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Laura Giles, LCSW

Two People Can’t Be in Crisis At the Same Time

Two people can’t be in crisis at the same time because crisis is about survival. When you are struggling for survival, you are worried about your own needs. You can’t be there for someone else no matter how much you really want to be. You won’t hear them when their crying.You won’t see them when their sad. Even if they ask directly and specifically for what they want, it can feel like they are speaking a foreign language. What happens is each person ends up feeling left out and forgotten. Another thing that happens is that they end up unknowingly triggering each other. When one is emotional, the other may feel his emotion rising in response. When he responds by doing something to keep himself safe, it triggers insecurity in the...

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How to Live a Life of Courage

“Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” ~Winston Churchill Winston Churchill was a brilliant speaker. This is one of my favorite quotes of his because for me, it captures the essence of what it means to have courage. Courage isn’t the ability to live without fear. It’s not even solely the willingness to act despite fear. I mean, how many defeated, tired, old people do we see who keep plodding along though life’s challenges who have the light whipped out of them? I give them credit for being determined, but I wouldn’t call them courageous. No. Courage is the ability to keep a fire in your heart while you keep going. “Cor,” after all, means heart in Latin. So how do you do that? Live like a child. Be in...

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Living in Circles, Lines, and Spirals

One could say there are three ways to live – in circles, lines, and spirals. The Circle The circle is generally embraced by people who need a high degree of security. The circle represents their comfort zone. They like to keep a high degree of control so not a lot of new things get in. These new things include ideas, people, experiences, and attitudes. When it comes to possessions, new things can come in, but it tends to be hard to let things go, so it can get cluttered in there. Living life in a circle isn’t the most effective strategy because the boundaries are so rigid that there isn’t a lot of growth. When problems occur, they don’t tend to get resolved. They just get shelved or ignored so they come back...

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What Acceptance is Not

A lot of “stuckness” could “loosen” if the person feeling stuck could get to a place of acceptance. Acceptance is the first step to moving on. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who resist acceptance because they don’t understand what it means. So let me tell you what acceptance is not. Acceptance is Not Resignation Some people think that if you accept something, you just throw up your hands, put up your feet and live with it. For just one moment, imagine that “now” is a slice of time that is constantly shifting. In each moment of now exists all the power you ever have. You can’t use any power in the moments that have already passes nor any that have not existed yet. Acceptance is about being fully present in this slice....

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Be Choosey

If you live in the developed world, you’re unimaginably lucky. You can probably get something to eat at any hour of the day. You can eat Mexican food for lunch and Ethiopian for dinner. If you want neon markers, nine inch nails, or an antique lamp, you can probably have it at your doorstep the next day. Doctor, lawyer, or Indian chief – any career path is open to you as well. You can have a house by the water or one in town. It’s all available. For many of us, the ease of acquisition has made us a bit jaded. If you’d like to shake that off, be choosy. Pay attention to how you spend your time and resources. Choose things that matter. Savor them. Let the things in your...

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Who Deserves Compassion?

Who deserves compassion? Can we draw a line separating those who are worthy from those who are not? Are pedophiles worthy of compassion? How about liars, cheaters, drunk drivers, murderers, drug addicts, or rapists? What about people who are lazy, mentally ill people, selfish, stingy, or rude? How do you decide what makes a person naughty enough to withhold compassion? If you want to live a peaceful life, I’d suggest that everyone deserves compassion. Withhold it from no one. Why? Aren’t some of these deeds and habits really horrible and unforgivable? It’s true that any deed can be hurtful and cause horrible consequences. Giving compassion doesn’t mean that you release someone from making amends or holding them accountable. It doesn’t mean that you have to continue to deal with them. It just...

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I’m Not Supposed to Feel This Way

Do you ever get surprised by thought “I’m not supposed to feel this way”? Do you think that you’ve outgrown a feeling or have healed and moved on only to be sneak attacked by old frustrations? What’s going on? Let’s take a look at some possibilities. You’re More Self Aware Sometimes being more self aware or less guarded means seeing what you didn’t see before. Perhaps the underlying feelings were always there, they were just covered up by busyness, avoidance, not being completely truthful with yourself, or just not being aware. Now that all that is relaxed, it’s easy to see what was once hidden. If you’re more self aware, great! It’s a fabulous time to finally deal with old issues once and for all. You’re Less Self Aware Sometimes we stop using our...

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face it

Face it. Feel It.

Gone With the Wind is a fabulous movie. It’s a timeless look at humanity. One of the strongest scenes is when Scarlett is seen in the arms of her brother in law, Ashley. Her husband, Rhett Butler, won’t allow his disgraced wife to hide. He demands that she go to Melanie’s party and show her face. It’s a great example of how to deal with fear, shame, guilt, humiliation, grief, or anxiety. You just face it. Feel it. Put on your best dress. Do your hair, nails, and make up and stand in your truth. Pain is a great teacher. It can’t teach you if you hide it or run from it. In Gone With the Wind, by facing down the gossip, Scarlett saved her reputation. The gesture said, “I am here!” and...

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Four Stages of Learning

Noel Burch identified the four stages of learning in the 1970s. Knowing these stages can really help you make accurate assessments of your own level of skill. They can also help you see areas that need improvement. Before I get into that, let’s look at the stages of learning. Unconscious Incompetence  – this is the “ignorance is bliss” stage. You don’t know what you don’t know. This can make you feel that there is nothing new to know or perhaps dismiss the value of learning something. Conscious Incompetence – this is the stage where the person understands that skill is lacking. He knows that learning it is useful. He just doesn’t have the ability to execute it very well. Conscious Competence – at this stage, the person is able to execute the skill with thought and concentration. Unconscious Competence –...

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