Ever notice the everyday tyranny of Not Enoughness? It goes something like this: “I’m not enough. You’re not enough. Life is not enough.” Such a mindset can inevitably lead us to feel hopelessly STUCK coupled with feelings of frustration, impatience, disappointment, sadness, and at times, even resignation.
In stuckness, we may be asking ourselves, “How in the hell did I get here?”, but more importantly, “What’s the way out and how much longer will it take?” Eager to find comfort again, we may be desperately searching for workable solutions or urgently seeking ways to change ourselves, change others, or change our situation. Perhaps, we fall back on old, unhealthy habits to cope or often catch ourselves venting to others over and over again, yet notice it does little to provide the lasting relief we need. Perhaps even, we’re ready to walk away because nothing seems to work. We’re still stuck and we’re still suffering.
From one humbled by the vexing habit of longing for “something more” and frequently feeling stuck, I can assure you there is another way. Below are five empowering steps to experiencing more freedom and flow in your life.
The irony is not lost on me that, as a therapist, what I'm about to tell you seems to run counter to my profession's aim of helping people to improve their lives. What if I told you that self-improvement was a waste of time?
Wait, wait, wait . . . Hear me out.
It's no secret that the self-improvement industry, a $9.6 billion a year industry, is having it's day in the sun, and we're all supporting it in one way or another. Do you not have a gym membership, see a therapist, drink kale smoothies, and read, I mean, listen to Brené Brown on Audible? I do. I want to get better, too!
Nothing wrong with any of that by the way. I love smoothies. What concerns me is not the activity itself, but the premise that seems to be driving us in flocks toward a kind of salvation, which incidentally, never arrives. That premise is simple:
You aren't good enough as you currently are.
As human beings we all lose our way from time to time along the journey of life. We find ourselves feeling isolated and in pain and nothing that has worked in the past seems to help. I get it. I’ve been in the wilderness too. I am grateful to have found people along the way who have guided me back home to myself. If you found your way to this site you may have summoned up the courage and willingness to seek out a guide of your own.
It is a tremendous honor to serve as a supportive witness to the transformation of another human being. Through my own struggles and as a witness to the journeys of others I have come to understand that our stories are more similar than different.
Here is what I have learned:
Written by Jiovann Carrasco, LPC-S
As the electoral votes came rolling in for Donald Trump in the late hours of the night, and panic began to proliferate my Twitter feed, I realized I have no idea who America is right now. My Facebook friend list is a happy collection of liberal-minded, college educated, city dwelling do-gooders and Austin is this cozy little blue oasis in a sea of Texas red. Looking at the red and blue patches on newsroom monitors in states like Wisconsin, Ohio, or Michigan, I realized that I’m a complete stranger to the people who reside in the rural regions of these states. Who are these people?
It’s easy to imagine the average Trump supporter as blatantly racist, uneducated, loud-mouthed, sexist and basically idiotic. That’s what seems to make the most sense to someone who regards himself as among the refined, civilized, and progressive members of our society. Us. Them. We. Other. Well, what good did that do? Maybe that dichotomy doesn’t exist after all.
How America shot itself in the foot.
Every time we reacted to his bigotry or idiocy, we added fuel to the fire. We gave him more and more press. Every time we shamed him or mocked him, he arose even stronger. The media that he claims is rigged against him basically gave him all the attention he didn’t deserve and made him a star. You don’t fight fire with fire.
Written by Fernanda Barcelo, LPC-Intern
Mandalas are everywhere these days — you might have seen one in your local yoga studio, in an adult coloring book, or maybe even tattooed on a friend’s body. But what do these intricate & beautiful designs actually represent?
Buddhist monks take days, sometimes weeks, to create delicate and astonishingly detailed mandalas out of sand. Careful to not breathe too hard or cough, they arrange the colorful sand grain by grain into a vibrant masterpiece. But what they do next is the most important step: after they are done, they wipe all the sand away and dispose of it. All of the diligent work removed without a trace.
Have you heard that Rhianna and Eminem song that came out a few years ago about being “friends with the voices inside of my head” and “get along with the monster that’s under my bed”…or something like that? Well, as I prepare for Halloween, and all the fun of embracing spooky costumes, scary movies, and haunted houses, it got me thinking about the actual stuff we all hold inside that we’re afraid of. The real monsters under the bed that we’re deathly afraid to look at, much less, embrace and invite into the light of day. It takes serious courage to stop distracting ourselves with our drugs of choice, and face our fears.
The total agony of not knowing the future, not knowing if it really will be ok, and not knowing if we are making the right choices that will ultimately lead us on the right path can be just that . . . total agony! Personally, I’m the queen of suffering with uncertainty and have struggled with trusting my gut and letting go of the intense need to know how it will all turn out for as long as I can remember.
In fact, when I was a freshman in college, I found myself at a particularly painful crossroads. I was faced with the decision of whether to stay with my high school boyfriend who was my first love and the most wonderful guy I’d ever known, or break up with him to start a new relationship with an old crush that finally showed interest in me. At the time, it felt like life or death. My 19-year-old brain was convinced that whichever guy I chose was ultimately going to be my husband someday, so I better damn well make the right choice! I was so torn up about not knowing the future that I ventured out to someone who might be able to give me some insight . . . no, I didn’t go to therapy or pray to God . . . I went to a psychic.
Last month, Monti wrote a blog about what her dog Capri has taught her about mindfulness. As Monti said in her blog, we can learn some really valuable lessons from our pets. I have a pet prairie dog named Buttercup, who has been in my life for the last four and a half years. He’s sweet and feisty, full of personality, and probably teaches me more about life than he’ll ever realize.
Today, Buttercup taught me about acceptance of pain. Every day before I leave for work, I put Buttercup in his cage, as it’s unsafe to allow him to roam around my home without any supervision. Today, as I was putting him in his cage, he tried to climb back out. In his attempt to escape, his foot got stuck in the cage bars. He was struggling to remove it, and I could tell he was in pain because he was barking loudly and rapidly. The more he struggled, the more he was hurting himself. I quickly grabbed ahold of him tightly to help him relax. When he relaxed, he was able to free his foot. This situation got me thinking… pain is a part of life.
We all experience pain in some way (physical, emotional, psychological), and it is impossible to live a life free of any pain. However, we often make it worse by struggling or fighting with it, causing ourselves unneeded suffering. If we learn to accept the pain, meaning noticing it and making room for it without getting caught up in it, we can create lives with less suffering. When Buttercup was able to stop struggling, he was able to get unstuck. If we learn to stop struggling with pain in our lives, we, too, can get unstuck and stop the unnecessary suffering.
Written by Jondell Lafont, LPC-Intern
About Our Blog
Here you will find articles contributed by members of our team. We hope to provide helpful information here to inspire mindful living and general wellness. The information provided here is not a substitue for professional mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need to speak to a professional regarding your mental health, please make an appointment.