Learning to Love Yourself

Today I took a question from my sister. She wanted to know how her friend can learn to love herself better? She wanted to know if I had any podcast or book suggestions? First, I needed more information. Once I had a better understanding of her friend’s background, my suggestions came quick.

Three Questions to Love Yourself

  1. How are your boundaries? You might say you don’t have any boundaries. Or maybe you think your boundaries are great. You might not know how to know if your boundaries are good. That’s ok. A pretty simple question: “Do you find yourself often feeling angry in similar situations?” If that’s a yes, you’ve likely got some boundary issues and some work to do. Loving yourself requires boundaries. (Psst… I can help with that.)

2. Are you living authentically? When I was married, I battled with depression. I honestly didn’t know who I was. When the marriage ended and I got to explore Michelle 2.0 what was really evident was that I was not living authentically. I filtered my life for the comfort of the people around me and that didn’t make me very happy. Was that me loving myself? No. To love yourself you must be yourself.

3. Are you regularly asking yourself what you want right now? Maybe a first step is to ask yourself what you NEED right now? Seriously. Start a new habit to stop and ask yourself, “Self, what do you need right now?” and then give yourself that need. Transition into asking what you want when it feels like the right time. It’s funny how we’ve been taught that needs are essential and wants are frivolous. They aren’t frivolous. It’s ok to ask for what we want! Many times we walk through our lives compromising and never even needing to know what we want. We’ve silenced our voice, probably since childhood. To love yourself is to hear yourself.

Recommended Reading to Love Yourself

In the case of my sister’s friend, I learned that her friend likes to be in control of everything. That was the key phrase I picked up on in everything I read. I knew right away that the first stop was to suggest The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. When we are afraid of being imperfect, we are battling shame. Read the book! It’s good. Then… go ahead and keep reading through all of Brene’s books. I did it. It was a good choice. If you’d like the order I read them in, I’m happy to share. Shoot me an email at michelle@humanconnectioncoach.com.

"Every time you're given a choice between disappointing someone else and disappointing yourself, your duty is to disappoint that someone else. Your job, throughout your entire life, is to disappoint as many people as it takes to avoid disappointing yourself." 
- Glennon Doyle

THAT's how you love yourself!
“Every time you’re given a choice between disappointing someone else and disappointing yourself, your duty is to disappoint that someone else. Your job, throughout your entire life, is to disappoint as many people as it takes to avoid disappointing yourself.” – Glennon Doyle

THAT’s how you love yourself!

Next, because I just think everyone should read this book, I want to recommend Untamed by Glennon Doyle. While it’s definitely written for women, there are lessons for everyone in this book. BURN THOSE SOCIAL MEMOS!!!! It’s been my favorite read since COVID halted my life. I started my untaming process 6 years ago and I still needed to read this book. I listened to it on Audible and then bought the hard cover because I wanted to be able to loan it out to my clients.

Learning to love yourself is a process. You are a work in progress.

Interested in working together to learn to love yourself? Let’s connect!

Michelle (she/her), based in the Baltimore area, offers human connection coaching ranging from cuddle therapy to surrogate partner therapy (sexual surrogacy).  While Michelle is not a sex therapist, she is a sex geek, experienced in kink/BDSM, polyamory and other relationship structures.  Your weird isn’t weird to her.  In her world,  you’re normal.

What is Human Connection Coaching?

Human connection coaching supports clients in experiencing secure attachment. Through secure attachment, past wounds can begin to heal and clients can recognize that feeling of safety out in the regular world and in future relationships.  In addition, human connection coaching supports clients in communicating boundaries, developing agency and a sense of empowerment in addition to discovering their needs and wants.  I offer human connection coaching on the spectrum from platonic to sensual to sexual. 

Esther Perel says, “The quality of your life ultimately depends on the quality of your relationships.” I believe that not only means the quality of your relationship with others but also with yourself.

