Monthly Archive: August 2018

Right-sizing your story

I sat listening to a friend who has gone through what he undramatically called “the worst year of his life”, and then to another friend who had slipped into a deep depression. As their stories unfolded, it seemed that, by telling their story to others who genuinely cared, it helped lift their spirits.

Then I told my story. Although my life seems blessed at the moment, and I’m feeling really good, I’d been carrying around a hurt that I’d dismissed and hidden in some back compartment for at least a year.  It wasn’t until I’d expressed it that it disappeared. I don’t know about you, but what I do when I don’t express my feelings is build them up, eventually creating an entire fantasy reality around an event that has a life of it’s own – hence, it’s ability to hang around for so long.

It could be anything: a perceived slight that I wouldn’t normally interpret that way except when I’m feeling overly sensitive for other reasons. That “slight”, fed only by these heightened sensitivities, will grow; and at some point, unless I address it, will register as something true and real, even though all it is, is my interpretation of something I left uninvestigated.

I’m not saying this is what happened with my friends. I can say it helped them to talk about it. Just as it helped me: it helped me revisit my story – to “right-size” it, bringing it back to something closer to what really happened so long ago, and disconnecting it from that moment of sensitivity.

 

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here .  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

Peace of Mind

To experience peace does not mean that your life is always blissful. It means that you are capable of tapping into a blissful state of mind amidst the normal chaos of a hectic life.”

This quote is from Jill Taylor. It’s what you might be striving for, especially if you’re beginning to unravel. It’s one of those things that’s simple in concept, a lot less simple in practice.

And it is possible.

 

I’m offering a program that is all about achieving that experience of peace every day. If you’re interested in learning more, my online workshop on Burning the Candle at Both Ends can help. It’s is starting this October. Click here if you’re interested in learning about it.

 

Been gaslighted lately?

If you don’t think so, think again. They only way you couldn’t have is if you never read the papers or listen to the news.

Gaslighting happens when someone deliberately manipulates a situation in order to make another person question themselves. That person may or may not realize what they’re doing. The impact of their action is the same regardless.  I’m witnessing it happening on the political arena increasingly, and so it’s become something we all need to understand and combat successfully.

The first thing to know is that gaslighting only works with your collaboration. That is, if you refuse to go along with it, it loses all it’s power.

My mother was a successful gaslighter. I don’t think she ever knew it. But I ended up with years of having to work through it, undo the damage it caused, and learn how to trust myself again. I used to tell people that her reality was in a perpetual altered state, which helped me retain some stability through it all. (She’s now passed, and I’m happy to say we had many good years together.)

How does a gaslighter do it (from Psychology Today)?

  • By telling a deliberate lie that you know is a lie, in order to set a tone of never knowing if what they say is true or not. This effectively keeps you, in this situation, off-balance.
  • By denying they said something you know they did say, with the effect that you begin to question yourself instead of them.  This becomes more and more the case the more it happens.
  • By using what is important to you against you, attacking the foundation of your being. For instance, the person might question your technical abilities when they know that’s meaningful to you; or your value as a mother if that’s how you’ve defined yourself.
  • By not walking their talk – saying one thing and doing another.  The key is to attend to what they do, not to what they say.
  • By occasionally praising you, so that even if you had managed to figure them out, you find yourself questioning that.
  • By aligning others against you. This may be done through gossip and deliberate misrepresentation, or simply by getting you to believe that there are others who already knew something they maintain about you.
  • By projecting what is really going on inside them that they don’t like onto you.
  • By telling others that you’re the crazy one, not them.

If you find yourself faced with this kind of situation, here’s what you can do:

  • Become aware. First, gain an understanding of what’s going on. The only way gaslighting can work is if you let it.  By understanding the dynamics, you gain clarity, which makes gaslighting unworkable.
  • Trust your own gutOne the most insidious things about the situation is the denial of your reality. And this leads to self-denial of what your body is telling you.  Therefore, it’s important to re-connect with that inner knowing, and trusting it, no matter what.
  • Be defiant. Stand your ground, and don’t give in. You won’t be thanked for it; the person gaslighting you will not acknowledge your right to do so. It’s no good doing it for recognition and visibility – that will not happen! Do it for your own well-being.
  • Develop a healthy detachment. The emotional back and forth between praise and blame can be unhinging, unless you become the observer. It’s tempting to simply disappear emotionally – and you might, but there is a cost to disappearing. Developing a healthy detachment means remaining in the space emotionally, doing so by also understanding thoroughly that what is going on is not about you, but about the other person.
  • Find some way to tell your story – so that you develop your own means of remaining visible to yourself and others.

What to do about gaslighting

Burning the Candle?

If you’re someone who feels like you’re burning up and burning out – from too much ongoing stress, from too much responsibility and too little recognition, or simply from wanting to have everything done Now!, then you might be interested in my online program BURNING THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS.

Registration is now open for October. Check it out!
Quote of the Week

“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

Announcement

Blog: In case you missed it, here’s my latest blog.
Need more? At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co . Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co.

What’s right in the world?

 world

Climate change, and the resulting increase of floods, fires, droughts and landslides. The damage caused by Tsunamis, eathquakes and volcanic eruptions.  The violence and unrest all over the world.  The ensuing human migration resulting from all this.

And speaking of humans, our burgeoning population explosion and the displacement of other  animal species and ecological diversity.

All of these world-wide events are scary and painful to witness for me, and probably for you as well. It’s distressing and all I want to do is do something – anything – to make a positive change.

But in all of my dwelling on what’s wrong with the world, I don’t notice all the things that are right with it.

Here are some of those things:

  • Life expancy has increased to 71 years of age worldwide
  • 90% of people under 25 around the world can read and write
  • 10% of people around the world live in extreme poverty – down from 90% 200 years ago (one reason being that jobs that used to be only in developed countries are now distributed throughout the world)
  • Even with wars, the rate of death world-wide today is ¼ of what it was before and including Viet Nam
  • 95% of us are less likely to be killed by accidents – like plane or car crashes.

I got these things from Steven Pinker’s book Enlgightenment Now: The case for reason, science, humanism and progress.

It doesn’t mean we aren’t in trouble and there’s nothing to do. What it does mean, for me, is that I can genuinely buoy myself with good news, and approach efforts of bettering what I see is wrong and harmful with more balance.

 

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters for a sample. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

Show up!

This week I was tired. Got double duty; began every day by jumping out of bed 2 hours earlier than normal, and falling back into bed an hour later than I’m used to.

I was invited to a party; it was important I be there because it was an honoring of a group of people who worked even harder than I did.  But, by the time I had to go to it, I was talking myself out of it.

I mentioned this to my partner – “Gosh I’m so tired! Maybe we should skip this one. Who’s going to miss us anyway?”

His response? “That’s fine, but I’m going to send you a blog I just read.”  It was the blog I’d written the day before about how much we impact others with our absence.

We went, and I’m grateful we did, because a lot of others had the same idea to skip the party.

It can be hard, but it’s better than adding to my sense of guilt and inadequacy.

As Woody Allen said “Showing up is 80% of life.”

 

If you’re interested in learning more, my online workshop on Burning the Candle at Both Ends can help. It’s is starting this October. Click here if you’re interested in learning about it.

 

Opening up – where it begins

I’m at a conference this week with a lot of other therapists. Gestalt therapists. And am constantly challenged to remain open to new ideas and ways of being.  It’s exhausting only when I feel the need to close; to stop taking in, or to fight against what my mind interprets.

Being open means more than being open-hearted. It includes relaxing the mind, so that it can do what it was always meant to do. Receive.

5 ways to listen better

opening

Burning the Candle?

