Therapy Thursday- Boundaries, A Personal Tale

This week I had an eye opening reminder about boundaries.

forbidden gate
My friend and business partner, excited about the new year and all the possibilities. Decided to begin networking to improve business. Full of energy, boiling over, we went to our first networking event. We were pumped. We are going to meet people, make connections and get business! We met a nice, super friendly lady who seemed to be on our same page. She had a mission to help women feel good about themselves. Yes, us too! She was passionate about incorporating mind, body and soul in her work. Right on! Us too! After the meeting we exchanged information and set a date to get to know each other better or so (me and my friend) thought. I should have listened to that nagging feeling in the back ground. That feeling that said something feels off here. I ignored it, my friend was so excited. It must just be me. How often do we do this to ourselves? Ignore our hunches, our gut feelings because someone else does not validate them. (This is a whole other issue and will definitely be covered in future Therapy Thursday because it is something I have struggled with my entire life. If I am not validated it must not be real. Bullshit. Okay back to the story).

concrete fence
Later that week before we met, she sent us her “release form.” Makes sense, she’s a fitness instruction, it’s a release form. Next red flag, why was she sending us a release for to get to know each other? I passed it off as she was going to demonstrate some of the stuff she does with clients. Again ignoring that uncomfortable feeling that sat in my stomach. Then I read the release form. This was no release form, that was a therapy intake form. It was way more personal than my intake form. Another red flag, ignored. I didn’t fill it out. Neither did my friend.

fall day
The day comes we arrive to meet her. She’s running late, had to stop and get tea. Next red flag. You don’t honor my time. Again, I passed it off. She’s busy. Still making excuses. We go into her studio. She is visibly upset that we didn’t feel out her form. She goes with it. Starts diving into the questions. What is my soul’s mission, purpose? How do I know? Where do I feel it? Where am I stuck? Why? On and on. She pushes us to divulge to her. Where does it sit in our bodies? How does it feel? Move your body this way, that way. My friend and I were both uncomfortable. But we went with it. Ignoring the feelings that something is wrong. “You aren’t being vulnerable enough with me?” I didn’t say anything. Inside I am screaming, “I don’t even know you. I don’t expect my clients to go this deep with my, until they are ready. I don’t force them.” My friend jumps to my defense. “She is very vulnerable when you get to know her.” The lady goes on. “You come from an alcoholic family.” Again I am screaming inside. “Whoa. You need to chill.” Still I went with it. When the interrogation was done, she showed us a couple moves (we did some squats) and then she began to pressure us to buy her 90 day program to bring our dreams to life. She did not want to take no for an answer. She pushed and pushed. We kept saying that we couldn’t. Finally we said we’d get back to her. Before we left she gave us each a hug that felt like forever. Not a quick goodbye hug. A lingering hug. Again leaving me feeling very uncomfortable.

building 4
Needless to say, we left there feeling violated. We felt taken advantage of.
Oh but it doesn’t stop there. That night she texted and emailed us, claiming how excited she was to work with us. How much she could help us. The next day, I emailed her back declining her offer. We haven’t heard back from her. Finally, set the boundary. She couldn’t accept it. She didn’t get what she wanted. Isn’t that why people push boundaries? To fill their needs, their agendas, to get what they want. I get it. We want to be nice. Be a team player. But not when it comprises us.
I learned I need to listen to that little voice that told me something was off. Second, we allowed her to cross our boundaries. We did not set firm boundaries with her. We let her run the show and run all over us. When we felt uncomfortable we needed to say something or leave.

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Has this happened to you?
So, what can we do?
1. Listen to yourself. If you feel uncomfortable. You are feeling it for a good reason. Check in with this feeling.
2. Say something. If someone crosses your boundaries. Say something, let them know they have gone too far. That they need to back off.
3. If they continue to disrespect your boundaries or you don’t feel you can say anything, leave. It’s them, not you.
What are some other ways you set boundaries?

Part 3-The Power of Pets (Therapy Thursdays)

Connection

I have always believed in the power of pets.  The past day or two has reminded me and caused me to reflect on just how important our pets are to us.

Our pets are our furry family members.  They are an integral part of our family systems.

Our pets provide us with joy and laughter.

The remind us to live in the moment.  They remind us of what is important.

They remind us cherish the small things.

Sever the happy dog

They never judge us.

The are a container for our emotions.  They listen without judgement, being in the moment with us.  They allow us to cry on them.  Some licking away the tears.

Cat in a back pack

Our pets are our friends and confidants.

Our pets provide us with unconditional love. And we love them unconditionally.

They provide us with companionship.

Shadows

Ours pets allow us to connect to the human side of us.  Our emotional selfs.  They see us without filters.  They see us for who we are at a soul level.  They allow us to be who we truly are.

window cat

Are we ever going to slow down? Therapy Thursday

Maybe I’m just getting old.  As I kid, I LOVED the holidays.  The feeling of community and connection in the air.  Everyone seemed happier and friendlier.  Now, it seems everyone is in a hurry to get somewhere.  Everyone seems agitated and grumpy.  Just in the commute to work, people speeding by, cutting others off.  Road rage.  Why are we in such a hurry?  If anything our rush rush attitude is making us sick.  We eat fast food, to busy to cook.  We hurry important moments to get to the next place.  Why?  We all know where we are heading in the end.  It’s not like we are rushing to get there first.  Are we?  Okay, I can see being in hurry to cram all the million things we want to accomplish in this lifetime in, or check off some bucket list items. I get that.  But in the process are we enjoying these moments?  People are miserable.  I think it’s at an all time high.  People exude unhappiness.  Obviously the rush rush attitude is getting us closer to the grave, as we cram our schedules full of must do’s.  What happen to doing what you love, trusting that everything will work out?  With that said, I have decided that 2015, is the year of the Plan B.  That means, I am going to slow down.  Enjoy what brings me pleasure in life; friends, family, art, nature.  I am going to pursue what I know I am good at and enjoy doing, writing and providing therapy.  I am going to stop pushing myself to live the life that I think I am suppose to live and live the life I want to.  Whose with me?

The pictures I choose hopefully will remind you to:

1. Stop and enjoy the moments in life, because in the end life is just a series of moments, make them special.

2. Follow your happiness, embrace it and let it shine.

3. Let your inner light shine, be proud of who you are, you are amazing!

4. Bloom where you are planted.  You’ve got this!

Therapy Thursday- Simplicity

I realize that I over the last couple weeks I have been discussing the importance of slowing down and enjoying our lives.  Yesterday’s sunset reminded me, yet again of this.  Especially during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

This weeks Therapy Thursday is short and sweet.  Take time to enjoy life.  Take a few moments to relish in what brings you pleasure.

I leave to ponder something my father use to say when I was a child.  He use to say that if everyone just took a couple minutes a day to watch the sunrise or sunset we would have no wars.

Colorado Sunset

Therapy Thursdays- Mad World

I can feel the energy pulsing through my body.  I feel sick.  Shaky. My body knew the verdict before my brain.  That sense that something is wrong, off in the world, dread.  I wish I had the answers, I don’t.  I just know what we are doing isn’t working.

I was deeply saddened by the Michael Brown verdict.  I don’t have all the facts.  I can’t judge, I wasn’t there.

When events in our nation happen we want to make sense of them.  Understand it.  Easy the unrest in our minds and bodies.  Some of us, clam up, retreat further inward.  Some of us, lash out.  Looking to be heard, seen and felt.  And some of us, see this as an opportunity good or bad to help others, society and yes, some of us, to help ourselves.  Events like this bring out the best and worse in people.

We as a society are hurting.  We are sick physically, mentally and emotional.  I hate this.  I want us all to be healthy and happy.

What can you do?  You can be an advocate for a better society.  A society based on love and not judgment.  I realize I am asking a lot.  We as a society have a long way to go.  I truly believe that if each of us, does something, we can create change.  I am asking you to:

  1. Love yourself.You deserve your love and respect.  When you love you, it’s easier to love others.  Accept yourself, good, bad, flaws and all.  We are all flawed people.  Love and relish all of you.  Because you might know it now, but you are truly amazing person!
  2. Stop judging.Starting with yourself.   Stop comparing yourself to others.  You are you, no one else has your life, your experiences, your circumstances.  Yes, we share similar events and experiences, but we all experience things differently based on several factors, such as family history, genetics, disposition, attitude, socio economics and more.

Stop judging others.  You are not them.   You can create a story on why people do what they do, but in the end, it’s a story and you don’t have all the facts.  Creating stories to understand others actions helps us feel better, but it’s still just a story.  Just like, you can speculate.  Walk a mile in their shoes.  But still you don’t know.

REMEMBER: You are magnificent!  Let yourself be human.

  1. Share the love.Pay it forward.  Do something nice for someone, anyone, the planet, nature, animals.  Volunteer, pay for someone’s lunch or coffee, donate time, money, clothing, food.  Rake a neighbor’s leaves or shovel their snow.  Acts of kindness create good feelings and vibes.

Together we can create a better world, society and planet.

Therapy Thursday- It’s okay to stray

Little moment sunrise

I don’t know if you are like me, I am constantly chasing something. Always working on something.
Being busy helps the hyper activity. I was diagnosed as a child and my mom decided to cut sugar out of my diet and when I was jumping off the walls and driving her crazy, she would have me run around the house until I couldn’t.
I am always trying to fit everything into the day. Go, go, go is my motto.
I use to be very rigid about my schedule. I had a to do list, that I had to accomplish.
This year I have allowed myself to ebb and flow with life. It has made a world of difference. Instead of sticking to my plans, if something comes up I go with it. I allow myself to stray from the path. To be in the moment to enjoy the moment. Instead of being at dinner with my family, thinking about the million and one things I have to get done when I get home. I am AT dinner with my family. I am there 100%.
Today, this is your reminder to stay from the path. A reminder to enjoy the little moments. After all isn’t life just a series of little moments?

