Your Weekly Meditation: It is Okay to Trust Yourself

It is okay to trust yourself.

So often we look to our past for evidence that we can trust ourselves in our present. But we know more now than we knew then. We are stronger now. We are wiser. Our past has taught us valuable lessons we are now able to apply right here in the present moment. When you are not sure what to do next, start by asking yourself. Listen within. And remember – it is okay to trust your own inner answer.

This week I resolve to: Try trusting myself for a change, and expect to be pleasantly surprised!

Your Weekly Meditations: Emotional Sensitivity is a Strength

Emotional sensitivity is a strength.

There are so many levels of emotional sensitivity. Often, the most emotionally sensitive individuals are also introverts, but both introverted and extroverted people can be extraordinarily sensitive to the presence, depth and breadth of their own emotions, as well as to the same in others. While emotional sensitivity may initially feel like a liability, with time and practice, this same sensitivity becomes a strength. If you are emotionally sensitive, you are exactly the empathic, caring individual this hurting world needs and craves.

This week I resolve to: Recognize that my enhanced ability to feel emotion allows me to tune in to the presence of suffering and joy in others, to comfort and celebrate those around me as needed, and be a reminder to everyone I meet that we are all in this thing called “life” together.

 

Your Say Yes to Life Monday Motivator: Declaring Our Independence

Each year on July 4th, I celebrate my independence from my eating disorder once again.

It doesn’t matter how many years have passed, or how many other (and possibly even greater) challenges I may have faced since then. I still celebrate my recovery from “Ed”, as many eating disorder sufferers today term their disease, with all the gusto and force of the newly recovered, hardly believing my good fortune, scarcely comprehending the courage in what I have just achieved.

“This”, I find myself thinking to myself once again, “is worth all the hard work and effort and the years of struggle it took to get here. This is worth the time, the expense, the pain and suffering of the in-between days when I was neither as sick as I had been nor as well as I might yet be.”

In other words, each year, and yet again, I rediscover that recovery is worth it.

There are so many incredible experiences that I have had since that I could never have had while I spent my days engaged in the endless ruminations over weight, calories, numbers, sizes, shapes, portions, and reflections in a coated aluminum pane of glass that my disease required of me.

There are so many bright lights, interesting sights, fascinating people, fun hobbies, rewarding work, and loving connections that I never was able to participate in while my time was wrapped up with “Ed”.

But I can and do participate in them now.

While today, on some level, it is hard to believe that it took me as long as it did to choose to work as hard as I knew I was capable of working towards my own recovery, I liken that to the process that one goes through from denial to acceptance when they are dying, whether it be an emotional or mental, or a true physical death. 

Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross writes about this process when she outlines her research into the Five Stages of Grief, which are denial, anger, bargaining, grief, and acceptance. I went through all of these stages, and sometimes out of order, and definitely multiple times, on my own path towards choosing and then achieving recovery. Some days I was very accepting of the fact that I was ill and needed to work hard and follow the advice of my treatment team in order to heal. Other days I was not as accepting, for whatever reason, whether it was because I was scared I wouldn’t know who I was without a day consumed by “Ed”, or whether it was because I didn’t feel quite as sick that day and I thought that maybe it wasn’t as serious as my team had made it out to be.

There were also many other reasons.

But whatever the reason, I grieved, erratically but in time fully, and when at last I woke up one day to discover that I had been in sustained recovery for quite some number of days, I felt the impact of the independence I had won for the very first time.

120702-fireworkssIn those first moments of awareness, all the fireworks on the planet would not have been enough to express my triumph, or my joy. Every Fourth of July since then, as the fireworks explode overhead, another, identical set of fireworks explodes in my heart, and I count my blessings, and I thank myself yet again for displaying the bravery and the perseverance and the vision to pursue my recovery like my life depended on it….because it did.

Looking back, I can see that now. Even if I had managed to survive the ravages of my eating disorder and somehow settle into “maintain”, I would not have been living. I would have been existing, trapped in a cycle of endless painful application for acceptance from a part of me that would never willingly have given it, no matter how nicely I asked.

Today, I can ask for and receive my own acceptance, and all in the space of a few moments. I have learned how to extend the same kindness and compassion that I offer to others to myself as well. No longer do I find my principle source of self-esteem in what I achieve, but rather I take it genuinely from not even who I am, but from the simple fact that I am.

I am a human being. I have faced death, and not just physical death but death of all my hopes and dreams, and I have survived. Not only have I survived, but I have won my independence. Today my work and my passion is to share with others what I have discovered about the power of the human spirit to not just survive but to triumph over adversity. Through my work, through how I live my life, and most of all through how I celebrate the Fourth of July each year, I am living proof that recovery is not just possible, but real.

And I wish the same for you.

If you are struggling to overcome a significant life challenge such as an eating disorder, and you don’t want to wait until the next Fourth of July to get started towards your goal, then Southlake Counseling can help. At Southlake Counseling, we not only have more than two decades of training and expertise that supports us in our life-changing work, but each member of our staff also brings to the table their own personal experience of recovering from a significant life challenge. In other words, we get it, we have been there, we understand what it takes, and we can help you to get there too. If you are ready to say “no” to staying stuck and say “yes” to celebrating your independence, we look forward to hearing from you! Contact us at www.southlakecounseling.com for more information.

Be Well,

Kimberly

 

 

Your Weekly Meditation: Emotions, Like People, Often Need to Be Unfolded to Be Understood

Emotions, like people, often need to be unfolded to be understood.

Sometimes a person may appear quite reserved – even unfriendly – but then over time, with trust and consistency, layer by layer gets unwrapped and that person’s true personality and warmth finally shines through. In the same way, just because an emotion may initially introduce itself to you only on one level, this doesn’t mean there aren’t other, deeper emotions at work beneath it. For instance, “anger” may in time reveal itself as “fear.” “Elation” may turn into “anxiety.” “Sadness” may make way for “peace.” Just as a friend often requires time and attention before the fullness of their personality is unfolded, so too do your own emotions often require your consistent time and attention to become fully known.

This week I resolve to: Notice the presence of initial strong emotions and take the time to greet them, sit down, have a conversation, and get to know them in their entirety.  As I do this, I also more fully meet myself.

 

Your Say Yes to Life Monday Motivator: 5 Reasons to Love Your Male Brain

My motto was to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was to keep swinging. –Hank Aaron

Life takes on meaning when you become motivated, set goals, and charge after them in an unstoppable manner. –Les Brown

In part one of this post, I shared 5 reasons to love your female brain. If you are one of my female readers, you no doubt enjoyed part one immensely! If you are one of my male readers, you might have been left wondering, “hey, what about me?”

Not to worry. This week’s post should have you covered – and in a way that will more than make up for the apparent oversight in part one.

The two quotes above are also ones I picked out for the Southlake Counseling website. Through the difficult daily journey of my own recovery work, these goal-oriented quotes helped me feel the positive energy of taking action and reminded me that it is just when a goal seems most distant that I often receive the most benefit from redoubling my efforts.

I chose Les Brown’s quote for the Southlake website because I knew from the first day I set my sights on achieving full recovery from my eating disorder, anxiety and depression, that I wanted my life to take on meaning – much more meaning than life could ever have or hold when I was spending the bulk of my time and energy managing my moods or the symptoms of an eating disorder.

In the same way, Hank Aaron’s quote really spoke to me because I deeply admired other people, mentors, therapists, public figures, family and friends, who would “keep swinging” no matter what life handed them. These people seemed so strong, radiant really, and I looked up to them. They were my heroes then, and they still are today.

What I didn’t know when I was working so hard on my recovery is that my female brain wasn’t quite as genetically well-equipped to focus single-mindedly on a goal or task as some of my recovering male friends’ brains were. They would get ready, get set, and GO….hauling butt down the field while I was still negotiating my first steps out of the gate.

