The Difficult Art of Maturity

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Eleanor Roosevelt's book "You Learn by Living" has a chapter on maturity.  This is my favorite paragraph from that chapter:

 "One must be willing to have knowledge of oneself.  You have to be honest with yourself.  You must try to understand truthfully what makes you do things or feel things.  Until you have been able to face the truth about yourself you cannot be really sympathetic or understanding in regard to what happens to other people.  But it takes courage to face yourself and to acknowledge what motivates you in the things you do."

How true!  Especially the part about courage.  But with courage comes contentment, and that is the best present you can give yourself.

Wishing You All Best,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

Gratitude

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Having gratitude is part of the philosophy of most motivational speakers and spiritual movements. Why?  Because it amplifies success and creates a well of good fortune to draw from. 

Try this experiment.  Think of a negative situation in your life that happens over and over again.  It could be dealing with a co-worker or traffic or the dishes - really anything.  Decide in advance to create a story of why you are grateful about the situation - even if the story seems a bit artificial.  This is just an experiment, after all. 

The next time the event happens, apply your thoughts of gratitude to the event.  Be creative - you will be surprised what you can come up with!  By focusing on these thoughts, the event itself will actually seem different.

As Abraham Lincoln once said, "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." 

Have a Great Monday, Cheryl Deaner, LMFT#36764

What is a Successful Vision?

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Manifestation in the material world begins with a clear, direct vision of what you want to create and the commitment to getting there.  Successful people use goal-setting, visualizing, writing, talking to others, therapy, coaching, workshops and many other tools to to create an atmosphere within themselves that will allow them to grow.

Knowing what you want is an act of courage.  There are so many substitutes for what one really wants that are way less scary (and easier!) to implement than going whole-heartedly into the unknown.  But playing it safe will not lead to anything other than moderate success, if that.

Here are two main points to consider:

1)  Have a clear and detailed vision of your success.  Foster a strong belief and longing in yourself that you can do what needs to be done in order to  actualize this success.

3)  Be persistent in your focus until your success manifests into reality.  Your best reality has its own way of coming to manifestation, so be flexible and don't give up too soon!

 

 

Thanksgiving Blues

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In this crazy world we live in, Thanksgiving week is deep in our national psyche.  Some of its associations are positive, like gratitude, time off and good food. Other feelings are more complex.  For instance, tension and expectation, loved ones who have passed away, family arguments and so on.  Nostalgia, drinking, eating to much and expectations of holiday bliss can bring on the holiday blues.

No matter what you are doing for Thanksgiving, do it because you want to do it.  Please do not judge yourself by another's expectation.  Even if this means staying away from an event or leaving early, your choice is the appropriate one.  No one will remember if you forgot the cranberry sauce, but they may  remember your state of mind.

Focusing on good feelings, especially gratitude, often helps.  After all, this is supposed to be the whole point of the holiday. Make sure you give yourself the opportunity to spend time with the most important person in your world – yourself!

Happy Holiday, Cheryl Deaner, LMFT

Mental Poverty

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Mental poverty is a state in which one feels a lack, or inadequate.  Emptiness can also be a sign of mental poverty, as can avoidance.  

Mental poverty is a rut that can start in many ways. Perhaps one's parents passed on a negative view of the world, or a propensity to addiction One's sense of capacity may be impacted by a dreadful job, or through grinding physical poverty.   Depression and anxiety can also push one to feel like they have nothing to give to themselves or anyone else.  These are but a few examples.

Mental poverty can only be reversed by the person experiencing it because mental poverty is a state of mind - nothing more, nothing less.  If this blog post reminds you of someone - even yourself - know that you are not bound by the trap of mental poverty for the rest of your life.  Your past does not control your future. 

Start today to examine the areas of your personality that may be affected with mental poverty.  These might be reflected in such areas as gossip, fearfulness, complaining without changing, drinking too much or ignoring opportunities when they do present themselves.  Procrastinating, or having a knee-jerk negative reaction to opinions that are different than yours are also signs of mental poverty.

To be a person means to have been given the gift of volition - the capacity for change.  You are not a product of your past.  If you have a pocket or two of mental poverty in your life, you can actually change your state and increase the abundance of your life.

Warmest Regards,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT #36764

 

 

 

 

What Makes Us Want to Start New Ventures?

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I believe that all people have an innate need to create.  Some create families, others businesses and some art.  To create - to express something uniquely oneself -  is a way of feeling fully human.  It expands personal growth and helps one find connection with an audience, friend or lover, business associate or child.  Sometimes, one's own audience is all that is needed.

Creation is often not easy, even when it is enticing.  It can seem like the more important the venture is, the more challenging it can become.  Perhaps this is because change in general is difficult.  But when a change is an important one, it can seem that there is more to lose, so some don't even start.

Yet the challenge is good.  Putting oneself into the wide open sea of ideas and adventure is a good thing.  It keeps one alive and growing.  It helps the rest of the world.

Good luck today in all your challenges and ventures!

