Finding choices

Finding Choices

Often times it’s easy to say “I had no other choice.” I say it at times, but deep down I know what I’m saying is not true at all. There are choices all around us and sometimes the answer is so obvious that we perceive it as not being a choice at all; however this perception can often lead us to feel like victims in our own story.

There is a reason why experts recommend that toddlers be given options for them to choose from. Not only is it really good for the developing brain, but it FEELS good to exercise choice. And life is good when a toddler feels good.

I often say “I had no other choice” when I talk about a situation in which I felt crappy, like when I left my agency job. But my victimization is more around my hurt feelings, failed expectations of self and others along with the negative beliefs I started labeling myself with. What I REALLY did was I weighed my options and made the best decision I could, with the knowledge and resources I had in order to build, in my opinion, a better life.

Lets pick another example that may seem less obvious.

“I had no choice I had to eat SOMETHING.” Situations can get a bit tricker. Eat something or starve. Even in this morbid like scenario there was still have choice – just one being better than the other. Maybe for some reason this scenario included someone eating bugs. Most people I know don’t choose to eat bugs, but maybe if your life depended on it, you might choose to eat the bug. It’s not a fun choice. Personally it seems like a pretty shitty choice, but it’s still a choice. And when I see eating bugs as choice my stomach feels a bit smoother and my brain feels more clear compared to when I see a scenario of someone being forced to eat bugs in which there is no choice. My stomach is in knots and I feel physically ill. How could I feel such different ways about eating bugs?

It’s seeing the choice in the matter.

When I watch a scary movie (which I don’t really do), often times the horrific acts bother me, but if I dig deeper, like I did with the bug example it’s seeing people not be able to exercise their choice that is often physically uncomfortable. Lack of choice shakes us to our core and threatens our being.

When I do some of this work with clients it may seem surprising how often people can go from feeling victimized to feeling empowered – by recognizing their choice. Sometimes grief needs to happen as a result of choice and that’s painful and not to be discounted. But recognizing and feeling the choices we made/make provide us with this freedom that is felt physically.

But it doesn’t end there – Self-compassion is essential!

When we recognize that we had choice, it’s important to agree that we made the best choice we could have and did the best we could at the time, given the resources we had. Sure, everything is better in hindsight, but beating ourselves up over knowledge gained later is destined to turn you into a scrooge. Recognizing all the factors that went into us making a choice (even if it was a shitty one) and trusting we did the best we could allows for healing to happen. So finding choice is the first step, but if we beat ourselves up over it healing will never occur, self-compassion is essential.

Is there something in your life that you often say “I had no choice?” How is saying that serving you? How do you feel about that same scenario after finding your choice in the matter? Does it feels different to you? Do you feel the difference in your body?

Is there a decision you’re currently wrestling in your life and you feel victimized? Can you clearly see what all your options are? Are you sitting in your current decision because even though you might not like it, it appears to you, the best decision given your current needs and resources? Even though it may not be ideal, does your choice feel better than the other choices?

I think you get the point here.

Find choice. Trust you’re doing the best you can. We are always still learning. I’ve never seen anyone get better in therapy by staying victimized and beating themselves up. How is that serving you?

Therapy is not parent bashing

Therapy is NOT parent bashing

There is an idea out there, that all therapy does, is just blames your parents for all your problems. This post is to help you understand a bit more about this process, why it isn’t that, and what it really is instead!

Many psychotherapists (myself included) spend time rummaging around in your childhood. Many people think “it’s the past, just move forward.” But our brains don’t work like that. They are wired and re-wired as a result of our experiences! Healing from the wounds allows some re-wiring to happen, otherwise you find yourself making the same mistakes over and over again (isn’t that the definition of insanity?). If knowledge was the answer, the world would be a different place. Problem is, we have feelings, and knowledge itself doesn’t heal feelings. It’s a bit more complicated than that.

Playing the “blame game” isn’t helpful. Sure in therapy we understand what wasn’t taught, that which needed to be taught, what wasn’t given that needed to be given. What was done that was hurtful. What would have been more helpful and what was damaging, etc. ect. But we can’t stay there and the goal isn’t to just blame away. Because guess what. We can’t undo, or redo. But we can UNDERSTAND more. And blame can be lifted of yourself, and of the situation, but understanding can happen and compassion can be cultivated.

