The relationships between the events in your life and your feelings are going to be less clear if you have difficulty identifying what you are feeling. Naturally, there are times when you are unable to precisely name what you feel. Identifying your feelings may require you to take time to focus on yourself and your feelings. If you find it difficult to notice or name what you are feeling, it may require that you pay attention to your body. Most feelings are experienced in the body. For example, fear may show up as a knot in your stomach or a tightness in your throat. Our bodies are all different, so you will have to pay attention to your body and not just rely on others experiences. Feelings are also connected to your behavior. If you aren’t sure how you feel, but you realize that you are acting in a way that sends a clear message to others, you may be able to infer what you are feeling from your behavior. For example, if you have an angry facial expression or tone of voice when you are talking with a particular friend, it may be that you are angry or frustrated with that person without recognizing it. Making the connection between life’s events and your feelings is very useful. Continuing with this same example, once you recognize your feelings, you may then more clearly understand and articulate your concerns with your friend. Often your feelings are related to your interpretations of events more than to the events themselves. While it is natural to think that you are responding only to the events of your life, in fact you make interpretations or judgments of these events, and these interpretations play a key role in your emotional responses. When you stop to think about it, each event could yield a variety of emotional responses; your interpretation of the event helps link a particular emotional response to that event. http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/self-help-brochures/self-awarenessself-care/experiencing-and-expressing-emotions/
We cannot tell what may happen
to us in the strange medley of life.
But we can decide what happens in us;
how we can take it, what we do with it;
and that is what really counts in the end.
Joseph Fort Newton
Insight without action only gets you so far. In order to grow, self-awareness and self-acceptance must be accompanied by new behavior. This involves taking risks and venturing outside your comfort one. It may involve speaking up, trying something new, going somewhere alone, or setting a boundary. It also means setting internal boundaries by keeping commitments to yourself, or saying “no” to your Critic or other old habits you want to change. Instead of expecting others to meet all your needs and make you happy, you learn to take actions to meet them, and do things that give you fulfillment and satisfaction in your life.Each time you try out new behavior or take a risk, you learn something new about yourself and your feelings and needs. You’re creating a stronger sense of yourself, as well as self-confidence and self-esteem. This builds upon itself in a positive feedback loop vs. the downward spiral of codependency, which creates more fear, depression, and low self-esteem. Words are actions. They have power and reflect your self-esteem. Becoming assertive is a learning process and is perhaps the most powerful tool in recovery. Assertiveness requires that you know yourself and risk making that public. It entails setting limits. This is respecting and honoring yourself. You get to be the author of your life – what you’ll do and not do and how people will treat you. Taken from an article By Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT http://psychcentral.com/lib/recovery-from-codependency/00014956
It’s like everyone tells a story
about themselves inside their own head.
Always. All the time.
That story makes you what you are.
We build ourselves out of that story.
