Rose (ier Social Media) Colored Glasses

Rose colored glasses is a description used to imply that an individual has an innocent/naive perspective. Things are viewed as rosy: beautiful, bright, pleasantly fragrant, etc. Typically when this description is used, it’s to encourage individuals to reconsider their perspective. Recall OutKast and their song “Roses”. A more recent version of this phenomenon is the social media colored glasses. 

 

For roughly 15 years, social media has provided users with a somewhat more anonymous way to express themselves. While in some cases, this has provided confidence to speak out and share difficult things, it has also provided a veil to protect our secrets and unsavory truths. Most love to see the beautiful family photos, celebrations, and birthday updates; they tend to make us smile and express joy for others. But think about that affair, suicide, illness we never saw coming. These events have a tendency to make us fearful, sad, uncomfortable; social media helps to protect these while we over share our newborns and puppies.

 

Consider your everyday thoughts. How often do you wonder what it would be like to go on that vacation your friend just took? Maybe they’re simpler, “I wish I smiled as much as Jen does.” Maybe, you don’t even notice these thoughts occurring. There is no law that fear and happiness, hurt and excitementcannot co-exist. Talking about things like the social media filter may shed light on why some feel so unhappy but can’t quite pinpoint a reason. If this is something you wish to explore with privacy, speaking with a counselor may be helpful.

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This Is Us- Unwanted Help

This Is Us - Season 3 Episode 9 – From the Eyes of a Counselor 

Watching Jack try to help his little brother in this episode is painful. A drugged up and angry Nicky quite literally fights back when Jack offers to help him get clean. Jack’s frustration builds as his extensive efforts aren’t appreciated. So often this is the case when we offer unwanted help.

Whether it’s help overcoming depression, breaking the chains of addiction, or simply making more responsible choices with time or money - if people don’t want help, our efforts to bring about change are often futile. Witnessing loved ones get closer and closer to hitting rock bottom can be extremely uncomfortable, but in many scenarios it’s the best option. Continuing to rescue people from their poor decisions keeps them further from taking responsibility for getting healthy. Each time they’re rescued its like a band-aid is being put on the wound, giving them permission to ignore the problem. Unfortunately, people are motivated by pain or discomfort. The sooner the consequences of decisions are felt the closer people are to change. 

What Nicky needed most in this scenario was to feel the weight of his choices and experience the natural consequences the military had to offer. He was enabled to be irresponsible when his big brother came to the rescue. As difficult as it would have been it would have been more loving for Jack to let Nicky get to the point when he asked for help instead of forcing an outcome on him.

Some Things to Consider:

  1. Do you have a friend of family member who is making unhealthy decisions? How might you get out of the way and let them hit rock bottom sooner?

  2. How could you prepare to help once help is asked for instead of forcing your help on your friend or family member?

 

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Me, Myself, and My Negative Thoughts

We can spend a lot of time inside our head, usually worrying about things, replaying past events, and focusing on the negatives. Although negative and unwanted thoughts are common, they can prevent us from living our lives to the fullest. Sometimes negative thoughts can prevent us from enjoying daily life and fill us with feelings of anxiety, sadness, doubt, and low self-worth. 

 

The important thing to note is that with dedicated practice, you can replace negative thoughts with positive thinking to support positive self-esteem and self-worth.  

 

Try the following exercises to replace negative thoughts:

  1. Identify the negative thoughts and recognize the distortions: Take some time and write out some of those negative thoughts. Now look at some common thought distortions and see which ones you are practicing.  

    • Catastrophizing- Assuming the worst possible outcome is going to happen.

    • Black and white thinking- Seeing everything as one way or another, without any in between (no gray area).

    • Filtered thinking- Choosing to see only the negative side of a situation.

    • Personalizing- Assuming you are to blame for anything that goes wrong.

    • Overgeneralizing- When you take one instance or example and generalizes it to an overall pattern. 

    • Should statements- Statements that you make to yourself about what you “should” do, what you “ought” to do, or what you “must” do.

 

  1. Combat negative thoughts: Recognizing and understanding some of our negative thought distortions will help us learn to challenge them. Whenever you have a negative thought, stop and evaluate whether it is truly accurate. Think about how you would respond if a friend spoke about herself that way and apply that to yourself. 

  2. Practice gratitude: Research has proven that practicing gratefulness has a big impact on your levels of happiness. Start a gratitude list and start identifying things you are grateful for. 

  3. Recognize your strengths: Start focusing on strengths and not dwelling on past mistakes or choices. When we are able to recognize how strong we are it will be easier to feel positive about ourselves.  

  4. Keep positive company: Surround yourself with positive and supportive friends. Having healthy and supportive friends can rub off on us and allow us to start thinking positively.

  5. Practice self-care: Take time for yourself. Relax and practice healthy activities. Healthy body and healthy mind. 

 

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Dating Your Spouse

Dating can be so fun and a top priority before marriage. It’s a time when our greatest desire of being known and accepted is met, and we enjoy the rush of flowing oxytocin. Partners study each other’s likes and dislikes, intentionally listen and question as well as creatively express their affection. If the process goes well, couples will commit to marriage and enjoy new experiences of the wedding, honeymoon and the life planning together. Then there is a subtle fork in the road. 

 

One direction is a slippery slope wherein there is the growing assumptions you “know” your partner and they intuitively will “know” what you’re thinking and wanting without having to communicate. Busy schedules, saving for the house, and starting to expand your family can get in the way of intentional connection. As humans we are prone to change and also to forgetting. Intimacy is like just like learning a new language, if you don’t use it you lose it. Before long you are functioning as roommates or business partners with potential growing resentment for lack of felt love, validation and passion. Without help, this direction can lead to potential affairs, no fault divorces, increase in depression and feeling isolated and alone. 

 

The other direction requires continued dating as keeping the romance alive is a real thing. Dating your spouse doesn’t have to mean an expensive night on the town but it does mean carving out “couple time” away from distractions and others to have meaningful connections. A study done by the National Marriage Project at University of Virginia showed that weekly date nights increased communication, eros, commitment, quality due to shared novelty, and decreased stress. Who doesn’t want that for the years to come? 

 

You and your spouse have the option at any point to change the course of your relationship. If you feel you need assistance in doing so, couples therapy serves as a safe context in which to reflect, reroute and shore up the foundation of your marriage. 

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Yes, but...

Sometimes, there are very tangible barriers between us and the things that we strive for. For example, these may include transportation, financial costs, or limiting insurance. On other occasions however, you may just be your very own barrier. 

Have you ever found yourself responding, “Yes, but...” with increasing repetition? It is similar to an apology followed quickly with a “but”. Everything that came before is now forgotten. You still had a point to make despite apologizing.

So, although you've said yes to whatever suggestion or opportunity has been presented, you have really already discredited its value or possibilities. 

Try catching yourself before the “but” has the opportunity to rear it's head and replacing it will a thought that may still allow for the opportunity.

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Five Elements Of An Apology

Five Elements Of An Apology

Many times we feel that we have fully apologized to another person about how we have offended or wronged them. But the offended person may want to hear more than just the two words “I’m sorry.” They may have heard that apology several times from the same person and been betrayed or disappointed again by the same actions or words. So the simple “I’m sorry” can seem empty and meaningless. Use these five elements of a sincere apology and then put these elements into action to win a person’s trust back.

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This Is Us- Past & Future

Season 3 Episode 7 

Past and Future

There’s no avoiding it. Our past impacts our future. Past relationships, past traumas, the home we grew up in all play a part in something called our implicit memory. These are memories that we may not even realize we remember but play a part in the way we respond to the world around us on a daily basis. 

Both Jack and Zoe are attempting to move forward in Season 3 Episode 7. Jack and Rebecca go on a road trip and Jack is trying to open up and connect with Rebecca while dealing with memories from war. Zoe has traveled across the world with Kevin and is trying to manage her fears about her father while her interest in Kevin increases. 

 

Growing up with an alcoholic father, Jack learned to lock up his emotions to keep from feeling the hurt his father caused. This implicit memory makes it difficult for Jack to open up to Rebecca. Being abused by her father has led to Zoe keeping people at a distance in order to protect herself from others who might be out to harm her. Relationships, whether friendships or romantic give us new opportunities to confront these implicit memories. Jack is starting to realize that there are definitely emotions inside him and is just beginning to feel in front of Rebecca. From seeing more of their life together we know that he wasn’t successful in completely opening up to her but definitely made progress. Zoe is discovering that Kevin may in fact be a safe person and worth sharing her story with. This goes against both of their nature - or implicit memories, but they both take risks and try something new. 

 

Some things to consider:

  1. Many behaviors that we “learned” as kids are no longer serving us now. In what ways do you react to your current world as if you are responding to your past? How might you begin to try something new? 

  2. Could those things that drive you crazy about your best friend or spouse be their own reaction to their implicit memories? How might you help them try something new instead of judging them or creating greater conflict? 

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Money & Marriage

It is no secret that money is one of the top conflict producers in marriages. Whether you are arguing about having too little money or how to spend your wealth, money tends to reveal deeper matters of the heart. As a couple, it is important to be on the same page regarding financial goals. Discuss your hopes and fears regarding money and dream about where you would like to see yourselves financially in 1, 5, 10 years. 

An important talking point before marriage is deciding how to join finances. There is no right or wrong way but the important thing is fostering honesty and transparency about money and where it is going. Whether you choose the raw contribution method, proportional method, or complete commingling, avoid secret spending as it can erode at the foundation of trust in your relationship. Some couples decide to have “fun money” which is a budgeted amount each month that each partner can spend with no questions asked. Use your fun money to splurge on you. This allows some financial independence and personal enjoyment to make the budgeting process more manageable long-term.  

Next, creating a budget together will help you put money aside for those agreed-upon financial goals. Regularly discuss your progress and unexpected expenses to avoid unnecessary stress and potential conflict. It can be helpful to set aside a fixed time every month to go over what’s working and what isn’t, and to see where you can make adjustments. This may not be the most fun time of the month, but creating a routine can make talking about money easier. Below are some helpful budgeting apps that may make the process easier and more accessible. Remember that you are team when it comes to fiances! 

 

Budget Apps

www.mint.com

https://goodbudget.com

www.everydollar.com

https://pocketguard.com/

www.quicken.com

https://www.acorns.com/    

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It Just Happens

Stress, anxiety, and frustration are feelings that everyone experiences from time to time, just like happiness, excitement, and joy. There is this tendency to connect the latter to what has occurred. “I am so overjoyed my granddaughter was born today...I could not be happier that family is visiting...I am so excited to be graduating!” When it comes to the initially identified feelings though, people tend to shrug their shoulders and through up their hands exhausted, “I don’t know why I’m so stressed...I don’t know why these anxiety attacks keep happening...I don’t know; it just happens!”

 

“It just happens,” implies automatic. That is exactly what is occurring for many of us. Our senses, memories, and thoughts are trying to tell us something. But, these processes are so automatic that we often times do not realize they have occurred. Go back to the anxious individual throwing up their hands. Perhaps, they have experienced increasingly intense anxiety everyday for the last three months. At some point, you stop noticing what precipitated the feeling, even though the precipitating factors still occur. Your senses still take cues from the environment, memories still triggered, and thought processes still flowing. 

 

If you find yourself throwing up your hands, take some time to truly be present with yourself and your thoughts. What automatic processes are occurring that could use your attention? The first part of changing your answer from “I don’t know,” to “I was thinking...” is acknowledging that it has taken place.  

 

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Me Again

Raise your hand if you have ever thought, “I just want to feel like myself again.” Now, raise your hand if you are the same person you were 5, 10, 30...years ago. Sure some, maybe all, of your core values are the same; but it is unlikely that one hundred percent of your hobbies, passions, friends, and so on are the same. The beauty of this human life we are all navigating is that the only true constant is change.

 

Our world is never considered to be in a fixed state. Apply this to our developmental environment, and we can further assess that as our surroundings and relationships evolve, we also adapt. Too often, we are caught in trap of believing being happy means feeling like ourselves again. What if you could be happy feeling like who you are today?

 

Rather than struggling to find the “old you” again, try embracing the dependability of change. Enjoy the freedom it provides you to redefine yourself. Appreciate the opportunity to not be defined by previous choices you have made. 

 

Who are you today? And, who do you want to be tomorrow?

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