Therapy Thursday- Connection

Connection

We are desperate to connect.  Yet the walls we build around our hearts are thicker and higher than ever.   We trap ourselves in relationships and jobs that do not satisfy us and drain us.  We are afraid to show the world our true essence.  Being vulnerable and exposed is scary.  Yes, we reach out via blogs, twitter, facebook, friends and family.  Even then we hid pieces of ourselves.  Many of us share the most of ourselves in our blogs than in person.  On line shelters us with distance and gives us false security.  We are safe from rejection, reading the expressions of others and sensing their emotions.  Usually.  Just as we are vulnerable with in person contact we are over the internet.  Sometimes more so, feeling a false sense of righteous guarded by anonymity.  We hid from over stimulus of society.  Unable to connect because it is overwhelming.  Too much coming at us everyday.  We need time to disconnect to reconnect.

How do we deal?  Connect?

1.  Limit time on social media and watching television. It is so easy to fall into mindless surfing and watching.  Becoming numb and immune to what is around us.  Safe and secure with just yourself and a screen.

2.  If you feel safest via the internet.  Reach out and connect.  Start a conversation with someone else over their blog, twitter, facebook, email.  Start a relationship.

3.  Talk time to connect with friends and family.  Be in the moment, not checking messages or checking via the internet.  Be present.  Interact.  Sing, dance, play, however your soul expresses happiness.  Have fun!

4.  Get out into nature.  Explore your community.  Go to the park.  Just get outside.

Therapy Thursday: Our true selves?

Sever the happy dog

We are a broken society. I don’t know if we were ever whole. I also don’t have the answers. I do have suggestions and ideas. I find more and more people seeking therapy for a safe place to be themselves. To share their stories, fears and dreams. Afraid of judgment and ridicule from the outside world, especially from the people who they are closest too.
We are afraid to be vulnerable. (Great book about vulnerability is Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly) Exposing ourselves to others is scary, if not downright terrifying. The masks we wear are becoming too tight to remove. We, as individuals are becoming lost in who we think we are supposed to be. We are losing our true selves. We are expected to follow rules and norms, not only with friends, families and at work but also on line. No wonder so many people are cracking and acting out violently.
We are desperate to connect. To be heard and understood.
What a predicament we have created for ourselves. We are petrified to be judged, exposed for who we truly are and to be vulnerable and yet we are dying to connect, to belong.
Okay, so what can we do? We can love our neighbors. Smile at people. Talk to our friends. Share our stories, our dreams and fears with people we feel safe with. Become nonjudgmental. Play. Volunteer. Laugh. Love.
Why the picture of my dog? Because, she is happy. She is in the moment. Loving life! We can learn a lot from our four legged friends. But that’s another blog.
So, what makes you happy? When are truly being you?

Image

Therapy Thursday- Negativity

Candle Light

I was ready to jump in a tackle the big issues about mental health stigma, diagnoses and common mental health issues most of us deal with on a daily basis. However, as I sat down to write this, I realized that my week had been plagued by a much subtler mental health dilemma- NEGATIVITY. Most people don’t think of negativity as a mental health issue, but it is. A negative attitude affects your life, and your well being, as well as, the people around you.

I don’t know about you but negativity seems to be running rampant like a zombie outbreak. Everywhere I go I come across people with an unhappy expression on their faces. They are constantly in a hurry. Constantly struggling with one issue or another. These people also tend to complain, a lot. If they aren’t complaining, they are gossiping. Furthermore, many of them oblivious to their surrounds, as they emit their toxic pollution into the world.

Negative people tend to affect other people. Have you ever noticed that you were in a great mood, happy, energetic when you met friend for coffee, who was having a bad day. After an hour or so of conversation you leave feeling drained, unhappy and now grouchy.

We are naturally empathic creatures. We do much of our communication through non verbals. So, while you are sitting there with your friend, you are picking up on her or his energy, their subtle cues of negativity.

Great news! There are a few simple steps to help you ward off negativity.
1. Set the intention when in public not to be affected by others’ negativity. As well as, set a daily intention to be positive and not let the negativity get to you.
2. Don’t fall pray negativity traps. Complaining, griping and gossiping.
3. Look for the beauty. Find the beauty. Relish and cherish the beauty.
4. Check yourself. Make sure the negativity isn’t you. It happens. We all have bad days. If it’s you. It’s okay. Give yourself some much needed TLC.
5. Look for the positive. Those people who let their light shine and are a pleasure to be around. Find them and be with them. I love these people and no matter how much negativity comes to me, I can always find someone positive to be around. If you can’t find the positive people, be a positive person. I realize in some situations this is nearly impossible, that’s when you revert back to steps 1-3.
6. Share your light. Share your positivity and happiness.

If you still are struggling to shake off negativity or feel that there is a deeper issue. Seek out counsel with a therapist or counselor who can help you work through what is going on, get to the root and get you back to living the life you deserve. Because everyone deserves to be happy!
Please feel free to add what works for you when it comes to dealing with negativity. Thank you and have a beautiful day!