Imagination Improves Relationships

How Can a Healthy Imagination Help Our Relationships?

There’s no doubt about it; relationships are hard. It can seem nearly impossible when you are trying to make two lives work together. If you are struggling in your relationship, it may be worthwhile to examine your imagination. Believe it or not, a healthy imagination can truly help your relationship. 

It has been said that “the world of reality has it limits; the world of imagination is boundless.” (Jean-Jacques Rousseau)

It has also been said that “imagination is more important that knowledge.” (Albert Einstein)

Imagination (Re) Ignites Passion

When you are with the same person for so long, it can often seem like the passion will fade, or maybe things will seem to get a bit boring. Well, imagination is one of the main ignitions of passion. If you improve your imagination, the passion in your relationship will improve as well. 

For example, you could cook your significant other a fancy dinner and serve it to them on a picnic blanket on the floor. Then use your imagination to imagine you are in Paris! You might just be surprised by how much fun the two of you have with imaginative ideas like this.  

Imagination bring hope back into hopeless situations. You don’t have to give up on your relationship situation. You can reignite the passion by igniting the imagination of how things could be…in the future.

Imagination Helps You Make Plans

One of the main indicators of caring about someone is making plans that involve them. Without a healthy imagination, it can be difficult to see past the dreariness of day-to-day life. If your relationship seems to be in a rut, then it’s time to tap into that imagination to create something fun for the two of you to do! Try to think of something you haven’t done before, and don’t be afraid to try something incredibly unique. 

Start small and take small risks in your relationship. Step out of the comfort zone. The effort itself will prove your willingness to try to change even if things don’t do perfectly for you.

Imagination Can Help You Through the Rough Patches

All relationships have rough patches, where you may not be happy with your partner or feel that you aren’t going to make it as a couple. Sometimes, if the relationship is truly worth it, you need to persevere to get there, and imagination can help you through that. Imagination can help you envision a future together where things are better. 

It can help you solve problems that are causing challenges in your relationship. It can even remind you of past times you have had together and how fun they were, even if things are currently difficult.

Whether or not you realize it, imagination is essential to helping your relationship last. Imagination is an integral part of passion, making plans, and surviving the rough patches that will inevitably come along. So if you are in a relationship that is currently struggling, it’s time to work to improve your imagination today. Even if you aren’t currently in a relationship, a healthy imagination is a great method of preparing yourself for future relationships that may come your way. 

Use Love Languages to be creative in your imagination

The 5 love languages was created by Gary Chapman and written about in a book by the same name. The languages include words of affirmation, quality of time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Speaking your partner or family members love languages makes them feel loved. We tend to speak our own love languages which may not match up with others missing the mark. Knowing others love language allows us to use imagination that has a more powerful influence for the future.

Why Self-Improvement Should Be a Priority

As children, many people were taught that focusing on yourself was seen as being selfish and they believed it. It’s understandable that they believed it because ‘self’ is part of the word selfish. The latter word means, “…lacking consideration for others.” The good news is that self-improvement is not selfish. On the contrary, self-improvement is good for you and society

Self-discovery, development, and improvement need to be a rite of passage for all adults simply because it’s so helpful and, simply put, develops valuable people. Plus, the benefits of continuous lifelong self-improvement are all the reasons you need to prioritize self-improvement. 

Clarify Your Vision 

As you plan your personal development, it helps to envision what you want your future to look like. Some people find it helpful to write their obituary and mention each area of their life, as they want it to be. They need to think of it as if they got everything they ever wanted, and all their dreams came true. 

Part of documenting your plan requires explaining the missing elements to arrive at the goal. For example, if your vision includes being happy and in good health; however, you eat burgers every day and you never exercise. You need to be realistic to be effective. 

Enhance Your Strengths

An effective self-development plan focuses on strengths over weaknesses. It’s not that you will ignore your weaknesses. You won’t. You can outsource, delegate, automate, and learn anything you want to learn. However, it’s far more efficient to focus on what you’re naturally good at and like to do. 

Your personal development plan requires you to perform a SWOT analysis for each area of your life to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that may exist. Therefore, if you focus on your strengths, you’ll be far more successful because it feels so good. 

Find Your Purpose 

As you set goals and determine why you desire that goal, the process will lead you to discover your purpose. It may not be your life purpose because that may change as you learn and grow. However, it can supply you with a reason to keep looking for your life purpose. The continued search gives you the energy to keep going. Of course, your reasons may differ at each stage of life and area of your life. The principal factor is that the planning will explain why as you take each step toward the goal. 

Improve Your Mental Health

It feels good to understand yourself. For example, knowing why you are afraid of loud sounds can help you deal with the feelings when you hear loud sounds. Being self-aware enough to note problems with your mental health will also make it more likely that you stay healthy because you will be more likely to seek professional help if you need it. If there is one thing personal development does well is to keep you self-aware. 

Create Strong Relationships 

Learning what your thoughts and feelings mean to you and how your actions affect others goes a long way toward building super-strong relationships. Whether friends or family managing your emotions and moderating your behavior turns you into someone viewed as safe and stable. In addition, being someone trustworthy helps others bond with you more. 

Make Every Moment Count 

Finally, just knowing for sure what you want and how you’ll get it makes all the difference when you get it. It’s so much easier to schedule your life in a balanced way when you’re honest about what it takes to do the things you’ve scheduled yourself to do. 

Claiming these benefits is as easy as starting on your self-improvement journey today by setting your intention by beginning creating your self-development plan. The sooner you begin your journey of self-discovery, the sooner you can start taking massive action on realizing all your dreams. 

4 Ways to Get Clear on Why You Care So Much 

Caring is an important quality in one’s life. What would the world be like if we didn’t have caring people? Too much caring can create problems, however. Overcaring can cause fatigue, burnout, or secondary trauma, enabling addictive behaviors, preventing healthy child independence, rejection and estrangement from loved ones, and so much more. Finding a healthy balance is essential to living a healthier, happier life. The first step in this process is learning WHY you care so much so that you can find that balance.

Here are four ways to help you get clear on why you care so much that you can use:

Reading

Sounds too simple, right? The truth is that it is that simple…mostly! There are a lot of books and devotionals for people who care too much. Melodie Beattie is one of my favorite authors. She wrote the books Codepency No More, The Language of Letting Go, and Codepence Guilt to the 12 steps. Another classic is Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. I regularly recommend this book to families. Of course, there are other great reads, such as Women Who Do Too Much, Raising Empowered Children, Keeping Your Love On, Caregivers Survival Guide, The Heart of the Caregiver, and so many more.

In addition to books, there are YouTube videos and online courses that you can take to learn healthier caregiving lifestyles. Try one now at FamilyHealer.tv

Journaling 

You can use your computer, buy a specialized journal, or you can simply use a notebook you have created to journal. It’s up to you what type of system you use and whether it’s modern or analog. 

The important part is that you try to use your journal to express your thoughts, emotions, and stream of consciousness about a problem you’re trying to solve or a feeling you’re trying to explore without judgment or censoring. 

Write in your journal every day when you’re trying to understand why you care so much. You may end up discovering your life purpose or a new reason for getting up each day that you had not realized before. 

Become a Patron Sponsor of FamilyHealer.tv and get free journals and many more tools for living a happier life at FamilyHealer.tv

Meditation 

Before you use your journal, it can help to clear your mind using meditation. Meditation practice is all about not thinking and not judging your thoughts or feelings even as they still happen during the meditation. 

Each time you meditate, you can have a purpose of self-discovery or have a goal to clear your mind and relax. To practice this type of meditation, you’ll want to find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lay down. Then concentrate on your goals for the meditation, close your eyes, and start focusing on your breathing. 

Think about the situation you’re trying to understand for a moment, then clear your mind. If any intrusive thoughts come in, brush them aside by refocusing on your breathing. You mustn’t allow any outside information or sensation to distract you during this time. 

Try using an app, like Headspace, Calm, 10% Happier, Stop Breath Think, or Abide.

