Tag Archive: relationships

The Inescapable Impact of our Ancestry

 

In a paper from Jon Blend and Roz Carroll Witnessed Improvised Diaspora Journey Enactments (WIDJE): an experiential method for exploring refugee history, the authors’ interest was on the impact of forced displacement of people from their family and culture. Their focus was on current refugee movements, and on the displacement and loss of family for the Jews from the last World War. Their paper reviews what is known, and then provides a way for displaced peoples to begin to heal and reconnect with their past.

Why is this important? Because whether a person is able to have a connection with their ancestors – both in terms of their blood relations and community – people’s identity is impacted in profound ways.

Becoming separated from our past creates wounds that we protect and pass to our offspring. It prevents us from living fully, or for our children to live fully.

I invite you to consider that almost everyone in the United States and Canada is, to some extent, displaced from their history. Most families and individuals who immigrated to North America did so because they had to, leaving behind their community and families and culture to begin again. The indigenous peoples of North America were forced away from their communities and ways of living – even from their lands – by those same people; thereby losing their birthright.

We all have a birthright to reclaim. Sometimes that means recreating or rebirthing ourselves, sometimes it means retracing our stories (including what we imagine as the stories of our forbearers), and sometimes it means a little of both. By doing so, we reconnect ourselves to our past, and create a positive connection for those who come after us.

There is an indigenous belief that we are influenced by the 7 generations before us, and will influence the 7 generations after us. How do you want to influence everyone that comes after you?

 A family tree of humanity

 

Quote of the Week

We’re all ghosts. We all carry, inside us, people who came before us..”
― Liam Callanan, The Cloud Atlas

 

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 at www.thejoyofliving.co.

 

 

Intimidation

 

Have you ever felt intimidated? I have: by the appearance of a large stranger in an isolated location; or an aggressive man or woman who talks loudly non-stop; or a teacher whose good opinion I depend on. Those are the kinds of people and situations that intimidate me the most.

Psychology Today looks at this topic in the October 2019 edition.

Sometimes when I’m feeling intimidated I begin to question myself: am I really getting this right? Did I make a mistake? I often automatically suspend judgment, giving myself time to think it over (I believe) before responding. When I do this, I become silent, effectively losing my voice. And this act of voluntary silence only adds to my sense of insecurity.

For many, we were taught as children to be silent. We were taught that adult opinions mean more than our own. Then, when we become adults, instead of shaking our childhood silence off, we carry it with us – as an ingrained habit that does nothing for our own personal sense of power.

What do you do when you feel intimidated? If I’m aware of that feeling, I speak up, because speaking up, no matter how badly it might come out, is a lot better than remaining silent.

It’s risky. I might hurt someone or get hurt. But with practice, I get better at it.

You will too!

(For tools in speaking up, watch the video below)

How to speak up for yourself

Quote of the Week

If you spend all your time thinking about how someone is going to one-up you, you can’t put your best foot forward..”
― Miranda Kenneally, Coming Up for Air

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 at www.thejoyofliving.co.

 

 

Addiction

 

That word – addiction – seems to be accumulating more categories and sub-categories these days. 20 years ago (or more), it meant a chemical dependence on a substance, and was limited to drugs (particularly opioids), and alcohol. The dependence was deemed so powerful that the medical world considered addicts close to hopeless.

This was the social and medical atmosphere when Alcoholics Anonymous was founded. It was begun in the hope that alcoholics could help one another. This turned into a kind of movement, inspiring others dependent on drugs, then on cigarettes, food, and relationships to develop similar support groups.

It was during this time that ‘addiction’ took on a broader meaning. Today, we understand it to mean (from Webster): a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence.

Many of us have experienced this, or something similar to this, even if we don’t consider ourselves addicts: the need for comfort food, computer games, porn, nail biting, shopping … the list is probably endless, when we need a distraction, feel nervous or anxious or overwhelmed. These kinds of external and often mindless activities give us a momentary comfort. They don’t, however, dissolve the problem, but merely temporarily mask it.

In the October edition of Psychology Today, a doctor talks about his battle with Opiods. He had been in a serious accident, and ended up having to take opiods to relieve his debilitating pain, discovering after taking this drug for a number of months that his body was addicted to them. His story includes the lack of understanding and support in the medical community on how to deal successfully with this. He eventually found a way to stop this dependency. I applaud him for this accomplishment, but throughout the article, I found it more interesting how he differentiated himself from other addicts: that he was dependent purely physically, and not mentally, emotionally or spiritually.

I, personally, don’t believe we can make such a distinction. I don’t believe we know enough on how these different systems in our body interact with each other to do so. I do know that there is a physical component in every addiction, and that it’s our dependence on something external to ourselves that is at least as destructive (for an excellent discussion on this, see the video link below).

