I Love Me

Over the last week with Valentine’s Day included I worked on an art therapy project with most all of my clients entitled I Love Me. Valentine’s is generally about someone else loving us or that we are loving someone else. It is almost never about loving ourselves.

In fact, loving ourselves isn’t something many of us do with any regularity. We are very good at not loving ourselves. When we look in the mirror, we almost always find faults with ourselves. Things we do not love about ourselves. In our automatic thoughts, we are generally focused on the negative about ourselves. We think that these thoughts are our own but they all start somewhere else. Let me repeat that, all negative thoughts we have about ourselves start somewhere else. They come from what others say or don’t say, what others do or don’t do, what social media provides, etc. Not one of them originated in our own minds…not one. But these are what we think about, not loving ourselves.

When I came up with this project I thought it would be easy to think of six things I loved about myself. It was not easy. In fact, it took several days. The rules were that it couldn’t be something someone else has said they love about it and it couldn’t be something I think in relation to others. It had to be exclusively, only about me loving me. Not an easy thing to do. But eventually I did it.

Working through the week with clients I found that most had similar difficulty coming up with their own six things. Some had trouble coming up with even a single thing. So ingrained are the things we think we don’t love about ourselves that seeing anything we do love is almost impossible sometimes. We even weigh the things we do come up with against our ingrained lies. As if we do not deserve to love ourselves for anything. Another lie.

As the week went on and after several clients, I found that the pathway I had opened to things I love about myself that more things then came to my mind. Once we allow our brains to move in a different direction, it will find more information along the way and bring it to our attention. Once we push aside the negative and the lies, we discover that there is truth to be discovered if we can only allow ourselves to see it and then to accept it.

What do you love about yourself? Is it difficult to find? Do you have to have a discussion with yourself against the negative and the lies to feel that you can love anything about yourself? I know it can be difficult because we don’t get up in the morning and look in the mirror and say to ourselves, “I love this about me or that about me.” But we should.

Take a few minutes after reading this and truly think about the things you love about you. Do you love your sense of humor, your courage, your creativity, your determination, or any number of other things about you? Write them down, put them where you can see them daily, repeat them to yourself, and add to them as more of them come to your mind. Say to yourself daily, I Love Me.

Until next time,
Deborah Horton

I am currently accepting new clients (girls and women) for counseling. Call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com to set up a FREE initial consultation appointment.

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Choices

Almost everything we do involves choices. There are few exceptions – breathing, blinking being the main ones. Most everything else involves a choice of some kind. Even choosing not to make a choice is a choice.

We choose whether or not to allow our thoughts to become our realities. We choose to accept and believe or not the messages we get from outside sources. By the way, every single thought (message) we tell ourselves came from an outside source. We were not born with them and we did not create them on our own.

We decide whether or not we allow our past to be our present. We decide whether or not we allow our fear of the future to be our present. We decide whether or not we are happy or sad. We decide whether or not we are full of fear or calm. We decide whether or not we get out of bed or stay in it. We decide. We always decide.

Many clients tell me that their choices are made for them. They say they are made by their past, they are made by their thoughts, they are made by their emotions. Those things influence only. They are the background noise. The choice – the this way or that – the yes or no – the remain the same or change – the fear or the calm – the choice is always, always made by the person. Always.

So how do we make different choices than the ones that have caused us to remain stuck in our own personal quicksand? We have to recognize the choice for what it is. Do not shift the responsibility to your past, your thoughts, your emotions or to other people. Say to yourself, this is my choice – do this or do that, say this or say that, think this or think that, remain the same or change, be afraid or be calm. Whatever the choice is, recognize it, name it, analyze the consequences, and make a choice.

And then be prepared to accept the consequences. There are always consequences for every choice we make. Good or bad, there is always a price to pay, always. You have to be prepared to accept it and accept responsibility for it. If you choose to remain in the same place, accept that nothing about your situation will change. If you choose to think negatively, accept that your reality, your truth, will be negative. If you choose to change, accept that your situation will become different. Notice I did not say better, that is up to the change your choose. If you choose to leave a toxic relationship, the other person will no longer be in your life. You will have to accept that consequence. If you choose to let go of your past, you will have to accept the consequence that you will no longer have that as a constant in your life – you will become a different person.

Choices are not easy. We don’t always make the right ones. But as long as you are still breathing, you can always make another choice. You may have to make the same choices over and over if you fall back into old patterns. But you can always make another choice.

What choices will you make today?

Until next time,
Deborah

I am accepting new clients (women and girls) for counseling. If you would like to make an appointment for a FREE initial consultation appointment call 406-413-9904 email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com or click the Book Now button on Facebook

Response Time

Controlling your thoughts can control how you feel. I am sure you have heard this said a lot. It is true, however it is not the whole story. In fact, it is just the very, very beginning. Your thoughts are just a spark, the flame is the response to the the thoughts. It is the action that causes every single thing that follows.

It is the response time that has to be managed. Thoughts will come into our minds. We can have thoughts about anything. They come automatically. Most thoughts are not intentionally brought to mind. They just appear like a spark. It’s the what we do after. It is ALWAYS the what we do after.

The response time is only milliseconds long – shorter than the time it takes to blink. It is in that briefest of time that we decide what we will do with the thought. It is that decision, that response, that determines all that comes later.

In that response time, we can choose to recognize the thoughts just as thoughts and let them go. Physically watch them leave our minds and they don’t come back. Or we can let them sit. We can let them grow. We can believe that they are true. We can imagine our reality with these thoughts. We can project the future or constantly relive the past. We can make someone else’s words into the truth about ourselves without proof. In milliseconds, we can go from a blank piece of paper to a novel of lies, assumptions, false beliefs, and predicted catastrophes.

Making changes in the blink of an eye can be very difficult. Especially if we are used to responding in the same way every time we have had the thoughts before. We become conditioned to our own response. We turn into our own Pavlov dog. Thought, spark, same response.

The only way to affect change, any change, is to make a decision every single time that is different than what we have done. We will fail. We must try again the next time. Thought, spark, different response. Thought, spark, let the thought go. Thought, spark, watch them leave our minds. Thought, spark, recognize lies. Thought, spark, different reality. Thought, spark, stay in the present. Thought, spark, only our truth. Thought, spark, proof. Again and again and again until we control the response every time.

What would your life be like if you changed your response time?

Until next time,
Deborah Horton

I am accepting new clients (girls and women) for counseling. If you want to schedule a FREE initial consultation call 406-413-9904 email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com or click the Book Now button on our Facebook page.

Where Is Your Proof?

Many people battle with negative automatic thoughts. These thoughts come from several sources including our families and friends, strangers, people in authority over us (teachers, coaches, bosses), social media, and of course from inside our own minds. However, those inside the mind came from somewhere or someone else almost all of the time.

A message, or seed, is introduced to our mind. Something someone has said, a way someone has acted or not acted, an assumption we have made about what someone has said or done or what we have seen online. This seed is at first nothing just as the words we hear or we create are nothing but thoughts. They have no life, unless we provide them with what they need to grow. If we water them, fertilize them, give them a place in our minds to live they become implanted and are always there.

There is of course one other thing we must do in order to grow our negative thought seeds – give them truth. By agreeing that this thoughts are true and using absolutes to describe them – I am, I do, I can’t, I don’t, etc. – the brain then views them as truths – not thoughts or seeds. But where is your proof that these thoughts are true? Where is your absolute proof?

When these thoughts appear, we must stop and question them just as any lawyer would do in court to prove an accusation is true. Imagine a stop sign appearing when the thought appears. Imagine yourself looking at this thought (only words) and asking where is your proof? Just because you think it does not make it true. Just because someone else said it does not make it true. Just because you read it does not make it true. Where is your proof? Almost always the proof will not be found except the truth that the thought is just words we have given life to and assumed a truth about.

Where is the proof that the thought is false? For example, if you have the thought “I never do anything right.” What is your proof of things and times where you have done things right? Did you put on your own clothes, take a shower, do your hair or makeup, drive a car, pass a test, complete a job task today? If you did, you obviously did it right. Therefore, “I never” cannot be true. There is no proof.

Without proof, we are left with giving truth to just words because we assume there must be some proof or we wouldn’t think these thoughts. Thoughts come and go all the time. It is up to us whether or not they grow and live in our minds or whether they are dismissed for lack of proof.

Where is your proof?

Until next time,
Deborah

I am now accepting new clients, girls and women, for counseling in Montana. If you would like to set up a FREE initial consultation please call me at 406-413-9904, email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com or click the Book Now button on Facebook.

Be Proud Of Yourself

As humans, we are so very quick to criticize ourselves, have less faith in ourselves, create negative beliefs about ourselves. We are even more quick to allow others to criticize us, lose faith in us, say negative things about us. The negative is easy. It’s like slipping into a stretched out pair of old sweatpants – it’s easy. We become comfortable there. We believe it is who we are and what we deserve no matter what good things we are doing, believing, creating.

If we spent even one tenth of the time that we spend on putting on the negative on the positive things about ourselves our lives would look completely different. We would be amazed at the positiveness of our lives, of our minds, of our spirits. When we focus on the negative our focus becomes negative. It prevents us from recognizing the positive in ourselves and in others. What we slip into is what we become.

