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How to Become Empowered

How to Become Empowered

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.

Living Like You Are Important, Too.

In our hectic, demanding lives, it’s easy to lose sight of ourselves: Who we are, how we feel and what we need. Even more challenging can be figuring out how to assert all-of-the-above in our relationships with others. This is particularly true if you’ve been existing in a toxic relationship or codependent relationship, or navigating the aftermath of a bad breakup. In the midst of stressful circumstances, attaining empowerment can seem out of reach — especially when you’ve been focused outwards rather than within.

What is Empowerment?

Empowerment can be thought of as one of the goals of self-actualization and personal growth. To be “empowered” is to feel confident, to trust yourself, to believe that your feelings are important, to consider yourself worthy of love and respect, and able to assert yourself appropriately in relationships. However it’s difficult to be truly empowered when you are out of touch with yourself, and feel disconnected from the type of life and relationships that feel energizing and nourishing to you.

Finding Balance Between Me and You

Self empowerment can feel challenging for people who care about other’s feelings, and who prioritize their connections with others. Why? Because for sensitive, caring people it can be easy to disown yourself and your feelings — making the way others feel, and what they need more of a priority than your own needs and feelings. Many people, especially women, can feel guilty when they ask for what they want. Furthermore, if you are in a relationship that does not support your empowerment, you may also feel like you’re risking having other people judge you or be angry with you if you start asking for what you need for a change. [Read: How to Stand Up For Yourself and Still Have Friends.]

However, at the same time, being dependent on other people to meet your needs or for the way you feel about yourself is inherently disempowering. If you wait for other people to take care of you instead of caring for yourself, you risk becoming resentful. And when you allow they way other people feel about you to define the way you feel about yourself, you become disconnected from yourself; transformed into a people pleaser, chasing the dragon of approval. [Listen: Stop Comparing Yourself To Others]

The last thing you want is to feel hollow, helpless, or increasingly bitter. While attaining empowerment can feel bold, or even scary, it’s really the only choice for a happy, healthy life and relationships. Believing that you are worthy of love and respect — and then behaving accordingly — helps you take care of yourself and teaches others how to treat you.

Empowerment Always Evolving

Empowerment is not something that you achieve and then have forever. For most people, living in a position of empowerment requires balance and constant realignment. To stay empowered means staying connected to your feelings, and the evolving landscape of your life. In this way, we can say that authentic, healthy “empowerment” is more of a life-skill than a destination.

Because developing empowerment is such a complex, yet vitally important part of the growth process for many people, I’m devoting an entire episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast to the topic. I’m also enlisting the support of a real-life “Empowerment Expert” to share her wisdom with you: my colleague Teena Evert, a fellow therapist and life coach on the Growing Self team. Teena specializes in helping people create empowered lives and authentic relationships, starting by focusing on how to build a strong foundation within themselves.

Attaining Empowerment

Teena and I are talking about many of the “pieces” involved with cultivating personal empowerment, including:

  • Mindful self-awareness
  • Building self-love and self-compassion
  • Why building a sustainable self-care routine is key to maintaining your solid foundation
  • How stress can impact your empowerment
  • The need to create balance by staying aware of your feelings
  • How to be assertive and set boundaries in relationships… while also being flexible
  • Trusting yourself
  • How to ask for what you need… while also having compassion and empathy for people you love
  • Developing a sense of self worth that is independent of external validation
  • How to not give your power away, blame others, or lose yourself in relationships
  • How to not fear your own power

 

How to Cultivate Empowerment in Your Life

Becoming a fully empowered person is a process, not an event. For most people, achieving this type of confidence and growth is acquired over months, even years of dedicated personal growth work. However, Teena shares many different strategies you can start using right now, to build your self awareness mindfully, treat yourself with compassion and respect, trust yourself, and start strengthening your feelings of empowerment. I hope her wisdom gives you insight into how to begin cultivating empowerment in your life.

Additionally, we discussed a number of resources on today’s show. Here are links to learn more:

Enneagrams – The self awareness / personality quiz we often use with our individual and couples here at Growing Self.

Cultivating Mindfulness Skills – Check out the “Happy Mind” unit of The Happiness Class.

With love and respect,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

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Attaining Empowerment

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

Music Credits: Sinead OÇonnor, “Just Like You Said It Would Be”

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How to Be Your Best Self

How to Be Your Best Self

Embrace the Amazing Person You Already Are.

If you’re like most of our life coaching or therapy clients, you’re intelligent, objectively successful, and a kind person who many people love, respect, and admire.
And yet… You might not feel like you’re really as amazing as you could be. You believe that you can do more, be more, feel more clear about who you are, and feel better about the way you’re living your life. Most importantly, you believe you can be happier, enjoy your life more than you do.
You believe there’s a higher, and more self-actualized version of you somewhere inside of you. And if you’re like most people, sometimes you feel frustrated or get down on yourself when you can’t be the person you know you can be, all the time. Here are some tips to help you intentionally make contact with the best part of yourself, and allow more of that “real you” to take positive action in your life:

Tips For Cultivating Your Best Self

l. Notice when you’re already being who you want to be.

You know that feeling you have when you do something healthy, good or positive? Like the way you feel when you leave yoga class, or the gym? Or when you choose the kale power-salad for lunch? Or get some amazing feedback from your boss or coworker about what a good job you did? Or when you spend a gorgeous day outside, or in the company of someone you love? Or when you’re totally absorbed in flow? Or exhilarating yourself to embrace a challenge, or learn something new? Yes?

You DO have those moments. And all of those are times when your happy, best self is at the front and center of your life already.

When you intentionally focus on what’s going right in your life, it shifts your perspective and your mood. It helps you to feel like the person you want to be, which in turn helps you intentionally cultivate more of the you that you want.

2. Stop Beating yourself up.

Do you scold, and shame yourself for every little thing? Do you call yourself names? Do you sweep aside all of the positive, good things you have going on and criticize yourself for the negative, instead?
You’re not alone. We’ all internalize an inner voice that lives inside us, and that narrates our experiences. Many people, sadly, have come to believe that the “key to staying motivated” is to be ruthlessly harsh, demanding or even demeaning to themselves if they’re not perfectly perfect.

However, what we know from decades of research into positive psychology, cognitive behavioral therapy, and healthy human development, (learn more about evidence-based therapy) is that when people feel safe to learn from their mistakes, accepted and supported, respected and valued, they can grow and evolve. In contrast, people who feel that mistakes are catastrophic and who believe that they are intrinsically bad, worthless, or irredeemable will get stuck and paralyzed with shame and fear.

Decide to be an emotionally safe, supportive and respectful friend to yourself. (Read: “How to Love Yourself”) Cultivate an encouraging “growth mindset.” Learning how to accept yourself, and be affirming and compassionate with yourself just as you are, will (paradoxically), allow you to grow and bloom.

Want more inspiration for how to cultivate a growth mindset? Check out this video from Heidi Grant Halverson:

 

3. Stop comparing yourself to others.

 

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” — Plato

It is such a common mistake; to believe that no one else feels the way you do, or doesn’t wrestle with the same stressors or pain- points. Especially as more of our social lives are dominated by carefully curated posts and photos, it can be easy to trick yourself into believing that everyone else is happy and has all this stuff figured out already. At a distance it’s easy to imagine that everyone is as gorgeous, accomplished, successful, intelligent and confident as they appear. As you appear.

And yet every singe person walking this earth (including me!) has a mandate to learn, grow, and figure out how to live intentionally, responsibly, mindfully, and happily. Every day brings new opportunities for us to increase our capacity for love and compassion — both for ourselves and others. Everyone has good days and days they wish they could do over. Oprah Winfrey herself probably has moments where she snaps at someone, or says something she regrets, or feels frustrated… or cries. Yes, Oprah cries too. We’re all on a path of growth and personal evolution. And you’re just like everyone else on the earth, trying to figure it out.

Except that you are woke. Sadly, many people don’t even consider the possibility that they can do better, or be better. They just do what they’ve always done (even if it’s painful and unsatisfying, or leads to not-so-great outcomes) without ever having the thought in their head that they have the power to choose who they are, and what they want their lives to be about. They may genuinely believe fate alone created their circumstances, and that they have no control over themselves, the results they get, or their ultimate destiny.

But you do. You know you have the power to grow and to do more. That’s why you’re reading this article. The fact of that is evidence that you are self-aware, and already actively embracing growth, and are already moving forward on your glorious path of personal evolution.

Here’s to you,
Lisa Marie Bobby

Why You Keep Falling in Love With The Wrong Person

Why You Keep Falling in Love With The Wrong Person

Do you attract the wrong people? Do you keep having toxic relationships?

If so, you’re not alone.

You’d be surprised at how many people come to us for life coaching, breakup recovery, individual therapy, or dating coaching hoping to achieve one goal: Having a healthy relationship. (And how to stop getting involved in unhealthy ones).

They show up to therapy or life coaching because they have, over time (or after the latest heartbreaking breakup) become aware that they are engaging in “non-ideal relationship patterns,” over and over again. They keep getting involved with narcissists, or people who treat them badly. They keep choosing emotionally unavailable men, or aggressive / controlling women. Whatever the sad pattern is, they want it to stop.

Above all else, they want to work on themselves to heal, grow, and ensure that NEXT time they get involved with someone they can love and be loved in a healthy relationship with a good person. And so we dig in.

Identifying Your Blind Spots

The first stop in figuring out why you keep choosing the wrong man or wrong woman is uncovering what unconscious motivations are driving your choices. Getting outside help in understanding your toxic relationship patterns can be a wise move, because of the entirely subconscious nature of the problem.  You don’t consciously choose bad relationships — no one does. You choose what feel  in the moment, are good relationships…. and then wind up having bad experiences. (That are often mysteriously, eerily similar to the past experiences you thought you were trying to avoid).

Unhealthy relationship patterns can happen for many reasons. Sometimes it’s old, unfinished emotional business from the past. Other times, your self-esteem or feelings of self-worth can get in the way. Yet other times, the root of the problem is imbedded in way you communicate or set boundaries with others. Because you are a complex, unique, individual, your truth will not be exactly the same as everyone else’s.

Avoiding Toxic Relationships

However, there is one very common thing that most people have done at least once, and which will almost always lead to heartbreak: Falling victim to “Black Hat Love.” Learning how to spot the one fatal factor that makes you most vulnerable to getting involved in toxic relationships can help you stop the madness, and finally create the happy, healthy relationship you’re longing for.

And that’s what I’ll be teaching you about on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast.

Have follow up questions for me? Leave them in the comments!

xoxo, Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Why You Keep Falling in Love With The Wrong Person (And How to Stop)

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

Music Credits: “Bad Love,” by So Brown

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Hold the Phone! Is Technology Hurting Your Relationships?

Hold the Phone! Is Technology Hurting Your Relationships?

Power Off Your Phone and Power Up Your Relationships

It’s true that everyone’s lives these days are fueled and enhanced by technology.  How often have you stepped on a bus, been out at a restaurant, or have been sitting in your own home, only to look around and notice that everyone around you is staring down into the screen of a phone?

One of the most interesting aspects of technology is that we can simultaneously use it to both connect and to disconnect.

You may notice that by texting your partner in the middle of a hard-work day, you’re able to get that instant validation. It feels good! Perhaps, in that same scenario you play a quick game of Candy Crush to distract yourself from the mounting stress and pressure. This also feels good! You might then ask what’s the problem? This is clearly a tool to meet many needs at once.

Here’s the thing: oftentimes, unchecked technology use can prevent us from connecting with each other… and ourselves.

Imagine (or maybe you don’t have to imagine — because you’re actually doing this right now) you’re sitting on the couch next to your partner, as they’re scrolling through various social media accounts, playing games, etc. Is this someone you feel connected to? No, of course not.

Our phones can create a physical and emotional barrier. While we may be striving for connection through texting, checking Facebook, or sending an email, we are quite possibly ignoring our most important relationships and the greatest opportunities for connection as we do so. 

It’s also possible that through the distraction of social media (or whatever your technological vice may be), you are able to disconnect from your own internal process, so you don’t have to deal. First, we all do it and, let’s face it, sometimes a little distraction is necessary.

