Boundaries

Many of the problems humans suffer are as a result of unhealthy boundaries. These unhealthy boundaries start when we are very young by the way we allow others to treat us and make us feel. We are made to feel inadequate, or less than, by other people. We are in unhealthy situations where we are expected to be caretakers of others because our caretakers cannot function appropriately. We are made to feel as though we should be doormats for other people’s feelings, unresolved anger and trauma, or piled upon with heaping doses of guilt that are not ours to carry.

Regardless of how we come to allow people to treat us, we then start to believe this is how we should function in every relationship. We will always act as a doormat or a caretaker or that our needs mean nothing or our feelings are unimportant or we have to avoid making other people mad to avoid conflict or abuse. There can be many, many ways that we allow unhealthy boundaries and they can be very difficult to overcome.

How then do we move away from unhealthy boundaries? First, we must believe that we deserve to be treated better and that having boundaries is necessary. Second, we must love ourselves enough to implement boundaries regardless of how it makes others feel. Third, we must be willing to hold the line every time. Fourth, we must be prepared that the people we care about most will be the ones who push back the hardest when we enforce our boundaries.

If we have spent our entire lives allowing people to treat us in certain ways and expect that we will behave in certain ways when they do, we cannot expect that they will not be upset when we no longer comply. They will be very upset. They will take it personally. They will become angry with us. They will push back and want to reinforce that you have no boundaries. It will be very difficult to maintain the line. But if you are to be happy, to love yourself, to embrace what you deserve, you must hold the line.

We must start to draw our boundaries one event, one relationship at a time. We must find our voice to say no. We must express our feelings without anger yet filled with the truth. We must reinforce to ourselves daily, sometimes by the second, what we deserve, how we want to be treated, and that we love ourselves enough to have our relationships with others changed or abandoned.

Where do you need to start holding the line in your life?

Until next time,
Deborah

I am currently accepting new clients (girls and women) for counseling. If you would like to schedule a FREE initial consultation please call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com

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Ties That Bind

Sometimes the ties that bind are also the same ties that keep us bound. These ties can also be impossible to break because they are genetically woven into our brains. The tie that binds most is between mother and child.

All children are bound to their mothers at the very innermost levels. It does not matter if their mothers are caring and kind or if they are abusive and destructive. Children still want that relationship with their mothers. The relationship that is ingrained in their genetics. The one that wants nurturing, wants caring, wants love.

Many of the people I talk to trace their own negative beliefs, their own poor choices, their own sadness to their own mothers. Many of their negative beliefs are based on things their mother said to them or things they didn’t say. Many of their emotions – sadness, anger – they trace back to their mothers neglecting them, abusing them, abandoning them. But not a single person I have ever talked to has ever said that they wouldn’t want to have a relationship with their mother, that they wouldn’t want to go back to live with them, that they still don’t want their mother to love them. They all say that they want all those things, no matter what their mother has done to them.

Children want their mother’s approval and many spend their entire lives trying to get it. They want their mother’s love and will do anything to try and have it even if it isn’t real love but only something they take as love because it is all they will get. They want that relationship more than anything and without it they become damaged because genetically we all need it.

Unfortunately, the relationship may never be what the child craves. So then, how does one live with that loss. With time and understanding of who you really are separate from that tie. Understanding that your negative beliefs may not be your beliefs at all. Understanding that the choices your mother made were because of her own beliefs and emotions and that it was not about you. Understanding that having a relationship with your mother may be one where you have to accept that she is who she is and that may never change.

It can be that you can live beyond this tie. That you can come to understand your place in it. And that you can live as your true self separate from it. That you can be less bound to it if it is something that causes you pain. Sometimes undoing the ties that bind can set you free.

Until next time,
Deborah

I am now accepting girls and women for counseling. If you would like to set up an Initial Consultation please call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com

Circles

Allowing what other people think, do, and say to affect your life. This is something that almost everyone I’ve ever talked to does. Their perception of their lives of their very beliefs about who they are exist because they have allowed someone in their circles to affect them.

We all have circles of people in our lives. From the most inner to the almost unseen. In the most inner, most people have immediate family, a spouse or significant other, parents, children. The next circle is other family, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins. The next would be close friends, the very close, which is generally a smaller number of people. The next circle is other friends, not close, but still friends. The next would be people you might call friends, but they are just really people you know and this might include co-workers or classmates or bosses or teachers. The next circle are people you don’t really know but they know people you do know, satellites I call them. The next circle are people you see regularly like the person who makes your latte, or at the register at the grocery store. The next is people you don’t know at all, strangers. If we allow it, any one of the people in these circles can affect the way we view ourselves.

With the inner most circle it can be very difficult to not allow what they do, say or think to affect our lives. We spend a great deal of time with them, we have emotional bonds with them, we very often are seeking their approval. It can be very difficult to believe differently about ourselves if the person we care for most, such as our mothers or our children, tell us we are not good enough or they don’t really love us. But it is not impossible, with understanding and work.

