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Ashley Davis Bush

Ashley Davis Bush

Ashley Davis Bush, LICSW is a psychotherapist in private practice in southern New Hampshire.  She is also a Huffington Post blogger and the author of 4 self-help books, including "75 Habits for a Happy Marriage," and "Shortcuts to Inner Peace."  For more information and resources, visit

Susan sat in front of me staring out the window.  She smoothed some stray gray hairs around her right ear, sighed, and said, “I’m 63 years old for heaven’s sake; it’s time that I learn to love myself.  That’s why I’m here.”

I asked her to number her self-love on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being rich with self-acceptance, self-compassion, and self-cherishing and 1 being total self-loathing.  She told me that she was a solid 4.

And so we began our work together.  My heart goes out to the men and women who struggle with self-love.  In fact, at some point in therapy, even when self-love isn’t the presenting issue, I always ask, “Do you love yourself?”  The answer is usually a surprised look, and a tentative, “I don’t think so,” or “I don’t know.”  Very few answer with a resounding ‘yes!’

Personally, I think we suffer an epidemic of self-loathers, or at least self-dislikers.  And yet, as with many disorders, this epidemic is based on distorted thoughts, misperceptions, and mind traps.  Once a person claims their birthright of self-love, everything in life becomes easier – from work to relationships to simply looking in a mirror.