Tuesday, May 26, 2015
I would say that emotions are just emotions. They are temporary states that clue us in to what is going on in our lives. And I would say the reason one emotion is thought of as positive and another negative is a result of our culture. In America, we're told (or sold) the idea that we are supposed to always be happy. The fact that we're not allows companies to sell us things to help us achieve happiness. But happiness, like all other emotions, is a temporary state.
Our emotions developed over eons of human history. Their purpose is to provide the motivation and perception needed to interact with others and survive in our environment. Therefore, all of our emotions, including the negative ones, are essential to our lives. So it's not that we have these emotions that is the problem, it's what we choose to do with them.
Take anger for instance. It can be destructive or productive depending on its user. It can destroy us or motivate us depending on our perception of ourselves. Anger tells us that all is not right in our world. It helps us avoid being exploited or undervalued and it can put power back in our hands. It calls on us to take some kind of action and prevents stagnation.
Shame, guilt and embarrassment teach us it may be time to look inward. Yes, they're uncomfortable feelings because looking clearly at oneself is inherently uncomfortable. These are feelings that are often the result of us doing something we shouldn't have done. Without these feelings, who would ever learn from their mistakes?
So maybe it's time to embrace your emotions and take the time to hear what they're trying to teach you. Maybe it's time to forgive yourself for feeling what humans are supposed to feel?
Monday, May 11, 2015
It’s that time of year again. A time of saying good-bye to old experiences and saying hello to the new. It’s the time of year that embodies all the symbols of springtime that we love - starting something new, rebirth, transformation. It’s graduation time and will soon be the peak of wedding season. With that in mind, it’s a good time to talk about the factors that will set us up for success.
The first thing is to reduce the pressure on yourself. True, these are some of the biggest milestones of a person’s life, but you are not defined by a single day. Instead, these events symbolize the hard work you have already put in with graduation representing your scholastic achievements and a wedding symbolizing your ability to commit to a grown up relationship. Too often, these events get reduced to the “perfect” dress or cake or venue. Studies show that people who just roll with it and look to enjoy themselves will have more fun and a better longterm outcome. In fact, one study by two psychologists with the National Marriage Project showed that the most successful couples focused on celebrating their nuptials with the most people, focusing on fun and joining their guests for a good time.
Associate professor of psychology, Jaime Kurtz of James Madison University believes that focusing on activities that take you out of your own head enhances your enjoyment of these events. For example, spending the majority of time on the dance floor with your family and friends or telling spontaneous stories about your experiences in school.
It’s also not about the dough! In fact, studies by economists have shown that the less a couple spends on a wedding, the higher their chances of a happy marriage. The study report that those who spend more than $20,000 on their wedding were 32% more likely to get divorced.
Bottom line, we remember experiences far more than pomp and circumstance. So perhaps the best way to embody rebirth and transformation is to honor the path you took to get to this moment and share your gratitude with those who helped you get there.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Hi there! Welcome to the Forward Recovery blog. Some people know I’ve been around a while. I started up my practice shortly after beginning my post masters internship almost 3 years ago. Now that I’m fully licensed and completed my training, I have decided to relaunch my practice. I got an awesome new office: