One question you should never ask your kids.

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Since the holiday season has started,  I felt it was time for this post. Hopefully, this is more of a generational question that is working it’s way out of our society I hope,  but in case it isn’t, no time like the present!

This is an occasional issue that my clients & friends in their mid-forties and up will mention, I’ve rarely heard it from younger people, that dreaded question that gets asked by parents, especially moms.

“I am/was a good parent, right?” How many people just cringed reading these words? I know I did, just writing them.

For many of us, answering that question involves one of three responses:

1. Lie- since telling the truth, would drag up more issues and hurt feelings than you or the person asking the question honestly want to deal with and the possible questions that may follow.

2. Tell the truth-if you are lucky you had/have good parents and being honest can be a positive outcome for both of you.

3. Avoid answering the question-which can be a safe alternative if you don’t want to lie and the truth may not always set you free.

Yes, I have had to deal with that question about ten years ago with my own mom and when she asked, it caught me off guard.  My relationship with my parents has always been rocky, we aren’t close and never will have that type of  relationship. What caught me off guard wasn’ t necessarily the question itself but a conversation I had with one of my clients earlier that week. Our conversation was about this very same question and how to deal with handling your answer and response.

The previous weekend my client had a visit with their mom and out of the blue, the question was asked. Never close to their mother, the awkwardness of both the question and how to answer, along with the whole uncomfortableness of the situation, had unsettled my client. Being embarrassed, they hesitated to answer and then stated, ” yes, you were a good mom.”

As the client told me about the incident, they further stated that they were bothered by the whole encounter, since they lied but also knew their mom couldn’t handle the truth and didn’t want to deal with the hurt feelings and fallout from their siblings if the truth had been stated.

Another issue that had my client uncomfortable, was the why this question would ever be asked in the first place? Which is a very good question. My only answers were that mom’s self esteem was lacking/still not a reason to ASK this question or/and possibly playing the guilt trip game (see my prior post “Guilt is not an emotion”).

The lies that we sometimes tell to spare family whether we are close to them or not is always a slippery slope. Do I tell the truth to get it off my chest? Do I lie to spare myself  & the person asking the question an answer that probably isn’t pretty? Along with the fallout from others when it is found out what was said, no matter how you choose to answer this question. Or do I choose to refuse to answer the question, a third choice that is as valid as the first two options.

The other issue that this brings to the forefront is the question itself. Healthy self esteem is based on your own perception of self and should never defined by others in your life. Least all, putting that burden on your children, no matter their age & seeking validation where it shouldn’t be sought.

Healthy self esteem is based on a belief in oneself. Positive kudos from others is icing on the cake. But we should never go seeking it out from friends, families and others. It’s a difficult and often an unfair position that we put others in and once put in that spot it can change relationships forever. You may get lucky and get a positive response, but there are never any guarantees. I often tell people, if you ask a question, you must be prepared for the answer no matter what you will hear and be willing to accept what is said.

So, how did I respond to my mom? I was very shocked and angered by the question, to say the least. I stood there for a moment, with a shocked look on my face and walked away. Some issues are best left alone and for me that ship had sailed many decades ago. People might say I took the cowards way out, but some conversations are just not worth having or revisiting.

Aging is the true test of life

3817BA05-F137-470B-9176-CBF2CDB00E64  I was having a conversation with some friends over the past few weeks regarding the topic of aging. Yeah, all of us are in our 50’s and we were talking about how our bodies had and are changing since we reached this decade. Along with how we had more aches and pains, grey in our hair, wrinkles and other fun changes. In this particular group of friends, aging is not an issue, all of us have a good attitude about age and the aging process. Generally all of us aren’t concerned about the wrinkles, skin that is beginning to sag and age spots that are beginning to pop up. We see them as a badge of honor, a declaration as women and humans with the attitude that what you see is what you get.

True, all of us have and know people in our lives who aren’t handling aging as well and hung up on being that media/societal induced ideal model of being female. None of us are into plastic surgery, Botox or other artificial enhancement to look younger.

