Remember, "Me?" A Question for the Most Important Person in Your Life!

Naked in the mirror, I see an image reflected back to me, familiar, yet unfamiliar, I seek clarity. I look intensely for understanding, as deep as my eyes can see but that vision is skewed by what I decipher mentally. The truth is my soul has the sight I seek, I look in the mirror, and speak out compassionately, Remember me?

How can we remember someone we do not know? Many of us know ourselves in the context of others and the roles we play in our lives.

Many moons ago, when you were a child, you were told and taught who you were and got cast in a role that supported you around creating a persona, “a mask.” You were shown how to show up in the world and you have probably been following suit ever since. You get to challenge what you have been told about who you are!

What was your role? Were you the smart one? The professional one? The Comedian/class clown? Maybe your caregivers told you that you would run the world, that you were a “heartbreaker,” that you would be “successful,” that you were “selfless,” or that you were “selfish.”

Whatever the narrative/script was in your family of origin, it absolutely impacted you…How can I make such a strong declaration? Because our family of origin/childhood impacts all of us!

We all come out of childhood with wounds and a role. Our wounds and roles get reinforced throughout our lives because we create filters and begin to only extract information that supports our belief around who we are and how others will treat us. How aware are you of your role? of your wounds? How is that showing up in your life today? Do you want to continue operating out of them or do you chose to heal them, find yourself, and live the fullest life possible?

(Disclosure: As most children, I loved to draw as a child, and one day after making a creation I thought was spectacular, I was told, “an artist you’ll never be” and that stayed with me for the rest of my life. It turned something I did for fun into something I was not good at. A comment made by a parent in innocence can be a wound that stays for a lifetime)

What if we no longer decided to play our role? What if the part you have been playing your entire life no longer works for you? What if you are tired of being the responsible one that everyone turns to for money? or the strong one that everyone dumps their emotional wounds on? or if you are the single one that gets to be the babysitter for everyone else’s children and should be readily available for anything? You may have been the one that people did not believe in and now lack self confidence because you learned not to believe in yourself. Are you the one that always takes care of everyone else and has been taught (and learned well) how to put your needs and feelings on the back burner to take care of everyone else’s needs first and now struggles to use your voice?

You can rewrite the script. How? Check in with yourself, get to know yourself, and then live in your truth. YOUR TRUTH, not someone else’s truth about who you are.

You can be taught new language and acquire new boundary setting tools that support you with creating and existing in a world that works for you. Not in a selfish, narcissistic way, but more so in a way that you are considering others while ALSO CONSIDERING YOURSELF! Self consideration sounds simple enough, yet so many of us struggle with it!

When we are getting to know someone new, what do we do?

  • Spend time with them
  • Create a space where they feel safe to share (non-judgmental and supportive)
  • Ask them a TON of questions
  • Watch how they interact with others
  • Watch how they take care of themselves

We get to know and learn about ourselves in the same way. Curiosity, empathy, openness, and honesty. Forget all you have been told about who you are and continue on your journey of self exploration….