How my Life Experience Shapes my Work

In my own personal experience, having someone in my life who holds me with positive regard, believes in me, wants to hear what I have to say and who looks at me with affection, has granted me a mirror in which I can see myself through their eyes, leading, ultimately, to loving myself.

In the last 5 years of this work, I’ve been able to give that experience to others. I want my clients to feel loved the way I’ve felt loved. It took me 40 years to experience that feeling. I don’t want it to take you any longer than it already has.

Something I once wrote about my work: “My clients see me for so many reasons. I describe my work as human connection coaching. It’s about human contact. It’s about co-regulation of the nervous system. It’s about just connecting and feeling human. I’m not tied to your life. We can talk and I’m not going to get my feelings hurt because I’m just here to listen. I can help find your edges. I can help find your boundaries. I can help you practice asking for what you want. No request is criticized. I may not be a yes but I’ll never shame you.

Is Human Connection Coaching for you?

Human Connection Coaching sessions can focus on:

Personal empowerment

Self acceptance

Physical comfort

Communication skills

Alleviating loneliness

Intentional touch

Building safety

The list could go on and on.

Each client’s needs are evaluated individually. Here are a few initial questions to consider:

Are you looking for support that is emotionally and/or physically intimate but non sexual?

How would you like to feel after our first session?

What stops you from connecting the way you’d like to?

Are you looking for support with sexual intimacy, specifically?

Are you working with a therapist?

There are no right or wrong answers. These are all areas we would discuss when determining the best plan for you.

Where and How

Most of my work is done out of my office in Cockeysville, Maryland, but I’m also available to travel to you or in some cases, work over the phone or video.

So much can be healed with a friendly, accepting ear. I offer virtual connection calls and local walk-and-talk or sit-and-visit sessions. I’m a great listener and I have quite a broad background. A good conversation can feed the soul. Did you know that most of the time we have all the answers, we just need someone to hold space for us while we sort it out? These sessions can be a great compromise during the current COVID pandemic when physical distancing is needed. They are also a great option when Cockeysville isn’t local or if we are planning an intensive weekend (where I come to you or vice versa) and we’d like to establish our connection ahead of time.

The next option, cuddle therapy. Cuddle therapy is non-sexual, fully clothed and client-led. And guess what? These sessions don’t even have to include cuddling or touch! We start every session with, “How would you like to connect?” This is where my work started. Cuddlist, the premier professional cuddle training organization, has been my home since their start in 2015. Clients have found these sessions to be a safe space to experiment with human connection and human contact.

Sometimes my clients need more or something different. Maybe they need to have a plan that is more customized, includes more guided exercises and/or desire we work in collaboration with their therapist. Maybe they have specific sexual intimacy needs including coaching and sexual or relationship education… areas that tend to step outside the cuddle therapy container. I’m here for that too.

What I’m not here for is your entertainment. I love working with people and supporting them in their growth. I can be a huge yes to that! I won’t be a huge yes to less.

“But Michelle, aren’t I just paying you to be my friend?” That’s a great question! I love what I do! I get paid so that I can do what I love. I am so fortunate to walk through this world, supporting myself, while supporting my clients in meeting their goals. I come with a BIG toolbox of knowledge that I want to share with you. If I wasn’t getting paid to do this work, I’d be getting paid to do something else and not available to share what I know with you, to connect with you. So thank you for valuing me.

What’s your next step? Let’s connect and see how we feel about working together!

Additional information about surrogate partner therapy can be found here.

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” – from Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Michelle Renee (she/her) is a human connection coach.

Michelle Renee (she/her) introduces herself as an emotional support human.  She works within a spectrum of touch and connection as a Cuddlist® Certified Practitioner and an IMBT Trained Surrogate Partner.  Michelle is also a Certified facilitator of Cuddle Party®, a consent and communication workshop. A student of Betty Dodson, she occasionally facilitates female sexual empowerment and genital confidence workshops. 

Michelle is not a sex therapist but she is a sex geek, experienced in kink/BDSM, polyamory and other relationship structures.  Your weird isn’t weird to her.  In her world,  you’re normal.