Cheryl

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Henry Thoreau, Walden

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This alarming sentence still applies today. When having a “good” job is seen as the goal of adulthood, it is easy to close other doors to one's full humanity and become unbalanced . Or perhaps it is something else: being too much of a caregiver, being unemployed or disabled, or in a destructive relationship.

To start to move away from “quiet desperation,” one needs to discover what else is important at the core of one's identity. For instance, how important is it for you to expand the relational, physical, spiritual and social side of life? Is there something else you would rather do to make a living, whether or not friends or family approve? Is there an interest that makes it worth while to go back to school? What is really important in life?

Keeping the universal aspects of one's humanity open for exploration is step one toward creating a balanced, happy life. Having the courage to explore what is essential puts one on the path to deep contentment.

Write in a journal about each aspect of what is essential to you. Talk these over with friends. Make plans to infuse the neglected aspects of your life. Even if they seem impractical, they will manifest down the line.

No one should have to lead an empty life.

Regards,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

Is it Depression, or Anxiety?

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Where Does Depression End and Anxiety Begin?

Many people suffer from both depression and anxiety. Some of the symptoms of these differing states are shared. In fact, depression can bring on anxiety, or vice versa. And then there are feelings that could be either, such as worrying, irritability and sleeplessness. So if you feel foggy or exhausted or distracted, it could be either anxiety or depression.  Here is a ballpark way to figure out which is which.

Anxiety is an emotion based more on fear than anything else. Depression isbased more in sadness.  Using this as a guideline, keep a record of how much you feel anxiety or depression in a day with 0 being none at all, and 10 being the utmost state. If you do this for three weeks, you should have a clearer picture of where your feelings are coming from.

Also, feel free to call me anytime if anxiety or depression is becoming a problem for you.

Regards,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

Substitutes for Intimacy

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Intimacy can seem unattainable, but often the reasons for this are often not the ones you think are obvious.  For instance, do you work to much?  Watch TV most evenings, spend more than you earn?  Party a little too hardy?  These are common substitutes for closeness.  They may bring a temporary measure of pleasure, power or satisfaction, but keep one from facing the lack in one's life.

Finding intimacy is not only ditching your vices, but first being willing to face and replace them. There are reasons that you have developed these habitual responses to your need for intimacy.  To go there can be scary, but it can change your life.  A word of caution - don't go there all alone.  Talk to a friend, therapist, family member or other trusted person about what you really want, and how to get there.

Warm Regards,                                                                                                                              Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

7 Tips to Help Make Friends With Your Mind

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A mind turned against its owner is a sad sight. The person may see all the good in the world in others, but be unable to see the good in themselves. Even when others point it out their good, they do not believe it is true.

What causes a mind to be one's enemy? Often, a past and present condition, and sometimes even a person's physiology. However, a lot can be done to change these sad circumstances.

Below are a few steps one can take to make friend with one's mind:

  1. Take care of one's physical body. Eat, sleep and exercise can go a long way to righting one's frame of mind about oneself.

  2. Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling. Make sure to set aside time when them when they can really listen.

  3. Take a break from the people who bother you. Go off by yourself if necessary. A walk in the woods, a mental health day, or other solitary activity can allow you time to make better friends with your mind.

  4. Meditate. If you don't know how, sit by yourself in quiet for 5 minutes. Close your eyes, breathe, and allow your thoughts to stream by without getting caught up in them.

  5. See a doctor. If you have an unpleasant feeling about yourself that you cannot shake, there may be a physiological disconnect happening in your body. Depression and anxiety, forgetfulness and other states can show up in testing. Even a vitamin deficiency can wreck havoc with your mood.

  6. Thought stopping. Just say to yourself the next time you find that yourself picking on yourself: “I choose not to have this thought”, and change the dialog with your mind. You can actually do that. Try it!

  7. If you still find that you are down on yourself after all these suggestions,  it may be time for you to see a professional therapist, psychologist or counselor.

 

Best of Luck to You,                                                                               Cheryl Deaner, LMFT#36764

 

 

Is There Time for Everyday Magic in Your Life?

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What brings a sense of magic to your life?  Is it a friend, a vacation, an idea or a spiritual quest?

Today, be alert to how many ways you can see the same thing.  The mind has a tendency to want to see things the same way, and constantly bends the edges of our actual experiences to conform us to routine.

Most people are unaware, or only slightly aware, that they are doing this. Their focus is on what they want to accomplish or avoid in a day, so any glimpse of that which doesn't conform is ignored. 

There is a little "magic" available to us all everyday.  So do the thing you think about but push aside.  Walk an extra block.  Speak kindly to someone you are not sure likes you.  Come back to the present moment over and over, for it is the doorway to new opportunity.

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT#36764

The Smell of Autumn

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Autumn is in the air today - a blue, clear slightly windy day that turns one away from Summer even faster than the trees lose their leaves.  These are the few brief weeks before the Fall of the year takes one inward.

What has 2017 meant to you?  What can it still mean?  Today is a great day to sort out 2017 -  to note what you would like to still accomplish, to let go of what you thought the year would be like.

Today, if things are not going the way you want them to go, it may be a time to seek the ear of a friend, a confident, a therapist, mentor or other good listener.  The truth is always inside you, if you will look for it.

Warm Regards,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT                                                                                                                                         

Self Esteem

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The story you tell yourself about yourself is a good predictor of where you will go in life. So tell a good story! In that story you may be flawed, but be perfectly flawed. 

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "no one can make you feel inferior without your consent." So don't give yourself consent to feel you are inferior.

People come into therapy with all sorts of uncomfortable feelings. Many of these feelings are directed outward at someone or something else - a spouse, job or a circumstance. However, our reactions to others originate from the inside, and we actually do have control of our reactions to outside circumstances. Although it may feel temporarily good to blame others, in the longer term it leads one to see the world as being hopelessly out of control, and you as being powerless.

Time to get Unstuck!

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 3676

My Emeryville/Oakland Office

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This is a photo of my East Bay office, tucked away in a garden.  I love working in this natural surrounding that is also urban.  It is located where Powell Street turns into Stanford near the Emeryville/Oakland border. 

I've been a licensed therapist for 17 years.  Being able to have a space that is private, peaceful and permanent is a great blessing.

Have a Great Week,
Cheryl Deaner, LMFT #36764

Feelings are Not the Same as Facts

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Almost everyone knows that feelings and thoughts are different, but sometimes it is hard to acknowledge. One's ego is out there, the need for love, anger...and suddenly feelings sure do feel like facts!

Codependency feeds upon ones emotional needs that have been so neglected it can be almost impossible to untangle the real from the unreal. For instance, the belief that sub-standard behavior in a partner will change on account of love. Or that anger of a perceived snub is justified, or that pain ignored just disappears.

Once we believe our feelings are just the same as thinking, it is easy for reality to become distorted and for someone to get just exactly what they don't want.

So when your feelings and thoughts are racing about a situation, just stop. Think it through. One always had the option to chose a productive action rather than a reaction. A little pause before reacting can change a life.

Warmly,

Cheryl Deaner. LMFT 36764

 

Open Yourself to Change - it is a Portal of Opportunity

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During times of change, all of us have greater access to our inner selves.  We are given the opportunity to make new decisions.  We find the energy we need to create a better reality for ourselves and those we care about.

At the same time, change is stressful.  Friends and loved ones can only help us so much.  Sharing our growth with a qualified professional can help to reorganize our lives into new patterns that we only dreamed were possible.

Feel free to contact me if you find yourself in a state of change.  You may benefit from therapy, or from a referral to someone else who can support you through the process and challenge of seeing the world differently.

Warm Regards,
Cheryl Deaner, LMFT

Open Yourself to Change

During times of change, all of us have greater access to our inner selves.  We are given the opportunity to make new decisions.  We find the energy we need to create a better reality for ourselves and those we care about.

At the same time, change is stressful.  Friends and loved ones can only help us so much.  Sharing our growth with a qualified professional can help to reorganize our lives into new patterns that we only dreamed were possible.

Feel free to contact me if you find yourself in a state of change.  You may benefit from therapy, or from a referral to someone else who can support you through the process and challenge of seeing the world differently.

Warm Regards,
Cheryl Deaner, LMFT

How to Get Things Moving Again

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Sometimes it is hard to feel the passion needed to "get things moving" in one's life. It can be hard to understand the signs of mild, or on-again, off-again depression. The symptoms are often subtle, but definable.  Do you know of someone who has had any of the following symptoms:

Lower energy or lack of motivation?

Sleeping too much - or too little?

Feeling down on oneself - or having self-esteem issues?

Poor concentration?

An empty feeling?

Everyone feels a bit blue now or then, but this is different. Dysthymia is a mild, chronic form of depression that one might not even know one has, because it has come to be the norm. Also, one might feel motivated for a few days here and there - but not predominantly.

Please feel free to contact me if you think you or someone you know might be experiencing a mild depression. There is so much that can be done.

Warm Regards,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

Love in a Bruised World

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When feeling bruised by those who are supposed to understand, or even by the world at large, the heart often wants to shut down.  Yet this is a time when the heart can be seen most clearly. One sees one's walls, fears and needs. By not shutting down, longstanding obstacles to growth and love can be within reach.

A bruised heart can expand one's capacity to love, and provide the humility needed for a a person to attempt what they were too stubborn to even consider in the past. It is a time where working with a therapist, developing a spiritual path, going back to school or taking a long trip can be most meaningful. It is the time to re-connect, or even connect with the first time, with the bounty of one's heart.

Warm Regards,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT #36764

What We Tell Ourselves Really Matters!

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How many times have you caught yourself saying things like:

If only I was good at. . . .I just can't get along with. . .If I only had enough money. . .

Statements like these hold us back more than anything anyone can say to us!

What are three statements that you tell yourself - and others - that make you and everyone else believe that you are inadequate?

Today, turn those statements on their heads by creating positive, empowering statements that are more true to who you really are. Such as:

I am good at. . .I am lovable. . .I always have enough money to do what I really want. . .

Try this exercise and see if it works for you, then keep it up!

Warm Regards,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT