Tag Archive | counseling

Let Go

Learning to let go can be one of the most difficult things humans attempt. We hold on to feelings and events and let them take over our minds. We give them a place to live and keep them alive. We continue to let them affect us long after the things that caused them are gone. The inability to let go causes us most of our daily anxiety, depression, anger, and suffering and we do it all to ourselves.

When I work with clients, I use the visual of clouds as a metaphor for letting go. Almost everyone has watched clouds moving in the sky. They never remain still. They are constantly coming and going and so it should be with the thoughts that come into our minds that we need to let go. See these thoughts as clouds, see the words of them on the clouds, see them come into your mind, and see them go out. When they go out, let them go, do not think on them further – they are gone. Let go of them. Replace them with clouds that say something positive instead, something uplifting, something freeing.

Another way to practice this is through meditation. Using meditation along with the visualization of the clouds reinforces letting go, reinforces concentrating your thoughts in a more positive, focused way. I use the meditation app Headspace with my clients. It is a free app that offers guided meditation that is easy to use and can help you retrain your mind to let go of things that negatively impact your daily life. Meditation allows you to also allow thoughts to come and go and practice improving that skill with daily mental exercise.

Most of the issues we face are caused by our inability to let go. Holding on to negative emotions and experiences builds up emotional and mental toxins in the body that come out as anxiety, depression, anger, and sometimes even physical illness. Bringing these things back day after day only reinforces these negative feelings. Learning to let go can free us of the weight of all we continue to carry that weighs us down on a daily basis. It’s like unpacking a suitcase we refuse to stop carrying. Imagine how much lighter you will feel if you let go of the weight.

Let go.

Until next time,

If you feel you could use some help in learning how to let go of the things that weigh you down, please call to schedule a FREE initial consultation 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com


Control Yourself

In all of the universe there is only one thing any of us can control – ourselves. Our circle of control resides inside our skin bag and there alone. Any other belief that we can control anything else is a lie we tell ourselves to attempt to either make things easier or justify our actions.

Most of our lives are spent in the false belief that we can control other people, events, or emotions. We spend so much of our time and energy focused on how we can alter how other people behave or feel, change things that have happened or alter things that will happen. We rarely take the time to realize that our circle of control is again only that which is within ourselves. The belief that we can shape other people into what we want them to be is one of the main causes of our internal struggle that leads to anger, depression, anxiety, and frustration.

When the urge to control things outside of ourselves takes over, we must confront it with the acceptance that we cannot control anything but ourselves and our own reactions. We cannot change anyone else. We cannot change how they feel or how they behave. We can only control our reactions to what they do. Also remembering that nothing anyone does or says is about us – not taking anything personally.

It can be very difficult to master this letting go of control. Humans as a species are genetically wired to take control of any environment, dominate it, shape it to their needs, however we cannot control as much as we would like to believe. It can be very hard to let go of this idea of control and focus on only what we can do. We let our emotions drive us. We love someone, even when it is not good for us at times, and we want to change them so we can keep loving them, but they won’t change. We end up in a constant battle of knowing we cannot succeed and banging our head on the wall continually trying to make it into what we want. This only causes us more suffering, more frustration.

Control yourself. Two words. It sounds easy enough but it is in fact one of the hardest things to do. It takes work, it takes sacrifice, it takes practice to let go of the belief that we can control everything and everyone around us. If we can, we can minimize or even eliminate much of the pain and suffering we cause ourselves.

Control yourself – your emotions, your reactions.
Never take anything personally – nothing other people do or say is about you.
Let go of control – everything and everyone else outside of yourself.

Until next time,

If you are feeling that you need help learning how to control yourself and let go of control of others, you can make an appointment for a FREE initial consultation by calling 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com

Always Do Your Best

When someone says do your best, what kind of images does that conjure up for you? For those in school, does it make you feel as if you have to make all A’s? At work, does it mean continual advancement in your job? In relationships, does it mean giving more than your partner? For parents, does it mean giving your kids everything they want? What does always do your best mean to you?

Miguel Ruiz in his book The Four Agreements states that the fourth agreement is “Always Do Your Best.” In his book, he talks about what that should mean to us and how to apply it to our lives. Always do your best is different for every person and it’s different every moment of every day.

Sometimes, your best may be to just wake up in the morning. Sometimes, your best may be to get out of bed. Sometimes, your best may be getting dressed. Sometimes, your best may be not wanting to harm yourself. Sometimes, your best may be thinking one positive thing about yourself or your life. Your best is whatever you can manage to do, think, or feel that day that may make your life even one atom better.

We constantly beat ourselves up for “not doing our best.” This best that others put on us or we have put on ourselves by making agreements that this is what the best is and only this. Anything else and we feel less than, we start to place blame on ourselves, we start to talk negative to ourselves, and we do not see anything else as our best. Because we believe the agreements we have made about what is actually our best.

If you have been staying in bed all day due to depression or illness and you get up out of the bed today – that is doing our best – in that moment and you should be proud of that, be positive with that, allow that to be okay. If you have been staying in your house every day due to anxiety and you decide to walk out onto your front porch or steps – that is doing your best – in that moment. Take possession of that, make agreement with that, be positive with that and allow that to be okay.

Always doing your best will change from moment to moment and situation to situation. If we can stop putting the past agreements we have made with others and ourselves onto every choice, we can start to feel better about our best that moment, start to be more positive about our best that moment, and those moments will happen more and more often until everything we do is always our best and we agree with that changing our lives for the better.

What is doing your best in this moment? Make that agreement, feel that positivity, change your beliefs, and step into always doing your best and being okay with that, whatever it may be.

Until next time I wish you peace,

If you feel you need help accepting your best, managing your emotions, or coping with your life issues, make an appointment for a FREE initial consultation for counseling by calling 406-413-9904 or emailing mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com

Don’t Make Assumptions

Mindful Montana Wellness

In Michael Ruiz book The Four Agreements, the third agreement is Don’t Make Assumptions. Making assumptions complicates so much of our lives and relationships to the point of ruining them in some cases.

When we are very young, we continuously ask the question why. We are always seeking answers and explanations. It is only as we grow older that we stop doing that and start assuming the answers instead of asking the question. Instead of why, we assume it is because someone doesn’t like us or that the answer will always be no. Instead of talking to people to see what it is they really think and feel, we assume they don’t love us, we assume they don’t want to be our friend, we assume they think we are fat, dumb, ugly, lazy, weird, or any other number of adjectives. These assumptions make our lives and relationships chaos and cause us to believe all the stories we are telling ourselves instead of finding out the truth.

We also make assumptions about ourselves and those agreements prevent us from living our best lives. We assume that were are not smart enough to make our dreams a reality, that we are not pretty enough or lovable enough to have a meaningful relationship with someone, that we are not cool enough for our peers to want to hang out with us, that we are not strong enough to be more than what our past experiences have taught us. We spend our every thought on assumptions about ourselves or about others and hardly a single moment on the truth or finding out what the truth actually is.

Instead of letting the assumption become our reality, we need to stop the assumption as soon as it comes into our mind. To do this, we have to ask that thought if it is true, what is the proof that it is true and this has to be something that is real not just something we think. If this assumption is what we think someone else thinks we have to ask have we actually talked to them about this honestly. Every assumption needs to be confronted with the question, what is the proof that this is the absolute truth. Almost always, the answer will be that it is not or that we have no idea whether it is or not because we have not talked honestly with the person we are making the assumptions about.

Find the strength to ask the questions of yourself and others. Practice asking honestly for the things you want. People cannot read your mind. Communicate openly and clearly with yourself and others to avoid the chaos of assumptions and the sadness and drama that it causes to your life. Practicing undoing this one agreement can completely transform your life one assumption at a time.

Until next time,

Now accepting new clients, specializing in adolescent girls and adult females, in person and online counseling available in Montana. Call 406-413-9904 to set up your FREE Initial Consultation.

Be Impeccable

In Michael Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements the first agreement is Be Impeccable With Your Word.  It is first because it is the most important and the one that is necessary to be able to accomplish the other three.

To understand this agreement, it is necessary that to understand the definition of “word” in this context.  The Word (capital W) is a force that we create with and includes all that we express.  Not just spoken words, but emotions, actions, thoughts, and attitudes. All of this is the Word.

To express ourselves impeccably means to express ourselves in the direction of truth and love including love, respect, and acceptance for ourselves.  The emotions of jealousy, envy, sadness, and frustration are not impeccable.  The emotions of anger and fear are also usually not impeccable except in the case of having to fight for your life.  If you lose your job something you have worked your whole life to have and are angry and fearful, these are emotionally painful, but your life is not in danger therefore these emotions are not impeccable.

The direction of truth does not include someone speaking “my truth” or “their truth”.  Those kinds of truth are only someone’s opinion of the truth, not necessarily the truth and are viewed by others under the lens of their own truth.  Because someone believes what they are saying is the truth doesn’t mean it is THE truth.  It is an opinion that can be filled with judgments and hard emotions.  When you are impeccable you do not need to defend what you say as the truth.

Another part of being impeccable is to be without fault or blame.  Truly one of the hardest things to accomplish.  It has taken years for us to form the agreements we have made with ourselves and others regarding our own fault, the fault of others, and the blame we have placed for every situation in our lives.  Being impeccable means to refrain from criticism, judgement, or finding fault with yourself and others not just in the words you speak but the thoughts that you think.  This single change allows us to take total responsibility for our own lives.

Being impeccable also leads into the second agreement Never Take Anything Personally.  For example, if you have 100% faith in your intelligence and someone calls you stupid and you feel hurt or offended, you have allowed yourself to take that personally and believe even a tiny bit of what they said is true.  You give them the power to change your faith in yourself.  Be impeccable with your Word to yourself.

Being impeccable means to be truthful, honest, and kind in what is spoken, what is done, what is thought, and what is felt.  It sounds easy, but it is difficult to undo the years of learning to use our Word to be dishonest and unkind to ourselves and others.  Learning to be impeccable is a one moment at a time journey that requires thinking before talking to ourselves or others, doing to ourselves or others, thinking to ourselves or about others, or emotions we place on ourselves or others.  Will you be able to be impeccable always? No – but you can keep trying in each moment of your life and by doing so the happiness and love for yourself and others will only increase.

The Four Agreements:

Be Impeccable With Your Word

Don’t Take Anything Personally

Don’t Make Assumptions

Always Do Your Best


The Four Agreements

1. Be impeccable with your word.
2. Don’t take anything personally.
3. Don’t make assumptions.
4. Always do your best.

The Four Agreements written by Miguel Ruiz is a wealth of life changing information. Miguel Ruiz was raised by his mother and grandfather in Mexico. His mother was a “healer” and his grandfather was a “shaman” in the Toltec Indian culture. Miguel had a life altering car crash that moved his path back towards his cultural heritage and out of that came this wonderful book.

Ruiz writes that from the time we are born we are making agreements. Agreements with our parents for what we learn, what we eat, how we live, and about who we are. We make agreements with everyone we come into contact with through our lives – people, social media, television, music, etc.. Some of these agreements can be positive and uplifting such as “you are smart, you are loved, you can succeed.” Some, however, can be negative such as “you are stupid, you can not succeed, you are worthless.” It is in these agreements that we form all the things we believe about ourselves. Over years and years of making these agreements, it becomes very difficult to break them.

It is because of these agreements that we judge ourselves, find ourselves guilty and punish ourselves. We abuse ourselves more than anyone else could ever abuse us. If we abuse ourselves very badly, we can tolerate someone who beats us up, humiliates us, and treats us like dirt. Why? Because in our agreements and beliefs we think “I deserve it. This person is doing me a favor by being with me. I’m not worthy of love and respect. I’m not good enough.” We have the need to be accepted and loved by others, but we cannot accept and love ourselves.

There are thousands of agreements we have made with ourselves, with God, with society, with our parents, with our families, with our friends, but the most important agreements are those we make with ourselves because they define our beliefs about who we are, what we feel, what we believe, and how we behave. One agreement is easy to break, but thousands are very difficult.

In order to find joy and fulfillment in life, we must find the courage to break these agreements that are fear-based and claim our personal power. If you adopt these four agreements and have a very strong will, you can begin to live your life with these agreements creating personal power to break all other agreements and transform your life.

Click the link in the right hand column to read more about this book and start on the path to transforming your life. I incorporate this book into many of my therapy sessions. If you think you could benefit from counseling with this as part of the process, please contact me to set up an appointment.

Until next time, I wish you peace…



Welcome to my new site Deborah Horton Counseling, which will feature articles, links, tools you can use, information, and more including my journey to become a School and LCPC counselor in Montana.  I am still currently on the journey to becoming licensed with just 3 more Master’s level semesters, which include my school internships and clinic internships, for my 60 hour School/Clinic Counseling Masters degree.

On this site, I will share my thoughts and experiences along with links to information for those seeking counseling and those who are either currently counselors or working to become counselors.  I will also share tools that those seeking counseling can use including some helpful apps and tools for counselors to use in their practices as well.  Along the way I will share my journey with you as well.

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