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Patrick Schultz: How To Learn To Finally Love Yourself

By understanding who you truly are and what makes you who you are, we can then learn what it takes to make a positive relationship with others. We also can learn what it is that we need and want from people to add to us as a person not complete us. When we don’t understand ourselves we often seek from others that we are missing, and never feel completely fulfilled.

As a part of my series about “Learning To Finally Love Yourself” I had the pleasure to interview Patrick Schultz MA LPC NCC.

Patrick is a licensed professional counselor who owns his private practice, Milwaukee Counselor, located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Patrick has been in practice for years and specializes in treating couples, depression, anxiety, trauma, and first responders/veterans/active military members.

Thank you so much for joining us! I’d love to begin by asking you to give us the backstory as to what brought you to this specific career path.

I started my private practice as a way to continue to see a few clients outside of my full time job at a local hospital in a behavioral health program. I started seeing a few clients a week and then decided that this would be something that I would like to grow and be able to serve more clients. I then decided to start working to grow my practice into a group practice to allow other clinicians to help provide high quality therapy services to the Milwaukee area. I currently have 3 clinicians who work with me in the practice and each specialize in their own niche.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you hope that they might help people along their path to self-understanding or a better sense of well being in their relationships?

My current project is a new website. This will be launching in the next month or so and should help to grow the group practice to again expand our reach in the community and to be able to help people have hope, heal, and ultimately find happiness in their lives. At Milwaukee Counselor we believe that all people should be able to find happiness and live their lives in a positive fulfilling way.

Do you have a personal story that you can share with our readers about your struggles or successes along your journey of self-understanding and self-love? Was there ever a tipping point that triggered a change regarding your feelings of self acceptance?

The whole process of developing a private therapy practice is a journey and lesson in self understanding and love. It is a process which can demand a lot from you but also becomes very fulfilling. Seeing clients come into therapy and struggle to feel well on a daily basis to finishing therapy and smiling, laughing, and living their life on their terms is where the real reward is. I have had to have a lot of patience with developing this practice and growing it a little at a time. I want things to happen faster and most of the time this change happens on its own time and I have to remind myself that this is a process and it will happen. When I accept this process this helps me to stay true to the ideas of hope, healing and happiness which Milwaukee Counselor has for everyone.

According to a recent study cited in Cosmopolitan, in the US, only about 28 percent of men and 26 percent of women are “very satisfied with their appearance.” Could you talk about what some of the causes might be, as well as the consequences?

Many clients that I work with struggle with self image-both physically and emotionally. This is a very common thing! Many times this lack of satisfaction comes from personal insecurities which can manifest themselves in our own perceptions. The consequences that come from them can be depression, anxiety, fear etc. When these problems and poor self image continue/get worse, they can really derail ones life and impact many areas.

As cheesy as it might sound to truly understand and “love yourself,” can you share with our readers a few reasons why it’s so important?

I feel that if you can truly understand and love yourself, you will be able to live a life that is rewarding, enjoyable, and happy. When we allow our life to be judged by ourselves and focus only on the negative things or things that we should have done better, we lose sight of the good things that we do. The more these negative things take over the more that they become a part of who we are. When we switch over to thinking more positively and loving us for who we are, we begin to see life more truly and less pessimistically and ultimately live life happier and more fulfilled.

Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?

Fear is a big reason that many people may stay in a mediocre relationship. Fear of what it would be like to be alone, fear of what it would mean to not be in the relationship, and fear that they may never find another relationship-even if it is not the best, a relationship is better than no relationship. I would recommend that people who are finding themselves in a poor relationship, examine what it is that you are getting out of the relationship. If you are struggling to find something good from it, maybe seeking a counselor or therapist to help explore why you are in the poor relationship can help give some clarity.

When we talk about self-love and understanding we don’t necessarily mean blindly loving and accepting ourselves the way we are. Many times self-understanding requires us to reflect and ask ourselves the tough questions, to realize perhaps where we need to make changes in ourselves to be better not only for ourselves but our relationships. What are some of those tough questions that will cut through the safe space of comfort we like to maintain, that our readers might want to ask themselves? Can you share an example of a time that you had to reflect and realize how you needed to make changes?

I think that some of the tough questions can be: what do I want out of life? What is going well for me? What is not going well? Do I have areas in my life that are not healthy for me? There are numerous questions that you can ask but the important things is to ask questions of yourself, but to answer them honestly. Once you have your answers, then a plan can be developed to begin to change those things in your life that you want to change.

So many don’t really know how to be alone, or are afraid of it. How important is it for us to have, and practice, that capacity to truly be with ourselves and be alone (literally or metaphorically)?

I think that being alone and being ok with it is vitally important. We often fear being alone because it leaves us with our thoughts and feelings and for some, this can be intolerable. When we slow down and take time for us, we begin to learn more about who we are and what makes us us. Being alone is also not the same as being lonely. Being alone allows us to be more in control of ourselves and also allows us to learn about what we need from others in our life and how we can develop self care to create a complete picture of who we are.

How does achieving a certain level of self-understanding and self-love then affect your ability to connect with and deepen your relationships with others?

By understanding who you truly are and what makes you who you are, we can then learn what it takes to make a positive relationship with others. We also can learn what it is that we need and want from people to add to us as a person not complete us. When we don’t understand ourselves we often seek from others that we are missing, and never feel completely fulfilled.

In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?

Individuals can a lot to begin to learn about themselves which in turn will help society. Begin to learn to what you enjoy, what you like/dislike, yearn for, desire, dream about etc. by practice mindfulness. Learning to be in the moment helps us to determine more of what we need. If you can do this, and live it daily, society will itself begin to change.

What are 5 strategies that you implement to maintain your connection with and love for yourself, that our readers might learn from? Could you please give a story or example for each?

I personally love to run, read, spend time with my family. These things help me to maintain myself and connect more fully with those around me. I also can then connect with the clients that I work with because I have been taken care of.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources for self-psychology, intimacy, or relationships? What do you love about each one and how does it resonate with you?

I love any of the books by John and Julie Gottman who are gurus in relationships and intimacy. The Love dare is another excellent book to focus on your partner and yourself at the same time. Practicing self care by scheduling out time on a consistent basis is a good way to practice the art of doing for yourself.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? Maybe we’ll inspire our readers to start it…

Developing a system/class to allow people to connect with their partner in a wholesome way and develop positive relationships which are founded on connection trust and communication. By doing this, more relationships can be successful and not end.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that you use to guide yourself by?
Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life and how our readers might learn to live by it in theirs?

“Believe in yourself and you will be unstoppable”. Building a private practice is stressful and difficult, but by reminding myself of this quote helps me to stay focused and keep moving forward and things will fall into place .

Thank you so much for your time and for your inspiring insights!



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Misty Schwartz

Misty Schwartz

Misty Schwartz is a public relations and marketing guru, she also enjoys doing charity events in her spare time.