Love

The Power of Vulnerability

Posted on November 29, 2012. Filed under: Communication, Healing, Lifestyle, Love, Men, Relationship, Women | Tags: , , , , |

Often times shame and fear stand in our way from taping into our power and true nature.  The beliefs “I am not good enough” or “I am unworthy” can cripple our mind and spirit from living our life purpose and connecting to our sense of self worth.

Brene Brown PhD, LMSW, a research professor at the University of Houston, has spent the past decade researching vulnerability and shame and has discovered some pretty facinating data that can begin to allow us to free ourselves from the chains of shame and begin to move through fear with strength and compassion.

In her research she discovered the main factor that gives us purpose and meaning in our lives in connection with others.  She also mentioned that worthiness, defined as a strong sense of love and belonging, is another important factor to evaluate when studying shame and vulnerability.  In her studies, she discovered that the only variable that differentiates those who feel worthy vs. unworthy is the belief that they are worthy of love and connection.

The common themes and patterns when analyzing the data, was that these whole-hearted people who believed they were worthy of love and connection, posessed the courage to be imperfect, had the compassionate to be kind to themselves and others, had connection with their authenticity, and were willing to let go of who they should be to be who they were, which is necessary for connection. The other factor is embracing vulnerability and not viewing vulnerability as being comfortable nor excruciating, but rather necessary.  These individuals believed what makes us vulnerable, makes us beautiful. Typically they were willingness to say I love you first, invest in a relationship that may or may not work out or take action even when there were no guarantees.

Alternatively, she found those who were uncomfortable with vulnerability or felt unworthy of love and connection tended to numb hard feelings and would try to manage the discomfort by numbing through addiction, eating, alcohol, trying to control uncertainty, being perfect, blaming others to discharge pain and regret, or pretending what they do doesn’t affect other people.  Unfortunately, by using these numbing strategies to escape the inevitable vulnerability that all humans face, they consequencially also numb themselves from the joy, gratitude, happiness that life has to offer.

The hope is that if we can heal the hurts and transform the negative beliefs of shame and unworthiness, we can begin to know on a deep level that we are worthy of love and belonging.  And thus, we can stop screaming and start listening; we can be kinder and gentler to ourselves and others; we can let ourselves be deeply seen; we can love with our whole heart without any guarentees; we can begin to practice gratitude and joy; and we can begin leaning into the discomfort of hurt with courage and embracing the joy we are worthy of receiving.

For more information on how to heal old hurts and limiting beliefs, please contact True Potential Counseling for more information.  If you would like to receive a blog post on a bi-weekly basis please subscribe on True Potential Blog.

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Reconnecting with your Partner

Posted on January 25, 2011. Filed under: Dating, Love, Marriage, Men, Relationship, Women |

Sometime we get caught in the trap of self-defense, self-blame or judgement of our partner. Some helpful tips when either partner is caught in the trap of self protection or the blame game are:

1. Commit In Writing: A suggestion is for both partners to commit in writing to ending criticism and blame and recommitting each time that agreement is broken. In writing this contract is is recommended to avoid modifiers such as: better, more, greater, etc.
2. Blame Jar: create a blame jar and everytime either partner blames the other they are required to pay a fine and put money in the blame jar.
3. Humor and Encouragement: incorporate a sense of humor and remember to applaud and appreciate your partner through words of affirmation and encouragement
4. Growth: keep in mind that each partner may grow at a different rate in their awareness and that the couple does not required to evolve at the same rate. Remember that the relationship is big enough for you to be who you are and grow as an individual and still be connected to your parnter.
5. Flexibility: it is important for both people in the relationship to be flexible to different points of view and an openness to creative and personal growth.
6. Get Real Conversations: engaging in genuine, honest and healing conversations where you own and acknowledge your own contribution to the problem rather than avoiding them. You can do so by shifting from a blaming or self-blaming stance to an “I wonder how I can shift to create the shift I want in my relationship…”

For more information on how to create this shift in your relationship with your partner, please visit: http://www.TruePotentialCounseling.com

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Let Go My Ego

Posted on January 6, 2011. Filed under: Dating, Health, Love, Relationship | Tags: , , , , , , |

It is clear that on most occasions our ego and pride can get the best of us.  In many occasions we can see this power struggle emerge either when a partner attempts to control or dominate the other person or there is a varying opinion or perspective on a particular issue or theme in the couple.  It can be especially difficult in those instances to let go of current or past hurts, dispose of any bitterness in our hearts and demonstrate humility and grace in order to move forward in the relationship.  Some helpful suggestions from Dr. Wayne Dyer are:

1) Let go of being offended– Being offended creates the same destructive energy that offended you in the first place and leads to conflict, resentment, restlessness and a guarded heart.

2) Let go of the need to win– Share your observations, feelings and needs with grace. love and respect while also seeking to understand your partner.  Regulate your own emotions when triggered and take a time out if you or your partner need to calm down. 

3) Let go of your need to be right-  I have seen people end some of the most beautiful relationships by sticking to their need to be right.  When you let go of your need to being right you reconnect to love your greatest source of power and inner strength.  A helpful question to ask yourself is, Do I want to be right or happy?

4)  Let go of your need to be superior– focus on your personal growth instead of exhausting your energy on changing or teaching your partner the “right” way to be, act or feel.  Use this situations as an opportunity to reflect and expand your ability to love and accept yourself and your partner.   However, if it is an abusive relationship the circumstances are much more complex; therefore, I suggest seeking additional support in therapy, friends, or support group.

5)  Let go of your need to have more- detach yourself from the need of having more and be grateful and satisfied with the blessings you currently have in your life and your relationship.    Otherwise, you will be constantly dissatisfied, never feel that you have enough and will be relentlessly striving for more to no avail.  By appreciating the abundance in your present situation you will be planting seeks of gratitude for a more fruitful future.

6)  Let go of your reputation- Other people’s opinion of you is none of your business.  Instead listen to your heart and live your life according to your inner voice.  Take responsibility for what does lie inside of you your character, your words, your actions and leave your reputation for others to debate.

7)  Let go of fear- Often times when in conflict with our partner, we either consciously or unconsciously, shield ourselves from hurt and protect our hearts.  This fear keeps us from simply being with and trusting our partner.  When we begin to see reality through our heart and not our heads, we open ourselves up to new power, new opportunities for growth, to greater harmony, love and joy in our lives.

For additional couple counseling needs visit www.TruePotentialCounseling.com

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HALT in the Name of LOVE

Posted on January 4, 2011. Filed under: Break-ups, Dating, Health, Love, Relationship | Tags: , , , , , |

Have you every gotten into a conflict with your partner and couldn’t resolve it overnight?

Before engaging in a conversation with your partner that could stir up emotions or become tense, some simple questions to ask yourself beforehand to know if it is the right time to do so are as follows:  Am I or my partner (H)UNGRY?  (A)NGRY?  (L)ONELY? or    (T)IRED?

If so you or your partner are experiencing any of these, you are at a higher risk of vulnerability and stress, and there is a greater likelihood that your well intended conversation will turn into an unending rollercoaster ride of doom and gloom.  If you are experiencing any of the HALT symptoms…HALT in the name of LOVE.

Some of the following skills and positive ways to manage anger will help you get back on track in your relationship, so you can calm down, think clearly and behave in a way you don’t regret later.

Reduce Vulnerability– Some vulnerability factors are if you are ill, stressed out, not eating well, using substances, not sleeping well, not getting enough exercise or feel incompetent and out of control.  It is important to resolve these problem areas so you know how to manage anger and are less likely to get fired up as easily.

Become Mindful: Awareness is the first step to change.  Begin to observe yourself and your behavior as though you were a neutral bystander.  One way to know how to manage anger is by using your breath to slow things down so you can begin being more conscious of what you say and what you do in your interactions with others, especially your partner.

Slow Down Impulsive Reactions:  Just unconsciously or automatically reacting is going to make matters worse.  Have you ever been at an intersection and saw someone who wanted to make a left hand turn, but you decided to just speed through the light?  Just like in your relationship to avoid a collision you both need to slow down rather than trying to dominate the road.

Underline Emotions:  Often times under your anger are softer feelings like hurt, powerlessness, shame, fear, sadness or inadequacy.  Want to know how to deal with anger effectively?  One way is by getting in touch with these deeper emotions can be difficult at first but sharing those instead with your partner will allow your partner to really understand you and address your needs more readily.

Problem Solving:  Instead of staying stuck in just blaming, yelling, criticizing or avoiding, detaching and withdrawing, start working as a team to brainstorming solutions to the problem head on.

Seek to Understand: Your relationship is not just a one sided tango dance.  If you are just focusing on yourself then you are really dancing alone.  Since there are two of you in this relationship dance, each with your own point of reference, past experiences, needs, and feelings it is important that you are not only sharing, but also receptive to your partner’s point of view.

Now I’d love to hear from you.  How do you regulate your emotions?  What ways to managed anger do you use? Leave a comment below about how you manage anger, because I want to know what you are thinking.

And if you liked this video, give it a thumbs up and share it with your friends.  And also make sure you are subscribed to my channel, so you don’t miss any upcoming True Potential episodes.

You’ll also want to head over to TruePotentialCounseling.com to get additional resources and relationship tips to help you experience more harmony, connection and love in your relationship.

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Discovering the Love Language of Your Partner

Posted on December 31, 2010. Filed under: Communication, Love, Marriage, Men, Women | Tags: , , , |

There are a variety of love languages that exist:  1) words of affirmation, 2) gift giving, 3) touch, 4) quality time and 5) random acts of kindness.  Typically we have a primary love language that is the most relavent and is most deeply felt.  Discovering your love language and that of your partner can be important to cultivating a nurturing and loving relationship.  What might your love language be?  The book written by Gary Chapman the 5 Love Languages can be a useful resource in deepening your awareness.  You can also visit the website for resources and assessment tools http://www.5lovelanguages.com/.  For couple’s counseling please visit www.TruePotentialCounseling.com.

Photos provided by http://www.kellyandersonphotography.com/

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Resolving Conflict in a Couple

Posted on December 20, 2010. Filed under: Break-ups, Communication, Health, Love, Marriage, Relationship | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Considering each human being has their own schema, value system, beliefs, perceptions, behaviors, emotions, and triggers it can sometimes make a relationship feel like an emotional land mine multiplied by two. 

How can these conflicts in romantic or marital relationships be resolved reasonably if we can’t instantaneously and rationally understand why we are triggered?  How can we even begin to resolve the conflict if we can’t authentically connect with or articulate to our partner our primary emotions?  Our primary emotion is are the authentic and vulnerable feelings when we are experiencing emotional or physical pain.  These emotions include: hurt, sadness, shame, fear and loneliness.  Typically when we are in an activated state we automatically resort to our secondary emotion as a form of self-preservation.  Our secondary emotions include: anger, frustration, jealousy, irritability, or distaste.  Some common behaviors include: intellectualizing, avoiding, rationalizing, justifying, defending, explaining, judging, critiquing, criticizing, blaming or finding fault in our partner.  As a result the couple may spiral into a familiar and negative pattern of communication like the blame game, a demon dialogue, or withdrawal.  In the moment this seems like the safer and easier option; however, this form of “safety” comes at a great cost…the love, security and connection you desperately long to have with your partner. 

When couple’s come to that fork in the road, they are deciding to either break-up or seek help and alleviate the cycle of pain and hurt in the relationship.  Fortunately, Emotionally Focused Therapy is an effective approach that not only assists couples in creating a healthy routine in their communication patterns, but also promotes awareness, authentic communication and a deeper connection within the relationship.  For more information on couple’s therapy and resources please visit www.TruePotentialCounseling.com. Photo provided by http://www.kellyandersonphotography.com/

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Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy

Posted on October 6, 2010. Filed under: Communication, Love, Marriage, Men, Relationship, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples is one of the few therapies that helps couples get back to their loving feelings, stay connected, and develop deep security so there is happiness in their relationship.  If you are part of a couple that gets caught in the same old arguments over and over, or if you feel distant from your partner, EFT can help.  EFT is a short-term model that is effective and highly respected in the field of couples therapy.  Studies show that most couples (over 70%) turned their relationship around in 15-20 sessions and over 90% significantly improved.  To cultivate acceptance, partnership, greater intimacy, love and connection this approach may be helpful to you and your partner.  Couples attest that they feel more compassionate and understanding of themselves and their partner, misunderstandings are clarified, problems are normalized and hope is instilled back into the relationship again.  Serving residents of Chandler, AZ, Tempe, AZ, Scottsdale, AZ, Gilbert, AZ, Phoenix, AZ and Ahwatukee, AZ.

Visit www.TruePotentialCounseling.com for more details.

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Loving from the Inside Out

Posted on April 9, 2010. Filed under: Love, Marriage, Men, Relationship, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Self-acceptance, self-respect and self-confidence are the 3 fundamental qualities to increase ones self-esteem and self-love.  How do we do this if we have never been valued or encouraged by others?  By returning to the undeniable fact that you are a worthy and valuable gift to the world can be a start.  If you are challenging this positive and powerful statement you  may want to ask yourself, how is that negative voice inside serving me?  If you can not come up with a solid response you just may be ready for a refreshing new approach.  We have been programmed to believe that that little voice inside our head speaks the absolute truth; however, when we arrived into this world as innocent children we had no preconceived notions about ourselves.  Our pain began when we unknowingly began listening and absorbing the messages we received from the external environment.  Case in point, we either have been brainwashed in negative or positive ways.  The benefit as adults is that we can escape from the hell inside our mind and can now choose which programming we want to create.  You want to know the secret?  With self-awareness,  patience and commitment you can begin reprogramming your internal world and can begin to drastically changing your thoughts, feelings and behaviors over time.  If you are inevitably going to be thinking anyways you might as well make your thoughts be used to empower and build you up rather than tearing yourself down, right?  You will also discover that as you begin to grow in self-acceptance and self-respect that you will be able to also extend that same level of compassion and understanding towards others.  Being trained in both EMDR and Hypnotherapy I have witnessed how these proven approaches have freed people up from the past pain and have opened themselves up to a new possibility.  If you would like to begin to create this new possibility today and would like additional support, guidance and effective tools towards accomplishing this  life changing feat, feel free to contact me for more information at www.TruePotentialCounseling.com

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Acceptance and Change

Posted on September 20, 2009. Filed under: Communication, Dating, Lifestyle, Love, Marriage, Men, Relationship, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , |

“Please grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Life can throw us many curve balls; however, sometimes what initially appears to be an unexpected turn for the worse may become an undiscovered treasure.  My friend shared with me that she was unable to go through her job orientation this morning because her fingerprints results had not come in; thus preventing her from working and getting paid for the next two weeks until the next orientation.  Although most people’s reaction to this major speed bump would range from irritability to anxiety, her reaction was of acceptance and seeing what possibilities lied in store for her (i.e. relaxation, temporary job, a vacation, etc.). Her response was of pure acceptance of her predicament, thus allowing her to powerfully proceed and take next step forward.

Acceptance can appear more difficult to embrace than change because it requires us to fully face, feel and experience what is.  More often than not we are so quick to change, fix and make it different than what in reality it is that we often negate the acceptance piece of the puzzle.  It is like flying to Canada without first knowing what country you are in.  First we need to accept who we are and/or where we are at, before we can change ourselves and/or relocate to a new location. Two very significant skills that can assist us in entering into acceptance mode are: mindfulness and distress tolerance skills which are clearly outlined in Marsha Linehan’s Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Handbook and are typically taught in a group setting over the course of 6 months to 1 year.  Her video below describes the balance between acceptance and change.

This topic, acceptance and change reminds me of a very poignant story of a man who spent his entire lifetime intending to fix, change and improve the world, while forgetting the most significant factor required for change to occur.  “When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.  I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.  When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.  Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.”

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Gratitude

Posted on September 12, 2009. Filed under: Communication, Health, Lifestyle, Love, Marriage, Relationship, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Taking a few moments each day to list all the things that you are grateful for can be a transformational experience.  Sometimes the blessings of a smile, someone offering a compliment or a beautiful sunrise can go unnoticed if you are not paying close attention.  By focusing on these small gifts delivered by the universe, you can add joy and sunshine to your day, while also decreasing your emphasis on preoccupations, worries and problems.  The energy of gratitude is contagious; once you begin to focus on gratitude the more you will discover.  Plus, the vibration of gratitude spreads to those around you; therefore, transforming the negative lower frequency in the world into a positive frequency that radiates at a higher level.  It is like a tuning fork.  If you focus on a particular note, whether positive or negative, the reverberation mimics the sound.  So why not choose to spread the joy instead of despair?  Secondly, the more grateful you are the more the universe delivers.  It is like a boomerang, what you throw out comes right back at you.  If you’d like to try it out, over the next month start your day and end your evening by listing 5 things that you are grateful for and see how your mood and perspective changes.

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