Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"Look back and see how far you have come."

What did you want to be when you grew up?   Did you make it?  Are you doing something else now?  If so, how come?  What has your journey been like? 

Some people are born knowing what they want to do with their lives.  In some ways, they are the lucky ones because they don't usually have a lot of false starts.  They just put their mind to it and achieve their life's ambition.

Other people change careers often looking for that one thing that fits them best.  For these people, they have all kinds of experiences - some good, some bad. They find out about lots of different things they know they DON'T want to do. They may even pick up an array of different skills that prove useful once they find that elusive "special purpose."

Which one are you?

"Look back and see how far you have come."

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"Detours are opportunities to experience new things."

Every once in a while a client will tell me about how he or she wanted to be one thing when they grew up but something happened and they are now in a different place.  Some times people feel like this makes them some type of "failure."

I recall a woman who was very bright who got accepted into a prestigious college right after high school.  She wanted to go to college very badly but there was a death in her family and she wound up staying at home to help out.  Every time she happened to be driving near the college she didn't attend she felt anxious and like a failure.

However, after exploring what her staying at home had meant to her family and to her she realized there was no other choice for her to make at the time.  In addition, her choice of family enriched the relationships around her.  Who knows what would have happened had she made another choice?  Her life made a detour, but ultimately she experienced a deeper connection with the people she loved most. "Detours are opportunities to experience new things."  What detours have you made in your life?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Write down your fears to make them separate from you.

Everyone gets scared from time to time. Fear is actually an important feeling.  We need to feel fear to keep us safe from harm.  Feeling afraid is our early warning sign that we might be headed for danger.  But what if we don't really know the outcome of a situation? 

The down side of fear is that it can become overwhelming and keep us from doing things that we want to do.  Fear can keep us from taking any risk at all. If we never take a risk then we can always be reasonably sure of the outcome even if it is not what we really want.  Fear can keep us stuck.

Sometimes it's better to feel our fear and move forward anyway. For example, let's say you have a job interview coming up for a new and exciting position but you feel fear that you might not get hired, you don't have the right clothes, they might not like you, you might be late, etc...

Here is the good news.  You are not your fear.  In fact, if you want to try to something new but feel held back by fear, try writing it down.  Try writing down as many fears as you have.  Look at your list. Which ones make sense?  Which ones seem a little over the top?  Which ones are worth the risk anyway? Once you have written your fears down, you have just made them s-e-p-a-r-a-t-e from you.  You have choice now.  It's important to be able to take a more objective look at what's going on inside of us some times.  Talking with a trusted friend or a therapist can help you manage your fear and move through it to a more successful life.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

"Let go of beliefs that are not true."

Have you ever found yourself doing or saying something and realizing your parents or some other influential person did that too? Sometimes that's a comforting realization if it's something we like. Sometimes, though, we find ourselves doing something as adults we swore we would never do!

Here's a simplistic example. Let's say your parents never approved of dressing in a particular style.  You grow up, you get dressed one day, look in the mirror, and say to yourself "I shouldn't be wearing this."  You can't quite put your finger on what's wrong with what you are wearing other than you feel there is something wrong with it.  You may be operating on automatic messages from your past.

This happens a lot in therapy.  Clients sometimes are living their lives according to outdated rules from their families of origin or messages that no longer fit them as adults.  It can be freeing to examine some of these old whisperings to see if they are messages that help or hurt. The saying "Let go of beliefs that are not true." can be quite helpful indeed!  A trusted friend or a good therapist can assist you with this.  What are your beliefs and are they helpful to you?

Friday, April 19, 2013

"As long as you are alive, you can still hope."

This post is being created the week of the "Boston Marathon" bombings.  Once again we have been reminded that life can be hard, and terrible things happen that we are forced to cope with. How are you doing with it all?  I don't know about you, but I know some times it seems to me like the amount of nastiness, sorrow, and fear in our world is overwhelming.

However, when I start to feel like this I notice these feelings are in competition with another deeper part inside.  It is the part that feels that most people are good in their core.  Even with this latest act of terrorism, if you counted up the number of people who perpetrated this event and compared it to the number of people who demonstrated courage, kindness, and real caring in the face of horror, the reality seems to back up that deeper truth.  Being alive means coming in contact with an evil MINORITY some times.  How do we cope?  We remain hopeful for a better day for the MAJORITY.  "As long as you are alive, you can still hope."

Boston, you have my love.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Bring flowers inside.

I saw this saying and it made me think of the spring coming right around the corner.  When I look at  flowers in bloom I am reminded of the natural beauty all around us every day.  Flowers tend to brighten up any space and make us feel good (if we are not allergic of course!).  This is important.

We may not have the biggest home or the fanciest place to live, but we can create a space of sanctuary for ourselves.  You need a place where you can take a break from the hustle and bustle of the world and just relax and be your true self. 

Sure, but what if you don't live alone and you can't just make your home your own paradise?  I recommend to clients that they carve out a space, even if it's just a corner of a room, where they can be surrounded by beauty and peace. This will look different for every person. Maybe for one person it's about pillows, for someone else it's about music, another it's about quiet.  Whatever gives you that feeling of inner relaxation, you need a place where you can go to renew and energize. You need to know it's always there. Make it a goal today to create something wonderful for yourself.  Bringing flowers inside is a great first step.

Friday, September 28, 2012

"Say no politely and quickly."

I work with people all the time who have a hard time saying "no."  Some people feel guilty if they want to say no to someone and they know that person won't like their answer.  This can be a huge struggle that can cost someone a feeling of being in control of his or her life.

For example, let's say a family member would like to spend time with you.  You haven't seen this person in a while and it would mean a lot to them.  It just so happens that right before that call you made plans with a friend to do something else.  What if this family member is really good at expressing their disappointment so it leaves you feeling terrible? What do you do?

The above expression is good advice.  "Say no politely and quickly."  The first step is to realize that no else's feelings are MORE important than yours.  You have every right to keep the plans with your friend.  However, in saying "no" to anyone, we want to recognize that sometimes hearing "no" is harder for some people than others.  If you are interacting with a person who tends to get upset, try to say "no" as politely as possible.  Let that person know that you care about them and want to see them.  Maybe even suggest an alternate time that could work for both of you.  What you don't want to do is say "yes" when you want or need to say "no." This can lead to resentment. Say no quickly and politely and then go enjoy your time with your friend!