If you are someone who has never made a major mistake in your life my hat is off to you and I want to know how you managed that. I am one of those people who has made major mistakes (at least from my point of view) and had to suffer the consequences. It can be very painful and set your life back. To be honest, I have had to start over in my life more than once. I have had to change directions and even re-invent myself. The experience I have in this area has taught me a few things about dealing with mistakes.
Once the action that caused the problem has been done you have little control of the response. As much as we would like to, we can’t take it back. It’s alright to beat yourself up for a while. It is a pretty natural reaction for most of us. But, some people take it to the point of affecting life for many years. That is really unnecessary and self-destructive. So, give yourself some time and then have the goal of letting that go. The sun will continue to rise and life will go on. Your life needs to go on as well. From my experience, anxiety and depression are the feelings to be dealt with. There is a grieving period that takes place as well. Anger is also a part of the process and then acceptance and healing can happen.
I believe it is very important to take responsibility for our mistakes and not place blame on others or make ourselves out to be victims. You are experiencing something that will stimulate growth if you allow it.
Don’t try to avoid or medicate your feelings. I believe that you can’t get past issues without going through them. Part of being a human being is having feelings. Many of those feelings are unpleasant. Part of the healing process is the feelings we would very much like to avoid. Those feelings will not last forever. They never do. Whatever feelings you have will be replaced with other feelings. Even though it may not be visible, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Avoid trying to find meaning it what has happened. I don’t believe there is a reason for everything. Sometimes we make bad choices and stuff happens. On the other hand, I believe that some of the worst things I have experienced in my life turned out to be some of the best things to have happened in the long term. But I was not aware of the for a long time after the event. Those are the events that taught me huge lessons and changed the direction of my life. Those are the events that opened my eyes to the inner strength that I have and the ability to bounce back.
Therefore, the next step is picking up the pieces and moving forward. Accept that you can’t change the past and as uncertain as the future may be, you can only do things in the here and now to create a better life. Try to learn the lessons you can and apply them to your life. Put the past in the past. You have a choice to have a story or be your story.
I realize that many people do not feel good about who they are. I believe the person we are best at being is the person we are. When we don’t feel good enough we do not give ourselves permission to be us. You are good enough. Work at being the best you that you can be. You have permission to be you.
Depression is the most common emotional issue people have to deal with. You can be depressed and not even be aware of it. The best way to overcome depression is to catch it early and take the steps necessary to limiting the affects.
Symptoms: Low energy/lack of motivation, change in sleep pattern (sleeping more or less), change in appetite (eating more or less), feeling negative or hopeless, and avoiding social situations/isolating.
Steps to overcoming depression: Get moving/ increase your activity, eat healthy, and get out and be with people and avoid isolating. I also suggest you keep a journal and write about your thoughts and feelings. This way you can more easily identify the issues that are troubling you. Changing how you see things goes a long way toward improving mood.
You can get out of your funk and begin enjoying life again without relying on medication. If your depression persists, you may have a medical issue. Consult your doctor.
Did you know that a smile can change your brain chemistry and help to improve your mood? When you are feeling down, give it a try.
There are times when a goal we have been pursuing or a relationship we have been involved in does not seem to be productive or causes us a tremendous amount of emotional pain. We stubbornly hang in there even after realizing there is no hope for a positive outcome and the emotional pain is harming us emotionally and sometimes physically. We refuse to give in and believe if we no longer pursue the goal or withdraw from the relationship we have somehow failed.
I don’t know how often I have heard a client say that the end of his/her marriage would cause them to feel like they failed. I know that many people believe that not reaching a goal or life not going as they planned meant they had somehow failed. They feel defeated. How many armies have retreated from a battlefield in order to regroup and create a better way to victory? They had time to rest, resupply, and find a better way to move forward. Retreating became a path to victory.
It is said that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. I just see it as a waste of time. I believe that sometimes a better way to deal with obstacles or troubling circumstances requires changing directions and forming new goals and a new plan that is more likely to result in an outcome that is more to our liking. Think of a running back in football changing directions in order to avoid being tackled, turning a loss into positive yards, and possibly making a touchdown. Learn from the experiences that did not turn out as you expected. Retreating isn’t being defeated. It gives us the opportunity to have success.
My work is about helping people overcome the issues that have been inhibiting them from continuing to evolve as a person. I help them change the way they think and what things mean to them. More and more I am coming to understand how being honest and open and having the willingness to see things a bit differently, opens doors to incredible change and growth. It requires taking risks and a leap of faith. I ask them to take my hand as I guide them to an unknown place. I ask them to trust that going through a process that is difficult and sometimes painful will result in finding a more rewarding life.