For just one moment, think of one positive thing about yourself. It can be anything. A part of your personality, something you are good at, anything you do well, choices you have made, anything that is even minimally positive, anything that creates even minimal steps forward, anything that makes you smile and feel good about yourself.

Every time you do something make a positive choice, that you choose to be kind, that you accomplish anything and anything can be as simple as getting out of bed, when you think something positive instead of negative, when you feel good about anything you do or anything you don’t do. If you do something well at school or at your job be proud. If you choose to get up and get dressed be proud. If you choose forgiveness over anger be proud. If you choose to be positive instead of negative be proud.

Acknowledge yourself. Pay attention to your positive self. Notice each individual good no matter how small. Allow yourself to be proud of you. It is okay to be proud of yourself. In fact, it is necessary for a positive life. If you are always waiting, looking, expecting to find someone else to be proud of you until you can feel proud and happy you need to stop and look at yourself.

Be proud of yourself – not just in the big things – but in everything.

Until next time,
Deborah

I am now accepting new clients (girls and women) for counseling. If you would like to make an appointment for a FREE initial consultation call 406-413-9904 email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com or click the Book Now button on Facebook

Building Walls

Building walls has been a very popular topic for the last few months. I thought it might be a good time to talk about mental walls. The kind that many people construct every single day adding to them brick by brick until they are trapped behind a wall of their own making wondering why they are there.

Mental walls are constructed first by the negative messages we receive into our brains. These messages can come from family, friends, strangers, or ourselves. We can be imprinted with them from very young ages in the form of brain chemical messages. They become part of our environment when repeated over and over. We then start to believe they must be true, especially those from those we love and who are supposed to take care of us – mother, father, romantic partner. We believe them and we add a brick.

With time, we continue to add bricks from outside messages but add to those our own inside messages. We meet new people and these messages present themselves from the first words out of our mouths. They must be thinking I am (insert negative message here – fat, stupid, not good enough, ugly, and on an on). Immediately we begin to add bricks to forming any kind of new relationship. We shut down, we pull away, we create our own separation. We push others away by our own beliefs. We assume that we know what they are thinking because others have thought the same and said so and we have thought the same and believe it. It becomes our truth and our reality.

The wall grows with each and every negative thought. Soon we cannot see over it and we feel alone. Soon we cannot go around it and we feel trapped. Soon we cannot break through it and we feel helpless. But by repeating what we were told and by believing it, we have created the wall and our own misery.

So how do we break it down? The same way we built it, one brick at a time. By examining each one and asking, what evidence, what actual truth is there to support this brick? What are the positives I can put in place of this brick to destroy it? Can I allow others to say what they think of me before I assume I already know?

Most walls are built with the a very few beliefs repeated over and over. Processing them, questioning them, replacing them one at a time is how you demolish your wall. Pick a brick and get started.

Until next time,
Deborah

If you think you need help deconstructing your walls, set up a FREE initial consultation appointment with me to see if you think we can work together to accomplish this. Call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com to set up an appointment.

What You Feed

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The story in the picture spells out perfectly what happens with where we allow our thoughts to live. The things we constantly think are the food to our own personal wolves. Feeding them, growing them, providing them with life is what we do with what we think.

If our thoughts dwell in negative spaces such as anger, blame, self-doubt, lies, jealousy, worry, and other negative thoughts and feed those to our mind, body, spirit (wolf) that is the wolf we will grow. That is the wolf we will make stronger. That is the wolf we will then be living with every moment of every day.

If, on the other hand, or the other wolf, our thoughts dwell in positive spaces such as peace, love for ourselves and others, hope, kindness, truth, self-confidence, taking responsibility, faith, and other positive thoughts and feed those to our mind, body, spirit (wolf) that is the wolf we will grow. This wolf will grow and become stronger. This wolf will be living with us every moment of every day.

So which wolf grows stronger? The one you CHOOSE to feed. Even though constant, repeated thoughts become automatic after years of thinking them, you can still train yourself and your mind to choose differently. You can CHOOSE what thoughts you think or you can CHOOSE to replace thoughts with different thoughts. You choose which wolf you feed.

If you have been feeding the negative wolf, when the negative thoughts pop up replace them immediately with positive thoughts. Repeatedly do this over and over and those thoughts will become automatic and they will also nourish and grow your positive wolf. It will become so strong it will overpower the negative wolf just as in real life, the strongest survive, the ones who are fed well survive.

What do you feed? Mindfully, consciously, you can choose which wolf to grow.

Until next time,
Deborah

Mindful Montana Wellness is now accepting new clients, adolescent girls and adult women, for professional counseling. Schedule a FREE initial consultation by emailing mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com or calling 406-413-9904