However, you may find that the more time you spend looking through pictures of everyone else’s “perfect” lives or tuning out those pesky emotions through virtual realities, the worse you feel. Why? Because in the minutes or hours you spent immersed in technology, you actually lost connection with those moments and — quite possibly — with yourself.

Here are two tips to help you manage your technology use so that it doesn’t interfere with your most important connections: 

    • First, acknowledge and notice what impact technology is having on your connections. (It looks different for everyone). Remember, the instant gratification that is often associated with technology is not always better. After all, it can leave us just as quickly. Challenge yourself to remember that the “connection” you experience from viewing other people’s lives through the picture-perfect lens of social media skews reality.

 

  • Secondly, set reasonable boundaries for yourself or household around technology use. For example, creating “no phone zones” like at the dinner table, or in bed will allow you to connect with your partner. Also having setting aside specific screen-free times of day to check-in with your partner can drastically improve your connection.

Actively make a choice to engage and connect with those around you…you have the power! Once you are able to peel your eyes away from that friendly glow, you may just find there’s another human right in front of you or better yet, you may even find yourself.

All the best,
Rachel Harder, M.A., LMFT-C

What’s Holding YOU Back From Success?

What’s Holding YOU Back From Success?

Feeling stuck? Here’s How to Break Free…

Most people who want more out of life seek out counseling or coaching because they are not willing to settle. They want to make a positive change in their lives, their careers, in their relationships, or in themselves, but have run out of ideas. They have tried everything that they, personally, know how to do to improve the situation… and it hasn’t worked. They feel stuck.

If you’ve been feeling this way lately, I want you to know that 1) you’re not alone, and that 2) I’m going to help you with this. Like right now.

Here’s the big secret to getting unstuck: Self awareness. What nobody realizes, before entering personal growth work, is that “the problem” they’ve been trying to fix is not actually what needs their attention. Focusing on the circumstance, or the situation, is not going to move the needle for you. The answer is not outside. It’s inside. Only when you identify the unconscious, inner obstacles that have been getting in your way will you start to move meaningfully forward.

Until that happens, you’ll spin. (And seethe. And beat yourself up. And get increasingly frustrated.)

As frustrating and uncomfortable as this stuck place is, can be it’s really an amazing opportunity in disguise. Why? Because it’s often feeling ABSOLUTELY FED UP WITH STUCK-NESS that launches people into the life-changing journey of growth and soul-expansion that would not have been possible otherwise.

Often, this journey carries people through places inside themselves that they’d never even imagined existed. As people move towards empowerment, towards designing their lives, and towards “creating change” they often discover that the path is one of growth. Of personal evolution. Of compassion. Of self actualization. Sometimes, even one of healing.

This is a beautiful experience and one I believe passionately that everyone deserves. So on this episode of The Love, Happiness and Success Podcast I’m actually going to give you a “Master Class” of the main ideas that all our counseling and coaching clients arrive upon, eventually: The path to creating change outside yourself starts from within. Only by uncovering the inner, hidden obstacles that have been holding you back will you be able to move forward and create meaningful and lasting change in your life, your career, your relationships… and in yourself.

Self awareness is the first step of personal transformation. Only when you understand yourself, and the unconscious obstacles you’ve been wrestling with, can you make the changes that will actually help you break free.

How to Cultivate Self Awareness:

Step 1: Listen to the podcast to learn about the “four domains of stuck-ness” that people often get trapped by. See which resonates with you!

Step 2: Click here to take the “What’s Holding You Back” quiz to find out which of these domains is the most powerful in your life.

Step 3: Then use your newfound self-awareness to take positive, and most importantly effective, action.

Step 4: Share your experiences in the comments. We all learn and grow from our connections with each other, after all… (I’ll even go first).

xo, Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

www.growingself.com

 

What's Holding YOU Back?

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

Subscribe to the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast on iTunes & Stitcher. Don’t forget to rate and review if you enjoy the Podcast!

Music Credits: Sallie Ford, “Record on Repeat”

The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast is Now on Stitcher!

Growing Self Counseling & Coaching