Tag: self help

​Want to Know Yourself Authentically?

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Want to Know Yourself Authentically?

Blog by Darcia Belizaire, LMHC at Agape Therapy Institute

Being “authentic” has seemed to become a universal cultural buzzword that many people are taking a more serious look at. Yet, it is probably one of the most difficult journeys a person will endure with a yet defined or measurable end. However, it has the best and most beneficial outcome and lifetime effect once achieved, and many of my clients who come for various issues have found that their lack of their authentic presence has played a role.

What is being authentic or authenticity you ask? To put it simply, no matter your setting or the people you are around, you are the constant. Now the reality of that is, it is much more complex when put into action, but these tips that you will get in this 4 part series hopefully helps you get a step closer to being your authentic self and say “I love me!.”

In part I, take a look at the level of attention to who you are and what matters to you. Oftentimes the basic components of self are overlooked or become adaptive based on roles and who we surround ourselves with. Getting back to the basics and taking a look at what matters without those things will help develop a clearer sense of self. Here are tips on how to explore that by asking yourself these questions:

  • Describe Yourself: Stick to character traits. It’s important to understand how you currently see yourself, and the difference between who you are now and what matters to you. 
  • What do I value?: Now this is where you look at what matters to you. Not always will how you describe yourself will be exactly the same to what you value, and in some aspects that’s okay. If unsure on how to begin answering this, you can simply google personal values to help you get an idea, but refrain from just choosing ones that sound good. When choosing, ask yourself why you value that.
  • What are my strengths and weaknesses?: To refrain from overwhelming yourself, start with two each, and use them as your foundation to build on discovering others, and make the necessary changes. 

You should be proud of yourself for taking a step towards self exploration and authentic growth. This journey can be hard to sift through and lead to more questions, and if that happens, that’s okay.  Seeking a therapist is a helpful and a beneficial option as they can guide you and break down potential barriers that arise. 

In Part II, look for tips on how to healthily assess what we have now become more aware of in ourselves!

To book an appointment with Darcia, click here.


Photo by Furi from Pexels

Tags:

  • counseling
  • existential therapy
  • mental health
  • mindfulness
  • psychotherapy
  • resilience
  • self help
  • self-care
  • solution focused
  • telehealth
  • yalom

​Relationship Tips for 2020 – Part 4

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Relationship Tips for 2020 – Part 4

Blog by Jenn Baker, GSCI at Agape Therapy Institute

Welcome to Part four of Relationship Tips for 2020. If you haven’t already, you can read Parts 1, 2 and 3 for tips on acknowledging your partner, taking time for yourself, and connecting with friends and family. 

I’d like to follow up on last week’s relationship tips and have you check in with yourself. Were you able to find some time to connect with a friend or family member through the phone, text, virtually, or in-person? When our lives get busy, we so often overlook these important ways in which to care for ourselves and our relationships. You may want to consider setting aside time on your calendar each week for this important time. 

For this week, I’d like you to focus on:

  • Communicating More Effectively – I’m sure you’ve heard it many times before, but communication is one of the most important keys to a successful relationship. This week’s tip focuses on listening and communication skills. So often in a relationship we spend more time thinking about what we want to say rather than actively listening to our partner. When we are feeling angry or hurt, it is especially difficult to listen to our partner with an open heart and mind. Here are a few helpful tips to try out:
  •  When Listening:
    • Practice listening without judging, interrupting, or correcting your partner.
    • Try to remain vulnerable and non-defensive.
    • Repeat back to your partner what you have heard them say. This simple act will help your partner feel heard and understood.
  • When Speaking:
    • Focus on your feelings rather than blaming or criticizing your partner.
    • Use “I” statements and make sure to identify how you feel. For example, “I feel hurt and worried when you don’t respond to my texts.”

Stay tuned for next week’s blog with another relationship tip for 2020.

Citations:

Koch-Sheras, P. R., & Sheras, P. L. (2006). Couple power therapy: Building commitment, cooperation, communication, and community in relationships. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

To book an appointment with Jenn Baker, GSCI click here


Photo by Burst from Pexels

Tags:

  • communication
  • counseling
  • couples therapy
  • family therapy
  • healing
  • mental health
  • mindfulness
  • partnership
  • relationships
  • self help
  • self-care
  • solution focused
  • telehealth

Comparative Suffering

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Comparative Suffering: How Silencing Your Own Pain Hurts Everyone

Blog by Rebecca Gallardo, GSCI at Agape Therapy Institute

This has been a tough year. Disappointment and hardship seem to surround us. Last week my heart ached as a friend shared her struggle to manage a full-time workload while overseeing her two young children’s virtual education. Yesterday, I consoled a neighbor who hasn’t been able to visit her father in a nursing home for over 6 months. And just this afternoon I heard from a friend who had lost his job when his company was forced to downsize. Each of these friends is suffering in a very real way, but there is another thing they have in common. They each expressed shame for having shared their feelings, saying: “But I shouldn’t complain. So many people are suffering more than I am.” 

Despite feeling the very real stress of the current pandemic on their own lives, their inner narrative was that of comparison. They are not alone in feeling this way. When we are suffering, most of us feel triggered to compare ourselves with others. Without thinking, we rank our pain and suffering, and we use the results of that comparison to deny ourselves the permission to feel. We tell ourselves that we are not in enough pain. Our experience wasn’t as bad as someone else’s experience, so our pain doesn’t matter as much as theirs does. We can always find someone else who is suffering more than we are, and that comparison inevitably leads us to decide our feelings aren’t appropriate.

But this is not how our emotions work. Pain is pain, no matter how it measures up against someone else’s. Our feelings will not go away simply because we decide they are unjustified. Instead, we begin to feel guilt and shame about having the feelings, and our unattended suffering grows. When we feel ashamed of our feelings, we don’t honor them, and we don’t honor ourselves. And here’s the most surprising part: when we don’t honor our own feelings of pain and disappointment, we can’t honor the pain of others either. The mistaken belief behind comparative suffering is that our ability to express empathy is finite. We believe that if we show ourselves empathy by allowing our feelings to surface, we won’t have enough empathy left to share with others. 

In reality, the way to healing is just the opposite. When we practice empathy with ourselves, we create space for more empathy. The surest way to nurture your reserve of compassion and empathy for others is to attend to your own feelings. Everyone deserves to feel their feelings. When we’ve attended to our own feelings without shame, we open our attention outward, and become more emotionally available to others. When we honor our own struggle by responding with empathy, healing results, and that healing affects all of us. Until we can receive empathy with an open heart, we are not able to give with an entirely open heart. 

We collectively hurting. Most of us are carrying extra burdens right now, and yes, some of those are heavier than others. Let’s honor each other by releasing ourselves from the shame of comparative suffering. We can have gratitude for our blessings, while still acknowledging that our hardships exist. We can keep our pain, fear and frustration in perspective, but permit ourselves to express those feelings. 

Here are 3 healthy ways to attend to your own feelings:

  • Check in with yourself once a day. Ask yourself how you are feeling. Make space for your answer. This is not a place for judgement. Be compassionate with yourself. If you are not feeling well, accept that answer. Use a journal to record your response to your daily check-in. If you don’t love to express yourself with words, use art. Draw or paint your response. It can be as brief or as detailed as you like. There is no wrong answer to your question.
  • Choose a somatic healing skill that works for you. Calming your body helps to calm your brain. Take three deep abdominal breaths from the diaphragm, take a quiet walk in the woods or a park, soak in a warm tub, connect your bare feet to the earth outside, or do a gentle yoga practice. When your body feels calm and safe, your parasympathetic nervous system (the one that helps to calm you after stress) turns on to tell your brain that are okay. 
  • Offer yourself what you need. If you just need a quiet hour to yourself, take it. If you need a day off work, make the arrangements. If you need to turn off the news for a few days, turn it off. The world will keep turning. If doing any of these things requires someone else’s help (ie. childcare, etc), ask for that help. You are worthy of others’ time and empathy. 

We can all make this challenging year just a bit less difficult if we honor ourselves by acknowledging our own suffering, without comparison. Find ways to show yourself empathy this week. We will all benefit.  

*****

Want to learn more about comparative suffering? I recommend listening to Brené Brown’s podcast, Unlocking Us, episode “Comparative Suffering, The 50/50 Myth, and Settling the Ball.” https://brenebrown.com/podcast...

To book an appointment with Rebecca, click here.


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Tags:

  • anxiety
  • counseling
  • depression
  • healing
  • mental health
  • mindfulness
  • psychotherapy
  • resilience
  • self help
  • self-care
  • solution focused
  • stress

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