I blamed myself – thinking it was my fault, or a character flaw. I didn’t know it was a simple case of feminine brain DNA at work. Female brains and male brains may share 99 percent of their genetic coding, but it is the one percent that differs which accounts for these variances in personality, behavior, and focus. While my brain was busy navigating the how-to’s with its emotional circuits, my male friends were dipping in to their analytical brain structures to make quick work of A to Z. We eventually got to the same place with equally fine results. It just took me a bit longer.

Today, I can appreciate these differences in DNA brain coding, which allows me to maximize my enjoyment in working with a diverse group of male and female professionals at Southlake Counseling and to play to the strengths of each. My knowledge of the genetic differences in male and female brains also helps me help my clients to delve down deep and create a sense of themselves that goes far beyond simple environmental experiences.

This is also why I so loved reading Dr. Louann Brizendine’s twin bestsellers, “The Female Brain” and “The Male Brain”. Dr. Brizendine wrote “The Female Brain” first, and she always intended to stop there. She even jokes in the introduction to “The Male Brain” that when she first proposed the idea of a complementary volume on male brains, her colleagues laughed and said, “That will be a short book! Maybe more of a pamphlet.”

She then goes on to share her own reaction to the joshing as both a wife and the mother of a son. Simply put, she was struck by how unfair it is to both women and men that, while past research into human biology has largely ignored the female brain in favor of the male brain, we as a society can still so casually reduce the state of maleness down to a stereotype that focuses on the “brain below the belt.”

With “The Male Brain,” Dr. Brizendine set out to level the playing field. She did a fantastic job, and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the wonderful world of the male brain and how well matched male and female brains really are to complement one another.

So for post two in our series on the brain, I give you 5 reasons to love your male brain.

5 Reasons to Love Your Male Brain:

  1. As Dr. Brizendine says, your brain is a “lean, mean, problem-solving machine.” What’s not to love about that?
  2. You thrive in the presence of competition.
  3. Your “brain below the belt” drive from your teen years onward literally ensures survival of the species – and your fertility remains for the balance of your lifespan.
  4. You have the capacity to love and bond with your mate and children every bit as deeply as any female brain does.
  5. You will fight to the death to protect loved ones from harm.

If you found this list interesting, I also highly recommend that you pick up a copy of Dr. Brizendine’s “The Male Brain.” You will thank me later – I promise!

Be Well,

Kimberly

If you are struggling to make sense of your inner mental and emotional life and often feel like you are on ever-shifting sands, Southlake Counseling can help. There are many genetic as well as environmental factors that can affect mental and physical health and emotional and relational wellbeing. Southlake Counseling’s comprehensive individual and group services and our highly trained, empathetic professional staff can partner with you to help you troubleshoot areas of concern and make the most of your strengths, gifts, and dreams! Visit www.southlakecounseling.com to learn more.

5 Reasons to Love Your Female Brain

There is no freedom like seeing myself as I am and not losing heart. –Elizabeth J. Canham

At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want. –Lao Tzu

When I was developing the Southlake Counseling website, my team asked me to share some of the quotes that kept me going when I was working on my own recovery from an eating disorder. They planned to post these quotes on the new website to encourage visitors to embrace their own potential to fulfill their recovery, health and wellness goals.

As I pondered this assignment and reflected back on my recovering years, I realized that one of the biggest recovery goals I set for myself almost right from the very first day I started trying to beat my eating disorder was this: I wanted to have an experience of actually loving myself.

LOVING MYSELF. It sounded so wonderful.

However, while marooned in the depths of my eating disorder, it also sounded like way too much to ask. Tolerate myself maybe. Throw myself a kind word every now and again, perhaps. But love myself? Hah. As if. Nevertheless, my therapist had encouraged me to add this biggest of my big recovery dreams to my goal list, and so I did.

Recently I read a book that would have helped me so much during the growing pains years as I began to practice self-love and learn the art of self-care. The book is called “The Female Brain”. Written by Louann Brizendine, M.D., “The Female Brain” took me on a fascinating genetic journey through my own female brain, allowing me to have an experience of each of the quotes I mentioned earlier in a brand new way.

You see, loving myself, which can also be rephrased as “seeing myself as I am” and “knowing who I am” requires first studying myself, learning about myself, and attempting to truly comprehend “why I am the way that I am” from both a biological and an environmental perspective.

As a therapist I may get myself into hot water with colleagues for saying this, but over the years as I have built my own practice at Southlake Counseling, I have come to believe that too often we attempt to treat ourselves through an understanding of our environment only.  We enter into therapy and immediately begin to delve into the experiences of our environmental past. What happened when we were a child, a teen, a young adult? Where did we go wrong in handling our first relationship, our first job, our first promotion?

These are important historical questions to ask, for sure.

But even the excellent present-day problem-solving data these environmentally focused answers give us will remain forever incomplete without a complementary investigation of our underlying biological origins. To truly know ourselves, to understand why we are the way that we are, why we do the things we do, and why we are so uniquely lovable exactly as-is, we must also strive to study and comprehend the aptitudes and interests embedded into our genetically unique brains.

Speaking to this point, Dr. Brizendine highlights in “The Female Brain” how, while approximately 99 percent of male and female brain genes are identical, the one percent of our respective genetic codes that is gender-different will give us more trouble than all of the other identical 99 percent combined if we don’t learn how to understand, accept, and support these DNA differences from both the female and the male perspective.

So for this first of a two-part post for this month, I give you five reasons to love your female brain.

p.s. If you are a female, you are likely already eagerly skimming down to the next section to find out all the great things your brain can offer you! If, however, you are one of my male readers, you may catch yourself thinking that you are being overlooked.  Don’t worry. Stay tuned for part two of this post and you will get your day!

5 Reasons to Love Your Female Brain:

  1. You have an exceptional ability to read and accurately interpret facial expressions and verbal and emotional cues
  2. You are naturally oriented towards collaboration and defusing or preventing conflict
  3. You have an innate ability for relationships and a natural empathy towards others
  4. You have a smart and savvy inner “partner picker” that stands at the ready to help you pick wisely when you are ready to choose a mate
  5. Your brain can take you into any career you want to focus on (yes, ladies, if you love math, science and technology, your brain will go toe-to-toe with the guys any day!)

If you found this list interesting, I also highly recommend that you pick up a copy of Dr. Brizendine’s “The Female Brain”. You will thank me later – I promise!

Be Well,

Kimberly

If you are struggling to make sense of your inner mental and emotional life and often feel like you are on ever-shifting sands, Southlake Counseling can help. There are many genetic as well as environmental factors that can affect mental and physical health and emotional and relational wellbeing. Southlake Counseling’s comprehensive individual and group services and our highly trained, empathetic professional staff can partner with you to help you troubleshoot areas of concern and make the most of your strengths, gifts, and dreams! Visit www.southlakecounseling.com to learn more.

Your Weekly Meditation: Love Begets Love

Love begets love, no advertising required.

Now that the month of February is over for another whole year, we can admit that it is no secret that February is the “month of love” for corporate marketing departments everywhere. But however over-hyped and overtly-marketed the sublime state of love may be each February, it is an excellent reminder that love begets love. The marketing, the slogans, the advertisements, they are like un-subtle broadcast messages reminding us of who we love, how much we love them, and even that we love them. If we buy in to those messages on a purchasing power level, we may be the poorer in our pocketbooks, but we likely have also taken the initiative to give, and have thus received in return, more overt expressions of love during the month of February than possibly at any other month during the year! Maybe, if we take this message to heart, then by next February we won’t need those advertising slogans as a reminder anymore…and we will be amazed by how much our own daily expressions of love towards ourselves and others have enriched our lives.

This week I resolve to: Remember that love begets love, no advertising required. When I am feeling unloved, giving love to myself and others is the surest path towards an experience of receiving the love I need. When I am feeling loved, giving more love to myself and others is the surest path towards an experience of receiving more love in return.

Your Say Yes to Life Monday Motivator: Three Steps to Move from Wanting to Having

Whether it is a better job, a more satisfying relationship, a long-denied vacation, or more self-love, the steps to move from wanting what you want to getting what you want are the same.

Oddly, however, no matter how many times we see the process playing out in the lives of others, nature, American Idol contestants, or the birds and the bees, often the personalization of this process is not that intuitive.

We are just too scared.

We want it too much. We are too sure we won’t be able to have it, hold it, or even get within spitting distance of it. We are too positive we can’t do what it will take to get it. We are also pretty convinced that the folks we think have it and could show us the way – those fabulous, amazing, powerful and talented folks – can smell us coming from a mile away and are determined to spend their remaining days as far away as possible on the other side of the room from have-nots like us.

But they were have-nots once too. They just know one thing that we don’t. They know that, as a mentor of mine once told me, “Anything worth getting is worth giving everything for.”

What she means is this: If your soul sings at the mere thought of “it” (aka whatever you want), if you simply cannot stop wanting it no matter how many rational arguments against it that your logical brain can produce, if you keep trying in (you think) your own small, pathetic way to obtain it, if you sometimes cry yourself to sleep at night wanting it and then have dreams that you have it and wake up happy – at least until you realize it was “just a dream”, and if any or all of these experiences have happened to you more than once, then you know you have a real game-changer on your hands.

You have a dream that has a life of its own. You want something that is so much a part of you – who you are now, who you have always been, and who you have yet to become (actually, all of the above) – that giving up on the dream feels like giving up on life itself. The good news is here is that, if you are dreaming a game-changer dream like this, you are actually destined to achieve the very thing you want, provided you are willing to work more deeply and courageously, learn and grow more, and leap higher and farther than you ever imagined possible.

The even better news is that this thing that you want is already yours….in theory. But that doesn’t mean you will ever get it – not as long as you continue to allow your limiting beliefs to stand in between you and it. And that doesn’t mean that you still don’t have to take the necessary steps to get there….just like every other dreamer who eventually lands their personal game-changer grand prize dream.

In honor of the month of February, let’s take self-love as an example we can work from.

Self-love may mean different things to different people, but a generic definition we can use is to have a positive regard and affection for self that is at least equal to that of the individual in our lives whom we treasure most. Whether that is your spouse, your child, or your pet…..what matters is that you can see a compare-and-contrast in how you treat that other and how you treat yourself.

If you treat the other better, then you could stand some improvement in the self-love department. If you also want that improvement for yourself, if you want to feel more love and regard towards yourself, and if you want it badly, then you have identified a clear example of a soul-level want that can be yours if you are willing to do what it takes to achieve it.

There are three steps that you will take to move from wanting to having a more fulfilling and authentic expression of self-love. These three steps will sound ridiculously easy, but that doesn’t mean that they are.

Here are the three steps:

Step One: Admit that you want it. No way are you ever going to get what you want if you won’t admit to yourself that you want it. If you can go one step farther and admit that you want it to yourself and one other person (this person is called an “accountability partner” in some circles) even better.

Step Two: Work deeply and courageously, learn and grow more, and leap higher and farther than you ever thought possible. (NOTE: As you can tell, this step is the one that usually takes the longest).

Step Three: Reach out and claim “it” for your very own.

If you have a big “it” that you simply cannot stop dreaming about, but you feel stuck and stalled out in progressing towards your goal, I want to invite you to contact Southlake Counseling. We have a highly trained, expert and caring professional staff who has more than 20 years’ worth of experience with guiding individuals just like you to say “no” to limiting self beliefs and “yes” to self-love, self-worth, and achieving the big game-changer dreams. Visit us today at www.southlakecounseling.com

Be Well,

Kimberly

15 Ways to Say “I Love You” to Yourself

Depending on whom you ask, self-love is alternately over and underrated.

In some circles, self-love can be viewed as bordering on narcissism, where a concern for self and self-needs edges out the ability to strike that necessarily delicate balance between one’s own good and the greater good. In other circles, self-love is all too often confused with self-critical behaviors that read like an endless litany of guilt-laden motherly instructions “for your own good”.

As with anything else, extremes seldom yield anything truly useful, healing, or inspiring over the long term.

In a related note of interest, scientifically it is now known that the act of loving releases a powerful surge of feel-good endorphins throughout the lovers’ systems. Even better, for new pairs of lovers, that twin surge of endorphins can be expected to last up to 18 months before it begins to fade biochemically.

But the surge can be extended – up to forever – by making the effort to keep the romance alive. The most common advice given to achieve this extension is for couples to remember what they spent time doing together in those heady first months, and to start doing those things again.

Not rocket science…..like most wise advice.

In the same way, self-love can be cultivated through a simple application of similar principles to those that bond couples together for months, years, or a lifetime. All it takes is a few doses of pure wisdom, some willingness, and a spirit of adventure.

So in the spirit of a more self-focused love-related adventure, why would it potentially be beneficial to proactively cultivate a loving relationship towards one’s own self?

Whether the goal is to enjoy life more, cultivate more satisfying and nurturing relationships with others, experience greater self-efficacy in making desired life changes, explore new challenges with increased self-confidence, actually try some of those items from a so-called “bucket list”, and many other reasons besides, there is nothing that is not advantageous to self or others about increasing one’s own regard, care, and love for oneself.

In other words, self-love is simply a win-win for all concerned.

It also just so happens that February is the perfect month to embark upon a self-love adventure. Why is this?

Well, February, of course, is the permanent month of residence for Valentine’s Day, a holiday that is neck-and-neck with Christmas as perhaps the most over-marketed, over-hyped, and overtly stressful annually recurring holiday.

On Valentine’s Day, those who have the romance of an “other” in their lives are given a gold star and carte blanche to empty their piggy banks in true Western consumer capitalism style to display their love to the envious world. Those whom are not so lucky are encouraged to alternately display their defiance of the holiday by celebrating the anti-Valentine’s day, or to simply keep their heads down and hide out in their houses for a proscribed 24-hour period.

If neither alternative sounds particularly appealing, luckily there is another route to enjoying, celebrating, and even enhancing the experience of taking part in Valentine’s Day this year – and also making the feel-good endorphins-inspired buzz last all year long, partner or no partner!

If you are dreading the prospect of spending Valentine’s Day without a lover-other in your life, if you are one of those lucky people who doesn’t need a holiday like Valentine’s Day to remember to treat your lover nicely or even spring for a fun token of your regard, or if you are simply exhausted by the same ole, same ole and are seeking a fresh approach to a tired holiday routine, then try these 15 fun ways to say “I Love You” to yourself this February.

(p.s. If you have a lover, you might even want to try them together-but-separately and then share your experiences as a guaranteed way to spice up both your relationship with yourself and with each other! )

Regardless of your reasons for trying these 15 sweet and simple ideas, I guarantee you – you will be glad you gave them a whirl.

©   Put on your favorite love song (Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” is a sure-fire winner) and get out a handheld mirror. Gaze deeply into your own eyes while the song plays. Keep tissues handy.

©   Keep a self-gratitude journal. Every day, write down five things you are grateful to yourself for. You can also write down five things you are simply grateful for. But make sure you write your self-thank you’s first!

©   Write down five of your “favorite things”. Schedule a day this month to take yourself on a date “au solo”. On that day, try to do all five things. Repeat at least one time each month.

©   Listen to your gut when it is telling you to say “no”. Then SAY IT. Remember, sometimes saying “no” to someone else is also the only way to say “yes” to you.

©   Unplug. Yes, this means you. Yes, this means the cell phone, the laptop, the iPad, the iPod, the television, the CD player. When was the last time you just sat and listened to the wonder of your own breathing as the air flows in and out and in and out and in….wow. Life IS a miracle….YOUR life is a miracle.

©   Feel your anger. Your sadness. Your irritation. Your unforgiveness. Feel it all. You have every right to feel every single thing you feel. What you do with it is step two, and there you may choose to take different paths to deal with different feelings, including scheduling some therapy sessions, meditating or practicing deep breathing, writing a letter, saying what you need to say in person, screaming into a pillow or choosing to keep quiet. But step one – and a non-negotiable step to get through the process safely and healthily – is to give yourself permission to feel EVERYTHING. They are your feelings. If you don’t feel them, who will?

