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emotions

healing toxic shame

How to Heal Toxic Shame

Shame happens when we perceive we have done something wrong and someone else witnesses it. Instead of seeing the behavior is wrong, we believe that we are wrong, bad, defective, unworthy, or don't deserve love. Unlike guilt, shame requires a witness to exist. For example, if I believe that stealing is wrong and take something that doesn't belong to me, I will feel guilty. I won't feel shame unless and until someone knows I've stolen. Toxic shame puts us in shadow. We forget, if we ever knew, that we're creative, brilliant, worthy, amazing, daring, trustworthy, good, sexy people. Nothing can convince us otherwise because when we look out into the world, all we see is proof of our depravity. Stop the Crisis The first step to healing from anything is to...

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what causes toxic shame

What Causes Toxic Shame?

Sometimes I get clients who are really nice people, they seem honest, and really want to feel better, but they just don't budge. Almost always the underlying reason is toxic shame. They have a deep belief that they are bad, and they don't deserve to feel any better. That's utter nonsense. Everyone has a beautiful light inside. Sometimes we let poor choices overshadow it and we forget to let it shine. Or sometimes we grow up in invalidating environments and the people around us throw so much shade that we don't learn that it's there. Whatever the reason, we don't have to live with it. Every day is a new opportunity to have a different life. We just have to choose, then stay the course. Sometimes that's easier when we...

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Could You Be Carrying Toxic Shame?

I've never had any client come into my office saying, "I suffer from toxic shame." In fact, a lot of people don't know what it is or that it's a problem. They think of it as something "normal" or "not a big deal." Toxic shame can keep you from living a vibrant, healthy life. So let's take a look at it. Guilt Is Not The Same Thing as Shame Guilt is the unpleasant feeling that happens when you don't live up to your values or other people's expectations. For example, if I like being perceived as reliable, and I say that I will do something and don't do it, I may feel guilty about it. If I want my mother to think well of me, and I forget all about her birthday,...

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stuck

Five Reasons You’re Stuck (And What To Do About It)

Are you spinning your wheels? Can't get any traction to move on? Here are five reasons why that can help you get going again. Did You Feel Your Feelings? Sometimes people hit a rough patch and do the stiff upper lip thing. They pretend it didn't matter, it didn't hurt, and stuff it all inside. Maybe they even convince themselves that they have no feelings about it. Feelings want to move. They have to be expressed. When they are bottled up, it prevents us from feeling the hurt, but it also prevents us from feeling everything else. The only way to keep moving is to let yourself go through it. Feel it. Take your time. It will last as long as it lasts, but it does end. You may think you can't...

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how to express anger

How To Express Anger in Healthy Ways

Let's face it. Everybody gets angry sometimes. It's not a "bad" thing. It's a natural thing that alerts us when we feel our boundaries are being violated, we're not being seen or heard, or we sense that things are not fair. It's the juice that spurs us to action so we can make things right. When we express anger in healthy ways, it helps us to reach that goal. The problem is, anger has a bad rap. So many of us think that being angry is a sign that we're "bad" or out of control. Or maybe we're afraid to be angry because it will make other people not like us. Anger isn't the problem. Emotions are normal. However, the way that we express anger could be problematic. If our parents...

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hurts that never heal

Hope For Hurts That Never Heal

"I'll always feel this pain" are words I hate to hear. They feel like the person is resigned to live with pain - like there is no hope. Guess what? There is hope for hurts that "never heal." When I see people who tell me they will never heal, there is one of two things going on: either they don't want to heal or they don't know how. I Don't Want to Heal Everybody is not ready to heal. Healing can feel like a scary place. If the emotional hurt came from a betrayal or death, healing might represent accepting life without that person. That can be too much to bear. If the pain came from a rape or domestic violence, healing could feel like giving the perpetrator a pass. Healing from the impact...

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how to tell if you're projecting

How to Tell If You’re Projecting Your Stuff Onto Someone Else

Projection is putting our thoughts, feelings, or fears on to someone else. It's what we do when we are in Shadow. We do it because we're uncomfortable with something within us. We want to get rid of that thing, so we give it to something outside of ourselves. If we want to be healthier people, it's good to know how to tell if you're projecting yourself onto someone else. Before I talk about that though, let's look at some examples of projecting so that we can spot it. Examples of Projections I am attracted to someone I think it out of my league so I talk badly about him. (I'm projecting my fear of not being good enough).I am attracted to someone who doesn't appear to be attracted to me, so I...

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feeling frail

What to Do When You’re Feeling Fragile

Everybody hits a wall sometimes. It's that feeling you get when you need something or someone to hold on to. You feel that you're out of gas and don't have one more smile, conversation, or "atta girl" left in you. Maybe you don't know what to do. Maybe you do, but you just don't have the energy to do it. Before we talk about what to do when you're feeling fragile, let's first look at what might cause this. What Leads to Feeling Fragile? Here are some common things that can lead to feeling fragile. death breakups of friendships or relationships or fear of lossmoving away from what's known, comfortable, and connectedsocial distancing or isolationhealing from traumaspiritual breakthroughsfeelings of loneliness, fear, guilt, jealousy, or shamejudgments of being unworthy, bad, unlovable, being sick, physically...

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pandemic induced depression

7 Tips for Dealing With Pandemic Induced Depression

Sheltering in place for months is taking a toll on mental health. We're not engaging in many of the things that create stability and happiness. We don't have clear facts about when it will end or what life will look like a month from now so we can't plan. It can feel like an endless Groundhog Day where nothing changes. So how can we deal with or avoid pandemic induced depression? Here are some tips. Maintain a Routine By far the most common thing I am encountering among clients is a lack of routine. There's no reason to get up at a certain time and no reason to go to bed. So why bother? Unfortunately, our bodies need routine. When we start sleeping when we want to, eating when we want to,...

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