As she began to take a conscious look at how she had been living her life, Julia realized that she had been unhappy for a long time. Reminiscing about the early years of her marriage allowed Julia to remember the loving, respectful, supportive relationship that they had once shared. As our work together continued, Julia began to realize all that she had given up by building her life around Ben's alcoholism. Julia also acknowledged that she had rarely spoken (to Ben or anyone else) to ask for what she needed to feel happy.
Julia needed to identify her own needs, and how to provide them for herself. She also had to use her free will to make conscious choices reflecting what was best for her. Living her life in a way that would allow her to feel happy again would come from being true to her inner self.
Identifying your needs (perhaps for the very first time) may be both challenging and a little scary. Even when you can identify what you need, you may continue to doubt whether you deserve to have it. At this stage, reserve any judgments. Your goal is to begin looking within simply to identify what your needs are. This is an important part of what helps to build self-esteem and self-worth. Identifying your needs is a meaningful step towards honouring your needs. Honouring your needs is another path to happiness and self-worth.
In addition to allowing herself to grieve over Ben's death, I suggested that Julia look at her reactions toward Sandra. If she could not feel compassion toward Sandra, Julia's contempt for Ben's first wife would eventually destroy her. While she agreed with me on principle, Julia admitted that she didn't know how she would ever be able to change her feelings.
For Julia, who was so busy reacting to events outside of herself, I introduced the conscious breathing technique as a way of providing her