Yes, I have highlights in my hair, partly by choice and fun. My hair went through a radical change around age 25, after I gave birth to my daughter. Prior to this point in my life, I had straight medium blonde brownish hair. Around age 25, it turned a dark brown and became curly. Loved the curls, but wasn’t crazy about the mousy, washed out look that my complexion had against the darker hair. I lived with it for a few years and woke up one morning with dreaded grey hair that a 20 something girl isn’t happy about at all. Yes, that is my vanity talking and it is healthy to have some vanity points, it helps with one’s self esteem.  As long as the vanity is not the focal point of your life.

After all, what do each of us see staring back when we look in the mirror? What do you tell yourself, when you see this stranger or friend looking at you? Is it happiness, acceptance, no feeling or would you rather just turn away and not see who is there? If your answers fall in the range of no feelings, negative feelings or not looking, why?

Often I have discovered in my 57 yrs, it’s less about the physical body and appearance but more about our inner self. Such as why we aren’t happy with in our lives. Is it our relationships, work, friends, family or ourselves? Do you feel that something is missing?

In regards to relationships in any aspects of life, figuring out what you want or need from any and all relationships is something that needs to be established. Which includes what buttons are being pushed and what boundaries may need to be set. This includes being a people pleaser, even they need to set up boundaries. Which can include dumping and divorcing some people from your life. None of that is easy by any means, but can help you feel better about yourself  and your outlook on life when you look in the mirror.

Another relationship is the one with yourself. It is probably the hardest to have and maintain for most of us. What is presented to the world is usually not the internal struggle of finding ourselves and hanging on to that self throughout our lifetime. Many have that battle all their lives and it is never clear to themselves whether they are winning, barely hanging on, or continually losing grip. Even the most confident among us, struggle from time to time with this issue. Their secret is they have developed enough confidence, self understanding and experience to not fear the doubt. They embrace it, even when they don’t want to and often see these moments as periods of growth and self evaluation.

That’s the beauty of aging is hopefully learning to be comfortable with yourself, learning to embrace yourself and even love yourself inside and out. How is your journey going?

What color are your glasses?

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When you look at the world, yourself or others, do you know what color your glasses are for each person and situation? Are you a perpetual “Rose Colored” person? Or do you have different colors you wear for each situation or person? What color are the glasses that you perceive yourself? How comfortable with these perceptions are you?

There truly are no right or wrong answers to these questions. It’s more about perception, attitudes, beliefs, experiences and self esteem. Along with the width of our blinders we wear as well.  We all have them, it’s part of the uniqueness that makes us human and understanding our glasses and blinders can help each of us understand ourselves, the world around us and how to change what we desire to improve.

I’ll admit what irks me personally is the extremes of those with rose colored glasses and those who live with extreme dark glasses. I can more broadly say it is extremes of all kinds. I live both professional and personally in a world of grey glasses which means, being black or white are not concepts or lifestyles I believe in or practice. I do have my own boundaries and lines I won’t cross, but generally see the world and myself as open opportunities and possibilities.

When I work with clients, I often encourage them for both growth purposes and self awareness to explore and find out where they are on this scale. Most important, is when we put on those glasses and look in the mirror, who stares back? Do you see a confident, intelligent person with many gifts and talents or someone else? To take this concept further, ask yourself, why do you see this particular person? However you see yourself, it is important to understand why you have this viewpoint.

Such as, is this self perception based on what others say and have told you in your life or what you truly believe is you. How do you feel about what you see? If you aren’t happy with this version of yourself, how can you change it and move forward? Even further how open and willingly are you to going on the path of self improvement?

These can be difficult questions and thoughts to explore and ask oneself. Often we don’t like the answers we can find, but brave souls can venture where others fear to go.  I ask myself these questions when I feel challenges, aren’t happy with a situation I’m facing or just know it’s time for some self evaluation.

These are also useful tools for learning and truly understanding how we self sabotage ourselves when we are working on both growth and maintaining stability in all aspects of one’s life. All of us have moments, times when our lives become upside down or we catch ourselves slipping into old negativity habits, and this self check can help us keep from sliding into a rut.

In the beginning of this post, I asked broad questions about both self perception of yourself, others and the world around you. I purposely narrowed the scope to how you see yourself, since understanding yourself is the key to understanding your world as a whole and yourselves within it. In self exploration, we take apart the pieces of one’s life, starting with ourselves and then using this to help shape and understand all the pieces of our lives.

Making improvements isn’t always easy and at times the process can be difficult, but if we truly want change, it’s worth it.

Spring Cleaning

IMG_0354Yes, it’s that time of year for your mental, emotional health and growth, to clean the cobwebs and take out thrash that has bogging you down and holding you back. After all, it is hard to move forward if the weight and rented space of negative and unproductive aspects of your life are blockades. Just like spring cleaning your closets and garage, evaluating what is important and needs to be kept in you life and mind, clears both room and energy to be happier, more focused, healthier relationships and able to reach your goals.

My goal for myself is to try and due this at least twice a year, with the optimum goal of being every season. There are years, where I accomplish my every season goal, but am equally satisfied if I reach just twice a year. This will also vary depending upon your life and what is going on. Some years and seasons are more cluttered than others.

I encourage my clients to do this at least once, but hopefully twice a year. It’s amazing what lingers in our mind and life, often items and issues that serve no purpose other than to hold us back. Like that worn out pair of shoes that are comfy but need to be tossed, it’s not always easy but well worth it. Believe it or not, we can become attached to the negative space fillers that can fill our head just like the items no longer needed in our home.

A question that we must ask ourselves, each time we clean is “what are we afraid of if we take this item or issue and toss it out?”

The answer is simple, it is our fear, fear of the unknown, fear of what to do in my head and my life if these items and issues are removed. Just like the early stages of recovery with any addiction, suddenly the time fillers are gone. What do I do now?Obviously, if something is useful, truly important or serves a positive purpose , as with your physical house you should hang on to it.

One of the easiest ways to declutter your mind is to use the tried and true method of the pros and cons list. I always encourage people to grab that pen or pencil, along with a piece of paper and get started. I know in the electronic age, I’m asking you to do this the old fashioned way. But there’s a simple reason for this method. We humans are sensory by nature and studies support that tactile learning helps us in many more ways than one can imagine.

What is tactile learning? It is using if not all, as many as possible of our 5 senses in learning, gathering information and making decisions. Using the pen and paper method, allows whatever issue or decision to go from just being in your head to being real to your other senses.  It’s almost magical in a way. The shear ability of writing, drawing or any other method of being able to access it with more than your mind makes it more alive. All of our senses have memory, we have nerve/muscle, touch, sight, hearing and smell all learning and remembering. Writing it down on paper engages the mind, muscles/nerves for writing, sense of touch with the pen and paper and sight for looking at the written words. If you read it out loud to yourself you’ve just added hearing/speaking. By making it real, it is often harder to ignore than just being able to push it aside in one’s mind.

So, now that I’ve done the spring cleaning of my life and mind, now what? That’s actually up to you, though for myself, I often write up a list of goals, dreams, ideas and thoughts. I encourage my clients to do the same. I go through my list throughout the year or season, which as life is ever evolving and alter and change whatever needs or I feel is still important to me. After all, this is a list, your list and not a contract.

Let me know if you use this, how it works or doesn’t work for you.

Compliments are gifts

DC8AFD29-C350-490F-81F3-F39C0DC9DEEE When you work in the helping occupations, there are those clients you meet with, who give you lots of material for future work with other clients. Along with fodder for your blog. Today, I had one of those clients.

