Moving Forward

Moving Forward

Moving Forward

Moving Forward: The Path of Personal Growth

MOVING FORWARD: A Love, Happiness and Success Podcast listener (and taker of my online self-esteem quiz) recently asked me, “Dr. Lisa: I’m dedicated to moving forward and I want to achieve personal growth, but HOW? How do I breakthrough?”

Fair question! On this episode I go behind the scenes from my viewpoint as a Denver therapist and online life coach, and longtime practitioner of “breakthrough counseling” to give you the inside scoop.

I reveal the  the internal workings of the personal growth process so you can see what a successful “personal growth plan” really involves. Listen and learn the actual process for moving forward (whether in therapy, life coaching or on your own) and how to transform what feels like a breakdown into a breakthrough.

Specifically, we’re discussing:

      1. TIMING: Why this particular “pandemic” time (believe it or not) holds many opportunities for personal growth and change that are not as easily accessible when things are normal.
      2. CATALYSTS: How to use a breakdown in order to achieve a “breakthrough,” and why having a personal crisis is so often transformational.
      3. SELF-AWARENESS: The importance of learning how to tap into the wisdom of your dark emotions.
      4. MOTIVATION: Why things that feel like obstacles are often actually are the path forward in disguise.
      5. EMPOWERMENT: The key turning points of the personal growth process, particularly shifting out of victimhood and into empowerment.
      6. BREAKTHROUGH: The life changing experience of having new recognition of (and refusal to continue) old patterns.
      7. TRANSFORMATION: How the hard-earned personal growth process culminates in feelings of confidence, clarity and self worth.
      8. VICTORY: Why moving forward and achieving authentic personal growth is not an easy path, but a worthy one (and yours to keep!)

To help you take in this information in the easiest and most enjoyable way for you, I’m including access to both the podcast link and the full transcript so you can either listen or read though. (You’ll find the full transcript by scrolling all the way down).

Wishing you all the very best on your journey of growth!

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

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Moving Forward: The Path of Personal Growth

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

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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.

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Moving Forward: The Path of Personal Growth

Podcast Transcript

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: This is Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby, and you’re listening to the Love, Happiness & Success podcast.

 

[There’s a New Day plays]

 

There’s a new day. That song is by Staffan Carlén, not Stephen, Staffan Carlén. And I thought it was a good mood setter for our episode today. Because today we’re talking about moving forward, what it really involves and how to turn what may feel like a personal crisis into a vehicle of personal growth. Today, it is all about turning a breakdown into a breakthrough so that you can feel good, and achieve the love, happiness and success that we both know you deserve. That’s what we’re doing today on the show. 

And I wanted to do this, I actually had something else planned for us today. And as you may or may not know, if you are a regular listener and caught last week’s show, last week, we were talking about self-esteem and I launched a new activity for you guys, which is a little self-esteem assessment. It’s an online assessment, you answer a few questions, you get a self-esteem score that kind of measures how you’re feeling about you these days. And I’ve had a bunch of people take this and I get an overview of the results. And I looked at this the other day and I realized that many of you are not feeling that good right now, at least some of those of you who have taken the self-esteem assessment. And I also have a little place in my assessments where I make a space for you guys to ask questions or share things. And in looking through those, I saw that a number of you had questions about where to go from here, and I wanted to address those on the show today. 

If you are interested in participating in this activity, you can access the self-esteem assessment by texting the word esteem to the number 55444. Or, of course, you can cruise on over to the blog at growingself.com and you’ll see a link to that self esteem quiz as in addition to other ones if you go to, I think it’s under the Free Resources tab on the website, there’s a little drop down and you can access that assessment in addition to others. 

So, that’s what I wanted to talk about with you guys on the show is when life has kind of thrown you for a loop, then what? And in service of your growth, I thought that I would share my perspective of what growth, and evolution, and healing really involves and really looks like from the perspective of being a therapist and coach who has walked with a lot of people on this path and witnessed many people doing this successfully. So I’m going to paint you a picture of what this looks like from the other side, to just kind of give you a roadmap for what this might involve for you, too. So that’s what we’re doing today on the show. 

If this is your first time listening, you’re probably wondering what in the heck you have just stumbled into. And, of course, this is the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast. I’m Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby, I am a psychologist. I’m a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I’m a board certified life coach and the founder and clinical director of growingself.com, and the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast. It’s all about you. So, welcome. I’m glad you’re here. 

Your Questions About Personal Growth

So, let’s turn our attention to our topic today. So a couple of the questions that trickled through from this assessmentand there were othersand if you were one of the many who asked a different type of question, never fear, I will address those in time as well. But a couple stood out to me. One person asked, “How do I cultivate feelings of worthiness? Combat my inner critic? Develop self-compassion?” Another person asked, “How do I break through and take the next step towards my dreams?” Yet another person said, “What are some ways to work on self-love? Or undo the effects of childhood emotional neglect while isolated this year due to COVID?” You know, “What are some things we can work on by ourselves without a relationship or a partner?” So, and there were many more, but these are just a few that stood out to me as really being an example of you guys thinking, “Okay, yes, but how?” 

 

So, first, I will share my perspective, my bird’s eye view from you know, I mean, I work with my own clients, I also manage a practice and I supervise 35, 40 different counselors and coaches at this point. And so, I have an involvement in many of their cases. And so, what I have experienced from my own work, my own life, my own clients, but also being part of many others’ growth is that, right now, in the midst of what feels like a world on fire with pandemics, and job losses, and very unusual circumstances and difficult times, in many ways, is that right now seems to be, interestingly, a very ripe time for growth and personal developmentmeaning that there are life circumstances that many people are experiencing right now that are perhaps not pleasant. And that, in some ways, makes it easier to do very deep and meaningful personal growth work that is not always possible when we’re kind of doing our usual status quo running around, act, you know. 

 

So for example, right now a lot of people have time and space to get in touch with you. We are not running around, and going to activities, and hanging out with people in the same way, and attending events. And there’s just like more time that people have, either at home or with their families, but solitude time. And this is actually a really important ingredient if you are serious about personal growth work. Many, many things can get wallpapered over by dizziness, and running around, and errands, and social engagements. I mean, I think a lot of people under normal circumstances just kind of flit around from thing to thing. And like there’s almost a dragonfly quality to it, they kind of like land somewhere for a little bit, then they zip off to the other thing. And being deprived of the ability to do that is pushing people into contact with themselvesfor better or for worse. Without those distractions, people are finding that their inner thoughts and feelings are often more readily accessible. And, again, that is not always comfortable, particularly if you’re going through something hard, but it is necessary if you’re serious about growth. 

 

Another thing that is currently happening that is very conducive to personal growth, to the point where I would say that like when I look back at the successful growth work that I’ve seen people do over the years that I’ve been part of, many of the time my clients have had their eventual breakthroughs and ‘aha’ moments after experiencing a pretty significant loss or disappointment. It can be a lost relationship, a lost job, maybe both at the same time. But like being confronted with life circumstances that they do not like, they feel disappointed by them, they feel upset by them. And going through that, what feels really like a personal crisis or a big thing, brings up a lot of feelingsbig feelings, I mean. Everything from shame, insecurity, grief, loss, I mean all kinds of stuff. 

 

And because oftentimes the big events are so big that, again, people have to deal with the feelings. Of course, there are always exit ramps if you want to. You can get high, you could get drunk, you could do something else entirely, be addicted to porn. I mean, there’s lots of ways to avoid, right? But many times if a crisis is big enough, even our usual numbing strategies aren’t quite enough to protect us from all those feelings. So, they need to be dealt with. And those experiences will lead people to oftentimes, you know, with the support of a good therapist or coach be like, “Okay, why do I feel so bad? Why was this upsetting to me?” And just begin using that as a doorway to understanding themselves more deeply. 

 

And what I’ve learned over time is that many times when people really go into that exploration, they can come away with realizations about themselves. With their core values, recognition that may be the job that they were so attached to and so devastated by when it ended, maybe that wasn’t actually their perfect ideal situation. Or a relationship that ended and they felt gutted that it ended, maybe sometimes during that exploration, they come to this realization that wasn’t actually good for me, either. I wasn’t really getting what I needed. And like being able to re-evaluate some of the things that they’ve been doing, and realizing that maybe the things that didn’t work out were not truly an alignment with who they were and what they wanted, after all. 

 

But, so it’s through these difficult experiences and difficult times that people kind of like go through a dark valley, or dark tunnel, or have this inner inner experience where it’s really focused on understanding themselves, “Why am I feeling the way that I’m feeling? I feel angry. Why is that? Why does it make sense? Why do I have every right in the world to feel as angry as I do?” Or, “What am I feeling ashamed of right now? What is that about?” And like, going into those dark emotions for the purpose of not pushing them away and making them go away, but understanding them. Like, “Why does this make sense? What is this telling me about me?” And through that exploration, it helps people get really clear about themselveswho they are, what they want, what they need, what their core values are, what their hopes and dreams are, like all of this. And many times this level of self-awareness and self-knowledge is only available to us through our dark emotions. 

 

I use the term dark emotions instead of negative emotions because I don’t believe they’re negative. In our culture, things like anger, grief, pain, guilt, shame, frustration, rage, even, I mean, you name it,have gotten a bad rap because we often believe that these are feelings that we shouldn’t have. That when these feelings are active, we should do things that make them go away, which eventually certainly is one of the goals because it’s not helpful for you to stay stuck in bad feelings that are unproductive forever and ever, but your dark emotions are a treasure of insight, and self-understanding, and the doorway to clarity. 

 

When you’re able to understand them compassionately, make friends with them, absorb the wisdom that they are attempting to share with you. And that requires a lot of strength, I think, a lot of courage to be able to do that. Oftentimes a lot of support, you know. I mean, can you get there through like journaling, or thinking about things, or you go on long walks? Yes, you can. And for many people, it is also through conversations with a good therapist or a good coach where they’re saying like, “Okay, why are you so angry?” Not in a judgy way, but like, “Let’s talk about why this makes sense kind of way.” That people finally have the permission to say like, “Okay, maybe this does make sense. Why is that?” And so, that is really an important part of the growth process. 

 

Then, when you understand what is going on that is creating so much painsometimes it can be a misalignment with your current circumstances, sometimes there can be a lot of clarity around your own inner dialogue, or limiting core beliefs, or ways of thinking that are creating a lot of pain and suffering. Then that leads to an understanding of what you need that maybe you didn’t know before. Perhaps, it is making some life changes. Perhaps, it’s changing the way that you relate to yourself or even others. But it becomes linked to this, “Okay, this isn’t working, so now what? Given what I’ve learned about myself, then now what?” part. Because as I’ve mentioned many times, insight is not enough to make it different. Just being like, “Okay, this is why I am angry,” does not change it. That’s like step one, and then we need to move into, “Okay, now what?” part. 

 

One of the things that I have observed over time in walking with people that are doing this work that is a pretty consistent common element here is an emerging sense of personal empowerment that is not that superficial, artificial. Like, “I am empowered. I deserve, you know, whatever.” And shewomanI don’t know. There’s so many life coaches on Instagram right now with all this like, what to me feels like kind of superficial sort of calls to empowerment that do not address what is actually happening on the foundational level for people who attain genuine authentic empowerment. But I’m going to tell you what that really is. 

 

When people make contact with their feelings, legitimize their own needs and rights, and start behaving in ways and treating themselves in ways that support their wellness, and when they start feeling better and stronger through these activities, they will then arrive at a point where they begin to cultivate and acquire a sense of personal power that is rooted in realistic responsibility. Let me explain what I’m talking about.  

 

So when people are feeling really fragile, and don’t feel good about themselves, feel disempowered, feel powerless, they tend to displace blame. They blame other people, they blame outside circumstances. They focus on how they were victimized or wronged. Because thinking about how they participated, knowingly or unknowingly, in the trajectory of a series of decisions, life circumstances, step by step that they said yes to, that culminated in their having experiences that they were unhappy with. People who are in a fragile place cannot tolerate that. Those ideas feel so threatening and overwhelming. This idea that they were participants in the decisions, or choices, or, you know, even unconscious, walking towards something that they didn’t know was going to be that did not end well. That’s hard to do. And when people have begun to do the work of growth and healing, they come to a place where they’re like, “Oh, yeah, I did actually not know what I was doing at the time that contributed to me getting the outcome that I got. If I had to do that over again, these are some things that I would do differently knowing what I know now.” 

 

Because true empowerment is a core belief in your own competence, and ability to be an author of your life, and to make changes, to make decisions that lead to good things for you. And a basic sense of self-efficacy. That is empowerment. It’s not necessarily as, “I deserve this just for being me.” True power is, “I have the ability to create the reality I want, and to keep myself safe from things that I don’t want. I am empowered.” 

 

The opposite of empowerment is disempowerment, which is having no control over what happens to you. Being victimized over and over again, unconsciously sort of stumbling into one bad thing after another. I mean, that is the definition of disempowerment in many ways. And there are situations where people are disempowered by others. There are disempowering, systemic, racist systems that people actually do have to deal with and that are contributing to disempowerment on a systemic level. And yes, we as a society need to try to change those systems. And on an individual level, empowerment happens for individuals when they become aware that they have more control than they thought they did. And maybe it’s not total control, there are always going to be some things that are outside of our control. But having a commitment to controlling what you can and feeling able to control certain things—controlling yourself, controlling your choices, being able to understand when I’m doing this is helpful, and productive, and leads me in a good direction. When I am doing that, it is not good for me. And so, I am going to avoid doing these things because I know this doesn’t work. I’ve tried it. 

 

So that’s that kind of internal empowerment that is, in my opinion, very authentic. Because again, when people know what to do, they feel confident in their ability to get different results in the future, and then they can go do that. So, that is simply an observation of watching people who have grown, and healed, and moved forward. That always happens sooner or later. And it can be understanding, “Okay, when I was in this job, I was getting into power struggles with my boss. And that didn’t end well for me. So in my next situation, here’s how I would like to handle that.” Or, in that relationship, “I actually walked past a number of waving red flags because I didn’t realize they were red flags at the time. I just thought he was really excited about being in a relationship with me and that felt great. Now I know.” You know rushing into a relationship, it’s a really bad sign. You know, live and learn. But it’s like taking that on and feeling empowered by it as opposed to victimized by it. 

 

And when people start thinking about themselves and their lives in this way, there is this huge release of shame and self-blame. Because it turns into, uhm, okay, let me backup. When people are not in a good place, when they’re feeling disempowered, when they’re feeling bad about themselves, when they’re in the midst of all these terrible feelings, and do not know how to use them productively, there’s often a lot of shame and failure messages. And feeling badly about why things are the way they are. “It’s all your fault.” And they might happen again because you don’t know how they happened. But when people do the work that I’m describing of moving into a place of empowerment, they really see very clearly. Like, “What happened? Why did it happen? Why doesn’t it make sense?” And instead of perceiving their past life experiences, or maybe things that they did, that they would do differently going forward, there’s not a sense of failure or shame. As much as there is a, “Oh,

I just learned something really important about me, or about the way relationships work, or about the way the world works, that I didn’t know before.” 

 

And so instead of feeling shame for not knowing everything about everything, people that are really on a growth trajectory instead will, believe it or not, enter the space of gratitude for vital life lessons that helped shape their understanding of themselves and the world. That provided these like, school of life kinds of learning experiences that you can’t get any other way. And that because of all the work they were able to do, because of, honestly, being thrust into such a not great place because of their setbacks. Like I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people say to me, “That right there was the worst experience of my life and in some ways, I’m so glad it happened. Because otherwise, I would not be the person I am today. I would not be in the place I am today. I would not have grown and evolved so much as a person if I hadn’t been blown out of my little orbit by what happened. And so, I don’t need to go through that one again. But I’m grateful that I did.” 

 

And I know that when you are in the grips of a really bad lifespace that is not easy to connect with. Because it’s like down the road of growth, you have to do a lot of work to get to that place. You have to have the experience of learning, and growing, and evolving in order for that to be true for you. So you can’t like leapfrog over that middle part and be like, “I’m so grateful for the terrible thing that happened to me.” But if you do the work, that experience can be yours. 

 

And the other neat thing that I’ve seen happen when people get there is that by developing a new appreciation for when things don’t go quite the way you want them to, it really supports this growth mindset that is so incredibly helpful just in an ongoing way. And a growth mindset goes back to the idea that none of us know exactly what to do. And when we are confronted with a situation where we aren’t being incredibly effective, or we’re not “good at something yet,” all this is an opportunity to understand, “Oh, I need to work on this.” And then put in time, and effort, and learn skills, and practice strategies. And that over time, if practice and skills and strategies are consistently applied, that you can work towards mastery. 

 

And a growth mindset is essential for students in school. A kid might come home and say, “I’m bad at math, it is all or nothing. Either I know math, or I don’t.” People can take that attitude towards relationships, “I’m not good at relationships. Or this relationship isn’t working.” It turns into this all or nothing kind of thing that is incredibly disempowering. Because if you’re not good at math, like, where do you go, you know? Instead, a growth mindset is, “I don’t know everything about this yet. And let me see what happens if I learn, and practice, and try, and apply myself a little bit every day.” A growth mindset also doesn’t look towards absolute success or absolute failure. It says, “How am I doing compared to where I was a month ago? Or a year ago?” And you’re not comparing yourself to other people and other people’s definition of success, but you’re saying, “How have I grown and evolved because of my deliberate efforts over time?” That is what I mean when I talk about a growth mindset. 

 

And that’s really important to cultivate. And when people have had the experience of taking one in the face, and going through the process, and described feeling dreadful, and figuring out why, and figuring out what they need to do to help themselves feel better, and feeling like the foundation is back under them again. And then looking at, “Oh, why did that happen? What did I maybe not know that now I know?” And identifying what are the skills and strategies that I now understand I need to have more of or increase in order to really become truly empowered and in control of my results going forward. And it’s a long game. And a growth mindset is, and I’m not going to like attain perfection and stop, this is something that I’m going to have to be working on, and trying, and paying attention to pretty much every day from now on. And that is okay, that’s what this looks like. 

 

So when people are in this space where they are empowered, and they’re understandingnot just new things about themselves, but like, knowledge gap almost, or skills gap, and feeling empowered to create changes, then there comes a super exciting time where people take all of this good stuff and actively begin breaking out of their old patternsold ways of being that they now understand we’re not good for them. And it is like people have described to me as having been colorblind their whole lives, and now they can see in color. Or like, I don’t know, I mean, I know that I had the experience of being prescribed glasses when I was probably ten. And prior to that, I didn’t know that a tree didn’t look like a green blob, like you put on glasses and like, “Oh, look, there’s all these separate leaves that you can see.” Like it’s that kind of clarity that people describe, seeing things in their old patterns, or in their relationships that they didn’t see before, or in their self-talk, their ways of relating to others. This absolute clarity, about their feelings, and their values, and their core beliefs. 

 

And also a really newfound commitment to legitimizing all of these things. Like there just comes a point where people are done participating in things that they now know are not good for them. And it can be like, not tolerating people treating you badly that maybe before you achieved all this growth you might have, setting boundaries with people, editing some people out of your life maybe. But also like, what I see is a lot of newfound commitment to being really assertive, appropriately assertive, helpfully assertive with other people where they say, “This is how I feel. This is what I need. I have done a lot of reflection around this and I know, in my heart of hearts that this is very legitimate. And I have the right to expect this and to communicate this need to other people in a way that helps them understand me more deeply. So that my relationships feel more satisfying to me.” So it’s not like a reactive like, “Don’t talk to me that way.” It’s like a really heartfelt, productive, authentic assertiveness that all of a sudden feels relatively easy when people have done this level of work. 

 

But I think even more excitingly, when people have arrived in this space, things that used to feel really hard to do, all of a sudden feel easy. And particularly when it comes to things like self-care, or healthy habits, or mental hygiene. There’s just this recognition in people. Like, “Yeah, I am not actually going to beat myself up for this.” Or, “I wouldn’t let other people talk to me that way. I am not going to talk to that myself in this way.” And there’s just like this, “Yeah, I know. I’m not participating in that crap anymore.” And it’s so neat to be a part of. 

 

And it’s also really interesting to see people be in relationships that have been unsatisfying to them for a long time, and all of a sudden feel really empowered to do something completely different in those relationships that they would not have been able to do before. And for some people, it is a recognition of, “You know what? This well is dry and I am not getting my needs met, and I am actually not doing this with you for one more day.” That’s fine. Or it could also be, “You and I need to do better than what we have been doing. And here’s what I am going to be doing to improve my relationship with you and keep my side of the street clean. Because I know that this is who I need to be. And I would love it if you would do this with me. So let’s see what we can do about getting involved in couples counseling. I would like for you to have the same tools and growth experiences that I have benefited from. So let’s get into some growth work together.” That can be another outcome. But the big phase here is that people are no longer participating in their old patterns. 

 

And as a result of this, everything that I’ve described, I mean everything from the beginning stagesmaking friends with our dark emotions, getting clear about who they are and how they feel on what they want and why that is legitimate, and moving into a place of authentic empowerment that is earned by taking responsibility and establishing a sense of control, and by learning and applying new skills and strategies so that they start getting some different results, releasing any shame and instead welcoming all the learning experiences life has to offer, and breaking out of old patterns where they stop doing the things that perhaps they had once done that were disempowering or contributing to outcomes that made them unhappy or refusal to do that anymore, then people start feeling really good about themselves.

 

And I would like to stress this last point. People do not feel better about themselves before they start doing all of these things. They have to start doing all these things and working their way piece by piece through these stages in order to eventually feel differently about themselves. And when they have done that work and earned this, it is effortless to feel good about themselves. Because it’s unquestionable, it is not hard to feel good about yourself. When you have demonstrated to yourself through experience, that your feelings are valid, that you are a powerful person, that you do actually have control over yourself and the things that happened to you, that you do have the ability to learn and grow and do things as well as anybody else could, and when you are actively participating in being your own champion and not engaging in things that aren’t good for you anymore, all of those things are really what it takes to feel good about yourself.