Healing essentially involves self-acceptance. This is not only a step, but a life-long journey. People come to therapy to change themselves, not realizing that the work is about accepting themselves. Ironically, before you can change, you have to accept the situation. As they say, “What you resist, persists.”In recovery, more about yourself is revealed that requires acceptance, and life itself presents limitations and losses to accept. This is maturity. Accepting reality opens the doors of possibility. Change then happens. New ideas and energy emerge that previously stagnated from self-blame and fighting reality. For example, when you feel sad, lonely, or guilty, instead of making yourself feel worse, you have self-compassion, soothe yourself, and take steps to feel better. Self-acceptance means that you don’t have to please everyone for fear that they won’t like you. You honor your needs and unpleasant feelings and are forgiving of yourself and others. This goodwill toward yourself allows you to be self-reflective without being self-critical. Your self-esteem and confidence grow, and consequently, you don’t allow others to abuse you or tell you what to do. Instead of manipulating, you become more authentic and assertive, and are capable of greater intimacy. By Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT http://psychcentral.com/lib/recovery-from-codependency/00014956
Who looks outside,
who looks inside,
Carl Gustav Jung
A man will have faults. An overweight man can look at himself and take the steps needed to shed pounds. A man with poor eyesight can wear glasses or contact lenses. How often, though, does a man look inside himself for ways to improve? A man’s emotional and mental health are just as valuable as his physical, yet the former receives much less attention. One of the most common mental illnesses in men is depression. 10 % of men will suffer a major depressive episode during their lifetime. Great men in history who suffered from depression are numerous: Abraham Lincoln, Ernest Hemingway, Winston Churchill, , and Buzz Aldrin to name a few. Aldrin overcame his depression and alcoholism, eventually becoming Chair of the National Mental Health Association. Churchill took up painting to keep what he called the “black dog” at bay. The treatment Hemingway sought for his depression only served to deepen it. The ECT shock treatments stole from him valuable memories and hindered his writing ability, precipitating his suicide… What makes mental illness, such as depression, so difficult to deal with in men is the perceived shame that comes with admitting it. The World Health Organization states that fewer than 25% of male sufferers worldwide will seek treatment “[because of] social stigmas associated with mental disorders including depression.” A man may put his pride before all else, no matter what the cost. I know this, and I know how high the price can rise. Depression’s origins vary from man to man. Sometimes traumatic events such as sudden death or illness triggers depression. Early social interaction and a man’s childhood also play a major role. If a man felt neglected or unloved by his parents, or ostracized by other children, depression is more likely to become a constant companion. Eventually, however, depression boils down to a question of biochemistry. Although we all have sad episodes in our life, even some lasting for weeks or months, men who suffer from depression have some sort of imbalance in their brain chemistry that causes pain and suffering for no reason and without warning. While looking to the past to find the root of a man’s depression can be beneficial, a focus on positive and active treatment now and in the future is most essential. By S.M. Leahy http://www.artofmanliness.com/2009/09/01/dealing-with-male-depression/
That’s the thing about depression:
A human being can survive almost anything,
as long as she/(he) sees the end in sight.
is so insidious, and it compounds daily,
that it’s impossible to ever see the end.
The fog is like a cage without a key.
A divorce is a highly stressful, life-changing event. When you’re going through the emotional wringer and dealing with major life changes, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself. The strain and upset of a major breakup can leave you psychologically and physically vulnerable. Treat yourself like you’re getting over the flu. Get plenty of rest, minimize other sources of stress in your life, and reduce your workload if possible. Learning to take care of yourself can be one of the most valuable lessons you learn following a divorce or breakup. As you feel the emotions of your loss and begin learning from your experience, you can resolve to take better care of yourself and make positive choices going forward. Pay attention to what you need in any given moment and speak up to express your needs. Honor what you believe to be right and best for you even though it may be different from what your ex or others want. Say “no” without guilt or angst as a way of honoring what is right for you. A divorce or relationship breakup can disrupt almost every area of your life, amplifying feelings of stress, uncertainty, and chaos. Getting back to a regular routine can provide a comforting sense of structure and normalcy. Try not to make any major decisions in the first few months after a separation or divorce, like starting a new job or moving to a new city. If you can, wait until you’re feeling less emotional so that you can make better decisions. Avoid using alcohol, drugs, or food to cope. When you’re in the middle of a breakup, you may be tempted to do anything to relieve your feelings of pain and loneliness. But using alcohol, drugs, or food as an escape is unhealthy and destructive in the long run. It’s essential to find healthier ways of coping with painful feelings. A divorce or breakup is a beginning as well as an end. Take the opportunity to explore new interests and activities. Pursuing fun, new activities gives you a chance to enjoy life in the here-and-now, rather than dwelling on the past. When you’re going through the stress of a divorce or breakup, healthy habits easily fall by the wayside. You might find yourself not eating at all or overeating your favorite junk foods. Exercise might be harder to fit in because of the added pressures at home and sleep might be elusive. But all of the work you are doing to move forward in a positive way will be pointless if you don’t make long-term healthy lifestyle choices. Source: Mental Health America http://www.helpguide.org/mental/coping_divorce_relationship_breakup.htm
Forgiveness is not the misguided act
of condoning irresponsible, hurtful behavior.