Therapy 

These days you’re so fortunate because you can get psychological therapy from the comfort of your home using your computer or smartphone. Numerous companies offer this service and varying price points, but you can expect to pay $60 or more per hour to get therapy. In addition, many insurance companies include several sessions as part of your benefits.

If you seek therapy, make sure you find someone experienced working with you on overcoming people-pleasing and putting yourself last in life. Remember, your wants and needs matter too. Most therapists can guide you through the self-discovery process to finally know what you want and feel good about it regardless of the reactions from other people. 

Any or all three of these methods help you become crystal clear regarding your motivations to seek approval from others and even help you stop doing it. Remember, what you want from life is important too, and following someone else’s dreams will never get you what you want and need to feel successful and, more importantly, satisfied and content in your life. 

Let Ron Huxley help you today by scheduling a therapy session online. Just click here to start!

This is the Year of Letting Go of Resentments

Resentments are defined as the “bitter indignation at being mistreated.” It is a hard feeling that creates discontent, hostility, bitterness, and an inability to trust others.

It is destructive to relationships because it is a hook to the traumatic events of the past. When we are tied to our histories, we cannot fully enjoy the present, and the future feels like a painful rerun. We make vows that we will never let anyone hurt us like we were hurt before. Unfortunately, these vows isolate and insulate us from loving relationships.

Resentment is connected to our ego. Our ego needs to be correct, and it needs to be good. When we experience trauma, it can strip away our dignity, causing us to get needs met in unhealthy ways or won’t allow anyone else to help meet those needs. We believe that “I can do it all by myself” but it feels safer when we are alone. Unfortunately, cutting others out of our lives is a very lonely life.

Resentment can also keep us stuck in a victim role. Victims need abusers to maintain this position. Therefore, our ego will fault others, reinforce the belief that people “can’t be trusted”, and only see the negative in the circumstances. We will gravitate to rescuers to make us feel good and validate our victim-mindedness.

WRITE BRAIN/RIGHT BRAIN:

Write about ways resentment keeps you stuck in the past. What are the struggles you have experienced that make trusting others difficult? Have you chosen to be right over having a relationship? Journal about ways to select connections first. Visualize what the world of your ego looks like, who lives there, and what beliefs you take as truth in your ego world.

How can you imagine a new, different world where you feel safe and secure? How would you do it this time if you could do a situation over? Have a chat with your “ego” and offer it comfort and seek what it needs to care for it healthily?

Explore your resiliency. You didn’t want to go through tough times, but you got through them. What strengths did you discover about yourself? How did this challenging experience change your priorities? Celebrate how you have grown instead of feeding the monster of resentment.

10 Ways To Implement Self-Care In Your Life

Self-care is often overlooked and pushed aside for more important, more pressing commitments. The truth is that self-care should be a priority. Without it, we cannot function at our optimum and therefore different areas of our life may be detrimentally impacted. The modern lifestyle is a busy one, with individuals often rushing between commitments, however, there are still ways you can implement self-care in your life. Here are ten ways you can add self-care to your routine so that you can maintain your physical, mental, and emotional health.

