3 tips that have saved me and might save you too!
It’s taken me nearly 2 weeks to write about this — not because I didn’t want to — but because I didn’t feel ready to.
For Harry Potter fans, coronavirus has felt like Voldemort to my mind. Writing about the virus that I wish didn’t have to be named has taken me lots of mental and emotional processing time. And perhaps you can relate. It went from being insidious to pandemic within weeks.
Suddenly my daughter’s school was canceled “indefinitely.” My heart lept into my throat when I read the school district’s email. I was moving into my new therapy office that day. I brought Clorox wipes with me and cautiously wrapped the wipe around the door handle as I walked into my new space. I saw one client and then got a notice from my supervisor that the county mandated us to start seeing clients via telehealth.
Suddenly the seriousness of the matter hit home — literally.
To learn to live an empowered life
I used to yearn for friendly gazes from people, even strangers.
My highly sensitive, empathic self would shrink when my eyes were met with a glare or a snarl from a stranger. I would give my power away, unconsciously merging with an unknown soul, and join them in their space of suffering.
But recently, this all changed…at a traffic light.
One perception shift at a time.
My body hurts, and yet, I’m smiling the deeper-than-lips smile of inner contentment.
Contentment was something that I felt sparingly in my early life. I was raised to think emotional pain and inner and outer discord were typical baseline experiences.
I suffered from Celiac disease for years (because I guess I thought chronic stomachaches were the norm). Then I found yoga and meditation, and I was somehow able to tolerate my physical and emotional discomfort with a newfound connected, yet detached, awareness.
If you’re addicted to your feelings of inadequacy — then you’re not alone.
For years, I’ve seen only the gaping holes in my life. I’ve looked around me and often ignored the love and the connection that is reaching out to me.
I’ve focused on the empty moments: the texts that aren’t returned by friends, lovers, or family members. I’ve focused on the gruffness of the cashiers that suddenly turn my open heart sour. I’ve focused on the quiet nights when I’ve gotten no phone calls. I’ve focused on the debt and the lack of funds in my bank account.
I’ve been addicted to seeing what I don’t have, instead of seeing what I do have.
When self-sabotage is a comfortable discomfort.
I wrote an article about an emotionally triggering event. It went viral.
I should have been ecstatic — over the moon, really. Instead, I was left with mixed feelings.
The earnings I made from that article paid for my rent and then some.
Instead of writing more to “earn more,” I wrote less and shockingly watched my reader stats and followers go up daily.
Let me unpack my mixed feelings one layer at a time.
5 reasons houseplants can improve your life.
“When I get older, I want a jungle in my house, mom, just like we have.” These are the sing-song words of my eight-year-old this morning as I happily spritzed the twenty-some plants that sit in our living room bay window.
“We don’t have enough of a jungle yet, kiddo,” I said, admiring the fern and spider plants that doubled in size while sitting proudly on the porch all summer.
“It makes me so happy that our plants loved being outside so much this summer,” my 8-year-old said with serious glee.
4 uncomfortably comfortable truths of highly sensitive people.
I think I became highly sensitive in my mother’s womb.
She was loud and impulsive and very uncomfortable in her own skin. She was one of those sensitive people that pretend they can handle anything. She put on a tough girl suit whenever she showed her face in public — but in those quiet moments, she was a frightened little girl hiding behind the living room chair. Being in the womb, I sensed all that — and more. As a fetus, I learned this world was an overwhelming, sometimes frightening place.
According to Dr. Elaine Aron’s research, Highly Sensitive People (HSP’s), make up 20% of the population. When you’re highly sensitive, the world is often chaotic, a jumbled maze of noise. When 80% of that world operates on a different frequency, the world suddenly becomes as loud as a death metal concert to a newborn baby. If you’re not sure if you’re highly sensitive Dr. Aron has a quick and easy online test to determine if you’re an HSP.
4 reasons why being solo is uber-chic.
Notice I didn’t use the word single?
There is a reason for that.
I don’t consider myself single. At all. I’m partnerless, yes, but single? No.
You could say I have a polyamorous soul when it comes to romantic affairs. I’m monogamous when it comes to a lover, but not when it comes to romantic love.
Confused? Let me explain.
Your words have power. Choose them wisely.
Gaslighting, Codependency, and Narcissism ring a bell?How about these:
10 Ways to Tell if You’re Being Gaslighted.
What to Do if You’re Dating a Narcissist.
How to Break the Cycle of Codependency for Good.
These titles are similar to the uncountable articles I see on a weekly basis by writers who have no mental health training whatsoever. Many of these terms (aside from gaslighting, which I’ll talk about later) are used when a therapist is diagnosing a client or as a specific part of treatment (i.e. codependency is a commonly used term in addiction treatment). These are words that any good therapist would never casually drop to a client in a therapy session — unless it was part of the client’s everyday lingo or they had a therapeutic intent for doing so, like offering psychoeducation on what narcissism or codependency is as it relates to the client’s mental health. A therapist would also never (well, they should never) diagnose someone that is not their client (i.e. saying the client’s spouse sounds like a narcissist would be an absolute no, no!).
Do you live as if your life depends on it?
Just like you, I often wish there was a shortcut to living the good life; but alas, there’s not.
All this talk about mindfulness makes it sounds like it’s a new buzzword; a new chic meditation style that can bring us instant enlightenment.
I wish mindfulness was the easy path to inner bliss, but it isn’t.
If you’re discouraged about reading on, just hear me out — at least for another paragraph or two?
Soul Writer. Single Mama. Life ponderer. Nature Lover. Therapist. Introvert. HSP & Empath. Life is my playground and each day a blank canvas.