November 5, 2018

Mindful Self-Compassion Workshop

Posted in Compassion, identity, Mindfulness, Self Image, Well-being tagged , , , , , at 7:32 am by kellyfdennis

background beautiful blossom calm waters

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

(Each of these workshops is different from the previous one)

Saturday, December 1, 2018 9-11am @ Counseling office: 304 N. George St., Suite A, Millersville, PA

This 2-hour workshop will help you learn the skills of self-compassion so you can respond to difficult times in your life with kindness and care.

You will learn how to:

  • Practice self-compassion and kindness in your daily life
  • Decrease stress and anxiety
  • Motivate yourself with kindness rather than criticism
  • Handle difficult emotions with greater ease
  • Support yourself during those times when you suffer, fail, or feel inadequate.
  • Appreciate yourself

A large and growing body of research, much of it conducted by Dr. Kristen Neff, suggests that self-compassion reduces anxiety and depression, enables us to develop healthy habits, and more satisfying personal relationships, makes us more resilient in the face of challenges, and improves overall wellbeing.

Facilitator: Kelly F. Dennis MS LPC: Contact Kelly to sign up, space is limited.

Kelly@kellyfdennis.com

Cost: $75.00

May 17, 2018

Counseling May Help

Posted in cognitive behavioral therapy, Communication, Compassion, Eating Disorders, identity, Mindfulness, Online Counseling, Well-being tagged , , , , , , at 8:39 am by kellyfdennis

discover a new day ad

 

 

 

 

Engle Printing & Publishing designed the ad.

February 20, 2018

How do you change your relationship with the inner critic?

Posted in identity, Mindfulness tagged , , , , , at 9:35 am by kellyfdennis

You requested more info on the inner critic and inner wisdom. Here’s a portion of a great post about Tara Mohr’s book, Playing Big. Good info!

1) Label it.

Tara Mohr, Author of Playing Big suggests calling out the inner critic when you hear its negativity and doubts. As you become aware of this inner voice, acknowledge it and label it. Say to yourself, “Oh, I’m hearing my inner critic right now.”

2) Separate yourself from the inner critic.

Whatever tantrums or chatter your inner critic is spewing, remind yourself that you and the inner critic are not the same. Separate yourself from it.

3) Create a character that represents your inner critic.

For many of us, the inner critic is a voice we have heard our whole lives – our mother or teacher or another disciplinarian. It’s the voice of the person who has put us down and doubted us.

Mohr suggests taking part in a playful but effective exercise in which you create a persona for your inner critic. “When you create a character with a name and visual image, you help yourself remember that the critic is not the core of you, it’s one voice, with its own personality and pathology.”

Draw, sketch and describe this inner critic. Turn it into a fictional person, cartoon or caricature of someone you know. Describe its voice, personality and typical phrases and patterns. Name the character and capture its voice in your mind.

Turn it into something funny because, as Mohr reminds us, this character usually says something ridiculous! It’s easier to notice your inner critic if it’s Peggy Bundy, Madea, Carmela Soprano or Sophia Petrillo. You’ll not only spot your critic quicker but get a good laugh at its expense as well.

4) What is your inner critic protecting you from?

Once you can identify your inner critic’s voice and picture your critic in your mind, you’ll be better able to communicate with it.
When your critic fills you with negativity, determine what exactly it’s protecting you from.

Ask your inner critic what it’s most afraid of at the moment. What is the danger it sees?

“Once you are in touch with the root of the critic’s intentions, respond with compassion towards the critic’s misguided attempt to keep you safe – usually from attack, embarrassment, isolation or failure.”

A great line you can use to acknowledge your inner critic but also inform it that you’re okay is to respond with, “Thanks so much for your input, but I’ve got this one covered.”

5) Turn down the volume.

Once you know what your inner critic’s voice sounds like, you’ll be more aware of the times when you hear it. If the voice is stronger and louder than usual, practice lowering it as though it comes with a volume dial.

