Isolation Doesn't Bring Peace of Mind

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Isolation is unhealthy – particularly over time. Just listening to the mind day after day is not the same as meditation or contemplation.   A person who isolates is more likely to have depression and anxiety.

Do you isolate?  For how long?  The dubious luxury of ordering your world to your exact  specifications may seem appealing for awhile, but this is how grumpy people get their start!  Also, isolation doesn't just make relationships rusty. One can begin to feel crazy just listening to one's own head! 

Reaching out to one extra person a day, doing a favor for someone, calling an old friend or meeting a new one can make all the difference.  So can talking to a therapist, volunteering or seeking out a spiritual community.  It may feel awkward at first, but it will help keep you from developing states of mind worse than awkwardness.

Regards, Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

 

 

Letting Go of Harmful Secrets

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Secrets kept out of fear, embarrassment or other negative feelings are acidic to the psyche and color how one sees others in the world.  Whether a secret is shoved under the rug or even denied, the effect is the same.

Revealing a painful secret to a trusted person or even a professional can be liberating!  Secrets create isolation and anger and can victimize the holder.  It is said that we are only as sick as our secrets.  This is true.  Talk to someone safe today.

Warmly, Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

 

"The only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself."

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- Richard Bach, Illusions

When one is true to oneself, the losses and gains of the world are secondary to one's peace of mind and purpose.  Being true to oneself is the ultimate security in an insecure world.  

Living with one's eyes open to one's inner truth takes effort, courage and conviction for most.  But in the end, a life well lived is a priceless treasure.

Best Regards,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT#36764

Today is the Day to do Something Differently

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Change can happen so suddenly, so innocuously.  You have a thought, follow it through and life suddenly unpacks you into a totally different direction.  Here are some examples of how simple such thoughts can seem:

"I would like to walk down a different street today. . .I wonder what it would be like to go to therapy. . .I's like to check out that free yoga class. . .what if I told them what I really think. . ."

Seemingly ordinary thoughts can lead to life changing events.  So go through life thinking well of yourself!  Do the thing that feels a little challenging, or that piques your curiosity.  If nothing else, you will gain insight.  And sometimes, that little thought put into action can permanently change your life for the better.

Warm Regards, Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

April is the Cruelest Month

"April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.

Winter kept us warm, covering

Earth in forgetful snow, feeding

A little life with dried tubers".                     

                                                                 - T.S. Eloit

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Sometimes it can just feel easier to hunker down against the softening of Spring - the old hurts, resentments and pain can feel reactivated with warmth and nourishment, rain and sun.  The pain is real - but only temporary.  The heart that is hoping to open again and you canwork against the cynicism of memory. Here are three tools to use in opening up:

1)  Decide to be compassionate for yourself instead of being disappointed or angry with yourself.  You would have done things differently if you could have, and in the future you will.

2) Talk to someone safe about your pain.  Get support from a professional if needed.

3)  Notice the pain but don't become the pain.  Your heart is bigger than the pain you are feeling.  You can get past this.

Warm Regards,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT

When Life Feels Like a Series of Unfortunate Events. . .

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Sometimes life can feel like a chapter out of Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events."  There may be a theme to the events, or your challenges may seem random. This rather overwhelming state can appear to be an endless swamp that will entrap you, but in the end this seldom turns out to ttrue. In the meantime though, slogging through the day-to-day drama of it is sometimes overwhelming. Here are three tips about how to get through this kind of time:

1)  Think about other times in your life when you were discouraged.  How long did they last?  How did you resolve things, or did time just sort them out for you?

2)  Detach.  Step back from the fatalistic story about what is going on, even it it is as compelling as a train wreck.  In Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" the most sticky and uncomfortable of journeys were in the end tests that encouraged personal growth in the characters.

3)  Don't do it all alone.  Call friends, see a therapist, go to self-help meetings or follow a spiritual path more closely.  Suffering is often lessened from something as simple as talking to another person.