This particular client has a lot of self esteem issues and many of our meetings are centered around improving her self esteem, not verbally/mentally beating herself up and learning to take praise and compliments.  Each of these topics are blog posts or at least a chapter in a book by themselves, at the very least. Despite all the progress she’s made, as with all of us, old habits are hard to die and when one least expects it, they can came roaring back into the center of one’s life.

Compliments and learning to accept them can be a difficult task to master for many people. It’s been my experience over the decades, both personally and professionally, that it is much harder for women to master than men.  Which, one would think in the 21st century, we would be further along with this skill set than we are and it’s not only in American Society. Since I live in the USA, I can only approach this issue from my own societies perspectives and beliefs.

Why do I refer to it as a habit and a skill set? There’s actually a simple answer. These 2 areas are extremely interlinked and often work together to raise and improve how we view ourselves and our physical, mental and emotional health. Having a positive view of our self worth and esteem can improve all aspects of our lives. You can also use it to be more productive, find your direction and easier to pursue your goals.

Today, I decided to take this different tactic with my client and asked her to view “compliments as a gift.” She looked surprised and curious, when I responded to her questioning herself regarding, “why do I struggle with accepting and believing compliments?” I further explained that compliments are nothing but a verbal gift and as with all gifts you should accept them graciously. Obviously, if there’s no sincerity in this gift as with all gifts, one should be weary, but most folks are quite sincere with their compliments.

I learned about this definition of compliments many years ago at a training I attended and loved it. I see a lot of truth regarding this issue in my work with others, along with being a people watcher. It’s always amazed me how people react to a compliment, no matter what the reason for the compliment. Which can range from the recipient being embarrassed and uncomfortable to those who are comfortable and pleased with it.

The trainer stated in this training that “ a gift is a gift. We generally don’t respond to a physical present when it is handed to us the same way, think about why that is? Think about why we perceive a verbal gift any different? There’s truly no difference. If you are worthy of someone putting a gift in your hands, why do we often deflect one stated to us?”

I do have an answer and observation as to why people struggle with compliments, especially American women. Our society, even in the 21st century still gives females mixed messages.  Though, that is changing for the positive, despite the tug a war that still goes on.  It’s all around us, the media, families, schools all tell us, you’re not good enough, everything about you needs repair or change, you’ll never be good enough ….. that last one always makes me ask “good enough for what or who?” It’s up there with that magical and mystical “they.” The they who are in charge, say so and make decisions.

I, myself have always enjoyed giving compliments and I like receiving them as well. I made it  goal of mine many years to give at least one compliment, if not more a day. These have to be sincere and genuine, otherwise it’s not real. Whether it be friend, family, coworker or stranger I don’t hesitate to spread them.

How do you handle compliments? If you struggle with them, do you know why? Would you like to be more comfortable with accepting them? Contact me for assistance.

 

 

Resting

IMG_5371I know it has been awhile since I have written a post, but I needed to take a break and work on some other aspects of my life. Along with thinking about the next steps with both my blog and life coaching goals.  I’m excited to start to start 2018 with a posting explaining my silence and lack of posts.

I had reached a crossroads of sorts regarding what to do and the next directions with my Lifecoaching and this blog. Quitting was never on the agenda, those who know me well can vouch that word is not a part of my personal vocabulary. I had just too many ideas and thoughts in my head regarding my next steps. Both my ADHD and creative passions have been on overdrive the past handful of months, along  with a hectic work schedule as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and plotting how to handle my Etsy shop, Lunagaiaknits. I decided to pull back on the Lifecoaching and the blog to temporarily recharge.

I had been ignoring my Etsy shop and with the upcoming holidays approaching, I needed to devote time and energy to my shop. Sometimes, you just have to rearrange priorities and move items around on your list due to needs at the time. I also knew that this shift would be temporary and I could start the new year with fresh eyes, ideas and purpose. Which is what has happened, I’m excited with my plans and goals. I have visions of incorporating Youtube and a podcast with this blog and expanding the blog to Kindle and other avenues. What a busy and fun year ahead for all of us!!!