It seems the most shameful and damaged part of our development is sexuality. This seems to be at the center of a huge number of issues people face. This has become more and more clear to me as a do more and more work in the area of early sexual abuse and how children are socialized about sex and their bodies. We can be shamed about a great many things about us. But, our bodies and our sexuality go to the core of who we are. The damage is deep and difficult to overcome. I refer back to the beginning of this post.
“More and more I am coming to understand how being honest and open and having the willingness to see things a bit differently, open doors to incredible change and growth. It requires taking risks and a leap of faith. I ask them to take my hand as I guide them to an unknown place. I ask them to trust that going through a process that is difficult and sometimes painful will result in finding a more rewarding life.”
I see this more clearly every day.
Whenever you are feeling lonely and isolated remember that in a very real way we are all connected.
I saw a video over the weekend and it really got me thinking about the meaning of my life and the importance I give to events I experience. It made me wonder if I give thing way too much meaning and allow events to affect me entirely too much. Take a look.
From the perspective of time, we are alive for a blink of an eye. Even the most important things most of us experience will be known by a relatively few or affect even fewer. One of the guiding posts for how important something has been to me and how much emotional energy it deserves has been: Will anyone care in 100 years? I understand even more the importance of events, or the lack thereof, when seen from the perspective of the universe and infinity. Even more reason to limit the impact even the most life changing events have on me. My life has value to me. I want to get the most of every day that I live. The quicker I can shed the setback, disappointments, losses, and other things that can negatively impact my emotions the quicker I can get back to a rewarding life. In reality, considering the big picture, what happens in my life has no real meaning and are actually a series of events. Seeing it this way changes everything.
I think it is a good idea to go through the process of dealing with, learning from, and moving forward as quickly as we can. Life is too short to allow events to limit our experiences or allow emotional pain or fears to inhibit our ability to enjoy life.
I think it is time to change directions and begin discussing sex and sexuality. I try to write about the things I am dealing with in my life and in my practice. It seems that some weeks have themes and the same issues come up throughout the week.
This week the issue came up in sessions with couples. Sex, or the lack of it, is an issue I see repeatedly over the years. Currently the issue that seems to be presenting itself has to do with how women are socialized with regard to sex and their sexuality. There is a double standard between boys and girls. Boys are expected and in some ways encouraged to experiment with sex. There is a boys will be boys attitude. The general advice boys get is to be careful and avoid STDs and getting her pregnant.
Girls are told not to have sex (remain pure, save yourself for marriage, don’t be a slut) and sex and sexuality come with a great deal of shame. This belief system goes back to a time when women were looked at as having less worth than men and were practically the property of the men they married. In many ways, attitudes toward women have changed but the double standard remains. This causes many women to have great difficulty having pleasurable and healthy sexual relationships. The internal conflict can be debilitating, destroy self-esteem, and contribute to the destruction of marriages.
Once belief systems are in place they are very difficult to change. It requires a great deal of work to overcome. I will be writing more about sexual issues.
I have what I believe to be a very realistic view of life. I have had my share or even more than my share of disappointments, failures, and losses. I had to learn how to handle the issues that have faced me, overcome them, and move on. I have seen people hold on to these things and continue allowing them to negatively impact their lives. This leads to long term depression, anxiety, and the inability to feel good about them and enjoy life. Sometimes these events have destroyed all or part of people’s lives. Many people think there is no other way to handle it. Many never learned the skills to overcome and put the past where it belongs…………in the past.
Here a news flash: The past does not exist. It already happened. All that is left is the memory of what happened, the meaning we gave it, the feelings we have associated with it, and how we have allowed it to affect our lives. By accepting the things that we have experienced, our inability to do anything about them, and allowing ourselves to leave them in the past, we can begin the process of healing and getting on with life. As I say to clients, “you can be your story or you can have a story.” You don’t need to be a victim of the past.
We cannot change the past and need to stop focusing on the things we have no power over. The power we give these events has the ability to inhibit us from having a full and rewarding life. The power we have is to change what we think and do and how much we allow disappointment and grief to affect our lives. It has been my experience that life tends to unfold as it should. I have seen how a door opens when one has been closed and we have to be willing to identify the door. Take what lessons you can from a disappointing experience in life and move forward.
What issues would you like me to discuss in future posts? I want this Blog to benefit you in some way. I want to provide information on and help with the issues that are important to you.