Letting go and self-acceptance

Letting go and self-acceptance

Strengthen self-esteem with the 5 freedoms method (Virginia Satir)


  • Understand the permissions that everyone needs to give themselves to feel free and avoid unnecessary stress
  • Identify the permissions that we do not necessarily give ourselves and that create tension, stress or frustration in our lives.


Virginia Satir (1916 - 1988), an American psychotherapist from the Paolo Alto school, explains that the construction of an individual's self-image is based on his experiences and interactions with others very early in childhood, and is rooted in an emotional memory.

As adults, we tend to reproduce the same dominant/dominated hierarchical model in our social, professional and emotional relationships. This can lead to anxiety and feelings of inadequacy in many relational situations.

The "5 freedoms" are five permissions that human beings give themselves to feel free in their lives:

  • seeing what is
  • to feel what we feel
  • to say what you want to say
  • to go and get what you need
  • act in accordance with yourself

Change comes through awareness of the mask (role) we prefer to wear: victim, leader, vigilante, helper, entertainer, etc., and acceptance of who we are behind the mask, with our strengths and weaknesses.

The Palo Alto School is a current of thought and research named after the city of Palo Alto in California, from the early 1950s. It is cited in psychology and psycho-sociology as well as in information and communication sciences in connection with the concepts of cybernetics - Wikipedia


Identify the filters, mental programming, interpretations, influences, that often bias your perceptions to what we should perceive, by answering these questions:

1. The freedom to see and hear what is

rather than what was, what should be, or what will be

What proven reality do you find difficult to see or hear?

2. The freedom to say (with kindness and empathy) what you feel and think

rather than what you think you should say

What thoughts or emotions do you have difficulty expressing?

3. The freedom to feel what you feel

rather than what you think you should feel

What emotions or feelings do you have difficulty connecting to?

4. The freedom to ask for what you want

rather than waiting to be given permission

What do you really want that you have trouble asking for? To whom?

5. The freedom to choose and take risks on one's own behalf

rather than seeking safety and avoiding "rocking the boat" (by making comfort choices that maintain the status quo)

What initiatives do you find difficult to take because they seem risky? What comfort choices do you make as a result? When you struggle to move the boat (by making comfort choices that maintain the status quo)

When you struggle to give yourself these permissions :

  • How do you feel (emotions, feelings)?
  • What do you say to yourself ? (self-talk, self-judgment) • How do you behave ? (physical sensations, reactive actions, withdrawal, aggression, etc.)


  • Practice letting go and acceptance to improve your ability to see and hear what is.
  • Develop emotional management and assertiveness to improve your ability to say what you feel and think.
  • Improve your emotional awareness to improve your ability to feel what you feel.
  • Practice assertiveness and be proactive to improve your ability to ask for what you want.
  • Develop your courage and leadership to take risks on your own behalf and dare to go after what matters most to you.

Some thoughts from Virginia SATIR for inspiration:

"Every human being is the best, a treasure and even a miracle”

"I want to love you without clinging, appreciate you without judging you, join you without invading you, invite you without insisting, leave you without guilt, criticise you* without blaming you, help you without diminishing you! If you want to give me the same, then we can meet and enrich each other.”

"In all the universe, there is no other person who is exactly like me. I am me and all that I am is unique. I am responsible for myself. I have everything I need right here and now to live fully. I can choose to manifest the best of myself, I can choose to love, to be competent, to find meaning in my life and order in the universe. I can choose to develop, grow and live in harmony with myself, others and God. I am worthy of being accepted and loved exactly as I am here and now. I love and accept myself. I choose to live fully today.”