©   Apologize to yourself. You have said some pretty awful things to yourself, have probably even done some pretty awful things to yourself, over the years. Maybe they are things you wouldn’t dream of saying or doing to your lover, your family, your child. But you did them to yourself, and you owe yourself an apology – a very sincere and heart-felt “I am SO sorry.”

©   Apologize to others. Carrying around unforgiveness, resentment, rage, or even simple misunderstanding can make you feel like Atlas carrying the world delicately balanced on your increasingly exhausted shoulders. You are not carrying the whole world, but trying to carry around your own personal world can have the same effect as it crashes down, taking you and everyone you love with it. Don’t wait – whatever happens, it has got to feel better than staggering under the painful weight of holding it all up inside.

©   Take 5, 10, 15 minutes each day – however long you can spare without stressing about it – to do deep breathing, to meditate, and to just listen to yourself. What are you longing for? Whom do you miss? What do you hope for more of – or less of? Write it down. These are your soul’s messages to you – and the beginning of a potentially beautiful friendship.

©   Hear your shame out. Human beings feel shame – and this is an experience that can shut us down or free us depending on what we do with it. What are you ashamed of? What can you do about it? Is your shame coming from your own words or actions or from the words and actions of another? How old is your shame – are you a little girl, a teen, a young woman, mature in years? What do you need in order to feel safe and supported to let your shame out, take appropriate action where indicated, and then let it go and move on? Whatever you need, start by hearing your shame out, and then just take it one step at a time from there.

©   Remind yourself that this world CAN and WILL go on without you. This means you – the mother, the wife, the executive, the nonprofit leader, the community organizer, the caretaker, the (fill in the blanks). Use this healthy dose of perspective to deal yourself IN to your own life on a daily basis.

©   Notice what makes you spontaneously smile, and do more of that as often as possible.

©   Make a list of the people who inspire you the most. Recognize that something that is already in you resonates with something that is already in them. Pat yourself on the back for choosing to keep such good company!

©   Make a list of people who have a knack for making you feel worse about yourself, your life, your job, your relationships with others, etc. Spend as little time with them as humanly possible (and no time at all, ideally).

©   Do the same thing with music, movies, television programs, talk radio shows, books, and other “consumables” that have a depressive, negative, or hope-sucking effect on you. Move them to your “Do Not Do” list – permanently.

So there they are. 15 beautiful, simple ways to say “I Love You” to yourself. Happy Valentine’s Day!

About the Author: Kimberly B. Krueger, MSW, LCSW is the Founder and Program Director for Southlake Counseling and Southlake Center for Self Discovery. She has dedicated her career to helping people of all ages “say yes to life” and overcome their life challenges with compassion, professional guidance, and caring support. Southlake Counseling offers the most comprehensive counseling services in the Southlake area with a focus on eating disorders, mood disorders, nutrition and fitness, wellness, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, addictions, equine therapy, and a full range of one-on-one and group therapeutic services. Learn more at www.southlakecounseling.com.

 

 

 

 

Your Weekly Meditation: Love Yourself, No Permission Needed

Love yourself, no permission needed.

Maybe this Valentine’s Day you have all the romance you’ve ever dreamed of coming into your life from the presence of another person. But whether you do or you don’t, you can have that same amazing, whirlwind romance any day, at any time, when you remember that you can love yourself that way, no permission needed. YOU are amazing. You are one of a kind. Before you put it out of your mind, refusing to even consider the possibility that you might be the most incredible person you have ever met, give this idea a moment or two to simmer in your awareness. Consider it as if the wisest, most influential person in your life has just told you that it is true. How would it change your life if you believed their words, and fell deeply, madly, passionately in love with you?

This week I resolve to: At least consider the possibility that I can fall madly, deeply, and completely in love with me, and imagine how much richer my life could be once I do.