It’s that time again. The holidays are among us. Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, etc. A time for family get-togethers, celebrations, etc. You may enjoy this time. It may bring you happiness, joy, excitement, and lots of laughter. This time may also bring you stress, anxiety, depression or anger. Getting together with family, hosting, planning, cleaning, running errands, and shopping, can make the entire process stressful for you.You may start having anxiety weeks before the holidays begin. You may have physical symptoms (stomach aches, headaches, cold sweats, heart palpitations). You may not be able to sleep and you constantly think things may go wrong. By the time the holidays are here, you can barely enjoy them.
Well, this year can be different. You can take control of your emotions during the holiday. You don’t have to feel stressed out if follow these tips. ,
This is not television or the movies. Things do not have to be perfect. The turkey, the stuffing, the china, the house, etc. You work long hours, you have kids, elderly parents, you commute and have a household to take care of. Who has the luxury of taking time off to prepare for holidays? I’m sure you don’t. Who has the luxury of taking time off to prepare for your family drama? You are not perfect, so stop acting like you are.
Who cares is if the laundry isn’t done, the shelves aren’t dust-free or you decide to use paper plates when you serve Thanksgiving dinner? In the grand scheme of things, are these things important? Or is the important part of the holidays enjoying family and friends, watching your kids play, watching a good football game or taking a nap? If you want to use paper plates, go for it. If you want to have Thanksgiving catered, go for it. If you want to skip the rug cleaning and just vacuum, go for it. If you want to skip the family drama and head over to a friend’s house instead, go for it. You don’t have to keep doing the same thing over and over again, just to make everyone else happy and the holidays “perfect.” Save yourself anxiety, stress and headaches, by doing the best you can and embrace imperfection.
Have a Holiday Homie aka Text Buddy
Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone to vent to who wasn’t in your home during the holiday celebrations? Someone who could help calm you down with just a few words? Someone that could tell you it will be okay? Find that person!! Tell them ahead of time that you might need them for support when you are stressed and anxious. Choose someone that already knows your situation and stressors. Someone who knows you and your mother-in-law don’t get along. Someone that knows Uncle Bob drinks too much which leads to bad jokes or fights. Someone who knows your mother will criticize your cooking. Find that person. Find your Holiday Homie.
Own Your Emotions, No One Else’s
As you know, your relatives, can get your nerves, stress you out, and piss you off. There is no sugarcoating it. It is what it is. Usually, this is the case when someone is criticizing you, puts demands upon you or they are upset with you. When this happens, you may become upset, stressed, irritated or anxious. You take to heart their opinions and actions. You see their word as the end all be all. You let it ruin what should be a joyful celebration.
Let me tell you this. Usually people are trying to project how they are feeling onto you. Someone who criticizes or judges you may be threatened by your competence, may feel insecure, or may want to cover up their feelings of anger, sadness, or anxiety. Ultimately, they are insecure and want you to feel the same. So what do you do? Do you continue to own their insecurities as your own? Or do you let them have their opinions and you go about your business? Remember, you don’t need to take on their insecurities and feelings about what they think you should or shouldn’t be doing. Remember, you have control over how you feel. Don’t take on someone else’s emotions. Don’t let someone else ruin your mood during the holidays. Take it back. If the criticisms get too out of hand, see below.
Here is the the grand finale. Set Boundaries. Let me say it again. SET BOUNDARIES!. Yes, your relatives may annoy you or get on your last nerve. They may get in their feelings or judge how you live your life. Remember, you don’t have to take it. You know you can set boundaries by speaking up or leaving the situation, right? They are not holding a gun to your head. So many you think you have to stay and put up with being mistreated. Many people I have spoken with say they don’t want to be disrespectful by setting boundaries. Remember it is not disrespectful speaking up for yourself. What may be disrespectful is what you say and how you say. Yelling, screaming or cussing is not the way to speak up for yourself. It is definitely not the way you will be heard. Telling the person what they said and how it made you feel in a calm voice will be received better. Also letting the person know that if the behavior continues, you will be leaving or they will have to leave. This is not disrespectful, it is respecting yourself and stopping people from treating you a certain way.
