Monday Motivation: Accept Yourself Just As You Are

7 Ways to Accept Yourself for Who You Are

Accepting yourself and your situation in life can be a difficult task. Do you tend to be more accepting of others’ mistakes than your own? If so, you’re being too hard on yourself! Those people aren’t better than you! You were created with a unique set of talents that no one else has. Plus, everyone makes mistakes. We’re only human!

Becoming more accepting of yourself and loving yourself for the fine person that you really are can lead you to greater happiness and a more fulfilling life.

Here are some excellent techniques you can use to help you better accept yourself:

1. Focus on your positive qualities. Even though self-improvement is a good thing, it’s important that you identify and focus on your positive qualities, rather than concentrating on the qualities you feel negatively about.

 Maintaining this positive focus will not only help you better accept yourself, but it’ll also make it easier for you to attain your goals by utilizing your talents to boost yourself forward.

2. Consciously prevent negative thinking patterns. Negative thinking can really snowball fast if you don’t get ahead of it. It’s okay to be in a bad mood every once in awhile and have some negative thoughts; it happens to everyone. The trick is in learning how to push those negative thoughts aside and replace them with something positive.

Replace your negative thoughts about yourself with affirmations. Affirmations are positive statements that affirm your positive qualities and help bring out the best in you. You can find affirmations in bookstores and on websites, or you can write your own.

 If you believe in yourself, you can do it. It’s really that simple.

3. Accept your imperfections. Another part of being human is having some imperfections. Instead of dwelling on the things you can’t change, accept them for what they are. Making the best of your life starts with accepting your imperfections.

4. Use positive self-talk. Positive self-talk can help you achieve great things and change the way you think about yourself. Make it a point to give sincere compliments to yourself.

 Compliment yourself for the good things about your looks, your positive qualities, and every time you do something right. Do this each and every day until it becomes a habit.

5. Disregard what other people might think about your decisions. You’ll never make everyone else happy. If you try, you’ll soon discover that, not only will other people still be unhappy, but you’ll also be exhausted and unhappy yourself.

 Make your own decisions according to your priorities and be confident that you’ve done what is right for you.

6. Avoid worrying. Worrying will never help your situation. Rather than wasting your time by being engulfed in fear, take action to do what you can to make the situation better. If there’s nothing you can do to change it, focus on moving forward in other ways.

7. Try your best and accept that you’ve done what you could. Do your best every day and be proud of yourself for your efforts. Let go of any negative thoughts, such as being angry with yourself for not being able to accomplish an impossible feat.

 Even when you haven’t done your best, find a way to forgive yourself. Move on and commit to trying harder next time.

In changing the way you think about yourself, you’ll also change the way you see the world. Every day opens up new opportunities for you, and by utilizing positive thinking, you can make a real difference!

Affirmations – Be Nice to Yourself!

Build Confidence With Daily Affirmations

Do you suffer from low self-esteem? When something negative happens in your life, do you beat yourself up about it time and time again?

Focusing on phrases such as: “That was stupid,” “I am so fat,” “No one loves me,” and a host of other negative statements can easily zap the happiness right out of your life.

Luckily, this doesn’t have to be permanent. Positive affirmations can turn your negativity around. Affirmations are simply statements or phrases, which focus on the positive rather than the negative.

Ashley Graham, the Super Model, is a major advocate for affirmations. “I wake up sometimes and I think ‘I’m the fattest woman alive,'” Graham said during an interview with People. “But it’s really about how you handle it when you wake up.” Whether you are struggling with body image issues, or just aren’t feeling up for the day, affirmations can help you move forward from the negativity. Ashley said, “I look in the mirror and I have my affirmations. And mine are simple. ‘You are bold. You are brilliant, and you are beautiful.'” And she doesn’t stop there.”If my lower pooch is really puffing out that day, I say ‘Lower pooch you are cute.’ And we have a moment. And if the hips are really popping I say ‘I love you too hips.'”

These mantras can actually reprogram your subconscious thinking and bring you a plethora of good benefits that you’ll enjoy for years to come!

Here are some easy ways to incorporate positive affirmations into your life:

1. Affirmations should always be in the present tense. Begin your statements with “I can” “I have” or “I am,” instead of a phrase like “I will” or “I may.”

 Examples of this would be “I have a beautiful body” and “I am so intelligent,” instead of “I will never be so stupid again.”

 Choose statements that focus on the positive attributes you want to encourage, saying them as if you already exhibit that behavior.

2. Address yourself by name when expressing your affirmations. Believe it or not, this does make a big difference. When you say: “I, Jane Doe, am a beautiful person both inside and out,” it makes your affirmation more powerful because you hear the lovely sound of your own name!