For people who describe their childhood as “mostly good,” there seems to be much resistant to go to these places. Almost like we are blaming parents or calling them bad or something. It is this dichotomous thought process that everything has to be black OR white. Just because you had an unmet need doesn’t mean your parents were bad, or that you’re weak, or overly sensitive. It is what it is. Understanding these needs are essential in undestanding these patterns that have been set in motion, these defensives that have been build. With knowledge and awareness comes space to create change!

Now, you might be saying, “Stacey, but I did have really shitty parents, and they are the cause of all of my problems.” No doubt, as a trauma specialist I work with a lot of people, who have had super shitty parents. In fact, knowing what some people have lived though makes me marvel at what we can withstand as a species. Some people test our strength through extreme sports. Some people had no choice but to withstand what was given and kept living.

No matter where you lie in the spectrum of childhood experiences, you can say whatever you want about your parents, but the goal of therapy isn’t to blame them for all your problems and to not just speak ill about them. In therapy we explore the depth of the childhood experiences, understand how the past is impacting current relationships and other problems, and move toward a place of understanding, healing, and wholeness rather than blame, hurt, and emptiness.

MOST people have a mix of wonderful and not so wonderful memories of childhood. Unfortunately, some have horrible memories and not many good memories. Working out the attachment confusion of an abuser also being your only source of love is difficult and fucked up really, but the points I’m trying to make are:
1. you didn’t need to have to have a horrible childhood to heal old wounds
2. despite how horrible it was, you are entitled to your story and it’s not the therapists job to bash – we support and validate you, but when we bring to the table some tough stuff, it’s not in the spirit of bashing, but should be in the spirit of understanding.

Hope this clears up any fears or confusion around this topic!

If you are wanting to read more about this check out my older blog post

feeling over eating

Feeling over eating

I wanted to share a little bit about my week last week. It was a highly emotional one. But honestly, nothing really out of the blue happened, the difference was, I allowed myself to feel.

Some people think that since I’m a therapist I must be a pro at all of this stuff, but honestly, I continue to work on it all the time…

I’m a firm believer in practicing what I preach. If I didn’t then that wouldn’t be authentic now would it?

The funny thing is I continue to surprise myself when I do things well

For example I was in awe of myself for independently waking up to an alarm and getting to work on time for about the first 5 years of my career before it no longer seemed so foreign. I was the kid that needed a lot nudging in the morning to get out of bed…. I say that surprise is long gone… but when I remember those moments as a teenager I still feel elements of surprise that I am somehow a functioning adult.

Anyways….. onto the food….

The philosophy I practice under and believe in, is that if we fully experience our feelings, non-judgmentally, and care for ourselves in the process, we can fight addiction (which is emotional numbing).

Getting back to last week. Like I said, it was an emotional one, but nothing horribly crazy. I was stepping hard outside of my comfort zone though. Ordered podcast equipment, allowed vulnerability, when I felt sad I allowed it all to come to the surface. I talked about my sadness, I sat in my sadness. It was a full spectrum of emotional experiencing.

The funny thing was, after a particularly sad day I got home late and still needed to eat dinner. I wouldn’t put it past myself to eat a box of Oreos for dinner because it’s easy and feels good. Since I was allowing all my emotions to be there and be with them, I didn’t want the Oreos. I wanted soup….

Even though I’ve worked on this process for quite some time as I mentioned earlier I still amaze myself.

I’m like “way to go Stacey! You’re feeling your feelings and tuning into your body in a loving caring way, and giving it what it truly wants, what will truly nourish and replenish it in a healthy way and not a self-destructive way!” HUZZAH! #positivereinforcement

I truly believe that when we feel our feelings and tune into our bodies, we find that we really don’t want the Oreos, we want what will truly replenish us.

There is a reason we want soup when we are sick. It’s warm and comforting; it’s light and has nutrients in it that allows the body to rest and recover.

I wasn’t sick, but I was emotionally drained from feeling.