I share this insight with you, since it is not uncommon in my work with clients, that they will have moments in life regarding crossroads and needing to temporarily or permanently moving priorities around. We discuss the pros and cons of what they want to change and giving themselves permission to do whatever they need to continue on their life’s journey.

After all, life isn’t a straight line for anybody, no matter what appearances look like from the outside. There can be a lot of freedom, growth, inspiration and creativity that often happens with these timeouts.  Everyone needs this break, whether we want to admit it or not to ourselves.

1. Freedom to explore, play with ideas, put old thoughts that either aren’t working back on the shelf or run with ideas to the numerous possibilities. Do you give yourself permission for this freedom?

2.  Growth comes in many forms, sometimes we get so busy with our lives and cluttered in our heads we just aren’t paying attention. Stepping back or changing direction, can often allow us to stop and smell the roses. Are you appreciating how much growth you have on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis?

3.  Inspiration, while similar to creativity is often the birthplace of creative ideas. When was the last time you honored your inspiration?

4. Creativity, I hear it all the time from clients, friends, family and coworkers, that they don’t have a creative bone in their body. How very, very untrue.  Everybody is creative, often more than one can ever imagine and we do it everyday. Think out of the box on this one. Have you problem solved lately? Creativity at its finest. Embrace and go forth.

It is a new year, a chance for all of us to move forth with our hopes, goals, desires and journey in 2018. I’m thrilled you are along for the ride.

What is important in life?

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As my husband & I ponder what to do with our dying Jeep Cherokee , the question is do we replace it or not? What is important to us, the luxury and expense of the 2nd car or just be a one car family? Are we wishing to see how far we can truly stretch our budget? Or the even bigger question, do we really need two cars?

Most of the 7 1/2 years that we have been married, we’ve bounced back and forth between having two cars and just having one. We’ve been a one car household before, during a crazy stressful time in our early days. I was working 4 hrs away at the coast and we were living in the mountains. Sharing a car, along with  dealing with our budget was creative in those days, even for a pair of creatively minded people. We were determined to make things work, even as I desperately looked for an opportunity to transfer closer to our home.

A situation arose where we ended up with a junky second car, which took the edge off the stress, but didn’t solve the bigger problem, working closer together. Which was really what we wanted most in the world.

Our wish came true almost six years ago, when the opportunity to actually work together happened. It meant we would move six hours farther up the state, distancing ourselves from friends and family 10 + hours or more, but we were able to be together on a full time basis. We had gone from working four hours apart to working in the same office, sharing the commute.

Though, we had two cars, we were basically only using one at that time, the Jeep. We even had to remind ourselves to drive the junky second car 3-4 times a month.  Basically being back to a one car family voluntarily, the irony of this wasn’t lost on us.

After we relocated to Eureka, my husband would periodically bring up the subject of getting me a car, a new car. The car I owned died while we lived in the mountains and he would periodically tell me “One of these days we will get you a new car.”

A couple of years ago, he asked me, “if I would like to go car shopping” and I said agreed. We had briefly discussed since moving to Eureka what type of car I wanted and being the geek that I am, “a hybrid,” was top of my list. So, we came home with Toyota Prius a few hours into our car shopping adventure.

Our poor Jeep fell into spending the bulk of it’s remaining life, hanging out at our home.  It became the car we occasionally took for a drive either on a weekend or to work. Sometimes, we had to remember to drive it and admittedly it was odd driving it. We were having a major love affair with our new car.

The Jeep went into the shop for recently the other and verdict was as bad as we suspected, the bigger question, “What to do next?”, was facing us. Did we want to be a slave to an extra car payment for a car we wouldn’t drive that much? Honestly, at this point in time, did we really need an extra vehicle?

If we decided to go the route of only one car for awhile, what options existed when we would need a second car at various times? Renting a car for day, or a week on occasion is definitely cheaper than a second car payment.  After some thought we decided for the time buying a second car and payment was a luxury we didn’t need, the money could be spent on other things.