 Using your name in the affirmations allows your subconscious to process the words even quicker.

3. Focus on one or two affirmations to start with. Although you possess many positive attributes, it’s best to focus only on one or two when you’re first starting out. If you start with twenty positive affirmations, your subconscious may be overwhelmed or dismiss the deeper meaning.

 For example, if you meet someone who goes on and on about how great and beautiful you are, what’s your reaction? Usually after the second or third compliment, you tend to wonder if this person is actually being sincere! The same principal applies to practicing many affirmations at once.

 Focus on one or two, and when they’re firmly planted into your subconscious, you can move on to more.

4. Practice your affirmations as often as possible. Our subconscious mind is more open to suggestions when we first open our eyes in the morning and then again when we’re ready to fall asleep at night.

 The more often you recite your affirmations, the faster you’ll experience lasting changes.

5. Don’t fret if you’re having trouble writing your affirmations. There are many books and self-improvement websites that include hundreds of good, daily affirmations. You can then pick out one or two that you’d like to focus on and get started.

 Don’t let something as insignificant as not being able to compose a positive mantra hold you back from making changes and incorporating happiness into your life!

Low self-esteem is something that holds us back from living the life we deserve. It may seem a bit odd at first, talking to yourself!  But over time, you can rebuild your confidence and self-esteem with daily affirmations and experience the joy of life you’ve been missing.

Southlake Counseling’s Kid’s Craft Camp

What is Play Therapy? 

Play Therapy is a theoretical model of therapy that helps children, with the aid of a trained play therapist, prevent problems, resolve behavioral difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development.  It’s a form of psychotherapy, and it uses play based materials, such as toys, crafts, and games to help children achieve optimal mental health.  It’s a great way for a therapist to observe where the child is at developmentally and see what the child is communicating with their play.  Are they communicating life experiences, are they expressing their emotions? Most children are not able to explain their feelings through words, so how they play is their language.  Play is the most natural way for children to communicate.  They don’t need to struggle with words; they can show the therapist through the toys, crafts and activities.
At Southlake Counseling we are so proud to have our amazing Play Therapist, Julie Callahan.  Before Julie was a Therapist, she was an educator and certified school counselor.  She knew how children learned about life, try on adult roles and play out their feelings through their play. When she became a Therapist, she knew she wanted to work with children because she understood them through a developmental perspective.  She knew that Play Therapy was a perfect treatment approach for children.  It was a natural transition to go from teaching and counseling children to providing therapy services for children, and also working closely with their parents and caregivers. 
This summer at Southlake Counseling we are offering a Kid’s Craft & Emotional Regulation Camp!  Using the best parts of Play Therapy, kids will use crafts, toys and activities to learn new skills in conversation, learn how to get along better with friends and peers, and emotional regulation.
Kid’s Craft Camp is Friday’s in July and August.  Contact Southlake Counseling for more info at 704-896-7776. And check out Julie’s Bio here!

 

EMDR Therapy

The Therapists at Southlake Counseling are highly trained in specialized therapy methods.

One of these methods is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which is a scientifically researched and effective therapy for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  In addition, clinicians also have reported success using EMDR in treatment of the following conditions:

Wendyleigh and Kimberly were trained by Roy Kiessling, LISW, in Advanced EDMR in Asheville, NC.

  • Panic attacks
  • Complicated grief
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Disturbing memories
  • Phobias
  • Pain disorders
  • Performance anxiety
  • Stress reduction
  • Addictions
  • Sexual and/or Physical abuse
  • Body dysmorphic disorders
  • Personality Disorders

Memories provide portable snapshots of moments that we can take anywhere, and they allow us to revisit those moments and experiences to a certain extent. Some memories, however, get in the way of everyday life by consistently invoking terror or anger to a debilitating degree. The sound of a passing airplane might suddenly have the power to evoke terrible memories. These physical responses to memories can also lead to additional off-shoots of depression and anxiety as the individual feels they are losing control of their own ability to cope as well as their ability to get through the day.

For many people, survival reactions are only experienced in short bursts, but those who suffer from chronic trauma symptoms experience longer-term survival reactions that leave issues unresolved. Talk therapy alone is not enough to resolve the chronic trauma symptoms left behind by the survival reaction. Nearly all patients who receive EMDR therapy report greater general wellness and significant decreases in trauma-related symptoms.

EMDR changes the way the brain responds to external stimuli. Therapy normally involves sensory input such as changing lights, gentle buzzing from handheld devices or sounds heard through headphones. As the sensory input switches back and forth from right to left, a patient tries to recall past trauma. Though the memories of the trauma remain, the chronic bodily and emotional reactions to the trauma dissolve.

