Category: Self Esteem

Happy couple looking out at the water

Relationships: Hard Work or Adventure?

Successful relationships are a Work in Progress

Has your relationship become stale or filled with constant conflict? It’s probably because it’s stopped growing.

Do you even look at your partner anymore? Or if you do is it only when you’re mad? Relationships stop growing when we think we know everything there is to know about ourselves and our partner. If you’re feeling bored, lonely or frustrated in your relationship then it’s an indication that growth and progress has stopped.

Let’s change the word ‘work’ to Adventure and Curiousity.

The truth is, you don’t know everything about yourself, so how could you know everything about your partner. They probably don’t understand themselves fully either. Few people do. And when you’re truly okay with that it can become exciting and an adventure to find out more.

Why would I want to? I can hear you thinking….

Because thinking you know everything feels safe..Yes safe can be good… except that to make a relationship safe you have to make it fit into a box. It’s safe from change but it’s also limited from growth. Feeling safe is enticing until it becomes boring, suffocating and lonely.

Being Curious means actively learning to understand yourself and that is called Differentiation.

Differentiation in simple terms means being okay to be different and letting others/your partner be different as well.

Here’s an interview with a couples therapist Ellyn Bader talking about Differentiation in Relationships.

I think a lot of partners have the misperception that they’ll lose their relationship if they differentiate. There is a fear of really showing yourself as deeply, as broadly and as expansively as you might.

Defining Differentiation in Couple Relationships

I define differentiation as the active ongoing process of a person being able to define their thoughts, their feelings, their wishes and their desires to one another and to be able to tolerate the partner doing the same thing.
When people are afraid of differentiating, they are afraid if they show their authentic self and the other one doesn’t like it or doesn’t agree with it, that they’re going to end up in a big fight or they’re going to end up with the other person leaving. When that’s true, they don’t show themselves very well to each other.

Why Relationships Fail

When you look at why relationships fail over the course of time, one of the core reasons that relationships fail is due to a lack of differentiation. Without differentiation, relationships get stale. Interactions become repetitive and partners end up bored or lonely. They end up bored because the relationship isn’t growing and it isn’t changing, or they end up just competing with each other and being really angry and really nasty to each other. That’s one of the reasons that relationships fail.
Another reason is the re-triggering of old trauma. Partners over time trigger and re-stimulate either old trauma in each other or also they do hurtful things in the here and now to each other that can be very traumatic. Either way, with the lack of differentiation or with trauma, people need skills and capacities in order to manage themselves well in a primary relationship.

The most stuck relationships are those where each person wants to keep the other unchanging. They remember how they were when they met and they want that to last forever.
Then they don’t explore or push each other to grow. They don’t take risks or try new things. It becomes a very, very narrow way of living in the world.

Differentiation is the route to aliveness and expansiveness, to authenticity and vulnerability, and resolving conflicts and handling not liking each other at times.

Most of us have learned to define ourselves in terms of what we do and spend little time understanding our inner workings.

If you’d like more aliveness in your life whether you’re in a relationship or not find a way to challenge your norms. Start questioning your default behaviour and try doing something different. Look at your partner with different eyes as if you’ve never seen them before.

If you have any questions I’d be happy to help. Or check out some of my other blogs with tips and suggestions.

Excerpt taken from The Couples Institute Blog Differentiation Blog by Ellyn Bader

Your Goal for Happiness, Peace and Success Starts Here – Pt. 1

Your Goal of Happiness Starts Now Your Goal of Happiness Starts Now Your Goal of Happiness Starts Now

OUR CHOICES CREATE OUR EXPERIENCE

All our choices are based on the information we have and that’s made up of what we’ve learned and experienced in the past. It’s a mix of emotions and facts. But even cold hard facts can be distorted because, as we are meaning making machines, we’ve learned to judge everything and slot them into ‘good’ or ‘bad‘. In essence creating an emotional decision. And so often our judgments of ‘good’ are based on avoiding discomfort or with fear that something bad will happen otherwise. To make decisions to reach your goal it’s important to recognize and choose the alternative to the fear based choice. And that would be basing a decision on walking towards something that enlivens and empowers me rather than running from discomfort or fear of lack or losing. I use the terms Fear or Love to make it easier for me discern what to choose.

I ask myself what will I gain rather than what will I lose.

THE DAILY REPETITIVE LOOP..Changing perspective with Liz Coleman RTC www.thespacesbetweencounselling.com

Without the awareness that comes from introspection and meditation we’re living an habitual, repetitive loop day in and day out. This is like insanity, choosing the same thoughts, choices, feelings and actions to create your days yet always hoping for a different result. Unfortunately, most of the decisions that come from this insanity loop are from a place of Fear. ..which then creates your reality. That’s why STRESS AND ANXIETY are such a constant in our life. The fear of lack or losing rules us.