As the circle grows wider, we can let others who mean far, far less in our lives have the same kind of impact on us. A stranger making a comment in the grocery store line can be enough for us to allow ourselves to believe what they are saying is true. But why do we allow the thoughts of all of these circles to matter to us?

Who in your circles actually has any real control over who you are and what you do? Who decides what grades you get? Who decides what job you apply for? Who decides what you eat? Who decides where you live? Who decides anything that you do or how you do it? If it is always someone else, why do you allow that? If it is you, why does anything anyone else say, do or think matter?

What other people do, think, or say matters because we allow it to matter. What do you allow to matter in your life, in your mind, in your heart?

Until next time,
Deborah

I am now accepting new clients (adolescent girls and women) for counseling. To schedule a FREE Initial Consultation call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com

Growing

Growing is hard. It is hard work. It often exacts a hard toll on relationships. It is hard for many people to do because of the fear of losing people. It is hard for others to understand. Growing is hard.

When we begin to change who we are at our core, we find that the change begins to affect everything around us. How we see ourselves in our relationships with others is one of the first things to change. If these relationships have been contributing to our pain, or sadness, or anxiety, when we change we no longer want these relationships in our lives. Sometimes, these relationships are with people we are very close to – family and friends, even spouses/significant others and children. When we begin to value ourselves, we expect that others should value us as well. When they do not or are unable to, we move away from those relationships and it is very, very hard in many cases.

We may feel tremendous fear at these changes. We have lived in these ways with these people for many years. It is all we know. It provides a sort of dark comfort, but at least we know what it is. If we move away, change, we have to build new relationships, with many unknowns. That is very scary to us. The familiar is easier. Even if we repeat the same destructive relationship patterns over and over, it is familiar.

There is also the hardness of the love we do have for people in these relationships. That love is damaged, it is unhealthy, it is not helping us, but it is still what we know as love. We can share years with these people, share memories, share life experiences, we can feel obligated to stay in these relationships because they are our “family.” But many times it is these relationships that further our damage, our negative self-image, our pain. It is very hard to let them go or change them to include boundaries that empower us to be happier, healthier, stronger.

Changing these relationships many times affects others around us and that is also hard. If it is a spouse or significant other who is the parent of your children or step-parent, removing them from your life also changes things for the children. We may stay in these relationships to avoid that very thing. But we continue to inflict our pain, sadness, negative self-image on our children, which in turn can damage them. Change is hard, but in the end it can be better for everyone involved.

Many people will start to make change, but when it becomes too hard or causes too much fear, they give up. If only they can push through that, they will find that the other side is brighter and better.

Growing is hard, but it is not impossible and you can do it.

Until next time,
Deborah

If you would like help to grow and change, I am accepting new clients (girls and women) for counseling. Call 406-413-9904 for a FREE initial consultation or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com

Reborn

reborn

The definition of reborn is a rebirth, regenerated, revived, born again. Many times through the process of therapy, people can feel reborn. They can feel as if they have had a rebirth. They can feel as if they have been regenerated or revived. In letting their past come into the light, then die (in the processing of it and removing it’s power over them), they are reborn.

In therapy, I use a visual of how each of us starts out when we are born. We are complete and without holes (or damage). We have not experienced the things which will affect what we think and how we feel. As we experience these things, we develop holes (or damage) and we become unstable. If we do not process this damage, we have more and more of it resulting in more and more holes. With enough holes, we become unstable and fall apart into pieces of ourselves. The pieces fall all over the place and are not easy to find and pick back up. However, with therapy, work, and processing, they can be picked up and put back together. And we can be reborn, as we were with our holes (damage) repaired.

With each piece that is picked up, brought into the light, acknowledged, processed, and then let die. Each time we do that, we are reborn. Bit by bit, we regain who we were before all the holes. We become again who we truly are or were and are again. But it is not without work and going through the trauma of your past. You cannot let die that which you will not acknowledge.

Being reborn, just like Spring, signifies letting go of that which has died off over the winter and replacing it with new life. We can experience the very same thing in our mental health, which translates to our physical health. What we let live in the brain represents in the body. Every trauma, every emotion associated with the trauma becomes present in our physical bodies as pain, sickness, disease. When we are reborn in our emotions, we are regenerated in our body. We experience a rebirth each time our trauma and our emotions no longer dictate our thoughts and choices.

Just as Spring and the season of Easter, we can be regenerated, be revived. We can be reborn.

Until next time,
Deborah

I am now accepting new clients (girls and women) for counseling. If you would like to schedule an appointment for a FREE consultation, please call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com

It’s Never About You

notaboutyou

Miguel Ruiz in his amazing book The Four Agreements wrote that the second agreement is “Don’t Take Anything Personally.” In my work, I would say that this should be rule number one. I believe by what people suffer with on a daily basis that almost all of it is caused by believing what other people say and do or don’t say or don’t do is about them. As Ruiz wrote, once people become immune to the opinions and actions of others they will not be a victim of needless suffering.