At Southlake Counseling, the Therapists provide EMDR therapy to their clients in conjunction with other modes of therapy. EMDR is a powerful, effective and safe method for alleviating the long-term psychological impact of traumatic experiences. Kimberly and Wendyleigh help their clients to recognize the experiences around which they have traumatic memories and then work with them to reprocess those memories.  Over the course of treatment, patients experience their traumatic memories with less intensity and less emotion, resulting in decreased physical reactions to the memories.

To learn more about EMDR therapy at the Southlake Counseling, contact our office today 704-896-7776!

Southlake Counseling’s DBT Skills Summer Camp

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a research-backed group to help your middle schooler develop effective coping skills, manage self-criticism and improve interpersonal relationships while increasing overall focus, resilience and emotional well-being.

Does your tween:
• Sometimes feel “bad” or “upset” without knowing exactly why?
• Judge him or herself critically or make statements about disliking themselves?
• Feel misunderstood or alone?
• Ignore their own needs, but focus on wanting others to be
   happy?
• Feel hopeless or like they have nothing to look forward to in
   life?
• Have a hard time standing up for themselves?
• Get into unhealthy relationships with people who don’t
   treat them fairly?
• Switch friend groups often or cut others off easily?
• Avoid feelings by shutting down or self-harming?
• Tend to dwell on the negative parts of life?
Before heading back to school in the fall, many tweens can use a little help improving their social skills. Southlake Counseling is offering a DBT Skills Based Summer Camp to help rising 6th-9th graders learn the skills to cope with emotions in a healthy and productive manner.  This six week camp offers a unique blend of activities where kids will learn the skills, practice them with the guidance of our therapists, and review at the end of the session.  Sessions will be held on Fridays, from July 7th-August 11th from 9:00-12:00. Contact Southlake Counseling for more information – 704-896-7776. Space is limited.

A Moment for Vets

This Memorial Day, let’s take a moment to honor our fallen service members.  Many have died in battle to protect us and provide us our freedoms, but sadly, too many have also died here at home.  May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it is the perfect time to shine a light on how many Veterans return home from service and require so much more than they are given. Nearly 1 in 4 active duty members showed signs of a mental health condition, according to a 2014 study in JAMA Psychiatry.

Between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injuries and Depression, many of our veterans face a fiercer battle when they attempt to fit back in to civilian life.  According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, in 2014 an average of 20 veterans committed suicide each day.  The United States has two holiday’s to honor those that have served, but there’s so much more that we can do every day:  http://bit.ly/2qtdqL7

We thank you for your service,

The Staff at Southlake Counseling

 

Love, Trust and Snooping

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Love, Trust, and Snooping

Technology may have changed the way we snoop, but the underlying reasons remain the same. How do you balance love and trust with your hunger for more information about the people close to you?

Learn how to deal with snooping in your relationships with your children, romantic partners, and employers.

General Tips for Dealing With Snooping

  1. Understand your motives. Some people meddle out of mere curiosity and others because of anxiety. Often, they’re trying to discover any hidden conflicts so they can fix them.
  1. Communicate openly. Whatever your reason, asking for information is more constructive than snooping. It takes courage to discuss sensitive subjects, but the rewards are profound. You’ll develop greater trust, intimacy, and wisdom.
  1. Recognize the impact of technology. Social media and smart phones make it easier to access personal information. Think twice before you look. Ask yourself how you’d feel if someone did the same thing to you.
  1. Create privacy zones. It’s a personal decision when it comes to what details to share. The important thing is that you and your loved ones are comfortable with the boundaries.
  1. Brace yourself for dramatic news. You may be surprised by what you find out when you snoop. Plan ahead for how you’ll respond if you discover that your child is being a bully.
  1. Apologize when needed. Nosing around can seriously damage relationships. A sincere apology may help to repair the violation of trust. Of course, you’ll also need to change your ways.
  1. Forgive others. If you’re on the receiving end, forgive the intrusion. Even if you decide not to continue the relationship, letting go of resentments is good for your own peace of mind.
  1. Deal with underlying issues. Most of all, examine your relationships when you feel the urge to snoop. Figure out why it’s difficult to approach the person directly and why your trust is shaky.