REMEMBER, ME? 4 STEPS TO GETTING TO KNOW YOURSELF

  • SPEND TIME ALONE (go off the grid aka no electronics!!!): I encourage you to spend time alone with yourself, not judging, just observing. Take a full day to spend time by yourself and engage in an activity that you enjoy. Being in nature greatly supports this process, however doing anything that brings you peace works (painting, writing, walking, singing, dancing, baking, people watching,) Let your loved ones know that you will be taking some “me” aka “self-care” time to relax and reflect so that you can give yourself permission to go off the grid comfortably.
  • ASK YOURSELF QUESTIONS COMPASSIONATELY: (create a safe space for yourself by not engaging in negative self-talk and showing yourself compassion) ask yourself questions such as: When are you happiest? When are you most proud of yourself? (how come? who told you that was important?) What is your passion? What makes you, you? Who are you closest to in your family?(how come? since when?), What do you do when you need help? (do you ask for help or do you figure out a way to do it alone, and how come? when did you learn that behavior? for how long have you handled needing help in this way?), What are your fears? (how come they are your fears?, what have you tried to overcome your fears?) What are your strengths? (how do you know? what makes them your stengths) What do you like most about yourself? (how come?)
  • ASSESS RELATIONSHIPS (your role): Take a close look at your relationships, how are you showing up for and around the people closest to you? Are you holding yourself accountable for your role in interactions? (do you validate the other person, are you blaming someone else for your inability to self-soothe and/or for your unhappiness? are you name calling? are you being condescending?) Are you enjoying your relationships with others? (if not, what are you doing about it?), What type of relationships do you want? How are you showing those you care about that you care about them? Are your actions aligned with what you say you want? If not, start taking the actions needed to create the relationships you want. You are responsible for how you show up!
  • PRACTICE SELF-CARE and EMBRACE SELF LOVE: Observe how you take care of yourself, aka self-care. How do you speak to yourself?(do you beat yourself up with your words or do you speak to yourself with love and compassion? how come? how did the people you loved talk to you? how would you like to be spoken to?) How do you handle situations in which you feel you have been treated unfairly? (do you use your voice or do you retreat/hide and if so, why?) What do you do for yourself that fills your soul/tank? How do you decompress after a tough day? (long bath, write, exercise, help others, paint, spend time in nature, cook, etc). Create a plan to do at least one of the things you identified as filling your tank every week and label it self-care. You will be sending a message to self and to others that you matter!

I once lived life thinking I had to do what others expected of me based on limitations they imposed and that became my truth. I began to buy into the limits, reinforce the limits, and eventually unknowingly limit myself. BUT, then I woke up, I did “the work,” and realized that I can be free, and that most limits are self-imposed and rooted in fear and insecurity. You are your greatest love, I encourage you to make your life and relationship with self the most beautiful love story ever!

Yes, I was told, “an artist you will never be,” and one day I looked in the mirror and remembered myself and how peaceful I felt when I was creating art, and now I paint to paint and draw to draw. It may have taken some time but I could not be happier with the new narrative I have created for myself. Every piece I create would not exist had I continued to be bought into the narrative that someone else created for me.

EXERCISE: (BE PRESENT, no electronics) Take a 20 – 40 minute bath/shower, preferably with a calming scent/bath gel such as lavender or vanilla, allow yourself to be immersed in the experience as you observe the water touching and cascading over your body. Allow all thoughts to drift as you allow yourself to be in peace (visualize the ocean, or laying in the grass, or listen to calming music with no words just melodies or nature sounds that soothe your soul). After you dry off, look at yourself in the mirror and take 5 deep breathes, while looking deeply into your beautiful eyes, ask yourself out loud, Remember me? take one last deep breathe. Find a quiet place and create a three page journal entry about the experience.

This reflection and exercise are meant to support your process around self-actualization/awareness and living a fulfilling life that you feel connected to. If you need additional support, please reach out to a therapist, or other health care professional. You came to this blog for a reason, perhaps it is time to roll up your sleeves and get to know the most important person in your life! I am excited for you and the new narrative you will create around who you are and what you want. Wishing you the very best, with love.

One Simple Question can Create One Amazing Life…Stop Self-Limiting Beliefs Now!

Keep Climbing. Limits are an Illusion.

I can’t because...(insert excuse here)

I would but I….(insert self limiting belief here)

I am not able to because….(insert your rationalization)

It will not work because….(please list all the reasons that voice inside your head has given to convince you that your idea will not work)

Stop it, please stop it, and please do us all a favor and shut up!!!!! Not you the person, just that voice inside your head that keeps stopping you from living your best life and keeps you so busy with negative chatter you stay stuck! Why does that voice always do that? You can quiet that voice with a question.

Questions? Questions. Questions….they really are so powerful, what are just as powerful are our answers. Questions prompt us to respond, but how much of that is scripted? in other words shared exactly the same way all the time, as if on autopilot with no thought whatsoever. It is part of our programming, years of doing the same things, speaking to ourselves the same way, and others reinforcing those beliefs.

In graduate school we are taught questions to ask clients during the therapeutic process. The right questions prompt us to think deeply, force us to reflect, and once answered, especially once voiced out loud, our words, which are fueled by our thoughts and emotions have immense power. Power to cripple and power to create. So, we get to answer the questions with the understanding that there is a direct correlation between the words we choose and what we bring to fruition/manifest in our lives.

There is one question, that impacts me more than any other. I was asked the question some time ago during a time in my life when unbeknownst to me, I was living a life filled with self-limiting beliefs. I walked through life with thoughts that there were things I could not, should not, and would not be able to do because of a bunch of (fear based) reasons. My perceived inability to do something was linked to the belief that it was beyond my ability/control, and that other people would determine whether or not I would be successful.

I did not know then that we create our limits, others (parents, teachers, society) may have imposed limits on us but how long can we allow ourselves to have a cap, a ceiling, a limit, on our dreams? I see it now, I see it clearly and it supports me with supporting all of my amazing clients, friends and family with their self-talk and their self limiting beliefs.

I was presented with an opportunity at a time in my life when I had a lot on my plate. Family commitments, a career transition, a fitness journey, etc. At the time I truly believed I could not do it, it was unrealistic, and it would not be as important as everything else because it was more of an indulgent passion than a priority or what I felt I “should be doing,” so, I answered:

Reason/Excuse #1: “I can’t because I do not have enough time to prepare

Reason/Excuse #2: I am really not that good, it is just a hobby

Reason/Excuse #3: I am just not able to do it right now

The person presented me with the “one simple question” I will share in a moment and I felt invalidated, misunderstood and frustrated around why I was continuing to be asked to do something I clearly “could not” (not true) do.

And then I had to get very real with myself and ask the tough questions, “why do I keep pushing back?” “why am I defensive?” why am I struggling to answer this question?” “why am I not entertaining this concept, this idea that I can?” why won’t I allow myself to envision something different? (asking yourself those types of questions is crucial to self-awareness and self-actualization).

One question can create a whirlwind of thoughts and creativity, digging deeper and pushing limits. It inspires

THAT ONE SIMPLE QUESTION THAT CAN CHANGE EVERYTHING IS:

BUT, WHAT IF YOU COULD? 

It’s always interesting to me because the word “but” negates and so we know not to use the word “but” because it negates everything that came before it and with this question in particular, I am in love with the word BUT…why? because but is absolutely necessary for effect around saying, “let’s forget all of the reasons why you are claiming that you can not do this thing and talk about what it would look like if you could!” How freakin’ empowering!

Why? because when asked the question, it forces us out of the story we have been telling ourselves about our problem/situation and about who we are. It forces us to rewrite the script and create a version of our story where we get to have an empowering outcome, a more peaceful existence, a story of hope rather than a reiteration of all that is wrong in our lives.

Every time you tell yourself you can’t, every time you are bought into the fact that something is impossible either because other people have told you it is impossible or your negative self-talk has convinced you that it is impossible, stop, be intentional and ask yourself but, what if I could? what if it was possible? Give yourself permission to answer that question, to see yourself differently, to create an opportunity. Rewrite your story.

Get empowered by the answer and then go out and do it! Do the thing! Recognize the fear. Validate your feelings, ask yourself the question, and then decide to either make a decision based in fear or one based around belief in self and self-love. Remember this is not about being unrealistic or invalidating your circumstances. It is about challenging the beliefs you have about yourself, other people, and the world.

