How Boredom And Space Help You Understand Yourself

How Boredom And Space Help You Understand Yourself

How Boredom And Space Help You Understand Yourself

What Have You Been Avoiding?

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Understand Yourself | We’re –s-t-u-c-k- safe at home. For some of us, as we continue to transition into this new lifestyle this means more stress and even busier schedules. Living almost minute by minute, taking care of young kids who are home (all the time), while still striving to meet the slow-to-change expectations of employers.  

But if that isn’t you and you find yourself with more time and fewer outlets than you’re used to, you’re probably feeling bored, listless, and maybe even a little lazy. Counting myself among this group, I’m struggling to feel motivated even as I write this! All this time at home can lead to an odd combination of frustration with not having enough to do and a lack of drive to do what you can or even need to do. Maybe even questioning yourself and wondering, Who am I?

I’m sure you’ve also seen the two social media messages floating around about this experience: 

  1. Start a hobby! Learn something new! Now is the time!
  1. Just chill. It’s okay to feel whatever you feel. Take it easy if you need to.

Both of these approaches are valid and helpful. Pick what works for you – and change your mind as needed. But here’s what these messages don’t talk about: How boredom and space can help you understand yourself. 

Boredom has always gotten a bad rap. Now more then ever, our internet tribe is talking about the big, bad boredom-monster. We’re taught to avoid boredom at almost any cost, by staying busy, distracting ourselves with tune-out technology, and being “productive.” Maybe this is because slowing down to get to know yourself better can actually be pretty uncomfortable and scary. Because understanding yourself better can lead to confronting some things you’ve been avoiding with all that business and distraction. 

As an online therapist and life coach, some of my clients too are struggling with some long-term issues that have recently been “brought to the light.” I want to encourage you to allow yourself to sit with these feelings. With a little bit of boredom and space, here are a few not-so-comfortable (but important) things you might uncover:

 

Relationship Issues

You may know your relationship isn’t perfect (I mean, who’s is?). When focused on the hustle of life, we can put off dealing with relationship concerns and the difficult conversations they demand. Now, alone with each other, it gets harder to ignore what isn’t working. This is a good opportunity to notice what’s coming up for you, to understand yourself in the context of your relationship and get curious about what your relationship might need, and consider if you’re ready to start making some gentle repairs. 

What You Really Want

Anxiety is up with the Coronavirus epidemic. But for some of those who experience it under ordinary circumstances, anxiety has actually gone down during quarantine! With boredom and more time on your hands comes less pressure and obligation. Suddenly, many are finding themselves relieved of the unspoken but ever-present expectation to be busy and constantly moving toward worthy goals. What arises from this new space is the question, “If I’m less anxious now, did I actually want these goals for myself or did I just think I should have them?” Boredom and space can help you separate what you really want, enjoy, and value from what others think or want.

 

Big Beliefs

Having more time with yourself, you might pay a little more attention to your thoughts. Following those thoughts can lead you to your core beliefs. We tend to assume, for example, that our value comes from things like productivity, social engagement, or helping others. Right now, our ability to do each of these has been limited, which can lead to new, healthier beliefs about intrinsic value from being, rather than doing.  Boredom and space means we can sit with beliefs and consider them with curious objectivity. We can question them and change them, if we wish. Opening your mind to these personal growth moments will help you in your journey to understand yourself. 

Deeper Feelings

As we slow down and get back to basics under quarantine, we create room for more things to grab our attention. You may notice more synchronicities, remember more dreams, or be inspirationally struck with new, creative ideas. These are just some of the ways that deeper, unaddressed feelings work their way to the forefront. Slowing down to embrace a little boredom, what feelings come up and what are they trying to tell you?

Surprising Strengths

Challenges create opportunity for solution-finding. Obstacles illicit creative thinking. Under self-quarantine, we are called to find new ways to connect, help one another, practice self-care, and maintain our hobbies, responsibilities, and goals. Leaning into boredom and space gives you a chance to surprise yourself, to truly understand yourself. 

Is it uncomfortable? Definitely. Scary? Yes. But what if this boredom thing is also an opportunity to slow down and sit with an old friend…yourself? Who knows what you might discover?

