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Mindful Self Compassion

Mindful Self Compassion

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.

Mindful Self Compassion

MINDFUL SELF COMPASSION: As you may know, in addition to my work here as a therapist, couples counselor and life coach, I love addressing listener questions on the Love Happiness and Success Podcast (not to mention the wonderful questions that you guys leave for me on our blog).

A while ago, one brave listener reached out with a heartfelt email, sharing a bit about her life, and asking how to handle some really difficult things, like:

“How do I forgive myself when I’ve hurt someone?”

“How do I break my old patterns so that I don’t do harmful things again?”

“How do I stay emotionally available when I fear being hurt?”

These are important questions that many people wrestle with, and I decided to tackle them on the show. We’ll be discussing:

How to Forgive Yourself When You’ve Hurt Someone

While so many resources are there to help you if you’ve been hurt by someone else, or need to forgive someone who has betrayed you, or how to rebuild trust in a relationship, few resources exist to help those suffering with feelings of guilt, regret and remorse. This is unfortunate, because who among us hasn’t done something they regret? The worst is when you’ve hurt someone you’ve loved, and maybe lost a relationship as a result of it.

We’ll discuss how to apply self-awareness and mindful self-compassion to this situation in order to find forgiveness for yourself, by putting your actions in context of both your life experience and your inner experience. We’ll talk about how to practice self-compassion, and also some self-compassion exercises to help you develop this skill.

Resources: Here’s the link to the attachment styles article I mentoned. One of the other resources I discuss here is our “What’s Holding You Back” quiz to help you gain self-awareness (here’s the link if you want to check it out).

How Do I Break My Old Patterns?

The crux of any personal growth process is using your self-awareness and your feelings to get clearer about your values, help you guide your future behavior and future choices. But all we have is the present moment. We’ll talk about how to combine compassion for yourself, empathy for others, and mindfulness skills to manage yourself in the moment so that you create better outcomes in the future.

Resource: Mindfulness, For People Who Hate to Meditate

How Do I Stay Emotionally Available in Relationships?

When you’re feeling fragile and emotionally reactive, it’s hard to have healthy relationships. Instead, we usually fall into either losing ourselves and being dependent on another for our feelings of self-worth. (Which too often leads to emotional enmeshment and codependency). Or, we swing into self-protection, lashing out, shutting down, or breaking off relationships. The key to finding a middle path — connection, and confidence — is through loving yourself and strengthening yourself.

Resource: Here’s the link to the Self-Love article I mentioned. Also, an article about cultivating healthy vulnerability in relationships.

At the heart of all the ideas, skills and strategies here for forgiving yourself, and using your mistakes as a launch pad for growth is the concept of mindful self-compassion. I hope you keep that idea with you, on your journey of growth and healing.

Your fellow traveler,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

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Mindful Self Compassion: How to Forgive Yourself

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

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What is Self Love?

What is Self Love?

Teena Evert, M.A., LAC, LMFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist and certified coach with Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She specializes in wholehearted living and empowered relationships. She can help you connect with your true self, and cultivate thriving relationships with others.

Understanding Self-Love

What is self-love? Why is self-love so important? The importance of self-love cannot be overstated. “Self Love” refers to our ability to hold ourselves in esteem and have confidence in our worth, no matter what happens around us.

Allow me to give you an example of the power of self-love, and how the lack of self-love can negatively impact you.

Lack of Self-Love

Does this sound familiar?

You feel like angry gremlins are coming at you, you’re exhausted from hauling the weight of the world on your shoulders, you’ve got this imaginary ball and chain locked around your ankles, and if that isn’t enough you’re at your wits end from constantly dodging bullets that are aimed right at your head and chest!

The truth is, you may not even actually be emotionally attacked or dragged down. But when you’re feeling vulnerable or insecure, it can seem that way. These are all distortions we can experience when our self-love tank is running on empty and our self-hate tank is topped off and running on full throttle.

The Importance of Self-Love

Did you know that the level of our self-love affects every aspect of our life?

The way we feel about ourselves impacts our relationships, our careers, how much money we make, how happy we truly are, and how people perceive us.

To determine your level of self-love, here’s a quick “self-love” quiz:

  • Do you believe that it is your job to define your own worth and lovability and no one else’s job, OR do you believe your self-worth is based on how people feel about you?
  • When you make a mistake are you able be compassionate with yourself and learn from the situation, OR do you beat yourself up?
  • Do you feel guilty for taking care of yourself, OR do you do practice self-care on a regular daily basis?

How to Practice Self-Love

Your self-love will increase if you begin to see who you really are, rather than seeing yourself through all the false beliefs and distortions. As adults, we need to take responsibility for knowing who we really are. When we are able to embrace this responsibility, then we know we are connected to our authentic or truest self. At the very essence of who we really are is a deep reservoir for our capacity to love, experience joy and compassion.

Reminding yourself that you are a good person, worthy of love and respect, will help you swat away the false beliefs telling you otherwise.

Here are 3 positive affirmations for self-love, to help guide you towards expressing your true authentic self

  1. “I don’t allow other people to define who I am.”
  2. “The worth of my true authentic self is intact, unchanging, and nothing can change it and nothing I do can take it away from me.”
  3. “My self-worth is not based on my performance or how others think of me.” (Otherwise, your self-worth will fluctuate based on those events.) 

Why Self-Love is So Important

Many of the issues that people struggle with, such as depression, anxiety, and relationship issues are really symptoms of a lack of self-love and disconnection from their true authentic self. When people feel insecure, they can worry, feel sad, or even lash out. In contrast when you feel confident and embracing of the real you, those bad feelings are less likely to arise.

Examples of Self-Love

Be kind to yourself as you learn to apply these principles of self-love into your daily living.

Believe in yourself as you open your heart to the magnificence of who you truly are.

Allow yourself to be curious as you learn to raise the level of joy in your tank of self-love.

A powerful form of self-love can even be reaching out for support when you need it. When you work with an experienced therapist or life coach, you can understand the roots of self-worth issues, and begin building yourself up from the inside out. When you feel good about yourself, you’ll feel not just happier but more empowered in your life and your relationships. 

I believe you deserve that, and I hope that you do too.


Warmly,

Teena Evert, M.A., LPC, LAC, LMFT

The Power of Praise

The Power of Praise

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.

Catch People Doing Something Right.

Did you know that you have the power to perk people up, appreciate their wonderful, unique selves, and make them feel good about what they’re doing? And… that you have the power to make yourself feel that way about YOU, too?

It’s as simple as noticing what you, and others, are doing right.

Something I’ve learned from years of being a therapist, a life coach, and a couples counselor (as well as a wife, mom, colleague and friend) is this: Noticing, and commenting approvingly on positive behaviors not only makes you and others feel good, it also encourages more of the same.

Too often, people try to create change in others — and themselves — through criticism. They only speak up when something is NOT working. This leads their partners to feel that they “can never do anything right” (which I hear about all the time in marriage counseling) and it leads them to feel badly about themselves, and even doubt their competence and worth (a common topic in the therapy and life coaching room). [For more on this subject, check out “Creating Self Confidence.”]

When people feel bad about themselves, or like they’re always going to disappoint their partners, it’s nearly impossible to muster up the energy and try harder to do better. It feels like it doesn’t matter anyway, so why try?

Have you ever trained a dog? Do you scream at it whenever it does something you disapprove of, and ignore the instances when it behaves beautifully? No! Exactly the opposite is true: When your pup obediently sits / lays down / comes to you on command you lavish it with praise and reward with a treat. “Who’s a good dog? Who’s the best doggie? You are the best doggie!”

In contrast, think about your own internal dialogue when you don’t do something just right: You miss your workout, eat the donut, or make a mistake at work. If you’re like a lot of people, your inner critic berates you, calls you names, brings up all the other times you disappointed, and paints a bleak future. [For more on how to get a handle on your inner critic, check out The Happiness Class].

Now, think about your inner dialogue when you did make it to the gym, ordered the salad (dressing on the side!), and did your work just right………. Crickets. Chirping. Most people glide right by their own awesomeness, and that’s a shame.

Same goes for your partner. It’s so easy to jump all over people, or automatically radiate disapproving energy when others fail to meet our expectations. It’s also very easy to completely miss all the times — which are probably most of the times — that your partner is kind and generous.

You could certainly indulge the, “Why should I compliment them for just doing what they should be doing?” school of thought. But you’re probably reading this article because you want a next-level type of relationship. If that’s the case I invite you to imagine what kind of love-fest might ensue were you to slather on the praise and positivity when your partner is actually being great.

A simpler way to connect with the power of praise is to think about how YOU feel when your efforts are noticed, your specialness is admired by others, and your gifts are celebrated. It’s affirming. It’s validating. It makes you feel like you’re on the right track, and that you should keep doing more of what you’re doing, right?

Here’s one from me to you: I think that it’s fantastic that you’re browsing around online for articles that will help you build yourself up, feel happier, and have better relationships with others. Not everyone does that. Many just complain about their circumstances or blame other people.

