to feel scared, you’re gonna feel empty again. And if you don’t have your own reserves, if you don’t know how to refill your own tank with tension, validation, love, compassion. You’re gonna look to the relationship to give you something that you need to be giving yourself. And you’re going to attack the relationship. You’re going to expect too much from a partner, and the relationship won’t last.

Oftentimes in childhood, we were not nurtured and loved and cared for and protected and respected the way that we deserved to be, not because our parents were bad, but because they’re human and they’re limited, and they often didn’t get those things from their caregivers.

So our job as adults is learning how to give ourselves. That that love care, attention, compassion, nurturing, respect to essentially parent ourselves to treat ourselves in such a way that we know that we are innately lovable and that we are worthy of attention and love and compassion and validation to treat ourselves like we would treat a child to treat ourselves like we would treat our best friend.

And to never be harsh judgemental, say negative things to ourselves, to be critical of some people, that’s a new revelation. They’re like, well, you know, I got to acknowledge when I screw up or if I’m being lazy and being self-compassionate and self-loving is not about not holding yourself accountable.

But it’s supporting yourself and loving yourself through everything. So on those days, when you, you know, are not motivated or you’re feeling lazy, you acknowledge it like, oh, you know, this was a bad day, but instead of beating yourself up, which is never, ever helpful, you wouldn’t do that to a child. You wouldn’t do that to your best friend.

You’d ask yourself, what’s going on? What’s wrong? What do I need? And then you give yourself that, and it’s that nurturing, that love, that compassion that helps restore your energy. Being harsh and critical just steals your energy and makes you feel bad. And that’s never going to serve you. And as we talked about before, with unconscious attraction, the more you love yourself, the more you will attract partners who are capable of loving you. And the more you will feel attraction to partners who are healthy and can love you. And the less you will tolerate bad behavior. Right? So the better you treat yourself, the better. You expect others to treat you as well. The more love you pour into yourself, the more love you output into the world. It helps us all. So self-love is the second area of self-work.

So we have awareness, we have self-love. The third category is a mindset. Are you aware of your deep-seated beliefs or your fear-based thoughts? And do you typically come from a place of fear and negativity and doubt, or do you come from a place of love and certainty that what you want you can have and that you deserve good things?

Our thoughts create our reality. And we’re not taught that in school, but it’s simply true. The things we tell ourselves show up in our life. They impact the way we feel our feelings impact our behavior. If we believe something isn’t going to happen, it won’t happen. But if we believe that something is happening.

And if we choose to believe that, you know, to look for the good and to appreciate and have gratitude, we’re going to see more things in our lives to appreciate and to have gratitude for and a big part of the mindset, is really becoming clear on what are the thoughts that I’m feeding are my thoughts are fear base? Or are they love-based?

So in regards to a relationship, I work with a lot of people that come to me, and they have a lot of fear-based thoughts and beliefs. Love is hard to find. There are no good men left. There are no good women left. I can’t trust people. I’m too old. Time is running out, and our beliefs and thoughts run our patterns; they run our scripts, they run our behavior. So part of the work is eliminating any of those fear-based beliefs and thoughts because fear is not rational, and it keeps our vibration very low and our energy very low.

So instead, learning how to feed those thoughts that raise our vibration, raise our energy, and raise our level of hope and belief and certainty because the truth is those things that you yearn for? If you yearn for a relationship? It means that that relationship has meant for you. Those things that we yearn for are clues about what’s on your highest path. If you’re yearning for it, it’s because you’re supposed to have it.

And so visualizing it, picturing it, knowing that you’re moving toward it, as you do your work, as you say no to everything, that isn’t what you want. You get closer to what it is that you want. But if you’re running on a mindset that is very negative and fearful, You’re not going to see things that way.

You’re not going to see the ending of a relationship as it didn’t work out because it wasn’t supposed to work out. You’re going to get stuck there. And you’re gonna cling to people that were not meant for you, that can’t love you, that they aren’t choosing you, that weren’t right for you. And you’re going to stay stuck because fear is what keeps us stuck.
So a big part of the work, especially that I do with people, is moving them from fear to love. You got to keep it moving. You will never miss what is meant for you and what is meant for you will never miss you. If you’re doing the self-work because you are tuned in to what it is you want. And you’re tuned in to yourself, and you let go of what isn’t flowing, which brings us to the fourth part of the self-work, which is clarity.

And it’s being really honest with yourself about what it is you actually want. A lot of people get scared about the step because they’re afraid if they acknowledge it or they admit what they really want. Then it means they’re going to have to make changes. They’re going to have to make hard decisions. They’re going to have to change their actions or behavior.
And if you want to have what you want, yes, you will need to do that. But the first step is just to get clear and honest with yourself about what you want. You may not be ready to move toward it. You may not be ready to take action or make decisions or change anything.
And that is fine, but it’s just important. It’s imperative that you get very clear and very honest with yourself and ask yourself if fear was not in the picture, what is it I want, what do I yearn for? What do I long for? What, what does my soul feel pulled toward? And just identify that. Because until we do that, if we never acknowledge what we want, we’re never going to have it.

And nobody else knows what your soul wants. Nobody else knows what your heart desires, just you, and you have all those answers inside of you. And that’s a big part of doing the work is being honest about what’s important to me. And what do I really want?
And then the last part, the fifth part of doing the self-work, is intentionality and consciousness. So once you have the awareness about why you do the things you do, why you feel the things you feel, why you choose the people you choose, what part you’ve played in all of these dynamics and relationships, and you’re focused on your mindset to be one of certainty and hope and love. And you’ve really worked on self-love, and you’re practicing compassion and nurturing behaviors towards yourself, and you know what it is, you want. The consciousness and the intentionality says that my behaviors, every decision, every interaction, every action that I take is either moving me toward what I want. Toward the way I want to feel toward the relationship I say, I want, or it’s moving me backwards or keeping me stuck.

And being intentional, and again, honest with ourselves, there may be times when you do the old thing, instead of the new thing, you know? You may not lean into the uncomfortable thing of change. And that’s okay. You just have to be conscious of it. You have to know it as you’re doing it. I know I’m choosing to stay stuck right now. I’m not ready to do the uncomfortable thing and make the choice that’s going to move me toward what I want.
And in our relationship again, it’s being very intentional. Let’s say you’re with somebody who you’ve been dating for a few months and they’re not ready to be exclusive with you, but you want to be with someone who chooses you, who knows it’s you, who wants to invest in you.
If you choose to stay in that relationship, do it consciously and ask yourself, why am I staying here? Even though it’s not what I want and your reasons, maybe I’m scared of being alone. I like the short-term gratification of being with this person. I don’t want to face the sadness of saying goodbye.

It’s that consciousness and intentionality that is also going to change your life because every decision you make is either creating the life you want or doing the opposite. And bottom line doing the self-work is really about taking responsibility for yourself and how you show up and how you are creating and co-creating every relationship and every dynamic in yours.
If there’s something that you’re not happy with, then you need to ask yourself, what do I need to change? And that is how you empower yourself. If we wait for somebody to show up, if we wait for somebody to change, we are disempowered. We are not in control of what anybody else says, thinks, feels, believes.

We are only in control of ourselves. My goal in this lifetime is to help people do the work and to wake up because you are more powerful than anybody has ever led you to believe everything you want is waiting for you. It’s just up to you to come into full alignment. And when we talk about alignment, it’s really about doing this work.

It’s about understanding yourself, having compassion for yourself. It’s about speaking your truth. That’s about expressing your feelings. It’s about really understanding who you are and making choices that feel good and feel aligned with the life you want to have in the person that you are. And once you start to do this self-work, You tap into the deep wisdom inside of you, and things get so clear, you’re less in your mind, and you’re more in your body and your heart and your intuition. And you don’t need to think as much because you alone have all the answers, and the self-work is really rooting you in yourself. And everything flows from that.

Feel free to find me on Instagram or email me with questions about doing the self-work. One thing that I offer people is relationship reading. And relationship readings basically, you fill out this big worksheet that I developed. It’s like if we work together for three or four hours, all the areas we would dive into a childhood and family and relationships and self you fill that out, you send it back to me, and then I synthesize all of that information, and I will tell you exactly what your unconscious attraction is. I will tell you what your childhood strategies are that you’re probably still using that ended up blocking love. I’ll tell you what your work looks like. What are the things that you need to shift and how you need to grow, to change your course of love? And I’ll basically just give you a roadmap.

Like this is your work. This is how you need to shift, grow, and change to access the love that you want and to get to that next level. So get in contact, if you want more information about that, I’ll also put it in the show notes. Once you start doing this work, the cool thing is you’re going to start meeting other people that are doing this work, and you’re going to build a tribe of people that are awake and conscious and healthy and aware, and your life is going to completely change.

Thank you for tuning in. I hope this was helpful and please keep sending me questions. Your questions really matter to me. I want to know what you want to hear about, and I will use Dear Dater as a way to answer those questions.

Thanks for tuning into Dear Dater. This is Dr. Tari, reminding you that if you want love, that’s meant for you.