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

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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

Change

Expecting someone else to change is one of the biggest issues humans struggle with. Believing that someone else will change because of something you do or something you say or because of how you feel is one of the biggest causes of unhappiness with many people.

We believe that if we behave in certain ways the other people will be happier and will therefore change to give us what we think we need or want. If we serve all their needs then they must in return serve ours. If we allow them to treat us as doormats or even to abuse us emotionally, physically, or verbally and we do nothing, they will automatically read our minds and know what we need from them and give it to us. If we allow them time and space to work out their own issues at our expense, surely they will one day change because they love us. None of this is true. No one changes unless they want to change.

We think that if we give them everything, not just emotionally but materially. If we buy our kids or our partners everything they want, they will see how much we love them and will change. If we get married, then they will change. If we have children, then they will change. If we tell them how badly we feel, then they will change. If we do everything for them and nothing for ourselves, surely they will change. If we stay with them no matter how much we suffer, they will change. One day they will change. But they will not unless they want to. There is absolutely nothing that you can do to make someone else change anything about themselves at their core.

The other punishment we give to ourselves is that when we realize they are not going to change, ever, and we get angry because they are not changing. It’s almost as if we can’t believe after all we have done, sacrificed, given, they aren’t changing. As if we truly believed they would. And it’s because we do believe it, we convince ourselves that it is true. And when it doesn’t happen we get mad about it and we start pushing back. The other person, who never intended to change, then gets mad that we are pushing back and not continuing to give them everything they want. And this is where relationships go sideways. When the person who isn’t changing is confronted by a person who is finally tired that they are not changing things get messy. As long as you are going along like someone else wants you to, they have no reason to be upset with you. They are getting everything they want and you are giving it to them.

If you find yourself in a relationship, any relationship, where you have convinced yourself the other person will change, you need to start looking at yourself and not them. Looking at them is a waste of time – they are not changing. So that only leaves you. You have to change. And you have to realize that if you change they will change – but the change will only be in how they react to you. They will blame you for their being angry about you not doing everything the same way you have always done FOR them. They will be angry that you expect better for yourself and that you are doing it to hurt them or that you don’t love them. They will be angry in exactly the same way as a 2 year old is angry when you have a toy they want and you won’t give it to them. It is no different.

The truly hard part will come when you have to make a decision about the relationship. It is almost always going to be extremely difficult because the other person will be your parent, your child, your partner, your friend. They will be people you love. They will be people you share your life with. But the decision is either you change and you start managing your own happiness or you stay in the same place and quit wishing for them to change and be miserable. It’s just that simple and that difficult. If you choose yourself, you may be upset and sad for a while at losing that relationship, but eventually you will be happier with yourself.

Change or stay the same – the choice is yours – not someone else’s.

Until next time,
Deborah

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

Free Your Mind

Most of the time, our minds are on automatic pilot. The every day activities we repeat over and over are done without thought. Even in the doing of them, we do not think about WHAT we are doing and HOW we are experiencing it. Have you ever been driving from place to place and you cannot remember anything about the drive – the other cars, buildings, signs, traffic signals? Taking a shower, eating, getting dressed, cleaning the house, cooking, being on electronics are just some of the examples of automatic pilot living. We do it, but we experience none of it.

The other way our minds exist most of the time is trapped in our own thoughts, especially negative thoughts. These are also automatic or they become automatic over time. They take up all the space in our minds and we have room for nothing else. We experience nothing in our daily lives outside of these thoughts. They keep our mind full and prevent us from being MINDFUL.

Mindfulness is not the absence of thought. Mindfulness is not a single thing such as meditation or breathing. Mindfulness is not a religion. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention in a particular way and doing it on purpose or by choice (action) in the right now (this moment) without making judgments. Paying attention in a particular way can be using breathing, muscle relaxation, grounding, eating, and many other ways. Doing it on purpose requires that a choice be made to do it and action done for the experience of it – a conscious effort. In the right now, is this moment in time, not backwards or forwards, now, this second. Not making judgments means that thoughts come and go, emotions come and go we do not hold on to them, we do not form judgments about them positive or negative, we notice them and we let them go.

Mindfulness does not have to be a time consuming process. But it does need to be done regularly. If you are mindful once a month, it will make little difference to your overall state of being. If you want to change certain things about your life, you must change what you do. Mindfulness can be incorporated every day, little by little, starting with a single automatic pilot activity. Change starts with a single choice, repeatedly done, until the change becomes our automatic way of being.

These links can help you get started with becoming more mindful, living in the present moment, and being less judgmental about yourself and your thoughts/feelings:

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Grounding Techniques

1 Minute Mindfulness Exercises

Remember it is about being MINDFUL not MIND FULL.

Until next time,
Deborah

I am now 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

You Are My Sunshine

Living in the northern latitudes, such as Montana, means that we are exposed to far less sunshine than other parts of the United States. The lack of sunshine exposure especially in the winter months, with much shorter daylight hours and lots of cloudy, snowy days, we get a lot less Vitamin D than many of our southern neighbors.

Many studies have been done on this lack of Vitamin D and the connection to depression and depressive symptoms. Montana has a very high rate of depression and suicide and this can be one of the reasons why. It is not the only reason, but many of the people I have worked with over the last few years have been very deficient in Vitamin D. Some when having their blood work done, have found that they had almost NO Vitamin D in their bodies and all of them had depression and depressive symptoms.

One study Depression and Vitamin D Deficiency: Causality, Assessment, and Clinical Practice Implications talks about the various causes for this deficiency and ways of possible treatment. It lists many foods from which we can get Vitamin D and unfortunately many of them are not foods that a lot of the people I see eat, such as liver, sardines, tuna, salmon, swordfish. Other causes are insufficient sunlight and malabsorption diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, and others.

Anyone can be Vitamin D deficient. The only way to know for sure is to have blood work tested. Correction can be made in several ways adding Vitamin D2 or D3 supplements daily, increasing certain foods in your diet, and getting sunlight either outside or by using a seasonal affective disorder light.

I am NOT saying that a Vitamin D deficiency is the ONLY cause of depression nor am I saying that taking Vitamin D will cure all depression or that anyone should take Vitamin D instead of prescription medications. I am saying it can be an additional cause of depression and depressive symptoms and in some people a significant cause depending on the level of deficiency. If it can help then it is a very easy and natural way to boost how we feel.

If you or someone you know living in northern areas of the country has depression and/or depressive symptoms, it may very well be worth the time to have some blood work done to see about Vitamin D deficiency. It could be of a great deal of help to know and then to work to reduce it.

Here are some other articles for the link between Vitamin D deficiency and depression:

Vitamin D and Depression: Where is all the Sunshine?

Vitamin D Deficiency and Depression

Until next time,
Deborah

I am now accepting new clients (girls and women) for counseling. To set up a FREE initial consultation 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

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