Fear will convince you that you can not

Fear will make you think you don’t care

Fear will tell you that it will not work

Fear will stifle your creativity

Fear will cheat you out of opportunities

Fear will steal your time

Fear will tell you that you are not good enough

Fear was created to protect you, thank it for bringing things to your attention and then put it on the shelf while you ask yourself…..

But, what if I could start that business I’ve been dreaming of ?

what if I could audition for my dream role?

what if I could commit to my partner?

what if I could start dating again after heartbreak?

what if I could pursue or figure out my passion?

what if I could go back to school?

what if I could tell her I love her?

what if I could come out to my family?

what if I could heal from the trauma I have experienced?

what if I could be happy?

what if I could forgive myself?

Ask yourself, what if I could?….

You can! You can! You can! It will take action and once you ask yourself what if I could? the next step is to Create a PLAN and then PUT IT IN ACTION. You may need the support of others, perhaps networking more often (try meetup.com), it may take gaining a new skill, or finding a therapist, it may take time, it may not happen overnight, and one thing that it will absolutely take to do this is courage!

Be courageous! If there is a goal that you have, if there is a dream that you aspire to, if there is a talent you would like to explore, if you would like to take your relationship to the next level, if there is a degree you would like to obtain, if there is a career change you have been considering making, if you would like to shoot your shot and just go for something…..before talking yourself out of it, before shutting the door that you never allowed to fully open, the next time you tell yourself you can’t, remember me asking you this one simple question….

BUT, WHAT IF YOU COULD?

Everything you need is everything you are. Wishing you love, light, clarity, and perseverance on your very amazing and necessary individual journey. Remember, you can!

TRIGGERED! The Unhealed Wound: Couples Only Survive when Individuals Do Their Work! 7 Steps to Help…

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Do you sometimes feel as if your partner’s main objective in life is to piss you off? Do you find that the harder you try to get along, the more you find yourself getting triggered? Do you think about ending the relationship once and for all  just because you are so frustrated and feel as if you can not take it anymore?

The trigger conversation comes up often in couples work and the question of “why is my partner always triggering me?” has a simple, yet layered answer. There are many who wonder why the partner they love more than anything is the one that hurts them the most. Conflict usually arises when one partner is triggered and reacts/responds with their default coping strategy/defense mechanism (by the way and for the record, that default coping mechanism is usually not your truth). It is often a way to protect yourself that you discovered/created in early childhood or adolescence for survival and although once useful, has probably run its course and is no longer healthy or appropriate.

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So your partner has triggered you, now what? The tendency is to turn to our partner and blame them for hurting us, for bringing up uncomfortable feelings, for our increased anxiety, and/or our inability to move forward. We blame them for our insecurities, the fact that we won’t go to the gym, the fact that our career is not where we want it to be, the fact that we are unhappy. Sometimes we react with a counter punch to shut them down and shut them up or we may become withholding, close off, and turn away, depending on what our coping strategy/defense mechanisms are. We then point the finger and become the innocent victims of our partners cruelty, usually failing to take accountability for our role or how we blew up or shut down once we were triggered. Sharing stories with our friends, family, co-workers and therapist around how our partner pushes all of the right buttons that cause us to react and act out of character. It is clearly their fault!

Being triggered hurts more from some people than others for a reason, usually because we have higher expectations and hopes of the people we open our hearts to and when those people say or do things that hurt our feelings (even when it is unintentional),the harder the fall…the deeper the wound. Although the wound may be deepening, it is not new and even though they might have said something hurtful, the wound of origin was not caused by them.

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The current trigger activates an old wound and not just any wound, a wound we have not fully healed from and may not be aware of. The wound of origin. That first wound that made you feel alone, abandoned, unworthy, unsafe, etc. Sometimes, our partners unintentionally trigger us, yet we make them wrong and leave no room for explanation, we tell ourselves the same narrative that we have carried around for years. When we are bought into our own negative thought patterns, we learn to extract all the information we feel will support our negative narrative, the one where our partner does not love us, is inconsiderate, is selfish and end up struggling to see all of the positive attributes our partners possess, all the ways they show love, and all the things they are presently doing “right.”

