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When You Feel Powerless

Powerless. Helpless. Stuck. These are some of the very worst, most unpleasant ways to feel. Too often people experiencing these emotions are hesitant to get counseling, or even talk with friends, because they feel it will “do nothing.” This is based on the belief that the event or circumstance needs to change in order to feel better. The thought at the core of hopelessness is: The thing that’s already done must be different or else I will never feel better. This is not true. Getting unstuck is about navigating your responses and feelings more effectively- not changing external events. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I think it’s essential to our well-being to cultivate healthier ways to react when these gut-wrenching feelings strike. The following are some of my thoughts, that are on the surface quite simple, but take an     . . . read more

Encouraging Words

I’m working on my new website, which I’m very excited about. It should be done soon so stay tuned! It was strongly suggested that I ask clients to contribute testimonials for the new site, as it’s a great way for potential clients to know what it’s like to work with me. In the past, I’ve been hesitant to ask clients to do testimonials for me. I guess I felt like it was too sales-y and that people wouldn’t want to do it. I was wrong. Many of my clients seemed really open to doing it. Plus, I learned a lot about what people are finding valuable about the work they are doing. Most of all, their words reinforce something very important: working on our emotions makes a huge difference in our lives. But I’ll let you see for yourself. Here     . . . read more

The Case for No New Resolutions

I’m not making a resolution this year. Some years I’m into it. Sometimes I feel like it’s a good opportunity to reflect and form new habits. This year is different. I just feel like I’m at max capacity. I’m not willing to add anything new because there is nothing I really truly want to subtract. So maybe I do have a resolution: accept and honor the real limits of time, energy, and focus. I’ve pushed myself to do a little more, and a little more, until… I’m at the limit of what one person can reasonably do. I think it’s a fine place to be: maintaining a delicate balance of doing a fulfilling amount of work without consistently over-doing it. I think it’s wise to know our true limits. We can only do so much in a day, week, or     . . . read more

What 56 Pull-Ups, Positive Psychology, and Mister Rogers Taught Me About Failure (and Happiness)

I looked up at the bar, but I knew I couldn’t do any more. I had reached muscle failure. I looked at my coach, feeling defeated, and said, “I’m done.” She looked at me warmly and said, “Okay.” As I caught my breath, I thought about how I didn’t make it through the whole workout. It was a failure, a disappointment. Then I looked up at the whiteboard, where the workout was written. I started counting up the pull-ups I had completed in the 20 minute workout. 56. Wait a second…when and how did doing 56 pull-ups become possible? And when the heck did it start to represent a failure? I started CrossFit about two years ago. I cared only about gaining energy and sleeping better so I could live my life more fully. But soon there were other perks. I     . . . read more

The Hidden Dangers of People-Pleasing

I know how this is going to sound. But I’m going to say it anyway. Be careful of being nice. The problem is that we do “nice” in ways that are actually detrimental. The misconceptions about how to be nice are the key issues. One of the main problems is that a lot of kind people believe it’s essential to please everyone. Now most of us are aware that being a people-pleaser is hard on the person doing the pleasing. There is the exhausting work of always saying yes, trying to read minds, and always doing what the other person wants. It’s sometimes hard to get nice people to change just based on this, “it’s not good for you” argument. So I go for two other cold, hard truths about people-pleasing. 1. When you spend energy pleasing everyone, you inevitably     . . . read more