Tips for Dealing with Snooping Between Adults and Children

  1. Put safety first. Common sense and the law recognize that parenting is a special situation where your actions may be necessary. If a child’s wellbeing is in danger, snooping may be justified.
  1. Give advance notice. It helps to let your kids know that you may check their text messages or enter their rooms. Making them aware may even discourage the behavior you want them to avoid.
  1. Consider the evidence. Ideally, your children will come to you when they’re looking for support. If direct questioning fails to work, you may need to take further action. Watch for signs like changes in behavior, falling grades, and troubling friendships.
  1. Be a positive role model. Children tend to copy their parents. If you communicate directly and respect people’s privacy, your kids are more likely to do the same.

Tips for Dealing With Snooping Between Adults

  1. Understand workplace policies. Privacy rights are very limited in the workplace. Use your own devices for personal communications.
  1. Follow the law. Outside of the workplace, adults enjoy a greater expectation of privacy. At a minimum, check your state laws before doing anything questionable, like recording a phone call.
  1. Discuss expectations. Setting up boundaries and expectations early in a romantic relationship will likely build trust and make for a strong, long-term relationship. Try talking about your values at the start of a relationship. See if you agree on the meaning of fidelity. Check if you’re compatible when it comes to sharing passwords.
  1. Be more transparent. Consider the difference between being private and being secretive. It may be okay to guard your passwords if you have nothing to hide.

The temptation to snoop is natural, but giving in to those impulses can undermine your relationships. Protect yourself by communicating directly and treating others with love and respect.

The Make Up Miracle for Couples Who Argue

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The Make Up Miracle for Couples Who Argue

Conflict is a natural part of every relationship. As much as you love each other, you sometimes find yourself at odds over how to raise your children, pay off your mortgage, or do the laundry. Try these tips for resolving and preventing arguments so you can weather the rocky times and enjoy more harmony.

Steps to Take After an Argument

1) Cool off. If tempers are flaring, you may be better off stepping away until you calm down. Take a walk or clean out a closet. Let your partner know that you’re willing to talk later when you’re less likely to say something that you’ll regret.

2) Look at the big picture. Remind yourself about your partner’s good qualities. List the positive aspects of your relationship. It will help you to keep things in perspective.

3) Apologize when appropriate. Hold yourself accountable for your contribution to the conflict. Ask for forgiveness when you’ve made a mistake.

4) Respect each other’s feelings. You and your partner will be happier if you consider how your actions affect each other. Be willing to spend Valentine’s Day at an overcrowded restaurant if it makes your partner feel special.

5) Reach out. A little reassurance can keep tensions from interfering with intimacy. Offer a hug or a friendly smile.

6) Follow up. Some differences require more than one conversation. Congratulate yourselves for agreeing to cut back on spending on cable TV and new shoes. Agree to weekly sessions for tackling the rest of your household budget.

Steps to Take Before an Argument Begins

1) Communicate openly. Being direct and transparent will help prevent misunderstandings from piling up. Share your inner thoughts and emotions. Ask your partner what they’re thinking instead of making assumptions.

2) Work together as a team. Pull your weight around the house. Divide responsibilities fairly. Take turns leading major projects, such as supervising home renovations or planning family vacations. This is even more important if they’re becoming a burden for one person.

3) Spend time apart. Give each other some space. Your relationship will be more stable if you build a support network rather than counting on your partner for everything.

4) Establish priorities. Distinguish between deal breakers and minor irritations. There’s a big difference between losing an entire paycheck at the racetrack and buying a few too many boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

5) Acknowledge your weaknesses. It’s easier to accept imperfections in your loved ones when you realize that you can be difficult to live with too. Maybe you snore or have trouble remembering anniversaries.

6) Laugh together. Humor is good for relationships. You’ll enjoy each other’s company and feel more connected. That closeness can help prepare you for dealing with serious challenges.

7) Socialize with other couples. Role models come in handy for relationship skills that you may have missed growing up. Spend time with your next door neighbors if they seem to have a strong marriage. Observe how they interact.

8) Seek expert help. Self-help materials and therapists can provide valuable advice. Encourage your partner to join you. Let them know that you want to build a more meaningful life for both of you.

9) Assess your relationship. In some cases, you may discover that it’s time to move on. That can be true if a relationship is undermining your self-esteem or you have different goals. If you need to go your separate ways, an amicable break up will minimize resentments and speed up healing.

Loving relationships require work. Remember how much you care about your partner and let them know it, especially when you disagree with each other.

Are You Holding Yourself Back by Judging Others?

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Are You Holding Yourself Back by Judging Others?

To judge others is to form a critical opinion about them. For example, you may decide that your neighbor down the street is an ineffective parent because she’s known to indulge her children or chooses to avoid disciplining them.

If you notice that you’re spending more time having strong opinions about others than you are thinking about your own life, you may be “copping out” and not confronting your own resolvable issues.

Consider these points:

  1. Avoid focusing on the negative. Focusing on the negative impacts your emotional self in undesirable ways. Negative thoughts make you feel more pessimistic about life. In short, judging others negatively affects you!
  1. Think about how satisfied you are with your own life. When you’re floundering, you might project those feelings onto others by judging them.
  1. Maybe you lack faith in yourself. If you struggle to believe in yourself, maybe you’re reflecting those doubts onto others to avoid confronting your own issues.
  1. Judging others may mean that you want to control the situation. Do you believe that others ought to behave just like you, react to situations like you would, and feel like you do? If so, why do you think that?
  1. Assess how much time and effort you spend focusing on your own character defects. We all have something about ourselves that could stand some alteration. Looking carefully within yourself promotes self-understanding. It also helps you identify what things you’d like to change.
  1. Determine how you can best use your energy. Does judging others or looking within yourself deserve your attention?

• If you target something you dislike in others, what are the chances you can do anything about it?

• If you discover something about yourself you dislike, you can more likely use your energies to change it.

  1. Decide if you’re happy with who you are. Evaluating yourself in an honest way is important. Locating the source of unhappiness within you can lead to a brighter pathway, and decrease your yearning to judge others.
  1. Realize that nobody’s perfect. Being critical of others seems to be a common element of the human condition. Whether we can ever completely obliterate our compelling urges to judge remains to be seen.

• Oprah once said, “When you know better, you do better.” If you recognize that some of your comments spring from a part of you that wants to judge, it can serve as a deterrent to your future judging behavior.

  1. Ask yourself, “How can I live the life I deserve if I’m too focused on others?” Creating your dream existence takes considerable consistency, focus, and time. 
  1. Recognize when it’s okay to acknowledge bothersome traits in others. It’s important to be reminded that there are situations when it’s wise to identify things in others that trouble you.

• Maybe you’re thinking about becoming friends with someone. But then, you observe them engaging in behaviors that make you feel uncomfortable. Your judgment may be telling you to avoid pursuing the friendship.

• Listen to that internal judge at times like these. Just avoid getting carried away with being too judgmental or critical of others.

You can become a vital, positive individual who focuses your efforts on constructing the life you desire. Letting go of the urge to judge others will provide you with the time and energy necessary to enhance your own life’s journey. Tune back in to your own psyche and enjoy a rich life.

4 Easy Ways to Develop Kindness

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4 Easy Ways to Develop Kindness

In a world filled with misery, war, and anger, being kind to your neighbor can sometimes seem like a foreign concept. Whether that neighbor lives directly next to you or in a bus shed two miles away, it’s easy to overlook brotherhood.

However, it’s improbable that you’ll achieve true happiness without taking the happiness of others into consideration.

If you’re struggling with showing kindness, take a step back. It’s important to show love and kindness to others. They’ll live a better quality life, and you’ll receive kindness in return.

Adopt these approaches and see how easily you can develop greater kindness:

1) Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Avoiding someone’s need is a form of unkindness. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. What are they feeling? How are they coping?

Would you be able to manage under those same circumstances? Consider how you’d want to be treated by others if you were in a similar situation. This is the best way to understand and appreciate the struggles of others and the value of kindness.

• Even when someone offends you, try to take the high road. Their reaction to you may be fueled by something unknown to you. Give them the benefit of the doubt when you can.

2) Count your blessings. Spend time at the end of each day counting your blessings. Take a look at all the positive things you’ve accomplished. Blessings develop from acts of kindness.

Avoid taking your blessings for granted! Perhaps the source of the kindness is unknown to you. It could simply come from the universe. But know that it’s given to you with your best interest at heart.

• For every act of kindness you’ve been blessed with, try to pay it forward. If you count twenty blessings today, be kind to others twenty times. After a while, you’ll automatically be kind to others.

3) Choose a sharing partner. Ask a friend or family member to become your sharing partner. Commit to sharing every tangible gift or blessing with that person.

Develop the spirit of wanting others to experience the same kindness that you do.

If you buy yourself a slice of cake, split it with your sharing partner. The first few times might be rough, especially if it’s your favorite cake! But keep at it!

• Spend time sharing stories of kindness received from others. Reflecting on these situations can help you feel grateful for everything good in your life. It also encourages you to share with those in need.

4) Smile at everyone you meet. As strange as it sounds, there’s a special power in a smile. Try it out and see for yourself!

Just like every other positive trait, developing consistent kindness takes work. This is especially true if it’s a new concept to you! So take it one day at a time. Conquer your desire to turn a blind eye. Avoid the urge to say something mean. Take the high road, listen to your conscience, and follow your heart!