The holidays do not have to be stressful if you have a plan in place. You deserve it to yourself to have a peaceful, joyous, exciting holiday.
This year I am hosting Thanksgiving for the first time. Our family has the flu and I am going through a living room remodel. Things are not going to be perfect. I will vacuum my carpet, and use paper plates. I have a holiday homie on standby and will set boundaries when needed. I refuse to be stressed or anxious. What will you do this holiday season to take control of your emotions?
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
P.S. This blog may contain mistakes due to me just drinking Theraflu, however, I am not going to stress about it, because I am not perfect : - ).
I knew I wanted to write about rejection, but I didn’t know how to get started. Well, that all changed one morning, a week ago, when I was at the train station. I was in line to board the train when I decided to move to another line which was much shorter. Well, that didn’t work out so well. As soon as I changed lines, the door shut in my face and the train took off. I can say in a weird way, I felt rejected. This isn’t really the type of rejection I wanted to discuss, however, the way I handled it seemed appropriate and helpful.
When I think of rejection, I think of excluding someone or pushing them away. Some people are able to handle rejection easily. After rejection, they pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and move forward. Others, may have a history of rejection, so they may have a harder time bouncing back. For instance, if your parent walked out on the family when you were a child, you may still be deeply hurt. You may feel rejected by the parent that left and for the majority of your life, you fear rejection. You constant worry that others will exclude you or push you away. When this does happen, you are devastated, hurt, angry, or sad. If you have a history of rejection, these feelings can be triggered by anything. A friend cancelling lunch, your partner breaking up with you, or you did not get a promotion. Whatever it may be, it’s devastating. It reminds you of the rejection and loss you suffered earlier in childhood.
Besides abandonment of a child of parent, other forms of rejection that could have a life long effect on you could be:
Whatever it was, it hurt. I understand. Now you are worried about it happening again. You are constantly worried, sad, angry, and fearful and it is affecting your relationships and how you see the world. You are having a hard time making friends, building relationships or moving forward with your life goals due to fear of rejection.
Well, unfortunately, you can’t change the past. What you can do is see rejection in a different light, so you are able to move past it. So how can you deal with rejection head on?
It’s Not About You It’s About Them
So let’s go back to me and the train. The train had a schedule to keep, that is why the door shut. I can’t be mad at that. It was not about me, it was about the train getting to where it needed to be, on time. In regards to the person that may have rejected you, it is not about you, it’s about them. Your parent left because of what was going on with them. Your partner left because they didn’t want to be there anymore. Maybe it wasn’t a good match. Maybe the job promotion was not a good fit. Whatever the situation, you don't need to own it. It is not about you.
Sit Down, Regroup, And Start Over
Back to the train analogy, this is exactly what I did at the train station. After the door slammed in my face, I sat down, told myself it was okay because there was another train coming in a few minutes. Then I took out my pen and starting writing this blog. After you get through the shock of your rejection, take a seat, tell yourself it will be okay, and think about how to proceed. If I would have sulked around and remained in my hurt, I would have missed the other trains. Remember, there will always be another train. If you are stuck in your rejection, you may be missing out on another partner, another friendship or another job offer. Just be patient.
Embrace Your Feelings About The Situation
Embrace the situation for what it is. I missed the train. I was angry at the train operator for not seeing me. I was irritated at myself for trying to cut corners. So, you weren’t promoted. Embrace the feelings. Are you angry, sad, frustrated or jealous? Feel it. We have feelings for a reason. It’s when we act on them, that we get ourselves in trouble. Release your feelings in a healthy way. Did you do your best during the interview? Is there room for improvement? Maybe it is a blessing in disguise.
What Were The Lessons Learned
What did I learn when I missed the train? Don’t cut corners. Don’t switch lines at the train station. Be patient. How about you? What did you learn from your relationship after someone walked out on you? Did you learn that you need to set boundaries with the next person you fall in love with? Did you learn you have to speak up for yourself? Instead of remaining stuck in the experience, learn from it.
