What we see on the surface is rarely all that’s going on. Recognizing this helps us do two things: Empathize & Respond (versus judge and react). If we feel thrown off, offended, annoyed, etc. by someone’s behavior, it can be so helpful to step back and look at things from a more curious perspective. . . I wonder if something else is going on for them below the surface? Is there something I could do to help? That seemed like an extreme response - what could they *really* be feeling? What would happen if I responded with kindness instead of acting irritated? We might not always need to say or do anything. Maybe that wouldn’t be helpful or appropriate. Use your best judgment and just remember that what we see on the surface is very rarely the whole picture!
I’m learning more and more the value of simply being with people. Even though I *know* how important this is to help people feel known and cared for, and how critical it can be for healing to take place, I still catch myself in solution-finding/fix-it mode sometimes. I know exactly why too - it’s because I want the people I care about to feel better. Yes, there are times when I think it’s appropriate and important to share skills, brainstorm together, find solutions, and give pep talks, but there are probably more times where just being with someone is even more important. Not to mention, “feeling better” might not actually be helpful or desired in that moment. Side note: I think it would be helpful for many of us to learn how to sit in our emotions a bit more so we can process through them (instead of endlessly stuffing them) and learn how to fully accept ourselves when we’re feeling positive and happy AND when we’re feeling down and vulnerable. Still a work in progress for me, so if you’re learning this too, you are not alone! 🙂 . .⠀ It requires a mental shift to fully embrace the fact that just *being with* and *feeling with* someone can promote real, powerful change. Or maybe change isn’t even the goal all the time. Maybe it serves a very special purpose to simply be with someone - to help the person in front of us feel heard, important, and a little less alone...one that we may not understand in the moment, but one that makes an impact nonetheless. Here’s to less solving and more listening! 💜
Anxiety is trying to serve a purpose - it might be to protect you from being rejected, from making mistakes/the “wrong” decision, or from feeling unsafe, to name a few. Perhaps the most important part of addressing anxiety from my perspective is learning how to talk back to it and how to support ourselves in making decisions that align with what’s important to us at the end of the day (our values). We don’t have to be a jerk to it, but rather recognize that it’s trying to help, although it’s not serving us very well. . What do you need to say back to anxiety? What’s your favorite mantra when you’re feeling anxious??
“I don’t know how to give myself compassion though.” I have heard this statement more times than I can count! When we’re so used to the inner critic’s voice, being gentle with ourselves is a bit foreign. ⠀ .⠀ To develop a self-compassionate voice, I suggest imagining a little child coming up to you and saying whatever it is your inner critic is trying to make you believe. If a little girl came up to you and said, “I’m ugly and stupid,” how would you respond? Chances are, you’d respond with a kind and concerned tone, asking them where they got that information from, and that they are neither of those things. You would probably, then, offer them some truth in an attempt to “cancel out” what they were telling themselves. Right? ⠀ .⠀ This is how we develop self-compassion. Does it take work? Absolutely! But is it worth it? 100%. Overtime, the inner critic begins to quiet and you learn to be more kind and gracious to yourself. Trust me, this makes life a whole lot easier 💜
My challenge to you today. See what happens 💜 In a world with so much comparison and pressure to be a certain way, being yourself is BRAVE!
Don’t let other people have that kind of power over your life! What you’re *convinced* they’re thinking probably isn’t even what they’re actually thinking. And even if they are thinking it, who cares?? Trust me, I get it. This uncertainty creates anxiety, which turns into fear, which can totally dull our shine. And here’s a fact: people judge and they will continue to judge. The perceptions of people we may or may not know really shouldn’t get to affect the way we live our life and the confidence we feel. So, this week, get out there, do your best, and let your light shine! 🌟💜🌟
Just a little reminder that your purpose on this earth is unique, meaning nobody else has the same exact one as you. That also means you don’t have the same one as the person you wish you were like, the instagrammer with thousands of followers, the beautiful and successful person you simultaneously envy and idolize. ⠀ .⠀ Living out your purpose and authenticity go hand in hand. Authenticity can be hard with so much to compare ourselves to, but it’s the best way to live life fully, with genuine focus and intention. It’s also the best way to find “your people.” I think it’s well worth the challenge. Don’t you? What helps you stay true to living out *your* purpose? Share your ideas with me below 🤗
Anxiety can feel like a whirlwind, and it can easily become a never-ending cycle of what if’s and worst case scenarios. Sometimes, it’s helpful to look deeper into what anxiety is trying to tell us, but other times this becomes counterproductive. If our anxiety is too high, our ability to think rationally goes out the window anyways. This is when it’s helpful to slow down and breathe. Sometimes, we must simply choose to go on about our day, allowing anxiety to take a seat next to us. This requires lots of practice and not something that we can expect ourselves to do overnight. It also requires lots of grace and compassion for ourselves - anxiety isn’t easy and being critical towards ourselves for experiencing it is one of the most unhelpful things we could do. Respond to yourself the way you would to someone you love with your whole heart. That’s what we need most in these moments 💜
I think we sometimes forget about respect in relationships, especially in ones we’ve been in for a while. Not even just romantic relationships, but friendships and relationships with family members too. Sometimes, it feels easier to live in a state of denial because, after all, some needs are being met. Sometimes, it feels easier to just go with the flow because it’s more fun or feels more manageable that way. Maybe we just get comfortable and stop caring as much. Other times, it’s terrible, but intoxicating, so we stay. Maybe we don’t think we can do any better, so we settle.⠀ It’s helpful to pause and ask ourselves some questions that might not always be easy, but those are often the ones that are the most important to explore: ⠀ ⠀ • Do I treat ___ with respect? ⠀ • Does ___ treat me with respect? ⠀ • What does respect really look like in a relationship? • What does disrespect look like? ⠀ • Do I find myself in relationships characterized by respect or do they tend to have quite a bit of disrespect in them? ⠀ • How can I be respectful towards myself in my relationships? ⠀ • What kinds of adjustments might need to be made? What does respect look like to you??
The term “self-love” used to make me feel strange. I think it felt arrogant or self-absorbed. Becoming a counselor has helped me to see that it’s quite the opposite though, and I see what happens when love for self is absent. Self-loathing is probably one of the most difficult things for me to see someone feeling towards themselves. . I’m still on a journey towards loving myself unconditionally. I used to judge my worthiness and value based on affirmation I received (or didn’t receive) from others. I realized that this was utterly exhausting and unreliable, so I decided to be intentional about shifting my mindset. I wanted to know and *embrace* that I was lovable regardless of what I did or didn’t do, and regardless of the perceptions of others. Now, even when I’m feeling caught up in self-doubt or when I make a mistake, I recognize that it’s coming from a place of fear or just being human vs. who I am at the core. ⠀ .⠀ Our core self is the same, even when we mess up, when we’re doubting our abilities, or when shame takes over (feelings don’t get to determine our level of worthiness or lovability). Sometimes we have to look a little deeper within ourselves to see who we really are - and that is valuable, loved, and uniquely wonderful - ALWAYS. Be kind and gracious towards yourself, please, friends. I’d love for you to join me on this self-love journey because I believe loving ourselves unconditionally helps us love others in the same way 💜
You know when it just seems like your emotions completely take over and you have very little control over them? I do! 🙋🏻♀️ The science behind this is that we have two parts of our brain: the primitive-emotional brain & the rational brain. The primitive-emotional brain is what sounds the alarm when it thinks we’re in some kind of danger. Once the alarm goes off, we react in an attempt to protect ourselves against whatever threat we perceive. If we learn to recognize the alarm early enough, we can often calm ourselves and lower the alarm a bit so that our rational brain can come up with a helpful way to respond (versus react). - Info from “Emotional Hijacking” by Marlene Schneider Potter - a great, quick read that I definitely recommend! ⠀ .⠀ For me, when my alarm starts to go off, I notice warning signs like tightness in my chest and feeling hot/tense/frantic. And reacting from my emotional brain can look like saying something snippy or critical, or withdrawing. But if I can catch these warning signs early enough and calm myself by taking some deep breaths, closing my eyes for a few seconds, and/or reminding myself of what’s important to me/my values, I can help calm my emotional brain and kick my rational brain into gear! Our sweet brains just need a little helps sometimes 😉⠀ .⠀ Easier said than done? Yep! What do you do to calm your alarm system?
Even though *fearless* was my word for 2018, I’m still finding myself guided by fear more than I’d like to be. I find myself wondering what people might think if I say certain things that are on my mind. In these moments, fear tells me that I shouldn’t say it. There might be repercussions. People may not see me as credible. They may think I’m over self-disclosing. They may judge me or flat-out reject me. And I often listen to fear because I want to avoid these things. . But what if I took a risk and told fear to step aside? And what if I said what was on my heart in spite of fear being present? Because, let’s be real, the fear probably won’t go anywhere. . Every time I allow fear to control me, I give it more power. I believe what it has to say - that maybe I’m not valued, or that I will be rejected for sharing more of myself. I don’t want fear to control me. . This is why I chose the word *authenticity* for 2019. Because I believe it will be a wonderful continuation of last year. I believe it will help me live out my purpose in new ways, that it will be the cornerstone of my relationships. . . This will bring true connection. The thought of that warms my heart and brings me a sense of strength and courage. Maybe I could make a bigger difference in peoples’ lives if I no longer allowed fear to take the lead, and rather allowed the voice of authenticity and truth to guide me. . . So, all that said, 2019 will be the year of authenticity for me. This certainly brings up some anxiety for me, but I can almost envision myself sitting here on December 31 of next year, feeling completely filled with gratitude for being willing to take this step. To all of you wonderful, valuable people - cheers to a new year of love and true, authentic connection! ✨
I debated about whether or not to share this, and I decided that I would in hopes that it will resonate with or help someone if they’re feeling a similar way. I’m just in a down mood today. I’ve tried lots of things to help me feel better - journaling, trying to be productive, trying to shift my thinking, reading, hugging my husband, and eating because I thought something yummy might lift my spirits - but nothing is really working 😔 I began to notice self-doubt creeping in - “How am I supposed to help my clients if I can’t get myself out of these moods? I bet my clients feel like this all the time - discouraged that nothing is helping them feel better. Am I really that good at what I do?” . . For me, I’m writing this because even though vulnerability feels like a scary risk, I believe with all my heart that it brings connection. I believe it brings healing and comfort too, not just to the person being vulnerable, but to those who are feeling alone in what they’re experiencing. With these self-doubtful thoughts of mine, I am choosing not to look into them too deeply because that won’t be helpful to me. I am choosing to be gentle with myself because I know the truth: I love what I do. I don’t have all the answers and I don’t have the power to make everything better for my clients, but what I do have is a whole lot of care for them and a willingness to join them on their journeys. I’m just not having the best day and I don’t need to extrapolate anything deeper from that. So, as I work on this today, I hope you’ll join me too 💜
