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The Surprising Reasons You Feel the Way You Do

  This week has been all about why having a deep understanding of your emotional life is essential to your well-being and the health of your relationships. Today, I will concede that this can be difficult work. I’ve argued before that emotions are information, but decoding the clues they provide sometimes takes a master sleuth. Did you know that chronic emotional states like anxiety, depression, numbness, anger, or irritability can actually be a way to cope? Many people first come to therapy because they want to decrease these emotions. However, this can be tricky for some people because these states developed as a way to cope with even more painful emotions. For example, if you witnessed a tragedy or violence, you may develop chronic anxiety to cope with terror and powerlessness. The mind wants to feel in control, so you     . . . read more

Overreactions

Know what’s really cute and hilarious? That Reasons My Son Is Crying blog. When kids’ overreact, it can be quite adorable, given it’s not your kid and that you are only subjected to a still photo and not the live version. You know what’s neither cute nor hilarious? When a full grown person yells and swears and gives you the finger because they were inconvenienced that you slowed them down by (god forbid) driving the speed limit. In my estimation, the age where overreactions of any kind are no longer cute is about 2.75 years. If you are older than that, please keep reading. If you are not, you are a very smart young person with a bright future. Overreactions aren’t pretty, and yet they happen repeatedly. Why? Because overreactions are always about something else, not the situation at hand.     . . . read more

Is Being In Touch with Your Feelings BS?

Look, I can handle it. I know that a lot of people out there think that it is just not that important to spend any time or energy on their emotional lives. If you’ve ever read this blog before you know that I respectfully but firmly disagree. Is it that I enjoy being the champion of unpopular ideas? No, in fact I’m much happier vehemently defending non-controversial statements (ice cream is delicious, damn it!). It’s because you don’t get to have a quality life if you turn your back on emotions. It’s not possible. And I want you to have a satisfying life, I really do. If you don’t understand your own emotions, you are probably a landmine of bad reactions. If we don’t understand where our feelings come from, we attribute them to the wrong things, for the wrong     . . . read more

Hopes for Myself as a Mother

It’s an odd place to get parenting advice, but the best story regarding mothering I ever heard was from Penn Jillette on Marc Maron’s podcast WTF. Penn talked about how his mother’s philosophy was that she loved and cherished her children for who they were, from the moment of birth, and never for what they did. She delighted in their joys, but it was never about accomplishments. According to Penn, she was once offended by a producer who asked her if she were proud of her son for receiving a positive New York Times review. She was horrified at the suggestion and put him in his place by affirming it was not his accomplishments that made her proud, but who he was and had always been. That’s the kind of mom I want to be. Like Mrs. Jillette, I hope     . . . read more

Perfection: The Really Cute, Organized, Put-Together BULLY

This is not my laundry closet. I believe what I have is more appropriately called a laundry dungeon. Still, I do love pictures of tidy, sparkling cupboards, “mud” rooms, and, of course, closets. My house doesn’t look like one of these very lovely Pinterest images and that’s okay. Other people do have houses like this, and that’s okay too. I admire and applaud their dedication to beautifying and organizing their homes. However, I think we need to be careful not to be too seduced by the idea of having everything be just so. We can’t expect to have every aspect of our life look like it should be documented in a magazine. There is no such thing as perfect. Everyone intellectually knows this. Yet, somehow the striving for perfection is a big part of our lives. Well-meaning people everywhere are     . . . read more

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