Tuesday, December 25, 2012

"What is right with you?" Pt. 8: Growth

Growth is desirable, but one thing I generally find is that there anxiety involved. This is where it can become tricky.  Almost a "a bait and switch" feeling. I step towards this change to grow, to feel better, and it feels like this! No Thanks!  Yet, I want to normalize this. You are likely on the right track if you feel this way.  My Website

Sunday, December 9, 2012

"What is right with you?" Pt. 7: So, what is right with you?

You may have wondered if I was ever going to get to the original subject of what is right with you.  One of the reasons for the other topics is that we need to evaluate ways that we can lose our way from what is right.  That is why even when we get closer, we have phrases that often adequately describe how something is there all along, but we have obscured it.  Examples include, "a diamond in the rough," or "our hidden jewel/treasure."  This can even show up in dreams of treasure, or perhaps discovering rooms in a home that were not there before.  Much to our frustration, our hidden gems can become strangers even to ourselves.  Further, when we begin to encounter more of something closer to our uniqueness, we find that we can be quite afraid of it.  Sometimes this can appear in dreams in the form of showing up in public places in our underwear or even naked!   Of course, this does not mean that one needs to shed one's clothes to be more real or display our real talents!  However, the feeling that such a dream creates, can be like that feeling when we relax our outer persona or self-image to "expose" more of ourselves.  This can be more frightening than we had thought.  Many have stories of being so excited something newly learned, want to share, or some ability, and then have a painful response like being teased, criticized, ridiculed, ignored, etc.  In coming posts, I will explore more issues related to this matter and further explorations in more self-discovery and "what is right with you."   Please feel free to comment!

Monday, December 3, 2012

"What is right with you?" Pt. 6: Life Themes and their power

When a person begins therapy, themes begin to emerge.  Sometimes a powerful theme emerges in the first (and on some occasions only session) session.  This theme usually dominates thinking and life choices.  Often, it can be simple like, "I want my life to be like one long highlight film!"  At other times, it can be painful and disappointing like, "I never feel like will be enough for anyone to love me or want to stay with me."  While themes can change, be numerous, or remain somewhat constant, it is through elaborating them, their power, and their consequences that determine not only what has been silently assumed, but how we might work together to find other ways of living.  The themes that are self-defeating have been a part of a life story, but are not the path of the "What is right with you" story.  What is right with me can be expressed in terms of one's true self, one's always known inner truth, one's innate talents, who God created me to be, etc.  But when the theme has been destructive, tearing down those latent abilities that remain part of an un-lived life.

Steven M. Harris, Ph.D.  My Website

Sunday, December 2, 2012

"What is right with you?" Pt. 5: Getting Unstuck

Sometimes one of the hardest things about growth and change is seeing ourselves and our role in the outcome.  Finding what is right with you might need to involve  a kind of self-examination that means finding paths that repeatedly are not working.  As I saw on a facebook cover:

This somewhat clever, even pithy slogan says a lot about what seems like a simple truth.  But it is not.  We need to first see just how something is not going right, and that sometimes there are decisions we make or how we view things about ourselves that are not working.  One of the reasons that this is hard is because we are going on a path that has been shaped over time.  In a way, we assume that this path is reality, rather realizing that it is really "our" reality.  This is a big step.  It is finding what we are doing and beginning to find that it can be tied to the outcome.  We can begin to find choices and different paths to see what might fit better.  Getting unstuck starts by finding out about these themes.  These themes can form the heart of our growth.  This will take up some discussion in further posts:

1)  What are the role of themes of my life?

2)  How do I work on them?

[HINT: the answer may not be in the How? but in the What?]

Stay tuned.  Steven M. Harris, PhD  My website

Friday, November 30, 2012

"What is right with you?" Pt. 4: The future (and letting go of the past)

The future, and letting go of the past
Part of the "weeding" process, the clearing up to get to the garden often means learning to let go of some things from the past that hold you up.  The problem is that it is not always as easy as identifying the problem and saying goodbye.  Sometimes it can be that, but we often have emotional connections to our past.  I have found that getting past the actual event of the past and finding out what was the purpose or emotional meaning of that event for us, may require us to address the emotional need.  If you are able to find some kind of way to address that, or at least begin to work on that, you might find that the grip of the past has on you might begin to loosen its grip.  It is as if some part of us is dragging us there to finish something or address something, and stubbornly holds on until we get it.  The deeper the meaning, the more powerful the event has on you, the more work might need to be done on this part of you to loosen you from its grip.  The negative past and our attachment to it can seem so pointless, but it usually has a meaning worth mining and giving it its due, so you can move forward.  Remember that we are all doing what we need to do, or at least think we need to do to survive.  My Website

"What is right with you?" Pt. 3: On the flip side...

On the Flip Side...
Sometimes to get on to the good stuff, its like weeding a garden.  We have to remove what is interfering, maybe even choking off...the flowers.  But with some steady attention to weed removal, the flowers will not only show, they might even become the main attraction.  Removing weeds is not ignoring them, or pushing them aside.  It means identifying them.  The soul is like a garden.  In fact our symptoms (weeds) like depression, anxiety, etc., are the soul's attempts to to get our attention.  So the weed (a symptom) in our analogy has something to tell us.  Is the anxiety due to feeling insecure about something that we need to address?  Are we down or depressed because something is literally keeping us down?  Even in anger, it is not the anger that is usually the problem. What we do with anger can be a problem.  But anger is very often a helpful alarm that lets us know that things are not right.  So weed removal means addressing where they come from.  When we do that and find our way with the problem (sometimes we need a helpful relationship for this), we may find the weed is removed or dissipates (but may return to remind us of something!).  My Website

"What is right with you?" Pt. 2: What is going on right now?

Sometimes it is hard to just experience what is happening right now.  Try not to think about what has gone on before or all you have to do next.  We can really only experience what is going on a moment at a time.  Even when we make lists of things to do, we can hear the sounds, smell the smells, see what is going on, and we can even select a lot of what we attend to.  Try it!  You might be excited to see what happens.  Do not make it too hard.  My Website

What is right with you? Pt. 1

As a psychologist in private practice, I have found that this is actually a much harder question to answer than it might seem.  However, it seems to me that this is what we are all after in one way or another.  Lets make it our task to discover this.  And if it is hard to find, lets remove what is in the way, or keeping us stuck, and get back on track!  More later.  Steven M. Harris, PhD  Newport Beach, CA.  My Website