Have you known the you deserve better than the treatment you receive in your relationship?
Do you beat yourself up, feel bad or embarrassed for not getting out of it soon enough?
There’s a secret I want you to know.
Your dedication is a strength.
You love fiercely.
This is a wonderful thing! I just want to offer you one tweak. That love? Turn it inward. To you. You deserve it. It doesn’t even mean you have to stop giving it to anyone else. Just..add yourself into the recipient pool.
We can expend so much energy giving love to another in hopes they will reciprocate. And it’s ok to make this a more direct path to receiving love. It’s ok to value your dedication to relationships and love. It doesn’t mean you have to keep offering it in a direction it’s not appreciated, or drain yourself in an uphill battle. It can be something you appreciate directly about yourself.You may be used to the world demanding a lot of your caring nature. You may have forgotten what it feels like to be truly loved. You don’t need anyone else to remind you. Just make the decision to love yourself.
What can you do, right now,
to commit to loving yourself?
It is so easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of life. We evaluate ourselves on what we DO. Have we done enough? Accomplished enough? Earned respect, love, attention? It’s exhausting and we’re frequently left feeling ‘behind’ and trying to catch up. And sometimes, a few moments to step back and change perspective can make all the difference.
Allow yourself to be in the moment…here..now..focusing on what you choose to attend to. It can leave you feeling a lot more empowered, grounded, and choiceful. If you feel your heart racing, feeling the need to urgently stand up and defend yourself in a conflict, reacting emotionally to something… I’ll leave you with the suggestion that there’s another option!
I encourage you to check this out.
Go ahead- just one moment. Just for you. The link is a short series of prompts to remind you where you are. Walk your way through them. Go through it as many times as you want, as often as you want. Standing in line at the coffee shop, as a pause amidst a challenging conversation with a loved one- my hope is that this little prompter can help you gain perspective to re-ground yourself. HAVE your emotions, rather than being driven by them. Things can be important, it doesn’t mean they have to be urgent. You CAN feel more in control.
Prompts were inspired by DBT principles and exercises which are shown to be very effective for helping with emotional distress. Please give it a try, I’d love to hear about your experiences with it!
Tip: The link can also be saved to your home screen for easy access if you find it useful!
It’s no secret that therapists help you improve your relationships. It’s what we do! However, there are times when I’ve told people I’m a Marriage and Family Therapist, and they at first think that couples and family work is ALL I do, when in fact at least half of my practice is seeing Individuals!
The key is this: The most important relationship you will ever have, is with yourself. Lives change, people move, people die, divorce and heartbreak happen…other people will come and go from your life. But you?…You’re kinda stuck with you!
If you’re going to be stuck with yourself for the rest of your life, it’s quite beneficial to find peace in that relationship. Don’t just beat yourself up for all the things you “could have done differently”. Don’t just look to others to give you love, validate that you’re worthy of companionship and kindness! Do you possess any of the qualities you look for in others? Probably…so enjoy it!
DO respect the person you are! You have interests, and hobbies, you care about people and have unique thoughts and experiences that are completely yours. How cool is that? Doesn’t it deserve some celebrating?
Sometimes when we keep ourselves surrounded with others, it’s easy to lose ourselves a bit. To engage in hobbies that our loved ones engage in because of community, even if it’s not what WE totally love. We let certain things slip away because especially in the early stages of New Relationship Energy, we get caught up and willingly lose track of some things to make more room for time with the subject of our affection. That can be fun and exciting, but think about it. If you and your partner only spent time together while in part of a larger group, would you be satisfied, or do you sometimes want Quality Time just the two of you? You and yourself deserve that too!
Spending some time alone gives a chance to assess all of that. To reflect. If we don’t like our own company…why not? If you’re unbearably negative, do you want to try finding more gratitude? If you’re bored, do you want to try a different activity? If you DO like yourself, take the time to honor that relationship! You don’t ALWAYS have to share with others. It encourages authenticity, growth, and joy to occasionally spend time alone. And…it will have a ripple effect and improve all the rest of your relationships as well!
Take the time for you. Show yourself the love you deserve instead of trying to convince others to do it for you. If the idea of spending time alone makes you anxious, if you fear loneliness or disappointing someone by not including them, give me a call. I’d love to help you embark on a new and fulfilling relationship with yourself!
On my way home from therapy yesterday (yes, even therapists can use support) I noticed how good I felt, compared to the ‘iffiness’ or ‘off-balanced’ feeling I had going in. We had unpacked and tied a thread across a variety of experiences. There are times, yes, when this can leave a ‘weighty’ feeling. This experience, however, was that we had tapped in and found my energy and joy that is sometimes tainted or burdened by certain events.
This is one of the things I love about counseling, both for myself and for clients. It’s no about pretending bad things don’t or didn’t happen. It’s not about making them go away. It’s about making more room for the pure essence of self, find the joy of wanting things, allowing inspiration rather than fear to be a driving force in choosing how we live. Therapy can be painful, but it is also empowering.
If you’ve thought about therapy but have been nervous about it, listen to what a variety of people have to say:
What People Who Go To Therapy Want You To Know by buzzfeedvideo
Therapy does involve some vulnerability, and that can be scary. It can also be incredibly valuable. You’re always welcome to make the first phone call to explore your options, without any commitment.