When you evaluate your life, what is truly important to you? Are you just trying to fit in or keep up with the proverbial “Jones?”  Do we need that extra item, club, activity or whatever is or may become an unnecessary burden for us and/or our family? Is it a true need or something to fill an empty hole in our lives?

All of us, including myself have those moments where our emotions takeover in the battle of what I want and what I need? I have my moments, like everyone else where the want wins, probably more than it should, but I can admit that it has improved for me. We are all a work in progress and what falls into the wants and needs categories, changes throughout our life and our situation.

So, what falls into the want and the need categories for you? How do you deal with it? What helps you cope when your want wins over the need?

 

 

Riding the Wave(s)

img_4675Sorry, this post has taken awhile to get posted, but between the flu bug that wouldn’t go away and life itself, it’s been a roller coaster. But that is what this post is all about learning to “Ride the Waves.”

I chose this subject, since it is a frequent topic of discussion with clients. If one is open to it this is an area that can provide much growth emotionally and in the self-esteem department is one I like to refer to as “Riding the Waves.” It’s more commonly known as “Peaks and Valleys.” We all have them, we are on a variety of biological schedules whether hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly. It’s one of the aspects that connect all us to each other & makes us human.

Riding the Waves/Peaks and Valleys refers to our energy levels throughout our life. Most of us know it on a daily basis, such as “I’m a morning person or I’m a night owl” as examples. Which are you? The scope of this is much larger than just that question. It can help us define how best to use our talents, energy levels, resting periods and make the best of our life.  Learning to make peace and acceptance of this aspect of our humanity and uniqueness can help us use these Peaks and Valleys to our advantage instead viewing them as positive and negative. Actually they are neither, but definitely can help each of us make the most of Riding the Waves.

I was first introduced to this theory in my Pharmcology class in grad school, regarding dealing with the ups & downs/cyclic nature of Mental Health issues. This theory/method is actually quite applicable to everyone, whether you have Mental Health issues or not. I’ve used this technique with many of my clients over the years and many find it’s application useful in the many aspects of their lives.

Clients will often report their constant battle with themselves in regards to trying to change from being a night owl to a day person as an example, with my question to them is “Why?” Often startled by the response and the question,  we will discuss further the lack of acceptance of this natural aspect of their life.

Many of my self described “night owl” clients will discuss their struggles with trying to fit in with, the traditional schedules/daytime hours that the “average” person keeps. Often, they feel pressured to fit into a system that biologically doesn’t work for them.  My question to them, “why fight it?” Being a night owl is no different or any less than  being a morning or afternoon person. One just have different strengths and talents, figuring out how to use them is the key.

A larger population that can also benefit from this are various types of mental health issues, especially those with the diagnosis of Bipolar, higher functioning   Autism/Aspbergers and certain types of Schizophrenia. How they can benefit is very similar to night owls, since they often have highs & lows/peaks & valleys more often, for longer periods of time and are often fighting against the cycling aspects of their illnesses on a consistent basis. I often hear from this population of clients is the desire to be “normal.” (I’m still trying to figure that one out, such as the 2.5 kids part)

How my clients with mental health issues describe this constant struggle with the cyclic nature of their disorder, “is a battle between themselves and fitting in.” It can be tiring, frustrating and seriously effect their self esteem. When I bring up the idea of learning how to work with the cycles, instead of fighting with themselves, they are often surprised. No matter how much therapy or professionals they talk to, nobody has ever brought this idea up with them. Many are open to trying this new approach in their search for answers and solutions.

What I encourage clients to do as the first step is to track their cycles in length, intensity & what types of activities they are able to complete during the various stages of their cycles. Such as what are their talents during the up and down moments. Such as for someone with bipolar disorder, what can the best accomplish in manic/high energy phases. Such as cleaning house, work tasks that require lots of momentum & for some their creativity lies in this phase. As they are traveling down from the high phase to the lower/depressive phase or back up the ladder, often they have most of their clarity and clear thoughts. This is a time when tasks that require a clear mind are best accomplished, including working on ideas written down when manicy phase, making lists and paying bills. Upon reaching the bottom/depressive portion of the cycle, this can be a period of rest and gathering one’s thoughts.