If you’re someone who feels like you’re burning up and burning out – from too much ongoing stress, from too much responsibility and too little recognition, or simply from wanting to have everything done Now!, then you might be interested in my online program BURNING THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS.

Registration is now open for October. Check it out!
Quote of the Week

The mind is like a parachute; it only works when it’s open – Zappa 

Announcement

Blog: In case you missed it, here’s my latest blog.
Need more? At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co . Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co.

You have impact!

impact

You’re feeling  crappy – not so crappy that you have to go to bed, but just off.  You’ve been working all day. You’re tired. You just want to go home and hide in a book.  But, you’ve made plans. You promised to be at your friend’s inauguration – or birthday party, or opening.

Then you find yourself in self-talk. It goes something like: “You know, there are thousands of people who are going to be there. Who am I anyway?. She won’t miss me.”

So you stay home.  Next week when you see her, she seems distant. She says she understands but you can see in her face and gestures that she’s hurt.

What does that tell you? You have more impact than you ever imagined.

You count! Just like your friend does.

 

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters for a sample. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

Overwhelmed?

Overwhelmed

Every once in a while – every time I get wound up with something I really want to get done – at some point, I end up in a place of overwhelm.  At some point, I’ll find myself standing staring at nothing, wanting to drop it all and run away.

If you’ve ever felt that way, then you know the feeling. I don’t run away. Not any more. Because I’ve learned how to deal with it.

If you’re looking for ways in your own life to deal with that feeling of being overwhelmed, here’s one thing you can do: close your eyes – wherever you are – take 3 really deep and slow breaths, then ask yourself “What’s the most important ONE thing I need to do?”

Then do it, and only it.

If what you’re thinking is too big and complex to get done easily, then make it smaller until it’s simple and doable in less than an hour.

Seriously, if you do this one thing, that sense of overwhelm will either disappear completely or become very small.

Try it!

 

If you’re interested in learning more, my online workshop on Burning the Candle at Both Ends can help. It’s starting this October. Click here if you’re interested in learning about it.

 

You are enough

What makes you hesitate when someone asks you something and you already know the answer? Or gleefully accepting a long-sought-after promotion that you worked hard for? Or disagreeing publicly with someone you admire.

It might be because you feel less than; that whatever you have to offer won’t be enough for the person who asks, offers or invites you to show your shining.

But, if you really have worked hard for what you have, if you’ve applied yourself passionately and honestly, then whatever you have to offer is worth it. It’s worth hearing and acknowledging. In fact, the rest of need it, and will be worse off without it.

You are enough. As you are. In this moment.

Being who we are

Burning the Candle?

If you’re someone who feels like you’re burning up and burning out – from too much ongoing stress, from too much responsibility and too little recognition, or simply from wanting to have everything done Now!, then you might be interested in my online program BURNING THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS.

Registration is now open for October. Check it out!
Quote of the Week

“We have to acknowledge sometimes that this moment is enough. This place is enough. I am enough.” – Sue Monk Kidd

Announcement

Blog: In case you missed it, here’s my latest blog.
Need more? At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co . Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co.

Being vulnerable – what does it really mean?

 

Listening to Krista Tippett  being interviewed (for a change). The topic was Vulnerability.

Her point, when asked about her own vulnerability, was that it is ever-present. Otherwise, why all the many studies that continue on this topic?

It’s something we learn to hide at an early age – that’s why we armor. Something that we protect the most. Something that we know is precious, and that we therefore treat as fragile.

I know I do at times. I can become highly protective of my own vulnerability whenever I’m with someone I don’t trust, or who I feel is attacking me.  What I tend to do is to attack back. It’s a natural response: one of two that we have at our disposal when feeling threatened.

My challenge – and I suspect this is true for may of you – is to learn to treat my own vulnerability as powerful, and not fragile. So that when I feel threatened, I can still show that I’m vulnerable – can still show the tender parts – and know, deep down, that I am safe.

 

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters for a sample. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .