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Invest In Yourself

Invest In Yourself

You Deserve Compassionate Support

As a therapist, life coach, and marriage counselor, I admire each and every person who gathers the courage to schedule an appointment with me and seek support for themselves, their relationships, or their families. I know that they’re investing in themselves because they believe they are worthy of investing in. Such self-awareness, wisdom and healthy self-love is always inspiring.

Do You Prioritize Everything Except Yourself?

Too many people put themselves on the bottom of the heap, investing in every other aspect of their lives — their education, their career, their children, their friendships, their homes — but rarely their own personal wellness, or their hearts desire. Is this you?

If so, you probably put off investing in yourself, getting professional help, and taking positive action to improve your life… though you’re there for everyone else. You may think about it sometimes but quickly talk yourself out of it, minimize your feelings, or prioritize someone else’s needs

If this sounds familiar, my guess is that you would describe yourself as a naturally strong person, but the downside of “being strong” is that sometimes it comes with a price: Not taking care of you, the way you take care of others.

But it’s easy not to take care of you, isn’t it? Especially when it comes to things like getting involved in therapy, couples counseling or life coaching. There are so many persistent myths in our culture about all the reasons NOT to get support, and it’s time to bash them! 

What’s Keeping YOU From Investing In Yourself?

Let’s talk through some of the most common reasons I hear for why people avoid getting help and investing in themselves, and why they’re not true!

Myth #1: “Therapy should be reserved for times when you really need it, and I don’t have it ‘that bad.'” 

This is one I hear frequently, even when people have resolved to book a therapy or coaching appointment with me. 

Believe it or not, even people in a lot of pain sometimes feel guilty for doing something to help themselves. They tell me about challenges they face, or hard things they’re grappling with but then quickly say, “But so many others around the world have it so much worse. I’m really so lucky.” 

While being grateful and keeping things in perspective is a wonderful strength to have, it’s also a liability if it makes you feel like you don’t have a right to your feelings, or can’t feel sad, angry or hurt about something true for you. 

As a feminist-oriented therapist, I am always happy to have a conversation about power and privilege, and I firmly believe that we are all worthy of healing and belonging. 

If there is something in your life that feels painful or difficult to overcome, my hope for you is to feel like you deserve to be supported just as much as anyone else. 

If you feel guilty when you think about making your feelings a priority, think about it this way: investing in yourself as a way to make yourself even stronger, and more able to give empathy and compassion to other people. 

Truth: Your experience and your emotions matter. YOU matter. 

Myth #2: Therapy is for couples who are on the brink of ending their relationship or divorcing. We aren’t there yet, we can fix this on our own. 

Too many couples buy into this. 

Perhaps conflict in your relationship occurs fairly infrequently currently, yet when it does occur you notice that you and your partner tend to sweep things under the rug and avoid addressing the conflict. You might write this off to a one-time thing, or feel that because it’s infrequent, it won’t matter in the long run. 

However, each time we sweep conflict under the rug or avoid it all together, we are slowly solidifying the pattern of our relationship. This pattern makes it not only more likely that conflict will become more frequent, but potentially also increasingly eruptive and ultimately, more damaging to your bond over time. 

If you happen to notice early in your relationship that you and your partner are conflict avoidant, talk about reaching out to a therapist or a relationship coach so that you can identify effective ways to face conflict together and strengthen your bond and understanding of each other.

Myth #3: If we go to couples counseling we are admitting that our relationship is unhealthy. 

We know from marriage and family researchers Drs. John and Julie Gottman that conflict is inevitable in every relationship. What separates “healthy” couples from “unhealthy” couples is what they DO with it. 

The healthiest, happiest, strongest couples are the ones who openly address their differences and find ways of proactively, constructively working through things together. Couples who do this important growth work strengthen their relationships. Couples who seek support for their relationship, and who are open to learning how to communicate and compromise will have more positive outcomes. Investing in their relationships sets them up for success long-term.

Couples who avoid this work, or who allow unresolved conflict to simmer, fester, and become increasingly toxic are inadvertently damaging their relationship. By sweeping things under the rug and not getting help for their relationship, they are increasing the likelihood that their relationship will fail. 

Furthermore, research into couples and family therapy shows that the couples who choose to work together on their relationship sooner rather than later have better outcomes. Any marriage counselor will tell you that it’s much easier to work with a couple who still like, love, and trust each other. 

Couples who wait, ignore problems, and let anger and resentment build up often enter couples counseling on the brink of divorce. There is so much regrettable history between them, so much hurt, and so much damage done that — even with the best marriage counseling — sometimes their relationship is simply too far gone to repair. 

Investing in your marriage sooner rather than later is like taking care of your health: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Myth #4: I’m too busy, whatever I’m dealing with can wait, it will be too expensive, and / or there just isn’t any time. 

When I was in graduate school a common phrase we heard was “What we resist, persists,” and the more I sit with couples and individuals in my office, the more I find this to be true. 

I frequently meet with those that have been “avoiding” therapy by placing it lower and lower on their list of priorities and by the time they’re in my office, they are overwhelmed and exhausted from carrying their distress for so long. 

Often times, these are the individuals who spend a great deal of time taking care of others and rarely make time for themselves or their own needs. Or they are couples with children and stressful careers and aging parents who truly can’t fathom stepping away for an hour for fear of everything falling apart.

Or sometimes people put this off because they’re worried about how much therapy, life coaching or marriage counseling will cost…. Without considering the value investing in themselves will bring to their lives. They’ll spend money on furniture, vacations, or home improvement projects without much thought. But when it comes to investing in their own health and happiness, their success, or in their most cherished relationships… they stop themselves. 

One way to shift this self-limiting perspective is to think about this from the other side. Asking yourself questions like: 

  • “What is the cost of me NOT investing in myself?”
  • “What is the real price of me continuing to feel unhappy, or dissatisfied with my life?”
  •  “What am I losing, long term, by NOT investing in myself, or in my career, or in my marriage?”
  • “How is neglecting myself, my happiness and my relationship impacting my children?”
  • “How is the way I’m currently living impacting my health?”
  •  How much will it cost me — in dollars and cents — if we get divorced, or I never achieve my full earning potential in my career?”

When you put the short-term investment in yourself in context of the costs or benefits to aspects of your life that are genuinely priceless… it changes your perspective.

You Deserve Love, Happiness and Success

I want you to know that I see you, and that your well-being and happiness matters just as much as anyone else’s. You deserve space to cultivate growth and healing; you deserve time to rest and reset. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and you don’t have to carry this alone.   

 If you see yourself or your relationship in any of the myths above, my hope for you would be to spend some time reflecting on what is keeping you from this work. 

Remember though, whenever you are working with a coach or a therapist, you aren’t in this work alone. Are there other myths or beliefs you have that keep you from reaching out for support? Comment below and let’s continue this conversation!

Brittany Stewart, M.A., LMFT-C is a couples counselor, individual therapist, premarital counselor, and a life and relationship coach. She works with her clients to build connected relationships, restore emotional bonds, and grow in their capacity to love others as well as themselves.

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Read More by Brittany Below!

How To Get Your S**t Together When You Feel Overwhelmed

How To Get Your S**t Together When You Feel Overwhelmed

Re-Set and Re-Focus

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your life? Like you have so much to do and you’re always busy, but also like you’re not actually getting things done? This is incredibly stressful, and yet so many people are struggling with it: Especially conscientious, hardworking and responsible types. Many of my life coaching clients meet this description, yet here’s a a surprising thing: Ironically, even though they are the ones who are often viewed by others as being the MOST competent and productive, many secretly feel on the inside like they are failing.

How to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed

In our life coaching sessions I hear words like, “spiraling,” “drowning,” and “completely overwhelmed.” These amazing people are pushing themselves to exhaustion, feeling mentally and emotionally depleted, and continuing to heap more and more on themselves. Because it is not literally possible to do it all, they feel like they’re dropping balls in every direction. Their anxiety builds, their stress levels spike, and they start to feel out of control.

How about you? Can you relate?

