Anchor Your Day ~ a mental health blog by Counselwise ~

Letting Go of Love

I was recently asked this question “How do I let go of someone that I still love? How can I get used to the idea of him with someone else?” This was in response to someone who’s recent break up was difficult, yet necessary.

We spoke of two things:

  • Healthy detachment. It is a process we all have to go through in break -up. It begins when we start to acknowledge that the relationship is not working or this person is not right for us (this process can begin while in the relationship.) Once the break up occurs, it becomes important to remind ourselves that “it is time to let go.” Sometimes this will have to happen many times a day; we can use it as a positive affirmation that the decision was the right one, regardless of how painful it is.
  • Do the work in exploring what you want in a future relationship. When you’re ready, begin by exploring both the good and the not-so-good aspects of the relationship. Figure out what qualities you want from an ideal partner. By doing some of your own exploration for the future, it begins to allow you to picture yourself with someone else which can help temper the natural, yet territorial emotions that crop up when thinking about your ex with a new partner. Shift your focus to you and what you need to move past those thoughts (perhaps using your positive affirmation will help.)

Break ups are never easy. They are part of our learning curve as to who we are. Being open to the process of self-reflection during a break up helps us to uncover patterns; leading us to a path where healthier relationships live.

Photo credit: http://Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

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A Place to Stand

In an article entitled “Find Your Ground” by Dr. Rick Hanson, he writes about finding a place to stand when you’ve been shaken. Here are some key pieces of advice he gives on how to find your ground:

  • “Start with you body and the feeling of being here.” Deep breathing helps 🙂
  • “Establish as best you can the relevant facts.” This is important as it allows our rational brain to weigh in to the emotion of what is happening.
  • “Sort out the impact of the event on you and those around you.” This is where we can begin to explore possible direction.

Dr. Hanson goes on to highlight some of the way that we can establish the practice of being grounded. Two that I especially resonate with are:

  • Stand in what feeds you. Like petting your cat, making soup, meditating, loving others, or giving thanks. Guard your attention; disengage from news, websites, or interactions that add little value and mainly just upset you.”
  • Protect your own interests – Focus on what’s in your control.  Make a list and work through it. Personally, I find that action eases anxiety.”

Sometimes we get shaken. We can find our ground 🙂

To read the full article (worth the read!): https://www.rickhanson.net/find-your-ground/

Photo credit: http://Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

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The Wisdom of Anais Nin

Anais Nin was an author, born of French-Cuban descent. Her writings often brought little pearls of wisdom; here are three of my favourites:

  • “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin
  • “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anais Nin
  • “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” – Anais Nin

There is a theme of agency to Anais Nin’s work. A sense that what we carry inside of us; our intention to be self-reflective, to work towards the designing of our own life, will be our greatest tool to self-actualization.

We do this by being curious, by allowing time to reflect not only on how we may see something, but how it can be looked at from someone else’s perspective. It is often in these moments that we give ourselves permission to bloom.

Photo credit: http://Photo by Janine Joles on Unsplash

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A Neat Way to View Relationships: Post 3

In the third and final post on Marianne Williamson’s spiritual teaching of relationships, we explore what it means to be in a Level 3 relationship.

“The third level of teaching is a relationship which, once formed, lasts all our lives. At this level, each person is given a chosen learning partner who presents him with unlimited opportunities for learning. Someone with whom we have a lifetime’s worth of lessons to learn is someone whose presence in our lives forces us to grow. Sometimes it represents someone with whom we participate lovingly all our lives, and sometimes it represents someone who we experience as a thorn in our side for years.” – Marianne Williamson, Return to Love

Being able to see the spiritual connection to relationships allows us to move away from the idea that “love will fix us,” but rather that we can contribute to its existence in our lives. That we can be active in its process, from the person we pass by on the street, to those we say goodbye to, and to those we keep close by forever.

Photo credit: http://Photo by Conner Baker on Unsplash

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A Neat Way to View Relationships: Post 2

Continuing from yesterday’s post, today we look at Marianne Williamson’s spiritual teachings of what she calls Level 2 relationships:

“The second level is a more sustained relationship, in which, for a time, two people enter into a fairly intense teaching-learning situation and then appear to separate. During their time together, they will go through whatever experiences provide them with their next lessons to be learned. When physical proximity no longer supports the highest level of teaching and learning between them, the assignment will call for physical separation. What then appears to be the end of the relationship however, is not really an end. Relationships are eternal.” – Marianne Williamson, Return to Love. 

When I think about this level of relationships, it helps me to understand my own situation, in having separated from my ex-husband after 23 years. A portion of my grief was in what I considered to be a failure of a sacred union. Marianne Williamson’s description has helped me to understand that the lessons I learned from my marriage make the relationship a success. She goes on to say:

“Now it may be time for physical separation so that more can be learned in other ways. That not only means learning elsewhere, from other people; it also means learning the lessons of pure love that comes from having to release the form of an existing relationship.” – Marianne Williamson, Return to Love

Photo credit: http://Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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A Neat Way to View Relationships: Post 1

Marianne Williamson has a way of looking at relationships that focuses on our spiritual connection to others. She notes that relationships are assignments, and are part of a bigger plan towards expanded love. She talks about three levels of relationships, each providing teachable moments to greater awareness.

Level 1 relationships are those that we would consider to be casual encounters; someone you might chat with at the dentist office, or a person you begin talking to while you’re waiting for the bus. Marianne Williamson writes:

“It is mostly in casual encounters that we are given a chance to practice the fine art of chiseling away the hard edges of our personalities. Whatever personal weaknesses are evident in our casual interactions will inevitably appear magnified in more intense relationships. If we’re crabby with the bank teller, it will be harder to be gentle with the people we love the most.” -Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

I have always considered it a part of good manners to be friendly to those we meet out in public; whether that be someone who serves us in a restaurant or someone we pass by on the street. I appreciate Marianne Williamson’s description of what it means to come in soft, to be kind to those around us, to extend positive regard to our casual encounters; it creates a richer experience to our everyday life.

Tomorrow’s post will explore Level 2 relationships.

Photo credit: http://Photo by gaku on Unsplash

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A Little Quote with a Big Message

I love this quote:

“The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has started to understand the meaning of life.” – Unknown

This message is about altruism. It is the ability to create random acts of kindness; to actively choose to do so without any means of knowing the full effect. Altruism often feels out of reach as we work through our busy lives; yet it can be achieved in the smallest of ways. Kind words, paying for someone’s order at a drive through, giving money to charity; even a smile to someone we pass on the street can be an altruistic act.

Plant trees so that others can sit in their shade; what a lovely thought 🙂

Photo credit: http://Photo by Baard Hansen on Unsplash

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The Guidelines of Fighting Fair

When anger strikes, we often lose the ability to fight fairly. Words get said, names get called, tones change, yelling happens. All in the name of needing to be right. For that is what anger does; it propels us to a place where we lose the perspective of wanting a solution and instead need to prove that our opinion is the right one. Unfortunately, there are times when the conflict moves to an unhealthy place. Learning how to fight fair is an important step in having to lessen the degree of repair. Here are 3 guidelines to get us started:

  • No name calling. Hard to do sometimes, but necessary. A hard fast rule: if I don’t call you those names when we aren’t fighting, they aren’t worthy descriptions when we are.
  • Stop the blame game. As soon as you realize that the argument has turned to blaming your partner instead of keeping an open mind to your own culpability, it is time to take a break and let your logic in.
  • Leave the past in the past. Arguments are the perfect time to bring every little mistake made back to the present time ~ or so we think. What it actually does is move the discussion away from what is important (solution) and into a contest of who has the bigger point to prove.

Although there are many guidelines to fighting fairly, these three can become ground rules in a relationship to help keep the conflict on the right track – towards solution, compromise and health.

Photo credit: http://Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

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5 Habits of the Mentally Strong

What does it mean to be mentally strong? Part of it comes from our ability to be resilient; to challenges, to change. Part of it comes from our ability to honour and regulate our emotions. Part of it comes from the habits we form in purposefully working on our emotional strength. Here are 5 habits of the mentally strong:

  • Maintaining a sense of personal power. Being mentally strong allows us to believe that we have the ability to choose how we deal with any circumstance that comes our way. We have the ability to set healthy boundaries that best support our life goals.
  • Making peace with the past. Our story informs us; we need to understand the past in order to move forward from it. This is where being mentally strong comes into play as an understanding that the past is to be integrated into our life story ~ as a stepping stone and not as a roadblock.
  • Practicing gratitude. Make no mistake about it, when we actively count our blessings, we feed the part of our brain that builds resilience.
  • Accepting full responsibility for choices/actions. Mentally strong means that we can handle when we have made a mistake, overstepped boundaries and can move in for repair. It also means being able to take credit for the good things we have done too!
  • Setting aside time. When we are mentally strong, we understand the importance of self-care and the need for reflection.

Habits of the mentally strong can easily become part of our lifestyle with some understanding and practice. 🙂

Photo credit: http://Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash

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A Tip About Panic Attacks

One of the books that I read on vacation was entitled “maid” by Stephanie Land. A memoir, “maid” was  Stephanie’s story about how an unplanned pregnancy, and subsequent life as a single mom, saw her strapped in poverty for years as she struggled to support herself and her daughter.

For anyone who suffers from panic attacks, you know first hand how frightening and debilitating in the moment they can be. You most likely also know that they do tend to pass, and when we ground ourselves, we can help to dissipate the panic. A passage in the book that I earmarked spoke about how Stephanie handled her overwhelming feelings:

“At the stop sign at the end of the street, I pulled over to the curb. I leaned forward, pressing my forehead against the steering wheel. This had happened often in the last year. Whenever I felt the pain of loss – my chest caving in right at the hollow spot in the center – I found it best to stop and wait, to give the feeling a moment to pass. The pain didn’t like to be ignored. It needed to be loved, just as I needed to be loved. As I sat in my car, I breathed in and out, counting to five each time. I love you, I whispered to myself. I’m here for you. Reassurance of self-love was all I had.”

What I like about this passage is process, grounding, and affirmations; a great combination in how we can focus on the panic to help ourselves get through the overwhelming feelings. Being able to acknowledge our fears in the moment, breathe through them while focusing on our courage will help us to keep the love for our self close by.

A lovely story, “maid” is a worthy read.

Photo credit: Me!

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