Anyone who has been in therapy with me knows I love Gary Chapman’s “5 Love Languages” and that I reference his book often. If you haven’t heard of it, you can learn more at his website.
The basic premise is that there are at least 5 different ways we show and like to recieve love from others:
Words of Affirmation
“I love you.” “You’re incredible.” “I love the way you do ____.”
Acts of Service
Taking out the garbage
Doing the dishes
Taking the dog for a walk
Bringing home flowers
Putting a lot of effort into birthday gifts
Hanging out at home for an evening
Going for a hike in the woods
Laying in bed talking for hours
The revolutionary thing about Chapman’s work is that it explains how there can be a disconnect if you and your partner(s) have different love languages. One partner may feel they are showing love, when the other partner feels love is lacking because they are unaware of love languages.
So this got me thinking…
Besides love languages, there is another topic I talk about often in therapy. I encourage dating yourself.
I don’t care if you are partnered, single, dating, or whatever, I believe it is so important to make time for dating yourself.
While sitting at work I realized, some people may have a hard time knowing what it means to date yourself because self love ( just like healthy relationships) are not taught in school.
They should be.
I thought Chapman’s love languages could be easily translated into self-love languages and this could easily help people learn to date themselves.
What’s Your Self-Love Language?
Words of Affirmation
Writing yourself love-notes or affirmations
Using post-its to remind yourself how awesome you are
Talking to yourself using loving, positive words
Acts of Service
Cleaning the house
De-cluttering your work-space
Volunteering doing something your passionate about
It is, no doubt, a cliche to speak about intentions and resolutions this time of year. People get pensive. They become reflective. They reach out to people they have lost connections with. Its a curious thing- this man-made concept of the new year. Different cultures celebrate it at different times and they do so in different ways. The idea of reflection and making changes tends to resonate through these different new beginnings.
I am totally a sucker for reflection and intention. This December 31st 2017, I’m trying something a little different and I’m sharing it with you. I’m making an intention of how I’d like to GROW this year. Not change, but grow.
I intend to grow in creativity, in patience, and in self-compassion.
What about you?
Will you grow to show yourself the kind of compassion you show others?
Will you grow to give yourself the time and patience to figure things out?
Will you grow to know what you need and desire, and to stop settling for less?
How do you intend to grow this year?
I’m sending my sincere love and hope to everyone that we may all have a beautiful, fruitful, exciting, passionate, wild, and tranformational 2018.
Most people shy away from doing things that terrify them. The issue with this is that sometimes scary things must be done. And sometimes scary things need to happen in order to grow.
Different things terrify different people. Some folks are scared of public speaking, while others are just mortified by the idea of going on a blind date. As a Licensed Professional Counselor, Registered Drama Therapist and Coach, my clients often come to me to talk about the things that frighten them. My job is to help them understand where that fear comes from, and to employ practical ways to combat that anxiety so that my clients can live the fullest life possible.
Whether it’s making a presentation at work, testifying in court, or going on a first date; there are tools available to help you put your best foot forward…even when you are petrified.
Power Pose It Up
Amy Cuddy did an incredible Ted Talk about the amazing potential of power poses. Her research shows that when people position themselves in poses of power (good posture, hands on the hips, wide stance) the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in their blood is lowered as is their anxiety.
Before you are about to do something that makes you feel scared, take a few minutes to adopt a power pose that feels good to you. You can do this in a bathroom stall if needed, or you can even visualize yourself in a pose if you are unable to get away.
The first thing I notice in my clients who have anxiety is that they stop breathing deeply. In fact, some people hold their breath. When you stop breathing, you are depriving your brain of oxygen. As a result, your anxiety increases, and your ability to think and reason decreases.
Pick a breathing exercise that you enjoy and keep reminding yourself to breathe. My favorite is an inhale through your nose for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, and exhale for 5 seconds. Remember to fill your belly all the way using your diagram.
Pick an affirmation
Pretend that you are your best friend giving you a pep talk about this current situation and use a few of those words with your breath as an affirmation. “You are smart, capable, and confident.” “You are calm and eloquent. You got this.” Pick something that speaks to you and makes you feel better as you say it. Say it in front of the mirror a few times as if you are speaking to your best friend.
Play the Part
As a Drama Therapist, I talk with my clients about the roles that they play in their lives. Sometimes the most transformational role is that which one has yet to become. Visualize yourself doing the scary thing and adopt all of the characteristics of this role. How do they stand? Adopt that into your power pose. How do they speak? Imagine yourself speaking that way or practice speaking in this manner. How do they feel about what they are about to do? Put those thoughts into your head.
Contrary to popular belief, this is not in-authentic or “faking it until you make it.” It’s more like Amy Cuddy says, “Fake it until you become it.” I believe that if you can play the role, those characteristics reside somewhere inside of you. You just need the opportunity to discover it.
You did it! You are a complete and utter badass. You took the plunge, the leap of faith and left the security of your day job to pursue your own creative and entrepreneurial endeavor. Congratulations.
Here are 5 things that you didn’t know would happen when you quit your day job and ways to remedy any distress:
5. You freak out about being your own boss
If you are anything like me, you’ve fantasized about being your own boss and setting your own rules for years. Finally when you’ve shed your old role of worker, and stepped into the light as a solo entrepreneur, that transition can be more difficult than expected. You are accountable for yourself and that can be anxiety-provoking.
Just because you are the sole leader of your business it doesn’t mean you need to be isolated. Hire a coach, supervisor, or mentor to help guide you through this transition. They can help you with the nitty gritty details, support you emotionally, or give you advice, but the exciting part is that the final decision will always be yours!
5. You don’t know how to handle the flexibility
Before I left my day job, I was working 70+ hours a week including my commute, my full time job, and my private practice. I couldn’t wait to be in charge of my own schedule and bask in the flexibility. That is, until I quit my day job, and had so much flexible time that I didn’t know what to do with myself. This can be really nerve-wracking. When all of your time is your own, how you get things done?
Set your own structure. You know yourself and the way that you work better than anyone. That’s why you can easily determine the best way to structure your time. I set intentions for my day and a number of small goals with the purpose of fulfilling my intention. Remember to take your personal priorities and needs into account! Love the gym? Schedule time for it! Wish you had more time for your dog? Schedule time in the middle of the day for walks! The time is now yours so use it in the ways that make you feel your best!
4. You have survival’s guilt
This is a tough one. When you are in a job for so long, you make deep connections with your co-workers and it can be really hard to say goodbye especially when they are still doing the 9-5 grind. It may feel hard to enjoy your freedom knowing that people you care for are not enjoying their work. Forgive yourself for leaving and remember to have compassion for yourself. Your choice to leave was all about you doing the best thing for yourself and is in no way a slight toward your ex-coworkers. Your bravery may even inspire others to do the same. Keep your connections with people who mean a lot to you, but don’t get sucked into feeling bad for making a choice that positively changed your life.
3. You might not be able to relate to your friends
Most people don’t work for themselves and are not entrepreneurs. The majority of people work a 9-5 job where they report to a superior and are able to leave their work at the office at the end of the day. As you venture into your own business, you may find that it becomes more difficult to relate to your friends around work. You don’t have a boss to bitch about, a workload that is out of your control, or your days being dictated by another person. You may start feeling like you don’t have enough to contribute when venting at Happy Hour.
It may help to focus on things other than work when connecting with your friends. While work is definitely something that comes up in conversation, try to connect with your friends on deeper levels. When work is the focal point of conversations, sometimes we miss really amazing opportunities to relate with others on topics such as music, philosophy, science, politics etc. Our friendships should be more than just people to vent about work with. Deep connections become even more important when it’s difficult to leave work at the office. 2.Your new life becomes the new normal
Before long, your new schedule, work/life balance, and day-to-day activities will start to feel normal. You may even forget what it felt like to have a long commute, deal with supervisors who didn’t get it, or hustle for money that didn’t go into your pocket. While this new normal can be a great feeling, there may be aspects of your life that you are starting to accept as “normal” even if they don’t make you happy. For instance, you may be working late nights and thinking you are okay with it even though you may not be.
Make sure to keep yourself accountable for your own happiness! Take time to reevaluate how you are spending your time and how you run your business to make sure that you are continuing to make the decisions that are best for you. Stay reflective. Remember that you have the power to make changes in your business and that it’s ok to change your mind.
1.You experience happiness on a new level
The amount of bliss, gratitude, and wonder that you can potentially experience after you decide to leave your day job can be immense and even overwhelming. Some days you might be in such awe that you have the power to change the course of your life and happiness. This feeling is powerful and amazing, but may also be overpowering as well.
Many people have been conditioned to not expect happiness, especially in their work. They were told things growing up such as, “If it was fun, it wouldn’t be called work” or they watched TV shows where the characters all hate their jobs. It might feel a bit uncomfortable to be so happy with your work. If this feels distressing, try to acknowledge what deep-rooted beliefs you may be bumping up against and use your support system to work through them. Stay humble and grateful by engaging in a gratitude practice, giving back by volunteering, or helping others who following down a similar path.
Everyone has had those days. They are the days when your feelings of depression, anxiety, hopelessness, and fear feel overwhelming and its damn near impossible to see past it. Your thinking becomes very black and white. It is hard to focus on the good things because the not-so-good-things take center stage.
In those moments, I want to encourage you to know that this too shall pass. Your light, your special and incredibly unique spark is still there even if you cannot see it. Know that at the end of this incredibly difficult wave that you are riding is a source of light.
I can’t go a day without getting really intimate with inner critics. My client’s inner critics, my friend’s inner critics… dare I say, my own inner critic! It usually manifests as really negative self talk that we don’t question and that we take as reality. The inner critic is usually a combination of our own fears about ourselves, societal pressures, and horrible things that have been said to us throughout our lives. But the reality is, your inner critic is lying to you. And it’s not lying to you to be a jerk, but more to protect you. The problem is that the inner critic isn’t really protecting you. It’s keeping you small, it’s keeping you from developing in your confidence, and increasing your anxiety. Luckily, there are ways to not only tell your inner critic to shut up, but also to help use it for your advantage! Join me below as I riff on the Inner Critic and give some tips to tell it to step off.
I just did a massive review of this past year. It was beautiful. It was messy. It was painful. It was completely necessary. I usually do a kind of review every September during Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, but have never done it before January 1st. Usually my ritual in September revolves around my spiritual growth and what I want to improve on in the coming year. The ritual that I engaged in today was different and I want to share it with you. I encourage you to review your own year in a way that speaks to you.
I started with my personal life
I reviewed what went well this year, what I want to change in the upcoming year, and took the time to really delve into why certain things occurred. I spent time speaking with people I care about and really taking note of what is important to me.
And then I reviewed my business
I looked at each month of the year and reviewed my successes and my failures. And then I started listing all of the amazing things I plan to do this upcoming year.
Do yourself a huge favor and take 10 minutes of your day to review the year:
Take the time to review
Start with your successes and write them down. Be proud of them. You’ve earned it all!
You may want to do this in sections. For example: personal, business, relationships, etc.
Note the things that didn’t go your way this year and take some time to meditate on those things. What lessons were you supposed to learn? Did you learn them? What lessons can you take to the next year?
Plan for this amazing year
Now brainstorm what you want from 2016 in your life and write it down. It can be anything from taking better care of yourself to launching a new business!
Be specific! You need to be specific in order to create a plan of action.
Take each goal and write out each step to achieve that goal. If due dates encourage you, use them! If they stress you out, don’t! Using action steps can make a huge project feel more doable.
Hold yourself accountable
Plan monthly check-ins to see how you are doing. I plan mine the last Sunday of the month! Each month you can add new goals, new steps, and adjust things accordingly.
Wishing you and your family a beautiful, happy, and healthy New Year! May this one be the best one yet!
Yesterday was Halloween. A magical time at the end of October where the veil thins and adults let themselves dress up in costume, enjoy stuffing their faces with candy, and do something very unusual.
I’m referring to the wonderful phenomenon of play.
I noticed something very inspiring on the Friday before Halloween and I really wanted to share it with you. I supervise an amazing group of clinicians and case managers who do beautiful work with families and children. The work is hard. It can challenging and some days can feel like they’ll never end. But despite the difficulty of the job, on Friday there was a playful charm around our office. The staff were all in costume. People were joking and laughing.
Everyone was connecting to each other in a profound and silly way.
Perhaps it’s because Halloween gives us permission to play. But honesty, why do we need permission to play? And who do we need permission from?
Many people stop playing when they reach adolescence. I believe that is a sad thing. Play is healthy and fun and absolutely vital to wellbeing. I began to think- how much better would work be if we played everyday, and not just on Halloween. I think I’ll wear a purple wig more often 🙂
Halloween is a favorite holiday for many adults and children alike. We all love the playful notion of dressing up like someone we are not. Thinking about costumes and masks reminded me of the difficulty many people have removing their social masks.
