Posts tagged Single
The #1 way to find healing after Heartbreak
#1 way to find healing after heartbreak

Let’s just be frank, the healing process after the loss of a relationship really sucks. Even if you haven’t lost your relationship, and are just in the midst of a rocky road with your partner, there is one thing that you can do to help yourself heal, and it can’t be found in the arms of another, or at the bottom of a beer bottle. Although those things might sound appealing while you’re hurting, they tend to cause more harm than good.

The best thing that women can do for themselves in order to heal is to reconnect with their strengths. What I mean by that is, many times in relationships there are parts of us that become lost, or overshadowed, but those parts are important, and they make us who we are. They contributed to who we were before we entered into the relationship, and yet those parts often get neglected.

In order to reconnect with those strengths, reflection and introspection have to be involved. I’m a huge proponent of journaling, I recommend it to almost all of my clients who are struggling through life’s challenges. So women who are trying to heal can start journaling and thinking about the parts of themselves that they’ve neglected that once brought them a sense of happiness and strength.

Were you once an athlete, or involved in some sport that you no longer do? Is there a creative side to you that you don’t feed because you’ve become too busy? Are you great with money? Are you a great parent? Are you a great friend?

I help my clients look at those strengths and get back to them so they can start to feel like themselves again, but also more importantly so that they can begin to realize that although this relationship that they’ve lost or that is in a very rocky state – while it’s extremely important to them, it isn’t all that makes up their life.

Sometimes women can place far too much emphasis on their romantic relationship and allow it to govern all other aspects of their life rather than having a full life and allowing a relationship to fit in the picture as well.

A lot of the work that I do with the women in my therapy practice is helping them to find their strengths, and accentuating them, or building new strengths.

Another important piece in the healing process is making peace with what’s occurred by taking some responsibility for the contribution to the relationship issues, the infidelity, and the end of the relationship; owning up to your own shortcomings as a partner. It doesn’t always mean forgiveness, but it means coming to an understanding about what transpired, and moving forward after accepting that.

Do you know what your strengths are? If not, it might be time to reflect on them. Ask your close friends and family what they see as your strengths, or even what they saw that used to be your strengths, because maybe they’ve noticed you’ve lost them along the way as well. It can be difficult put yourself out there in such a way, but a close confidant will likely be truthful if you approach them in the right way.

Find your strengths, reconnect with the old ones, feed them, and you will find healing. If you could use some help finding the person you may have lost while caught in a tumultuous relationship, I’d love to help. You can contact me at (909) 226-6124 and I’ll be happy to discuss ways we can work together to help you reconnect with your amazing strengths. 

Celebrating Valentine’s Day When Love Sucks
Valentine's Day Relationships

I love reading to my 17-month old son. I love it so much, but for mostly selfish reasons; it’s the only time he just sits on my lap and cuddles with me, and I also get to read all my favorite Dr. Seuss books all over again. As a child I always knew those little books were magical – I mean I could tell by the crazy pictures, Mr. Seuss had it goin on, but as an adult I realize just how many fantastic lessons we can learn from his crazy imagination.

I was reading 'Oh, the thinks you can Think' the other day and it really made me think (go figure) about how much control we have over any situation just based on the thoughts and meaning we give to it. We are our thoughts. Our reality is what we make of it.

Valentine’s Day is heading towards us like a steamroller, or as some say, “Single Awareness Day,” or for many of you it may be “WTF-is-going-on-with-my-relationship-anyways-day.” When your relationship is lackluster, and not exactly what you had imagined, holidays – even silly ones like Valentine’s Day can be like a stab in the heart because they serve as that crappy reminder that things just aren’t right.

But rather than hide under the covers all day loathing in self-pity, I want to encourage you to take some time for yourself, change your thoughts and reality, and celebrate anyway.

First things first though – take some time to acknowledge what you’re feeling. If you’re not sure what the heck is going on with your partner and how the two of you may or may not be celebrating together, acknowledge how that makes you feel. Write it down along with the ways you’d like to feel on this day (or any day for that matter).

Next, close the gap. What can get you from feeling the way you do now, to feeling the way you’d really like? If you want to feel loved, appreciated, or accepted, how can you create that for yourself?