To try and change our experience we’ve mistakenly learned that changing our behaviour will change our thoughts and experience. But no.. it’s often the other way around. Changing your behaviour may temporarily change your experience, like moving to another country. But left to the robotic, repetition of your habitual mind you’ll be right back to the same feelings, thoughts, choices etc. Then voila… same experience as before just in a different country.

YOUR EXPERIENCES TODAY ARE BASED ON YOUR GOAL AND DECISIONS FROM YESTERDAY

Looking at where you are today… what fear based decisions have you made that are keeping you from your goal of Happiness, Peace and Success?

Coming soon Part 2 of YOUR GOAL FOR HAPPINESS, PEACE AND SUCCESS STARTS HERE. I’ll explore how to recognize the fear based choices and start choosing from a loving state of mind.

 

For personal and private exploration of this topic your friendly counsellor can help. Find one you feel comfortable with to gently step into your story with you. You will be amazed at how relieved you’ll feel just sharing your experiences. A counsellor is a neutral third party to help you see what’s stopping you, validate the successes you have made and explore your opportunities.

Call 604-809-8947 now to find out more. Or Click to find a time to talk.

Continue to Part 2

EXPAND YOUR LEARNING…

Find out more about personal growth or counsellor training at Clearmind International 

More information on the spiritual study of the Fear or Love thought system click A Course In Miracles

Read more

Liz Coleman RTC

Not Happy? Not Unhappy? .. You’re in the Comfort Zone

The Comfort Zone can be like the Dead Zone when you’re neither Happy nor Unhappy.

At first escaping to comfort isn’t all bad it’s helpful. Like a reward, we’re happy and feel relieved with the break from the anxiety and stresses of life. But when escaping becomes the place you live from... you are in the Comfort Zone.

The reward and happy feeling of Facebook, gaming, TV or whatever your escape, eventually wears off. It always does. Then you risk becoming caught in your comfort zone. If you don’t drop the activity to find something new the need for the happy feeling will force you to just do more of it. Longer periods of TV watching or longer, more often Facebook sessions etc.

You’re left feeling unfulfilled.

Neither happy nor unhappy.

Do you want a different experience?

The first step is to sit in the ‘need’ to escape. When you notice your urge to watch tv, have a smoke or check your phone stop…. notice your feelings and thoughts … take 5 deep breaths. Make the activity more conscious rather than an automatic behaviour. You’ll feel more in control and have taken power back to live the life you want.

Next step is to try something new. That something that’s been niggling at you but you’ve always found excuses to avoid. Follow your desire to learn or do something new.

Feel the discomfort of challenging yourself and the aliveness that results.

You don’t have to risk your life to get out of the Comfort Zone just take a step and stretch.

Remember comfort will always be there if you need a safety net.

Just take notice if you start living from there.

Find out more about Goal Setting to really give the boot to the Comfort Zone.

Calm Anxiety And Boost Confidence with Body Language

Have you been looking in the wrong places to calm anxiety and boost confidence? You’re not alone.

Our feelings and thoughts are constantly being communicated whether we’re aware of it or not because most of what we’re saying is expressed through our body language not just our words.

Your body speaks, mainly, in these ways.

1) Internally through emotions and feelings.

2)Externally to the world through your body language and postures.

3)Outwardly through spoken words.

Out of those, 80% of what others are receiving is through our body language. That’s a lot!! Only a small portion is words and tone of voice, the rest is appearance, movements, gestures and facial expressions. Meaning people take in more with their eyes than with their ears.

It contradicts what we’ve believed  for so long that words are the most powerful tool. People often come to counselling looking to learn new words to use when it’s really their emotions and thoughts that are doing most of the communicating.

No matter what you’re job or situation is, communicating effectively is important. To maintain the message you want to get across you need awareness of your body’s emotions and signs. So much time is spent in our heads thinking, worrying and figuring out life that we don’t pay attention to our bodies. Give your brain a break…for your health and happiness’ sake.

Try these exercises anytime to Raise energy, Boost confidence and Calm Anxiety:

RAISE your energy level and your mood.

Before you reach for another coffee to stimulate you try this. Stand up and do five or six jumping jacks, jog on the spot or swing your arms around for 2 minutes. Do something to get your blood flowing. How does that feel? Is your heart beating faster, breathing deeper, is your body warmer with a flow of energy? Your mood will often change as well as you bring oxygen into your brain and body.

CALM your stress and anxiety

. When you’re tense before an important meeting or interview do this quick check in to calm you down.

Close your eyes and let all the air out of your lungs. Take a deep breath into your belly feeling your belly then your chest expand. Hold the breath for 4 counts then exhale and hold the exhale for 4 counts. Repeat this 5 times. Return to your regular breathing pattern. With your eyes closed give your body a quick scan. Feel your feet on the ground, notice your legs and back touching the seat. Move up and around your body with your inner eyes. Are your shoulders tense? How is your chest feeling.. open? tight? move into your belly and feel around like it’s a container. Use your awareness and inner eyes to move over the sides of the container. Notice any pain, tension or lightness anywhere in your body. Breath into whatever you experience. Take one more deep breath and open your eyes.                                   If you were able to relax then you should be feeling calm and grounded. The bonus to this breathing exercise is it increases your insight, clarity and health as well.

BOOST confidence. Another exercise to do before a big meeting or interview is to stand in what social psychologist Amy Cuddy calls the high power pose for 2 minutes. Research proved that by doing this your testosterone level goes up which effects your ability to handle stress and feel assertive, confident and comfortable. Watch her full TED talk here

Your body is speaking are you paying attention?

Like just changing the words you use helps only in the short term if you have a persistent pattern or behaviour in your life contact me for a consultation to see how counselling can help.

Let go of the thoughts and stories that are holding you back

Get Out of Your Way!

Part 1: Recognizing Self Limiting Beliefs

I can be impatient when I drive. It’s not something I like to admit but there it is. I’m often thinking or saying “get out of my way”! But if I’ve only learned one thing in the last decade of becoming and being a counsellor it’s that I’m the one in my way. If I want to be happy this is what I recognize in each moment.

That brings me to Self Limiting Beliefs, also known as, Non-Supportive Stories or as I learned them, Suspicions of Self.

Recognizing your own limiting beliefs takes awareness, paying attention to your thoughts. That doesn’t mean you need to meditate it just means you notice what you’re thinking. Your thoughts are the creators of your behaviour so if there’s an area of your life that you’re not happy with the chances are you’ve got some thoughts that are creating your behaviour which is adding to your experience. Underneath those thoughts will be a lurking Self Limiting Belief (SLB).

Here’s an example. I was driving down the road one day and I saw a woman who was slim and beautiful. And a thought went through my mind so fast that I almost missed it. But I stopped and backed up (my thoughts) to repeat it. “life would be easy if I was skinny” What? Is that what I’m believing? Now considering I’d always had an issue with my weight and discomfort being in my own body it wasn’t a huge surprise but I’d never consciously thought or said that statement. I’d done a couple years of my counsellor training by then so I knew that thought was connected to a deeper belief that was really running the show. A Suspicion of Self (SOS) or SLB that was creating the unhappy body (state of mind) I seemed to always be in.  This is where the name for my business The Spaces Between had it’s first toehold. I thought, these are the beliefs that pop up in the spaces between the stories of our conscious mind on a daily basis. But only if we’re paying attention.

What are the areas of your life that you feel stuck in or have a repeating pattern? How do you explain the issue? Here are some of the more common non-supportive stories.

  • If I didn’t have bad luck I’d have no luck at all
  • Money doesn’t grow on trees
  • If I don’t look good no one will be attracted to me
  • Dreaming is a waste of time
  • All men are…. Or All women are….
  • Life is … (too short, difficult, all work and no play)
  • I can’t … (sing, give a speech, run a business, etc)
  • I’m too ….(fat, loud, shy, etc)
  • I’m not ……(skinny, smart, funny etc) enough

Do you recognize any of these as familiar or similar to things you say?

Pick one area of your life that you’re not satisfied with and write down all your beliefs or things you say about it. Then start to notice each time you say a non-supportive statement about something you wish you were better at, was different or is lacking in your life and add it to your list.

I know it may be tempting to start changing your words to sound more positive but that isn’t the way to heal an SLB or SOS. It’s only a Band-Aid. So for now recognize you’re not your thoughts and pay attention what you’re saying.

Stay tuned for Part 2 when I’ll have you test these assumptions. SLBs are often all or nothing thinking. And we’ll look at where they come from.

The Use and Misuse of Power | Psychology Today

We rightfully admire and love authorities–parents, teachers, bosses, political leaders–who hold their rank and use the power that comes with it in an exemplary way. Accepting their leadership entails no loss of self-respect or opportunity on the part of subordinates. It is when people abuse their power to demean or disadvantage those they outrank that seeds of indignity are sown.”

Link

Stress and Anxiety – Calm and Find Confidence with this Technique

Stress and Anxiety isn’t something that needs to be fixed it’s an unneeded process of handling fear (often unconscious …

Happy couple looking out at the water

Relationships: Hard Work or Adventure?

Successful relationships are a Work in Progress Has your relationship become stale or filled with constant conflict? It’s …

Stress and anxiety management. Take control and breathe.

Stress Can be Good for You

Stress and anxiety are aspects of our lives that aren’t going away very easily. Even so, you’re more powerful …