But you understand that knowledge is power, and you’re open to new ideas. You are aware that you’re in control of your life, and you have the power to shape the results you get. You get that what you do, matters — and you’re committed to putting in your best effort.

That is a pretty great thing about you. I hope that you remind yourself of that fact as you go about the rest of your day — tossing around positivity and praise like you were the mayor of happy-town.

Much love,
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

P.S. While you’re at it, try this one with a kid. Comment on something they did well, (like, “Good job listening!” or “I really like it when you look right into my eyes when I’m talking to you!”) and they will not just puff up with pride, but often fall all over themselves to get more of your approval. They’re hungry for it.

P.P.S. Everyone is.

Four Steps to Getting Out of a Funk

Four Steps to Getting Out of a Funk

Teena Evert is a Life Coach, Therapist, Marriage Counselor, and Relationship Coach at Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. Her empowering, affirming approach to therapy and life coaching helps you create positive and meaningful change in your life and relationships.

How to Be Happy Again

Have you been experiencing sleepless nights, sadness, or worry about the future? Here’s how to get back on track and start feeling happy again.

Feeling down lately? You’re not alone: As a therapist and life coach, I often have new clients come to me who are turning to counseling or life coaching because they are feeling stuck in negative feelings and don’t know how to break free. There are many reasons why people go through a rough patch. Perhaps something has occurred that makes you sad. Maybe you’re trying to get over a breakup. Perhaps your relationship with your spouse feels negative, you’re experiencing a loss of a loved one, a significant other, a pet, or even a job opportunity.

What you’re struggling with might be a current situation, or something from your past that has lingered and continues to distress you. Your way of coping with the distress is not working anymore. You may be feeling concerned because you have not been able to shake the sadness and discontent in your life. You want to make positive, optimistic long-term plans and feel like you are on the right path, but you’re stuck.

When you’re  in the muck of sadness, expecting the worst and sometimes dealing with sleepless nights it takes a toll. You probably know you’re missing opportunities to feel better, but discontent has such a strong hold on you that it might be difficult to keep your eyes open to the possibilities. Thank you for allowing me to step in to help you today.

Take Time To Heal

The first step to shift into a better-feeling state is to be willing to take the time to heal. Taking time does not mean putting more on your plate that’s probably already full. It’s about taking something off of your plate in order to make room for healing. Your intention might be to take off some of the worry by getting support to help you ease the weight of painful memories and release it for good. Trust that sadness will pass and you’ll eventually see this situation’s purpose in your life. Take time to heal so that you can release painful memories and move bravely forward.

Forgive Yourself

The second step of healing is often forgiveness. Forgiveness is a powerful healer. Don’t hold on to energy of past disappointments or conflict. It’s very important that you remember to forgive yourself for choices you might wish you’d made differently. You did the best you could at the time, and allow yourself to move on.

Learning to shift your mindset is essential right now. Our own thoughts are often the true culprits behind the trouble we fear. [Check out: “Uncover Your Inner Obstacles”] Release your unhelpful guilt, and realize that regret is a wasted emotion. Instead, turn your attention to the amazing possibilities for the future, and leave the past behind.

Reevaluate Your Situation

The third step of healing is to reevaluate your situation. Many times, solution that you are seeking is closer than you think. However, when you’re not feeling good emotionally, it can be hard to see the path out. But even small opportunities for change and growth can reap enormous benefits. Consider the possibility that even just being drawn to read this article, positive forces are working to assist you now. Even though you may not feel this way, you do have many options for change and growth, and a chance to accept the help that is being offered to you.

By taking the time to heal, learning to forgive yourself and reevaluate your situation you will get to a place where you can honestly say that the challenging times are behind you, and brighter times are ahead. You will be able to look to your future with optimism, excitement and confidence.

Receive Support and Guidance

For many people who don’t feel great about themselves and their lives in the moment, it can be hard to believe that feeling optimistic, hopeful and positive about life is even possible. That’s why it’s so important to get the right kind of support and guidance right now.

Having a partner for growth and change will help assist you to get your life back on track and begin to make positive, optimistic long-term plans on your right path. One of the biggest obstacles that many people who are feeling down have to struggle with is the negative thoughts and feelings that will sabotage your efforts to turn things around.

Part of my role as a counselor and life coach is to offer support and guidance that helps you push back against those forces, so that you can create positive change. This is what I want for you — and for you to know that you’re not alone. I believe you can get back to a place of feeling hope and happy expectation, where you can envision your life the way you want it to be and to take action in that direction. I hope these ideas help you get there.