For my clients who try this technique, many have reported that they have noticed some positive changes in their life. These include their cycles smoothing out, sometimes shorter in duration and more time between cycles. What is probably the most amazing result of this, is the improvement in their self esteem and reduction in negative self talk. Also they report having more energy due to the acceptance of who they are and a greater appreciation of their talents. It’s truly amazing what happens when we quit/reduce the internal fighting we can have with ourselves.

In your hourly/daily/weekly/yearly cycles, how much acceptance do you have of all your talents & abilities?

Do you struggle with yourself with these issues?

Feeling overwhelmed and help figuring out how to cope?

Contact me for help.

Ladder or Shovel, it’s your choice.

 

IMG_6083I love this title, basically due to the fact that it a direct line from a conversation that a coworker and I were having the other day. We were talking about a mixture of personal experiences and clients in general.

The conversation revolved around a situation someone we both knew was going through and how comfortable people can become in a negative situation. I use the word negative as opposed to bad, since bad tends to imply black and white thinking. As much as possible I try to fall into the grey area of thinking, which basically means for the most part situations are not one or two sided. I believe in the philosophy of there are many sides, pieces and outcomes to most situations. I may not agree with a person’s choice(s), but I’m not living their life and as long as they aren’t harming children, others or animals what they do is their choice. As well, as the consequences of said decisions.

This particular situation revolved around being stuck in a rut and that one basically always has two choices, find/ask for a ladder or keeping digging the rut deeper. I know that people will say there is a third option, staying still.  Even though, we humans think things are standing still/ moving in a straight line it’s not the truth. Everything is always in motion and rarely a straight line, whether we can see it or not. Scientists and Mother Nature can prove this whether it be rocks, us or time. Which is why if you are in a rut, as time goes on, it either gets deeper or you wake up one day and decide you need a ladder. No matter how long that ladder ends up being, finding/asking for it is always the best option regarding moving forward.

To me, the interesting part of all of this is how comfortable people can get in their ruts, no matter how deep or negative. Most of that comfort isn’t, I love/like this situation and this is where I want to stay. It come from fear, the fear of the unknown vs the fear of the known. We humans can get lazy in regards to that fact that many would rather stay in an uncomfortable, negative situation/rut rather than venture out to check out options. The fear of the unknown for many is one of the top fears. One may not like their current situation, but they know the outcome, boundaries and consequences. Even peering over the edge, can be a scary move & the fear can still outweigh a possibility of change. It doesn’t matter what percentage the change can improve the situation, the fear can often outweigh the probable outcome.

Those of us who have worked with survivors of abusive situations have seen this first hand. I remember while working with foster children and their placement into a safe environment from an abusive living situation and the discomfort in the beginning of being in the safer place.  Often, they would act out, trying to get the abusive responses they were familiar with and not understanding or being comfortable with the safe and loving environment they were now living. The panic, fear and not knowing what the outcome or response would be was on their face and body language. Usually, if they stayed in a safe placement long enough, they would relax and become comfortable with these new responses and environment.

The other fear of the unknown in getting out of a rut is failure. It’s a huge part of human nature to wonder about the big, “What If?” It doesn’t matter if it is a posItive or negative “What If.” This even becomes even harder for people to find the courage, if they are surrounded by naysayers and people who aren’t supportive. But it can be done.  It’s not easy, but for those willing to take the chance, it can be worth it, especially given living in a situation that isn’t healthy or supportive to a possibility of change.

Do you find yourself stuck in a rut, need help designing plan or exploring options? I can help and don’t hesitate to contact me. Also, I enjoy hearing about your thoughts & experiences.