Yes, rejection does not feel good, however, it doesn’t have to take you down. Yes, it may hurt, but don't let it stop you from getting to where you are trying to go. I will continue to ride the train, because I have places I need to go.
Is rejection stopping you from getting to where you want to go? How?
Last week was a great week. I decided to join a gym. It has been awhile. I haven’t been to the gym in 11 years!
I’ve been going to the gym sporadically since college. Back then I was young, single, and pretty healthy. I never had a real problem with my weight and I looked pretty good. So I went to the gym because I had nothing else to do and it seemed cool.
Did I worry about self-love and self-esteem? Not really. I was single and I heard the gym was a good place to find love.
Right before I met my husband, I decided my reasons for going to the gym needed to change. I was dating a lot, however nothing was panning out. I had a lot of first dates and it really began to affect my self-esteem. I did not feel loveable at all. After enough self-help books and episodes of Oprah, I finally figured it out. I had to begin to love myself first before I could love someone else. I had a great job, a college degree, a loving family and great friends, however I didn't feel good in my body.
I forgot to mention that even though I was going to the gym, the things I was putting in my body did not equate to self-love. Alcohol, processed foods, and sugar. Don't get me wrong, in moderation these things would be fine. I have to admit I was not having them in moderation. Not even close! So it was time for a reality check. I knew I didn't love myself fully. I didn't love my body or the way I felt. So I decided to get serious and hired a trainer. Shout out to Thomas at 24 hour Fitness, Santa Clara! He made me work my butt off. I began to feel good about the way I looked and became physically and mentally strong. I also started to make healthy eating choices. I finally began to love myself. It paid off. A few months later, I started dating my husband.
Fast forward 11 years, a marriage, kids and a thriving private practice, the self-love I had towards my body was gone. Stress, on top of a unhealthy diet, I was back to square one. I had to re-evaluate my lifestyle. I had tried different diets and exercise plans. Once again, I realized my self-love was missing. I loved everything about myself except my body. I realized self-love includes everything! All parts of me. So last week, I joined a gym and hired a trainer. A few weeks ago I started making better choices with my diet. I began to eat foods that my body loves. I feel I am on my way to a body I love.
Remember self-love is a journey. You may get stuck or you may veer off the road, but remember, you can always make the choice to recommit anytime you are ready. You are always ready to love you.
So what do you need to do to recommit to loving yourself? What would be your first step in getting your self-love back? Comment below!! Look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.
“I try not to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself. “ ~ Mikhail Baryshnikov
Once in awhile I come across a quote that stops me in my tracks and makes me say YES.THIS.IS.IT!!
Day after day, I hear people comparing themselves to others.
“ She is 28 years old and already married. I’m not even dating anyone.”
“ He bought a house at 23 and I am still renting at 35.”
“She has 100,000 followers on Instagram and I only have 50,000.”
Why do you compare yourself to others? Why do you think that living your own life is not enough? Why do you believe everyone else has a better life than you do?
As a therapist, I spend many days listening to clients tell me they don’t feel good about themselves. The need to constantly keep up with everyone, brings up feelings of sadness, worry, stress, frustration, anger, anxiety and low self-worth.
Some clients tell me that comparing themselves to others is useful because it keeps them motivated or gives them a baseline of where they should be. When I hear this, I ask them several questions. “ So, if that person you are comparing yourself to loses motivation or is content with their lives, will you be content and stop comparing yourself to them?” “Is your happiness based on their happiness?” Lastly,
"Is comparing yourself to your friend, making you feel better or worse about yourself?"
So when someone asks me how can they stop comparing themselves to others, I give them four tips.
Stay In Your Lane
Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Stay in your lane. Concentrate on what you are doing. Run your own race. Walk your own journey. You can’t compare your life to that of your friend, because you are not your friend.
Find Your Happiness
Many times people compare themselves to others thinking that the other person is happy. For all you know, your friend may own a house on a hill, but they are in an unhappy marriage. Or your friend has been dating a guy for six months, but he is abusive or doesn’t want to commit. If you knew this, would you really want your friend’s life?
