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problem solving

what's right

What’s Right With Your Life?

We can be so conditioned to focus on what's wrong, growing, and fixing things that we forget to acknowledge what's right. So let's take a moment to pause and reflect on what's right with your life. When we do this simple, little practice, we our mental landscape can change. There is a zen story that illustrates what I mean. There once was a young man who was really unhappy. All he did was complain all the time. He heard of a zen master in the next village and decided to go see if he had a way out of his depression. When the young man arrived, he said, "No matter what I do, I always have problems. I can never get away from them, and it makes me perpetually sad." The...

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what does safety feel like

What Does Safety Feel Like?

If you grew up in a chaotic environment, you may not know what safety feels like. How do you cultivate something when you don't know what it is? It's like trying to describe chocolate to someone who has never smelled or tasted it. Nothing else comes close. It's something you have to experience to really get it, right? Here are some tips to get you there. A Calm Mind Depression is about focusing on the past. Anxiety is about highlighting the potential future. Safety isn't in either of those places. It's in this moment. If you are someone whose mind is always going, going, going, it may be hard to be here. So try this. Look at one thing that is within your view right now, or one thing that you're feeling...

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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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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 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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ways to lose trust

Top 3 Ways to Lose Trust

Healthy relationships thrive in an environment of trust. Whether we're talking about parent/child, teacher/student, neighbors or lovers, we all feel better and more connected where there is trust. Unfortunately, we may have learned behaviors that destroy love and don't even know it. Or maybe we were hurt in the past and adopted coping strategies to keep us safe. That safety comes at a cost of weak boundaries or weak trust. Could this be you? Keep reading the Top 3 Ways to Lose Trust and see! Be Inconsistent Have you ever met someone who does what he says he will only sometimes? Or he is playful and fun sometimes, then is grouchy and unapproachable the next day? Or maybe he is all in favor of a "great idea" one day and then second...

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honoring your shadow

Honoring Your Shadow

The longer I am a trauma therapist, the more deeply I believe in honoring your Shadow. So much pain comes from wanting to not face reality. It's like we will do anything to avoid guilt, shame, and pain. We push those things into Shadow and unconsciously act from that place when we can simply Be. It may sound like I am speaking as if I am outside of that cycle, but I do it too. We all do. Just some of us do it more than others. Some of us do it more unconsciously than others. The first step to healing the Shadow is to make it conscious. Accept that we all have a Shadow. It's the part of us that we don't want to see. The second step is to choose...

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betraying myself

Why Am I Betraying Myself?

If you think about it, there are two main reasons why people betray themselves. 1) for approval and 2) to belong or fit in. It can make you feel like you walk around wearing a mask. Neither feeling is generally worth the loss of self that it costs you. Acting for Approval Everybody enjoys approval. We all want to feel that we are good, competent, kind, and valued. However, when we need it, it becomes problematic because the power over our happiness always lies in someone else's hands. The person wielding the power can feel manipulated or obligated to care for you. That can feel like a burden. And you can feel slighted when you don't get approval when and how you want it. Both people can end up resenting the other. What you...

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Tips for Handling Invalidating Comments

If you’re in an environment of disrespect, it can make it really hard for you to function. This is really stressful. There are some thing you can do to make it easier. Here are some tips for handling invalidating comments. Give responses that: reflect YOUR thoughts, feeling, and needsshow respect – both self-respect and respect for all other partiesacknowledge the feelings of others. These things will help to keep the situation from escalating. They also model effective communication skills. It could be that the person that you are speaking to comes from an invalidating environment and hasn’t learned how to speak in other ways. Your example will give them other choices. Other guidelines: ask for clarification if anything has the potential of being unclearif you jump to conclusions, err on the side of a positive assumptionstay away from...

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