Wishing you the best,
Kathleen Stutts, M.Ed., LPC

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denver therapist online therapy Kathleen Stutts Therapist, Life Coach, Marriage Counselor, Dating Coach

Kathleen Stutts, M.Ed, LPC, helps you build your self-esteem and create strong, meaningful relationships in a non-judgmental, productive space where you will feel safe, comfortable and understood.

Let’s  Talk

 

 

Real Help, To Move You Forward

 

Everyone experiences challenges, but only some people recognize these moments as opportunities for growth and positive change.

 

 

Working with an expert therapist or life coach can help you understand yourself more deeply, get a fresh perspective, grow as a person, and become empowered to create positive change in yourself, your relationships and your life.

 

 

Start your journey of growth today by scheduling a free consultation.

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Emotional Self Care When Your Life is Falling Apart

Emotional Self Care When Your Life is Falling Apart

Emotional Self Care When Your Life is Falling Apart

Sometimes life just throws you a major curve ball…

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You know that feeling? Your jaw just metaphorically drops, the days seem to run together like one long, surreal dream. Making decisions or taking action can feel like walking through mud. There is understandable shock and disbelief. It rocks your foundation, leaving you with questions like, “When will this end?” and “HOW will this end?,” which can be really scary. 

Understandably, the COVID-19 outbreak has left many of us feeling shell-shocked in this way. 

Whether a pandemic, natural disaster, or something smaller in scale but no less devastating (like a death, divorce, or job loss), these major life curveballs have something in common: 

The impact is felt throughout every area of your life. 

The coronavirus concern has created instability in our homes, work, financially, at our schools and hospitals, even in our simplest of daily routines. 

While there is a lot of information available about how to be responsible, stop the spread, and take care of physical health, we also desperately need resources and support around how to take care emotionally for our mental health. 

Not only as an online therapist and life coach, but also as a New Orleans native and “survivor” of hurricane Katrina, I have an intimate understanding of what it’s like to have your life fall apart.

The good news is: it doesn’t last forever. 

The other good news is: there are very real things you can do to make it feel less catastrophic while reducing stress.

Here are eight steps to emotional self care when your life is falling apart.

Know This Pain Is Temporary

I put this one first because it is so important. Every day, several times a day if needed, it’s good to remind yourself that what is NOW is NOT FOREVER. This will be over. And that means you can ride it out. You can make it through. Knowing it will end helps ease the anxiety of not knowing exactly when. It helps with the unknowns. 

Envision Life In The Future

Since you know that what is now is not forever, you can imagine what you want your life to look like after it’s all over. It gives you something to look forward to and to focus on. 

A lot of helpful people will tell you to stay in the present when coping with your life falling apart (and they’re not wrong – I’ll get back to that later). This is because future thinking can create a lot of anxiety over things you can’t even control

But if you are thinking of the future from an empowered, hopeful place planning ahead and looking at what you may be able to do now to work toward it, or even just to get excited about what it could be – will feel better. 

Envisioning your future when you can rebuild your life creates motivation, hope, optimism, and a sense of productivity and purpose.

Remember What You Do Have (Practice Gratitude)

Okay, here’s where we get back to present versus future thinking. If you find yourself obsessing over the what-if’s of an unclear future, bring your mind back to the now. 

In fact, focus on what is GOOD about what IS, right NOW. You can make a gratitude list. You can take a few minutes each day to appreciate your blessings. But you can also gratefully embrace any present moment by mindfully tuning in to the right now with your five senses [also see: Living in a Beautiful State for more on mindfulness]. Let’s give it a try…

Take a minute after reading this paragraph to close your eyes.

Take a deep breath. Listen to your breath. Feel it fill your lungs.

Notice what you hear around you.

What do you smell? 

What emotions come up as you notice?

What can you feel right now with your body? 

What are you grateful for in this moment?

Focus On What Is In Your Control

Part of making through what is out of your control is focusing on what is in your control. The meaning and the why you choose to make out of what is happening to you can dramatically shift its impact on you emotionally and mentally. 

Maybe you would never choose to lose a job you love, to struggle financially, or have your life turned upside down. But why are you going through this?

It’s an odd question to ask about something forced upon you, I know. But bare with me. If you could choose a why, what would it be? Because you can. You can create the “why” you want. What you are going to take away from this experience is yours to decide.