To you in Your Journey,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

Getting Ready to Retire?

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Much is written about the financial aspects of retirement, but not so much one's feelings about leaving the work world behind.  In talking with recent retirees and people who will soon be retiring, I came up with three observations.   What is interesting about the observations is that they are thoughts that can be working in the background of your mind about your retirement whether you have many years to go or this is your last week at work:

1)  When a person retires, they are often stepping out of a pressure cooker.  Don't just step into another one.  Take awhile to unwind and let the mind unfurl so your actions will be considered ones. 

2)  Let go of judgments about what you should be doing.  Let go of guilt, or that feeling that you are lazy if not "productive".  That is an illusion that won't get you far in retirement.

3)  Let yourself have nothing that has to be done.  Practice mindfulness or meditation or contemplation because time is what you have instead of making money.  After all, time is the most valuable thing in the universe!

Happy Monday!

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT

Humility

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Humility is a most precious of virtues.  It doesn't always come easily, and once you think you have it, it is usually gone!  As the saints say "if you want to go through a small doorway, you have to bend down."  Bending can be awkward for any number of reasons.

Just for today, treat everyone as though they were a king or queen, prince or princess.  Let humility dissolve the feeling that you have been wronged in the present or the past, or are about to be wronged in the future.

Humility can dissolve anger and can create a good situation out of a bad one.  Practice finding humility today, and let yourself expand into a state of grace.

Warm Regards,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT

How to Survive Your Own Mistakes

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Everyone makes bad decisions.  Unless of course you are perfect, and even saints made mistakes before they become realized.   Once you make a mistake it cannot be undone and it frequently becomes easier to repeat  This repetition simply ups the ante for punishment in the end.

The mind is a funny thing.  It can tell you "It's alright. No one will find out, no one will get hurt."  But in the meantime, what happens to you?  Are you still able to feel the same way about yourself?  Do you find yourself having to hide things for people you care about, or fear, or want nothing to do with?

Since mistakes are inevitable, it is usually best to find someone that you can trust to listen to you without revealing your secret.  Try to sort out with this confidant how to resolve your mistake.  You might be surprised that what you have done is not as bad as you think.  Or maybe that there is a guilt that you should learn to live with in order to not hurt a person that is innocent. The main thing is, by not keeping your secret to yourself, you take responsibility for yourself.  You move on.

You are the main victim of your own bad decisions.  If you treat yourself with enough kindness and firmness there is a good chance that you will be able to resolve your mistake with the least amount of hurt involved for everyone.  

Warm Regards, Cheryl Deaner, LMFT

Dealing With Difficult People - Ten Tips to Make Life Less Stressful

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Difficult Relationships – Ten Tips to Make Life Less Stressful

 

Difficult people are everywhere – but in your personal life, they can be devastating! When someone close to you is in the midst of their own pain, anger or other negative emotions, they can completely ignore what they are doing to you. Below are 10 tips on how to handle difficult people in your personal life:

 

  1. Remember that most of the reason they are upset with you is not personal. Even

though you may have a part in what is happening for them, their state of mind is what

determines their behavior and their words. Their own thoughts are creating a version of you

that is inaccurate. It is not you.

 

  1. If you think you deserve to be slighted you will be. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” said Eleanor Roosevelt. Don't let another person dictate your self-esteem.

 

  1. Feeling disliked stings. It is hard to not to want to retaliate when someone seems to be deliberately trying to hurt you! Do your best to not respond if you are emotionally reeling from a verbal attack, a nasty silence, or a show of contempt. Give both yourself and the other person time to back down before moving on to solving an issue between you.

 

  1. They may not realize they are impinging on you. This may seem hard to believe, but when people want to feel important, are having a bad day, or acting unconsciously, they may wonder why you seem so crabby! Gently point out how what they are doing affects you.

 

  1. You must want to get along with the more than to engage in drama. Stay true to what you want the relationship to look like. Chances are good that they will be won over. Being kind is often the fastest way to end a drama.

 

  1. Is an unhealthy dependency part of the problem? Dependency kills respect. When you

let yourself be dependent, or another person encourages you to take care of them without

mutually agreed reciprocity - resentment easily finds its way into a relationship.

 

  1. Are you truly able to listen? Not listening and not understanding can lead to shouting, withdrawal and hurt feelings. Listen to the person without interrupting and look at them. When

they are completely done, ask if you can repeat back to them what you heard for clarification.

 

8) It is human to confuse fighting with caring, especially if this was what was modeled in

one's family. This “negative caring” can lead to full-out relationship war. Is it easier to fight

than communicate? If so, seek more positive ways of caring as quickly as you can.

 

  1. You can't always get another person to seek help so you may have to do the changing.

But don't worry – if you change, they will have to change over time. Relationships are like any

other system – if you change your output, it follows that the system will change.

 

  1. Is your life out of balance? Is it possible you are so caught up with your career, other

people, hobbies and activities that you are neglecting your most important relationships? Do you spend much less quality time with the difficult person than you once did?

 

Relationships more than anything else help us grow and mature in life. They polish off our rough edges and support us to live longer and happier lives.

 

Often, the most powerful secret to changing another person's behavior is simply to treat them differently. It is often the fastest and best way to get out of a nasty situation with someone you care about.

 

 

 

Strong Comtemporary Women

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“A strong woman is a woman determined to do something others are determined not be done.”

                                                 Marge Piercy

“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.”

                                                Lucille Ball

“It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.”

                                                Maya Angelou

Power’s not given to you. You have to take it.”

                                               Beyoncé Knowles Carter

“It’s not the absence of fear, it’s overcoming it. Sometimes you’ve got to blast through and have faith.” 

                                               Emma Watson

 

 

No One Gets Loved Exactly the Way they Want. . .

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. . .but they often get what they need.  No two people love in the same way.  Couples therapy often turns a corner when a couple realizes that their partner does actually love them deeply, but in ways that they have not fully realized.

True love involves having enough love for yourself that another person does not have to love you exactly the way you love to them.

Warmly,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT#36764

 

 

 

Spring is Coming

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There is a joy out there as Winter slowly begins to release its grip into Spring.  How much can one bear to notice?  Is it tolerable to tear oneself away from everyday thoughts and anxieties long enough to notice the subtle and not-so-subtle moments of change?

No matter how important our worries seem today, no matter how pressing our problems, there is a part of us that remains separate and calm.  Take a moment to find that inner stillness, that inner beauty.  You will know you are seeing joy when you really notice a crocus, the sunset, or a raindrop.

Have a Wonderful March,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764                                                                                                                    

 

Why Codependency Doesn't Work

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Codependency is a largely unconscious attempt to have another person in one's life in a way that makes one feel and loved and needed.  It occasionally, briefly works - which is a hook for a way of living that will ultimately fail.

Many good people live with the idea that they are unworthy or otherwise not very lovable.  In the grip of unpleasant feelings about oneself, the escape to codependency takes root.  Focusing on another person's problems helps one to feel capable and useful. But ultimately, the other person will become an excuse for one's frustration and dissatisfaction.

Some people stay in relationships way too long.  They put up with circumstances that they would never want a friend or loved one to endure.  However, the good news is that codependency can be overcome, and you can put oneself back in the driver's seat of life. 

If you think you may be codependent, by all means reach out for support.  This could mean reading about codependency, talking to someone who knows you and cares about you, going to Codependent's Anonymous and finding a therapist.  Just getting rid of your codependent is often not enough - another will probably come along soon if you haven't changed!

Once free of codependency, life blossoms in ways that you would not have dreamed were possible.

