Archive: Psychotherapy

Hiding in plain sight

hiding

I’ve been anticipating that the response I get from a colleague to something I put out is one I won’t like, and when I do receive her response, I’m ready to load my anticipations onto my interpretation of it. As a result, I will react emotionally to what she does say. But just so there’s a possibility of dialogue after the reaction, I will do this in private, waiting until I’m cooled down enough to respond.

Another colleague reads about new requirements that he feels he “should have” caught earlier and didn’t, and he reacts by retreating until he, too, can respond in a more measured way.

It isn’t until I reach out for a one-on-one live conversation that I can put aside my expectations and projections (because that’s all I really have up till now) and gain a truly measured understanding. Similarly with my colleague, it isn’t until he has the conversation – live – that he can really appreciate the reality of the situation.

I know I react. I know I can explode. I know that when I explode, the result is rarely anything but destructive. So I hide behind propriety, keeping my opinions to myself until I can express them in a way that I believe will be more acceptable to those I’m expressing them to.

This seems to be the way of everyone in our society, and is leading to an ever-spreading reaction against “political correctness”.  Political correctness gives us the code for being agreeable, and for expressing our anger in a way that is deemed acceptable. But this modern security blanket we use is wearing thin, because just like any security system, it can – and is – used to launch grenades.

We hide in plain sight behind our words and our mask of maturity. We all do – well, most of us – because most of us are afraid of what would happen if we were spontaneous instead.

I grew up believing that I had freedom of speech, that I could say something controversial, or even wrong, and not be punished for it. But in these recent years, that’s changed. My society today isn’t the same comfortable and secure-feeling one of my youth. People – including me – don’t feel secure any longer, right or wrong. And that makes me careful about what I say and how I say it.

I believe that given today’s atmosphere, suggesting we be more spontaneous isn’t helpful or even possible. We need to feel safe to be free with our words and actions, and that simply isn’t true.

I believe that what we can do, and can nurture in others, is real connection. Of deferring judgment – as much as possible – until we can talk. Until we can see that person we have thoughts and judgments about as a human being who is doing their best, just as we are.

Morgana Bailey – on coming out

 

 

Quote of the Week

Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.”
― André Malraux

Announcements

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 atwww.thejoyofliving.co.

Hiding in plain sight

hiding

 

I’ve been anticipating that the response I get from a colleague to something I put out is one I won’t like, and when I do receive her response, I’m ready to load my anticipations onto my interpretation of it. As a result, I will react emotionally to what she does say. But just so there’s a possibility of dialogue after the reaction, I will do this in private, waiting until I’m cooled down enough to respond.

Another colleague reads about new requirements that he feels he “should have” caught earlier and didn’t, and he reacts by retreating until he, too, can respond in a more measured way.

It isn’t until I reach out for a one-on-one live conversation that I can put aside my expectations and projections (because that’s all I really have up till now) and gain a truly measured understanding. Similarly with my colleague, it isn’t until he has the conversation – live – that he can really appreciate the reality of the situation.

I know I react. I know I can explode. I know that when I explode, the result is rarely anything but destructive. So I hide behind propriety, keeping my opinions to myself until I can express them in a way that I believe will be more acceptable to those I’m expressing them to.

This seems to be the way of everyone in our society, and is leading to an ever-spreading reaction against “political correctness”.  Political correctness gives us the code for being agreeable, and for expressing our anger in a way that is deemed acceptable. But this modern security blanket we use is wearing thin, because just like any security system, it can – and is – used to launch grenades.

We hide in plain sight behind our words and our mask of maturity. We all do – well, most of us – because most of us are afraid of what would happen if we were spontaneous instead.

I grew up believing that I had freedom of speech, that I could say something controversial, or even wrong, and not be punished for it. But in these recent years, that’s changed. My society today isn’t the same comfortable and secure-feeling one of my youth. People – including me – don’t feel secure any longer, right or wrong. And that makes me careful about what I say and how I say it.

I believe that given today’s atmosphere, suggesting we be more spontaneous isn’t helpful or even possible. We need to feel safe to be free with our words and actions, and that simply isn’t true.

I believe that what we can do, and can nurture in others, is real connection. Of deferring judgment – as much as possible – until we can talk. Until we can see that person we have thoughts and judgments about as a human being who is doing their best, just as we are.

 

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 .

Our Variable Memory

 

About 4 years ago, I was out with friends camping. We had some tools that were available to us all, and were instructed to handle them with care.  About 3 days into being there, the guy responsible for signing out the tools approached me and accused me of mishandling them, saying it had to be me because he’d seen me going over to where they were stored earlier, and that no one else had been there since.

In fact, I hadn’t been there and hadn’t used the tools that day at all. But he was unshakable in his certainty. It wasn’t until the person who had actually been there volunteered to say so that I was off the hook.

It was a dramatic moment – being accused of something I’d never do, from someone who was so certain he was right.

In my family, my mother was notorious for having different memories of the same event at different times. So, I grew up knowing that people can be certain of something that ends up being false.

How can this happen?  According to Julia Shaw, a criminal psychologist and specialist in false memories, the key is suggestibility: a false memory is most likely to develop in situations where a person is exposed to suggestive information.

As an example, read this list: sit, write, eat, legs, seat, desk, arm, sofa, wood, cushion, rest, stool. Now count to 30.

Did you spot the word “table”?  If so, you experienced a false memory, because even though the words in the list were associated with “table”, the word “table” wasn’t one of them.

In Apr 2019 Psychology Today – How Memory Became Weaponized – the author argues that our brain is wired to believe what it hears. I’ll add to that our wonderful ability to conceptualize – bringing a number of different things together by recognizing their similarities. This ability of ours is essential for thinking and learning – and it has at least this drawback.

Most of the time, it’s not critical and doesn’t get in our way. But sometimes it does, and sometimes people will deliberately feed us misinformation to steer us in one direction or another.

So, what can you do to arm yourself against such manipulation and mis-direction? Three things.

  1. First, learn to always check the “facts” when determining the truth of something that’s important. Look for supporting evidence, for repeated instances in similar situations. Develop a healthy sense of disbelief.
  2. Second, examine your own motives for wanting to believe something – or not. If your motives are strong enough, it could blind you to what is really true.
  3. Finally, check in with your own inner knowing to see how the information sits with you. Our inner knowing doesn’t have a true/false indicator, but it does have an automatic “feel” that – once we learn to recognize and trust it – provides us with a sum of all our experiences to date, measuring it against what is in front of us at the moment.

It takes a while – sometimes a long while – to learn to trust this inner knowing, but it’ the only way I know of that will lead us a good sense of what’s true.

Elizabeth Loftus – the fiction of memory

 

Quote of the Week

Nostalgia has a way of blocking the reality of the past.”
― Shannon L. Alder

 

Announcements 

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 atwww.thejoyofliving.co.

 

Our Variable Memory

 

About 4 years ago, I was out with friends camping. We had some tools that were available to us all, and were instructed to handle them with care.  About 3 days into being there, the guy responsible for signing out the tools approached me and accused me of mishandling them, saying it had to be me because he’d seen me going over to where they were stored earlier, and that no one else had been there since.

In fact, I hadn’t been there and hadn’t used the tools that day at all. But he was unshakable in his certainty. It wasn’t until the person who had actually been there volunteered to say so that I was off the hook.

It was a dramatic moment – being accused of something I’d never do, from someone who was so certain he was right.

In my family, my mother was notorious for having different memories of the same event at different times. So, I grew up knowing that people can be certain of something that ends up being false.

How can this happen?  According to Julia Shaw, a criminal psychologist and specialist in false memories, the key is suggestibility: a false memory is most likely to develop in situations where a person is exposed to suggestive information.

As an example, read this list: sit, write, eat, legs, seat, desk, arm, sofa, wood, cushion, rest, stool. Now count to 30.

Did you spot the word “table”?  If so, you experienced a false memory, because even though the words in the list were associated with “table”, the word “table” wasn’t one of them.

In Apr 2019 Psychology Today – How Memory Became Weaponized – the author argues that our brain is wired to believe what it hears. I’ll add to that our wonderful ability to conceptualize – bringing a number of different things together by recognizing their similarities. This ability of ours is essential for thinking and learning – and it has at least this drawback.

Most of the time, it’s not critical and doesn’t get in our way. But sometimes it does, and sometimes people will deliberately feed us misinformation to steer us in one direction or another.

So, what can you do to arm yourself against such manipulation and mis-direction? Three things.

  1. First, learn to always check the “facts” when determining the truth of something that’s important. Look for supporting evidence, for repeated instances in similar situations. Develop a healthy sense of disbelief.
  2. Second, examine your own motives for wanting to believe something – or not. If your motives are strong enough, it could blind you to what is really true.
  3. Finally, check in with your own inner knowing to see how the information sits with you. Our inner knowing doesn’t have a true/false indicator, but it does have an automatic “feel” that – once we learn to recognize and trust it – provides us with a sum of all our experiences to date, measuring it against what is in front of us at the moment.

It takes a while – sometimes a long while – to learn to trust this inner knowing, but it’ the only way I know of that will lead us a good sense of what’s true.

 

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 .

 

Bringing out the best of each other

 

There are many studies available that predict a longer and happier life if you are in a contented relationship. The biggest reason, it seems, is that this kind of relationship brings out the best in us because we feel supported, safe, and valued.

I’m in a healthy, supportive and loving relationship. My partner and I support each other in a number of ways:

  • We have a genuine regard for each other. One sure indicator that a relationship is over is if one partner feels contempt for the other. That feeling of contempt means that one is no longer open to seeing their partner in an intimate, connected way. And that means the relationship is over. Mutual regard can’t be forced, but is a bottom-line necessity for a healthy relationship.
  • We are genuinely interested in each other’s point of view, whether that point of view is different from each other’s or not. We want to know and appreciate both our similarities and our differences. It’s often the differences that enrich our lives. Without that, we can’t grow.
  • We support each other’s growth and development. This means that we feel free to criticize constructively, and to challenge each other. That kind of challenging can only happen when we trust that our partner cares about us and wants the best for us.
  • We support each other’s dreams. We know what those dreams are, and we help each other achieve them, rather than judge or compare their dreams to our own.
  • We tell each other the truth. No lies, not even white ones. You know when you’re being lied to, and you can trust that your partner does too. Ultimately, telling lies – or not speaking up when you should – undermines mutual trust in one another, and will eventually destroy intimacy.

The February, 2019 issue of Psychology Today has an article titled The Michelangelo Effect that speaks of the positive impact of our intimate friends, especially our partners. Well worth a look.

What you don’t know about marriage

 

 

Quote of the Week

When someone loves you, the way they talk about you is different. You feel safe and comfortable.”
― Jess C. Scott

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters [link to latest newsletter that’s published in website ] for an 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 .

Bringing out the best of each other

 

There are many studies available that predict a longer and happier life if you are in a contented relationship. The biggest reason, it seems, is that this kind of relationship brings out the best in us because we feel supported, safe, and valued.

I’m in a healthy, supportive and loving relationship. My partner and I support each other in a number of ways:

  • We have a genuine regard for each other. One sure indicator that a relationship is over is if one partner feels contempt for the other. That feeling of contempt means that one is no longer open to seeing their partner in an intimate, connected way. And that means the relationship is over. Mutual regard can’t be forced, but is a bottom-line necessity for a healthy relationship.
  • We are genuinely interested in each other’s point of view, whether that point of view is different from each other’s or not. We want to know and appreciate both our similarities and our differences. It’s often the differences that enrich our lives. Without that, we can’t grow.
  • We support each other’s growth and development. This means that we feel free to criticize constructively, and to challenge each other. That kind of challenging can only happen when we trust that our partner cares about us and wants the best for us.
  • We support each other’s dreams. We know what those dreams are, and we help each other achieve them, rather than judge or compare their dreams to our own.
  • We tell each other the truth. No lies, not even white ones. You know when you’re being lied to, and you can trust that your partner does too. Ultimately, telling lies – or not speaking up when you should – undermines mutual trust in one another, and will eventually destroy intimacy.