Who are the people in your life, aside from your partner that make you feel those things? Are any of them free to do brunch, lunch, drinks, or some sort of class on V-Day? If you’re not sure, find out! Use your support system for all it’s worth. Most people automatically assume that their BFF will be celebrating with their honey, but because they love you too, they really are willing to be there to do something fun with you as well, you just have to ask.

Pay attention to those false negative beliefs you might be carrying and holding on to. That Eeyore voice in your head that says “no one has time for me, so why should I bother?” will keep you stuck, so tell it to be quiet, and ask a friend or family member for a little QT. 

If you’d rather go solo because that voice is just relentless, then think of other things that make you feel what you’re looking to feel on this day. Often giving helps us get those feels we love. Is there someone that you’d love to shower with a little bouquet or homemade cookies? You can channel your energy into creating something nice for a friend or relative to take your mind off of your relationship.

You can also shower yourself with the gifts you’d love to receive. Go get a massage, haircut, pedicure, or grab your own flowers, and spend time remembering that the most important love we have comes from ourselves. We have to fill our cups in order to give to others, so use this day as an excuse to pamper yourself, and fill up your own cup.

No matter how you decide to celebrate, acknowledge your feelings, but resolve to push past them even if just for the day. You have power over your thoughts. Notice how many times you tell yourself something negative about what the day means, and challenge yourself to shift those negative thoughts just long enough to feel a little positivity.

If nothing else, before your feet hit the floor on the start of Valentine’s Day, make a list in your head of at least 10 things that you are grateful for. This will shift your mood and remind you that no matter what’s going on in your relationship, your entire life is much bigger. “You can think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” Dr. Seuss.

The greatest gifts to give your single self this Christmas
singles gifts after divorce

It’s better to give than to receive, right? In that case, this Christmas give yourself exactly what you need. While love from others is necessary, welcomed, and can help you to forget your single status, love for yourself is far more important so while you may be mending a broken heart, pushing past a rocky patch in your relationship, or just enjoying the single life, here are a few things that will make any of those, that much greater:

 

1.     “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero. Admittedly this was one of my favorite books this year. It’s an awesome self-help book for those that loathe the term “self-help.”  Jen gets to the nuts and bolts of pushing you past the things that are holding you back from being your most badass self! She takes the kid gloves off, and gives it to you straight. I like her style, and I think you will too (unless you take offense to curse words).

2.     Adult Coloring books. Remember how fun it was to color as a kid? Whether you kept it in the lines, or were a perpetual scribbler, I bet you never recognized the mental health benefits as a child. Coloring can be meditative and it decreases anxiety and increases creativity and you don’t have to be an amazing artist to enjoy it.  There are some fabulous patterns available for adults that will put those cartoon characters you used to color to shame.

3.     Pandora radio subscription.  This is not a completely novel idea, but the reason I suggest the paid version is because we all deserve commercial free music. Pandora’s Calm Meditation Radio is one of my favorites to help me get to Zen. Meditation has some amazing health benefits. Set the timer on your phone, put your headphones in, and sit and focus on your breath for a few undivided minutes per day. You’ll notice a positive shift in your mood, decrease in your stress level, and gain mental clarity. Meditating first thing in the morning can help you start your day off right, and the right music sets the tone.

4.     “Rising Strong” by Brené Brown. Brené Brown is one of my all-time favorite writers. She rocks it in her latest book, which will help you pick yourself up, recognize the power of vulnerability, and change the way you approach relationships. Brené is a fantastic story-teller and researcher. This book is pure gold as it teaches you to own your story about challenges and heartbreak.

5.     An adventure. Once you take the plunge into becoming a badass and rise strong, it’s time for a new adventure! Pick a hobby or that thing you’ve always been curious about and go out and do it. Don’t wait for the perfect person to enjoy said activity with, know that you are ok all on your own, and take your strong, badass self on that hike you’ve always wanted to conquer. Heck, you might even want to join a hiking club, or a watercolor class, or take scuba lessons. Push past your fears and just to diminish the excuses, book that lesson or class as a gift to yourself this Christmas. You’ll be glad you did!

I hope you receive all the gifts you truly deserve this Christmas. My wish is that your holiday will be filled with great connection to people that matter. But don’t wait for others to fulfill your wish list – instead, grab that list by the horns and make it happen for yourself. You’re worth it!

If you could use some extra support through the holiday season and beyond, don’t hesitate to give me a call, (909) 226-6124. I’d love to help you gain the strength you need to push past your relationship struggles and get what you truly want out of life.     