Warmly,

Teena Evert, M.A., LPC, LAC, LMFT

How to Stop Worrying: Seven Tips to Manage Stress

How to Stop Worrying: Seven Tips to Manage Stress

Rachel Harder is a marriage counselor, life coach and therapist with Growing Self Counseling and Coaching who specializes in helping you find passion and joy in yourself and your relationships. She supports you in creating meaning and happiness, and not only facing your challenges — but triumphantly overcoming them.  Learn more about Rachel.

Are You a World-Class Worrier?

Have you ever found yourself laying in bed and worrying: “Did I set my alarm?  What all do I need to get done tomorrow? Agh, I forgot I have a meeting! I hope my boss won’t say anything about that project. How will I have time to stop by the grocery store and get to the gym!? Maybe I should cut the gym out?” 

Well you get the picture, the worries, to-do lists, and questions can go on and on. If this scenario sounds familiar to you, you may be a pro-worrier. You may notice worrying is impacting your relationships and your overall happiness. So, put your to-do lists aside and take a deep breath! We’re going to talk about

dealing with worry and stress.

Let’s start with a little background about why stress can have such a big impact. Stress is a “normal,” biological, bodily response. It helps to trigger our “fight or flight” response, which protects us in potentially dangerous situations. This is great! It means your body is functioning effectively! What’s not great is when we experience this response over an extended period of time. This can negatively impact our nervous and immune systems.

When we practice strategies to reduce our stress and worry levels, it can also have a positive impact on how our bodies are functioning from a physiological perspective, improving overall wellness. Now let’s get to the good stuff. I’m reaching into my cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques tool bag to bring you Seven Skills for Stress. I use these with my therapy and life coaching clients all the time, and I know they work. Try using these to help mitigate some of that worry!

Seven Skills to Manage Stress

  1. Prioritize:Do you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by everything that needs to get done and worrying about how you will accomplish all of it? Taking a look at what needs to get done versus what we would like to get done can be helpful. For example, picking your kids up from school likely needs to get done, but do you NEED to vacuum the floors, or can it wait?
  2. Delegate:You might be thinking, “I’m uncomfortable with asking for help.” However, try to remember you are one part of a greater system, and in order for that system to run smoothly, all pieces need to be up and running. You can prioritize high-stress or high-need tasks and delegate! If they are necessary tasks of daily living for your household, you can ask for some support. This can be talking to a friend or asking your partner to make dinner. Remember, bids for attention connect!
  3. “This or That” Thinking: Often worry can be rooted in dichotomous thinking (sometimes called “black and white” thinking). This means we may say to ourselves, “This has to happen, or that will happen.” When we think in this way we eliminate the opportunity for flexibility. You essentially have sent the message to your body, if this does not get done now, there is danger! Take a moment and ask yourself is there another option?  What’s the middle ground? [Learn more about helpful vs. unhelpful thinking styles in our online Happiness Class.]
  4. What’s the Worst that Could Happen?: Let’s face it- it can be incredibly easy to catastrophize. How many of us play out “the worst case scenario,” just so we’re prepared…”just in case.” Take a moment and first practice noticing when you’re jumping to the worst-case scenario, then ask yourself, “Is this really a likely outcome?” Are there other more positive outcomes that are equally as likely?
  5. What’s the Evidence?: Ask yourself is there any past evidence to support that I cannot handle or manage the tasks at hand? Chances are, there will not be much evidence to support that in times of intense worry you won’t be able to formulate a plan of action. Remember: You got this!
  6. Explore Activities That Work For You: Oftentimes when you’re stressed, the activities that give you a sense of relaxation fall to the wayside. Try to remember that taking care of you allows you to be present for others in your life. Try integrating activities into your daily schedule that give you some relief; this could range from taking five minutes to just breathe to going for a run outside.
  7. What Can I Control?: Oftentimes we worry about things we do not have control over. Take the pressure off of yourself to control the uncontrollable! All you can control is yourself. When you notice your thoughts pushing you to analyze all of the external circumstances, bring yourself back to the simple (or not so simple) question of “What is within my control?”

Managing worry and stress is all about finding what works for you! Everyone experiences and deals with stress differently. Remember we can’t control that stress is a biological response but you do have control over how you’d like to manage it. If you’ve been struggling with stress and worry lately, and would like some personal support in managing it just get in touch with me: I’m always here to talk.

All the best,
Rachel Harder, M.A., LMFTC

Growing Self Counseling & Coaching