Enjoy Your Journey
You can’t enjoy your journey if you are too busy looking at someone else’s life and where they are going. You are missing your own journey when you are constantly looking at the journey of others. You may be missing the partner that is right for you, because you are watching your friend and who she is dating. You may miss out on a job promotion because you come to work with a bad attitude because your friend keeps getting promoted and you have not.
Figure Out What You Really Want
Sometimes you want something because your friend has it, when in reality you want something else. Someone I knew thought she wanted a 3-bedroom home with a backyard in the suburbs because her friend bought one. After a discussion, she realized she couldn’t afford a 3-bedroom home, she didn’t even like the suburbs, and the house was too big. She admitted she always dreamed of buying a 2-bedroom condo in the city. For so long, some of you have been trying to live someone else’s dreams, and you don’t even know what you truly want in life.
Comparing yourself to others will not make you feel better. Comparing yourself to yourself will. Look at your own accomplishments and how far you have come. Create your own baseline for what you want to accomplish. When you get to that baseline and you are ready to do more, go for it! If you don’t know your baseline or if you don’t feel good about where you are, it may be time for you to figure it out. If you need to, hire a therapist, a life/business coach, or read some self-help books/articles, to help you figure things out. You are the author of your own book. Stop trying to live someone else’s story.
I’m so sorry your partner broke up with you. I can see it in your eyes. You look like you have been crying all night. You didn’t go to work today, instead you decided to stay in bed all day. I totally get it. You definitely need to grieve the relationship. Heck, you gave your partner months or maybe years of your life. He met your family and friends, you spent holidays, work functions, even vacations together. You thought you were going to marry this person! Then BAM!! He leaves you for your best friend. Or he said it’s not you, it’s him. Or he just disappears. After a few days in bed, you begin to get angry. Then you start thinking about retaliating. Woooaaa! Let me stop you right there. Ladies, that is when you get yourself in trouble. Let me tell you three things you should never ever do after a break-up.
Never Drunk Dial Your Ex
I’ve seen this over and over again. Girl goes to bar. Girl drinks a lot. Girl begins to think about ex. Girl thinks it's a good idea to call ex at 2:00 a.m. in the morning after the bar closes. Of course we know this never ends well. It is not like you are calling to check in to make sure he is doing well. No ladies, you are calling because you are ready to lay into your ex about how wrong he did you. When you are on the phone with him, you yell, you scream, you cry. It’s really ugly and your ex will probably hang up on you. Then you feel terrible.
Send a Text or Email to Your Ex
Again, not a good idea. As soon as you hit send, you can never take it back. As previously stated, you are not checking in to see how he is doing. You are letting your ex know he did you wrong and you want to try to change him. Let’s face it ladies, your ex will delete the text or send something back that will make matters worse. Don’t do it.
Tell All Your Ex’s Friends and Family How Much He Hurt You
If he did you wrong, most likely close friends and family already know what type of person he is. They were just waiting for you to figure it out. You don’t need to go ruining his reputation, to make yourself feel good. You are better than that ladies. If you really want to talk about how much he hurt you, talk to a close friend or therapist.
Like I told you before, break-ups are hard. You will be down in the dumps for days, maybe even months. You may feel betrayed, rejected, or abandoned. You may feel sad, depressed, frustrated, angry or anxious. These are all normal feelings. However, have some dignity, and class and release your feeling in appropriate ways. You can talk to friend/family, journal, exercise, meditate or talk to a therapist. Break-ups can be tough, but this too shall pass.
Happy New Year Everyone!!!
This is my first blog of the new year. YAY!! Actually, this is my first blog in about six months!! Yikes!! You know what? I’m okay with it.
In 2017, I kept hearing that in order to be successful, I needed to be creating content all the time in order to stay relevant.
“ You need to blog once a week.”
“ You need to update your profile every few months.”
“ You need to write a book.” (I actually did this because I really wanted to)
“ You need to submit your content to news sources.”
