No Answers

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

One of the biggest issues that we as humans have is that some questions have no answers.

As humans, we are driven to find answers. We feel that we must learn things and know things. We feel as if everything must have an answer. And when no answer is found, we create an answer to satisfy our need. Even if that answer is a lie we fashion into the truth.

It is always the hardest questions that have no answer. The questions that shape our lives and beliefs and we are never given the answer to the most basic question….why?

If we experience abuse as a child, we ask why. If people we love suffer and die, we ask why? If our relationships are consistently failing, we ask why. If our parents were not able to love us or care for us properly, we ask why. If someone makes us feel unloved, unworthy, not smart, not pretty, we ask why.

These questions can have answers, but most often we reject the answer in favor of something more easily believed. If the answer to abuse is that the person who abused us has unresolved trauma, that is not an acceptable reason for what they did to us. If the answer is that every human dies, that is not good enough. If the answer is that it is our own unresolved trauma that prevents us from forming healthy relationships, somehow that must be false. If the answer is that our parents did the best they could with who they were and are, it does not make anything better for us.

There are always answers, but as humans we find them unacceptable. The answer must be something else. Or someone else’s fault or our own fault. The truth is often harsh and does nothing to help our pain.

And because we are still in pain, we create answers that we can accept more easily. Even if these answers bear no truth, they make us feel better. It is like coating a bitter pill in sweet chocolate. The bitter pill that provides no relief must be avoided at all costs. It is just too hard a thing to swallow.

The search for answers about our lives provides us with one thing for certain – choices. We can choose to accept the sometimes harsh and hard truth or we can choose to create truths we can accept. This is always the choice when we seek answers.

One leads to acceptance and the other leads to constant battles within ourselves to keep our created truth alive.

Until next time be well,


Happiness Starts With You

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For many people, happiness is something they think happens due to outside forces. If I get the grades I want. If I have a job where I am successful. If I have a relationship. If I am thinner. If people are proud of me.

I call it the happiness hamper. The place where you go to dig through all the things to find one that you think will make you happy. Trying on different ones to see which will make you happy at that moment. All of these kinds of happiness are dependent on someone or something else.

True happiness can only come if you are happy with yourself – with nothing added by anyone or anything else. Just you, in your own flesh, looking in a mirror and saying that YOU make you happy.

People that seek happiness outside of themselves from other people or things are very often disappointed and decidedly unhappy. If your happiness resides in your getting a certain job or making a certain amount of money and that doesn’t happen as you hope it will you then feel sad and as if you are now not successful or worthy.

If you seek happiness in relationships and your relationship does not work out…you feel sad and as if you somehow lacking because that person did not choose to stay with you.

If happiness does not start with you how then can you expect to be happy with anything else that you do or with anyone else. If you inherently find fault with yourself and are not wholeheartedly happy with just you – how can you expect that you would be able to be happy in some other situation? You are still the same person are you not? The same one you are not happy with. That does not change because your situation changes.

So many times my clients when I talk about being happy with themselves bring up all the trauma and suffering from their life. They believe they cannot be happy with themselves because of all the beliefs and responses they have to this trauma – that other people and other situations taught them. But they believe it, internalize it, live it with words like “my fault”, “not worthy”, “not valued”, “not smart”, “not pretty” and on and on.

I should have a sign in my office with the following words: Repetition and Reinforcement. I say it often enough. I believe it absolutely that it is the only way to change how you think about what you feel. You must repeat, repeat, repeat for as many times as is necessary. And then you must reinforce by repeating hundreds, millions, hundreds of millions until your brain believes what you are saying. Until the negative things you have internalized are gone – replaced.

Start small, say it once a day, have it written and placed next to where you brush your teeth every morning. Say it out loud looking at yourself in a mirror and smile when you do it.


Do it once a day for four weeks. Then do it twice a day for three weeks. Then three times a day for three weeks. It takes 21 consecutive days of doing something to make a habit that sticks. Then do it four times a day for three weeks. Ever increasing until it becomes a running monologue in your brain. And smile every time you say it – smiling releases endorphins, endorphins make us feel happier.

Happiness starts with YOU.

Until next time be well,


Be Your Own Valentine

Valentine’s Day can be the cause of great joy and great stress. When we have a special someone in our lives we feel we have to work extra hard to keep them and when we do not have that special someone we feel we must spend all our energy trying to find them.

On Valentine’s Day, and truly every day, we can be so invested in keeping or finding our special someone, or being very sad that we have lost them or have not found them, that we forget to love the person who needs it, deserves it, and benefits most….ourselves.

