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Laura Giles, LCSW

Disillusionment Is the Beginning of Love

Aren't fairy tale romances so sweet! Who doesn't want to be love bombed, struck with the certainty that this is "the one" and live happily ever after? Unfortunately, that's not how life works. And when we use that as our template for what a fulfilling relationship looks like, when the disillusionment hits, that's when the relationship tends to end. Don't give up before success happens! Disillusionment is the beginning of love. Say what? Yes. Think about the word. Disillusion means to free from illusion. That space after the honeymoon phase is real life. It's what you really look like when you have bills to pay, obligations to meet, and aren't in Prince Charming mode. Prince Charming is not sustainable and not real. It's easy to love that guy, but what about...

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How Nice is “Too Nice?”

Most of us were brought up to be nice. It makes relationships easier and living more hospitable, but where do you draw the line? How nice is too nice? What's "Nice?" Before we talk about how nice is too nice, let's define what it means to be nice. Nice is being pleasing, agreeable, friendly, polite, and kind. These are all things that we want, right? What could be bad about that? When we are too nice, it comes at a cost to ourselves. We teach people how to treat us, and when we put ourselves last, we show others that that is where we stand. That's where we are most comfortable. So we get more of that and don't get our own needs met. What "Too Nice" Looks Like: You over give of your...

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be a participant

Be a Participant In Your Life

Some people observe life. Some live life as an object and let life act upon them. Others participate. If you want to live fully, be a participant in your life. Observers Observing is a great skill! It helps you to take in data so that you know what's going on around you so you can act effectively. However, if you never get in the game, you're not living. You're watching life happen around you. Everything is vicarious. This can keep you safe because you never get your feelings hurt, and you get to sit back and talk about what could have, should have, would have. This is not a substitute for experience. Life is meant to be experienced. A life without experience is no life at all. You might as well watch a...

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It's a wonderful life

It’s a Wonderful (Codependent) Life

Who doesn't love movie therapy? It's the Christmas season. It's a Wonderful Life is one of my favorite movies. It gets me all teary eyed every time I watch it. AND it's a great illustration of what codependency looks like. Want to learn? Come on! If you're not familiar with the story, our hero is George Bailey, a stand-up, down to earth guy who wants to be an explorer. He does all the right things in life, but ends up in a situation where he's contemplating suicide. In order for his guardian angel to get his wings, he has to do a good deed. So he goes to earth to persuade George to change his mind by showing him that he actually has had a great life. Got it? Okay, now...

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expanding experiences

Expanding Experiences

A really great way to get to know yourself, get out of a rut, or increase low self esteem is to practice expanding experiences. Expanding experiences is just what it sounds like. It's about trying new things mindfully to see what you like and what you don't like. It's to test your limits and then go beyond them. It's a way to grow. Here's how it helps. Let's say that your way of expanding experiences is to do one new thing each month that is way outside of your comfort zone. So in the next six months you do an escape room with strangers, go to a rave, attend a church service in a religion that you know nothing about, read a novel in a genre that you haven't explored yet,...

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gaslighting

What is Gaslighting?

Social media is fabulous for getting the word out about anything. I'm so happy to see people openly talking about mental health and things like gaslighting. Unfortunately, the downside is that the information isn't always accurate. So, let's talk about what is gaslighting. Gaslighting is not simply lying. Lying is confusing and destroys trust. Lying is a part of gaslighting, but it doesn't tell the whole story. Gaslighting is also not saying no. People are allowed to disagree and set boundaries. Gaslighting usually includes disagreeing with you, but again, it's more than that. Gaslighting is the intentional manipulation of reality to make the receiver of that information doubt him or herself, question her sanity, or stay off balance. The term comes from the 1940's movie, Gaslight, In the movie, the husband raises and...

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withholding love

Are You Withholding Love?

Withholding love is a common relationship tactic that many people use to avoid being hurt, deal with their emotions, or control their partner. There are many ways that it can show up. Perhaps you are withholding love and don't even know it. Let's explore this and see. The Silent Treatment or Shutting Someone Down Sometimes we all need some space to figure out our thoughts and feelings, and it's better to take a break to get clear. If you state that that's what's going on, that's not the silent treatment. The silent treatment is a deliberate refusal to speak with someone or acknowledge their existence. It's designed to punish the other person, show displeasure, or sometimes avoid conflict. Shutting someone down is not allowing them to speak. Withholding conversation is a form of...

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as within so without

What Does “As Within, So Without” Mean?

We all carry silent beliefs inside that were mostly formed in childhood. They happen when our minds are not developed, we are powerless, and our view of the world is immature. So the conclusions that we come to are irrational and emotional. And yet, these are the beliefs that unconsciously run our lives - especially during times of stress. Unfortunately, these beliefs hide in the shadows, so we aren't always aware of what they are. We can see clues by looking at our environment. That is where the universal truth "As within, so without" comes in handy. What does it mean? "As within, so without" means that what we see outside of us is also inside of us. There is no cookie cutter way to interpret what you see. The same situation...

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minding your own business

Improve Your Boundaries By Minding Your Own Business

Want to improve your life, your relationships, and your boundaries? You can do that by making just one radical change - minding your own business. Life's tough enough just carrying your own load. When you take on other people's worries, battles, and emotions, it gets overwhelming really quick. It's okay to draw a line. Not sure how? There is an easy way to tell if something is your business. Just ask yourself does this directly affect me? If it does, participate in what's happening and handle it. If it doesn't, you can choose to sit it out. Sounds easy, doesn't it? Here are some examples. You're upset with your boss for changing your schedule at the last minute. This means you have to reschedule an appointment that you waited three weeks...

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what's your princess

What Is Your Princess?

When working with someone new, one of the first questions that I often ask is, "What is your princess?" If you think about the fairy tale template, it's pretty much the same from story to story. The prince sees a lovely maiden and wants to be with her, but there is a terrible obstacle. It could be a curse, a dragon, poverty, or a geographical impasse like a volcano. If the prince can't overcome the obstacle, the princess is forever out of reach. It's important to know what your princess is when starting therapy because we all need something to keep in front of us that keeps us going. So, your princess has to be something compelling or else you may turn and walk away when the going gets tough. In...

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