Photo by Andre Furtado on Pexels.com
  1. Identify what self-care is to you
    We all have different needs and different ways of unwinding. Identify what self-care is the most effective for you. It may be taking a walk and getting outdoors, or curling up by the fire with a good book. It may be surrounding yourself with good friends, taking a bike ride or soaking in a long, hot bath. Whatever it is, learn to define self-care for you as an individual so that you can better take care of yourself.
  2. Establish a routine
    Once you understand what self-care works for you, add it to your routine. Commit to engaging the activity regularly until it becomes a habit, something that is simply a normal part of your life.
  3. Get regular, good quality sleep
    Establish a sleep routine so that you are getting enough high-quality sleep. Sleep is a critical part of maintaining good health and should not be underestimated. By implementing a sleep routine, you can ensure that you are getting enough rest and are therefore optimally prepared to perform at your best.
  4. Eat a balanced diet
    Diet is an important part of self-care and has a significant impact on your health. Make sure to eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, avoiding soft drink and processed foods.
  5. Exercise regularly
    Exercise if great for physical, mental and emotional health and should be a part of any self-care routine.
  6. Learn to say no
    The ability to establish boundaries can be important to self-care. Rather than simply saying yes to everything until things become unbearable or seemingly impossible, learn to say no when you are busy or feeling under pressure.
  7. Get organised
    A little organisation can go a long way in regard to your self-care. Implementing strategies to be more organised can really help reduce your stress and improve your mental health.
  8. De-clutter your environment
    Get rid of the rubbish and excess goods in your house; a cleaner, less cluttered space is great for your mental health as it will help to reduce stress levels.
  9. Schedule time to yourself
    It can often feel like we are being pulled in a million different directions. Make sure to schedule time for your self-care and donít allow this to be interrupted.
  10. Take a break
    If things are getting too much, take a break. It might be taking a few days off work, getting a away for the weekend or taking a longer vacation; regardless of the length, sometime simply stepping out of the environment can be great for perspective and self-care.

Schedule training on self for your organization today by contacting Ron Huxley, LMFT at rehuxley@gmail.com

Marriage Advice on How To Make Love Last

A good marriage isn’t something you find. You have to make it great, and then you have to keep making it that way. Most people stop working on their marriage right after the honeymoon is over. They get bogged down in work, kids, mortgages, and all the trials of life. If you don’t stay focused on then intimacy in marriage, you will lose it. Here are a few tips to help you keep the flame of love and happiness lit:

Show Them Respect

Every healthy relationship must include respect. Without it, you are doomed to fail. When your partner wants to speak with you, take the time to do so. Don’t mock their words or belittle them in any way. By showing your significant other that you value their thoughts, feelings, time and effort, you will let them know you respect them.

The opposite of respect is contempt or criticism. That is poison to the relationship and part of the “Four Horseman” of the final days of marriage. The other two destructive forces in marriage are stonewalling and defensiveness. These latter two “horseman” refer to emotionally shutting down and overly protecting oneself.

John Gottman, marriage researcher and author states: “Successful long-term relationships are created through small words, small gestures, and small acts.”

Give Them Priority

Your partner may not always be your number one priority, especially if you had children before you entered the relationship or have another situation that demands a lot of your time. If your partner is always last on your list, though, there will be trouble. Giving your partner at least some priority shows them that you value them.

Marriage needs balance to succeed. After work and kids are gone, couples end up with nothing. Put some time into one another, through date nights, talking after the kids go to bed, enjoying hobbies or activities together, reading, etc. What you do isn’t as important as the fact that you are doing things together.

Have Fun Together

Make time to laugh together. Plan fun activities and do new things together so that you can always remember the experience. Making memories builds bonds. This will give you and your partner good feelings when thinking about one another, because of the great times you have when you are with each other. Fun can involve the children too. Watch funny movies, tell jokes, ask about the highs and lows of the day so marriage and family intimacy deepens.

Have Fun and Show Appreciation to each other!

Learn with Them

Take a class together, or embark on learning a new hobby as a duo. When you stretch your brains in regards to the same subject, it gives you something to talk about. When a couple feels like they are challenging each other and helping each other to become their best, it brings strength to the relationship.

If you are struggling in some area of your relationship this is an excellent topic to read a book on or attend a course. There are thousands of YouTube videos and podcasts. Listen to one on the way to the store or off to visits grandparents. You might discover that one magic idea that causes your relationship to soar.

It has been said that the “capacity to learn is a gift, the ability to learn is a skill, the willingness to learn is a choice” (Brian Herbert).

Maintain Your Individuality

Although time as a unit is important, don’t do absolutely everything together. Give yourself the opportunity to grow your other friendships and hobbies. When you do this, it gives you a break so that you can appreciate each other when you are together, and it also gives you something to talk about.

Women are more likely to connect with friends than men. Developing relationship as a couple and then branching out or reaching out might be something men can work on. Getting involved in men’s groups or sports can be an excellent outlet for men as well.

