Are you really waiting for life to return to normal? Or, are you ready to build something new? As we cross the four-month mark of COVID and all the tumult and unknown this is bringing to our lives, I can’t help but be reminded of what I discovered right after I had my daughter. What I recall from that time is that folks rarely tell you just how hard the sleep deprivation toll is – not in the first threeRead More
One of the most common things I hear in my therapy practice goes something along the lines of this: “I feel stuck. I just don’t know what to do or how to make choices about [fill in the blank about career, relationships, life choices in general…]. What do I do? How do I get unstuck?” Does this feel familiar? Maybe you’ve been wrestling with a question for a few weeks or a few years now, turning choices over and over and overRead More
Have you ever been in conversation with your loved ones and just found it impossible to really, truly, communicate? Like no matter how carefully you tried to explain your point of view the whole conversation seemed to go off the rails in a series of misses and you all ended up feeling not-so-good about the contact you just had? It might have something to do with one of the four communication styles you learned in childhood. Communication styles fall into fourRead More
From the emotional impact of world events to the big and small life stressors of the everyday, I (and so many people I know) seem to have had it particularly rough lately. At times, it has felt like these stressors converged all at once, and that none of my own daily self-care routines felt sufficient to support me through the challenges of those days and weeks. So that’s when I turned to my emotional first aid kit. What’s an emotionalRead More
There may be some days, weeks, months, maybe even years when – for whatever reason – just getting through the day, or going to work, or putting one foot in front of the other feels hard. Really, really hard.
Maybe it’s because you’re wrestling with anxiety, depression or some other mental illness. Maybe it’s because you’ve had your heart broken. Maybe you’ve gone through a physical or emotional trauma. Maybe you’re deeply grieving. Or maybe there’s no easily understood reason for why you’re feeling bad.
Read through our 101 self-care suggestions for when it all feels like too much.Read More
Asking “What if I never meet The One?” is a potentially scary, vulnerable, and often triggering question to contemplate. Imagining ourselves without The One – a romantic partner, a great love, a lifetime spouse – flies in the face of many people’s dreams and hopes for their future. It’s a possibility that, in my experience, most of us consciously and unconsciously avoid looking at and sitting with.
Let’s be honest: It’s a muddy, hard question. But what if there were gold in the mud? What if by looking at and sitting with this question there could actually be value to us and to the way we live our lives whether we’re partnered or not?Read More
Maintaining your mental health is just as important, if not more important, than your physical health when you’re going through a tough divorce. Don’t get us wrong, we want you healthy and happy on the other end of the divorce tunnel when you emerge, but even a “simple” divorce can take its toll on your mental health.
We’ve compiled a 10-point tip sheet for robust mental health, and we think it’d do your body (and mind) good by giving it a read.Read More
A Pep Talk from Me to You…
I know you’re having a hard time right now. You’re not feeling so great, mentally, physically, overall… You’re wishing this time would pass, that things would be back to normal (whatever that is). You’re wishing for more ease, wishing this wasn’t your reality at the moment. You’re hurting.
I want you to know that I hear you, I see you, and I’m so sorry you’re having a tough time right now.
As much as I want to take away your pain, sadly I can’t. But I can be here with you in your hard time…Read More
Anxiety is a normal and natural human emotion that everyone experiences at times. And, like with most things in life, anxiety exists on a spectrum — from butterflies in your stomach before speaking up in a meeting to a full blown panic attack when faced with getting on an airplane — the degree and impact and triggers of anxiety look different for all of us.
Bottom line: You don’t get out of this human experience without dealing with anxiety.
And while anxiety may be unavoidable to a certain extent, you can definitely cultivate some tools to help you more effectively manage and deal with it so it doesn’t impact your daily life so strongly or so negatively.
Sign up for a free membership to learn about our four favorite tools to ease and manage your anxiety.Read More
One of the most common things I hear in my therapy practice goes something along the lines of this:
“I feel stuck. I just don’t know what to do or how to make choices about [fill in the blank about career, relationships, life choices in general…]. What do I do? How do I get unstuck?”
Does this feel familiar? Maybe you’ve been wrestling with a question for a few weeks or a few years now, turning choices over and over and over like:
“Is he the one?” “Do I really want to stay in this career field?” or “Do I really want to settle in the Bay Area? I can’t move back to the Midwest, can I?”
I have huge compassion for feeling stuck and not able to make a choice about something you dearly — maybe even urgently — want or need to. I’ve been there many times myself.
Feeling stuck is an often painful, vulnerable, frustrating, and vitality-draining place to be in so I particularly love working with therapy and coaching clients when they’re in this place, gently holding them through the pain and struggle and helping them to shift their stuckness and arrive at choices, insights, and decisions that feel true, tolerable, and enlivening for each of them.
Today I want to share some of these same nitty gritty realities, reframes, and inquires I use with my clients when they’re feeling stuck (the very things I wish someone had shared with me a few years back!) to help you if you’ve been feeling stuck/torn/on-the-fence/ indecisive/resistant to making choices somewhere in your own life. So pour yourself a cup of tea and read on…
Nitty Gritty Truth #1 About Choices: Making life’s big decisions actually *is* tricky business
“Personal identity is always in the process of being formed by the very business of making these endless choices. We are, so to speak, constructing the vehicle even as we attempt to ride in it and steer it. And moreover, we must construct it of materials we pick up as we go along.” — Jim Bugental, PhD
The ability to notice our impulses, imagine them into possible choices, and act on them intentionally and decisively is what gives color, shape, and form to the very identity of our lives.
Every single part of this statement — from noticing to birthing to acting — requires self-awareness, sensitivity, and courage. [b]No part of this process is necessarily easy and particularly not so when it comes to the biggest choices of our lives — how to shape our careers, who we want to partner with, how we want to live out our legacy, and so forth.
And yet, we’re called upon to do this Every. Single. Day. and moreover, as the quote above from famed psychotherapist Jim Bugental, PhD suggests, we’re often forced to do this on the fly, basically making choices (and our lives) up as we bump along the road of life. If you’ve ever felt like you were making it all up as you went along, you basically are.
So can we please just all have some compassion for the fact that making choices often isn’t exactly easy? It’s actually supposed to be hard sometimes. Making choices about the big ticket items in our lives is nothing less than the action of identity-formation.
And, to top it all off, the process is harder still if we – for whatever reason – haven’t learned how to notice, name, and honor our deepest needs and wants. For instance, if you were raised in a home where it wasn’t safe or supported for you to have needs and wants, this may add a whole other layer of complexity and challenge to your current ability to make life’s big choices.[
So if you’re feeling stuck with some area of your life right now, torn between options, sitting on the fence waiting for a sign, please be gentle with yourself. You’re not alone. Not in the least. This decision making stuff is challenging for many of us but seeking out skilled support can be a big help.
Nobody said that any of this was going to be easy, but we’re here to help you navigate tough choices. Sign up for a free subscription to read more from licensed psychotherapist and LMFT Annie Wright.Read More