Nor is it a superficial turning of the other cheek
that leaves us feeling victimized and martyred.
Rather it is the finishing of old business
that allows us to experience the present,
free of contamination from the past.
Making small sacrifices for your partner when you don’t feel like it could be damaging your relationship, according to social scientists from the University of Arizona. Men and women offering to take on a chore normally done by the other may make them seem like the perfect partner. Yet when these sacrifices are done by a partner who is feeling stressed, it can make the stress worse, the study found. Doing chores to help out a partner may seem like the right thing to do, but if you’re in a bad mood, these sacrifices can do your relationship more harm than good, claim researchers from the University of Arizona. This in turn can lead to an increase in arguments and partners feeling taken for granted. Research scientist Casey Totenhagen and her team at the university carried out daily surveys among 154 married and unmarried couples. The length of relationship ranged from from six months to 44 years. The couples recorded all their activities from time spent with friends, to child care and chores. They were then asked to record which activities they considered to be ‘sacrifices’. Sacrifices included those they had done that were usually done by their partner. Alongside this, everyone filled in details of how well their day had been, the hassles they had experienced and how it had affected their mood. And finally, a section was reserved for them to rank their feelings towards their partners on a daily basis, including how close, committed and satisfied they felt about the relationship. The kind of sacrifices made were small and not significant in terms of how it could change a relationship but generally carried out to show ‘niceness’, said the researchers. Carrying out such good deeds while in a good mood made the person doing it feel more committed to their relationship. However, it appears to have little effect on the other partner who, in general, felt no different about the relationship after the nice act than they did before. The key to a long and happy relationship is sharing chores, instead of making sacrifices and doing your partner’s chores for them, claims research from the University of Arizona. From A Daily Mail article by Victoria Woollaston http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2317712/Being-MORE-selfish-key-successful-relationship-claims-research.html#ixzz2ezLEFZDV
Almost every sinful action ever committed
can be traced back to a selfish motive.
It is a trait we hate in other people
but justify in ourselves.
To be true to yourself means to act in accordance with who you are and what you believe. If you know and love yourself you will find it effortless to be true to yourself. Just as you cannot love anyone else until you love yourself, you cannot be true to anyone else until you are true to yourself. Be who you are! Have the courage to accept yourself as you really are, not as someone else thinks you should be. Do not take action or pretend to be someone else for the sake of gaining acceptance. When you do things that are not genuine or a reflection of the real you, you will not be happy with yourself and will end up confused. You’ll be confused because you won’t know whom to please, or how. Self-respect comes from being true to who you really are and from acting in accordance with your fundamental nature. When you respect yourself, others will respect you. They will sense that you are strong and capable of standing up for yourself and your beliefs. When you are true to yourself, you allow your individuality and uniqueness to shine through. You respect the opinions of others but do not conform to stereotypes or their expectations of you. To be true to yourself takes courage. It requires you to be introspective, sincere, open-minded and fair. It does not mean that you are inconsiderate or disrespectful of others. It means that you will not let others define you or make decisions for you that you should make for yourself. http://www.essentiallifeskills.net/betruetoyourself.html
He who trims himself
to suit everyone
will soon whittle
For whatever reason, some people choose to stay in relationships that are no good for them. In many cases, even those who do end an unhealthy partnership have extreme difficulty letting go. They struggle to move past where they once were and have trouble starting over. There is an overwhelming fear of never having anything better than what you had with your partner. The feeling stems from a low self-image… In many instances, people whose self-worth are low have long listened to her partner explain that she(he) could never have anything better than what she(he) has now, or that no one else will ever want her(him) like he(she) does. If she(he) doesn’t feel that she(he) deserves better, letting go of even a bad relationship can be impossible. Fear doesn’t need to mean that you are afraid of someone or something physically. It can mean that you are afraid of what lies ahead for you. You cling to the bad relationship that you have because it’s what is comfortable to you; even though it hurts you emotionally or physically. Fear will not only keep you from letting go of a relationship, but it will also hinder your ability to let you see yourself as a wonderful and beautiful person. As scary as it sounds, in order for you to let go of a bad relationship, you must look to the future. Envision a life for yourself without the person who made your relationship bad. Find your own true self and independence away from your past hurts. Discover things to do on your own that won’t remind you of the bad relationship; by gaining your own independence, the past relationship doesn’t feed on your new life without the other person. Facing the future can feel impossible if you’re leaving a bad relationship, but staying in a relationship where you aren’t valued, loved or appreciated is far worse than an unknown future. Taken from on-line article by Nichole Smith http://www.life123.com/relationships/issues/breaking-up-moving-on/letting-go-of-a-bad-relationship.shtml
Moving on is easy.