Be Nice To Yourself (Practice Self-Compassion)

Someone recently said to me, “You are your own best friend for life. Be nice to yourself.”

Would you kick a friend when he’s down? Of course not. So be nice to yourself when going through a tough time. Remember you aren’t the only one struggling when life falls apart. You are not alone.

Give yourself grace and space to make mistakes, to struggle, and to hurt. You’re human. We all are.

Ride Those Emotional Waves (Until They Pass)

When we fight our feelings with criticism or denial, they tend to grow stronger (or we just add more negative emotions on top of what we’re already experiencing). 

It’s okay to feel all the feelings right now; they aren’t YOU and they pass. Observe them without self-judgement (“Wow, I’m really sad right now”). Ground yourself by practicing that mindfulness exercise above; close your eyes and tune into your five senses. Breathe. It will pass on its own. Repeat as needed.

Self-Care, Keep It Simple

It’s tempting to let everything go when you are overwhelmed, routine is out the window, and resources are limited. So keep it simple. What are your top three self-care needs? 

Sleep, nutrition, physical exertion, creativity, social connection…these are just some examples. 

Don’t worry too much about what you get done or don’t when it comes to self-care; just focus on the top three things that help you most. And, when working on those, stay simple. 

Not motivated? Start with one small step (as small as needed). For example, if you know you need exercise to stay mentally and emotionally well but aren’t motivated to run five miles on your treadmill, you could start with 10 jumping jacks, 15 minutes of yoga, or vigorous house cleaning. 

Check in with yourself at the end of this step and ask yourself if you want more.

Reach Out

Even the most introverted of us need someone to talk to, even just to chat. Check in with your friends, family, and loved ones. If texting with them still leaves you feeling isolated, go old-school and make a phone call! Or take advantage of modern technology and video chat. 

And remember it’s okay to ask for exactly what you need most, and not for what you don’t need. So if you’re yearning for normalcy and want small talk with a friend, it’s okay to say “Hey, can we skip the coronavirus conversations right now? I miss our girl talk.”  

Give yourself permission to be vulnerable, ask for help, and just generally share how you’re feeling with a fellow human!

Online Emotional Support

Sometimes friends and family can’t support us in the way we need (which is okay, too), especially when they are going through something themselves. If you are unsure of where to turn for help and stuck in self-quarantine, know that there are many online resources available, such as online therapy, virtual couple’s counseling, and online support groups. [And for more on building community while social distancing read “CommUNITY during social distancing and self-quarantine“]

When your life is falling apart around you, know you can get through it and it will pass. Even if the old normal isn’t quite the same again, take comfort in the knowledge that a new, positive normal will eventually fall into place.

In the meantime, keep emotional self-care simple and be gentle with and kind to yourself.


We’re in this together! 

Kathleen Stutts, M.Ed., LPC

 

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Kathleen Stutts, M.Ed., LPC helps you build your self-esteem and create strong, meaningful relationships in a non-judgmental, productive space where you will feel safe, comfortable and understood.

Let’s  Talk

 

 

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Working with an expert therapist or life coach can help you understand yourself more deeply, get a fresh perspective, grow as a person, and become empowered to create positive change in yourself, your relationships and your life.

 

 

Start your journey of growth today by scheduling a free consultation.

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Cutting Cords To Toxic Relationships

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When to Walk Away

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As an experienced Denver marriage counselor and therapist, I know first hand: Relationships take work. No one is perfect, no relationship is perfect. No boss, friend, loved one, or partner is perfect.

But how do you know when a relationship has crossed over that tipping point from imperfect to toxic? How do you know when cutting cords to toxic relationships is necessary?

Whether you are struggling with a bullying boss, a caustic friend, or even questioning whether to walk away from a long-term relationship or marriage, no one usually wants to walk away.

Walking away is hard. Change is hard and scary. And there is a natural and healthy desire for things to work out and for everyone to be happy.

But when you’ve found that a relationship is causing you misery, you’re wondering if the bad has started to outweigh the good, and questioning, “should I burn this bridge?” here are a few questions to ask yourself:

How Did We Get Here?

This step is for getting curious about the patterns you notice in this relationship and creating a narrative from the beginning of it until now. In other words, what is the story of your relationship? What is the relationship’s dynamic, or the dance you and this person create together?

Go deeper: When you reflect back to the infancy of your relationship, do you notice red flags you didn’t necessarily see at the time? How has the relationship evolved since – and were there milestones or critical incidences that contributed to these changes? Can you see where negative energy crept in or was always there?

After spending some time here, zoom out again; what story do your reflections tell you?

What Can I Accept?

Instead of focusing on what you CAN’T control (which includes everything about the other person), focus on what you can accept. Acceptance means not trying to change, help or give advice, not judging or fighting against. It means that, even if you don’t like or agree with something, you let go emotionally. You lean into the fact that “it is what it is,” whether you like it or not.

When working with my DTC relationship clients, I like to ask them to think about (or even list on paper!) all aspects of the relationship over which they have no control. This includes the other’s perspective, reactions, and feelings, just to name a few. Be honest with yourself on this one. Can you let go of some of these?

What Can I NOT Accept?

After asking yourself “what can I truly live with?,” you may now know more about what you CANNOT abide. Daily stress? Financial instability? Walking on eggshells? Compromising your values for the sake of the relationship?

These are the pain points that will need to be addressed if you choose to continue your investment in this relationship.

Let’s look at how to address them…

What Have I Tried?

Up to now, our questions have focused on what IS NOT in your control. Let’s shift gears and look at what IS. Your perceptions, feelings, behaviors…

What have you tried so far to improve this relationship? Some key areas to think about include communication, compromise, and education.

Have you tried being appropriately vulnerable? 

Have you gotten curious about and tried to understand the other person’s needs? 

Have you looked for where you and the other’s wants or needs can overlap and lead to compromise? 

Have you asked for help or accessed resources and education (coaching is a great example!)?

Think about all the steps you (and possibly the other person in the relationship) have taken to create positive change.

What Am I Able And Willing To Do That I Haven’t Yet Tried?

Is there anything left? Really challenge yourself here to think outside the box and brainstorm. Is there anything you can do, that’s in your control, you haven’t yet tried?

• Information gathering?

• Learning how to have a different emotional reaction in the relationship?

• Classes or coaching?

This step can be uplifting. Even if your hope for the future of the relationship is dwindling, it can feel empowering to focus on what’s in your control, your options and choices (no matter how sparse), and what you can do to help yourself.

When we focus on what we can change (our own behaviors, tools, and resources), we feel more resilient and we open up possibilities for the relationship to improve and grow. What do you really have to lose here?

Now, of these – what are you interested in, able or willing to actually try out now? It’s okay if the answer is “none of them!” Be honest with yourself, about how you feel, and if you aren’t motivated to work on the relationship…honor these feelings. They are valid. And they must be heard in order to answer the question, “should I burn this bridge?”

What Can Change And How Much?

Now, realistically, knowing what you and the other person have done, or could yet still do, and what you can accept and what you cannot, what is the likelihood of change?

What aspects of the relationship that you know must change for your own wellbeing are actually changeable? And how much, or to what degree, is this change realistic, based on the evidence and past experience, as well as your own ability and willingness to try?

For example, it’s possible someone can become less argumentative, but they might still be that way from time to time.

It’s also important here to view change with a “dimmer switch mindset.” Basically, know that change doesn’t flip like a light switch in a moment, but occurs as a slow, gradual process and this healing process takes time. This relationship can be improving in small increments, not necessarily visible in the moment but easier to see over time.

Keep this realistic view of change in mind when you consider what you can accept if you stay in the relationship and your own ability to grow for the sake of its success. And don’t forget to make note of what the other person has really done to work on things and appreciate it.

Sometimes the devil you know feels safer than the big, scary unknown. This, and the knowledge that no relationship is perfect and they all take work, can make it hard to know when it’s time to stop giving it your all and walk away from a toxic relationship. I hope these questions help you explore with your own intuition of what is best for you.

And, remember, it’s okay to take care of yourself!

Kathleen C Stutts, M.Ed., LPC, NCC 

P.S. Share your thoughts with me in the comments section below!

 

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Kathleen Stutts, M.Ed., NCC, LPC helps clients build self-esteem and create strong, meaningful relationships in a non-judgmental, productive space where you will feel safe, comfortable and understood.

Talk with a Coach or Counselor Today!

 

 

Real Help, To Move You Forward

 

Everyone experiences challenges, but only some people recognize these moments as opportunities for growth and positive change.

 

 

Working with an expert therapist or life coach can help you understand yourself more deeply, get a fresh perspective, grow as a person, and become empowered to create positive change in yourself, your relationships and your life.

 

 

Start your journey of growth today by scheduling a free consultation.

Read More by Kathleen 

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From Emotional Eating To Intuitive Eating: How To Change Your Relationship To Food

From Emotional Eating To Intuitive Eating: How To Change Your Relationship To Food

From Emotional Eating To Intuitive Eating: How To Change Your Relationship To Food

Food is Good, and So Are You.

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EMPOWERED EATING: Your relationship with food is just like any other relationship. It can be positive, supportive, nurturing and enjoyable…. or it  can be toxic, stressful and disempowering. The latter is very common, especially if you’ve been exposed to judgmental ideas about food (and who hasn’t?) that have disconnected you from your own inner wisdom, and led you to get caught up in a cycle of emotional eating.

First things first: Food is good. Food is an important part of a health and authentic self-care strategy. Intuitive eating is all about listening to yourself, trusting yourself, and having a positive relationship with the food that nourishes your body or that brings you pleasure. Food is not only nourishment, it’s an opportunity for connecting with others, getting in tune with yourself, and savoring all the good things that life has to offer.

However, it can be challenging to stay in a positive, empowered place when it comes to food. Especially when we have so many “experts” making value-judgments about what is okay and not okay to eat, and so many confusing and often contradictory information about what healthy eating “should” look like.

Furthermore, it’s extremely easy and common to turn to food for comfort and indulgence and fall into unhealthy, mindless emotional eating during times of stress. This can create a shame spiral where we start to judge ourselves for our food choices, and leads to restriction, “rules,” and rigidity… that only (ironically) makes it harder to develop a healthy, empowered relationship to our food.

One aspect of this can be more emotional eating. When emotional eating is happening mindlessly (and often), it can cause problems: Not just to your health, but also to your emotions and the way you feel about yourself. It can be easy to fall into reactive emotional eating, especially during times of stress. If you’re eating your emotions away rather than allowing yourself to deal directly with your feelings, emotional eating can get in the way of your personal growth process.

How to Tackle Emotional Eating

To assist you in reclaiming your power when it comes to food, I’m speaking to my colleague Kathleen Stutts, M.Ed., LPC to get her perspective and wisdom on how to release shame and judgment about food and start to practice intuitive eating. Kathleen is, among other things and intuitive eating counselor. She has spent years working with people to hep them increase their self-esteem, learn how to listen to themselves and their bodies, and practice mindful eating.

Kathleen had so much wisdom to share on this emotional eating podcast. Her first “wisdom bomb” is that emotional eating isn’t necessarily bad. It’s okay if eating things that make you feel good can be a healthy coping strategy, if it’s one tool of many. She also reminded us that food is good. It’s okay to take pleasure in the things you eat, and to mindfully savor the foods and flavors that you enjoy.

The first step to end emotional eating is not to restrict yourself, beat yourself up, or listen to what OTHER people say about what you should or should not eat. The key to overcome emotional eating is to end the feelings of shame that food can cause, by developing a more compassionate, tolerant and positive relationship with food, with your body and with yourself.

Intuitive Eating Principles

In addition to describing the underlying causes of emotional eating and how to begin to gain the self-awareness and self-compassion to begin to change those patterns, Kathleen turned this into an “intuitive eating podcast.” She shared so many pearls of empowering wisdom including:

  • How to listen to your body
  • How to release shame and judgement
  • How to practice empowered eating
  • How to practice mindful eating
  • How to start intuitive eating
  • Mindfulness exercises
  • How to trust yourself and your own body
  • How to practice a body-positive mentality that will lift you up

In addition to sharing her compassionate intuitive eating strategies she also provided lots of encouragement, an affirming body-positive perspective, and online resources to help you create an empowered eating approach in your life.

All for you! Listen now…

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby and Kathleen Stutts, M.Ed., LPC

 

 

 

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From Emotional Eating to Intuitive Eating: Cultivating a Positive Relationship With Food

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits:  Egozi, with “Cookie Dough”

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Let’s  Talk

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Questions About Group Therapy?

Curious about Group Therapy? Intrigued by Group Therapy? Worried about Group Therapy? Maybe all of the above?

So normal to feel this way. While there are so many benefits and advantages to group therapy, the idea of meeting a group of strangers and sharing deep and personal information can, understandably, sound dubious and bring up feelings of anxiety.

But what many who aren’t familiar with groups don’t yet know is that therapy groups are not only structured to create a safe space for sharing, but can also promote growth and relief more immediately than individual therapy.

Here’s a little bit about what to expect from a therapy group experience:

Group Therapy Feels Safe: First and foremost, just as in individual therapy, what is shared in a therapy group remains confidential. All therapy group members agree to respect each other’s privacy and anonymity. What happens in group stays in the group! In a high-quality therapy group your facilitator will create clear boundaries and expectations. They will discuss with everyone the focus, objectives, and rules of the therapy group so that everyone is on the same page and can feel safe.

Group Therapy is Flexible: It’s also important to know that, while you will benefit most from sharing in the group, what you share and your pace of opening up is entirely up to you.  Feeling particularly vulnerable today? Not in a great mood? That’s okay. You can show up to the group as you are and find support.

Group Therapy is Supportive: It is, in fact, the opportunity to find belonging that contributes to the unique benefits of a therapeutic group. As wonderful and helpful as individual therapy can be, it simply doesn’t offer some of the growth opportunities you will find in a group therapy setting.

Just Some of The Benefits of Group Therapy

You are not alone.

Often we feel that our struggles are unique. This contributes to a sense of ourselves as an outsider, intrinsically flawed, impossible to understand or maybe even help. While it is true that we are all unique, we share common challenges. Hearing that others, too, feel insecure, have anxiety, or repeat the same relationship patterns helps us to believe we are not so abnormal after all. If experience is the best teacher, listening to the stories of our peers is an experience that can change our own idea of ourselves in a profound and direct way rarely found outside of the group therapy setting. This can be especially helpful if you’re going through something really hard, like a breakup or divorce.

You give and get support.

Belonging to a group immediately expands your support system. Being exposed to fresh perspectives, inspired by the struggles and triumphs of others, brainstorming together, and the genuine expression of curiosity and concern are just some of the ways group members support each other. Stepping out of your own struggles to support someone else is also cathartic and therapeutic in itself, providing a special feeling of purpose and contribution.

You learn new relational skills.

What better place to put new skills to task, to practice them, than in a group of those with whom you’ve bonded and feel understood, not judged? The group experience lets you not only talk about what changes you want to make, but also give these new changes a try in a safe, more comfortable atmosphere. The therapy group enables us to “dip our toe in the waters” of change with others who, themselves, deeply understand and even share the nature of our struggles.

You find your voice.

For those of us who would like to improve our relationship skills (basically all of us), becoming part of a group propels us forward. In a therapy group, we increase our self-awareness, learn how to articulate our thoughts and feelings, and become competent at carving out a space for ourselves within a team. This unique opportunity increases our confidence with others in ways we can put to use practically in our daily lives.

You listen and learn.

Even if you are having an “off” day, have less to share, or are feeling a bit sheepish, you can benefit from listening to the other members of your group. Supporting them, just being there, creates growth, insight, and new, fulfilling relationship experiences.  Come as you are, whether that means eager to get things off your chest, wanting to ask for help, or ready to let your support system take the lead.

Group therapy costs less.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Due to the nature of groups and participation of several members, they simply cost less than private therapy. [How much does therapy cost?] This means that therapy groups make support, growth, and change available to many who wouldn’t otherwise be able to take advantage of therapy.

Groups aren’t just for therapy.

While traditional, Yalom-style group therapy is enormously helpful for people, coaching groups are also a fantastic, effective, and affordable way to launch your personal growth.

What’s the difference between group therapy and group coaching? 

The differences between group therapy and group coaching are subtle, and more about the intention and format of the group than the actual experience. Group therapy is wonderful in helping you identify your old patterns and gain insight into how you interact with others. Coaching groups are affordable, effective ways to set goals, learn skills and strategies, and get accountability.

However, therapy groups also provide skills, strategies, and accountability, and group coaching also gives you insight and self-awareness. The biggest difference between group therapy and group coaching is that group therapy can be used to help people struggling with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, (as well as personal growth.) Group coaching is for the purpose of self-improvement and goal attainment, such as improving your relationships, or advancing in your career. 

While group coaching has many of the benefits of group therapy (i.e., group coaching offers support, guidance,   “the group experience,” teaches you skills and strategies, provides accountability, and is less expensive than private life coaching or career coaching) group coaching has one significant advantage over group therapy: You can attend group coaching online.

Online Group Coaching

An online coaching group allows you to attend the group from the privacy of your own home, and is often more convenient for many people. People can attend their coaching group at home after the kids are in bed, while they’re traveling, or even during a lunch break. You can also attend your coaching group if you’re in a different state or a different country. This leads to an increased diversity of perspectives and opinions, which is a major advantage to coaching group participants.

Both Group Therapy and Coaching Groups Turbocharge Your Growth

You can probably see how effective and encouraging groups can be, particularly around helping us understand, improve, and even like ourselves more in the context of relationships. Interacting with others is such an integral part of our happiness and wellness. Finding our place in a group helps us create more fulfilling and meaningful relationships, both in the short-term (within the group) and in the long-term future we dream of creating. Effective groups also provide us with insight, guidance, new ideas, skills, strategies and accountability — all more affordably than private therapy or life coaching. Groups offer value, meaningful experiences, and and effective tools for growth: What’s not to love? 

Best,

Kathleen Stutts, M.Ed., LPC

Facilitator of Growing Self’s Denver Therapy Group

Current Groups @ Growing Self

Powerful, Affordable Groups to Improve Your Life

Denver Therapy Group

Are you ready to transform the way you feel about yourself, your life, and your relationships? Our Denver Therapy Group experience is designed to help you understand yourself, grow in your strength and self-confidence, and help you have healthy, happy relationships. (Available in-person only).

Online Design Your Life Group

If you’re ready for a fresh new chapter in your career, your health, your relationships, and life satisfaction, our online Design Your Life Group can help you get clear about your personal and professional goals, and create a path to attaining them.

Online Personal Growth Group

Everything in your life can change, when you do. This powerful online support group experience will give you new insight into yourself, help you feel good about yourself and your life, and teach you skills and strategies for developing healthy, meaningful connections with others.

Online Breakup Support Group

The aftermath of a bad breakup or divorce can feel as isolating as it is painful. Our online breakup support group will connect you to others on the path of healing from heartbreak, and give you support and resources to heal, grow, and start a new chapter.

How to Stand Up for Yourself and Still Have Friends

How to Stand Up for Yourself and Still Have Friends

Can you have healthy boundaries, and still be “nice?”

Have you ever felt taken advantage of, not heard, or just unappreciated? So many of us know what it’s like to be ignored in meetings, to be interrupted when we’re talking, or to feel invisible at a party. It’s no fun to be walked all over. Yet this is a very common experience. As a life coach and therapist, I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve worked with that have experienced just that and don’t know what to do about it.

There are several misconceptions and fears around speaking up for oneself that block us from being assertive. And, let’s face it, most of us haven’t had anyone sit down and teach us the tools and skills involved in setting boundaries.  But boundaries are, in fact, some of the basic building blocks of assertiveness, confidence, and even self-worth. They are the invisible bubbles we create to help us be safe, happy and respected.

If you are like most clients I’ve worked with and, really, most people, you might think being assertive and setting boundaries is selfish, will make you look like a braggadocios bully, or even leave you without any friends (or all of the above, am I right?). So let’s correct some of these fallacies about boundaries once and for all and clear a path to assertive living!

Misconceptions, Fears and Realities About Healthy Boundaries

Misconception #1: Boundaries are Selfish

The classic example of setting a boundary is saying “No,” whether that looks like letting a colleague know their behavior isn’t okay with you, not giving a friend what they want, or letting a family member experience the consequences of their own behavior. You might be thinking, “But if you are a good friend you don’t say no,” or “Isn’t it selfish of me to ‘abandon’ someone I care about?”