Express Your Appreciation

Let your partner know that you are grateful for them and who they are. When they have made sacrifices to do something kind for you, write them a thank you card or cook them their favorite meal. Showing your thankfulness and appreciation never goes out of style. The opposite could also be true: Stop showing appreciation for others and they might stop doing the things we appreciate!

Be Creative in Showing Your Love

Say “I love you” to your partner, but don’t stop there. Get creative in the ways that you show your love. Demonstrate it by using your own personal talents through actions such as writing them a poem, making their favourite dessert or composing a song for them. Plan a relaxing vacation weekend or even a one-on-one movie night together at home. It doesn’t take a lot of money to demonstrate that you love your partner.

Gary Chapman wrote a popular book: “The 5 Love Languages”. It outlines how everyone feels most loved in unique ways. We tend to show love in the ways we like to feel loved versus loving them in their own way.

Learn each other’s love language!

The 5 Love Languages include: Words of appreciation, physical touch, gifts, acts of service, and quality time. It is possible to have more than one but learning your partners special way of feeling loved is an act of love in itself. Try taking the online quiz to learn with your spouse at https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/love-language

If you would like more help learning how to make love last, consider talking with Ron Huxley for online couples counseling today.

Protecting Teens from the (Potential) Dangers of Social Media

Social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives. Parents use it, just like their children. However, on average, teenagers are the ones who spend the most time on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and similar platforms. These platforms confuse and frighten parents!

Do you know what social media platforms your teen is using?

According to the report, Common Sense Media, teens spend about 9 hours on entertainment media, including social media, games, and TV, every day. 

This means that teenagers spent more time with media and technology than with parents, school work, or physical activities. 

Parents probably ask themselves: “Will my child become addicted to video games? Will this ruin their ability to think for themselves? What happens if my child is cyberbullied or becomes one? Could an online predator harm my child? Will continual screen use diminish their ability to know how to socialize normally?”

As a Child and Family Therapist, I believe parents are right to ask these questions. The issue is how to get to the answers!

Our current world makes getting answers challenging. Before the pandemic, many parents banned social media, screen use, and cell phone ownership from children, including their teenagers. After the pandemic, many children were isolated from peers without any possible way to connect. Parents had no choice but to let their children go online to stem the growing anxiety and depression their children were experiencing from the isolation. During the pandemic, children were doing school online, but many parents discovered they were “multitasking” and playing games online or talking to friends via social media while participating in school. Being online, for school or social connection, is now a regular part of our lives. It isn’t going away anytime soon.

Why are we concerned? Studies show that social media and online video games reduce our effectiveness in understanding human emotion and create a barrier to communicating deeply. There is no substitute for face-to-face interaction. The more teens spend online, the more shallow their communication and empathy skills could be. The teen years is a crucial time for skills that will sustain them in adulthood and the right mix requires real face-to-face interaction along with screen time.

Mirror neurons underlie emotional empathy

Our brains use “mirror neurons” to understand others’ perspectives and emotions through an inner imitation of other people’s actions. These special neurons reproduce emotions and actions in ourselves. This can be outside of our awareness and contributes to “gut reactions” and inform us on knowing right from wrong. It is the key to developing empathy and compassion as our neurons mirror the pain witnessed in other people. When they feel it we feel it too.

Perhaps this is why cyberbullying has become such a problem with preteens and teenagers? Maybe they cannot feel the pain and suffering of the peers they are tormenting. Without that feedback loop, they lose the natural conscience we need in social situations. Mirror neurons are also a prime component of learning, and this might account for the massive drop in school grades and homework performance. There is more to learning than facts and information. The joy of learning and the social connections that physical schools provide are a necessary part of a teens social emotional growth.

Of course, not all teens are engaged in cyberbullying or looking at inappropriate content. Many really just want to have fun and connect with peers. Teens can learn valuable things online. Additionally, many teens have found groups that support and encourage them through unique challenges in life situations, like mental health or artistic/cultural pursuits. This can’t always be found in our local community. Balance is needed and parents may need to help teens find the good and minimize the bad.

