Wednesday, December 10, 2008

More of Getting Started

The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace

- Unknown fortune cookie

When you think about what you want, what comes to mind? In this holiday season, most of us are likely to reel off a list of items that we desire to own.

Nothing wrong with that, of course, as long as we keep the Big Picture in mind.

What is the Big Picture for you? We encourage a focus on meaning and purpose and feeling good about your life.

Start with the basics as your foundation.

What do you say to someone who asks you, “Are you happy?” Most people would say things like, “Yeah, mostly” or “I guess so” or “Why do you ask?”

We all spend so much time trying to get daily life done that we lose track of the overall perspective.

Keep it simple. Knowing the basic elements of happiness for you, is the key to getting more of what you want at the core of yourself.

Consider the emotional issues you are coping with and how it is going with each. Keep it brief and to-the-point. Then, set that list aside.

Next, consider what is important to you and what you want more of in your life: love, peace, meaning, friendship, etc.

Then, consider what you might do to get more of these elements in your life. Again, keep it simple and focus on two or three elements you can do easily.

For example, if you love being in the water, resolve to go swimming more often. If you love to learn new things, resolve to take a class or to pick up a book (or laptop) and learn.

This is the beginning exercise that we should repeat often, just like physical exercise. Your answers may become most elaborate, but always keep them “do-able”.

This level of focus gives you the ability to plan to be successful with your efforts.

We say it often because it is true: do more of what you want and do less of what you don’t.

Are there life complications that make this a difficult plan to implement? Of course.

The point is to do what you can, when you can, to feed your core emotional needs.

You can do it and we can help.

Live Well.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

How's Your Marriage Going?

Most couples have periods of marital stress from time to time.
Do you know when you need to address things directly rather than wait for them to improve?

Take a look at the article, "Why Some Long-Term Marriages End in Divorce" available at This is the website of the National Association of Social Workers.

Insight Associates is a psychotherapy practice of professional Social Workers with clinical, therapeutic licenses from the state of North Carolina.

Schedule an appointment in Waynesville or Whittier, NC, to help you resolve your questions about relationships and life.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

You Can Do It!

Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it! Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now!

- Johann Von Goethe

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Passive / Aggressive?

Take a chance! All life is a chance. The person who goes farthest is generally the one who will do and dare.
- Unknown Author

The old term, passive-aggressive, is not used as often as in the past, but it still applies to a lot of people.

The term refers to those who passively tolerate people and situations even though they don’t want to.

Their frustration builds until the blow-up or break-down.

This process is almost like flying on auto-pilot emotionally.

As usual, we have all either been passive-aggressive ourselves or watched someone who carried out this decision-making and behavior pattern.

It is usually a pattern of behavior we are very familiar with.

Maybe our parents have used this pattern and we have watched as it seemed to work for them; conflicts were avoided and family balance reestablished as long as someone stayed quiet.

Perhaps Mom or Dad had the role of always being right, and the other, always gave in.

Later, we might have been passive in tolerating an uncomfortable situation and then over-reacted in responding to a minor frustration; like dealing with a child or a fellow driver on the road.

If it worked in the past, why change? What are the pros and cons of this behavior?

The upside is that it works (to avoid conflict) and the downside is that it doesn’t work well enough (for our emotional satisfaction).

Ask yourself if this has become a habit for you.

Am I trying to avoid a conflict or confrontation that might occur if I said what I really think and feel?

We can all think of exceptions to the general rule of speaking openly and honestly (did you really like Grandma’s anise seed cookies?).

But, if you find that you swallow your feelings more often than you want, and then aggressively express your feelings in damaging ways due to your frustration, you need to change your pattern.

Recognize your pattern. Remain calm. Say what you think and feel, calmly and tactfully.

Don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t work perfectly. Recognize that it will take time to get into a new and healthier rhythm. Get a trusted partner to help you if you want or need one.

Stick with it. You can do this. We can help.

Live Well. Now.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Living Fearlessly?

Because you are in control of your life. Don't ever forget that. You are what you are because of the conscious and subconscious choices you have made.

- Barbara Hall

The other day I was driving an unfamiliar stick-shift vehicle when I had a choice of routes to my destination. One was slightly longer and easier. The other was shorter and more convenient.

But, the shorter route was also steep. And the thought went through my mind that I might stall the vehicle in the intersection.

I had done so while driving my own vehicle once (okay twice) and felt the humiliation of having others honk their horns at me to get out of their way.

As I had these thoughts of choosing a route, I was struck by how ridiculous this “fear” was. All of these thoughts, and the decision, took only 2-minutes at most.

All of this led me to wonder, how would you live if you had no fear of failing?

If you want to assess this question in your life you might consider the following:
Have you been successful more often than not in the past in similar situations?
What are the consequences of failing (stalling)? For me they were not that big (and I could deal with that potential for a small humiliation).
Do you need to face the fear? In this case I did; this was a small challenge regardless of the outcome.

This situation was small but it illustrated a much larger issue to me about how I think and assess my choices. If a tiny fear in a tiny situation was influencing my choices then how else might fear influence me?

We all have to continue to recognize our thought patterns and make conscious decisions that are right for us rather than be limited by fear.

What fear is limiting you right now? Considering what you want to consider for your life? Saying what you what to say? Thinking what you what to think? Living the way you want to live?

You might also ask yourself if you are doing something to prevent yourself from dealing with fear. This might sound unlikely but in reality it is very common.

Are you overeating, spending, drinking, drugging, focused on trivia, or just generally distracting yourself and avoiding the question?

Don’t let fear of any size be the determining factor in your life decisions. Author Susan Jeffers wrote a book called “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”. That’s a good perspective for all of us to have.

There are rarely situations in daily life where we can truly “fail”. Even if we do, we get back up, learn from mistakes and go on to do it better next time.

Live Well. Now.