Turn down the volume on your inner voice like you would with your cell phone or your television.

You’ll still hear the inner critic, but you can determine at which volume you’ll do so. Also, by imagining that your inner voice has volume control, you can differentiate between it and yourself.

Treat your inner voice with love, compassion and understanding.

You can’t win arguments with your inner critic and you can’t be angry with it either. Both strategies will simply fuel its fire.

The inner critic, as Mohr describes it, is a scared and fearful part of ourselves. It doesn’t respond well to anger, arguments or grandiosity.

Use the previous techniques in a loving and kind way. Treat your inner voice like you would an upset or unreasonable child.

Acknowledge it, comfort it, reduce its volume and thank it for guiding you. However, feel free to tell it that you’re in control of the situation.

Be aware that, at the end of the day, although its actions and words are misguided, your inner critic is only trying to protect you.

Your wise inner guide.

Not only can you compassionately deal with your inner voice, you can discover a more empowering, wise voice within yourself.

Mohr explains a concept she learned in her coach training school. This concept has students visualizing themselves in 20 years’ time. The students meet their future selves – the people they’ll be 20 years from today.

In the visualization, converse with your “future self,” asking it questions like, “What do I need to know to get from where I am today to where you are?” and “What has been most important about the past 20 years?”

When Mohr used this “future self” tool with her coaching clients, she found that people saw themselves as their best, most loving and wisest selves. When women reflected on their future selves, they always found the answers they were looking for.

“I began to call it the inner mentor because I found this voice functioned for women as a source of guidance, a voice women could draw on to develop a vision for their lives and careers, to make difficult decisions, to chart their paths,” Mohr says.

By giving women a tool that helped them determine how their future selves would approach a situation, Mohr ensured that the women she worked with would become confident and have a clear idea of what to say and do.

“Or a woman would come in feeling stuck about how to pursue her dream career, and by imagining what her future self would do, could immediately see a path forward that felt just right to her but that she hadn’t thought of before.”

Each of us, Mohr concludes, has this inner mentor.

Within yourself, you have the answers. You have the solutions and the wisdom you need to deal with the situations you’re confronting in your life.

You, too, can conduct Playing Big’s guided visualization and access this voice of perfect wisdom.

As Mohr says, simply asking, “What would my older self do?” won’t get you there. You must complete the visualization to access your wise inner voice.

Don’t let your inner critic hold you hostage. Fully embrace the voice of wisdom – your inner mentor.

This is just the beginning of what’s possible for you in terms of achieving a bigger life. The other eight chapters of Playing Big help you navigate fear, release your attachment to praise and criticism and help you recognize and respect your calling.

This article from Vishnu’s Virtues.

Be Well and Have a Wonderful Day!

February 9, 2018

Wisdom and the Inner Critic

Posted in cognitive behavioral therapy, identity tagged , , , , , at 4:09 pm by kellyfdennis

dune fenceThe negative inner critic is a result of your early childhood experiences.  We all receive self-esteem “messages” from parents, siblings, extended family, other caregivers, teachers, coaches, and peers.  The negative messages individually are mostly harmless, but when our subconscious strings thousands of them together, they can shape who we believe ourselves to be. Trauma also fuels the nasty girl. Many of us were affected by sexual, physical, verbal abuse which cause feelings of fear and fear makes whatever we believe and learn much more powerful.  Trauma in childhood many create a belief system where we may think we are to blame for just about anything that went wrong. Trauma and negative self-esteem make it hard to us to identify our needs and figure out how to get them met.

This engages our “reasoning mind” and sends us on a problem-solving, evaluating, and decision-making mission.  As human beings we evaluate and make judgments about things in our lives and surroundings.  Evaluating and judging our surroundings helps us to determine our likes and dislikes. The reasoning part of our mind is trying to make sense of the world. This process helps us to decide what to include and not to include in our lives.

