In the month since I first started this venture, the question I have been asked most is “Why Yellow Dot?” I hope that you will be relieved to know that it is not an entirely random name, the “yellow dot” is at the core of most of my strongly held beliefs.
It is well over 20 years since I first started training as a counsellor. People outside the field may not know just how many types of counselling / psychotherapy there are (and why should they?) but my initial training was as a client or person-centred counsellor and this particular discipline was based on the work of the humanist, Carl Rogers.
Rogers talked of the “organismic self” or the “real self”. The idea is (and scholars will have to forgive me if I over-simplify but this is not an academic blog) that we are born with a perfect sense of self and with the innate desire to grow and develop (to self-actualise).
Just as a flower needs a balance of water, nutrients and sunlight to grow effectively, so the organismic self needs a nurturing environment if it is to grow to its full potential. According to Rogers the core conditions of growth are Congruence (genuiness & openness), Unconditional Positive Regard (complete acceptance for who we are) and Empathy (to be listened to and understood).
When the conditions for growth are good, when we are surrounded by people who love us and listen to us and try to understand us, then we are able to be our real selves and are able to achieve anything we set out to do – our potential is limitless.
When the conditions for growth are poor, when we are surrounded by judgement and criticism, when our relationships are limited by conditions (I will only love you if…), when we are not listened to or understood, then we focus on other people’s values rather than our own – it becomes important to fit in and be liked rather than to be ourselves.
I have always imagined that the organismic self is a dot, deep inside me. When the organismic self faces difficult times it is still there, small and still, waiting, like a seed waits for spring. When the conditions for growth are right the dot can grow inside us, filling us with warmth and sunshine.
The dot I imagine is yellow because, in psychological terms, yellow is the most noticeable of colours, it represents optimism, light and positivity. It is the colour of energy, enthusiasm and cheerfulness.
I use yellow dot stickers on random items to remind myself that I am on a journey, to grow and learn and develop. When I see a sticker I ask myself a question – “is this helping me to grow into the person I want to be?”
This is not a test. The answer isn’t always yes. If I see a sticker when I am vacuuming the house I ask myself “Is this helping me to grow into the person I want to be?” the answer is an unequivocal “NO”, but it is making the house clean and I kind of like that so it’s ok.
More importantly, when I am feeling unhappy, seeing a yellow dot reminds me to question why I feel that way. Am I being genuine? Am I feeling judged by the people I am with? Am I being mis-understood? What can I do to change that?
When those feelings last I seek help. I surround myself with people who do not judge me, I go for coffee with someone who will be open and honest with me, I talk to someone who will listen to me. When I get stuck I visit a coach who can help me to get unstuck. When unhappiness won’t go away I visit a counsellor who helps me to accept and understand myself.
I hope that this Yellow Dot community will do the same for you. My aim is to always be non-judgemental, to listen to you and your views, to try to understand you, to be genuine in everything I write and to help all of you to grow.
Please let me know what you do to nurture the Yellow Dot inside you. I love reading your comments.
Maybe you could also tag those people in your life who help you to be the best person you can be – that friend, partner, colleague or family member who can name your faults but love you anyway, who can always see the real you, that person who listens and always tries to understand.
Thanks for reading.