Monday, March 18, 2019

New Relationships

Are you in the 'market' for a new relationship? Well you can't go and buy one like you do a blouse at your favorite store. Do you act as if that is what you are doing when you select someone to date? Most of us buy clothes with more discernment than we start a relationship. For instance, do you take the time to find out who he or she really is before you take off your clothes or spill out your entire life in one sitting? It isn't as easy as taking home that perfect blouse.

Relationships, contrary to the quick click computer life we seem to be living these days, takes time. Time! I understand that the beginning of a relationships can be anxiety provoking and make you feel uncomfortable and self-conscious and the eagerness to 'get started' can override slowing things down. Rushing can seem easier than allowing yourself to feel your emotions but you need these emotions. They are normal and may be important warning signs.

Slow down, take your time, ask the difficult questions, meet his or her friends/family. Learn how others interact with him/her and how she/he interacts with them. What kind of activities do you do with this person? Will this person do the activities you like too? Do you just 'hang out' when you really want to 'go out'?

If you are choosing a mate for the rest of your life, isn't the rest of your life worth a good slow start to making sure this is the right person? Find out how this person resolves problems or does he/she just ruminate on the problem then dump it in your lap? What happens when this person gets angry? Depressed? Anxious? How does this person handle money? Are they neat or a total slob not caring about her/his environment?

Relationships are complicated and complex. Take your time. Be authentic. Don't try to make yourself someone you are not. Are you willing to not be yourself at any price?

Before having sex make sure to ask if your new partner has any STDs. How often do they have unprotected sex. If they don't want you to use protection does that mean he/she is willing to become a parent?

Ask the difficult questions. Remember, one date can turn into a nightmare or a really great start to forever.

Blessings,

Jan


Sunday, March 17, 2019

Solitude

How many times you have made yourself busy just to avoid being alone? How many times have you engaged in activities you didn't like because you feared facing a Saturday night without a date or social activity?

Do you understand what you are really afraid of? Do you understand what you would be feeling about yourself or what emotion would take over if you allowed yourself to sit by yourself? Being alone and sitting in solitude are not the same thing. In aloneness you feel the absence of another, in solitude you feel the presence of yourself.

These alone moments are important in order to develop self-understanding, wisdom, values, and interests that can take you deeper into activities. They teach personal strength and help you stretch your identity. These moments build the self. They encourage hobbies and new paths for your life.

I hear too many people afraid of themselves in alone moments. They get anxious or depressed. They can't sit still without having a panic attack. They say they don't like themselves yet they do nothing to learn how much they can like themselves if they spent time staying in touch with who they really are - not what they compare themselves to when they look into the world.

People want to feel better about themselves but do nothing to learn the process of how to do that. Sit in stillness. Pay attention to what makes you happy, what doesn't, what you would like to do and what you would like to stop doing. Feel the life inside you. Try something new. Develop some interests. Learn to like yourself and what you would like in your future, then -- go there.

Blessings,

Jan

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Every Day

A as a psychotherapist, the work I do gets misunderstood all the time. People have commented to me about how they could never do the work I do. They ask me how I could listen to problems all day long. Coming from their perspective, I can understand why they have the opinion that they do.

I do not see my work as listening to problems for that is not what clients bring to my office. Are they suffering? Yes! Do they want to tell their narrative of their suffering? Yes! But what they truly bring to me despite all that talk of their pain is the hope and faith that there is a way to turn things around. I have had only a few clients in 40 years that just liked to complain. I quickly sent them to someone else. Listening to their gossip and becoming an accomplish in their victimhood is not my job.

Most people want to know how to live better. They want the suffering to stop. They want to enjoy the rising sun, feel loved, enjoy the food they eat, know they are worth taking care of.

Start every day with a poem and a prayer. Watch your self-talk. Write out what you want to think and do for yourself. Talk to the people in your life about what you want to change, not just what you don't like. Go from there!

Wishing you the light of the stars and the warmth of the sun.

Jan Marquart LCSW, Author