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

Starting Point

Everything has a starting point. Everything including thoughts, beliefs, emotions. Everything starts somewhere.

When we say we have always been sad or angry for as long as we can remember. Or we say we have always been anxious, we do not generally associate it with a starting point. Always implies no starting point. It implies that we were born with these emotions, these thoughts, these beliefs we hold. That is simply not true. We are not born with these things, they occur at a later point and they occur because of something outside of ourselves.

We are born as a blank slate. We do not enter this world sad, angry, anxious believing any number of things we decide are true. It just doesn’t happen. We receive messages from outside forces – people, social media, TV, news, etc. We receive messages in the way people treat us – neglect, abuse, abandonment, words and actions. We receive messages from the things that happen in our lives due to other people – divorce, domestic violence, drugs and alcohol, death. We receive messages from bullying. And then we form beliefs about ourselves because of these things and accept these beliefs as true. And we carry them for so long that we then think we have ALWAYS had them…that we were born this way.

Think carefully about when your emotions and/or beliefs started. Think very carefully. What was happening in your life at the time or what had happened around the time you first noticed these emotions or beliefs. Notice everything that was going on – everything. Write it down. Then look at it carefully and you will find your starting point. This is the place where therapy should begin. Addressing the starting point is like starting at the top of a waterfall, if you address the beginning it flows down to everything that comes after because it is ALL connected.

This doesn’t mean that just because your starting point came from something outside yourself that you can blame everything you have ever felt or done on someone else or something else. In fact, the truth is that it is always your choice what to do with any outside message. Do you let it go because it is not your truth or do you take it on and make it your reality? That is your choice. Everything you do after that is your choice. Everything.

Recognize your starting point and address that. Then recognize your choices that follow. Accept the responsibility for your choices. Let go of the starting point that was not yours. And then work through them. And yes it is work. You worked very hard to get where you are today at believing everything, you can work just as hard to stop believing it.

What is your TRUE starting point?

Until next time,
Deborah

I am currently accepting new clients (girls and women) for counseling. To set up a FREE Initial consultation call 406-413-9904 email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com or click the BOOK NOW button on Facebook

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.

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.

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.