What does that mean to you? Counseling means to me many things; mental health, self care, self love, strength, and support. I am a counselor because I believe what I do can help others live their very best life. I consider myself to have a wealth of resources. Often times we are stuck in old habits, behaviors, or ways of thinking because we just don’t know another way. That is where the Counselor comes in! The first resource I will give you is the best one I got: YOU are your best resource!
What!?!? “Then what do I need a counselor for?!” You may be asking yourself, quite confused.
Let’s reflect on your current state of self care. Most of us begin our days quite the same; wake up, take a shower to get clean and refreshed for the day, put on our best outfits, do our hair and face. Some of us squeeze in a quick bite to eat, a cup of coffee or tea. And out the door! Does that sound about right?
We tend to neglect the level of self care that addresses our heart* mind * and soul! If you think closely at your morning routine it may feel a bit like you are on automatic pilot – going through the motions without much thought or intention involved. And by the end of the day, you may even feel like you were barely involved in the to-do’s of the day.
How would your life feel if you brought your self care to the next level!? Wow! To truly be tuned in to your day. Imagine your morning coffee, feeling the hot mug between you hands as you sit and enjoy every sip. Or giggling with your children over pancakes before they are off to school. If we were to take each and every moment of our day and truly put value and intention into it, how our lives could really shine!!
This is where YOU come in-your best resource! You have to find the will and strength within yourself to make changes or nothing I say or give you will make the difference. A perfect mantra to get you started is this: ” I am worth it!”
There will be times when you have made the biggest mistake ever, feeling lower than you have ever felt before. Your counselor will bring compassion into the picture, allowing you to find forgiveness for yourself, and then you choose another way. Maybe you will choose positive self talk. “What is positive self talk?” you ask! Most people are familiar with their negative self talk, so let’s start there. It sounds something like this: “you are so fat”, “you just lost another job, why even bother”, “you are so in debt, there is no way out of this hole, what a loser”. Sound familiar? Unfortunately some of you can relate all too well to this not so nice voice that fills your thoughts on a daily basis. It is this stuckness in the old thoughts that keeps us from living in your every moment.
The good news
Once you identify the negative self talk (the ego), you can begin to create a new script for yourself. First, a little insight on the ego. It is the part of us that tries to protect us from the unknown, from fear, from risk. It’s that little voice that says “are you sure you want to go on that date, he won’t like you anyway, just stay home where it is safe so you don’t get hurt.” Or “you can’t handle that big of a business deal, what are you thinking!” It’s that self preservation voice. The ego keeps us stuck. So we must embrace this part of us, we can’t kick it to the curb, it is part of our human-ness. So we begin by accepting the voice as it is, but not letting it define us. Then we move to creating a new loving, empowering voice, which may sound something like this:
- “I accept and embrace all of me”
- “I am smart, and hard working”
- “I take great care for myself”
- “I choose what is best for me”
- “I am grateful for my health”
Once we find that empowering voice; that strength to be the best of who we are, we can continue on the path of self discovery! How exciting! Yes, and also scary. So having your counselor on your team, part of your inner circle, as a resource for your self care, you can move mountains!
I know this sounds all good and true on paper. But the reality of life happens, it throws us curve balls, the unexpected lands right on our laps. Your counselor can help you navigate the twists and turns, provide you with resources for your tool box. Here are a few of my handy dandy tools to give you a good head start:
Breathe – take 60 seconds every morning, sit in silence or with meditative music and just listen to your breathe. Eventually build up to 5 minutes a day, and learn some deep breathing techniques (I have lots of those to share as well!)
Find what you love to do
Meditation: A simple way to begin meditating if you are brand new to it, is with a guided meditation. You can find 5 minute meditations and even 30 minute meditations. I use a handy app called Omvana that has several to try for free so you can get your feet wet! Libraries are also a good resource.
Journaling: Sometimes we find that our lives have been so busy we are not even sure what our voices are but we know that are not very empowering. Begin giving yourself 5 minutes a day to just write your thoughts, let them flow freely. See how it feels!
Other ideas include yoga, walks, art. Find what you love to do and begin to bring it back into your life. Be that person you always wanted to be, find joy in all you do, and then share it with those you love!
Remember, this is not the easy path. The quick fix does not give lasting self acceptance and joy for your life. My final tid-bit treasure for your first step is an affirmation that allows you to open up to possibilities. We don’t have all the answers right away, we may even feel completely lost in the dark. Affirm the following everyday, even several times a day, and you will have little awakenings in your thoughts, and begin to feel more joy!
I surrender to the willingness to change
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