Posts Tagged With: being real

Oh Those Pesky Emotions!

steep-mountainIn my line of work, I repeatedly help people identify their emotions. For some, a lifetime of shoving emotions away in an attempt to avoid pain creates the belief that they don’t have emotions. Then I come along and challenge that line of thinking and completely rattle their world. A person enters my office because something isn’t working. It’s possible a spouse, family member, co-worker or friend may have suggested they seek counseling but no matter the why, the person has voluntarily entered my office (I rarely work with court-ordered clients). They embark on a journey that has twists and turns, rocks and ravines, steep hills and eventually a place of inner peace and integration. Life doesn’t necessarily get easier, just more manageable. The person has healthy tools to navigate the challenges that will inevitably come.

Integration means the person will now feel the full experience of life rather than run away from or try to bury the emotions they don’t like. At first this is unsettling because it’s unfamiliar. After time, as feelings become more understood, they are easier to accept, acknowledge and process. Now the person experiences inner peace and the confidence to be fully present in life.

I know this journey! I learned to stuff my emotions because I thought only happiness was acceptable. I cut off so many emotions. When I was challenged to fully feel, I had no idea what I was doing. It took years of therapy, coaching and participating in safe groups to get to the integrated place I experience today. I am not saying I have it all together, just solidly committed to this journey of healing and relishing the freedom I experience today.

Do you want peace, confidence and freedom, too? Get help! We cannot do this on our own. Find a therapist, coach or group that will guide you toward understanding and integrating your emotions. Check out Psychology Today or Theravive to find a therapist/counselor near you. If you live in the Denver/Boulder area you can contact me 🙂 Journey Forward

Categories: Acceptance, Emotional Healing, Growth, Healing, Processing Thoughts and Emotions, Recovery, Relationships, Self-Help | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Keeping It Real!

I am human through and through! I have had time to reflect on my “family altercation” last week and realized that all of it could have been avoided had I not stepped in. It seemed to me that getting involved was the right thing to do, to speak for someone who wasn’t speaking for herself. A classic co-dependent move on my part. Although a decision had been made that was ridiculous in my mind, the best action for me to have taken was no action. The decision didn’t involve a life or death situation, just an uncomfortable one that truly didn’t involve me.

So now my mind has moved to wondering how I could have avoided this? Sometimes I can see situations with such intense clarity I sense I am gifted with invaluable insight. At other times I bumble so horribly I wonder how it is I do anything well at all! Such is the life of a human. We are not robots who are programmed to always make the right decision. We are capable of change and making wise choices but we also always carry with us the capacity to blow it. Remember the neural pathways? The unhealthy routes don’t go away, they just get weeds growing through the pavement. They are still accessible. When I’m tired, hungry, in pain, sick, over-extended or ungrounded, I am far more likely to forgo the wise for the unhealthy.

This could easily be a situation where I turn on myself and beat myself up for blowing it. But I won’t. It’s not worth it. Beating myself up never gave me the energy or motivation to change. I’m also not so sure I wish this hadn’t happened. I kind of like my humanity. It keeps me grounded to myself and others. We are all bumbling our way through life. If I ever got to a place where I believed I had arrived, I would lose my compassion for others. I would expect everyone to get where I have gotten. I don’t ever want to be in that space…ever! So, I am embracing my best pic brick wall copy - Version 2humanity…celebrating it! I love being me, flaws and all 🙂

Categories: Acceptance, co-dependency, Emotional Healing, Growth, Healing, Recovery, Relationships, Self-Help | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Experiencing The Unpredictable

I laugh when the very thing I write about catches me and spits me out! We planned a once in a lifetime trip for my husband’s mother. She is Norwegian but has never set foot on the soil of Norway…or anywhere outside of the United States. My husband had been promising her he’d take her there someday.  At 81 someday needed to happen soon! So we decided to take the plunge this summer. The itinerary is planned, tickets purchased and passports are ready to go! Then, the unplanned jumped out and smacked us. My father-in-law’s health plummeted and my mother-in-law needs to stay with him. Go figure!

At first I was understanding. Then this nasty poison crept in. I realized we planned this whole trip for her! What!? You mean we’re spending all this money and taking time away from work (which for me with a private practice means zero income) and she isn’t even going? What?! Visualize my red face, temper rising, anger beginning to leak out all over the place!!!

In church a woman prayed, among other things, to speak blessings instead of cursings…healthy conviction began sinking in…well, after I had a little fit! Now I am amazed at my behavior. Really, Karen? You are incredibly self-centered sometimes. I must give myself grace as I always tell my clients and yet, I do hope that one day I can be more concerned about others than myself. Oh, and roll with the unpredictable a little earlier in the process.

 

Categories: Acceptance, Forgiveness, Growth, Recovery, Relationships, Self-Help | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s All About The Journey

enjoy the journey

Categories: Growth, Recovery, Self-Help | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Misery of Growth!

I heard a quote generally attributed to James A. Garfield from a friend recently, “The truth will set you free but first it will make you miserable.” Prior to my journey into my own emotional healing and understanding the lies I had been believing about myself and others, I would not have resonated with this at all. When we delve into the world of understanding and healing our reactions to situations and people, we go through a season when it is as though we are falling apart at the seams. In my journey, I learned my once useful coping strategies were unhealthy and I knew I didn’t really want to stay that way. At times I felt devastated. I can remember sitting in deep despair and wanting to quit. I was a mess!

I’m not finished with my healing process. I will be in this journey for as long as I am breathing and I know first hand it is worth it. At some point I turned a corner and had positive experiences of emotional health and connectedness. Seeing myself change and reaping the reward compelled me to keep moving forward. This doesn’t mean the journey is easy now. The dynamic nature of life and a commitment to growth are anything but boring and stagnant. I regularly encounter challenging situations that show me new areas where I can work on my skills. I get frustrated sometimes but in the end, I realize I am free and I will never go back to being a captive of lies!

Categories: Acceptance, Emotional Healing, Growth, Healing, Recovery, Self-Help | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Facebook Blues

I often hear from people who, after perusing Facebook, begin to feel down about themselves and the status of their lives. This is typically a result of seeing your friends in all their shiny glory. People often post the really awesome, fun, exciting, happy moments in their life. The Instagram or Facebook post is just a snapshot of a person’s life; it is not a representation of the whole picture. It is a glimpse of a moment. A moment that peeked within them the desire to let others in on it. It’s possible in the moments just before or just after the one moment you get to see, all hell was breaking loose. Perhaps the day started out with a low but somewhere in all the moments that make up a day, something that felt good happened and rather than share the low, the person chooses to share the good.

You know what I’m talking about because, if you are a Facebook user, you have done this and guess what? It’s OK. There’s nothing wrong with sharing these sweet glimpses of your life. Keep it all in perspective when you are the viewer of other’s posts. Every person on this planet has good moments and bad moments. Some may choose to only see the bad or on the flip side, only see the good. Both views are out of balance.

When you begin to slip into the Facebook Blues because everyone’s life seems so much better than yours, catch yourself. Say STOP! And remember the truth: no one’s life is all good or all bad. Although you may be feeling down at that moment because you are thinking that everyone else’s life is better than yours remind yourself that your emotion is following your thoughts. The emotion does not deserve to be in the front seat driving your life. In this space, notice the sadness or looming depression and remind yourself you have good and bad. All people have good and bad. The shiny isn’t all there is. Deep breath in, deep breath out…close out your Facebook session and go do something that makes you feel good (it must be healthy, wise and legal!) 🙂

Categories: Acceptance, Growth, Processing Thoughts and Emotions, Relationships, Self-Help | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Have A Question About Anger, My Husband And Email

Q: When I’m so mad at my husband I can’t even look him in the eye……I should…..send Back view portrait of a young couple using laptopan email instead!! Works for us. Or even…..a phone call instead. Somehow….not seeing his eyes – I can be more honest. Why does that work, Karen?!?!?

A:  It’s wonderful that you and your husband have found a way to communicate that works for you when you are mad at him. It’s my belief that, while this method works, I wouldn’t recommend it for the long haul. Not being able to work through angry conversations eye to eye is an indicator that your adult communication muscle is weak. That’s not a technical term…just something I’m making up to describe the weakness. When we are little, we don’t have the most mature communication styles. In the ideal scenario our parents and caregivers would be guiding us to become adults. Not just keeping us alive until we get there but coaching us wisely in all manners of life. Few of us got this wise coaching. Many of us fended for ourselves while our parents were busy providing for us or perhaps just providing for themselves…few idyllic childhoods exist.

You can develop this communication muscle by being aware of what’s going on within you, your thoughts and emotions, on a regular basis. Become a good student of you. Another prerequisite is to let your husband know, when all is calm, that you want to try a new way of communicating when you’re mad at him. You won’t be able to do it perfectly so the first few times might sound like, “I’m mad at you and I need to work through this before I can talk to you about it.” He’ll know what you’re doing because you gave him an advance warning.

The next time you are mad at your husband, notice it. Understand what you are feeling and why you are feeling it. Tell your husband your findings. If you can’t quite do that at first, let him know you are mad at him and trying the new way but you aren’t ready to talk just then. Let him know you need some time and specify how long: 15 minutes, an hour, a day. While you are away from him figure out what’s going on with you. Use your old way of writing your words down. When you have clarity, take your written words and speak them to your husband face to face. You’ll get better at this over time IF you keep exercising your adult communication muscle!