This also seems to be the hardest thing for people to do – become immune to what other people say or do or don’t say or do. Because we are conditioned, even genetically made, to seek out relationships with other people, we consistently do that at the expense of our own needs and discount our beliefs about ourselves. In fact, we take what others believe about us and make those our beliefs. We do it so often that eventually we think these beliefs are what we believe. They become our reality.

Nothing anyone ever says or does is about you. Nothing they don’t say or don’t do is about you. Every word or action that comes from someone else is about them. Even if they say “You are ______.” That is what THEY think you are. You can only make that true if you believe it and if you begin living your life as whatever they think you are. If you don’t believe it and you don’t do it, you cannot be whatever it is. People can say anything they want or do anything they want that does not mean you have to turn that into who you are. That is a choice. A choice to believe what they believe instead of what you know.

If people say you are stupid, ugly, fat, worthless or they treat you badly or like a doormat and you accept those things as true about yourself those beliefs become who you are. You will live as if you are stupid or ugly or fat or worthless or that you should always be treated badly or as a doormat. And you will suffer needlessly.

People constantly question why they feel the way they do and the answer is simple. It is because you believe the things other people say or do are about you and that you then accept them as true. Without questioning and without requiring proof, these things are accepted as fact. Because my mother or father or sibling or significant other or friend or even stranger said (fill in the blank) or did (fill in the blank) it has to be true. No it does not have to be true. People say and do things because of what they feel or think, because of what they want to make you feel or think, because of the experiences they have had that have made them behave in certain ways towards others – not one of these things is about you – not a single one.

What do you, only you, think about yourself and did those thoughts start with you or someone else? Search your life and ask yourself, when did I start thinking this or feeling this? What was happening in my life? Is it because of something someone else said or did? I guarantee you that almost every single time you will find these beliefs did not start with you. They came from someone else. Everything we are came from someone else – we are taught to talk, walk, dress ourselves, read, write, play sports, everything we do we learned from someone else. Why would what we think and feel be different? We are not born thinking we are stupid or fat or worthless – those things are supplied by others and we supply the belief that they are true and they are always about us.

It’s never about you.

Until next time,
Deborah

I am currently accepting new clients for counseling (girls and women). If you would like to schedule a FREE Initial consultation please call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com

Right Now

Most people and their minds spend time in two places – the past and the present. Very few, spend time in the right now. Even when they think they are in the right now, what they are thinking, feeling, and doing is informed by their continued issues with the past or their fear of the future. The right now is rarely separated out, alone, to become their focus, their only focus.

When we feel overwhelmed it is usually because we have allowed events, feelings, memories of the past to “infect” our present. We have not processed these things and we continue to carry them with us making them our reality. They all have a starting place usually not one of our own making but we make them our truths. And we are convinced that everything we are experiencing right now is a result of the past. We unpack the bags we carry all that stuff in and start attaching the stuff to everything going on in our lives. Sometimes consciously sometimes unconsciously. It just becomes who we are. We become accustomed to the pain of things and afraid to live our lives without it.

We also pretend we are psychic and can see into the future. We predict the outcome of everything that is happening to us. We make it bigger, more scary, more upsetting. We go to worst case scenarios. We believe our lives will always be the way they are now. We predict everything including death as we make catastrophes at every moment of our lives. And we believe that this future we create is actually going to happen as if we have some magic machine to make it so. Guess what? We don’t and we can’t. It’s all made up.

What if we lived in the right now? With nothing added. Trimmed down to the barest essence of this moment. How would we change our stress or depression or anger? In any moment ask yourself the following:

What am I feeling right now? Name it, acknowledge it, examine it, do not grow it, entertain it, live in it. Do not make it about the past or future. If you are upset, why right now are you upset, what happened exactly right now? What can you do about it, anything,nothing? Let it go.
What am I doing right now? Standing, sitting, walking, driving, working. Name it describe it notice it. Notice your senses right now what do you see, smell, touch, taste, hear right now.
Breathe slowly. In through the nose out through the mouth. Breathe in hold for 4 seconds breathe out for 7 seconds. Notice the breathe, notice your body, notice your feelings.
Do not unpack the baggage of the past or predict the future. Stay in the right now.

We suffer first because of what we experience due to either our own choices or the choices of others. We experience thereafter because of the way we live in the past and predict the future. We extend our own suffering and become used to it, sometimes even comfortable with it. We can even become afraid not to have it because we feel we deserve to be angry, sad, scared in order to be who we have come to be. If we let that go, who will we be then without it?

If you want to find out who that person is, live in the now. Only the right now. Once you do that, it is easier to look at the past objectively and work through it and it is easier to see a future that is a blank slate waiting for you to write on it.

Live right now.

Until next time,
Deborah

I am now accepting new clients (girls and women) for counseling. For a FREE initial consultation call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com