The February, 2019 issue of Psychology Today has an article titled The Michelangelo Effect that speaks of the positive impact of our intimate friends, especially our partners. Well worth a look.

 

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters [link to latest newsletter that’s published in website ] for an 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 .

The story of a purse abuser

I have a story. Two days ago my purse fell apart. The story of how I chose this purse has its own story, but that isn’t the one I want to tell today. Today I want to tell how I became a purse abuser.

Yes, you read right – I am a purse abuser. After carefully getting the purse that would fulfill all my requirements, it still ended up not being quite adequate. I wanted one that was well made of good material so that it wouldn’t fall apart. I wanted it big enough to hold my notebook along with everything else that usually goes in purses. And, I wanted one that could be worn as a back pack so that one shoulder didn’t end up in pain.

I got all those things, paying more than I wanted. That purse was and is attractive and roomy. The only problem is that once I got it, my requirements changed. I discovered, for instance, that I really needed a mouse because the keypad wasn’t reliable. Then I noticed that the battery life wasn’t all that good, so I also added a chord. And sometimes, I needed extra research material, so in they went as well.

Soon that purse was overloaded and really heavy (which is why I needed a backpack model in the first place). And sure enough, one day, almost simultaneously, the hardware on one strap shattered, the zipper broke, and the handle shredded.

I do this with every purse I’ve ever owned. My need to be prepared under any circumstance means that I “need” to have with me every conceivable thing that could possibly help in any given situation. You might suggest a suitcase with wheels, but honestly, whatever I get would soon be inadequate. I know this because I’ve tried it.

Pause.

I hope my story is entertaining and that you’ve recognized similar things in yourself or a friend. I’m wondering if you have some advice you’d love to give me, or an equally entertaining story of your own.

Stories are powerful. They grab our attention in ways that nothing else can. They influence what we do and how we view the things around us.  They have the power to light our world, and to darken it.  They can change our perspective.

Coming out as a purse abuser by telling my story means something else: it means I can now change it.

I wonder what that story will be.

 

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 .

Your Coach Within

Seth Godin talks about how 90% of coaching is really self-coaching.  That’s true whether you have a good coach, a lousy coach, or use self-help, friends and the media as a coach.

All a good coach does is supply, in one place and in a condensed form, what you could manage to get, piece by piece, from your own sources.  What a bad coach does is send you on paths that you eventually discover are heading in the wrong direction, or no direction that’s useful. From a bad coach, you learn a lot about what not to do.

Either way, once you get the nuggets, the rest is up to you: digesting what you’ve learned and then applying it to whatever problem – or challenge – is in front of you.

Eventually, that learning becomes automatic – becomes your own inner voice of wisdom – and serves as the growing bedrock of knowledge and knowhow for increasingly complex problems and challenges.

It’s a great way to learn and grow your coach within!

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 .

 

The certainty of change

 change

Some people always have their eyes on some future or present vision. Others are moved more by people and their community – wanting to help those people in some way. Still others are practical, having their eye on what works and doesn’t work.  You’d think that those moved by vision would be less fearful of change.

If you thought so, you’d be wrong.  All of us fear change, even if it also excites us.  Change always involves stepping into the unfamiliar, and that can be dangerous.  For sure, there will be mistakes, errors of judgment and unexpected roadblocks. It will be loaded with uncertainty.

But change is inevitable. It’s the definition of life. It’s movement and process, growth and discovery.

From Robert Redford – “One of the things that will always be inevitable is change, full of both vague uncertainty and brilliant promise.”

 

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 .

On Being a Kickass Woman

Below is a video about a group of indigenous women who decided to don climbing equipment, wearing their traditional clothes, and climb the Andes. Their children, their husbands, their friends all thought they were crazy. That they needed protecting. That their safety needed to come before excitement or challenge.

These women did it anyway. Their way. And they’re pretty good at it.

That’s what it takes to be a kickass woman. Following your own way. No matter what!

Mountain Climbers

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

“Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” – Golda Meir

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.