On my drive to the gym the other day, I spent the whole way considering whether to go to a class or use the equipment in the weight room. By the time I was changed, I had decided I wanted cardio… the “bodyflow” class is very routine, and I would get my preferred yoga class tomorrow. So I laced up my shoes instead of putting on the flip flops, and headed out of the locker room.
Last night was “Ladies Night” in the downtown area of my office, enticing women to come out and patronize retail stores, collecting whatever discounts or freebies may be offered. So for three hours, I sat outside my office with a little music, blowing bubbles, offering vials of bubbles to anyone who wanted them.
At some point, someone walked by and made a comment about how I must be lonely, at the table by myself. In reality, that couldn’t have been further from the truth!
The three hours (which was supposed to be only 2.5) flew by; some people laughed at the offer, while others’ faces lit up and they scurried over to accept. Some adults took some vials home for their kids. For me, it was a joyful experience to watch the delight, the reminder of simple pleasures. Kids blew bubbles “for the plants” or exclaimed, “Bubbles!” every time they passed. One group of women spent maybe a good 10 minutes taking photos of each other blowing bubbles!
I love carrying a vial of bubbles in my purse. In a society that defaults to checking our phones every time there’s a ‘down minute’, I can reach in and pull out the bubbles instead. It keeps me looking ‘up’ and available to connect to the others around me, see the environment I’m in. It makes me breathe deeper, take in more oxygen as I inhale and blow. It reminds me that it’s okay to slow down. I can watch the iridescent colors swirl, or the slow floating away of the bubbles on a gentle wind current. It’s a reminder that we can “go with the flow,” too; not everything needs to be done forcefully.
In those three hours, I did have my phone with me, for the option of texting friends or making some notes if I got bored, but I ended up not having time for it. I felt the warmth in my heart swell, watching the delight of the people who accepted. I looked at the clouds, pondered the bubbles’ flight paths. I was present in the moment, and present with my surroundings.
For anyone who struggles with “trying to meditate”, come get your vial of bubbles and blow your cares away. Sometimes the simple pleasures are surprisingly powerful.
And thank you to everyone who stopped by last night!
Success. We all want it. Or at least we think we do.
If you avoid taking risks, it may be more than just a fear of failure holding you back. Failure is only one option. You could also succeed! And what would that mean? Have you actually allowed yourself to feel what it would be like on the other side or your challenge?
Success is more than just a “happily ever after.” In real life, the story doesn’t end once the present challenge is accomplished. Envision life after success, so you can be prepared for what comes next. Imagine what it feels like not just to have succeeded, but to Be Successful.
Being successful requires an active participation in your life. Luck can happen to you; success is earned, and being successful is just that- a way of being, not simply a one-time accomplishment needed to obtain the label.
Success, for me, means living up to my potential. It doesn’t always mean getting the outcome I want- there are always circumstances outside of our control. But it does mean no excuses when it comes to doing my best.
Sometimes we intentionally keep success at bay. By putting success on a distant pedestal, we get to believe there’s green grass somewhere, that we can have eventually, maybe once we’ve “earned” it. There’s a comfort in excuses, in the familiarity of the struggle, and not facing the fear of uncertainty of what it looks like to be successful.
I’ll admit it- I’ve felt this fear. When I took success off the pedestal and looked at it up close, I discovered…Living up to my potential is a pretty big responsibility, and that’s kind of scary! To embrace success means letting go of excuses and being open to new and different responsibilities.
If you ever find yourself unsure and asking, “Do I deserve this,” you’re asking the wrong question. Trust that you do deserve success. Step up to the pedestal. Believe that it is within your reach, and feel what it’s like to hold it in your hands..to wear the identity of being successful and take on the responsibility that come with it. See how you like it, make sure you really want it. Then ask, “How hard am I willing to work for this?”
To see what I’m willing to work hard for and help me past the external obstacles to my potential, please take a look and vote for my grant proposal.
Do you feel like your life belongs to someone else? At first glance, this may seem like a crazy question. But I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who talk about “needing” to go to work, “having to” respond to a work request on the weekend, or feel obligated to live up to certain expectations for their parents or family. This language doesn’t allow for a sense of choice in your own life!
“But that’s the reality!” I’ve lived part of my life as a slave to money. I’ve worked jobs I hated and held three at a time in order to get by. I understand! Sure, you could not respond to that email from your boss, risk your job, and end up unemployed. It’s a choice, but not one most of us want to consider.
So then what is this “Reclaim your life” business I’m talking about? Well, it starts from within. This is not the approach most of us naturally take. “I’ll be able to relax once I get my life in order.” It’s good to set goals for life, and even better to set intentions for living.
One thing you always have control over is how you perceive your life. Sure, the grass may be greener…but you also have a hose to water the grass on your side of the fence! Don’t let your happiness rest on the promotion you’ve been after. Live your life now, with personal power. Work on shifting your view of yourself to be one of truly deserving the life you want. What would it feel like to have the life you want? Would you be a different person than you are now?
You may have learned very clearly that you need to struggle and earn the life you want, or that others always have to come first. But how long do you need to suffer before you’ve earned the right to be happy? (here’s a hint: maybe it’s been long enough already?)
Allow yourself to BE the person you want to be. If you can find even five minutes a day to dedicate to living how you want to live, you’re watering the seed for a lush future. You’re investing in yourself, and sending the message, “Yes, I am worth investing in. I can have the life I want!”