Archive: Anger and Depression

My Mother My Self

The title is from a book I read years ago. I still recommend it to my clients, because from observing myself and my clients over the years, I’m come to appreciate the inevitability of how we are our mothers and fathers, regardless of whether we want that to happen. I was recently reminded of it in a National Geographic article on Iranian nomads (October, 2018).

Nomadic women have hard lives: they traditionally relocate twice a year, living in tents in harsh climates, caring for their family and their flock, risking everything for their family every day.  It’s traditional in these families that, once their husband dies, they are left bereft, receiving no inheritance for all that commitment.

But things will be different for their daughters. There’s world-wide internet and their daughters see alternatives.  As one daughter said (encouraged by her mother) “Why should I make my life miserable? Like yours.”

I don’t blame her. But that isn’t what struck me as I read it.  What struck me is that I said the same thing, and so did many of my female friends.  And so do many of my female clients.

In any culture, if the woman (or man) is forced into a life they don’t want and that makes them miserable, their daughters (or sons) notice. And this is a powerful motivator behind doing something different with their lives.

Pico Iyer – Where is Home?

 

Quote of the Week

“When I stopped seeing my mother with the eyes of a child, I saw the woman who helped me give birth to myself “ 
– Nancy Friday

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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.

Closing doors

 

I witnessed explosive anger today from an unlikely source. A woman, who I don’t really know, took offense at something said and stomped out, leaving the person she was with standing there. Then a little later, she returned, saying she really wanted to give her companion space, even though the only person clearly fuming was her.

We’ve all been there. Some of us might even have done something that foolish. And if we did, we know it never leads to anything good.

How do you know when to walk away and when to stay? I have to ask myself that question every time I’m tempted to leave an unpleasant situation: do I want to leave because it’s too much of a challenge, or because I’ve done everything I could and now it’s time to invest my energy elsewhere?

The simple answer: How am I feeling?

Am I fuming so badly I can’t think straight? If I am, then I know it’s all about me, and before I do anything, I need to own at least that.

Or, am I at the point of exhaustion, feeling my energy draining even thinking about getting involved ever again? In that case, perhaps it’s time to end things (with grace) and move on.

Or, is it a challenge to me to try and figure this out? Does it energize me when I contemplate moving towards it? If so, then do just that – move towards it, and see what happens.

Do I stay or do I go? The answer begins with self-honesty and then self-knowing.

Close some doors today. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because they lead you nowhere.” – Paulo Coelho

 

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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 .

Why the movie THE HATE U GIVE is a must-watch

I was going to write about something else today – but then I watched the movie THE HATE YOU GIVE.

The movie is based on the book of that name by Angie Thomas. It’s about a young witness to a police killing and is just so relevant to all of us today. The title comes from a piece by 2Pac, a rapper who said “The hate you give little infants f**ks everybody”.

It moved me profoundly. I hope you watch it and that it moves you too!

 

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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 .

It’s so easy to keep us quiet

It’s so easy to keep us quiet – all we have to do is want something badly and believe that we aren’t worthy of it, somehow.

If you hurt someone and can’t forgive yourself. Or were sure of yourself until you made a big mistake. Or are afraid of letting your parents down by failing in some way.

This deep-down feeling of unworthiness might show up as perfectionism, or it might show up as hiding, or of being cowed down. I’ve felt it: I let a bully dictate terms to me for almost 9 years, after making a big mistake and having to start over.  I’d been so sure of myself before that, then had the bad luck of letting someone who didn’t respect me dictate terms. It cowed me.

Then, when I came to appreciate what happened, it took a while to come to terms with the loss – of years, and joy, and even health.

You might be a perfectionist, or in hiding, or even cowed.  It isn’t because you made a mistake – mistakes are part of learning. It’s because you learned to feel unworthy, deep-down. And that has to go.

It any of what I’ve written speaks to you, if it’s even a little familiar, then you might be feeling embarrassed and ashamed. That’s what kept me quiet. But it’s false. Here’s what you can do to shake off that false feeling – the feeling that’s been holding you hostage:

  • It’s a lie. It’s a lie that you’re unworthy, and anyone helping you feel that way is the one who is truly unworthy. Acknowledge the truth instead of the lie – that you are worthy and always have been.

 

  • Feel the rage. In shamanism I was taught that rage is the teacher of truth. Once you recognize the lie, and the truth, you will feel rage. And along with that rage, you will begin to reclaim your truth.