Here are some tips to help you learn more about your teen’s social media interactions and help them if necessary:

Give yourself permission, as the parent, to ask your child about concerns they have or problems they have experienced. Maybe your teen never tells you anything because you never ask, or perhaps you ask in an anxious and condemning way. Don’t assume wrongdoing but don’t be in denial either. 

If your teen gives you some pushback, don’t get offended when asked about social media use. These are normal human defenses. Just reassure them that you don’t believe they are doing something wrong but that you are curious and want to know more about social media and how it all works. Be curious and open-minded.

Get on social media yourself and learn how it works. Don’t depend on your teen to tell you everything or tell the right things. You can discover it yourself. I recommend parents friend or link to your child on various social media platforms – even though if they might think it weird. If they know you are online too and can see their content, they might think twice before posting something inappropriate. Sometimes being POTS (parent over the shoulder) has its benefits.

Parenting teens on social media might feel like the old adage: “If you can’t beat them, join them,” and that is exactly what this is…You can’t beat them, so you better join them in the online world!

If you have concerns about what your child is doing or they actively resist you finding out what they are posting or doing or who their friends are, that could be a red flag to pay attention to. Don’t go all “hair on fire” on them. Just note your concern and firmly investigate further. Don’t let a their resistance deter you. Ask questions of them, their friends, their friend’s parents, and look at their media on their devices when they sit them down. Yeah, they will get annoyed. They will live. 

I tell parents, who have real concerns about their children’s social media use, insist on having all passwords, account names and even stalk them online! Sounds harsh? It is better to have an irritated teen than an exploited one or one in deep trouble with the school or law. Even the most innocent child can get caught up in things way beyond their developmental capacity to deal with…I have seen it happen many times over. Many teens have hidden accounts, back up phone in case you take theirs, borrow their friends phone, etc.

You can take a social media fast for the entire family

You are allowed to remove all devices if needed. They may have been gifts to your child, but that gift was intended to be used correctly and safely. As a side note, many teens who lose their devices start finding more outside entertainment or real world social interactions to engage in…they frequently come out of their rooms and talk to parents. Wow, so strange, but true.

Because of this fact, take a “social media fast” for the whole family from time to time. Ban all social media and screen use for a day or a weekend. Provide lots of fun alternatives and food. Food is always helpful! Once you get past the grumbling, the home atmosphere might become more positive. 

Don’t focus so much on controlling the child as managing the media. Shaming and condemning don’t get positive results, and children can seek revenge. Be respectful but firm, loving but insistent. Tell them you are removing the devices because THEY are causing too many problems or distractions. You just want to help the ENTIRE family find a better focus and social interaction, not just the teenager, right?

Make discussions about the world and its problem a regular thing. Teenagers want and need support, and they don’t have adult wisdom and experience to manage life’s difficulties. You have to open the space to have these conversations. It may be awkward at first, but making them a normal car-ride conversation or over an after-school snack can open your child up to share their fears, anxiety, and needs. 

Parents of teens cannot effectively use control to manage them. You have to use influence if you want to have a lasting effect. Your goal for this developmental stage is to train them for adulthood. It’s only a few years away. If you tell them what to do all the time versus helping them with the best solution and sometimes experience the negative consequences of life, they won’t be ready. 

Parenting a teen is like when your child learned to walk. You couldn’t catch them every time but had to let them stumble and fall on occasions. You protected them against any serious threats (sharp objects, going into the street), but you cautiously walked alongside, encouraging and cheering on their successful steps until walking was natural. You can do this for social media and screen use too. Walk alongside them. Protect but don’t smother them. Steer them in the right direction and remove them from obvious dangerous situations. Bring a balance of off-screen activities to the family. And in the end, they will protect themselves, and be better human beings.

6 Tips for Better Relationships Today!

There are some things we can do in all our relationships to build and maintain strong bonds. This is true because underneath all our differences, likes, dislikes, and biases, we are all human beings who desire social connections. The tips below should be used in all your relationships to form bonds that will stand the test of time.