That Nasty Girl criticizes and insults you to so you’ll live by the rules you internalized in your growing up years; she tells you to judge and compare yourself to others; she pushes you to be perfect so no one will reject because your “flawed”; she tells you you’re stupid for even trying so you won’t even bother trying and therefore don’t have to worry about messing up.  She’s trying to “help” us to get our needs met while minimizing pain; the only problem is that even if it does work once in a while, the “feel better” time is very short-lived.

As I mentioned in a previous post, it’s best to acknowledge her, thank her for trying to be helpful and then distract or move on to something else. But what happens when the Nasty Girl is actually getting in the way of you being able to be your authentic self and live a fulfilling life? Maybe the messages she’s sending you are preventing you from applying for that dream job, taking healthy risks and reaching out to others in order to know and be known. When we believe her messages, it can certainly stop us in our tracks. We can get stagnant and stuck, spinning our wheels, not being able to move forward because she tells us we just have to accept where we are as the good for nothing people we are.

Inner Wisdom

I think there’s another way. Throughout our existence as human beings, people have talked about, drawn about, written about another side of us. A “wise inner knowing”, “our intuitive selves”, “our spiritual guide”, “insightfulness”. Whatever you want to call it, we all have it. Our reasoning minds shut off this inner wisdom, because inner wisdom isn’t about problem solving, evaluating, and analyzing. Often our inner wisdom is a whisper; a murmur that’s especially hard to hear over your harsh inner critic.

In the next post, I’ll share some ideas about how to access this wise part of yourself. Until then check out my most recent mindfulness meditation video. Meditation helps to slow down the mind and allow us to disengage from “reasoning  mind”, an essential skill for being able to access the “wise inner knowing.”

Until next time, Be Well and Have a Wonderful Day!

 

 

 

November 16, 2017

How to Find Your Life Purpose: An Unconventional Approach

Posted in identity tagged , , , , at 3:02 pm by kellyfdennis

longfence A loonngg post, but well worth the read~Kelly

BY LEO BABAUTA ZenHabits.net

Let’s say you’re feeling unmotivated, unsure of yourself, aimless, can’t find your passion, directionless, not clear on what your purpose in life is.

You’re in good company — most people are in the same boat.

Now, there about a million things online telling you how to find your passion in life, and that’s a good thing. It’s a search worth undergoing.

I’m not going to give you a fool-proof method, or a 5-step method, nor share my passion manifesto with you today.

I’m going to give you a one-step method.

However, that one step is a doozy.

The One Step to Finding Your Purpose

It’s simply this: learn to get outside your personal bubble.

Your personal bubble is the small world you live in (we all have one), where you are the center of the universe. You are concerned with your wellbeing, with not wanting to look bad, with succeeding in life, with your personal pleasure (good food, good music, good sex, etc.).

This is the bubble we all live in most of the time, and people who say they don’t are trying to prove something.

When someone tells you you look fat, this only hurts because you’re in your personal bubble. You take that statement (a colleague who says you look fat) and believe that it’s about you, and feel the pain or embarrassment of how the statement affects you. It matters a lot, because in your bubble, what matters most is how everything affects you personally.

I’m the same way, and so is everyone else.

Some other problems caused by this personal bubble:

  • In our bubble, we’re concerned with our pleasure and comfort, and try not to be uncomfortable. This is why we don’t exercise, why we don’t only eat healthy food.
  • This fear of being uncomfortable is also why we get anxious at the thought of meeting strangers. It hampers our social lives, our love lives.
  • Because we don’t want to look bad, we are afraid of failing. So we don’t tackle tough things.
  • We procrastinate because of this fear of failing, this fear of discomfort.
  • When someone does or says something, we relate that event with how it affect us, and this can cause anger or pain or irritation.
  • We expect people to try to give us what we want, and when they don’t, we get frustrated or angry.

Actually, pretty much all our problems are caused by this bubble.

Including the difficulty in finding our life purpose. But more on that in a minute — I ask for your patience here, because this is important.

What Happens When We Get Out of the Bubble

If we can learn to get outside this personal bubble, and see things from a less self-centered approach, we can see some amazing things:

  • When someone says or does something, it’s not really about us — it’s about pain or fear or confusion they’re feeling, or a desire they have. Not us.
  • When we have an urge for temporary pleasure (TV, social media, junk food, porn), we can see that this urge is a simple passing physical sensation, and not the center of the universe.
  • We can start to see that our personal desires are actually pretty trivial, and that there’s more to life than trying to meet our pleasures and shy from our discomfort. There’s more than our little fears. Including: the pain and suffering of other people, and compassion for them. Compassion for all living beings. Wanting to make the world better.
  • We can tie our daily actions, like learning about how our minds and bodies and habits work, or getting healthy, or creating something, not only to our personal satisfaction and success (trivial things) but to how they help others, how they make the lives of others better, how they might lessen the suffering of others.

We become less self-centered, and begin to have a wider view. Everything changes, from letting go of fear and anger and procrastination, to changing our habits and finding work that matters.

How does this relate to finding our life purpose? Let’s explore that.

The Wider View, and Our Life Purpose

Once we get out of the bubble, and see things with a wider view, we can start a journey along a path like this:

  1. We can start to see the needs of others, and feel for their suffering.
  2. We then work to make their lives better, and lessen their suffering.
  3. Even if we aren’t good at that, we can learn skills that help us to be better at it. It’s the intention that matters.
  4. As we go about our daily work, we can tie our actions to this greater purpose. Learning to program or become healthy (for example) isn’t just for our betterment, but for the betterment of others, even in a small way. This gives us motivation on a moment-to-moment basis. When we lose motivation, we need to get back out of our bubble, shed our concern for our discomfort and fears, and tie ourselves to a bigger purpose.

In this path, it doesn’t matter what specific actions you take or skills you learn to make people’s lives better. What career you choose is not important — what matters is the bigger purpose. You can always change your career and learn new skills later, as you learn other ways to fulfill this purpose. You’ll learn over time.

What matters is becoming bigger than yourself. Once you do, you learn that you have a purpose in life.

How to Get Out of the Bubble

Sounds great, but getting outside this personal bubble isn’t as easy as just saying, “Let it be so.” It takes work.

First, you must see when you’re stuck in the bubble. Whenever you’re angry, frustrated, irritated, fearful, anxious, procrastinating, feeling hurt, wishing people would be different … you’re in the bubble. These are signs. You are at the center of your universe, and everything is relating to you and your feelings. When you can’t stick to habits, or have a hard time with a diet, you’re in the bubble. Your momentary pleasure is what matters in this bubble. Outside the bubble, they’re just little events (sensations of desire, urges) that can be let go of.

Second, when you notice that you’re in the bubble, expand your mind and heart. See the bigger picture. Feel what others must be feeling. Try to understand rather than condemning. See how little and petty your concerns and fears have been. Realize that if others treat you badly, it’s not about you, but about their suffering.

Third, wish others well. Genuinely want their happiness, just as you want your own happiness. See their suffering and wish for it to end or lessen.

Fourth, see how you can help. How can you lessen the suffering of others? Sometimes it’s just by paying attention, just listening. Other times you just need to be there, just lend a hand. You don’t need to go around solving everyone’s problems — they probably don’t want that. Just be there for them. And see if you can make people’s lives better — create something to make them smile. Make one little part of their world — a cup of tea, an article of clothing you’ve sewn — be a little space of goodness.

Repeat this process multiple times a day, and you’ll get better at it.

You’ll learn to be bigger than yourself. You’ll learn that the life we’ve been given is a gift, and we must make the most of it, and not waste a second. You’ll learn that there is nothing more fulfilling than making the lives of others a little better.

stefdennis

ponderings on life, food, God, and love

Grace on the Moon

Do Not Weigh Your Self-Esteem on a Scale

on anything and everything

my thoughts on what I see