Here’s the good news:

The Reality: Good, generous, kind people set boundaries. By protecting us from being spread too thin or just put in uncomfortable situations, saying no and setting boundaries allows us to give more of what we can. Boundaries free up our resources to help those we care about more effectively. In fact, setting boundaries with our loved ones gives them the opportunity to become more self-aware and grow. In short, boundaries help us and others be our best selves.

Misconception #2: Boundaries are Aggressive

We’ve all had the pleasure of knowing a social bully. He’s the loud office mate who overpowers everyone else in meetings or the girlfriend around whom you always find yourself feeling small and meek, intimidated. Often, being assertive gets confused with being aggressive. But wait…

The Reality: Calm, Humble People Set Boundaries

Aggressiveness involves infringing on the boundaries and rights of others and usually steps on other people’s feelings.  It is a highly emotional, intense state of being associated with the fight in our flight or fight response. Setting boundaries assertively, on the other hand, requires we be calm and unemotional in order to communicate clearly and detach from the outcome (something we’ll talk more about a little later).

There is a spectrum of assertiveness. On the one extreme, there is aggressive behavior. On the other is passive behavior. The “sweet spot” of healthy boundaries happens somewhere in between the two. Here’s a handy diagram to help clear things up:

Aggressive ———————Assertive———————Passive/Aggressive—Passive

Misconception #3: If I Set Boundaries, People Won’t Like Me

Yes, I know, you’ve probably experienced setting a boundary and losing someone. The pain of that lost relationship lingers with you and seemingly forever solidifies the mantra “I’m never putting my foot down again! Look what it cost me.” The truth is that sometimes being assertive or setting a boundary does filter out unhelpful relationships from our lives. And, regardless of the healthiness of the relationship, it hurts.

The Reality: Likable People Set Boundaries

It’s also true that people like to know where they stand and what to expect. Setting boundaries requires us to be consistently authentic. This predictability makes people feel safe and naturally drawn to you. Respecting your own boundaries also builds the respect others have for you. After all, healthy people are drawn to healthy people.  If you desire more healthy, fulfilling relationships in your life, a good place to start is by focusing on your own, healthy boundaries.

Want to Have Healthier Boundaries? Where to Go From Here…

Remember those mysterious tools and skills I mentioned earlier? Now that we’ve begun to clear some of the obstacles in your path to assertive living, let’s give you a toolbox to take on your journey.

Tips for Setting Boundaries

  1. Be Specific and Clear: An effective, helpful boundary ensures you and the receiver are on the same page and creates a built-in safety net for any inevitable, pesky push-back. A good rule of thumb is to use an if/then I statement that includes a consequence. For example, “If you don’t stop talking to me in an angry tone, I will leave the room.” It’s always a good idea to set a consequence that affects the receiver more than yourself if possible and — I can’t stress this enough! — one you can stick to!
  1. Make Boundaries Realistic: Don’t set yourself up for frustration by setting a boundary no normal human being could satisfy with consequences only a heartless robot could enforce. For example, rather than stating “If you ever cancel plans with me again, I won’t speak to you for the rest of my life!,” try “If you stand me up again I will be very upset and tell you how I feel.” Don’t bluff; give yourself permission to be where you are and set a boundary you can own.
  1. Let go of the Outcome: Finally, know that setting boundaries is not an effective way to manipulate or control. Those are actually great examples of poor relationship boundaries! When you set a boundary and know how you will respond if it isn’t respected, you are taking care of yourself.  For example, if you tell your partner “If you don’t pay bills on time for the next month, I will take over our financial responsibilities,” be ready to accept it if your partner gets you stuck with another late fee. Letting go of the outcome doesn’t mean not feeling emotions such as disappointment or sadness. Rather, it means knowing you are prepared to manage these emotions and respond in an effective, helpful way that honors your boundaries.

So, go ahead, try out something small. Your path is clearing up nicely. We’ve pulled up the weeds and you have a good starter-kit in your toolbox. You’re on your way to assertive living! You know how to find me if you’d like a companion as you go through your journey.

Kathleen Stutts, M.Ed., LPCC

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