  1. Be appreciative

This might mean different things in different relationships, but the overarching sentiment is the same. When they do something kind for you or take the time to support you when you need it, be appreciative – acknowledge their care and concern.

2. Spend time together

It can be hard to find time to get together when we are all so busy, but it’s important for all relationships. If necessary, set up a standing appointment so that it just automatically happens. This makes sure it happens because you will get used to scheduling other things around it. 

3. Communicate honestly

Sometimes you may be tempted to bend the truth to avoid conflict, but your relationships will be much healthier overall if honesty is held in high regard. It’s possible, to be honest without being brutal. Choose your words carefully and be as diplomatic as possible, while still sharing your feelings openly and honestly.

4. Forgive faults

Forgive them for their eccentricities and annoying habits, and also forgive yourself for any mistakes you make. We all have faults and shortcomings that we bring with us into any relationship. Sometimes to keep the relationship strong, we need to just come to the conclusion that their presence in our lives is more important than the little habits that drive us crazy.

5. Support them

Intermingled between all the good times, there will surely be times when the other person could use a helping hand. Whether it’s helping them move, taking them dinner when a loved one has passed or being a sounding board for a difficult decision, any relationship worth having requires some TLC. And the other person deserves it, just as you do when you need it from them.

6. Do unto others

It’s just a good idea to always live by the Golden Rule, but it’s especially true in relationships that are important to us. If you wonder if something you might do is likely to upset them, chances are it’s better to talk to them about it first. Wouldn’t you want them to do the same for you? It’s better to err on the side of caution.

Get deeper relational repair with Ron Huxley. Schedule an online appointment today: Click here now!

Feeling Hurt, Stuck, Shame?

When you have experienced trauma, anything can cause emotional pain: a word, glance, or reaction. We have all experienced this in life but it can be more intense and overwhelming for people who have been traumatized.

This hurt causes an inner wound that alters how we process information from people and the world around us. In the field of Attachment Research, John Bowlby, the father of Attachment Theory, states that our experiences in life become an “Internal Working Model.”

The model is “internal” because it is in the thoughts, emotions, and memories. It is “working” because, while profound and resistant to change, it can change through new life experiences that result in further “models” of the self, others, and the world.

Sometimes new experiences hit blockages in our minds. Our minds are habit machines that like familiarity, even if it is unhealthy or chaotic. The mind equates familiar with safe!

We can become aware that we are in the way of our healing, stuck to know how to move past our own blocking beliefs or models of how life is…we want to trust others but just can’t. We want to love ourselves more and engage in self-care, but we continue to stay busy and put ourselves down. We need to set boundaries in relationships but continue to say yes when we should say no.

To facilitate healing in our lives, we have to remove the blocking beliefs. Several healing practices let go or release blocking beliefs. Examples include EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique or Tapping), and Forgiveness Work are evidence-based practices designed to help people work through anxiety, trauma, and stuck emotions.

Ron Huxley, a trauma trainer and therapist uses three healing strategies to help people form new Internal Working Models and get “unstuck.” The first healing strategy is to calm down the brain and nervous system. This strategy allows the autonomic nervous system to balance the parasympathetic (rest and digest) and sympathetic (energizing stress) systems. There is a time for both, but most of us overuse the sympathetic system in our modern stressed-ruled society. Our bodies and minds are not designed for long-term stress responses. It will break down the immune system, create dissociative thinking, and dysregulate emotional circuits. The results on relationships can be devastating.

The second healing strategy is to build new skills and competencies. Couples in conflict want to learn communication skills to improve their relationship. Although essential, if they have not worked on the first healing strategy and created a safe space for themselves and their partner, new skills won’t make a lasting difference.

Once a sense of safety is created, new skills that enhance the brain’s executive functioning come forward. Executive functioning skills include self-control, impulse control, sense of self, reading social cues, planning, organization, follow-through, focused attention, and time management. Often, security is all relationships need to see self, others, and the world differently. The skills might already be in place but weren’t expressed due to overriding survival needs.