Which brings me to my next point: Treat yourself with the same love and care as you would when you’re physically sick

For some reason society seems to shame people who don’t take care of themselves when they’re sick and assume you’ll still go to work etc. But there are people out there that do take care of themselves. And guess what? They recover and feel better. They do what they need to get back on their feet again, quickly. Now it’s just taking that knowledge and translating it to emotional needs and BAM, we are doing fabulous.

The moral of the story?

Feel your feelings, receive support from others, provide compassion and love to yourself, tune into your true needs, tend to those needs in a loving caring way, and shine from the inside out.

Loving the darkest parts of ourselves

Loving the darkest parts of ourselves

For some reason there seems to be an underlying belief that we must not feel certain ways and think certain ways. That some ways are bad and some are good. I do agree that some things are helpful and some things less helpful, however there is a reason for your suffering, and the reason isn’t that something is wrong with you.

Some thoughts and feelings can be scary. Just because we are having these thoughts doesn’t mean we will act on them and if we can mindfully observe our thoughts and be curious about them, we become more skilled at not becoming immersed in them.

Many people try to stuff these thoughts and feelings away and think if I don’t entertain it, it will go away.

It doesn’t.

There is also concern about entertaining it too much, and becoming one with it, and immersed in it.

Where is the happy medium?

This comes with increasing the emotional tolerance to observe it and having compassion and curiosity about it.

Even suicidal thoughts serve a purpose and when understood and met with compassion, the thoughts decrease and do not become overwhelming.

How is it possible to have compassion for these dark places?

Usually the process starts out slowly because depending on your age, these internal systems have been working on auto pilot for quite some time. Therefore it is going to take a while to sort out the intricate foundation that has been laid in the mind and body. But know this system was built for a reason. It had an important purpose at one time in your life. It’s just that now the coping mechanisms are starting to cause other problems, so the system just needs some re-working and tuning up really to fit what your life looks like now, vs. what it was before.

Increasing our ability to feeling calm is paramount in this process. When we numb emotionally we numb out the calm too. Thus emotional exercises are recommended.

When we experience thoughts and feelings we don’t like, would rather not have, and find to be inherantly unhelpful, I encourage you to stretch your mind and be curious about what the benefit is. There is a benefit as weird as it might seem. When you realized the benefit, the emotion starts to lighten up a little bit and things start to make sense, and you feel more “normal.”

When things start to make more sense, and you feel better you now have more agency to dig in and provide compassion for these wounded parts of self, making room for healing.

This folks, is the process. It’s a difficult one and takes a lot to “go there.” If you want the amazing things in life, love and connection, happiness and joy, then working through the dark places are essential. Otherwise you’ll be left with an internal battle competing for space, instead of a community filled with diversity that always comes together in the end.

Confidences saves and makes you money

Confidence saves you money and makes you money!

The investment of time and money to work on yourself, your personal growth, your confidence, is not only worth it, but I honestly believe that the actual money comes back around.

What I mainly work on healing with clients are the deeply rooted maladaptive beliefs that we have held about ourselves since we are young. Most of the time we don’t always believe these scripts or stories, although some of my clients are firmly rooted in them and others bounce back and forth between adaptive information and unhelpful information. Therapy solidifies the adaptive information that breaks down these self-deprecating stories we have told ourselves which ultimately leads to increased self-esteem, confidence, feeling true to yourself, and not taking on all of the negative shit of the world (which there is clearly a lot of – but there is a lot of beauty too :-p).

I’m not good enough

I’m powerless

I am not safe

I am not valued

I’m unloveable

Depending on the things that have happened in your life, not only your response to the event, but also the responses you received from your caretakers/loved ones, contribute highly to these deeply held beliefs. They’re not just beliefs held in your mind, but beliefs held in your body. The beliefs are felt in places such as our chests, shoulders, stomach, etc.

These beliefs and feelings pop up in weird and unexpected ways and can really limit you and prevent you from moving forward in life and following your dreams. Today I wanted to talk a little bit about confidence and money and will use some personal examples.

Wardrobe confidence

The past 6 months or so I’ve really wanted to work on creating a “capsule” wardrobe. I’m no where near that goal as it overwhelms me so I’ve been slowly pairing things down and exploring what it is I like wearing the most. I’m taking my time with it and using it as gifts of self-discovery.

I love expensive clothes. I say I have expensive taste, or just like good high quality made stuff? Not sure. Or Maybe it’s the environment in which the clothes are bought, or the message the company stands for.

Oddly enough I realized recently that I love wearing $10 shirts.

What?

Why the sudden change? Well I still like some other expensive stuff, especially if it’s something I need in higher quality, but in working on my wardrobe and finding what I like I realized a plain fitted Ts are my current favorite items in my closet.

Why?

Confidence.

I’m confident in who I am and how I look.

It all started about that time in life when people started making fun of my clothing. Or how I look. Or the fact that I couldn’t fit into the styles and clothes everyone was wearing. Then it turned into not looking professional enough, not looking old enough, not looking good enough basically. You might say it’s because I’m older now, which could be a bit factor, but also because in working on myself and my confidence and accepting myself for who I am, I don’t need to hide behind a brand or expensive clothes. It’s confidence and it’s saving me money.  I see a world of not just a SMALLER wardrobe coming my way but a CHEAPER one too! Who cares if I wore this yesterday? I like it and yes, I washed it….

Lesson I learned? Confidence can save you money!

Confidence can also MAKE you money

It doesn’t matter if you are self-employed or if you work for a company, confidence in yourself is key to moving up in your career. Growth happens outside of your comfort zone as you likely know. Therefore having adaptive information is really helpful to manage the difficulties of being outside of your comfort zone.

When you believe you are good enough, when you are likable and lovable and can access feelings of safety and power, you have more agency to navigate the difficult periods and tenacity it takes to move forward WITHOUT STUFFING/IGNORING/AVOIDING/ADDICTING/ETC.

It sounds pretty savvy to work on yourself and even invest in yourself especially knowing the result can help you to increase your income as well as safe your hard earned money. When we are confident and comfortable in ourselves we look less to external means of happiness that can put a hole in the pocketbook that never ends, and it doesn’t end because external factors just won’t do the job.

Will I become a narcissist?

Often times people think that the opposite of not good enough is thinking you’re the shit. No. The opposite of not good enough is just good enough. The pendulum doesn’t swing the other way. Because it’s all about enhancing adaptive information, not creating a fake self to hide behind. That’s not healing; that’s not the goal.

So what’s stopping you from working on yourself? From investing in yourself? You might find that you’ll benefit in ways you weren’t expecting.

Dealing with attacks from family members on social media

Dealing with attacks from family members on social media

If you have experienced childhood trauma (or some may say a difficult upbringing), dealing with family members around the “what happened or didn’t happen” or “he/she is not like that” arguments is a common struggle. It is also likely that you were/are not supported by siblings or aunt/uncles or cousins as they are either in denial or see things differently and obviously did not have the same experience you. Managing these conflicting beliefs and stories can be difficult, especially in the age of social media where is seems easier for people to bombard you with their views and perceptions on your personal experiences.

For some reason a lot of people are quick to say things like, “well that wasn’t abuse” or “it wasn’t that bad” or “that’s not what really happened” or even, “well, you were a difficult child” or some other victim blaming statement. I could go on and on. This is just a continuation of the invalidation and lack of support that you received growing up. The abuse culture just continues.

It’s hard enough navigating these problem at holiday gathering (if you still go to them), but I’ve noticed a rise in conflicts in the age of social media.

The availability of new ways to communicate behind a screen often allows people to say things they might not say face to face giving rise to some of these problems,. Another reasons is because if you are sharing blogs/articles or memes or just saying things on social media that you believe in/support/don’t support you are sharing your views on things, that these family members, likely do not agree with. Basically just sharing almost anything, could spark a conflict.

What do you do if a family member attacks you on social media?

Well, there are a lot of options here. If they comment in a public way for others to see I would recommend deleting the comment and blocking them so that it does not cause a war, because you will likely get a war because people will jump in with their two cents. Even if people want to support you and you may want that, it’s probably better to seek their support privately because this will just pour salt on wounds and make the situation worse.

Worried about backlash of blocking family members?

This is when it gets a little tricky and will really depend on what kind of relationship you want to have with someone. If a family member is saying, I’m not going to talk to you anymore because you blocked so-and-so then I would question the value that person brings to your life. If they say something like “it’s too bad you and so and so can’t get along” then I would validate this person and say, “yea it is too bad, but I hope you can honor my decision to do what is best for me.” If they’re worth having around, they’ll honor your decision, even if it makes life more difficult for them and they can explore their own feelings about it.

Should I respond to a private message?

Again, up to you. You can not respond and block, or you can respond in a nice way. I wouldn’t recommend telling them off. Just remember what you say can be shown to others things can be screenshot and used against you. So I wouldn’t say anything you wouldn’t want this person sharing with others. (I know it’s sad to think about this but necessary). So if they send you a PM invalidating your feelings or whatnot and you want to try to keep things civil I would recommend something like, “I appreciate your concern about my perception/my feelings on things but this is where I am at in my process and this is my experience and I am entitled to my feelings. So thank you for your concern, but it will not be changing my feelings/my opinion on the matter.” Or something like that in your own words. First share that you heard the other person, then stand your ground. If they get all upset, they can always block you too. Or you can even tell the person: I really don’t appreciate you continuing to bring this up, if we can’t move on to another topic I will block you. And then follow through – if they bring it up again, then go ahead and block the person.

Depending on how you approach any situation will be dependent on the relationship you want with the person but the important aspects are to 1. Be nice and 2. Be firm with your boundary.

OK, I followed through and now I’m exhausted

Dealing with issues like these are likely triggering because it’s opening up old wounds and they can affect you differently depending on where you are in your healing journey. It is important to honor your triggers and reactions and validate yourself and your feelings in the process. See support from those that validate and support you and be kind to yourself as you recover from an event. Telling yourself to suck it up, is no better than the invalidating and attacking family member that you just had to deal with.

If you googled this and found this article, I’m sorry you are struggling and hope you found value in this article. I invite you to comment below if desired.

How do I know then I'm done with therapy?

How do I know when I’m done with Therapy?

I have a love/hate relationship with ending the therapeutic relationship with my clients. I love the fact that I see my clients reach their goals that once felt impossible when they began therapy and am so grateful to have been a part of their journey. I also become saddened by the ending/loss of the relationship. I love my clients so much, that I truly miss them when they go, even when the reason is positive! So this topic is as difficult for me as it is for my clients!

I work very much on a weekly to biweekly to monthly and maintenance visits with my clients. Usually people come in starting weekly or biweekly (whatever works best for need, scheduling, finances, etc) and then when my clients are feeling better I bring it up in session.

I’ve been known before to say something like, “you know, you don’t NEED to come in every week anymore.” But I’m not always a jackass. Often there is a mutual feeling between me and my client that “things are going well” and I recognize that I’m doing more work on “instilling treatment gains” than I am helping my clients navigate problems. So I usually bring up their progress and may ask, “so what do you need from therapy at this point?” or even, “what do you need from me at this point?” This usually opens up a discussion into my client’s progress, goals completed, and if they have more goals to work on we can get refocused, and if it’s just maintaining then I usually recommend monthly visits so that there is more to cover between sessions and we can see how things go with less frequent visits (do you find you’re falling apart? or managing well without so much support).

What if my therapist doesn’t bring up reducing our sessions or ending? Will I hurt his/her feelings if I do?!

Although I do believe scheduling aimlessly with clients week after week to not be of highest ethical standards, I have been told by my colleagues that they think I bring it up too much. Then again, I suppose it is my goal to work myself out of a job, that I know will never happen, but rather I just get to serve more and more people. But anyways, if your therapist hasn’t brought it up yet, he/she may think that you are still wanting/needing the ongoing support and is just following your lead (because it is your treatment after all!) So it’s important to let your therapist know where you’re at because we can’t read minds! :)

A great way to bring this up to your therapist might be saying something like: “You know, I’ve been reflecting a lot on my therapy goals and how I was feeling when I first came in, and I realized I feel so much better and I think I completed my goals!”

Your therapist will likely be very pleased and ask you how that makes you feel…… It will likely turn into a discussion on where you’re at in therapy and where you need to/want to go.

Do I want maintenance therapy visits? Or do I want to end all together?

Again, you’ll likely figure this out with your therapist, but for my clients usually if they’re feeling they completed their goals, but are afraid of going backwards, or not wanting to dive fully into the deep end, but step comfortably down into the cold water, maintenance visits make a lot of sense. The frequency of maintenance visits can look different from person to person depending on how often you were going previous but usually they are monthly visits. I even have clients who come in every 2-3 months, just having me around and an appointment on their calendar feels better for them.

Other clients I have are sometimes comfortable with completely ending. Life is going well and it seems silly to pay money for what otherwise feels like a discussion over coffee and if that’s how maintenance visits are looking, then ending usually is the most logical sense. My clients know that even when ending, they are always welcome to return. And although my goal is for them to not struggle with the same problems in the future, I do know that more problems arise in life and glad they know they have someone they can turn to if support is needed again in the future.

If you’re currently navigating this issue, I hope this article served you well. And if you’ve googled such a problem and landed on this page then CONGRATS! I’m glad you’re feeling better. I hope bringing this accomplishment up in therapy either depends your therapy goals, or helps move you to new beginnings into life after therapy, or life in between therapy :)

Thinking about ending therapy but not because of positive reasons and moreso because you’re feeling worse? Read this article first, which has seemed to be helpful for people to understand more about the therapy process and next steps to take.

Sleep like you give a fuck

Sleep like you give a fuck

Society practically shames people who value their sleep and sees them as lazy, unproductive, and a budren on the economy… well that was a bit of an exaggeration… maybe.

Anyways, the push for less sleep, more “awesomeness” has resulted in a society that is horrible when it comes to sleep. And if you go to your doctor for any physical or mental ailment, I’m guessing that a prescription of sleep, or rest, is probably given (in addition to other things). It’s like the panacea of all panaceas. Yet we still scoff at people who sleep a “normal” amount. 8 hours?! pft, I only need 5…

For the record I’m going to state, that I like sleeping. In fact, it is one of my TOP priorities in my day to day life. Judge me. Go ahead. I don’t care anymore. Very rarely do I say “fuck it” to sleep. (and don’t call me old!)

Anyways I’m going to give you some of my favorite tips to better sleep! I talk about this all the time with clients, so I figured I should probably write a blog about it. Save me some time ;)

First, I ask my clients this question:

“What is your bed-time routine?”

Sometimes my clients probably think that I think they are 5 years old. But the truth of the matter is, bedtime routines are just as important as adults as they are for kids. I joke around with anyone who is a parent and say something like, yes, you know how important it is for your kid to have a good routine, why not give yourself the same awesome treatment?

What should my bedtime routine look like?

Well, only YOU can answer this question but I’ll give you some hints.

It should not involve screens. (yep, that’s right, I’m shoulding on you).

It should be relaxing (NOT NUMBING – RELAXING – THERE IS A DIFFERENCE).

Actually, that’s it really. It isn’t rocket science. And I’m not gonna give you 10, 20, 50, things to do at night to sleep better because often times (for me anyways) I’m like wtf, really? who does that? Or, I thought this was suppose to be relaxing, not anxiety provoking. Is bedtime suppose to make me feel like a failure at life? NO, it’s suppose to be RELAXING (and not numbing).

What are numbing activities?

Well those usually involve a screen… Are you tell me I can’t watch my shows?!?! No go ahead and watch your shows, but leave like 20-30 minutes or so of no screen time after to tell your brain it’s time for sleep.

The other point I want to make is Alcohol…. So yea, wanted to point out that whole alcohol thing. If you have some alcohol, keep it to a minimum.

WHY?

Well first ask yourself WHY you are having the alcohol, if you’re numbing, then well I don’t have time for that in this blog post, but I suggest exploring that. If you’re having it with dinner or whatever, then that’s cool. So one drink should be plenty.

BUT if you have lots of drinks, not only are you numbing your emotions BUT you are also setting yourself up for some HOIRRIBLE sleep. When intoxicated you actually SKIP REM sleep and we need that good REM in order to wake up and feel rested, not feeling like you were hit by a truck. Don’t ask the scientific details, go look them up on some medical site. I’m a therapist.

What TIME should I go to bed?

I don’t care what time you go to bed. Go to bed when you’re tired. You’re never tired? I don’t believe you.

How the FUCK do I get my mind to stop racing at night?!

Oh man, this might need it’s own blog post. But this is why having a RELAXING nighttime routine is SO important! This is when you get to work on training your brain to be mindful and shit and ignore the stupid thoughts rushing through your head. This takes time, so don’t expect to be an expert at once. Even experts get distracted. So play around with whatever it is that relaxes your body and your mind at night so that it’s warmed up for sleep. If that doesn’t work, you likely need to practice relaxation starting from the moment you wake up, to when you go to sleep. It’s OK, a lot of people need to do that. It gets better.

Is reading OK?

I’m not one to say not to read. But if you’re struggling with sleep and you read at night, I’d look at things like 1. WHY are you reading? Are you using it to emotionally shut down? Then stop reading and work on those emotions. 2. Are you reading thrillers in bed then having weird ass dreams? Well, you might want to stop that. Also bring up another point.

DON’T DO STRESSFUL STUFF IN YOUR BED.

Memory and location are best friends. Thoughts and emotional states had in the bed, will be remembered in the bed. So keep work out of bed, keep arguments out of bed, keep weird ass stories out of bed. Just be mindful of what “energy” you’re bringing into your bed with you. Yup, I’m getting all weird on you. No I’m not. It’s science.

I think I hit on the important stuff. I could probably write a book on this, so I’ll end here for now. If you have questions, post below or e-mail me. If I get enough I’ll write another post on the matter!

Heal old hurts to build close friendships

Heal old hurts to build close friendships

I had a difficult morning this morning. Business stress. Nothing major but I felt like I was punched in the gut. My motivation and zest were stripped out from under me. Honestly, it doesn’t take an earthquake to rattle me. I get rattled pretty easily, but then again I think others are the same way too.

Luckily I had a lunch run planned! I’ve honestly never done a lunch run before. Mainly because I do not have a shower at my office and well, I don’t think my clients would appreciate seeing me after a run ;) But today since I had a packed morning scheduled, I didn’t need to go back to the office but could instead, go home shower and get on the laptop!

Anyways, back to feeling crappy. I felt pretty crappy and therefore was not productive in the morning in between sessions (as I said when I’m rattled I sulk). I knew my run would help me to reset though so I was looking forward to seeing how that would help.

What I want to talk to you about today though, isn’t my crappy morning, but rather the magical thing that happened on my lunch run and it has to do with trusting.

Some people like running because they like running, but I like running because of the relationships that are developed in the woods.

As I was running with my friend (well I think we were walking up a hill at this point) he asked me a personal question that is a harmless question, but since it’s an area I struggle with (unbeknownst to him) it wasn’t something I could answer easily. I quickly assessed the situation and tried to figure out how to answer this question as he was expecting a sort of answer that I couldn’t really give due to my struggle. I decided to just be honest. Not go into crazy detail or spill all my problems, but just share that my advice/perception/experience in that matter is difficult to give because of the particular struggle that I have.

It was a bit scary to share because there are of course fears about where that information goes once it leaves my mouth, but I decided to move past my insecurity and take a risk and trust in my friend.

Not to my surprise my vulnerability in this matter allowed him to also be vulnerable as well and I was able to be the supportive friend that I enjoy being and believe that we both benefited from the conversation because we were able to just be open an honest without any fear of judgement.

Why am I sharing this story with you? Good question.

I’m sharing this story, because if we want to connect on a deeper level with others, we must be vulnerable. If we want others to open up to us, we must be vulnerable. In order to be vulnerable we must face our insecurities and our fears about ourselves. We must takes risks and trust in others.

Of course I know it’s easier said than done. If you have had betrayals happen to you, then it makes it even harder to trust others and makes you put a wall up around you to protect yourself from ever being vulnerable. If you’ve constantly had negative interpersonal relationships throughout your life, starting with your family, then it’s even harder to do this. I feel for my clients because of these experiences that they’ve had, they are missing out on these wonderful connections that they could be having with others, and those connections, for me at least, are essential in a life worth living. I want everyone to be able to have these connections in life, but understand that old hurts must be healed to create a foundation for these friendships to build.

My clients sometimes feel that the hurt is too great, that they will forever not trust others, that they will forever wear armor to protect their insecurities. It’s easier to just write off connection rather than get hurt again, right?

This is one of the many reasons why I find it so important to heal from old hurts. These old hurts can take away some of the most beautiful moments of our life. You might not think that my run today with my friend held a beautiful moment, and that’s fine, our values might be a bit different, or maybe the concept is so foreign to you because it has never happened and can’t possibly imagine how awesome those moments really are. Either way, I believe that everyone has the capacity to heal, so that they can learn to trust others and connect with others in a way that feels safe and meaningful. Because in the end, when we can truly just be ourselves, without a shield, and have someone else just accept that, without judgement, is what true friendship is all about.

How to Love again after a difficult break-up

How to Love again after a difficult break-up

So you’ve finally ended the unhealthy relationship you’ve been in and gone through all the ups and downs. You’re broken up or divorced and ready to move on with your life and be happy again.

Congratulations! The hard work is over! Or wait, is it?

You might be finding that you’re ready to move forward, but you’re struggling with letting someone in.

Or you’ve found a great person, but can’t get too close because what if he/she hurts you again.

Will you just be used again?

Will this person actually LOVE me? for ME? Why would anyone do that?

What if this doesn’t work out. Can I handle this ALL over again?

Why can’t I allow myself to just be happy?

OK, I think you get the point. If any of this resonates, keep reading!

Break-ups and divorces are traumatic. Deep hurts have occurred and it likely wasn’t a single event trauma, but ongoing trauma that happens over MONTHS and YEARS. As the relationship resolved you may have been cheated on, lied to, felt not good enough over and over and over again and you come out of the experience like you’ve been hit by a truck, run down, deflated, and defeated. It’s a lot to pick yourself back up again.

So the fact that you’ve entered the dating world again or are considering and ready to do so, first give yourself some credit!

OK now that you’ve given yourself some credit here are two useful tools that you an put in your tool kit so you can being your journey toward love and healthy relationships!

First of all, validate the protector within you.

There is a damn good reason why you aren’t accepting compliments, aren’t feeling good enough, feeling emotionally cut off, distant and fearful. Part of you is saying “We aren’t gonna let this SHIT happen again! NO WAY!” That part of you is feeling a bit sick of feeling like crap so it’s doing its job.

Lets pull out that compassion piece and instead of beating yourself up for feeling like this or behaving a certain way, lets say….

OH hey, I see you protector, you’re just doing your job!!! Thanks for doing you’re job, you have gotten me through so much, but you know what, I got this, I can handle this shit. I don’t want to get hurt again either, but guess what if I do get hurt again I can handle it!

Protector: But can you handle it??? SHE/HE can’t handle it ::points to small child balled up in the corner::

OH Look! who is hurting? Another part of myself…. a younger part of myself… what’s going on with him or her!?

At this point generalizing in a blog post gets a little difficult, so try and stick with me here, but the child is hurting, and if you’re reading it you may know why, you may not, therapy can help – either way we can still move forward.

We have a deeper reason as to why you have a protector… there is a part of yourself that needs love, support and guidance. Respond internally as you would a small child. Offer empathy, support and love. This is why we can’t beat ourselves up, because there is a part of ourselves that is suffering and needs love, no judgement.

OK number 2 – Practice calming skills!

This might sound lame or annoying but after the trauma of a break up that usually goes on for months or even years, you’re body and mind have been on high alert. Imagine being on the verge of getting in a car crash 24/7. Sounds horrible right? That moment of “OMG that guy almost hit me” but you’re feeling that ALL the time? Well, my friends, that’s a comparison to what you’ve just gone though and you need to get your body to learn how to let go and relax again and stop gripping the wheel!

I have an awesome relaxation video you can watch here. And hopefully there will be more of those to come, but you tube is a wonderful place.

Take a walk outside and BE with nature, relax in nature.

Take a bath and sink into the water.

Do whatever you need to do to actually CALM

Note: TV/scrolling FB/etc. doesn’t count. Take a minute to write down the difference between CALM and SHUT DOWN if you’re struggling with understanding what is calming and what counts. This should help you to make determinations.

Hopefully that is helpful in getting your healing journey started. Often support is needed through these difficult times, both by friends and professionally by a therapist. I urge you to find a therapist that understands the dynamics of trauma rooted in these issues so that you don’t spend the rest of your life longing for connecting, but your brain and body never allowing for it.

Best of luck to you!! Questions? Comment below and I will respond or possibly write another blog on it!