It’s staying moved on
Katerina Stoykova Klemer
Trust your heart; if it is ready to embrace someone who has harmed you, it will open, without force. Indeed, by giving yourself permission to say “no,” to follow your truth, you are offering yourself the only real chance you have to genuinely want to be with them, at some time. Without permission to say “no,” we cannot find the authentic desire to say “yes.” And if that desire never comes, that too is as spiritual a path as any other. Spirituality is not about becoming the person that you are supposed to be — not about doing the “spiritual” thing. To be spiritual is to compassionately welcome your truth — what you actually feel — whether you like that truth or not. To be spiritual is to stop trying to be a more spiritual and open-hearted version of yourself, and instead, to open your heart without judgment to who and how you actually are. Perhaps the hardest task of all, being spiritual is about letting yourself — and what is so — be. By Nancy Colier “Letting Go of Toxic People: When Staying in It Is Not More Spiritual” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-colier/toxic-relationships_b_2758794.html
To be true to yourself takes courage. It requires you to be introspective, sincere, open-minded and fair. It does not mean that you are inconsiderate or disrespectful of others. It means that you will not let others define you or make decisions for you that you should make for yourself. Be true to the very best that is in you and live your life consistent with your highest values and aspirations. Those who are most successful in life have dared to creatively express themselves and in turn, broaden the experiences and perspectives of everyone else. http://www.essentiallifeskills.net/betruetoyourself.html
Few are those
who see with
their own eyes
and feel with
their own hearts.
You’ve given it your all. You’ve even tried counseling. You’re considering leaving the relationship and even though things still aren’t working right, you’re not sure if leaving the relationship is the best thing to do. Dennis Neder, an ordained minister and author of Being a Man in a Woman’s World, says as long as kids aren’t involved, it’s time to break up a relationship when there’s no longer any mutual benefit. “If you aren’t getting what you want or need from being with someone, it’s time to move on,” says Dr. Neder. While many people may view this as selfish, Dr. Neder says it can’t be good for either person when one person is unfulfilled. It’s much healthier to find a relationship that works for you and gives you what you need, than to cling to one that causes dissatisfaction. “We all know people who are in unhealthy relationships, but either will not or cannot leave them,” says Dr. Neder. “These people use all of their energies propping up the sagging relationship. Life is too short for this,” he continues. In Dr. Neder’s opinion, relationships should enhance your journey. The problem is, many people give up their journeys to take on someone else’s. It’s better to decide where you’re going, find others who are on their own paths and then see where you might fit together, he says. “Give more thought to what you’re looking for before creating your relationships,” he advises. That way you’re more likely have healthy relationships and end unhealthy ones quickly. http://health.howstuffworks.com/relationships/advice/when-is-it-time-to-leave-the-relationship.htm
There are four ways you can handle fear.
You can go over it, under it, or around it.
But if you are ever to put fear behind you,
must walk straight through it.
Once you put fear behind you,
leave it there.
Donna A. Favors