This is on my heart right now and I wanted to share. To preface, when I say “diversity,” I’m referring to all aspects of identify that make us unique individuals (race, sexual and gender identity, mental illness, physical illness, disability status, religion, etc.). In my personal and professional life, I strive to honor diversity, taking the time to understand and listen to the experiences of others. When I don’t immediately understand someone’s beliefs, actions, or experience, this is my cue to listen. Placing judgment on people distances us from others, while acceptance and genuine empathy (putting ourselves in another’s shoes and feeling *with* them) foster connection. Will we always get it right? Nope. But it’s worth the effort. . . I so often hear about the impact that judgment or misunderstanding has on people. Invalidation of experience is a common issue I see, as well. Racism is real. Discrimination is real. The stigma around mental illness is real. If you’ve experienced any of these (or any type of exclusion/judgment based on an aspect of your identity), please know that you are important. Your voice is important. . . . Instead of placing blame on people for their circumstances or making automatic assumptions based on what we see, let’s seek to understand their perspective and unique experiences. This reduces shame they may be feeling and/or disconnection they’re experiencing. And instead of shying away from difficult conversations, let’s lean into them and go beyond “I’m here if you need anything” to “I care so much about you and genuinely want to understand. I’m here to listen.” Let’s work together to create safe environments that reduce feelings of isolation, rejection, and shame. And above all, may we be kind and respectful with our words and actions 💜 . . . #diversity #mentalhealth #emotionalhealth #breakthestigma #multicultural #advocacy #bekind #counseling #therapy #auburn #aquietplacecounseling
We often don’t give ourselves enough credit for getting out there and doing things that are scary. The first step (showing up!) is a huge accomplishment. We can very easily talk ourselves out of doing something when we start feeling anxious, but when we do this, it essentially lets our anxiety know that it’s big and scary and that whatever worst case scenario we had conjured up in our minds would most definitely happen. However, when we tell our anxiety, “thank you for warning me, but it’s important that I do this. I am capable of this,” we tell anxiety that we’re stronger and that it doesn’t have the power to take control. When you show up in spite of feeling afraid, please give yourself some love. It’s not easy to do that and you deserve a little positive reinforcement! . . . #anxiety #worry #brave #yougotthis #mentalhealth #emotions #emotionalhealth #mentalillness #counseling #therapy #auburn #aquietplacecounseling
There’s a stigma around counseling and it prevents a ton of people from getting the help and support they need. Some people feel weak because they weren’t able to figure out their problems on their own. Some people feel like they’ll be viewed as crazy if they start seeing a therapist. Some people feel like they’ve got to keep it together all the time and that counseling will show that they finally broke. These things just aren’t true. . . . I’m proud to say that I’ll be attending my own counseling session in a couple hours. I’ll tell anyone that I go to counseling because I’m not ashamed of it. It helps me stay emotionally healthy so I can keep showing up for my clients. It helps me work through my own stuff so it doesn’t get in the way of my relationships and my work. We’re all imperfect human beings with our own issues and it’s perfectly ok (and actually very healthy) to go to counseling. Who else is with me?! 🙋🏻♀️ . . . #breakthestigma #mentalhealth #emotionalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealthadvocacy #advocacy #counseling #therapy #mentalillness #auburn #aquietplacecounseling
When one door closes, trust that a new, *better* one will open! Maybe that other job, relationship, opportunity, program, etc. wouldn’t have been right for you. Try not to get down on yourself about it. It’s not worth the energy to think about all the things you could’ve done to make it work. You’re still awesome. Keep pressing forward and keep an eye out for that other open door! . . . #youareawesome #keeppushing #motivation #mentalhealth #emotionalhealth #cbt #counseling #therapy #auburn #aquietplacecounseling
New post is up on the blog today about a common theme I see in our society and in my work (link in bio). Boundaries are NOT selfish! Would love to hear your thoughts & additional insights from your experience/work! . . . #boundaries #relationships #mentalhealth #emotionalhealth #counseling #therapy #emotions #mentalillness #auburn #aquietplacecounseling