This is SUCH a common experience, especially for slightly perfectionistic superstars. If this is a familiar feeling for you too, you’ve probably also tried the standard advice for getting it together: Making lists! Scheduling things! Organizing your home differently! Decluttering!

So why do you still feel crazed?

It’s because the issue is not actually about what you’re doing, and it never was. It’s about how you’re thinking and feeling about what you’re doing. Once you learn how to manage your thoughts and feelings differently, stress fades, calm control comes back, and things get done.

Getting “More Organized” Isn’t Going to Cut It

While this sounds easy, the struggle to do a hard reset on your approach to life and so that you can feel calm, centered, in control and genuinely productive is a real one. As a therapist, life coach (and human being who struggles with the same things) I’ve learned over the years that the path to real and lasting change is not about the latest productivity hack or organizational system, but rather a personal growth process that puts you back in contact with your authentic self — and then changes the relationship that you have with yourself. (Really!)

At the start of our work together, my hard-driving clients often have not yet come to terms with the fact that they are actually mortals like the rest of us, and that there are limits to what they can do. They are trying to do it all, often comparing themselves to others, and feeling like they’re doing nothing well. Things sometimes do start slipping though the cracks. People work faster, harder and more. They try new systems. But the harder they work, the less they get done.

Hardcore perfectionists hate hearing this, but it’s my duty as a therapist and life coach who is devoted to your wellbeing to say this anyway. The answer is not figuring out some “hack” to stuff more stuff into less time, or clone yourself: It’s about learning how to approach life (and yourself) in a more intentional, compassionate, reality-based, and mindful way.

Or not, and slide into the predictable consequences.

Burnout Is Real (And Awful)

Sometimes, if you don’t catch yourself soon enough, and keep pushing and working and going, you can develop a full-fledged case of burnout. Think about it this way: If overwhelm is the waterslide burnout is the pool that you land into at the end of the ride. If you don’t make a change — a real, lasting change that attends to the core issues of chronic stress and overwhelm — burnout is the final destination.

Real, clinical burnout is an experience akin to depression: People feel apathetic, they have no motivation, and feel exhausted even thinking about tackling the “to dos.” Then things start piling up for real, and the process of digging out needs to happen on every level: Physically, mentally, emotionally, AND in terms of all of the stuff that still needs to get done.

It takes a long time to bounce back from burnout. Better not to go there at all, honestly. By listening to what your emotional guidance system is telling you and taking your feelings of overwhelm and stress seriously, you can get back on track before you slide into burnout.

How to Get Your S**t Together, and Back In Control

“Okay Lisa,” you’re probably thinking, “Sure, sounds good. But how exactly do you propose that I do everything I need to do (so much!) and also stay balanced, calm and healthy?”

I’m here for you: Because so many people struggle with this, I’ve devoted a whole podcast episode to sharing my top tips for how to understand WHY you feel overwhelmed (knowledge is power) and then walking it back into a state of calm, focused control. Join me on this episode, to learn about:

  • What types of core belief and approaches to life lead to feelings of overwhelm
  • How perfectionism and over achievement is correlated with being LESS successful
  • How stress leads to anxiety (and too much anxiety leads to paralysis)
  • The type of mindset that helps you do more (and feel happier at the same time)
  • How to recognize when you’re spiraling into burnout and how to stop it
  • How to do a “hard reset” on overwhelm
  • How to get reconnected to your true values, goals and priorities
  • What to focus on first if you’re spiraling
  • Strategies to help you identify and focus on what is truly important (and say buh-bye to the rest)
  • Surprising tips and tricks to relax your body and mind, and enter a state of focused productivity

All for YOU, on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast.

xoxo, Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

PS: I mentioned a number of resources in this program. Here are some links:

 

 

 

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How to Get Your S**t Together When You Feel Overwhelmed

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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More Love, Happiness and Success Advice From The Blog

You Are Worthy of Love and Respect

You Are Worthy of Love and Respect

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.

You are a good person.

Yes, you.

You deserve to be treated well by others. You deserve to be loved and respected. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to have your needs met. You are worth investing time and energy into. You are capable of great things. Your feelings are important. You have power and wisdom inside of you. What you want matters.

And all this is still true, even if you make mistakes. Even if you are not perfect.

As a therapist and life coach, I have sat with some of the most phenomenally put-together, objectively successful, gorgeous, talented, and intelligent people in the world who still genuinely believe that they are irredeemably flawed. They run multi-million dollar businesses, go on international adventures, and accomplish astounding things, yet they struggle to feel like are valuable and worthy of love and respect. The disconnect between how amazing they are and how they feel about themselves is as wide as the Grand Canyon.

So how about you? Take a second and re-read the paragraph at the top of the page. Do those statements feel true to you? Or does a part of you cringe away from them, thinking that such things might be true for others but not for you? Does your brain instantly reject these ideas, firing back with an endless catalogue of your many mistakes and short-comings: all the “evidence” to prove that you are less worthy somehow?

Why is it so easy to lose your confidence, and your self esteem?

You are a perfect, unique snowflake gliding through your time here on earth. There has never been anyone quite like you. You are smart, you are capable, and you are good. You are here to love and be loved. You have things about you that set you apart from other people. Maybe it’s your style, or your humor, or your tenacity. Maybe it’s the fearless way you’ve lived your life, or the heroic mountains you’ve climbed on your journey. Perhaps your most wonderful quality is the way you care so deeply for others.

But it’s easy to forget that when you have to fight for your right to be heard, respected and understood, in a world that pushes back.

Every single one of us has been bruised on this journey through life. We’ve all been disappointed by people. We’ve taken risks, only to fall flat and feel humiliated for our efforts. Maybe toxic relationships have made you feel diminished. Perhaps you didn’t get your needs met at a time that you desperately needed support, and you are still carrying the scars of those primary wounds.

Over time the injuries of life can erode your belief in yourself. You can get tricked into believing that your not-so-great life experiences define you. Niggling doubts like, “Maybe my [insert one: critical father / rejecting Ex / high school chemistry teacher] was right about me,” or “This is probably the best I can expect,” keep you from feeling that you deserve more.

But you cannot let the inevitable traumas of the human experience break you. You cannot allow yourself to be diminished by others. You must never allow your core self to be ground away by disappointment.

Why Your Healthy Self Esteem is So Vital

  1. Other people treat you the way you expect to be treated.
  2. You rise to meet your expectations of yourself.
  3. You make choices and take chances based on what you believe is possible.

Think about what could happen to you if you totally lost sight of your inner beauty, your worth, your potential, and your inherent right to be loved and respected? How chilling to consider the fate that might befall you if your life, and the people in it, began to conform to those expectations.

You must be your own hero. The world is hard enough without you tearing yourself down, beating yourself up for your failures, and punishing yourself. When you stop believing in yourself and your worth as a person, your abilities, and that you deserve to be treated well all is lost. No one else is going to be your champion — because no one can.

How to Heal Your Self Esteem

It’s time for you to take your power back. All faith is a choice. All beliefs are voluntary. You can decide to be your number one fan, and actively, intentionally build yourself up. You can support yourself from the inside out. In fact, you have to. No one else is going to be your champion — because no one can.

Remind yourself daily, hourly, or minute-by-minute on especially challenging days:

Only you get to decide what you are worth. Only you get to decide how you deserve to be treated by others. Only you decide what is possible for you.

Decide today: You are worthy of love and respect. You are capable of great things. You are a good, smart, strong person. Make those statements your mantra. Believe they are so. Act as if they are so. And watch as the world rises to meet YOU…

Four Benefits of Online Coaching

Four Benefits of Online Coaching

Here’s Why You Should Try Online Coaching

As a Ph.D. clinical psychologist, I started out years ago doing traditional therapy with clients for issues such as depression and anxiety. The in-office setting made the most sense for me at that time due to the extreme distress many of my clients were experiencing and it was important for me to physically be present with them and to offer support (and tissues!). However, once I obtained my professional coaching certification, I began to specialize in career and life coaching which drew different types of clients to me. While they had some transient anxiety or depressive feelings about not being in their dream career or living their best life (which would be expected), they didn’t have those symptoms at a clinical level. Additionally, my coaching clients had different needs and expectations than my therapy clients. As an aside, I do have some coaching clients who are also in concurrent therapy and I feel fortunate to have some amazing therapist colleagues to refer them to for their therapy needs.

When I first made the switch to coaching by phone or online, I have to admit that I was hesitant at first about meeting with people online or by phone. Would we have the same connection? Would it be as helpful as in-person? Would it be weird looking at a camera or talking on the phone with someone instead of being face-to-face? Now that I’ve been doing online and phone coaching for several years, here are the things I’ve discovered as well as what my clients have shared with me.

Global Reach

Whereas I used to be limited to serving clients who happened to live in my general proximity (Denver), I now have clients all over the U.S. and the world—from South Africa to Europe to Canada. Working with such a diverse population of clientele is not only inherently rewarding but has greatly enriched my knowledge of other cultures and experiences. It’s also amazing how similar people are in terms of wanting to live their best possible life! 

Flexible Session Times

I’ve had people do sessions outside from a street in Dubai, at an airport terminal while waiting for a flight, in their office on their lunch break, from their car (parked of course!) and in their own living room while their kiddo was napping. Whereas an in-person session means the client also has to allot time for traffic and driving to and from the appointment, parking, checking in with the receptionist, finding a baby sitter, etc., online coaching is so much easier to fit into a busy schedule—and my clients tend to be very busy people.

Flexible Scheduling Platforms

Sometimes, my clients want to see my smiling face so we do Skype or Zoom; while other times, they may be traveling and so phone works better on certain weeks. Or technology blips happen (because life) and we switch from one mode to another. 

Effective Results

In fact, I’ve found it to be even more effective because we are laser-focused during those 45 minutes. I’ve had multiple local clients whom I initially saw in-person who decided to switch to online coaching with me due to their busy schedules. An interesting outcome of that is that most ended up preferring the phone even over Skype/Zoom. Why? Many told me that they can think better and process ideas more when they walk around, so the phone allows them to do that while we talk. 

If you’ve never given online or phone coaching a try, I hope you will consider the amazing benefits. Taking steps to change your life for the better is an investment of your time, energy, and resources but life is too short to waste another day. 

Wishing you all the best,
Dr. Kristi Helvig, PhD, LP, BCC

Dr. Kristi Helvig PhD, LP, BCC is both a licensed psychologist and a board certified coach. She specializes in career and executive coaching working with her clients online locally and internationally. Dr. Kristi can help you receive clarity, overcome old obstacles, and climb the mountain to success — no matter how you define it. 

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Developing Self-Esteem: One Thought at a Time

Developing Self-Esteem: One Thought at a Time

Do You Know How Awesome You Are?

Hey, let’s try something. Can you name 3 things that you LOVE about yourself? 

You don’t have to grab a piece of paper or pull up your Notes app. Just take a moment, close your eyes, and answer that question for yourself in your mind.

How did it feel to do that?

Now think about how easy it is for you to describe the wonderful things about someone else in your life. Someone you love, admire, or even only know superficially. For many people, it is a little more complicated to do that for themselves

Some people can rattle off a long list of their best qualities and accomplishments. Some can confidently name a few. I was working with a client recently who felt extremely uncomfortable identifying even one. 

When I asked her to do this exercise, she puzzled over it for a while before settling on one. But then came a flood of uncertainty, and she began to doubt whether it was true or not. She tried a few more times but ultimately she gave up on the entire exercise, feeling frustrated and disingenuous. 

This was someone who is highly intelligent, extremely kind, a hard worker, and truly lovely inside and out. She struggled with perfectionism in her work, insecurity in her relationships, and a lot of anxiety. We worked together to tackle those issues, and found that ultimately they all stemmed from her low self-esteem.

Recognize Your Narratives

The narratives we construct about ourselves are informed by our early experiences, our caregivers, our teachers, our friends, the media, and society at large. As we grow up, we are constantly bombarded with messages and belief systems about the world around us, and we quickly learn to internalize them. Recognize that some of the thoughts you have about yourself are part of deeper, more subconscious narratives you hold, and may not actually be the whole truth. 

For example, if you’re in the dating world, you may be experiencing various forms of rejection on a regular basis. A bad date can lead to thoughts like, “I acted like an idiot!”, “I can’t believe I said that, I’m so stupid!”, “I’m ugly!”. It’s important to recognize that thoughts like these are your brain cherry-picking through all the potential thoughts you could have about that situation in order to feed into those constructed narratives that you hold about yourself. In this case, it may be a deeper narrative of “I’m not loveable”.

Reflecting, journaling, and doing growth work through therapy or coaching are some ways to learn to recognize these thought patterns and the deeper narratives you are holding on to. They are usually so ingrained and instinctual that we have to make a real effort to even notice that they are present. 

Learn How to Thought-Stop

Thought-stopping is a CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) technique that I teach many of my clients who struggle with anxiety. Once you have done the work of recognizing the untrue or harmful narratives you hold about yourself, the goal is to learn to stop the thoughts that feed them further. 

I like to describe this as a muscle: Just as you need to continually do strength training work to keep your biceps strong, you need to strengthen your thought-stopping muscle in order for it to be effective. 

The basic idea is to bring more awareness to those moments when you have an unhelpful or harmful thought, like “I’m an idiot!”, and quickly perform a stopping exercise. This can be simply saying “Stop!” to yourself, or even a physical action like snapping a rubber band on your wrist. The goal is to develop awareness of the thought patterns, and to stop the tendency of letting harmful thoughts spiral into anxiety or continue to feed that unhelpful narrative. 

I like to think of thought-stopping as a protective measure to keep that harmful self-narrative from cementing further. It’s good practice to develop more awareness of your thought patterns and to feel more in control of your thoughts and anxiety. However, to develop self-esteem, we also have to do some deeper work to challenge these narratives we hold about ourselves.

Challenge, Re-Frame, and Practice Self-Compassion

While thought-stopping is a great practice to have in your toolbox for managing anxiety and spiraling self-criticism, we also want to make a deliberate effort to challenge some of those harmful narratives we hold about ourselves. Taking time and space to really look at what we think about ourselves, where it comes from, and how to re-frame some of those beliefs with more compassion is a vital part of building self-esteem. 

For example, with the dating situation, listing the ways in which you are a desirable partner and truly allowing yourself to look at where you tend to dismiss the positives and highlight the negatives. A supportive therapist or coach can be a helpful person to do this with, because we often find it hard to recognize when we are being unfair on ourselves or engaging in black-and-white thinking.

If you’ve read this far, you are probably someone who is looking to boost their self-esteem and are ready to make some changes in your life. One actionable tip I have for you may be one you’ve heard before: talk to yourself as you would talk to a close friend who is going through something difficult. 

Would you be harsh or overly critical with this friend when they make mistakes? When someone says something rude to them on a date? When someone talks down to them at work? When they are feeling anxious or fearful of tackling a challenge in their life? Just as you are capable of being a kind, compassionate and supportive friend, you are capable of developing your own self-esteem and gaining more success and happiness in so many more areas of your life.

Remember that exercise we started with? Try incorporating it into your life as a 5 minute practice. Maybe in the evening, before you go to bed, as a way to wind down and reflect. Or maybe in a 5 minute break in the middle of your busy day, when you’ve been on the go and have already had a thousand thoughts that you have not yet brought awareness to. Take a few minutes to breathe, check in on your thoughts, reframe anything that you need to, and remind yourself that you are trying your best, and you are worthy. 

Developing self-esteem is not easy. It takes a lot of energy, patience, perseverance, and support to be able to do some of the work I’ve laid out here. But it can be hugely gratifying to be able to live with less self-doubt, less anxiety, more purpose, more confidence, and a stronger sense of how kickass you are!

All the best, 
Sharmishtha Gupta, Ed.M., M.A.

Sharmishtha Gupta, Ed.M, M.A., is a warm, validating counselor and coach who can help you uncover your strengths, get clear about who you are, heal your spirit, and attain the highest and best in yourself and your relationships.

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