7 Things to do when your Partner Triggers you:

  1. So you have been hurt, something that your partner has done (or didn’t do), said (or didn’t say) has brought about an uncomfortable emotion. As soon as you recognize that you have been triggered, STOP (visualizing a Stop sign may help).
  2. Remind yourself that you are working towards having more self-awareness. Your goal is to respond, not react. You are working towards gaining emotional maturity.
  3. Turn towards your partner and share that you have been triggered, let them know what triggered you and the thoughts and feelings coming up for you around that trigger. If you are unsure of what you are feeling (go to step 5), ask for a few minutes to process what is coming up for you.
  4. Give your partner an opportunity to show up for you and the relationship. Give them a chance to validate your feelings and in turn, thank and validate them.
  5. Take a time out. Give yourself a few minutes to process what just happened. Usually the conversation escalates quickly after the trigger, slow down. Sit with yourself and identify what emotion is coming up for you and think back to your earliest memory of experiencing that emotion. Think about the thoughts that came up for you. What did that experience tell you about the world around you? and who you are in this world?
  6. Share with your partner what you learned about yourself and together you can work towards finding ways to work through the trigger when it arises. Discuss what they did or said that had a negative impact on you and share how it relates/links to a past wound.
  7. Acknowledge for yourself that you did it! You did something different, you just had a “win” because you handled being triggered differently! You are on the road to putting the pieces together, having an increased level of self awareness, and becoming less reactive when you are triggered by your partner.

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Everyone gets triggered it’s what you do in those moments that matter. The awareness and understanding of what is happening for you in the moment and why, will decrease reactivity. Return to the wound of origin, nurture your inner child, provide the support for yourself you wish you would have received at that time, the support you need now. HEAL. Only you have the ability to heal your heart, to provide the safety, compassion, and acceptance to all the parts of yourself. If you look to your partner to do it for you, they will fail.

If you truly want to connect with your partner and move past difficult conversations, you have to do your work. 

The trigger is an opportunity, it is a road-map to the place in your heart that is wounded.

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New Response – When triggered, rather than getting lost in the anger, practice appreciation for the fact that you now have information that will support you with finding, healing and releasing the wound of origin. If you do not do this work, you will continue to be triggered, you will continue to blame your partner, you will continue to have conflict, you will continue to be guarded, you will continue to be fearful, you will continue to be stuck and what causes the most danger to a relationship, is having unfair and unrealistic expectations around your partner’s role/responsibility in “making” you happy. 

Each of us has been wounded, no one comes out of childhood unscarred. The “work” is about knowing what those wounds are and how they are showing up in your life right now, present day, in this moment. You have the ability to create a more fulfilling life and a more fulfilling relationship. Yes, in a partnership you get to love and support one another however you can not do all the work for another person and they can not do all the work for you. It is impossible to grow together if one partner is stuck. Once you become emotionally mature you can make clear/rational decisions about your relationship. 

Avoidance, fear and denial will attempt to keep you stuck and blaming others. Awareness, acceptance, self-compassion and courage will provide the positive energy, clarity, and light that will set you free! Turn inward, identify, process, release, heal and share your journey with your partner every step of the way.  The key to a couple growing together is the acceptance that during the couple journey, there will be times in which you have to travel part of the way on your own and trusting that once you do, you will come back to one another with an increased awareness of self and more connected to one another.

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Wishing you effective conversations, peaceful resolutions, and the ability to take ownership of your emotions. All couples disagree at times, learning how to move past the disagreement and come out stronger is the best gift you can give to one another and to yourself. You’ve got this!

 

  • If you feel you may be in an abusive (mentally, physically, or emotionally) relationship, do not blame yourself, seek the help of a licensed professional who can support you with determining if you are a victim of abuse.