In my line of work, dependencies on external substances, activities, and relationships come up constantly. When we are in pain, we tend to reach for the quickest path to some relief, and that is likely going to be something physical. The harder thing is to discover what inside us needs support and development.

External support is wonderful, and sometimes necessary. Long term relief from the ultimate pain of addiction needs more than that if we want to move toward a more permanent change for the better.

 

Everything we know about addiction is wrong

Quote of the Week

Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol, morphine or idealism..”
― Carl Gustav Jung

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 at www.thejoyofliving.co.

 

 

Addiction

 

That word – addiction – seems to be accumulating more categories and sub-categories these days. 20 years ago (or more), it meant a chemical dependence on a substance, and was limited to drugs (particularly opioids), and alcohol. The dependence was deemed so powerful that the medical world considered addicts close to hopeless.

This was the social and medical atmosphere when Alcoholics Anonymous was founded. It was begun in the hope that alcoholics could help one another. This turned into a kind of movement, inspiring others dependent on drugs, then on cigarettes, food, and relationships to develop similar support groups.

It was during this time that ‘addiction’ took on a broader meaning. Today, we understand it to mean (from Webster): a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence.

Many of us have experienced this, or something similar to this, even if we don’t consider ourselves addicts: the need for comfort food, computer games, porn, nail biting, shopping … the list is probably endless, when we need a distraction, feel nervous or anxious or overwhelmed. These kinds of external and often mindless activities give us a momentary comfort. They don’t, however, dissolve the problem, but merely temporarily mask it.

In the October edition of Psychology Today, a doctor talks about his battle with Opiods. He had been in a serious accident, and ended up having to take opiods to relieve his debilitating pain, discovering after taking this drug for a number of months that his body was addicted to them. His story includes the lack of understanding and support in the medical community on how to deal successfully with this. He eventually found a way to stop this dependency. I applaud him for this accomplishment, but throughout the article, I found it more interesting how he differentiated himself from other addicts: that he was dependent purely physically, and not mentally, emotionally or spiritually.

I, personally, don’t believe we can make such a distinction. I don’t believe we know enough on how these different systems in our body interact with each other to do so. I do know that there is a physical component in every addiction, and that it’s our dependence on something external to ourselves that is at least as destructive (for an excellent discussion on this, see the video link in my newsletter).

In my line of work, dependencies on external substances, activities, and relationships come up constantly. When we are in pain, we tend to reach for the quickest path to some relief, and that is likely going to be something physical. The harder thing is to discover what inside us needs support and development.

External support is wonderful, and sometimes necessary. Long term relief from the ultimate pain of addiction needs more than that if we want to move toward a more permanent change for the better.

 

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 .

 

 

Building a trusting relationship

relationship

I believe that relations are the key to human happiness and growth. When a client I’m seeing begins a new relationship of any kind, I know to get ready, because life is so much easier when we’re on our own. It’s the relationships we enter into are that are the true testing ground of maturity.

There’s an old story – perhaps you’ve heard it: A monk, living on his own on a mountain top, was  revered far and wide as wise and learned. One day, a fellow monk heard of this, and being a little mischievous, decided to visit the revered recluse.

The curious monk showed up on a day when the reclusive monk was meditating (which he did for long hours every day). He didn’t bother knocking; just came in, leaving the door ajar and incidentally letting the debris from outside scatter on previously clean floors.

The reclusive monk took in a deep breath, then returned to his meditation.

Then the curious monk began to relate everything that happened to him on the way – in detail and loudly – speaking not 2 inches from the recluse’s ear. Wreaking of garlic.

The reclusive monk took in another deep breath, then returned to his meditation.

Finally, the curious monk began opening up all the windows, letting in the rain that had started, along with more debris. He declared he was hungry and ate all the stew that had been made earlier, leaving the dirty dishes piled in the sink.

The reclusive monk had had enough! He lost it, railing at the visitor about his rudeness, lack of manners, intrusiveness, and so on, until finally he was out of breath and energy.

The visiting monk had made his point: It’s easy to be serene and perfect when you’re a hermit. The real work begins with relationship with others.

The key component to developing trusting relationships is openness and honesty: of admitting to a mistake instead of trying to hide it, thereby validating what the other person likely knew anyway; of being clear and honest about your own needs and desires; and caring about the needs and desires of the other.

In today’s atmosphere of mistrust, it’s tempting to turn into a recluse. But that is a dead end that will never lead to a sense of living well. It’s a lot harder, but much more satisfying, to find and build trusting relationships that you can count on in both good and bad times.

How to build (and rebuild) trust

 

Quote of the Week

This world of ours… must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.”
– Dwight D. Eisenhower

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.

