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The professions of financial services and psychotherapy each have many of their own specific terms. With a growing understanding that these two professions have an overlapping area in feelings and emotions, new terms are starting to emerge. One of these is financial self-worth.

While financial net worth and financial self-worth are sometimes used synonymously, they actually are very different. Financial net worth is made up of our monetary assets minus our liabilities. Financial self-worth is the ability to feel positive about who we are and to be comfortable with our financial situation and the amount of money we have.

Another related term, with still a different meaning, is financial self-esteem. As an example, you may feel great for a while about making a sale that has helped your financial situation, yet still have an inner desire to get more money.  The successful sale gave only a temporary boost to your financial self-esteem.

Our financial self-worth becomes greater as we feel more confident and comfortable with who we are around our finances. The greater our financial self-worth becomes, the less we act out of financial codependency. Financial codependency is where we place the financial needs of others as more important than our own. This plays out in many different ways such as needing to buy everyone’s meals, buying excessive gifts, helping others get out of debt, loaning family or friends money with the expectation that it may not be returned, or buying cars, houses, trips, or college educations for our children. While these all may be nice things to do, they also may harm us or even the person we are trying to help.

When we create a pattern of excessive giving, it eventually becomes an expectation and something the other person starts to rely on. This teaches the other person to become reliant on others rather than independent with their finances. While there is certainly value and importance in giving, the question becomes to what degree do we give and what do we hope to teach our children or the other person in this process. When we give too much, we deny our children or the other person the opportunity to learn about finances and the consequences of poor financial decisions. This denial delays the learning opportunity until the time comes when the handout no longer exists. If children have only learned that they can get what they want and the parents will pay for it, when the parents are no longer in the picture, they financially crash. In this situation the children have no financial self-worth, because they did not earn what they have and have no understanding of finances.

To help children improve their financial self-worth and decrease their financial codependency, it is wise for parents to teach them about finances and money at a young age. Strong financial parenting creates ways for children to save, tithe, and learn from their financial mistakes while understanding the feelings that get stirred with certain financial decisions. It also helps validate healthy financial decisions.

As adults, we also can improve our financial self-worth by taking the time to understand finances rather than ignoring them. We can explore the feelings that motivate us to make financial decisions that are not in our best interests and that keep us from moving forward in making healthy financial decisions. This helps us create ways to make financial decisions with self-integrity, meaning our words, thoughts, feelings, and body language are saying the same things about our financial decisions. .

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In the counseling profession it is said that the most important thing in creating positive change for clients is to have a positive therapeutic relationship with them. What this means is that clients feel safe enough to open up and get honest with what is going on in their lives and to share the issues as a means to create positive change. The foundation of this process is trust.

The level of trust we have in our relationships is demonstrated in the level of sharing we are able to do with others. When we communicate with strangers, we limit our communication since we have no history of how safe it will be to share. As relationships grow and develop, we start to open up and share more. The more open we are with our emotional truth, the more we are able to trust that relationship.

Some people indicate that they trust everyone and are willing to share everything about themselves with others, yet what they actually share is very limited. While they may be sharing to the best of their ability, there is another level of sharing that requires a deeper level of trust. Most of us have not experienced this level of trust or sharing because we have not been taught that it is acceptable to share at this level. In fact, many times we have been taught to shut down this level. This level of sharing requires the ability to connect with and feel our true feelings.

True or straight feelings do not hurt ourselves or anyone else when they are felt, yet they tend to be hidden by our sideways feelings. Since we have been taught to hide our true feelings, it becomes difficult to feel safe with and express this level of feelings.

To assist a person in getting to this level of trust and sharing requires patience, support, encouragement, guidance, and examples. People are very fearful of trusting enough to share at this level.
Trust is earned and is sensitive to the environment as well as the behaviors of others. Many people have indicated that they trust no one. When they share their stories, it becomes clear why they have so little trust in others.

Trust is a process that grows and is earned. The greater the trust, the deeper the relationship is and the safer each person feels with the other. This type of trust grows as the relationship creates deeper levels of safety. As the safety increases, the deeper truth has greater opportunities to come forward.

Any time we have a goal of creating trust, it’s important to limit judgment, criticism, control, and advice. These behaviors are counterproductive to trust since they foster some level of fear. When we attempt to control, we exude our own fear. The other person is able to recognize this fear. Creating fear and anxiety limits the opportunity for trust to grow. The more we feed the pattern of fear, the less trust is able to grow. The more we are able to limit our judgment, criticism, control, and advice, the more opportunity we create for trust to grow..

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In many different ways we seek control of our lives every day, whether it is something small such as setting our alarm to get ourselves to work or something large as in telling everyone around us what to do. We all seek some level and form of control, yet most of us do not take the time to understand what motivates us to create this control in our lives.

When we seek to control someone or a situation, we are attempting to create some level of safety for ourselves. Control is used as a way to manage our fear because the greater the fear, the greater the control. When we have no fear, we also have no need for control because we have a level of trust that allows us to not control that situation.

At a very young age we are taught to control ourselves and our feelings. We are taught to hold our feelings in until the energy disappears from sight. We are also taught to control our urges—such as a need to be loud, run, and play—with statements like “children are to be seen and not heard.”

These forms of control are created from fear of displeasing our parents or authority figures as a child and become engrained in us so that we continue to control that aspect of our lives in adulthood. Control can be helpful in protecting us in certain situations; it can also be limiting so that we fear experiencing the fullness of life.

An example of positive control is when we set healthy boundaries that are respectful of ourselves and others. The boundary creates a level of safety and accountability and is a form of control. Control can also create negative consequences by limiting ourselves and others in such a way that we are not able to fully experience the many positive things life has to offer.

Our need for control is based upon what we have experienced and have been taught. As a child we may have had an experience that scared us and continues to present fear and a need to control and limit our activities. Our parents and/or authority figures may control certain situations due to fear associated with their history, and they may have passed that fear on to us.

The question becomes what is positive and healthy control and what type of control is unhealthy. Healthy control is control that is designed to protect a person or persons in ways that are respectful and do not create limits greater than the situation demands.

Unhealthy control is based upon exaggerated fear, meaning the fear is greater than the situation demands due to emotional history, phobias, and misinformation. Unhealthy control is disrespectful to ourselves and others. While we may not recognize the disrespect because we have grown accustomed to it, the disrespect still exits. The disrespect could be associated with pushing others away with our control when deep down inside we actually desire closeness.

When we are told we are controlling, which everyone is to some degree, it creates an opportunity to explore. In what ways we are controlling? Is the control healthy? If it is not, we can learn healthy, different ways to explore and work through the fear that creates the need for control.

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Jetson Counseling will be hosting the third Freedom from Negative Self-Talk workshop because we’ve had so many requests to offer it again. This workshop is dynamic, educational, and insightful. It can help you explore the reasons you tell yourself so many negative messages every day.

This workshop will explore the origins of the negative messages and how these messages do not connect with truth. We will explore the patterns associated with negative self-talk, and participants will have opportunities to work through these patterns. In addition, we will spend time exploring the payoffs associated with these negative messages and how these payoffs, even though many are negative, keep us listening to the messages.

If you are tired of listening to these negative messages and are ready to find freedom from them, this workshop can help. The most common response participants share after completing this workshop is how insightful, helpful, and life-changing the experience was for them.

The Freedom from Negative Self-Talk workshop will be held for the first time at Terra Sancta (http://terrasancta.org/retreat-center/) retreat center in Rapid City, South Dakota. This retreat center is opening in January. Its many amenities and beautiful setting make it an appealing location for this type of workshop.

Every day we struggle with negative self-talk and a negative self-image.  This workshop will:
Explore the origins of the negative messages you tell yourself
Explore the truth around the negative self-talk and how negative messages do not represent the truth
Explore the truth that sets you free from the negative self-talk
Explore how you were taught to believe the negative messages we tell ourself
Explore what the negative self-talk has taken
Explore how the negative self-talk contributes and reinforces the negative self-image
Create emotional freedom from the negative self-talk
Recognize choices you have around the negative self-talk
Explore ways to create more self-trust in your life
Explore the patterns associated with negative self-talk
Explore your beliefs and payoffs around the distorted self
Where:        Terra Sancta, Rapid City http://terrasancta.org/retreat-center/
When:        Thursday, January 26 @ 5:00 pm thru Sunday, January 29, 2010 @ 11:00
Cost:        $1,750 per person, includes food and lodging
Pre-registration with deposit of  $875.00 per person is required due to limited space. If interested Contact Jetson Counseling @ (605) 718-5500 or www.jetsoncounseling.com  to register. Deposit is non-refundable after January 5, 2012.

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What do you see when you look in the mirror? When given the chance, many people do not like to or even see themselves in the mirror. They may give many reasons, most of which ultimately relate to their not liking themselves in different ways. They look at themselves with emotionally distorted glasses that show them how “bad” or “ugly” they are, when just the opposite is true.

How we see ourselves typically is not based upon reality or even the truth, it is based upon what we have been taught to believe in many different ways. Many of the things we have been taught are based upon differences we present to others, mistakes we have made, misbehaviors or poor judgment—yet none of these relate to who we actually are.

Most of us have no idea who we really are because we have learned to wear many emotional masks as a way of letting others see what we believe they want to see. These masks are also designed to keep us from seeing who we actually are. They hide our true selves. This can be seen by many movie stars and singers who are beautiful and talented, yet see themselves differently.

When we are willing to work through the self-deceit that we were taught at an early age, we can open the door to our emotional truth. Most of us believe the place where we need to go to connect with our emotional truth is “the dark side” of ourselves.We’re terrified to go there. The reality is that “the dark side” is a part of us that was created to cope with what life has thrown at us and is a blockade that prevents us from getting to our emotional truth.

When we are willing to connect with our emotional truth that allows us to see who we really are, what we find is something different than we have imagined. We find that our true feelings hurt no one, including ourselves, and they hurt nothing of importance. We also find that we are respectful of ourselves and those around us. When we connect with our emotional truth, we also have no negative messages about ourselves or others.

We actually find that we have a pearl of great worth within ourselves that we were born with and at some level are always seeking to get back to. When we connect with this pearl, we connect with the truth of who we are. This is a place that few people actually see in themselves because they have learned very well to hide it. Our invitation is to realize that when we put ourselves down and engage in any form of disrespect, we are not connecting with our true selves and our pearl of great worth.

We are not what we do, we just are. Our true beauty is also within ourselves, and we all have our own unique beauty when we are willing to find it. The question is whether we are willing to find the emotional truth that allows us to see and to live as the true pearl of great worth that we are made to be.

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“Throw a temper tantrum.” “Throw a fit.” To most people, these are the same thing. Yet, if we take the time to actually observe a temper tantrum versus a fit, there are distinct differences.

When children are very young they start throwing temper tantrums as a natural way of releasing energy in their bodies associated with feelings that are being triggered. This is similar to the way that animals need to release energy associated with their own trauma. Little kids in the midst of temper tantrums get their whole body involved in the process. They may lie on their backs while kicking, screaming, and thrashing their arms and body. They might do the same process standing up. What is interesting to observe is that when they are throwing true temper tantrums, they use no words. They just scream. Additionally, they don’t intentionally hurt anyone, including themselves, nor do they intentionally hurt anything of value. There is not malicious intent to hurt or destroy anything. They might accidentally bump something or someone and break an object or cause an injury, but any harm or destruction is unintentional.

Because the noise is loud and we as adults and parents have been taught to keep our children under control and looking good, we stifle the temper tantrums. Because children want to please their parents more than anything, they quickly learn to stifle their temper tantrums and their natural way of releasing this energy. What is sad is that when children stifle the energy associated with the temper tantrum, the energy still exists and needs to come out. When the energy gets too great to hold in, children who have been taught to hide their true process of the temper tantrum develop a sideways approach of releasing the energy. This creates the fit.

A fit may have screaming involved and also has words. The words are intended to be hurtful to others and the person throwing the fit. Not only are the words destructive, the actions are destructive as well. People may intentionally hurt others, themselves, and anything in their way. Many times people talk about saying or doing something “in a fit of rage,” and this is exactly what happens. During the fit of rage, they may say or do many things that they later regret. They may wonder, if they didn’t really intend to say or do those things, why did they do it in the first place? The reason we throw fits is because we have been taught by society to hide our true feelings associated with having a temper tantrum. We resort to venting the energy through a fit.

I have yet to see an adult throw a true temper tantrum other than when given permission in a therapeutic session. Yet every day I see adults throw fits. While many people may not want to throw a fit with the destruction it causes, they do it because it is familiar. We have not been taught or given permission to create healthy ways of releasing this energy that needs to be vented. While it would be seen as inappropriate or childish to throw a temper tantrum in public (and I am not suggesting we do so), we have grown accustomed to people throwing fits in public all the time. We see it when people yell, call names, fight, or vandalize property. These are all types of fits, or forms of anger coming out sideways. When people throw fits, there is a temporary release of energy. Yet part of the energy remains and can linger after the release as resentments, frustrations, hurt, and anger to be stirred the next time this unresolved feeling gets triggered.

Parents ask what they are to do when children start to throw temper tantrums. If possible, let them go ahead right where they are. If the behavior is going to be too disruptive, than move them to a location where they can safely release the energy. Typically, once the energy is released, they feel much better and are better able to interact with others immediately with no residual effect.

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Grieving the Losses
of Relationships, Opportunities and Dreams
While Exploring the Patterns behind the Grief
Many of us struggle with grief issues and yet have no idea how to work through the grief in a healthy fashion. This workshop is for anyone who is struggling with the grief from the loss of a loved one, missed opportunities or dreams. The loss of a loved one through death, divorce or ended relationships, the missed opportunities due to situations, external influences or incomplete information and dreams due to external influences, fear, doubt or finances. This workshop will:
  •     Explore the 5-7 stages of grief
  •     Explore coping mechanisms around grief and their effectiveness
  •     Explore the time necessary to properly grieve
  •     Explore the support and/or the lack of support during the grieving process
  •     Explore the impact of codependency in the grieving process
  •     Explore opportunities to be gained and learned from each stage of grief
  •     Explore all the feelings behind the grief
  •     Explore when it is important and how to say goodbye
  •     Explore the lost hopes and dreams
  •     Explore ways to support ourselves and others around grief
  •     Explore trust issues in the grief process
  •     Allowing the whole story to be heard
  •     Explore how losses have shift our responses to life
  •     Explore ways of creating a healthy support network around the losses in ones life
  •     Explore the impact of guilt and shame in the grieving process
  •     Explore the process of releasing the energy around grief

Where:        Terra Sancta, Rapid City, SD http://terrasancta.org/retreat-center/
When:         Thursday, May 17 @ 5:00 pm thru
                    Sunday, May 20, 2010 @ 11:00
Cost:            $1,775.00 includes workshop, food and lodging

Pre-registration with deposit of  $900.00 is required due to limited space. If interested Contact Jetson Counseling @ (605) 718-5500. Deposit is non-refundable after May 3, 2012.

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When we think of Payoffs we typically see them as positive things that will be beneficial to us at some point. We strive to get both short-term and long-term Payoffs.

A short-term Payoff could be receiving a thank you for a job well done. A long-term one might be receiving a promotion after proving yourself worthy of additional responsibility. While these are positive Payoffs, negative Payoffs also exist and we seek them out more often than most of us realize.

Judy and her husband, Gary, have fallen into a trap of arguing  over the way they discipline their children, John and Jessica. Gary thinks Judy is passive and too easygoing, while Judy thinks Gary is too much of a dictator in needing to control and limit everything that John and Jessica do. The argument continues to be the same, with the same results. Judy gets hurt and feels controlled and manipulated. Gary feels angry and justified that he is doing the right thing. Both of them are frustrated because nothing changes.

It may not be obvious, but each of them is getting a Payoff for this interaction. In this case both Judy and Gary are getting the Payoff of not being emotionally heard. Judy is also able to be justified in her emotional pain and Gary is justified in getting angry and letting it out sideways. While these may not seem like Payoffs because they are negative, they are still Payoffs that continue to perpetuate the arguments. Many times, a negative Payoff is no more than continuing to get what we are used to receiving.

We seek Negative Payoffs as a way to maintain the negative messages that many of us tell ourselves every day. For example, we might tell ourselves that we are dumb, ignorant, stupid, not smart, etc. A negative Payoff for this message might be not needing to try as hard as a way to show others our ignorance. By not trying as hard or giving it our all, we might receive attention, even if it might not be the most positive. We might also be creating a scenario for others to feel sorry for us or even to take over a task.

When we seek to have others feel sorry for us, we get attention. We also get to remain stuck, meaning this behavior does not afford us the opportunity to grow. This pattern also allows others to look down on us as not being capable and to step in with their caretaking. All these patterns are created to reinforce our need to fulfill the prophecy of not being smart that we hold to be true. It may not actually be true, but the negative messages we received have taught us to believe it.

While most negative emotional Payoffs are ones we don’t desire on a conscious level, our subconscious embraces them because they are familiar. Many clients share that they dislike the Payoffs they have learned to embrace to maintain their negative messages, yet they continue to hold onto these negative emotional Payoffs because that is all they know.

To help move forward and not embrace the negative messages and Payoffs, we need to first recognize what the negative Payoffs actually are. Finding them can be difficult because most people do not want to admit to themselves that these Payoffs even exist.

When we are ready and willing to admit the actual Payoffs we are receiving, we have our first opportunity to explore how these negative Payoffs are helping us or hindering us in what we want from life. When we see that we have choices about the Payoffs, we can explore new options if we want to create change.

Initially most people tend to say they want to change the negative massages and Payoffs because they want to better themselves. While this thought is true, fewer people are actually willing to create the change because to do so would require them to do something different and unfamiliar. The unfamiliarity is scary and is an obstacle in a person’s forward progress. To get the desired changes will require us to go where we have not gone before, responding in ways we have not responded in order to get different outcomes.

While the change can be scary, it is also very rewarding. Taking the risk to let go of negative Payoffs frees us to seek out positive Payoffs that will help us move forward.

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Every day we hear people in many different ways talk badly of themselves. They may verbally share how bad they are, or they may hurt themselves, deny themselves opportunities, or show in many different ways with their actions that they feel negative about themselves. Nearly all of us in some fashion or another have ways of putting ourselves down.

What is interesting is that we are born with no negative messages; they have all been taught to us in some fashion or another. We may have been told directly, indirectly, unintentionally, with a cold shoulder, a glance or glare or some other form of body language, that we are bad in some fashion or another. Negative messages tend to focus in certain areas such as intelligence, looks, behaviors, abilities, and feelings.

Here are just a few examples of the many negative messages we might hear:

  • Around intelligence: stupid, idiot, dummy, retard, dumbass.
  • Around looks: ugly, fat, big ears, big lips, big feet, basically any part of the body that may be seen by others as different.
  • Around behaviors: you’re lazy, you’re slow, you’re too loud, you’re obnoxious; once again, anything that can label us as different.
  • Around abilities: you will never amount to anything, you can’t do anything, you’ll never be good at anything, etc.
  • Around feelings: you are too sensitive, whiner, cry baby, scaredy cat, etc.

We are not born with any of these messages, and all of these messages are not true because they do not connect with our true selves. The core of our true selves are always respectful of ourselves and others, while the negative messages are disrespectful of ourselves and others. Since these messages are not part of our natural being, they were taught to us.

Many people share that they believe these messages are who they really are because they have no recollection of ever being taught these messages by anyone. Many of these messages have been taught to us in the first 1800 days of our lives. They have been a common part of our lives ever since, to the point that many times we are not even aware we are embracing these negative messages.

When we take the time to realize that all the negative messages we tell ourselves every day were taught to us and that they are all lies, we can recognize that we also have an option to unlearn these negative messages and embrace the true messages about ourselves. The truthful messages set us free. They are always respectful of ourselves, others, our feelings, and things around us.

When we embrace the negative messages, we live in lies and create dishonesty and pain, making life less desirable. When we are able to embrace our truth, we are able to be more creative, see more options in our lives, accomplish more, and enjoy life more fully.

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We have all had the experience of someone expressing feelings in a sideways fashion. Most of us have done so ourselves. Far fewer of us have actually experienced feelings being expressed in a straight, healthy fashion. When people are able to connect with their true feelings and express them in a straight, healthy fashion, no one including our self or anything of importance gets hurt.

The reason no one, our self or anything of importance gets hurt is because feelings are nothing more than a defense mechanism designed to protect us. They are not designed to hurt or destroy ourselves or others around us. Yet every day we have first-hand experience of people getting hurt from feelings being expressed in a sideways fashion rather than a straight, healthy manner.

When we are angry and are able to express our anger straightforwardly, we may not even need to raise our voice to be heard. We are heard in such a way that others know not to push that issue. When the feeling is expressed in a straight, healthy fashion, everyone is respected and the response is not larger than the situation demands.

For most people, it’s a foreign idea to even consider the idea of having feelings expressed in a straight, healthy fashion and not getting hurt. At a young age we were taught to hide our true feelings, so our brains developed a way to hide those true feelings. As the true feelings get triggered, a part of the brain called the insular cortex attempts to hide the true feelings by getting busy. It creates distractions or has the feelings come out sideways, because the energy is more than the insular cortex can control.

When we are able to get emotionally honest with ourselves and connect with our true feelings, meaning the feelings we have been taught to hide, the feelings get expressed in a respectful way. The feelings are able to be felt and dealt with in an honest way such that the person expressing them is being heard and feels honored in the process. When we express our feelings, feel them, and allow them to be honored, there is no need to become defensive and attack others. When this occurs, no one gets hurt. We don’t punch walls, destroy belongings, or make rash decisions that create negative impacts. The feelings associated with that experience no longer reside within us, needing to be reset.
Most of us have never seen or experienced this type of an expression and release of feelings because we have been taught to hide and minimize any feelings. The process of being taught to hide our feelings may have a positive short-term payoff, but it creates a poor long-term payoff because the feelings are unresolved.

To create the positive long-term payoff that most of us desire requires that we dig deeper into ourselves emotionally and connect with our deeper emotional truth. Then we can express our feelings in a straight, healthy fashion. When we connect and embrace these deeper feelings, we connect and embrace ourselves on the deeper emotional level. This shows us that we matter, because the core and essence of who we are resides in these deeper true feelings.

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