 

  • Question and confront. Question anyone who suggests, implies, or even acts like you are unworthy; anyone who demands something of you that isn’t actually worthy of you. Begin to know and appreciate your own worth, and from a stable and grounded place inside you, confront and challenge.  This might look something like: “Please don’t speak to me that way; find some other way to say what you mean”. Or: “This is the best I can do right now”, without apology.

 

  • Be ready to leave a situation or person that won’t acknowledge you as an equal. This can seem hard. But once you claim your own worthiness, it’ll be a lot easier than you think.

 

Shame loves perfectionists

Perfection and stress??

If you’re driven y perfection, then you’re likely also stressed a lot of your life. This kind of stress will lead to burnout. My online program BURNING THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS  can help you begin to change that.

 
Registration is now open for October. Register Now!
Quote of the Week

“Perfectionism is not the same thing has striving to be your best. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.”

― Brené Brown – how do I do this again to tag the blue dot people?

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.

Hard talks

 

I’m conflict-averse. How about you? My dear friend, Andy, says he’s conflict-averse, but I don’t know anyone who deals with conflict and confrontation better than he does. When confronted with a conflict, he’s always available, fair-minded, and to the point. And what happens is that the conflict dissappears.

I’m talking about those times when you either keep quiet and sit on something that bothers you, or speak up and bear the consequences.  You might imagine the consequences will be big and painful, and that will keep you quiet. Then feel bad because you didn’t speak up. And, to compound the bad feeling, end up berating yourself for being such a coward.

Sometimes it’s true, the consequences are as bad as you imagine. But not always, and there are ways of mitigating them. It could be that you’re right in what you believe, but not great at effectively managing the confrontation, or being respectful of the other person.

Dr. Deborah Plummer, author of “Some of My Friends re…”, spoke recently at a Psychology gathering on conflict management. She advocates that when the goal is to reach a mutually acceptable conclusion, it might be better to opt for being effective and respectful instead of right.

Here are some of her examples: When the other person is…

  • Racist in some way, she suggests that you approach them with curiosity, looking for common values rather than blaming and shaming;
  • Not well-informed, focus on gathering common facts and testing assumptions (theirs and yours) instead of trying to “educate” them;
  • Being authoritarian, respond as an adult (rational) instead of a child-like (dependent) position, in order to shift the dynamic;
  • Demonstrates bad logic or bad thinking, recognize that you aren’t going to be able to change that, and move on with grace.

With every one of these examples, there is a common factor – maintaining your own inner balance and openness to the other. Once closed, none of us can deal well with conflict.

 

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 .

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 .

Turning into a wilted flowed from burnout

burnout

I have a dream. And today I’m discouraged and disheartened because my efforts in realizing that dream aren’t going as well as I’d like.  It’s so hard sometimes: spending hours that I thought were going to be minutes on one task after another, then discovering a flaw and starting over.  Those are just the every-day issues.  The worst thing that gets in my way is me: my own discouragement, my own loss of faith that I can do this.

This isn’t the first time I’ve felt like this, and it won’t be the last.  I haven’t given up on my dream, and honestly, don’t see that I will. I know there are a lot of people out there just like me, and I hope that what I say next will help you, as it helped me.

I have to remind myself on days like today that how I feel right now will pass, if I let it. And I ‘let it” by taking care of myself in every way. I keep putting one foot in front of the other, I get clear on what’s important, and I find ways of de-stressing and maintaining faith in myself.

Sounds simple. We all know it isn’t.

But it works. I know.

My online workshop on Burning the Candle at Both Ends is starting this October. Click here if you’re interested in learning about it.

Beating the Odds

There are many kinds of disasters. Some life-shattering, most not life-shattering. Those that are truly awful aren’t usually the kind we can predict or avoid. The rest usually are.

Like driving down a major highway in traffic, wearing white and eating cherries.

I did exactly that 5 days ago. My thinking went like this: You know this could be disastrous.  But it’s OK.  I’ll be careful.  Well, the inevitable happened … I wasn’t careful enough.

I predicted it. I could have avoided it easily. I didn’t, instead convincing myself that I could beat the odds. This time.

I take silly risks like this every day, filling the void created from avoiding worry or boredom with something that brings excitement and distraction.

How would my day be different if, instead, I acknowledged my worry or boredom, and truly nourished my spirit?

 

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletter. 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 .

Bullying and moving beyond

Bullying

You might have heard of Lizzie Valasquez, a motivational speaker and author. Lizzie suffers from a rare congenital disease that makes her stand out, whether she wants to or not. In her latest book Dare to be Kind, she talks, among other things, about bullying.

Even when she was a young child, people would sometimes react negatively to her physical appearance.  As young as 5 years old, she would hear adults comment in hurtful ways about her appearance, unable to understand how they as adults could hurt a child who hadn’t done anything to them. She’d want her parents to righteously protect her, but instead, one of them would approach the adult and say “This is my daughter Lizzie.  Would you like to meet her?”

It took Lizzie a long time to recognize the wisdom behind her parents’ response. Instead of seeing one person as victim and the other as perpetrator, they saw 2 people who needed help in 2 different ways: Their daughter needed to be made visible in a truly supportive way; and the bully needed to be seen for who he or she was in that moment – someone who was hurting.

Only people who are hurting hurt others. The bully lashes out because they’re hurting, and they don’t know how to better handle their pain.

Here’s how to deal effectively with bullying.

  • 2 choices. In this situation, you have only 2 choices: you can choose to ignore the bullying, or you can respond to it. Neither choice is the “right” one, and only you can determine what’s right for you. One suggestion: consider the consequences of your choice.
  • Ignoring it. Is this a battle you really want to fight? If the bullying isn’t extreme, if it’s a one-off situation, or if it’s potentially dangerous, you might consider ignoring it. Putting yourself in physical danger is rarely justified, and there is no shame in turning away if that’s what you need to do.
  • Responding to it. This takes courage, and if done effectively, can end bullying, or at least suppress it. Effectively responding to a bully requires empathy – putting yourself in the shoes of the person you feel is being a bully, because we all have the potential to bully.  If I’m hurt and feel isolated, I’ll respond or react to anything or anyone with, at the very least, caution and self-protection.  If, on the other hand, I feel safe, I’ll be a lot more open to giving others the benefit of the doubt.

A bullying person is a hurt person.  Respecting that they hurt, and at the same time respecting your own needs, may make the difference between a potentially dangerous and explosive encounter and a minor incident.

If you’ve ever been bullied, being empathetic isn’t easy. It’s a personal affront – hurtful, ignorant, abusive and disrespectful. It might help to understand that everything we see, do and say is a reflection of what’s going on inside us. To bully others, we must first bully ourselves.

To move on from being bullied means being able to leave it behind, emotionally and mentally, so that it doesn’t take up any space inside you.  Moving on means that the current encounter, and all future encounters are no longer a problem – that you’ve mastered them.

Choosing to respond to bullying in an empathetic and balanced way is empowering.

 

If you’re interested in knowing about your natural character traits, you might be interested in Discover Your Natural Character.

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 .

Anger: how it helps and how it hurts us

Let me tell you a story that you may know yourself. You’re in the office and hear your manager tearing a strip off a co-worker. The manager is angermeterangry bordering on rage. She seems to have a point, but her attitude toward the co-worker is, in itself, anger-making.

How does this impact you as an unwilling observer? What would you find yourself doing about it?

Some of us would get angry and react by either saying something in anger or avoiding the situation altogether, likely feeling badly about it later. A few of us may get angry and then take it in, responding once we were ready, feeling OK later, if we thought about it at all.

The former reaction hurts us and the second helps us. As Ambrose Bierce said, “Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”

Anger is a natural and necessary emotion. It’s how we deal with our own anger that determines whether it hurts or helps us. Anger is a natural response to perceived threats. It causes our body to release adrenaline, our muscles to tighten, and our heart rate and blood pressure to increase. Our senses might feel more acute and our face and hands flushed. Anger becomes a problem only when we don’t manage it in a healthy way.

Anger helps us in at least three ways:

  1. Anger protects us when we are in physical danger by kicking in our “fight or flight” response, allowing us to act quickly.
  2. Anger can let us know when something isn’t right and we need to take action. For instance, if a person isn’t listening to us when an important situation arises.
  3. Anger teaches us about what is important to us and about our own bottom lines. For instance, back to the story, is mutual respect in the workplace a bottom line for you?

Next time you get angry, notice how you respond. Begin to appreciate how getting angry, if felt mindfully, can be a powerful teacher in our lives.

 Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit http://www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.