Posts Tagged With: creating change

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

Your Mind: Friend or Foe?

Taking a break from the “I Have A Question” series to remind you about the power of your mind. Most of us, barring any major mental health disorder, can choose what we want to believe. It seems like we don’t but we do…always.

Be aware of your thoughts and notice how they affect your emotions. Emotions follow thoughts. If the thought is negative, the emotion will be, too. For instance, if you make a mistake, then start thinking of every mistake you’ve made and end up in a depressed tailspin, you have chosen to go down an unnecessarily brutal path. Keep your mind focused on the one mistake you just made and use it as an opportunity to learn something. You can be mad but don’t dwell on it for too long.

The dialogue, either audibly or in your head, might sound like this: I totally screwed up the report. Ugh! I am so mad at myself! This is going to take time I don’t have! Ahhhhh! OK, take a deep breath in and out…in and out. Now, what can I do about this and what went wrong? Oh yeah, I didn’t double check my work. I was in a hurry, rushed through it and skipped proofreading. That’s on me. I don’t need to beat myself up over this, that won’t help. Just recognize it and learn from it. Deep breath in and out again…let go of the anger…and move on. I have other things I need to be doing right now and wallowing in this will not help me at all. I am human. I make mistakes. I can learn from my mistakes. Now, I’m going to work on this next task. You will need to repeat this each time the negative thoughts start creeping back in. They are kind of like cockroaches…hard to get rid of but if you’re persistent you will!

If you veer off the path and start recounting every time you screwed up or start telling yourself you are a loser, STOP! That won’t help you one bit. Literally say stop to yourself. Say it aloud if you can and start the above dialogue to get out of the old way. I can tell you from personal experience this works! Every time I use it, I have success and feel so much better. An added benefit is I usually have more clarity and energy to use on productive, life-giving tasks.

The shift is not easy. Meaning it won’t come naturally. We all have many horribly unhelpful neural pathways that are as strong as the fastest highway you can imagine. When we get on this learned neural pathway it seems like it’s a reflex but it isn’t. We learned it over time from a young age. It was likely modeled for us or it’s just part of how we are wired or it’s both. Knowing the origin and working through it can be helpful but you don’t have to in order to change the pathway. Be super intentional. Take this seriously and you will see results!

 

Categories: Emotional Healing, Growth, Healing, Processing Thoughts and Emotions, Recovery, Self-Help | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I Have A Question About Getting A New Job

Q:  I hate my job! It’s fine but it’s not what I really want to be doing. It pays the bills and I’m afraid I won’t be able to find a better paying job that I like. Should I quit?

A:  Yowzer! The ‘what should I do’ questions get me because I could tell you exactly what I think you should do but it might not be the best for you…it’s just what I think. At the end of the day I am not in your shoes so I really can’t tell you what to do. Here’s what I will say, life is short. We get one shot at this life so why not do things that you want to do (making sure those things are healthy, wise, legal and don’t hurt anyone 🙂 )? Explore your options. Maybe you can find a more fulfilling job. Maybe it will require going back to school. Maybe it means having to step out of your comfort zone.

Look at the reasons you are staying in your current job beyond the pay. Then look at what you would like to do. Lay out the steps necessary to get from where you are to where you would like to be. If you don’t know the steps you can do research online, find out from someone who does what you want to do or talk to a career coach/counselor. If you attended college you might be able to use your alma maters’ career counseling center at no cost. Check into it. Once you know the steps you can determine whether or not you want to embark on that journey. Some changes require a ton of time and money. Some are fairly simple.

Ask your older self to tell your younger self what to do. Think about being on your death bed. What regrets might you have? It’s hard to know for sure but we can learn from those who have gone ahead of us. Rarely do people say, “I wish I had lived a confined life in which I never did what I wanted to do but only what I thought I should do.” We live in a time and location where most of us have many options. Generally we don’t have to do whatever we must in order to survive. That could change, but for now, if you’re reading this blog you likely have options. Maybe it’s time to exercise them 🙂

 

Categories: Growth, I Have A Question, 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

Is Your Routine Keeping You Unhealthy?

After a few weeks of celebrating the holidays with family, I’m back to blogging. While I fully enjoy time away from my normal routines, I also relish getting back into them; I find it’s easier to be balanced. Routines don’t have to own you, they can actually help you achieve goals or create lasting change.

If you decided to make some resolutions or changes for 2016 how are you doing with them? Routines will help. Even before you decided to create changes, you were in a routine. It was just a routine absent of the ingredients necessary for you to change. It was a routine that kept you in the place from which you decided you wanted something different.

The easiest examples relate to poor nutrition or lack of exercise. If you don’t eat well or get regular exercise you have routines that support these self-defeating behaviors. When you decide to change, you are simply creating new routines to help you reach your goals.

You are in routines of varying sorts every day. Which routines will you choose today? The ones that keep you stuck or the ones that lead to physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, intellectual and relational health?

Categories: Emotional Healing, Growth, Healing, Recovery, Relationships, Self-Help | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

3 Keys to Creating Change

There’s a voice in my head that sometimes tells me I’m not good enough.  Do you ever have that voice?  I’ve spent many years working on this piece.  Its many facets seem to show up in different areas of my life. I have been working on healing this negative voice facet by facet.  In my journey, I have found three keys that, when implemented, propel me toward success in my quest to heal, grow and move forward.

Anytime you want to create change in your life, a few ingredients must be present for you to succeed. This is not an exhaustive list, just the three I consider the most important.

Consistent – You must have consistency. If you are working on stopping an established habit or belief, you will need a plan that is carried out on a regular basis. Maybe one of your strategies for change includes starting each day reminding yourself of your goal, the reason you want to change the habit or belief, the good you will get out of it. It’s up to you to be consistent and look at your goals every day.

Transparent – You must be honest with yourself and others about what’s really going on for you. If you are trying to hide the very part of you that you want to change, you are not likely to have success. Get honest, get real and be transparent with trusted people, which leads to the next key:

Support – You will need people around you who are for you. These are not the people who you like to hang around because they tell you everything you want to hear. These are the kind of people who tell you the hard things, the truth. They also have your best interest in mind but not in a care taking, it-depends-on-them way; they care about you, they like you, they are willing to journey with you. Some of your support people might come in the form of a counselor, coach or mentor.

I can tell you from first hand experience, change is possible and it is incredibly rewarding!

I’m cheering you on!                                                                                                                                                                    Karen

Categories: Acceptance, Emotional Healing, Growth, Healing, Recovery, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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