Letting Go Of Perfectionism

Utopia_-_Capture_d'écranWouldn’t it be great if we could all be perfect? Imagine a world where everyone always performs flawlessly, always interacts in perfectly socially appropriate ways, always makes the perfect choices. No…that doesn’t sound great to me. It sounds boring, robotic, non-human. It doesn’t sound perfect, because it would be entirely too predictable. It doesn’t sound perfect because it would be stagnant, without growth, without hope.  But so many times we are hard on ourselves for not achieving perfection. In fact, perfectionism often leads to depression and anxiety in individuals. The negative and super-critical self talk that always comes back to the story line of “I’m not good enough” leaves a person’s emotional reserves depleted. Continue reading

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Give The Gift Of You

christmas_gift_stackThis holiday season, give the gift of you. Know that there is nothing you can buy in a store that is more valuable to the people who love you, than your time and attention. Slow down and listen. Stop and give a hug or two. Take time to be fully present with the people you love, and you will be giving them something more precious than any gift that can be wrapped up in shiny paper and handed over.

Children don’t grow into adulthood remembering every time they got what they asked for Christmas. They don’t treasure memories of presents that were unwrapped on Christmas morning and then quickly forgotten about. Children take memories with them into adulthood about time spent together. Some of my personal favorite memories of my Mother are pretty simple times. I remember coming home from school on a hot September day, and my Mom had ice-cold Santa 2013_thumb[3]watermelon waiting for me. We sat and ate watermelon together, and enjoyed letting it cool us off, while we enjoyed just being together. I remember at Christmas the tree decorating, the baking  (done together), the trips to see Santa, and the anticipation of spending time together as a family on Christmas morning. But I don’t remember much about the actual gifts I received as a child. Check your own memories. I’m guessing you will discover the same…that nothing material compares to the memories of time shared.

5919778-christmas-recession-with-a-poor-nature-treeLet go of the idea that your Christmas has to be perfect. There are no perfect holidays, no perfect families, and no perfect gifts. We all fall short of that ideal. Let this holiday season be about giving the gift of your time, attention, love, and connection. That is, after all, the most priceless gift you can give.

Wishing you and yours joy and laughter, and the knowledge that being fully present with your loved ones is more than enough of a gift.

Call me if you’d like some help finding your joy: 831-214-8087

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Forgiveness is a Gift You Give Yourself

13932807758_86160e1c65_bWho do you need to forgive today? It is the season of gift giving. We are all busy thinking of the special gifts we are planning for those we love. Some may be finished with their shopping, while others (the procrastinaters among us) are barely beginning. Last week I wrote about wanting to give the gift of serenity. Today, I’m talking about giving yourself the gift of forgiveness. As you go about preparing for your particular holiday, perhaps you could make room for some quiet time to forgive anyone who has caused you some pain. This is not an easy task for many, including myself. However, holding onto anger and hurt does nothing to the person who has wronged you…chances are they don’t give your anger or pain a second thought. When we hold onto anger, we only hurt ourselves. Continue reading

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Serenity: My Gift To All

Giving_a_giftThe gift I would give to all this holiday season is the gift of serenity. As my husband and I were out Christmas shopping yesterday, we talked about the things we want to give. The more we talked, the more I realized that the gifts that can be bought in a store are not the gifts I value the most. I thought about my clients who come to me with their depression, anxiety, confusion, fears, and I realized that I want to give each of them, and everyone, the gift of serenity. Continue reading

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Saving The World-One Person At A Time

images (13)Today I spoke with a teen who told me that she “wants to save the world.”  She made me smile to myself, and I thought about how she and I share a common goal. I also feel a passion for “saving the world”. I want people to be happy and well, and to treat themselves with respect and let that self-respect ripple outward like gentle movements of water when touched by a falling leaf. I want to leave everyone I encounter feeling a little better, whether they are family, friends, clients, or strangers. Speaking with this young woman reminded me that there a good, caring people all around, of all ages. Continue reading

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How To Be Assertive When Communicating

images (11)Do you know how to be assertive when communicating? Many people confuse assertive communication with aggressive communication. Many people think that being assertive is the same as being pushy, or demanding. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sometimes people think they’ve been assertive when they are actually being abrasive or sarcastic.  Others have trouble believing that being assertive will actually help them to be heard, they think the opposite, that if they are assertive, people will dislike them or misunderstand them. But well-managed assertive communication is so important that there are assertiveness training classes available all over the country, including on-line classes. Continue reading

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Communication Basics: Keeping It Adult

Close_up_of_Interurban_passenger_cars_off_trackHow do you know if you’re off track when communicating? If you are yelling, or your partner is yelling, you’ve gone off track. If you are resorting to name calling, sarcasm, attacking, or if you are reacting to any of the above, you’ve gone off track. If you are feeling talked down to, or if you are the one talking down, you’ve gone off track.  When communication is working at its most effective, you are in an adult frame of mind. This means that you are calm and rational, emotions are moderated, and you don’t think or feel like this conversation will make or break you. If you are over emotional, either too angry or too hurt, you’re not in an adult frame of mind, and you are not likely to be effective. Continue reading

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Communication Basics – Staying On Track

download (3)Basics rules of communication that help people stay on track are simple, but not easy. If that sounds familiar, it is because if you’ve read any of my blog posts, I’ve said it before. So today I’m talking about some basics that I find myself repeating to my therapy clients, frequently. I’m writing about ways to manage your difficult conversations. We all have them….those conversations that we dread, or that we wish we’d never have to have, or that we avoid until we are about to blow up.  Today I’m talking about how to avoid the avoidance, how to prevent the blow ups, by dealing with things and communicating effectively. Continue reading

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Communicating Effectively Equals Listening

We all want to communicate effectively. Right? Most of the time, most people assume thatLearn12 they are doing a pretty good job of communicating effectively. That is what sets people up for difficulties, confusion, and the complete breakdown of effective communication. The real truth is, most of us were never taught how to communicate effectively. We learned to talk as toddlers, yes. We learned to read and write as grade school children. Yet, as an adult, how many times have you been down right certain that you communicated clearly a point of significant importance to someone, only to discover that they completely misunderstood you, or misinterpreted your intention, or didn’t give your words the importance that you thought they deserved? Continue reading

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Simply About Suicide

This post is simply about suicide. I tried to come up with a catchy title. It is such a profound subject, that catchy titles seemed to trivialize the reality. So, this is simply a post about suicide and what it means to me as a person, and as a mental health professional. I first began to work on this post about a month ago. I had trouble with the very personal nature of this topic, and set it aside. This week, Robin Williams took his own life. He was a favorite comedic actor in my household, and the loss of his life left us grief-stricken and confused. Robin, thanks for inspiring me to revisit this topic. I’m so sorry that you were in so much pain. I pray for comfort for your family and all who loved you. Continue reading

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