I remember it like it was yesterday; my high school graduation. Hundreds of eyes were watching as each student received his or her diploma. My heart raced. I felt nervous about just walking in front of such a large crowd. I joked about tripping during the ceremony, hoping that would assure that it would NOT happen. The walking up part was successful. However, as fate would have it, the climb down the stairs from the stage proved to be my “moment.” I stumbled and fell—right into the sure hands of my principal.
Normally, I know how to walk and use stairs, but the anxious part of my brain switched “on,” causing me to feel a sense of alarm and panic just long enough to forever mark me as “the girl who tripped during graduation.” And, here I am years later, just fine and even able to laugh about it (mostly).
Most of us function with some amount of anxiety. In specific situations, a feeling of panic may even be necessary for survival. For example, if you were to see a bear while on a walk, the “flight or fight” response that bypasses rational thought to avoid any further exchange with that bear can be a very good thing!
Anxiety as an Inhibitory Emotion
Anxiety can be vital to survival, but many times it is just uncomfortable and miserable and prevents us from participating in life the way that we want. Continue reading →
When it comes to attaining our biggest dreams, we often tend to stand in our own way. Many of us lack the confidence that we believe we need in order to even begin taking steps to reach a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.
The Imposter Syndrome
And even when we do begin to take risks and obtain our goals, many of us have what is called “imposter syndrome”—the feeling that we are somehow incompetent at what we do and have managed to fool everyone into getting to the position or role we are in; that we are basically a fraud.
Does marriage counseling work? You may wonder if it’s worth the effort, feeling hesitant to hope there’s a way to regain the closeness you once had. All too often, people who come to couples counseling say “this has been years in the making” or “we’ve known we needed this for a long time.” In the height of disconnection, during arguments or long stints of silence, helplessness sets in and your fears emerge: Can couples counseling even help us?
In light of the recent tragedy in Pittsburgh I have been reflecting on why this shooting, and this event, has impacted me more than others in the past. I have come to this conclusion: the world is a much scarier place now that I have a daughter living in it.
As someone who identifies as Jewish, anti-semitism has been a part of my story and experience. I have heard the jokes, seen the movies, and have directly been on the receiving end of anti-semitic remarks. I never considered the possibility that I would have a child go through similar experiences, and honestly, it terrifies me.
How do I explain to my daughter that there will be people in the world who hate her, solely because she exists? Because half of her is Jewish—the half I passed down to her.
I have come to the realization that these conversations are unavoidable because the history of our people is filled with times of adversity and challenges. However, they are also filled with stories of resilience and community. Continue reading →
Attachment Styles: a Key to Understanding Your Relationships
Attachment is a buzz word you may have heard before, perhaps in Psych 101 class or mentioned in parenting books. But did you know that discovering what your and your partner’s attachment styles are can unlock the key to a greater understanding of your needs and theirs? Continue reading →
When one works in the addiction field, it is common to be asked, “are you in recovery?” I remember the first time I was asked this; I felt flustered by the question because it didn’t feel like a simple “yes or no” to me, it was more of a “no, but…” or “yes, and….”
However, I’ve learned that when people ask this question, they are really asking: “Will you judge me?” or “Will you be able to understand me?” — because at the end of it all they’re just hoping to find someone who will listen and genuinely care.
I woke up feeling down. I burned my breakfast (part of a new, flavorless diet), and I was just crabby. I drove to the gym, seemingly hitting every red light. I walked into the group fitness room, late and water bottle-less.
This day was not off to a good start.
Rediscovering Inner Strength
Then, Melissa, our instructor, made eye contact with me. Her eyes seemed to say, “yes, you can.” That sounds like a small thing, but it stirred something inside of me. My lost confidence started coming back. The class started, and I felt everyone’s energy around me. For the next hour, we were all in this together. Continue reading →
Many of us walk through this world, lost in a hustle—we are exhausted, worn out, and often unsure of why we are where we are. With the ever-growing, ever looming presence of social media, and the pressure from our cultural values to perform and perfect, it’s hard to catch a break from all the things we are not, and that can work to create uncertainty and anxiety.
There are not enough jobs for me to find one that will make me happy.
I’ll never have the time to be the parent I want to be.
I’m not making enough money
My house is dated. My wardrobe is dated. My face is looking older—I’m dated!
I’ll never be as good-looking, fit, well-liked, successful, talented or witty as “so-and-so.”
And so we hustle. We pin, and we post, and we self-loathe because we are just not keeping up. Continue reading →
What do you do when the person you rely on for shelter in life is no longer there? How do you deal with the tsunami of emotions that come with a break-up, a divorce, a death? When that person is no longer there, we feel sadness, anger, hurt, fear—sometimes all at the same time. Sue Johnson, author of Love Sense and originator of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) says that “we are wired for connection.” The anxiety and deep sadness we feel when we lose a loved one is not because we are “co-dependent” or “needy”, but because our partners matter to us. They impact our own need to feel accepted and loved. When a relationship ends, it is a loss. We are suddenly alone.
Saying sorry is not that hard. Not when you’re pulling out your carry-on from the overhead compartment and you bump that unsuspecting passenger. Or when your colleague has been waiting for that email from you since yesterday morning. Not even when you’ve just cut off someone because you were in a hurry and they make sure to let their horn tell you how they feel.
But when it comes to those who live and interact with us more intimately, apologizing is one of the hardest things to do, much less do effectively. There is a price to letting others into the limited confines of our heart space—we will bump into each other. Given the inevitably of these collisions, I’d like to speak to a few principles outlined by Harriet Lerner, PhD, that can help in making effective apologies. The following principles are taken from her interview with Brene Brown. Continue reading →