 

And if, you know I think, again in pop psychology there are these ideas that you can skip over all the work and just, you know, “I love me.” But like that, “I love me,” doesn’t have its roots attached to a, “Why do I love me?” That is like coherent, and authentic, and makes sense. It feels fragile. It feels superficial that the love that I have for me is based on these superficial qualities and not grounded in, “I love me because I know that I am fundamentally worthwhile as a person. And I am a powerful, competent person. And I am worthy of love and respect. I know this. And I am able to shape a world that feels good to me, and that honors me, and what I need.” And in that kind of space, self-worth is not just unquestionable, no one can take it away from you. 

 

And so, I wanted to talk through what I have seen this journey involve for many, many people and I also want to say very, very, very clearly so that everyone knows what I’m talking about and hears this, it takes a long time. Like years for some people, for many people, honestly. I have worked for many months, sometimes years with clients who have, bit by bit, chapter by chapter, gone through all of these stages. And there is no magic pill, there is no online course that you can use my four magic strategies, and have all of this. All of these stages are challenging. All of these stages require time, and energy, and commitment, and oftentimes support. And I think courage, and faith, and understanding that you are on a path, you are on a journey. And that working through these pieces is valuable. And that overtime you will be able to reap the rewards, and that you can’t skip any of them. They are all important. 

 

Some people can do these faster than others. You know, I think last time we talked about the reality that if people have underlying mental health stuff, or are trauma survivors, this is going to be harder than it is for people who were not dealt with that particular hand biologically or circumstantially. And it is attainable for everyone. And I hope that hearing this message and just kind of like me painting a picture of here’s how to get from, where maybe you are currently to where you want to be, has offered some hope, and some direction, and guidance. And illuminated how we make the sausage in therapy or in coaching, right? Because I think people on the other side make it look easy, but we don’t know that they’ve actually done all of this work that has been hard won. They’ve earned it and you can too. You can too.

 

So, to recap. Elements of growth, time and space to get in touch with you. And stop avoiding, or minimizing, or distracting yourself away from yourself and your feelings. Pay attention. Also, using a major loss or disappointment as a vehicle to get into deeper contact with your dark emotions, and shifting into a core belief that your dark emotions are actually incredibly valuable. We do not push them away. We are also not victimized by our dark emotions. We have to use dark emotions productively, but dark emotions are your friends. Then, through a process of exploration, understand what your dark emotions are trying to tell you about you. And legitimizing those things, learning about yourself, understanding your values, your needs, rights, feelings, and getting clarity about why that’s okay. 

 

Then, being able to look back at the life experiences that you have had. And look for ways of empowering yourself, shifting out of a victim mindset into a, “here’s what I know now that I didn’t know then,” in a very brave and honest way that allows you to then map out what you need to do and, or the skills that you need to cultivate in order to get different results. Then developing a growth mindset where you are practicing things that are a work in progress. And allowing yourself the opportunity tonot be perfectbut get better over time. 

 

And then feeling that empowerment, feeling that competence shifting out of a shame, blame, failure mindset into a “here are all of my learning opportunities and I’m so grateful for them” kind of mindset. And then using all of those experiences and learning moments to say, “Now, I know. I know what I want. I know how to get it. And I know what is good for me, and I know what is not good for me. I feel like this is important for me to create. Therefore, I am not engaging in any of my old patterns anymore. They are no longer attractive to me.” And being really clear, and appropriately assertive, and committed. And actively, actively challenging all those old, unhelpful thoughts, and ideas and patterns that had contributed to your feeling disempowered, and bad about yourself in your life. 

 

And through all of that hard work, and commitment, and dedication, coming to a place where you feel so good about you. You feel proud of yourself. It’s not just that I deserve good things, but I trust myself to create good things because I love me. I am just as important as anyone else. And I’m going to prove it to you. That’s the destination. 

 

All right. I hope this discussion was helpful to you and Godspeed. I will be watching for your any other comments that you have, of course on the blog, or through the self-esteem assessment, or any others that you’ll find at growingself.com. If again, you’d like to take the self-esteem assessment, you can text the word “esteem” to the number 55444. Go to the growingself.com, and take advantage of that or assessments that we have there for you. And I will look forward to addressing any other questions or pain points that you share with me. But, again, I hope that our discussion today was helpful to you. And I will be back in touch with you next week for another episode of the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

 

[There’s a New Day plays]

Breakthrough Counseling

Personal Growth Plan

Signs of Low Self Esteem

Signs of Low Self Esteem

Signs of Low Self Esteem

Signs Of Low Self Esteem

And How to Overcome Them

Signs of Low Self Esteem: Do you struggle to feel good about yourself? Do you compare yourself unfavorably to others? If you make a mistake or experience a setback, do you assume that it’s because of your personal flaws or shortcomings? Do you assume that people don’t like you, and anticipate rejection at every turn? 

These are just a few of  signs of low self esteem, and if they’re present in you, it’s hard to feel confident in your own abilities, and generally secure around other people. As a Denver Therapist and online life coach I’ve worked with countless clients over the years who struggled with low self esteem. I know that this is an exhausting and disempowering way to live, but the good news is that with the right support you can start to feel good about yourself again. 

On this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast, we’re talking all about self esteem in order to provide you with insight and direction about how to achieve healthy self esteem and stay confidently connected to your self-worth through the ups and downs of life. 

Specifically, we’re discussing:

The importance of Self Esteem

Self esteem refers to your basic trust in yourself, and your sense that you are worthy of love and respect. People with healthy self esteem are usually able to take setbacks in stride and cope with disappointment, set healthy boundaries with others, take guidance from their feelings, be appropriately assertive, and trust in their ability to be effective and make good decisions.  

People with healthy self esteem typically feel good about themselves and, more importantly, are able to support themselves compassionately when they don’t. (Instead of beating themselves up and judging themselves when they’re feeling down.) When people with high self esteem experience inevitable rejection or disappointment, they have a realistic understanding of all the factors that may have contributed to their negative experience — not just singular focus on their own shortcomings.

Perhaps most importantly, people with healthy self esteem tend to be effective in relationships. Because they have a strong sense of themselves, they are able to stay calm(ish) when their partner or loved one is upset. They’re also able to have empathy for their partner’s feelings and perspective without feeling that their own is being attacked or criticised. Because they do not need approval or external validation to feel okay about themselves, they are able to tolerate moments when their partner is not at their best without becoming over-reactive. 

Because people with high self esteem trust their feelings and have a general core belief that they are worthy of being treated well, they tend to talk openly about how they feel, ask for what they need, and swiftly set healthy boundaries with people who are being abusive or disrespectful to them. 

Low Self Esteem Symptoms

If you don’t feel like you are a fundamentally “good enough” person who is worthy of love and respect, you may blame yourself for many things and have a vicious inner critic berating you from the inside out. People with low self esteem often feel inappropriately guilty and ashamed, and are often consumed by negative thoughts about themselves. 

One of the hallmark signs of low self esteem is a tendency to compare yourself to other people, and often feel that you’re not as good as others are. Particularly for young people, feelings of low self esteem can be amplified by social media use, as they compare the curated images and “highlight reel” of others to their own life experiences… and feel like they’re falling short.

If you’re suffering from low self esteem it’s difficult for you to trust yourself. This often takes the form of minimizing your own feelings — particularly dark (and protective!) emotions like sadness and legitimate anger. When you feel guilt or shame for feeling upset, it is difficult to set healthy boundaries with other people, or talk about how you feel or what you need with others. This, in turn, has a negative impact on relationships. (And having difficult relationships, contributes further to your feelings of low self esteem). 