Do you love yourself? Do you make you happy? Do you practice self love?

If you answer no to these questions, perhaps it is time to start changing that, right now, this moment, today. And to build in love for yourself on every day of the year.

If you believe that you do not or can not love yourself, why is that true for you? Where did that belief start in your life? You were not born not loving yourself. It started at some point after that. Experiences, trauma, caregivers who caused you to form this belief, internalize someone else’s beliefs as your own. We do not wake up one day as an infant and decide that we, ourselves, do not love ourselves any longer. We are conditioned to believe this. How were you conditioned to answer no to the question of do you love yourself?

Are you happy with yourself? If the answer is no, what parts of yourself are you not happy with? And why did you become unhappy with those parts? Again, who informed that belief, who gave you that belief? What experiences caused that belief to become something you now accept? You were not born unhappy with yourself. How were you conditioned to believe that you make you unhappy?

If you answered no to the first two, it is highly unlikely that you practice self love. When is the last time you did something to show love to yourself? Were you taught that to think of yourself and do things for yourself was selfish? Were you taught that you had to or needed to take care of others and care about their happiness before your own? When you were born your own needs were very important to you – food, care, clothing, safety. When did that change?

“Loving yourself… does not mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic, or disregarding others. Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honored guest in your own heart, a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion.” —Margo Anand

Loving yourself is the most kind, respectful thing that you can do for you every single day. Repeat after me – I love myself, I am worthy of loving myself, I deserve to love myself, my love for myself makes me happy with myself.

Be your own valentine!

Until next time be well,


The Hardest Word In Therapy

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There are lots of difficult words in therapy. Trauma, abuse, grief, change are just a few of the hard words therapy causes to surface. There is one word though that is more difficult than all the others for most of my clients.


On the road to change there are three words. Acknowledgment or awareness, acceptance, and change. Change cannot come without the other two being ahead of it on the road.

However, it is the word and act of acceptance that most of my clients find the hardest to see, say and do. Acceptance means that one has to accept fully that what has happened to them to this point in their life, no matter how much they would wish it could just be forgotten, wiped away, not remembered, will always be a part of them, always.

Most people with trauma spend their lives ignoring, running away from, or repeatedly responding to events and relationships from a place of their traumatic experience. And yet, all the while, they are trying to pretend that it is not the trauma. That they can forget the trauma, box it up, pretend it is not the cause of all the subsequent fears, traumas, failures, and unhealthy coping techniques they employ for all the days of their life that follows.

Most people with trauma work very hard to NOT acknowledge or be aware of their trauma and the subsequent trauma responses. They work even harder on NOT accepting that this trauma will forever be in their memories.

In order to progress towards real change, one must acknowledge their trauma. Face it, understand it, process it in relation to all that has followed, recognize it and be aware of how it causes you to make decisions, respond to events, and conduct relationships.

The second step is acceptance that your trauma is part of you. We cannot erase memories. Lobotomies are not performed in many countries any longer. Our experiences are our experiences. They happened. They shaped who we became after and what we thought and believed about ourselves after the trauma.

And this is where change comes in. We cannot change what has happened. We can however change how we feel about it. We can change how we react to it. We can change how we think about ourselves in relation to it. And in changing these things, we change everything.

It is a process. Sometimes a slow and painful process. Sometimes a quicker process. Each person’s path to change will be different. It will not happen overnight. But it can and will happen if we acknowledge, accept, and then change our thoughts, change our beliefs, change our reactions.

What has your trauma caused you to think about yourself in relation to it? I am not worthy of love, I am not good enough, my feelings do not matter, I am not valued, and any of the millions of things we can be taught to think and believe by our traumas. How have these beliefs affected your choices in life, your responses, your relationships? Do you know who you are outside of this trauma? Are you even aware of who that person is?

The path to change can be frightening. For all the horrible things trauma causes in our lives, we can become accustomed to it because we know it. We know exactly how it looks, feels, and what we can expect to happen. It is known. Change is unknown. The person on the other side of change is unknown. The life on the other side of change is unknown.

And so the only remaining question is, do you wish to be the same person with the same trauma reactions in 6 months, a year, 5 years, 10 years? Or do you wish to find your truer self, accepting the past, and growing beyond it?

Acknowledge, accept, change. One moment at a time. Sometimes you can make inches of progress and sometimes miles, but the journey always starts with the same words, hard though they may be. Change is possible.

Until next time be well,