I was recently reminded of the importance of connection in my life. And by that I mean not just being connected, but actually reaching out and letting other people support me when I need it. I am really good at being there for other people when they are struggling, but I resist letting other people do the same for me. And I know that I'll feel better when I do, it's just hard for me to be the supported instead of the supporter. So, this week I am going to let other people be there for me, whether it is offering advice, or more likely, just listening to my fears. And whether it is harder for you to do the supporting or be supported, I hope you reach out to your connections this week and do whichever is more challenging for you.
I hear that all the time. And I must admit I've said it myself a fair amount as well. Sometimes it's just hard to know what you want. There are lots of options that sound good, or it changes from day to day, or you worry about changing your mind. There are lots of reasons why it can be hard to know what we want. So, what do you do when that happens? Breathe. That's it. Focus on your breath and see what comes up. If you are trying to decide between a couple of options, you can also picture yourself in each option and see how they feel. And give yourself permission to not know...see what that's like to sit in the anxiety of not knowing. See where you feel it in your body and what you think your body is trying to tell you. I always know when I'm about to make a mistake because my stomach gets queasy. It will likely be something different for you, but our bodies know things that our minds sometimes resist. So, just breathe and see what happens.
I have been an avid fan of yoga for the past 15 years. You would think that after practicing for that long, I'd be super flexible and strong. And you'd be wrong. I have some physical limitations that keeps my left side very tight. Yoga keeps me more balanced, but there are simply postures that I can not do. Usually when the teacher cues a posture that I can't do, I get frustrated and do something else. Even though I'm actually physically doing a different posture, I normally become annoyed with the teacher, the class, the world. Especially if the teacher strings two or three postures together that I can't do. I'm not sure what was different today, but the teacher cued something that I couldn't do and as I was standing in mountain pose instead, I found myself feeling grateful. I really WANTED to do mountain pose. And while the teacher would have been fine with me doing that even if I could do what she cued, I don't think I would have given myself permission to do what I wanted to do if I had been able to do what she cued. So, today, my limitations felt like a gift because it allowed me to give myself permission to simply do what I wanted. Of course, it didn't last and the next time she cued something that I could almost do, I got frustrated again, but my mind kept coming back to the gratitude. So, for today I am grateful for the things that I can't do.
Valentine's day is not just a day to celebrate our relationship, it can also be a reminder to those not in one that they are single. So, I hope that those of you who are not in a relationship take the opportunity to get together with friends and remind yourself that you are loved, even if not romantically. And here is an excellent article on how to create lasting relationships. http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/02/area_therapist_kerry_lusignans.html#incart_river
I am going through a lot of change in my life right now. My business is new, I am moving, those are just two off the bigger things that I am dealing with. And many days I feel so overwhelmed that I just want to stay in bed and ignore it all. I try to remind myself that I am not alone and instead of curling up into a ball, I try to reach out and let people support me. It isn't a panacea, but it does often give me the strength to take one more step. It is a constant struggle to do it differently, but I have faith that, if nothing else, doing it differently will take me somewhere new.
We all have endless lists of things that we should do. Things that our spouse needs us to do, things for our children, things for work, the house, etc. And the thing that consistently gets pushed to the bottom of the list is what we need for ourselves. I don't know why we expect to be able to take care of everyone else when we aren't taking good care of ourselves, but we all seem to do it. So, I encourage everyone, including myself, to take 5 or 10 minutes today to do something just for us. It can be a hot bath, asking for a back rub, reading a book, whatever brings you pleasure and recharges your batteries. I plan on taking care of myself by making time for a yoga class today. Namaste!
Once you decide to seek a therapist, it can be very confusing trying to figure out how we are all different and who you want to see. Everyone has slightly different letters after their names and unless you have experience in the mental health field, the difference between an LCSW, LSW, LPC, and LMFT are not clear.
According to the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT) "Marriage and Family Therapists broaden the traditional emphasis on the individual to attend to the nature and role of individuals in primary relationship networks such as marriage and the family. MFTs take a holistic perspective to health care, they are concerned with the overall, long-term well-being of individuals and their families."
What does that mean? It means that even when working with an individual, I look for how things make sense in the context of their lives. What is going on in the family that may be contributing to the teenager acting out? How does your spouse's actions influence your own and vice versa. Everyone's behavior makes sense in context and MFTs look at the context, not just the behavior.
Technology is here to stay. And kids today grow up being very comfortable with it and using it in ways us adults can't really understand. So, how do we know when they are spending too much time playing video games or hanging out online? If only it was an easy answer...The danger of too much online time is that some kids never learn how to deal with relationships face to face. So, you can have two kids that spend the same amount of time online, one who also does a lot of in person activities and has an active social life, and one who does not. For the one with an active social life, the online time is not a problem. For the other one, it may be. So, pay attention to how comfortable your child is interacting with peers in person and that will help you figure out if there is a problem or not.