Causes of Low Self Esteem

If you’re wondering, “Why do I have low self esteem?” here’s an overview of some of the common causes of low self esteem:

  • Self Esteem and Depression:

    • Low self esteem is one of the symptoms of major depressive disorder. This is an important distinction, because if depression is present, it may be causing feelings of low self esteem. (Low self esteem does not necessarily cause depression!) If you get into mental health treatment for depression, ideally using and evidence based form of therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy, as your depression lifts it will also contribute to raising your self esteem.
  • Self Esteem and Trauma:

    • People who have experienced a number adverse life experiences including childhood abuse or neglect, or other significant, early rejections of traumas are often suffering from low self esteem as a result. Getting involved in high-quality, sometimes longer-term trauma-focused, evidenced-based psychotherapy will often help heal your self esteem as you work through the trauma.
  • Other Causes of Low Self Esteem:

    • While mental illnesses like depression or PTSD can create feelings of low self esteem, it is also true that many people who suffer from low self esteem (perhaps most!) have not lived through extreme abuse, neglect or trauma, nor are they suffering from symptoms of depression. Sometimes they’ve experienced a loss such as a breakup, divorce, or layoff that has been a gut punch to their self esteem. People who’ve been stuck in a toxic relationship will often feel badly about themselves. Other times, what causes low self esteem is simply a long-standing negative thought pattern that emphasizes personal shortcomings, and overlooks strengths and successes. Shifting that inner dialogue can help people start feeling better about themselves and their lives.

How to Improve Your Self Esteem

There are a number of effective strategies for how to overcome low self esteem. Generally speaking, passive, insight-oriented, traditional, vague “talk therapy” that seeks to create connections between life events and why you feel so badly about yourself (if not rooted in actual trauma work) will often just make you feel worse and more broken. Endlessly talking about how badly you feel about yourself, and why, will only amplify these feelings and make you feel increasingly stuck in them. 

A far more effective approach for how to overcome low self esteem is through a more positive, action-oriented approach such as CBT for self esteem. This type of therapy for self esteem does not keep you focused on the past, but rather teaches you new strategies to identify and shift negative, self-limiting thoughts. It also emphasizes empowerment, and encourages you to actively participate in behaviors that challenge you, and provide you with opportunities to experience your own competence. This strengths-based approach to self esteem counseling helps you correct the core beliefs about your “worthlessness” because it teaches you how to feel confident and effective in different situations. 

Another fantastic strategy for how to have high self esteem is through evidence-based life coaching that utilizes cognitive behavioral strategies. Particularly if your low self esteem is related to a recent loss or setback, like low self esteem after a breakup, or low self esteem after a layoff, this type of life coaching can help you feel better about yourself. 

Positive, future-focused life coaching can also teach you how to change the way you think, teaches you new skills for how to be more effective in common situations (particularly around communication and emotional intelligence). But good life coaching for self esteem will also help you set achievable goals and then take action to achieve them. Doing so, and creating a new reality for yourself, will help you feel positive, confident, and more trusting in your own abilities. 

Self Esteem Test

One helpful tool to measure your self esteem is our “How Healthy is Your Self Esteem Quiz.” This is an online self esteem test that explores whether or not (and to what extent) you have the signs of low self esteem. You can take this self esteem test online, and then get a report showing your results and recommendations for how to raise your self esteem. 

Self Esteem Podcast

For even more on this topic and a deep dive into the signs of low self esteem, the difference between “high self esteem” and “healthy self esteem,” an exploration of the causes of low self esteem, why traditional therapy can amplify feelings of low self esteem, and insight into the most effective ways of raising your self esteem, listen to this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast. 

It’s all for you!

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

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The Signs of Low Self Esteem

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

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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.

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When To Call It Quits In a Relationship

When To Call It Quits In a Relationship

As a Denver marriage counseling and online couples therapy “relationship expert” I often speak to people seeking relationship advice about matters of the heart. Knowing when keep trying, or when to call it quits in a relationship is always confusing. Even in a fundamentally strong relationship, when your relationship has been feeling hard it’s absolutely normal to have doubts and wonder when to end a relationship. You might wonder whether you’re compatible with your partner, or whether your relationship can be saved.

But if your relationship has been feeling frustrating, painful and unsatisfying for a long time — to the point where the relationship problems are starting to feel permanent fixtures — you might start asking yourself things like, “When is it time to break up?” Or, “When is it time to divorce?” Figuring out whether your relationship can improve or when it’s time to call it quits in a relationship is often the first step in knowing what to do, one way or another.

On this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast we’re taking a deep dive into the different situations that lead couples and individuals to wonder whether it’s time to throw in the towel and get a divorce, or if not, how to begin the long road of repair. Skip to the bottom of this post to access the podcast player and comments section, or scroll through for a few more insights and tips that may resonate with you if you’re trying to figure out how to know when it’s time to break up. — LMB

“Is My Relationship Over?”

All couples, even the most happy, fundamentally healthy and compatible couples will always be confronted by things that challenge them to grow as people. Most of the time, these opportunities first emerge as “relationship conflict.” Deep down, these moments are simply an chance to reflect on who you are, whether or not your current relationship skill set is working for you, and how you can make positive changes that benefit you, your partner and your family.

But these opportunities do not look like inviting “growth moments” that are framed so clearly. No. What they usually look and feel like are ongoing, sometimes even nasty and hurtful conflict between you and your partner. 

Most people are not aware of their “relationship growth opportunities” as they start butting heads with their partner, and getting feedback about things that are being perceived as hurtful or unloving. Instead they feel angry, defensive, attacked, or hurt. (And often express that, passionately). It is not obvious or intuitive in these moments that the frustration, hurt and annoyance can be a doorway to growth.

In reality, most couples can’t calm down enough and shift into a space of intentional understanding when they’re feeling triggered and upset. Not on their own anyway. They just go round and round, until someone eventually withdraws. [Read more about the joys of “Emotional Flooding.”] But if a couple can get involved in meaningful growth work together, ideally, an evidence-based form of couples therapy conducted by a legitimate relationship expert, all of a sudden that constant conflict reveals a treasure of new awarenesses, unhelpful old patterns just begging to be released, the chance to heal old wounds, new experiences that help you understand each other on a whole new level, and motivation to learn new communication skills and emotional intelligence strategies that will empower you in every aspect of your life — including your most important relationship. 

There is so much opportunity. But couples only have this aspect of conflict revealed to them when they are in a safe space and being guided by a skillful and knowledgeable marriage counseling or couples therapy expert who knows what they are doing. (Sadly, most don’t.)

But most relationships fail without ever having had the chance to do this kind of meaningful growth work together. They never get to learn and grow. They never get instruction and support around how to do things differently. Instead, couples fall into predictable, increasingly negative patterns of relationship conflict and then wind up making decisions about when to call it quits in a relationship because they haven’t been able to make positive changes on their own. They don’t see the path forward so they assume that the only solution to their relationship problems is the “final solution” of divorce or breaking up. And that’s really too bad.

So if you are asking yourself questions like, “When is it time to break up?” or “When to call it quits on a relationship” because of ongoing unresolved relationship conflict, and feeling stuck in a “pro and con” list, or feeling anxious about whether to get divorced, try this instead: Ask yourself a different question. Ask, “Is meaningful growth and change possible for us?”

Also, remember that it’s absolutely normal and expected for couples in distressed relationships to be (any combination of) hostile, emotionally unavailable, withdrawn, blaming, avoidant, passive-aggressive, not following through with household obligations, not meeting expectations, and generally being hurtful and annoying. People in distressed relationships do all of these things because their relationships are distressed.

So then the question next question becomes not “Should I end my relationship based on what is happening right now?” but rather, “If we were both feeling loved and respected in this relationship, and learned how to communicate, manage expectations, work as a team, etc., how could our relationship be different?”

If you’re like many people the immediate answer is, “NO! Not possible. I’ve told him 500 times how I feel and he always gets defensive and it never changes so we cannot grow. No.” That is often a reflexive answer based on the experiences you’ve had to-date, and often based on how your partner is functioning in the context of a distressed relationship. (i.e., Not their best selves!)

When I sit with my Denver therapy or online life coaching clients and really unpack this with them the true answer is more like,

“I don’t really know yet whether or not growth is possible for us. We are angry with each other. I haven’t been my best self either. We’ve never been in a situation where we worked with a relationship expert who used an evidence-based model to help us understand each other and ourselves, and who taught us new skills and strategies, and who held us accountable for making changes.”

If that is the case for you, too, the first step in getting clarity about whether you should call it quits is to find out for sure whether or not change is possible. Then you will be able to move forward with clarity and confidence, one way or the other.

When To Give Up On a Relationship

Of course, for some couples, growth and change is not possible. How do you know for sure if it’s time to break up, or when it’s time to divorce? Your answer lies in the action.

  • When you make a sincere effort to get you and your partner into a meaningful growth opportunity…. and they refuse to go.
  • Or, even if you meet with an effective, evidence-based online marriage counselor or Denver couples therapist together, your partner will not participate in a deep level. They might show up for the appointments but they may continue to blame you, engage in gaslighting, and deny any responsibility for the issues.
  • When the marriage counselor invites them to share their perceptions of the problem, your partner may give voice to a perspective grounded in an absolute lack of empathy for yours.
  • They may flatly reject any efforts of the couples therapist to help them unpack their feelings, or make links between what they learned in their families of origin, and how they are showing up in their relationship.
  • Furthermore, they may not be coachable, meaning that they are not open to learning new skills or trying to do things differently for the benefit of the relationship.
  • They may show you, through their behaviors, that they are more committed to continuing their own negative patterns than they are to staying married to you.

As frustrating as this is, it’s also okay. Positive, even. Because then you know for sure that this relationship is over. There is no hope. Nothing can change. It may not be the answer you wanted, but it’s an answer you can use to find solid ground and make a new plan for your life. You are free to go and find peace, love, and understanding elsewhere.

When To End a Relationship Vs. When To Grow?

Of course, when considering when to call it quits in a relationship there are additional complexities above and beyond the need to figure out whether or not growth is possible. For example, if you are married with a crush on someone else (or having an affair) it can cast a lot of doubt and confusion on your relationship. It would be to your benefit (and to the benefit of your spouse, honestly) for YOU to get involved in individual therapy or effective life coaching in order to get clarity about your next steps. Only if you’re committed to your relationship will any change be possible, and if you have an emotional attachment to someone else, it makes it really hard to work on your relationship.

When You’re Feeling Trapped In a Relationship

Another reality for many people is the experience of feeling trapped in a relationship due to practical circumstances, like co-parenting, financial inequities, or concerns about housing. If you want to leave your marriage but feel that you can’t due to concerns about how you’ll make it on your own, or if you have concerns for your children that lead you to stay, it’s important that you enlist the support of a professional therapist, life coach, or career coach to help you set meaningful goals and make a sustainable plan to move forward. (Even if it’s a long-term plan.)

When To Call It Quits In a Relationship… Or Not

Because all of these questions are often complicated and difficult to sort through, they’re worthy of exploration and discussion. If you’ve been twisting yourself into knots trying to figure out when to call it quits in a relationship, I hope you find some comfort in the knowledge that its extremely difficult to find a clear “stay or go” answer in the context of a messy, multifaceted situation. The answer to the question of whether to break up or stay together is often, honestly, “it depends.” 

Whether or not to end a relationship often depends on whether growth is possible (or not), for your partner. But it may also depend on whether or not growth is possible for you, too. It also often depends on what external or internal factors are creating barriers that make you feel forced to stay in an unhappy relationship. There may also be emotional factors at play that make you feel like you should stay in the relationship… even though in your heart of hearts you might not want to.

No matter what you ultimately decide, whether to end your relationship or whether to attempt a new chapter, the path forward is always first getting clarity about what is possible… and what is not. Only with that clarity can you have the confidence to take action — action that feels like it’s connected with your highest values and personal integrity — one way or the other. The process of getting this clarity can take weeks, months, sometimes even years. It may involve you and your partner working together to get this clarity. It may involve just you educating yourself, and giving yourself the time and space to do some individual growth work.

To help you get clarity on the variables that may impact your decision about whether to call it quits in a relationship, or whether to try to foster a relationship growth experience, I’ve devoted an entire episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast on the topic of how to figure out when to break up or stay together.

I’ll be addressing specific questions to help you figure out whether you should end your relationship, or keep trying like:

  • How can you tell whether growth is possible for your relationship, or whether it really needs to end?
  • Why do couples wind up breaking up prematurely, without knowing or not whether growth was actually possible?
  • What are specific indications that your partner, if given meaningful and effective opportunities to change, is able or willing to do so?
  • What are the signs that there is no hope for this relationship, and that is time to divorce or break up?
  • What are the sneaky, toxic relationship signs that can lead you to stay stuck in a relationship that is fundamentally not good for you, and unlikely to change?
  • What are the growth opportunities that YOU might need to engage in, in order to feel more clear and confident about your commitment to your current relationship…. Or more clear and confident that it’s time to end your relationship?
  • What if you want to break up or divorce, but are stuck because you feel guilty about it?
  • How do you handle leaving a relationship if your partner has a problem like a mental health issue, substance use disorder, or other issues?
  • What to do if you’re unhappy in your relationship and would like to divorce, but are facing practical realities such as co-parenting concerns or financial consequences if you separate?

All that, plus more insights, thought provoking questions, and actionable advice to support your path forward, whether it’s time to reach for hope and growth… or time to call it quits.

All the best,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

PS: Resources discussed on this episode include a link to my online “How Healthy Is Your Relationship Quiz” as well as www.thehotline.org.

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When To Call It Quits In a Relationship

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

Music Credits: Brick Fields, “This Time Coming Soon”

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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.

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Creating A Good Place For Yourself – Mentally

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Healthy Habits for Mental Health

Let’s talk about mental health in the midst of the current state of affairs. As an online therapist, I have been talking with my clients a lot about their transitions into a “new normal.” For some of you, you may still be asking big questions, feeling a little lost, and wondering while the world keeps moving on – are you the only one still struggling to connect with the reality around you? I know it can be hard to stay uplifted, to think positively, and to take care of yourself during this stressful time. Being so connected to the outside world, thinking about yourself on an individual level is difficult but also important. 

Now more than ever, we need to be taking care of ourselves and showing ourselves compassion. I’ve created a list of different strategies that you can use to help with adverse side-effects of the pandemic and newly faced challenges that this time brings. Today I want to share with you some simple ways for creating a good place for yourself, mentally.

Beneficial Breathing Techniques

Box Breathing 

This is one of the techniques that I teach most frequently since it can be done anywhere at any time. Start by inhaling for 4 seconds, holding your breath for 4 seconds, exhaling for 4 seconds, and holding for 4 seconds before taking your next inhale. Do this exercise a couple of times then try and increase the time to 5 seconds, 6 seconds, and so on. 

Grounding Meditation

This one not only focuses on your breath but moves more to connect your breath to your body. Find a comfortable position, either sitting or laying down. Start by taking 5 deep breaths. Starting with your toes, notice how they feel. Clench and unclench them while continuing to breathe. Move up to your legs, releasing any tension you might have. Each time you move to a new body part, make sure you are remembering to take deep breaths. Continue up to your stomach, your back, your shoulder muscles; flexing and relaxing. If there is a certain area that seems to hold more tension, focus on that area more, connecting your breath and flexing/relaxing until it feels there is less tension. Move up to your jaw, unclench. Take your tongue off the roof of your mouth and relax. Make sure you do this for your arms, hands, face, etc.

Belly Breathing

This one is good to do especially if you have kiddos around (they can do it too!). Grab a stuffed animal (or a pillow works too) and lay on your back. Put the stuffed animal on your stomach. Begin breathing deeply into your stomach so that you can see the stuffed animal rise and fall with your breath. You should see the stuffed animal go up and down. Try to focus on increasing your breath. Do this as long as you’d like!

Disconnecting For Inner Peace

Social Media Distancing

In light of the social distancing rhetoric, I want to add some social media distancing. Because of the constant stream of news and information, it makes it difficult to think of anything else. Put your phone on silent and set a timer. The timer amount is up to you, whether you set it for 10 minutes or an hour, any amount will help. Now go do something that isn’t technology related!

**Side note: if you are currently worried about an emergency, let those people know that you will have your phone on vibrate for the next x amount of time. You can also tell them in case of emergency to ring you 3 times in a row so that it alerts you to break your social media distancing and address the situation.

Boredom Buster (Non-Technology)

Break out a board game or a deck of cards. If you have friends or family around, you can play a game! If you are alone, you can build a house of cards or work on your shuffling technique. Puzzles are a great, non-technology activity as it makes your brain work in a different way. If you have children (or don’t, no one’s judging!) you can make your own puzzle by creating a picture, gluing it to cardboard, and cutting your own unique puzzle pieces. Pick up a book that you currently own and read a couple of chapters. Who knows, it might even be a cooking book to help inspire your next recipe!

Cognitive Strategies To Boost Your Mood

Balance Your Thoughts

It might be helpful to use a pen and paper for this activity. Write down fears and the thoughts you have related to you personally regarding the pandemic. Now go back through and list your initial reactions to each one. Below that write the challenged thought. Taking into consideration the reality of the situation. Is this realistic? If it is, what can I do now to prepare? Try to consider other thoughts and beliefs in opposition to this fear. 

For example: I am scared that I will be impacted financially. Initial thought: I could lose my position. Challenged thought: This is a possibility. I am going to use this time to prepare my resume and budget accordingly. I am going to reach out to my HR department and discuss their plans moving forward.

If you have experienced job-loss through this challenging time we have put together some helpful resources for you during this transition and personal growth period: 
Career Growth: How To Set Yourself Up For Success!
Find Your Focus: 7 Simple Steps to Your Dream Career
Coronavirus and Career: How We Make This Work — Advice From a Career Coach
Coping With Job Loss

Self-Compassion

Be kind to yourself during this time. It is 1000% okay to feel nervous, worried, fearful, sad, and angry. Your feelings are valid and give you information about yourself. Focus internally about how you might be talking to yourself during this time. Is it mean or harmful? Begin shifting this narrative and talking to yourself with more kindness. It sounds silly and it might be difficult to begin practicing but stick with it. As Amy Cuddy states in her TedTalk, don’t fake it until you make it, fake it until you become it. Practice becomes habit, including our self-talk.

For example: If you are thinking how angry you are at the situation, challenge yourself. Say to yourself, yes I am angry AND I am also trying my best for myself right now.

For more tips and self-compassion and how to navigate emotional self-care, check out Emotional Self Care When Your Life is Falling Apart

Mindfulness

Being so engulfed in the news lately, it might seem as though you struggle to focus on what’s right in front of you. Take a minute to practice this mindfulness exercise. Look around and name 5 things that you can see. Notice what they look like, their texture, their colors. Now close your eyes. Identify 4 sounds that you hear. What do they sound like? Are they continuous or just a single sound? Are they loud? Are they quiet? Open your eyes and touch 3 objects. What do they feel like? What are their textures like? Are these things comforting to you? Now focus on your smell. Try to pick up on 2 different smells. You might need to go somewhere to try and smell something. Where is it coming from? Now, acknowledge one thing you can taste. Again, you might need to find something edible near you. Focus on what it tastes like, what it feels like while eating it. This mindfulness exercise is used to bring your attention to the present.

Establishing A New Normal When You Don’t Know What That Is

Routine 

Continue practicing your “normal” routine. This includes getting dressed for work, making scheduled meals, going to bed and waking up at the same time,and setting aside time for work as usual. Added note** keep up with your hygiene. It can be hard working from home to stay in sweats for several days and forget to brush your hair, brush your teeth, shower, and go to bed on time. Hygiene is a small change that can make a big difference.

Get Active

Exercise is vital during this time of isolation. Go take a walk, ride a bike, or do the stairs at your apartment/house. There are also tons of free Youtube videos and apps (Nike Training Club is my personal favorite) so that you can practice inside! Yoga is especially beneficial if you are looking for low impact or need an activity to help with anxiety/stress reduction.

Little Connections

Although many have begun the transition back to office life, eating out, and traveling. Social distancing is still very important and encouraged wherever you go. A few ways to stay connected while still social distancing could include continued Facetime with friends and family, playing co-op video games, and reaching out virtually or by phone.

Being in isolation can bring up symptoms of depression and/or anxiety. If you currently have a therapist in Colorado, DORA announced legal mandates to allow therapists to practice teletherapy. If you don’t have someone and need to talk, you can reach out to Growing Self, we offer online coaching and therapy services.

Safety: If you feel unsafe at home especially in this time of quarantine, you can reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Call 1-800-799-7233. Or you can go to their website to chat with an advocate. There is also a list of emergency resources available on our website.

I hope these ideas help you and you are able to come up with your own ideas! Please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are ready to listen. 

Kindly, 
Megan Brice, M.S., LPCC

Denver Career Coach Online Career Counselor Therapist in Broomfield Online Therapy

Megan Brice, M.S., LPCC is a career counselor, life coach and therapist who creates a warm environment for you to explore the depths of who you are, so you can grow. She challenges, encourages, and empowers you to embrace transition in order to create future fulfillment.

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What to Do When Your Partner Has a Problem.

What to Do When Your Partner Has a Problem.

What to Do When Your Partner Has a Problem.

Can You Help Someone Who Won’t Help Themselves?

What to Do When Your Partner Has a Problem.

Does Your Partner Have a Problem?

It is agonizing to be in a relationship with someone you love very much, but who has a serious — and untreated — problem. If your partner is struggling with something like depression, anxiety, alcoholism, drug addiction, pornography addiction, ADHD or PTSD it can wreak absolute havoc in your relationship, not to mention make you (both) miserable. And it can be hard to tell when “being supportive” slides into “being codependent.” If the problem has been going on for a long time, it may even make you question whether you should continue to support and help your partner… or whether it’s time to cut your losses and end the relationship.

