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Tag: relationships

September 14, 2016

From blog posts, video logs to headlines news stories, most of us as inundated with stories about “bad” people and how these people affect our lives. The idea of someone or a group of people doing bad things to us can be emotionally triggering, to the point where you can lose yourself playing the role of the victim. You then find other people who can either relate to your story of victim-hood or at least sympathize with you on how you have been victimized.

The problem with this mindset is that, if you are indeed experiencing any degree of victimization at the hands of another person or group of people, you will continue to be victimized until you recognize your role in the story. While it is true that good people from time to time do experience bad experiences and sometimes at the hands of other people, a majority of the time when we have recurring bad experiences it is a result of the role we have unintentionally played in keeping the bad experience alive and well.

The ego can be fragile, it is an instinctual source we turn to, to find a sense of confidence in regards to how we navigate through life. However primary reliance on the ego to get you through challenges in life is a mistake. You need to be able to identify your flaws and weakness and the role they play in your recurring bad experiences or victim-hood, specifically in your relationships with others.

From personal to formal relationships in order to change our daily experiences for the better, we need to recognize the bad things we ourselves do and change them for the better. Seldom can you truly be absolved of all guilt during conflicts with others. In cognitive behavioral therapy, the client is introduced to the standard format of experience + behavioral response = natural and logical consequences. With the behavioral response being the most important variable in that simple equation. This is because, while you cannot control what other people do to you to include other experiences caused by other sources, your response to your experiences determines just how manageable your life is going to be.

In short, worrying too much about what others might do, does nothing to facilitate growth in our lives.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and owner of Road 2 Resolutions PLLC.

January 6, 2015

Do you struggle with feelings of chronic shame? Are you constantly concerned about dealing with rejection from your peers or those you care about due to a failure in meeting obligations? If you answered yes, to all these questions, then there is a high likelihood that you are being deceived.

Relationships are about give and take, where both parties work together towards mutual benefaction. When shame comes into the picture in any relationship, it means that the person experiencing the shame is being deceived. When a person experiences shame, he or she experiences feelings of low self worth accompanied by a strong belief that he or she does not bring anything of value into the relationship. This leads the person to actually work harder towards contributing his or her share of value into the relationship. A thoroughly shamed person affords others who interact with him or her relief from actually putting in significant effort into the relationship. This is because the shamed person is too busy nursing his or her shame to recognize the unfairness.

Shaming occurs on all levels, from marco/organizational levels to micro/familial levels. As a former soldier, while training for a deployment to Afghanistan, our instructors would use suggestive shaming language to describe soldiers who had experienced the misfortune of driving over an IED. They strongly suggested that they (the wounded and dead drivers) had failed to follow the techniques that they were teaching us. The reality I soon learned, was that there weren’t any techniques that could proof you from driving over an IED or surviving an IED blast. It mostly came down to visibility, the strength of the bomb and the strength of your vehicle’s armor. In essence, luck. So in order to avoid being ridiculed/ having our courage and masculinity questioned, not one of us dared to question our instructors.

As a therapist, I have worked with individuals and couples where one party was filled with grief and shame for not living up to the expectations of his or her spouse, while the other person was putting little to no effort towards addressing the relationship. The bottom line is that if you find yourself experiencing shame, you are most likely being deceived.

Put it this way, if you find yourself in a professional or personal relationship where you are not fulfilling your end of the agreement, the other party will bring the relationship to an end. So if as a solider, I couldn’t cut it, I would have been promptly discharged. I actually witnessed this happen to other soldiers on a number of occasions. The same goes for personal romantic relationships. There is no point in evoking feelings of shame in someone who produces nothing of benefit for you.

When it comes to feelings, shame is a false negative. It does nothing positive to your character as a human being and it reinforces the falsehood that you as a human being are unworthy. In reality, the ability for a human being to recognize when he or she is not meeting agreed upon expectations, with a resolve to change things for the better comes from a mindset of unconditional self acceptance.

When you accept yourself unconditionally, you actually have the agency to take ownership for wrong doing and make amends. To reiterate, feelings of worthlessness is a strong sign that you are being manipulated.

So what do you do if you recognize that your chronic feelings of shame are unhealthy for you? The answer is that you seek the services of a psychotherapist. Chances are, that you had been preconditioned through your early life experiences to become easily manipulated by shame.

A good therapist will work with you towards addressing your triggers for shame and developing new beliefs and behaviors towards responding differently towards those identified triggers.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.

October 28, 2014

Most of what we learned in our earlier years, to include what most children learn today can be described as prescriptive. With prescriptive being what we are told to do, without a good explanation for why. Well in this post, I will be giving a simple explanation in regards as to the science in letting go of resentments.

When we are wounded by the actions of someone, it is natural to become angered, and in some cases experience a desire for retaliation. The problem with giving into this desire is that it leads you down a path where you find yourself drawn into a world of victims and perpetrators. Every type of person that could possible exist already exists, so you are pretty much guaranteed to find the types of people you keep a lookout for, because by looking out for these types of people, you consequently think like them. This where the saying, “like minds attract” come from.

For example, when I work with people who experience bullying, I get them to see and understand how they are unknowingly enabling their suffering, based on their focus on the hostility in the relationship. By getting them to focus on the type of relationship they deserve, they quickly come to realize how they have placed themselves in the company of the bully on several occasions. The same principle applies to forgiveness, by focusing on the types of relationships you want, or the types of people you would like to be drawn to, you inevitably find yourself drawn to the task of healing and moving on. When you focus on retaliation, you find yourself paying more attention to people who remind you of the person who wounded you. Initially this may seem like the right thing to do, because you tell yourself that by focusing on those types of people you are preparing to defend yourself and protect yourself from future wounding.

However this is a trap, because (as mentioned earlier) everything that could possibly exist, exists all at once, so if you are seeking hostile relationships you will have no problems attracting hostile people, based on similarities in your thought process.. Eventually, if a significant period of time goes by where all you lookout for and see are hostile people, then you will either exist in a perpetual state of victim hood, become a victimizer yourself, or both.

Focusing on healing takes more courage, because you put yourself in the position of taking more risks in establishing healthier relationships, and subsequently pursuing your goals. Since everything exists at the same time, it is more worthwhile and likely that you will establish healthier relationships, if you look for them.
Ugo is a psychotherapist and Life coach.

January 24, 2014

To bring about real change in your relationships, you have to have a clear understanding of who you are and how you relate to the world around you, this process is counter intuitive because you have to learn to accept yourself unconditionally, before beginning the process of change. This is because in any relationship you find yourself in, you are the only variable which you can control.

Life is about relationships, from friendships, work, to our more intimate relationships, it is easy to recognize flaws in others and how these flaws have played a role in the failures we have experienced in our relationships. In most cases where people readily point out the flaws in others they are usually accurate, unfortunately pointing out the flaws in others when it comes to evaluating our flawed relationships is really a small part of the equation.

Let’s say you have experienced a string of poor work experiences, and you have one horror story after another to tell about supervisors and coworkers from hell, it would then become a fair question for someone to ask you how it was you came to routinely find yourself in those bad situations? If you were cognizant enough to realize that these were bad work places then it stands to reason that you should have been cognizant enough to recognize that you were not fit to work at these places before applying for the job.

Perhaps it is you, pertaining to how you relate to the world around you and those to whom you are drawn to? Regardless, if you have found yourself in a string of bad relationships it is long overdue for you to recognize and accept your personal flaws.

A man out of the group in the queue

When it comes to how we see ourselves, some people have a blindspot. This blindspot results from our innateness as social animals to fit in and belong with the larger group. So if you happen to have been raised in an environment where getting in line with everyone else was the expectation, the idea of who you are, is probably significantly different from who you really are. In today’s world, mass media plays a very influential role in getting others to embrace identities that don’t fit with who they really are. This is done by exemplifying certain types of people in a positive and flattering light, while barely mentioning others.

If you are a chronic consumer of media, and you want to see yourself in  a positive light, if stands to reason that you will come to mold your identity after those being modeled. The problem with this is that you would be focused on trying to address problems that don’t pertain to you, which only creates more problems for you.

So how do you learn about yourself? Well, on a personality level you can take a personality test like this one, or this one. Secondly, regardless of the outcome of any personality test, learn to present yourself as you are to others around. Specifically, practice being brutally honest with yourself and others at all times. Being brutally honest doesn’t mean that you tell everyone about your private affairs, but it means that you should become more cognizant of the narratives you tell yourself and others in an effort to blend in.

Our subconscious always knows the truth, and this truth about who we really are is always nagging at us at a times. This is why when people are trying to run from who they really are, they make up these false narratives, regarding their past and present in an effort to impress others.

Ultimately, by getting to know yourself and accept yourself, you will find yourself successfully addressing the right problems in your life.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.

 

January 12, 2014

Why do people sometimes accept the cliche that they are not ready for to accept change that is clearly overdue in their lives? In this video, I discuss why you are more ready for change than you realize.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.

January 1, 2014

Depositphotos_29652003_xs

It’s the new year, and the time has come for most people to make a New Year’s Resolutions which about 85% to 90% are going to break. The truth is that most people who make New Year’s  Resolutions have no intention of breaking them, they truly want to turn over a new leaf and experience a new chapter in their lives where they hope and intend to find some level of happiness and fulfillment. So why do people break their New Year’s day Resolutions?

The answer is not a simple one but it starts with the subconscious. The beliefs maintained by our subconsciousness, represent the foundation for our belief system, regardless of what beliefs we hold in our consciousness. The reason for this is that most of our core beliefs are learned from our immediate care givers during our early life experiences. As you can imagine, children aren’t exactly known for their sophistication in thinking, so this translates into latching unto anything you hear from parents, guardians siblings and peers, you name it, it’s probably going to stick, even if it makes so sense. The role of a child is to fit in, no matter what, as a result children rarely critic the information they receive, they simply encode the information and act out on it if necessary.

Take for example, beliefs about violence. You can publicly state that you do not believe in violence, because as an adult, you have come to learn that violence solves nothing. However, what if you grew up in a violent family and community? Chances are your knee jerk reaction to feelings of disrespect from someone is a violent urge, despite your commitment to renounce violence. This is because our subconscious is more influential than our conscious, and in order to rid yourself of those violent urges for good you need to identify what your hidden beliefs are in other to change them for good. This applies to resolutions to lose weight, improve finances, improve relationships and so on. The reality is that if you have ever committed to a resolution, only to fail, it’s because you hold unto a hidden belief that contradicts that goal.

For example, I once worked with a client who was making good progress in losing weight. When she visited her grandmother who she had not seen in months, she was advised by her grandmother to stop losing weight. Now here is the sad part of the story, my client, in spite of the weight she had lost, was still overweight. When we processed this incident, we came to an agreement that given the amount of time she spent as a child with her grandmother, it stood to reason that she held unto a hidden belief that she should be extremely overweight.

This now leads to the question, how does one access and change unhealthy beliefs in the subconscious mind?

Before you make your New Year’s Resolutions, here are two techniques to assess and change how you view yourself in your subconscious mind.

Write  5-10 Minutes a Day

Write whatever comes to your mind for a period of 5 to 10 minutes every day. Do this for about one week, the goal of the exercise is to familiarize yourself with what truly motivates you. You might surprise yourself, with what thoughts come to mind. If you do this for one week you will come to observe a reoccurring theme with your seemingly random thoughts, and the entire process might trigger some long forgotten memories.

If this process brings to the surface some long forgotten trauma, please schedule an appointment with a therapist.

Meditation

A recent Harvard research, provided evidence that meditating induces changes in a person’s brain, to the extent of positively influencing emotional regulation and access to memories. So what does this mean? It means that if the practice of meditation is powerful enough to influence change on the brain’s structure and functions, then no matter how ingrained a belief is in your subconsciousness, you can still change for the better.

With what you have learned about yourself with the writing exercise, the next step is to use meditation to begin the process of visualizing the changes you want  in your life. For example, if you have come to learn that you see yourself as undeserving, based on your writing exercise, then you will focus on seeing yourself as being deserving from a place of gratitude. Once you have done some work on the theme of being deserving, then you can transition into meditating on your actual New Year’s Resolutions, diet, new source of income etc..

Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.

December 13, 2013
Birds
The sum of zero is zero. People with whom you associate with, indicate just how successful you are in getting your goals accomplished.  If most of the people you associate with, have a knack for getting their individual goals met, it would reflect on  your ability to get your goals met and vice versa.

A teen client of mine, who once bragged about how many Facebook friends he had, couldn’t name one peer he was friends with who could tutor him in pre calculus.

“So much for community support,” is what I told him. I also notice that a number of my adult clients struggle with similar issues, they tend to associate themselves with others who are struggling with the same issues as themselves.

We all have personal power, unfortunately due to personal life experiences, some of us fail to recognize our personal power, and instead of resorting to personal empowering behaviors, such as educating ourselves to accomplish our goals, some of us resort to self destructive behaviors out of frustration. Self destructive behaviors which are amplified through our association with like minded individuals.

What type of people do you associate with? Are they often practicing their personal power to accomplish personal goals, or influence positive change in their world? Or are they using their personal power to be self destructive and destructive in their personal relationships with others?

If your answer is the latter, then you have to ask yourself, why you associate with such characters?

A hundred people in your life with no positive constructive qualities, equals zero positive influences in your life.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.

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