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’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.
When many people hear “psychotherapy”, they still have the image of Freud analyzing someone’s words as they lay on a couch. While information is helpful, ‘knowing why’ something happens does not make it go away or immediately change it. Sometimes it even makes things worse, as we get critical and judge ourselves if we don’t suddenly change something!
In my own personal experience, I knew why certain events in my life made me unhappy. However, knowing the logical reasons around the events did nothing to change my unhappiness or my beliefs about myself! I was drawn to Hakomi from my first introduction to its power: my body responding to a simple, serious statement with a fit of uncontrollable laughter. This was a strong, undeniable message about my beliefs around anger that I hadn’t known about! Since then, through Hakomi, I’ve been able to develop a new relationship with myself that is much less critical, more relaxed, and more fulfilled. With increased awareness, I can better take care of my own emotions and needs, so I’m happier with myself, as well as in my relationships with others.
What is Hakomi?
Hakomi is a mindful approach to therapy that facilitates change in an experiential way. It works with what is present, without always needing the story. It invites the wisdom of the body and emotions in a more holistic way than simply ‘talking about’ the problem.
Hakomi trusts in the innate tendency toward healing. Even after a doctor performs surgery, much of the healing process comes from the body – white blood cells battle infection, platelets create a scab, and new cells grow to heal a wound. Similarly, emotional wounds can find their own path to healing if given enough of a safe environment where they are welcome to show up as they are, without having to “make sense”.
Hakomi invites compassionate curiosity to explore and change the core beliefs that get in our way. Having the embodied sense of what feels ‘right’ and true can create a big shift in our ability to create lasting change and freedom. We can’t control others, we can only practice being the self we want to be. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean having to change everything around us!
Hakomi involves the use of mindfulness in order to increase awareness of ourselves and our ways of interacting. Especially in our busy ‘doing’ society, the mere experience of this level of attention can bring some healing. By listening to the deeper messages of what is needed, new experiences can be created to heal old wounds. Acceptance, emotional safety, being good enough, the ability to trust, are all common themes that can grow and improve through Hakomi.
What does Hakomi look like?
Since Hakomi is an exploration, there is a lot of room for creativity in sessions. What comes up can be surprising, and sometimes fun! As much of the work is done in mindfulness, many clients opt to work with their eyes closed, so they can be attentive to their own experience, rather than distracted by conversation. Maybe we start by exploring the color, shape, or temperature of your pain. Maybe we explore the sensation of protection and safety with a pillow fort. Or maybe we simply study that subtle gesture of raising your shoulders ever so slightly when someone asks you for something. The body shares information like this with us all the time; I can help you slow down and listen to the messages that want to be heard, and create new experiences to feel more whole and at peace.
I read a blog article today of someone bashing the idea of Divorce Parties, based on the author’s assumption that having a party means the marriage was never taken seriously, that it meant a total disregard for the former partner’s feelings, and the vows taken.
I whole-heartedly disagree with his view. In a society that struggles with allowing grief, that continues to lose touch with the value of rites of passage, where divorce is judged as a taboo, I’d like to share some thoughts on the value of Divorce Parties, and why, if you’re in process of divorcing or recently divorced, you may want to consider having one.
Divorce is frequently a lonely process. In the co-parenting classes I’ve taught, the most repeated piece of feedback received is the value of the group dynamic: others to share with, and knowing you’re not the only one struggling. Oftentimes with divorce, friendships are lost as some feel the need to ‘side’ with one partner or the other. Others, even the most well-intentioned, may simply not know how to support the divorcing friend. Combine that with the sense of shame, and difficulty of even finding the right moment to share with people “We’re getting divorced,” coming to the place of feeling OK to publicly celebrate the finality of the marriage can be a significant turning point in breaking the perpetuation of shame and the fear of acknowledging the divorce. It is an announcement to friends and family that it is OK to talk about the situation, rather than the wondering of “Maybe it’s too sensitive for Mary to want to talk about,” or, on the divorcee’s side, “It might make my friends uncomfortable if I bring it up.” Having a party, therefore, breaks that need to be alone and stay silent, and may help facilitate support. When there’s a topic at hand that generally carries a lot of shame in addition to a possibly difficult, stressful, or emotionally laden topic, people gathering in a message of “we accept you,” can be powerful.
Weddings are one of the biggest rites of passage still celebrated in American society, alongside graduations and perhaps funerals. While some cultures do still hold onto the rite of passage of entering into adulthood, it seems this is less frequent than it used to be. Indeed, the subconscious need for a rite of passage may actually fuel the desire for marriage in some cases. If it is important to acknowledge the joining together of two people, why is it not equally important to acknowledge the new independence of someone? From child to adult, from single to married, from married to divorced; it is a new identity- sometimes wanted, sometimes not- that deserves acknowledgment which can help a person settle into the role, rather than getting stuck in denial, anger, depression, or any other stage of grief.
The timing of the party is something worth mentioning here: one transition that comes through a grief process is the shift of mourning the past, to looking forward to a new future without the loss. It’s wise to pay attention to where you are in the process, and when you’re ready to consciously make the shift to forward looking – and not mark the turning point before you’re ready.
Let’s not, of course, forget the difficulty of the legal side of things. Even in the simplest, most amicable divorces, in California your divorce will not be final for at least 6 months and one day from the day you file. There’s legal jargon to translate, financials to disclose, paperwork to file in triplicate, all along with the little day to day things like changing your exemptions at work, separating auto and health insurance, and bank accounts, and belongings to divvy up. In more complicated divorces, there are custody arrangements to settle and support payments to determine. It’s a lot, and coming to an end of a long process is an accomplishment that deserves to be celebrated in some capacity.
While legal and practical issues of transitioning to being divorced necessarily take space and get discussed more openly, the pervasive, deeper issues often get ignored or overlooked. Divorce is more than a breakup, more than the decision to not continue sharing a life with someone. As promise is involved, at least in a legal context, and frequently in a religious one as well, divorce can bring up feelings of betrayal and guilt, shame, issues around trust (in both others and self), and low self-esteem. You do not need to carry eternal shame for getting divorced. To truly be able to move on and live a fulfilling life, forgiveness needs to come into play. Forgiveness is often difficult when there has been a lot of pain, but not forgiving does not protect you the way people tend to believe. A divorce party can mark the choice to forgive yourself for anything you feel needs forgiving. Whether you have a sense of guilt for “giving up on them/my vow”, self-directed anger for “ever trusting them with my heart”, or any other number of things, forgiveness of self is crucial to truly moving on with the view that you deserve to be happy again. You do deserve to be happy.
Whether all of these points are commemorated publicly through a party or in some other, more private act, it is important to acknowledge with intention the complexity of the Divorce transition and your multiple personal processes (legal, social, emotional, spiritual,) of moving through it.