Building a trusting relationship

relationship

I believe that relations are the key to human happiness and growth. When a client I’m seeing begins a new relationship of any kind, I know to get ready, because life is so much easier when we’re on our own. It’s the relationships we enter into are that are the true testing ground of maturity.

There’s an old story – perhaps you’ve heard it: A monk, living on his own on a mountain top, was  revered far and wide as wise and learned. One day, a fellow monk heard of this, and being a little mischievous, decided to visit the revered recluse.

The curious monk showed up on a day when the reclusive monk was meditating (which he did for long hours every day). He didn’t bother knocking; just came in, leaving the door ajar and incidentally letting the debris from outside scatter on previously clean floors.

The reclusive monk took in a deep breath, then returned to his meditation.

Then the curious monk began to relate everything that happened to him on the way – in detail and loudly – speaking not 2 inches from the recluse’s ear. Wreaking of garlic.

The reclusive monk took in another deep breath, then returned to his meditation.

Finally, the curious monk began opening up all the windows, letting in the rain that had started, along with more debris. He declared he was hungry and ate all the stew that had been made earlier, leaving the dirty dishes piled in the sink.

The reclusive monk had had enough! He lost it, railing at the visitor about his rudeness, lack of manners, intrusiveness, and so on, until finally he was out of breath and energy.

The visiting monk had made his point: It’s easy to be serene and perfect when you’re a hermit. The real work begins with relationship with others.

The key component to developing trusting relationships is openness and honesty: of admitting to a mistake instead of trying to hide it, thereby validating what the other person likely knew anyway; of being clear and honest about your own needs and desires; and caring about the needs and desires of the other.

In today’s atmosphere of mistrust, it’s tempting to turn into a recluse. But that is a dead end that will never lead to a sense of living well. It’s a lot harder, but much more satisfying, to find and build trusting relationships that you can count on in both good and bad times.

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 .

The secret to building trust and never feeling alone again

After waiting 20 minutes on the line for a customer service rep to get back to me, the line suddenly goes dead.  When I call back, and after re-stating all the preliminaries – my name, email address, phone number, and what the issue is, I end up getting bumped to someone else. After restating everything again, I’m told it isn’t something they deal with, and they end the call. I know it is something they deal with, so if I have time to do it all over again, I try another time, hoping to get someone else who is more responsive.

Have you ever experienced this?

Probably – it’s more common that anyone would like. All I really needed from that rep were words like r “That sucks, would you mind holding for a few minutes while I see what I can do?” (and then after a few minutes get back to me with an update).  I know before I call that my problem might not be fixed the way I’d like, but knowing the person at the other end is doing their best leaves me feeling that person cares, and I end up trusting that they will follow through.

Seth Godin talks about how hard it is to build trust, and how easy to destroy it:  All it takes is a moment –  a few thoughtless words, “a heartless broken promise, a lack of empathy”  – and the trust is gone.

As a therapist and coach, building trust is all-important. I go to great lengths to let my clients know that they are stepping into a safe space with me.  Without that security, there’s no way they can do their work. I also know how easy it is to break that trust with a thoughtless word or gesture.

The way to build trust – and to break it – is simple.  When I care about the person in front of me, I build trust; when I don’t care, I break it.

This holds true for the customer service rep, the owner of the local dry cleaner, the banker, our financial advisor – even the mailman.  It also holds true for our close relationships.

John Gottman steps through what makes intimate relationships either what he calls “master” or “disaster” relationships. In a relationship that works – a “master” relationship –  the two people show, in various ways, that they care for the other person.  They do this by listening, by keeping a space open for them, by being gentle in their approach. In relationships that are “disasters”, the two people show they don’t care mostly because they feel defensive and are so busy protecting themselves that they haven’t the capacity to care.

At this point, it’s interesting to see the way we relate to another as the way we relate to ourselves – that whoever is in front of us is in an important way a mirror of ourselves.  If we show contempt towards that mirror, what we’re really doing is showing contempt for ourselves.  When we care for that person in the mirror, we care for ourselves.

And so, the next time you find yourself about to yell at that neglectful customer service rep, try this: take a moment and a few deep breaths, and then mirror some genuine care for their lives. And see what happens.

Now I’d love to hear from you about your own experiences, knowledge, opinions.  In the comments below, share one thing that you experienced as a mirror moment that changed your day, or even your life.

This newsletter is in three parts: the first part is my contribution; the second is a video I’ve found that relates to the topic in part 1; the third is a quote. I hope you enjoy the richness this brings to the topic of the week with all three parts.

Simon Sinek – Why good leaders make you feel safe

building trust

Quote of the Week
When people cared about each other, they always found a way to make it work.
– Nicholas Sparks

Announcements
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