Making the most of Couples Therapy On your Own
couples therapy

It happens more often than you’d think: things in your relationship aren’t going the way you’d like, arguments are happening more often, but they just aren’t going anywhere, you know your relationship needs help and so you decide couples counseling is what you need. The only problem- your partner doesn’t agree, and doesn’t want to go with you.

I hear this often in my practice. For whatever reason, one person just doesn’t see the benefit of counseling, and the other is adamant that it’s the key to solving the issues in the relationship. One partner makes the call to set up an appointment, and comes to therapy alone in hopes that they can make the shifts they need to create better communication, or to resolve an issue that’s been plaguing their coupledom.

While it might seem like this scenario is a foreshadow of negativity, I’ve seen amazing growth and change happen with only one partner present in therapy. Here are some tips for making the most of it when you’re going alone:

Understand that the only thing you can control is you. This is the premise that makes couples therapy as a single possible. Even when two are in the room, the only thing that you can control is you, your actions, reactions, and the way you operate in your relationship. You can’t change other’s behaviors, thoughts, and emotions, and so once you fully understand and accept that, you can get on the right track to making necessary shifts on your own.  

Take notes. When you journal or jot down ideas about what you’ve learned in your therapy sessions, it helps you to remember what you’re going to do going forward. If your goal is to argue less with your partner, or have more effective arguments as a result of what you’re learning in therapy, write down ways you plan to do this, and practice implementing them.

 

Talk to your partner about what you’re learning in therapy. Your therapy sessions are confidential, and it’s a time for you to process what’s happening for you in your relationship, but that doesn’t mean it has to all be kept hush-hush. Share general ideas that you are learning about yourself, and things you are coming to realize about the relationship with your partner to help them understand what it is you’re actually doing in therapy.

Many times people are fearful of the therapeutic process because they just don’t know what to expect. They have some misconceptions about what therapy might entail, and so if you share with your partner in general what the process is like for you, it might help them shift their opinion about attending.

Don’t be pushy. People have to do things when they’re ready. I think we’ve all had that aha-moment as adults where something your parents told you over and over finally clicked, and you stopped and thought, “Ohhhh, now I get it!” But at the time, when they were trying to get it in your head, you just weren’t ready to receive it, and so you just pushed it aside.

This is the same experience people can have with therapy, and so adding small tidbits about ways it’s helping you can get them to think about ways it might also benefit them, but the moment you go over-board and start demanding that your partner participate is the moment their defense will go right back up.

Lead by example. You’ll likely learn so many great things about how to approach communication, arguments, and interactions with your partner by participating in therapy. Showing your partner what you’ve learned by changing the way you do things might be a little odd to them at first, especially if it’s something completely out of the ordinary, but the more you lead by example, the more change you’ll see in your relationship, or in the way you react to your partner.

Continue to leave the door open. As you continue to make changes in your reactions and interactions with your partner, be sure to let your partner know they are welcome to attend therapy along with you. Begging, pleading, and giving ultimatums (unless you are serious about upholding your end**) won’t likely be as effective as gentle reminders, nudges, and invitations. Approach is key on this one.

**There is a time and place where ultimatums are appropriate, look for more info in an upcoming blog post.

As you continue through therapy it’s important to keep your goals in mind, and to continue talking to your therapist about them. If you haven’t yet started therapy because your partner isn’t willing to go along with you, I’d encourage you to explore it as an option because changes can be made in your relationship even if you are going solo.

Although this time of year tends to be extra busy for most, it’s also an excellent time to begin therapy because the holidays bring up so many challenges and feelings of angst and sadness. If you are anticipating a rough time going through the holidays, I want to encourage you to reach out. I’d be happy to help you get the support you need to get through the holiday season; I can be reached at (909) 226-6124 for a free phone consultation.

I’ve also put together a free 12 Days of Christmas Mindset Boost. You can sign up here for free. If you did the 14-Day Mindset Boost I put out right before Thanksgiving, kudos! I’d love to hear from you about how it helped, or any challenges you may have experienced while going through the exercises. The 12 Days of Christmas Mindset Boost will provide you with 12 emails that include an in-depth exercise for the day that will help you approach the holidays with gratitude and cheer in your heart, in spite of some of the common challenges that make the holidays a bit difficult.