‘Ask Dr. Julie’ Answers All on IG

Dr. Julie Groveman is a licensed clinical psychologist, with a private practice in Manhattan, specializing in working with adults and teens. With compassion and focus, Julie is committed to helping you heal from the past and to rediscover your Inner Strength. Her work focuses on helping you to shift negative patterns, to become the most authentic and empowered version of yourself. Outside of her therapy work, she is an advocate for cleaner safer beauty.

“Since I was a kid, I’ve been very aware, curious and sensitive. I’ve always wanted to understand others -people of all ages- especially those who appeared different than myself. I was mostly adventurous and fearless as a little girl, but developed some social fears in high school that began to get in the way.

As a teen, anxiety could block me from feeling comfortable in my skin. Unexpectedly, it could be difficult for me to show up freely in certain situations. The physical discomfort resulted in avoiding certain situations or doing things to cover up how I really felt. It was a vicious cycle related to “fearing the fear,” and wanting to hide any signs of anxiety such as blushing or “looking nervous” in front of others.  For me, beneath anxiety was fear of negative judgment and shame.

A lack of self-love also looked like generally focusing too much on my physical appearance and relying too much on external reassurance or validation to help me make important decisions. Over time, I learned the importance of getting quiet with myself, to listen to my inner voice, and to trust my own feelings.

My self -love journey began as a result of feeling frustrated and tired of my fears, and after I finally admitted that I wanted more for myself. I acknowledged that I didn’t feel satisfied with how things were going and I imagined that if I kept avoiding, it was likely that fears would limit me even more.

I started to intentionally put myself in uncomfortable situations. For example, I felt extremely nervous at the thought of giving presentations, and so I signed up for an Intro to Public Speaking course at a community college while I was in high school. This experience helped me to gradually face my fears in a supportive setting. I stopped avoiding and started showing up to things, despite my nerves. Every time I stepped out of my comfort zone and survived an anxiety-provoking situation, my confidence grew a bit.

To become a clinical psychologist I needed to fulfill a requirement to complete a certain number of hours of my own psychotherapy. Engaging in the therapy experience, while being open and vulnerable, was extremely powerful in helping to build and strengthen my self-love. It was through the process of exploring, with a compassionate and nonjudgmental therapist that I was able to identify self-limiting beliefs and to reflect on the ways in which my early experiences may have contributed to low confidence. It also helped heal a part of me that felt shame about my anxiety and imperfections. It was so relieving to learn how incredibly common anxiety is, and to learn effective ways to cope.”

Some words I’d offer to my younger self: 

“Your anxiety won’t hurt you. Even though it feels SO uncomfortable, you’ll survive it!”

“Don’t be afraid of your fears.”

“It’s okay to be imperfect! Let people see the real you.”

A big part of what makes anxiety worse is being afraid of the feeling itself. I’d remind myself that anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s not a sign of weakness, instead it’s a sign of your compassion and sensitivity (it could’ve contributed to why people feel so comfortable and safe opening up to you today as a therapist).

“It’s okay to have moments of self-doubt, but remember that you can trust your intuition.”

It can definitely be helpful to seek support from others, however, all the answers you need can be found within yourself- if you slow down to listen to your inner voice.

I’ve learned that the human journey to self-love is continuous and non-linear. It’s been very healing and humbling to share about my past experiences. Fears become stronger in silence. When you put words to what you’re feeling, it dilutes the power it has over you. Through sharing, it’s helped me to realize that everyone has something they’ve struggled with and that most people don’t fully love and/or accept themselves overnight.  It takes conscious effort and practice to make any positive change.

Sign up for Julie’s Inner Strength Newsletter and get a FREE Self-Esteem guide. Visit her website: www.askdocjulie.com.