The third healing strategy is deepening relationships. Once security is in place and new skills practices, we have to sustain this progress. We can rest on the fact that we have made a shift in our internal working model. We have to live it and face new challenges that might require new elements of the model. Old blocking beliefs might pop up, or triggers threaten to return us to old patterns of behavior. All three strategies may have to be revisited to stay unstuck and live in emotional freedom.

Get more tools for healing at FamilyHealer.tv or sign up for a session with Ron Huxley today.

What If Your Feelings Could Talk?

Sadness might be telling you it is time to cry. Loneliness might be telling you of a need for connection.
Shame might be telling you to increase self-compassion.
Resentment is talking about people (or self) you need to forgive.
Emptiness may be sharing a desire for more creativity.
Anger could be trying to tell you to add more boundaries in life.
Anxiety could be telling you to breathe more, or at least exhale!
Stress might be telling you to slow down and take one step at a time.

Feelings are often untrusted physical and emotional sensations that can lead us to make impulsive, irrational decisions. But I believe this is more due to our mis-understandings of them than their inherent deceptiveness.


We are taught, from childhood, to stuff our feelings and keep them under control. How are we then able to partner with them for greater emotional intelligence in later life?


Most men funnel all their emotions into their anger. Anger is respected and awarded to men in most cultures. They are told to “man up” or “keep a stiff upper lip” when it comes to other emotions.


The consequences of squelching emotions are poor communication that stonewalls relationships, increases disease risk, and destroys self-esteem and personal worth. The answer is to begin making friends with our emotions and see them as messengers who provide you with wisdom for life’s journey.


Start learning the vocabulary of emotions. Most men in couples therapy appear to have no capacity for emotions or refuse to comply with the therapist’s and partners’ requests to share feelings. The real problem is lack of competency, not compliance. They don’t know the words. When men are presented with a list of feelings words to describe what they are experiencing, they can share a dozen real emotions.


Why could they share their emotions when they have a list but couldn’t come up with it when asked in the “heat” of the interaction with the therapist or partner? Often, it is simply a lack of practice recognizing their feelings.

TIPS FOR MAKING FRIENDS WITH FEELINGS:


Allow your feelings to be neutral. Think of them as messengers designed to help you interpreting information from the sensory world. Our bodies are not machines but complex information processing systems. They are your “gut instincts” that can guide you through complex situations.

When your feelings are your enemies, you will be in a continual “fight or flight” state. Creative problem solving shuts down in this hyper-response situation. Conscious thought is powerful but slow. The body/brain system is rapid and responsive but will hijack you every time. Make friends with your feelings by practicing calming strategies.

Deep breathing is an easy way to connect with feelings. Science has proven that breathing in a pattern of longer exhales will bring almost instant relaxation. Try repeating a 4 second count for inhale and an 8 second count on exhales.This simple exercise engages the “vagus nerve” responsible for “rest and digest.”

Inhale on a 4 second count and exhale on a 8 second count.

Do this exercise as many times as you would like but most people start to feel more relaxed after two or three tries. Once you are feeling relaxed, check in with your body and notice what physical sensations and feelings are located in your body. Put you hand on this location and do the breathing exercise again. Allow the sensation or feeling to speak to you…what does your body need you to know? Maybe you are just sitting in a weird position and need to adjust yourself. You didn’t even realize you were sitting so oddly.

Start to journal your feelings and narrate what they are saying. Give them a name and watch when they show up in your daily life and how they are trying to help guide you with some wisdom. What happens when you listen or ignore them? Where the consequences helpful or harmful? Use a feeling wheel or chart to build your emotional vocabulary. Practice using feeling words in your communication with the simple script of “I feel X when Y happens.”

Thank your feelings for coming to your aid. I know, it sounds weird to talk to your feelings but they will show up in the wrong ways at the wrong time if you ignore them…Start by making friends today and learn to hear the important messages they are trying to tell you.


Learn more techniques for regulation and resiliency in our TraumaToolbox.com ecourse or connect with Ron Huxley for a session today.