Inner Renovations

The Way You See Yourself Counts

If you were to take a moment to describe yourself to me, what words would you use?

  • Would you speak of yourself with love?
  • Lead with your strengths or weaknesses?
  • Find it difficult to say anything good about yourself at all?
  • (or the opposite) Highlight only the things you want others to see to cover the shame hiding under the brags.

Whatever the case may be, how we talk about ourselves to others holds a lot of clues to how we feel about ourselves. As in one of the examples above, even the person that goes on about how great they are may be unconsciously indicating they actually see themselves as insignificant.

How do you see yourself? It’s a good idea to reflect on this for a moment because as we learn from Cognitive-Behavioral principles, perception is connected to behavior.

What you believe and how you perceive has a lot to do with how you behave. So if there are any patterns of behavior that you would like to improve, a good place to start is the exploration of how it is linked to what you believe about you.

For instance, if I get nervous every time I know I’m going to have to meet new people, I could reflect on how this relates to some way I feel/think about myself.

Maybe I already have the beliefs, “I’m not good with people. I’m too different to fit in. I’m not as cool as others. I don’t have smart things to say…” Or fill in the blank with any other negative belief a person can have about themselves.

If you carry those thoughts and feelings into that social environment, think of the ways it will affect your behavior!

Here’s the great news: IT WORKS BOTH WAYS! If you IMPROVE YOUR SELF-PERCEPTION, your behavior can also improve.

Imagine going into that same social scene but now you’re a person with these core beliefs:

  • I Am Confident
  • I Can Go with the Flow
  • I Like Who I Am
  • People will like me once they get to know me, and if they don’t, that’s okay too!
  • I embrace my quirks and imperfections
  • I Am Enough

The scope of life changes when seeing yourself through that lens. You won’t have to think about how to behave differently. The changes in your behavior will flow from the shift of your perception.

PERSONAL REFLECTION & JOURNAL OPPORTUNITY

1. How do you see yourself and how do you think it relates to how you currently feel and behave?

2. How long have you had your current self-perceptions and where did they originate?

3. Are there any outdated self-perceptions that are no longer working with your current life systems that need to be upgraded? If so, what upgrades can you start making today?

Inner Renovations

Quieting the Mind in Just a Moment

We overthink things. We can get so used to life being complicated, that even when it’s not, we’ll figure out a way to make it so. Today, let’s break that habit with a simple practice.

Invite your mind to settle down a few times a day. At first, it may not accept your invitation, because quite frankly, it’s not used to being asked to go somewhere quiet. It mistakenly thinks chaos and confusion are it’s natural environments, and that’s okay for now. It is a work in progress.

As you notice moments when it would be good to slow down by taking deep breaths, move more slowly, or just be still – mind will become more accustomed to this new space that’s being created within your days. You will breathe deeply, drawing your breath and awareness in, and your mind will meet you there. You can slow your body down, moving at a more gentle pace, navigating the moment with grace, as your mind can meet you in a more peaceful moment. This is possible for you. Practice, and make it so.

A few seconds, a minute, a moment may be all you have; and it is all you need.

Dialectical Thinking, Inner Renovations

Core Mindfulness Skills

There are one of two ways we can travel through Life:  absent-mindedly or mindfully.

We know by now the benefits of keeping ourselves focused in the moment and attentive to matters at hand.  Through mindful living, we reduce the mistakes we make, are better problem solvers, and can lean into life in a way that helps us experience it more fully.  There is no shortage of exercises readily available for us to learn and apply mindfulness in our daily lives.

There are one of two ways we can travel through life: absent-mindedly or mindfully.  This section introduces you to the skills contained in the Core Mindfulness module of DBT Skills Training.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inner Renovations

No One Can Judge You

affirmation take-aways:

“I am free to be myself in any environment I please because I no longer accept judgment from others.”

“I do the best I can and no one is better at being me than I am.”

“My responsibility is to develop into who I am created to be, and only God can judge.”

Really, the only thing we can do is the best we can.  There will always be standards others are expecting us to live up to, rules we’re expected to follow, societal contributions we are to make, and responsibilities to keep.  Frankly, there’s not much we can do about that. If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent a good portion of your life going above and beyond the call of duty expecting to maybe one day be appreciated.  That may or may not happen – not if we’re waiting for others to show that appreciation, that is. And that’s okay.

The next portion of our life is spent doing what needs to be done because of our own standards, the expectations we set for ourselves, and the desire to live in accordance with God’s Word.  With maturity, we begin to move onto more reasonable ground where we understand more and more that the most important person that needs to appreciate us, is ourselves. We will work, but not into the ground.  We will be kind, but not walked over. We will give, but not be ripped off. We will trust, but not be naive. And by God, we will be a part of your life, but we will not be judged. 