Regards, Cheryl Deaner, LMFT

When Someone Does Not Want to Forgive You

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Feeling unforgiven by someone can be very unpleasant.  Your mind may go over and the situation with that person, trying to figure out over and over again how to get forgiveness or what went wrong or if it was even your fault.  None of this changes the situation.

Here are ways to change the situation:

1)  Have you asked for forgiveness? This is the first and most important step.  Even if you think you did nothing, have you listened to why they feel the way they do and said you were sorry for the way the situation made them feel?  If so, and they haven't forgiven you,

2)  Are you respectful and kind to the person when you need to deal with them?  This may help the other person to understand that you perhaps did not mean to harm them.

3)  Don't keep apologizing.  This will make them less apt to forgive you.  Once is enough.  No one wants to feel coerced into forgiveness by the person they feel harmed them.  Time and space may be necessary for forgiveness.

4)  Some people need to hold onto resentments for some reason that you may never know.  You can't do a thing with this type of person except treat them with courtesy and hope someday they come around.

5)  The only person you can change is yourself, not another person.  What lessons do you learn with someone refuses to forgive?  How do these lessons make you a better person?  If they never forgive you, but you as a result are a better person, then they have given you a great gift.

6)  Let go of them, and forgive yourself.

Warmly, Cheryl Deaner, LMFT#36764

When Ego Gets in the Way

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An out-of -control ego is blind to its destructive power. Whether an ego is too big or too small is less important than the amount of pain it causes.  Since an unregulated ego is very hard to see, here are three symptoms of being under its influence:

1. A lack of insight that what feels good in the present can lead to pain in the long run.

2. An unwillingness to consider good advice that runs counter to what one wants.

3. An urgency to do what one wants and an inability to focus on healthier ways of getting one's needs met

There are many factors that limit insight into the demands of one's ego. These include mood swings, family patterns, addiction and habitual choices for a few.  The good news is a person who is willing to do whatever it takes to develop proper ego function can succeed. Here are a few of the ways help regulate the ego:

1. Be willing to ask for and let in the advice and support of friends and family.

2. Realize that everyone makes mistakes, and everyone makes a fool out of themselves sometimes.

3. Become someone you can trust. To trust oneself is to love oneself.

4. Seek professional advice and be willing to experiment with new approaches to your problems

5. Know that people already see us as we are, not what we pretend to be.

6. Cultivate gratitude. It is the underpinning of the sort of humility in life that helps us to fall more gracefully, get up again and learn.

I Wish You the Best,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT

Are You Running Away from a Feeling?

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What feeling do you most want to run away from?  For some it is sadness, or grief - for others, anger or anxiety.  Some can't abide admitting to jealousy or envy.  Often, people do not realize that they are avoiding a feeling.  They may stay busy, drink, socialize or otherwise create barriers to becoming aware of unwanted feelings.

One thing to realize is that feelings can't kill you - but chronically avoiding your feelings actually can!

So try this.  Sit down with a paper and pen.  Think of the thing that bothers you the most for exactly one minute.  Then write about your feelings.  In this way, you are freeing yourself from being a prisoner of a dreaded feeling.  It the feeling continues to occur with intensity, talk it over with someone you trust or maybe a therapist.

Take Care,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

 

Winter Blues

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With the holidays over and frequent overcast skies, people can often feel blue.  Sometimes rain, fog and other elements keep one inside more and lead to boredom as well.  Mild depression is the next step.  Depression is often simply the outcome of feeling that one is trapped in the same thing every day.

If you are feeling bored or humdrum or empty, there is a good chance you just have the Winter blues, especially if they subside after a day or two.  If it feels deeper than that, you might be experiencing signs of depression.

Try getting some exercise, talking to a friend about how you feel, eating a healthy meal or going on a little trip.  If doing what you like instead of what you think you should do does not help, then you might consider talking to a professional or counselor about your state.  Life doesn't have to be so hard!

Regards, Cheryl Deaner, LMFT