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Laura Giles, LCSW

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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what are you saying

What Are You Saying?

Have you ever thought about what you are saying? Word are meant to communicate things, but what are you communicating? Words help us exchange information, create connection, or change status or mood (either up or down). Exchanging information is useful. If you want directions, feedback, instructions on how to do something, you have to ask questions of people who have answers. Exchanging information helps people be more efficient, grow, and become more capable. This is a head centered way of speaking. Using words to create connection is a heart centered way of speaking. These words are usually sweet and caring and open the door to engaging in the relationship. Without this type of communication, we don't have meaningful relationships, a sense of community, or intimacy. It's not just the words that make...

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30 days no contact

When To Go “30 Days No Contact”

There are times when you just need to take a break from your relationship or you family. For those times, there is "30 days no contact." So, let's talk about what that is and why and how you do it. What is 30 Days No Contact? 30 Days, No Contact is just what it sounds like. It's a planned time out of 30 days that involves no phone calls, texts, emails, or visits. You can't drop lunch by outside the door. You can't send messages through third parties. There is no checking up on them to make sure they are okay. Your friends or family can't do that for you either. This is time for you to focus on you, not them. Why Do 30 Days No Contact? 30 Days, No Contact is...

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goodness

Toxic Goodness: Why Your Goodness Hurts You

Is there such a thing as toxic goodness? Can you ever be "too good." Isn't goodness universally, well, good? Anything that is out of balance can be harmful. Let's take a look at why your goodness hurts you. Everyone grows up in a family that shows them what is expected. When we behave outside of those rules, we can be shamed or punished. For example, if we share our toys, we are praised and given positive attention. If we don't, we might be scolded and corrected. Worse, we may be told we are being bad. Since we all have a desire to belong and no one wants to be negatively judged, we learn to toe the line. In addition to family rules, there are social rules that vary from place to place....

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no closure

Moving On When There’s No Closure

Moving on when there is no closure is hard. This can happen when: someone diessomeone ghosts youwhen there is a bad relationship break-upthere is a sudden disappearance (runaway, kidnapping? sex trafficking?) where a crime is suspectedyou're unexpectedly fired Closure is important so that we can understand what happened. When we care about a relationship, we need answers to help us make sense or things - whether we like those answers or not. It allows us to accept so that we can move on. When we don't have closure, it can feel traumatizing. Life can freeze frame in that spot. It's like we have no hope of ever resolving our conflict, getting the approval we need, being forgiven, ever feeling the way we did at our most amazing again, achieving our...

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