Social Masks are a way to conceal your true, authentic self from the world and most people have one or more social mask that they often wear. There is nothing wrong with having a mask. Afterall the concept of the mask in theatre comes from embodying that which is not understood or that is unlike ourselves. The problem occurs when the mask refuses to be removed.
Why Do We Wear Social Masks?
1. Fear of being seen. People hide behind their costumed identity. This is because being truly seen by others puts one in a very vulnerable state. People may associate being seen with feeling exposed, misunderstood, unsafe, or open to threats. Being seen without your mask can feel like showing up naked to chemistry class. The problem is, when you don’t remove the mask, the people you want to love you will never see the real you. And then, who are they loving afterall?
2. Fear of rejection Another reason one might keep wearing a mask is that once removed, there is a chance of rejection. This is a real fear. The important thing to remember is that if someone is rejecting you- the real, maskless you- that is actually a blessing. That opens you up to meet people who want you without the mask. It saves you from needing a permanent mask to be with this person.
3. Fear of getting hurt Along with rejection, the fear of getting hurt is a major reason for keeping that mask on. The mask can make the hurt seem less intense, it can hide your feelings, and in the end, it’s not you being hurt- it’s the mask.
For all the good reasons that we keep social masks on, the benefits of taking it off are tenfold. There’s nothing better than being your true, authentic, maskless self.
How to Tear Off the Mask and Be your Authentic Self
1. Find a passion If you know what makes you wildly excited, do it. If nothing makes you feel that way spend time exploring. Find something that fills your soul with happiness. Don’t pick something that makes others happy or that makes your mask happy. Some examples from my friends: photography, suspension rope art, mediation, tantra, hiking, writing about sex, being with family…
2. Find the love for yourself.You need to love yourself without the mask in order to keep it off. Some people find that starting a gratitude journal is a great way to show love for yourself. Others need to explore in therapy barriers to truly loving themselves.
3. Get some support Tell your friends you are doing this difficult work! Ask them to support you in any way that would help. Become a part of a larger community. Go to a support or therapy group.
4. Practice If you’ve lived most of your life in a social mask, taking it off will take time. Tell yourself it’s ok to practice. It’s all right to take it off for a little while and put it back on to recharge. Be easy with yourself. It’s ok if this doesn’t happen over night.
On a final note, drama therapists know firsthand the freedom that wearing a mask can bring a person. Many people can say or do things in costume that they wouldn’t do otherwise. Use your mask to try out different possibilities and then, take it off and see what your authentic self truly desires.
Why do we pick certain masks? I’ll discuss that in the near future!
Finding a therapist who is a good fit can be a challenge. This task becomes even harder when you’re seeking a therapist who is sex-positive. I was recently having a discussion about tips and tricks to find a sex-positive therapist and thought I’d share them with you!
It is imperative that when you seek out a therapist that you feel comfortable being yourself. That means that you shouldn’t have to hide who you are. It also helps to have a therapist who knows about different lifestyles so that you don’t need to spend your time educating them. That said, everyone’s experiences are different, so even sex-positive therapists should be open to new ideas, definitions, and lifestyles.
1. Shop around! Check out the Kink Aware Professionals list for therapists in your area. https://ncsfreedom.org/resources/kink-aware-profess… If there is no one in your area, google your town with words like kink-aware or poly friendly. Also check out www.psychologytoday.com and notice the therapists that list sexuality as a specialty.
2. Of course, just because someone says they are sex positive, it doesn’t mean that you will click or that they are the right fit for you. Make a list of 3-4 therapists and give them a call.
3. Interview them on the phone and make a list of questions to ask. Notice how comfortable they seem on the phone with you. Do they seem empathetic? Are they asking reflective questions? Are they truly listening? Here are some ideas for questions…
What does sex-positivity mean to you?
Do you have experience working with people who live alternative lifestyles or practice diverse forms of sexuality?
What are your specialities?
Tell me about the therapeutic approach you take. ie. are you strength-based, into cognitive-behavioral therapy, do you give practical advice, do you focus on the past more than the present, etc.
Why do you like what you do?
4. Make an initial appointment and meet the therapist. Trust your gut! If you don’t click with this person, there is nothing wrong with finding a new therapist. Your therapist should not make you feel judged, give you canned responses, or blame your issues on your lifestyle.