Liberating, it is, to know that you can be a friend, employee, church member, spouse, colleague, and acquaintance, and be free to be yourself in any environment you please because you are no longer accepting judgment from others.  You are comfortable and confident entering gatherings where people may or may not know you, and you’re open to socializing with them because you no longer fear judgment of others. 

Imagine the difference it would make to finally be free of judgment by others.  More than we know this insidious fear keeps us from connecting with others and out of opportunities that could actually be fulfilling to us.  Be we often hold ourselves back, procrastinate, or don’t put our most confident foot forward because somewhere in the back of our minds we are dealing with a concern that we may come across in a way that causes us to be judged.

Really, the only thing we can do is the best we can.  And there is no one better at being ourselves than we ourselves. Our responsibility is to live fully, grow exponentially, and follow God’s instructions to develop into who we are created to be.  If we are all tending to our own problems, it leaves little time to dissect others’. When it is time to reflect on the value of our lives and whether we made the most of our experience here on Earth, rest assured, there is only One Judge.  Let’s be grateful it’s a Loving One.

Inner Renovations

The Mental Growth Spurt

I’ve noticed a theme in the last few months. Nothing fits.

I’m talking: clothes, shoes, positions, ideas, reactions, beliefs, relationships and more, have become ill-fitting.

Have you ever felt this way? Like you’ve outgrown many things in your Life?

Since you’ve begun your journey to Wholeness and Self-Awareness, you may notice that your newly unclouded mind is not so easily accepting things that no longer serve you.

  • What you once believed in with all your might, you’ve begun to question.
  • The people you had a great time with, are no longer in alignment with your needs.
  • The job you once hoped you’d get, has become a main source of stress.
  • And that relationship you thought you’d die without, no longer keeps your interest.
  • If any of those things seem close to the truth for you, YOU ARE OUTGROWING THIS STAGE OF LIFE. Trying to keep things as they are now is like putting on your once roomy jeans that now fit more like leggings and laying on the bed sucking in your stomach for dear life to force the button through the hole. Sure, you’ve got them on and probably look amazing on the outside. But inside, you’re cutting off your circulation praying for the end of the day where you can finally get out of them and feel your legs again.
  • Don’t force things to fit into your life when all signs point to – You’ve outgrown it.
  • As inconvenient as it may seem to find new jeans to fit in, more positive people to be around, new positions to search for, and getting to know the new you – it’s worth it.
  • You’ve been asking for change, and so it is. A part of that desire being fulfilled and those prayers being answered, is that you now allow the change to happen.
  • There’s a huge requirement to Let Go, just as the trees in Autumn are unafraid when their leaves begin to fall. You too can trust that things you needed before, are no longer necessary for what you will do and be in this next season.
  • Prepare for the stretch of your wings that free you from the confines of your once needed cocoon. Appreciate what has been and what has served you well in past. Release yourself from people and situations that are no longer contributing to your growth. Trust that you will have everything you need and more in this new season.
  • Be grateful for the things you’ve outgrown because they are indicators of how much you are growing.
  • Healing the Human Family, Inner Renovations

    Work Through Your Elephants

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    Do you ever start projects and don’t finish them? There was such excitement in the beginning. The ideas were flowing and you felt that once you had all the pieces you needed, this would be your best project yet. But then something happens. Anything, really. And whatever it is, now feels like a barrier to being able to follow through on your plans. And so we have another unfinished project.

    Let’s discuss Ways to Follow Through without Overwhelming Yourself

    1. DO A SELF-INVENTORY. Before even starting the project, do an inventory of the strengths you already have that can be used in your plan. Then think about what skills you need and what it’s going to take to develop it.

    2. PACE YOURSELF. Don’t go full throttle just yet. Imagine the man running a 5K and he sprints the first mile, powering ahead and taking an impressive lead. Before he has a chance to be too proud of himself, he realizes he still has 2.1 miles to go and he’s already winded. You know what happens next – he’s no longer in the lead as one by one the runners who paced themselves started pulling in front of him. Not only did he come nowhere close to winning, he had exhausted himself so much in the beginning stages that he didn’t even finish the race. Disqualified by his own exhaustion. Moral of the story: don’t be that guy.

    3. RESPECT THE VISION BOARD. Not your thing? Make it your thing. Go old school with it and clip what appeals to you out of magazines, brochures, and any other material that can help you create a collage of your best life. Get your scissors, glue, and markers ready 3rd Grade Art Class style. (Glitter optional).

    4. TALK LESS, DO MORE. I talk to my clients about an interesting habit some people have to talk, brainstorm, philosophize, theorize, and conceptualists. Basically do everything accept for take real action. It makes them feel like they’re working on things when in reality they’ve just been thinking about working on things. The Visioning stage should be just that, a stage. Not a place where you get stuck in your mind for years instead of moving into action phase.

    5. BREAK THE ELEPHANT. Someone (I don’t remember who but they must have been wise) once asked me: What’s the best way to eat an elephant? To which I gave my thoughtful answer of: I don’t know, how. Unknown Wise Person replied: One bite at a time. I liked it. I liked it so much I started sharing that with my clients. Like it so much I’m writing about it. Break the big tasks into bite-size pieces. As great of a multi-tasker I’m sure you are, take a mindful approach and focus on one thing at a time. And speaking of breaks – have some.

    6. TAKE BREAKS. Not the eternal breaks where you step away from your project for awhile only to never return to it again. But legitimate breaks where you stop for a moment even before you get tired. You can take a pro-active approach to self-care. Go ahead and decide when and how long you’ll put things down to let yourself regroup and refresh, then back to it.

    I think the main key to completing projects is to keep working on them until they’re done. That’s right, there’s no mind-blowing formula to it, and you probably don’t need a weekend retreat to have that revelation. What you do need is stick-with-it-ness, self-motivation, and portion control as you work through your elephants.

    ~Chanel

    Inner Renovations

    5 Ways to Outsmart Anger

    Everyone has their limits. The sweetest of us can be crossed. The question is, how do you handle it when you feel overwhelmed with anger? From this heated emotional state, anything can happen. From saying something you can’t take back, to having to restrain yourself from getting physical – if we let it get the best of us, Anger can sign checks that our sane self can’t cash. Maybe try this instead:

    1) VALIDATE. Acknowledge your emotions, and validate yourself. You have a right to feel however you feel (that doesn’t mean you have the right to do whatever you want to do). As simplistic as it may seem, sometimes just acknowledging your feelings is a way of tending to yourself and re-centering. Say within yourself, “I’m angry, I’m human, and that’s ok.” Just because you feel the anger doesn’t mean you have to act on it. Sit with your emotion until it subsides. It too shall pass.

    2) SHIFT. Core Beliefs are connected to Thoughts are connected to Feelings are connected to Behaviors. So if you want to change the way you feel, you can work on thinking of things that are life-giving to you. What makes you happy? What are you grateful for? What things have you accomplished that you’re proud of? Think on those things to shift the way you feel. To go the extra mile, see if you can connect with the core belief that was violated. We only get angry when someone crosses a boundary that violates what we believe. Gaining insight into that can help you shift your attention onto working with that core belief rather than rolling around in your anger.

    3) REMEMBER. Don’t forget that holding onto anger towards someone is like drinking poison yourself and then expecting them to die. The one who is harmed by your anger is you. Remember you love yourself too much to ruin your own day with anger. You’ve got a life to enjoy and don’t want to miss positive moments that are happening right in front of you because your mind is somewhere else pondering on negativity.

    4) BREATHE. It’s amazing what a deep breath can do. You may not be able to instantly stop the thoughts in your mind, but you sure can make strong suggestions to it by slowing down your breathing. Your deep breathing sends a message to your body that you are starting to relax. Your heart rate slows down, you get more oxygen to your brain to think more clearly, and you literally start getting a hold of yourself. Focus on your breathing and away from the anger. Say within yourself, “In this moment, I am safe, I’m aware, and I’m okay.” And keep right on breathing your way back to balance.

    5) LET IT GO. Do it for yourself. You can only carry so much. The weight of anger is more than you need to bear. Explore forgiveness. See if you can view the experience from an angle that helps you release it. Maybe you decide to use this as an opportunity to practice grace – the act of giving favor and making exception for someone that may not necessarily deserve it. Or maybe you decide to let your Exhale represent letting go of negativity. Every time you breathe out, you let go of feelings you don’t need anymore.

    Yes, there is righteous anger. Things that rightfully get a rise out of you and help you stand up for justice. But then there are other times when the anger is just not worth holding onto because it’s doing more damage than good. When you find yourself in that state try any one of these suggestions. If one isn’t effective in your situation, try another. Maybe you decide to move through them all. The very attempt and desire to engage in positive behaviors to improve your feelings can lead you out of a negative emotion and into a more peaceful place where you keep your power.

    Wishing You Peace & Personal Power,

    Chanel C. Bowen, LPC, LCAS, CSI, DCC