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Emotions are Information

Being a truly well and self-satisfied individual rests on the ability to understand the information that emotions give you and to be able to skillfully utilize and respond to the information. Unfortunately, most of us are struggling with our emotions. I think this is because emotions have been vilified in our culture. Often clients come in asking to get rid of feelings or to “manage” them. This isn’t wrong or bad necessarily, but it represents the type of relationship we we have with our emotions: we see them as a nuisance, something that “gets in the way” of our lives. They are to be controlled or eliminated. This is an unhelpful stance. Emotions are not negative or extraneous, but rather an important aspect of being human. Emotions give us information that is impossible to perceive in any other way. However,     . . . 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

Becoming Self-Assured: It’s Helpful, Not Selfish

Being self-assured yields kindness and contentment. This is contrary to what most of us were taught, and yet I’m increasingly sure that it is true. This is why, in my recent post about being self-assured, I questioned the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary about words “related” to self-assured: vain, egotistical, pompous. In my mind, being self-assured means being on one’s own team, with a commitment to working on the skills and internal resources that help us through new challenges. It means having trust in one’s own ability to show up and figure it out regardless of what life throws our way. I think there is a real problem when we equate working on things like positive self-talk, emotional regulation, wellness, and self-care with being “vain” “egotistical” and “selfish.” I hear this quite frequently in my office. Many really nice people think it’s     . . . read more

What Does it Mean to Be Self-Assured?

Can being self-assured help us to go boldly into unknown life territory? This is a question I’ve been thinking about lately. But what does it mean to be self-assured? To me, it seems like a very desirable quality, something to cultivate in oneself and in our children. In my curiosity, I did some research. According to Merriam-Webster Online, the term means “sure of oneself: self-confident.” It says that related words include: vain, egotistical, pompous. I partly agree, but I have some issues with this definition and with the “related” words. I guess this begs the questions: Who am I to take issue with the dictionary? Am I self-assured or really pompous after all?! In my mind, being self-assured means having a sense that one can make it through what life throws our way. It means cultivating helpful self-talk and being     . . . read more