It became too overwhelming. Once in awhile, I would start a blog, but I wouldn’t finish because I didn’t think it was good enough or I just didn’t know what to say. After awhile, I decided not to write at all. I threw in the towel. The self-doubt that I always explored with my clients had crept in and taken a stronghold in 2017 and my blogging days were done.
Fast forward to 2018. Besides not blogging, I decided not to write any new year's resolutions. Year after year, I would write list after list of resolutions in January, and by March, I would forget all about them. I would stop working out, stop eating healthy, stop balancing my checkbook, or stop whatever I had sworn I was going to do for that year. So this year, I decided to do something different. A coworker of mine said a few years ago, she began to pick a word/theme for the year and would use it to direct her life. It sounded like a great idea. I couldn’t think of anything right way until a few days later when someone posted on Facebook, “What is your theme for the year?” The first thing that came to mind was “Doin It My Way!” Yes indeed. I just loved the way it sounded. I loved the way I felt when I said it out loud. When I said it, I felt STRONG, FREE, UNAPOLOGETIC. Now, “Doin It My Way!” will speak to how I run my business, raise my children, foster my marriage and relationships and live my life.
For the past few days, I’ve walked around with my theme in my head, feeling just as confident as ever. This morning, “Write a blog, Mpho” kept popping in my head. Eek!! Not this blogging thing again. Didn't I leave this back in 2017? However, I realized I could use this opportunity to blog about my experience of moving through self-doubt. I also realized that since I am “Doin It My Way!”, I could blog any time I feel like it. I don’t have to be tied down by all the rules about “content” like I was before. Self-doubt be gone!!!. Now blogging doesn’t seem so overwhelming because I am “Doin It My Way!”
So, what is your theme for 2018? What will make you feel STRONG, FREE, UNAPOLOGETIC? How will you live life on your own terms?
Is self-doubt or self-criticism blocking you from living your best life? Are you ready to start “Doin It Your Way?" Contact me so I can support you in transforming your inner voice of self-doubt and self-criticism into a powerful voice of positive self-talk and self-trust by calling me at 510-250-3091 or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When do you know when it is time to go to therapy? You clicked on this blog post for a reason. Maybe you typed “ signs I may need therapy” in a search engine, or a close friend or family member told you that you need therapy. However, you still aren’t sure you need to talk to some stranger about how you are feeling.
Check out the following signs to see if any of them pertain to you.
1. I am always angry. My angry outbursts are affecting my relationships, both personal and professional.
2. I am always feeling down. I don’t want to get up in the morning, eat or participate in any activities.
3. My partner and I no longer communicate and we are on the verge of ending our relationship.
4. I am constantly stressed out and overwhelmed. I cover up my feelings by drinking alcohol, using drugs, overeating, shopping or gambling.
5. I survived some form of physical, mental, sexual or emotional abuse and it is negatively affecting the way I relate to my family, friends, coworkers and the world.
6. My child is not listening and consistently challenges me. and I am at my wits end.
7. I recently divorced. I feel all alone and don’t know how to start over.
8. I discovered my spouse is cheating, however, we would like to make our relationship work.
9. I don’t feel good about myself and people don’t like me.
After reading these signs, are you still questioning if you need therapy? Maybe you didn't see any signs that spoke to your situation. Try filling in the blanks below.
Lately, I have been feeling ___________ because ___________. I’m tired of the feeling this way and it is affecting some part or all of my life. I am feeling all alone and have no one to talk to.
If you were able to fill in the blanks, then that is your sign that you may need to seek a licensed therapist to support you during this tough time. A therapist will assess, diagnose and provide you with the tools to help you navigate the struggles in your life. The goal is help return to your normal self and lead a productive and satisfying life.
As a therapist, I will listen without judgment and assist you in creating inner peace.
If you are still questioning if you need therapy or if you are ready to make a change in your life for a better quality of life, call me for a free 15-minute consultation at 510-250-3091. I look forward to hearing from you.
Well, another summer has arrived. Hot weather, BBQ’s, vacations, pool/beach parties, etc. You enjoy all of these things, except you have no one to enjoy them with. You are tired of doing everything by yourself. Your married friends don’t get that you don’t feel like going to another BBQ by yourself that begins at noon and ends at 6:00 p.m. because they all have kids. You haven’t had a date in months or maybe even years. You keep meeting the wrong person. You are fed up, defeated, and feel that you are not good enough.
Clients come to me all the time because they are tired of being single, tired of picking the wrong person, feeling lonely and feeling like they aren’t good enough to attract a mate. I constantly hear “ I wouldn’t be so depressed if I had a man” or “ I’m frustrated I can’t keep a relationship”.
Am I an expert in helping people find a mate to make them happy? No, not really. However, I am an expert in helping my clients become a happy mate.
Many times we are seeking someone to make us happy. However, I tell my clients they need to be happy with themselves first.
So here are 5 ways to become a happy mate.
Are you happy with your physical appearance? This has nothing to do with if others are attracted to you. How do you feel about the way you look and feel? If you don’t feel good about your appearance, do something about it. If you know you would feel better 10 pounds lighter, then start working on it. Join a gym, walk, join a yoga or Crossfit studio. If you need to change your diet, research articles or read books on diet and fitness. Do you need a haircut or a new wardrobe? If so, go to the salon or hit the nearest department store. Remember, this is not about anybody but you. You need to be able to look in the mirror and smile back because you are happy with the way you look and feel on the outside.
How do you feel inside? Are you happy with your personality and how you treat others? Do you strive to be honest and kind? Are you an introvert but you want to become more extroverted? Do have a hard time making or keeping friends because of your social skills? If you want to change certain aspects of yourself to make yourself happy, do it. There are plenty of self-help books or self improvement classes that can help you build confidence, improve your social skills or anything else you want to improve.. You can also join a social club or a Meetup group where you can practice meeting and interacting with people.
What are your goals? Don’t wait for a mate to decide to buy a house or go back to school. Do it now. If it will make you happy, why wait? In the 4 to 5 years you are waiting for a mate, you could have obtained a degree. Do you want to change jobs? Go for that dream job. Who knows, it may take you to another state or country. What an adventure, huh? Buy the house you want now. You can always upgrade after you get married. You don’t need a to buy your retirement home now. You can buy a starter home and sell later. Buy your motorcycle, car, dream vacation or whatever you know will fulfill your goals and make you happy.
What are your values? Google “list of values” and you will see numerous websites, with numerous lists of values. This is the hardest part for my clients because they have never thought about their core values. You may ask why is this so important? Well, it does help in the long run if you and your future mate share values or understand each other’s values.. Let’s say you value Family but your mate does not. This may be good to know up front. Your mate may not want to spend the holidays with lots of family, but would be okay if you and the kids went to your mother’s for the holidays. Looking at your own values may help you realize there may be some deal breakers. You may not want a mate who does not value Charity. Maybe you want to build a family who volunteers, so having someone who does not value Charity would not work for you. Figure out the core values that make you truly happy and it will help guide you to the right mate.
I wasn’t going to write a fifth tip, but I felt this was too important to ignore. Many relationships end due to finances, so get your financial house in order first. Start paying off your credit card debt and student loans. Most likely your debt is not making you happy either. Debt probably makes you feel frustrated, angry, depressed, or anxious. Well, this is the perfect opportunity to start chipping away at it. If you have no debt, just save or invest your money. Start building yourself a nest egg. Being debt-free with money in the bank is freedom and happiness.
Remember, a partner will not make you happy. Happiness starts with you. If you are unhappy with yourself, you will be unhappy with a mate. What truly makes you happy? Follow these tips and you will be on your way to being a happy mate!!
If you need some support becoming that happy mate, contact me at 510-250-3091 or www.peacefulthoughtstherapy.com.
Peace and Love,
I am a therapist who helps individuals who are motivated to transform their inner voice of self-doubt and self-criticism into a powerful voice of positive self-talk and self-trust. We help individuals recognize their inner worth, build their self-esteem and speak their truth.