REAL TALK

How to be More of Yourself

How to be More of Yourself

In my last blog post, I shared a little back story on how I came to view confidence through this lens of being and experiencing rather than as a thing to have. This post is all about tangible strategies you can practice to lean into and become more of yourself.

While it can be challenging to let our true selves out, the more one goes on and benefits from this kind of journey the more motivation there is to keep staying the course.

So, what helps? How can we be unequivocally ourselves?

While I don’t have ALL the answers, I have a few.

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Unequivocally Herself

Unequivocally Herself

When I was about 23, my boss came out of a meeting and, with a laugh, said, “Sofia* is unequivocally herself!”

At the time, this simple statement stirred up so much in me.

I had never heard anyone referred to in this way in my entire life. I thought, “Wow, this woman is the PINNACLE of self-confidence.” And I wanted that kind of confidence too.

Yet, the idea of having confidence like this felt so far away from my lived experience. Part of me wondered if perhaps it was just luck, privilege, or personality. Something seemingly intrinsic to her life experience and unattainable by me.

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Bearing Witness to #MeToo

Bearing Witness to #MeToo

I’ve been a bit stalled on the writing front for the past few months…and I find it kind of fascinating.

For a while I felt bad about not writing. But the more I sat with wondering where my writing mojo went, the more I learned about where some of my writing mojo comes from.

One of the things I’ve learned in this space is that I feel motivated to use my writing to bring ideas or issues to light. And, over the past few months there has been such intensity and disclosure around an issue that I feel so passionate about – sexual assault.

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7 Tips on How to Be There for People in Crisis

7 Tips on How to Be There for People in Crisis

Like so many, my thoughts are with those affected by Hurricane Harvey. As the catastrophe continues to unfold people are wondering how to help.

Offering your home, blood, money, time, effort and positive thoughts are all invaluable. Many are also wondering how to be there for their loved ones or strangers in the wake of this catastrophe.

As a psychotherapist and former domestic and sexual violence crisis response advocate, here are the top suggestions that come to my mind.

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Power Over Versus Power With

Power Over Versus Power With

As a trauma therapist so much of my work is centered around power. Expanding the idea of power and cultivating personal power.

Power Over: The Dominant View of Power

Too often, when we think of power, we think of it in terms of power over. Power over resources. Power over the workplace. Power over the environment. Power over other people. Essentially, how we typically view power is through the lens of domination and control.

It’s not a personal flaw that we view it this way – we as a culture reinforce this kind of power.

People who have a dominating posture are often seen as “competent” and then handed positions with a great deal of power over others.

We say, “Nice guys finish last” and thereby reinforce the idea that you need to be not nice to get ahead in life. Unfortunately, not nice tends to translate to bullying others in practice.

Despite the fact that there are numerous organizational structures to choose from, we heavily rely on a vertical hierarchical organizational structure in most workplaces. And, vertical hierarchies reinforce the notion that one must have power over to have power.

These day to day expressions of power over may seem insignificant, but they are far from it. This line of thinking contributes to oppression and violence. It fosters an environment where rape and domestic violence can thrive. An environment where the formation of groups that believe that power is so scarce that they have to marginalize other people in order to have power, like white supremacists, can thrive. The violence we saw this weekend in Charlottesville has roots in the notion of power over.

Taken from this view, what happened this past weekend is not new at all. Furthermore, it demonstrates the need to shift our cultural attitudes toward what we praise as power.

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Stress + The 3 Sisters of Your Brain

Stress + The 3 Sisters of Your Brain

For better or for worse, when we get stressed out so many of the activities we associate with being human are out of reach.

We can’t seem think straight.

Or connect the dots between ideas.

Focus? SQUIRREL!

The inner taskmaster? She’s clocked out for the day.

What’s really going on is that your body directs energy to the more animal side of your brain. The energy goes where it’s perceived to be needed.

Let’s break this down.

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Boundaries as Structures for Freedom

Boundaries as Structures for Freedom

Helping clients tune into, create, strengthen and maintain boundaries is a big part of my work. However, we may actually need to reframe the word “boundaries” to be effective at creating them.

According to Merriam-Webster, a boundary is “something that indicates or fixes a limit or extent.”

Often, when we seek to create a boundary we do think to “limit” a particular interaction or experience. Generally, the goal embedded is protection. For example, if someone makes you feel crummy, then you may want to limit hanging out with them to protect yourself from further harm.

However, for many of us, the idea of boundaries may feel harsh or abrupt. Further, if we have experienced abuse, then we may feel that we “should be” tough enough to withstand another person’s abuse. Or we may feel that we are not worthy of protection (because that is often the message that gets sent by the experience of abuse).

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