Note: The information on this blog is opinion only. If you are running into blocks you can’t get past, can’t understand your thoughts and emotions, are overwhelmed by your emotions…anything that is causing you emotional distress, please seek the help of a professional counselor.

 

Categories: I Have A Question, Processing Thoughts and Emotions, Recovery, Relationships, Self-Help | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

That Icky Feeling

Do you ever have those days when you are certain you have done something wrong but you can’t quite put your finger on it? It’s a feeling of…”wrongness”. I woke up in the middle of the night with that feeling and I just can’t shake it. I’m a recovering co-dependent people-pleaser. When I step into realms and bring honesty and transparency sometimes I feel all icky inside. I tell my clients this is normal. When our strongest neural pathway is to please and we step out of pleasing, it’s going to feel bad…it does.

What do I do when I feel this ickiness inside? The wrongness? The bad? I usually try to figure out if I actually did something wrong. This task can get tricky because my view or filter may be skewed toward people-pleasing. From that perspective, nearly everything I did was wrong. I can ask trusted, wise people in my life what they think. I can look at people-pleasing behaviors and see if my words or actions were about 90 degrees away from people-pleasing (I think of 180 degrees, the total opposite on the spectrum of people-pleasing, as narcissistic/self-pleasing to an extreme). I sometimes process during a walk outside. And, as a God-believing person, I pray and seek God’s guidance.

I think the icky feeling is a good sign that I have taken big steps away from people-pleasing. It’s rarely comfortable when we are changing. Seeking comfort will keep me stuck.

Free!

Free!

Categories: Acceptance, co-dependency, Emotional Healing, Growth, Healing, Recovery, Self-Help | Tags: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Messy Side of Family

 

Last week I shared the beauty I experienced with my dad dying. This week is the other side of all that! It wasn’t all sweet and wonderful. I spent about two weeks with my family and that is bound to bring up issues. We have different personalities, tolerances andfamily van messiness. Mine floated ever so effortlessly into clear view. I am number 5 out of 6 kids plus I have two foster sisters who take the first and last spots. I sometimes feel unimportant in my family and my dad’s exit process was no different. I just didn’t think I had a place. I wondered where I fit in. Why should I even be here? I decided after a few days to just go home. Why subject myself to misery?

Each of my siblings, in my opinion, had a role: executor, nurse, caretaker, carry on the family business…
But what about me? For a time I kept thinking my dad didn’t even know who I was…he did. That was just a story I created to support my “I don’t matter” theme. Then I thought he looked at me with disdain, like maybe he was seeing me as he did when I was involved in an affair. Shame poured all over me like waste from a port-a-potty extraction.

Our minds are so powerful! We can convince ourselves of almost anything. Mine was doing a fine job of tearing my worth and value into shreds. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I quietly packed and gently left. No one would have known anything was wrong. I am an excellent, Oscar worthy actress! One of my sisters wanted to have lunch with me before I started my drive back home…that changed everything! She had no idea how fragile I had become or how intensely the toxic stench of shame had poisoned me.
I poured out all the gunk inside of me and laid it at her feet. That’s when the hazmat cleanup started. She and my niece stayed in the icky places with me.They let me have my experience and also added truth. They helped me see my role…everyone has a role! Mine was subtle but still important.

The time with my sister and niece changed an entire course of my life! I could have walked away. I would have missed out on the healing I received from them. I would have missed out on being there for my dad, my mom and my sister in ways only I could fill. Not because “I’m all that” but because I am me and the elements I bring into my relationships are uniquely mine. No one else brings what I do, just as I don’t bring what any one else does. It’s this beautiful place of importance that we all have in the entangled messy rootball of life.

 

Categories: Emotional Healing, Growth, Healing, Recovery, Relationships, Self-Help | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Broken Trust

broken trust
I’ve done this…I was the one who broke a lot of people’s trust.  This visual is seared into my brain.  At times it creeps in and fills me with all kinds of horrible memories and a painful churning in my stomach.  I have learned over time to remember that I am forgiven and free.  I never see my past actions as acceptable, but I am acceptable.  Although some people may never trust me again, and I understand why, those who know me now, see me not as my past but as my present.

What about you?  Are you the one who was hurt by another who broke your trust or were you the one who did the breaking?  No matter how this quote hits you and the emotions it stirs up, you have the power to be free.

Categories: Acceptance, Emotional Healing, Forgiveness, Growth, Healing, Recovery, Self-Help | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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