This topic has been on my mind lately, as I’ve recently had a number of listeners of my Love, Happiness and Success Podcast ask me these questions:

  • How do I help my partner who is depressed (or anxious / ADHD / addicted to something) and refuses to get help?
  • What are signs your partner will get their act together, and what are signs you should break up?
  • How do I help my husband who is suffering from PTSD, and won’t talk to anyone?
  • How many chances should I give my alcoholic / addicted partner?
  • I promised, “For better or for worse,” but it wrong of me to bail on this marriage if my spouse is not holding up their end of the bargain?
  • Is my boyfriend ever going to be cured of his pornography addiction?
  • Should I feel guilty for ending this relationship, even if I feel like I need to save myself?

These are big, serious questions. But you, my dear listener, told me this is what is important to you… and I’m listening to you. We’re going there on this episode of the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast. I hope that this discussion helps you find your way through this dark time, and back into clarity and inner peace.

All the best to you,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

 

 

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What To Do When Your Partner Has a Problem

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

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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.

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How to Develop Your Self-Identity and Experience Personal Growth in a Committed Relationship

How to Develop Your Self-Identity and Experience Personal Growth in a Committed Relationship

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Know Yourself

Know Yourself | Being in a long-term committed relationship doesn’t mean that you lose your personal identity. In fact, the best partnerships are those that encourage personal growth in their significant other and vice versa. Let’s be honest, you being you is the reason why your partner fell in love with you in the first place! 

Falling in love and creating a life together is fun, challenging, and sometimes even consuming. It’s not uncommon that you may find yourself feeling a little lost in your identity from time to time. 

When you have been romantically involved with someone for a long period of time, feelings, thoughts, beliefs, dislikes, and passions often start to mend together. These mending moments are often beautiful and encouraging to a relationship that has worked so hard to be successful. 

However, when you move forward together in your partnership, it’s also important to continue to grow in your self-identity and to truly know yourself – developing your own personality, likes, and dislikes in order to continue contributing to your relationship and its success. 

The happiest and most successful couples do these five things to strengthen their relationship. Here’s how to develop your self-identity and experience personal growth in a committed relationship.

Learn Something New

Life can feel like it’s moving at a hundred miles per hour when you’re busy balancing work, family, friends, home, pets, health, and your relationship. And when the whirlwind of everything and everyone occupies all of your time and energy – it’s hard to see much further past the present moment that you are in (or attempting to catch up to). 

This idea of furthering your education may feel unrealistic or at the very least, impractical with current life events. 

The awesome thing about education is that you don’t have to “go back to school” or even enroll in a class (unless you want to and have the time to do so). All you need is to find a topic or area of study that you are interested in furthering your education. 

Then, support yourself in this learning journey by subscribing to a podcast, purchasing a book, signing up for a newsletter, or even meeting with an expert in whatever field you’re interested in learning more about. 

Then, while you are driving to work, running your weekly errands, or running the kids between afterschool activities you can listen to a podcast, read a chapter while waiting for swim lessons to end, catch up with a weekly newsletter over coffee, or grab lunch with someone who can speak to what it is you are interested in. 

Alternatively, if you struggle to find something that you are interested in learning more about – maybe connecting with an online life coach could help shed some light on areas of interest and beneficial pathways to your personal success.

This simple (and sometimes passive) way of learning will encourage personal growth and personal understanding while you continue to balance all that life throws at you. Not only will you be developing the way you see yourself and the world, but you will also open up new conversation between you and your partner. 

Have a Hobby That’s All Yours

You and your partner may have EVERYTHING in common, and that’s okay…but I promise you, if you take the time to find something that is ALL yours – it feels super rewarding. 

I’m not saying that you have to keep this new hobby from your partner but the more you treat it as your you time the more beneficial it will be. 

For those who have been in a long-term relationship (and I mean a relationship that literally feels like for-ev-er) it can feel intimidating and even difficult to find a new hobby that’s all yours. Try a few things out, if you decide you hate it – try something else. 

The more effort you put into finding that perfect you hobby, the more you will enjoy it and look forward to it. Remember, the whole point of this experiment is to fall more in love with who you are and to continue growing as the awesome individual that you already are!

Make Your Friendships a Priority

Yes, I’m looking at you →  “Well, I have friends but I only see them once a month if our schedules line up, and the kids are away at someone else’s house for the night, and my partner is also friends with my friends’ partners.” ←  Stop overcomplicating your friendships!

Making your friendships a priority is extremely important in any relationship. You need your gal pals or dudes who have completely different and often similar walks of life to challenge you, encourage you, comfort you, and keep you on your toes. 

If Finding Friends You Can Count On feels like a challenge, then it might be a good time to reassess your friendships and begin working towards healthier, more sustainable relationships. It’s important as adults that we prioritize our friendships, here’s more on:  The Importance of Healthy Friendships.

While your partner might be your best friend, don’t forget about your besties. They need you as much as you need them in order to grow as an individual and even flourish in your partnership. A good friend can offer support, accountability, and help you know yourself (or at the very least, remind you who you are when you need it the most).

Develop Your Idea of Art and Culture

For some, the love of art, music, and culture comes naturally. However, a lot of us are a little more generic and may find it difficult to stay interested or appear so at the dinner parties of our most artistic and culturally savvy friends. The thing with art is that there is SO much of it. There are so many fantastic forms of it – painting, drawing, live-action, music, graphic design…the list goes on. Art stems from cultures, lifestyles, fantasies, and often tragedies. Knowing not necessarily the history of art but knowing how it makes you feel is important. 

There is so much that we can learn about ourselves by the music we enjoy, the pictures we take, the food we cook, and the way in how we share these experiences with our world. 

Developing a keen sense into what you enjoy and why you enjoy it will not only promote a greater understanding of the self but you will also have a deeper understanding into areas of you that your partner fell in love with. 

I think we often get swept up in keeping up with the …… (insert your play on this here) and we forget all the little and big things that bring us joy and make you, well…you! If you have ever heard a song or watched a movie that you proclaimed “I use to LOVE this song/movie!” Then you know a little of what I am talking about. 

I encourage you to keep chasing after those passions that may even feel a little juvenile to you now with the chores, employment, family, and general life obligations. The thing is, this passion is still inside of you. Maybe playing guitar for that punk band in high school didn’t end up in a successful music career – but the art of playing guitar, appreciating music, and the drive to be better (or even the best) at whatever it was you were in love with at that time is still a part of who you are. Let that side of you show more and encourage yourself to grow in these areas as it ultimately created a big part of who you are today. 

Set Aside Time For Self-Care

I know you have heard this probably a million times (no exaggeration), but self-care is one of the BEST and MOST IMPORTANT things you can do for you and your relationship. Setting time aside to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually will help set you and your relationship up for success.  

It’s easy to say “yeah, yeah, I get it…self-care, I got it – thanks!” It’s a lot harder to follow through with it and meet yourself where you need it the most. If you are finding yourself needing a little emotional vacay, check out: Emotional Self Care When Your Life is Falling Apart.

Self-care may be a habitual event for you – like drinking coffee and having quiet time before the family wakes up. Or it might be a little less traditional and change week to week. Whatever your body, heart, and mind are telling you, be sure to listen. Your ability to take care of yourself ultimately affects your ability to take care of others. 

If you find yourself getting irritable, depressed, angry, stressed-out, overwhelmed, or even just complacent – that’s your cue that it’s time for a little me time

Self-care doesn’t mean that you have to spend time alone. Self-care is different for everyone and if that means a weekend (or couple hours) to yourself, awesome. And if it means something entirely different, that’s great too. 

Here’s to YOU and the awesome individual you are in and out of your relationship. 

Xo, 
Lisa Marie Bobby

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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