shoulds

When a Superwoman Falls

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If a superhero falls in the forest, is she still a superhero?

So many of us are in pain, lonely pain. When we feel pain, we are taught to hide it as it might be shameful to share any perceived flaws or struggles. We take on blame for the pain and isolate ourselves from those that care for us the most. Our culture emphasizes independence as a source of personal value, rather than interdependency.

What would a superwoman do if she fell into a depression or a loss? Would she share her struggles and reach out for help? Would her imperfections cause her to be seen and valued as something less than a superhero? Would she do what she could to recover in her own space to shield herself from others’ judgment and her own shame?

I have to imagine that she would be hesitant to reach out given how tied her identity is to her image to the public. Her profession makes it difficult for her to appear anything less than perfect. In fact, if she lost to a villain in a fight, she could probably loss her superhero title, right?

And aren’t we all – us women – just a bunch of superwoman wannabes? We’ve been taught to do it all and don’t forget the smile. Conquer the masculine world of success and achievement in careers, have family, support partner, take care of parents, learn and grow all the while. All great things, and so is superwoman’s fall.

Truth is we all fall at times and I believe that not only is the fall a good thing, it is actually an important part of our feminine nature which fuels feminine growth. Our descents into the abyss of our emotions and our shadow can sometimes take years and seem like they will never end. Fortunately, they eventually pass and when we arise from the ashes of our previous selves, we have taken an enormous leap forward in our spiritual maturity and wisdom. In order to come out of our isolative descent, we must realize the importance of our feminine tribe. We must trust that the women (and men) that care about us in our lives want to be there to help the superwoman in each of us. Reaching out to them will not change their opinion of your superhero status, in fact they will remind you of your superpowers. And someday they will return the favor by sharing what their kryptonite is, if they haven’t yet.

I am not suggesting you share with everyone what your personal kryptonite is, just with a few close friends that you know will support you no matter what. If you don’t have them, make them! Join a church community, a community service community, a support group, or a workout community. Intentionally pick out your superhero support team and reach out. Trust that you need them to help you out of the descent and they will be there best as they can be.

Perfect is being brave enough to reach out for support in our struggles and to reach our for celebration for our successes. Even superheros need support.

To the superwoman in us all,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, EMDR, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows how to support your inner superwoman in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

FEELING GOOD ENOUGH

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When you don’t feel good enough it can color your daily life, from your career to your romantic relationships to your mood. Everything can be impacted by this one belief about yourself – I am not good enough. Inevitably it comes up with each and every client I work with. In some way, we all feel not good enough. Some space in us feels deficit – we aren’t funny enough or pretty enough or smart enough, the list goes on. What do you do with deficits? You fill up the holes with something positive right? Let’s talk about filling your not-good-enough deficits with something positive.

Not-good-enough comes from our childhood experiences. Often we know logically and have evidence that we are good enough in whatever deficit we are feeling and just can’t seem to shake that belief. For example, Helena may be a highly successful lawyer and still feel like she have no value as a person and still feels she is not achieving enough. This comes from a childhood emphasis, from her parents, on the importance of achievement and deficit in the value of other needs. Perhaps this her parents were stressed the importance of financial stability and power, always being right. However, her parents spent little time playing with her or spending time on vacations. Likely Helena will grow up to be a high achiever and will spend little time doing recreational activities. When she does go take days off she feels guilty and depressed. No matter how hard she works, she still feels she needs to work harder. Whenever she makes a mistake, she feels shame.

Children need many things to be role modeled and taught for them. It is almost impossible for parents to meet every need for their children, especially in this achievement and independence driven culture. Additionally, some people are just better at certain skills and have a higher capacity for certain things. Some parents cannot provide enough attention for some of their children’s needs due to their own limitations.

Inevitably, each one of us has unmet needs that benefit from being addressed. What unmet needs do you have? Perhaps you didn’t learn about finances, you needed more physical attention; maybe you needed more positive encouragement in order to feel confident; maybe your parents were not well attuned to your emotional needs. At times we adapt to these missing needs with resiliency and find beneficial ways to cope with the unmet needs. Other times these missing needs lead to us limiting ourselves because we do not know how to meet that need or even self-sabotaging due to fear of failure or feeling as if we don’t deserve to meet the need (based on implicitly receiving this message as a child).

Addressing this in my work with clients involves three steps:

  1. Identify the missing need
  2. Process and grieve the pain associated with the missing need
  3. Find a new way to meet the need now

Once we find the missing need, we can process it. It is vital to experience the pain and grieve the associated losses in order to move forward. That is where the therapist can come in to provide a safe space for that process.

Finally, we can then find a way for you to meet that unmet need. If you didn’t get to play as a child, we will play and you will have homework assignments to play. If you didn’t learn about finances, we will discuss finances. If you learned that value is based on achievement, than we will experiment with meditation and activities that are about just being and not doing. We get to explore and learn together. Often this process can be very spiritually enlightening as an adult. Getting to learn something and take ownership of your own abundance as an adult is a powerful and nurturing experience.

To feeling good enough,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows how to guide you to feeling good enough in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

The Myth of Laziness – 4 STEPS TO MOTIVATE YOURSELF IN YOUR CAREER LIFE

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“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting” 

– The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

Do you often label yourself as LAZY? Do you feel like a FRAUD at work?

Do you find yourself needing to hyper focus for several hours a day at work just to get it done, and then you become distracted by social media, reading article upon article on news and entertainment, or better yet, Tetris.  As you count the hours you ACTUALLY WORK at work, you notice a trend of many many seemingly wasted hours. You feel that you should be feeling thankful for a job that is well paying and high up the ladder, yet you find yourself feeling lazy.

Perhaps you’re lack of focus and laziness is something else.

Maybe your bouts of hyper focus and laziness are more about a lack of interest in your work, need for a challenge, and a need to escape. Often, when we are not stimulated enough, we become uninterested, unmotivated. So we need more stimulation and challenge. If you imagine yourself in a job you love and are passionate about, do you see yourself often escaping to Tetris and social media, or will you be too busy and focused on building your dream to be concerned with time wasters?

Or maybe you feel motivated by your sense of self-worth. Very often we are driven by a need to feel “good enough” rather than a wish to be self-compassionate and live out our personal dreams. This wish to be “good enough” is integrated into our sense of self-worth at a very young age and is difficult to consciously see. Take a moment and notice, DO YOU TAKE ACTION TO FULFILL YOUR DREAMS AND NOURISH YOUR SOUL OR DO YOU DO IN ORDER TO FEEL GOOD ENOUGH AND AVOID FAILURE?

Let’s recategorize your laziness to domains a) lack of motivation and b) a need to escape some aspect of your work environment and c) a need for dreams, challenges, and stimulation. Filling the different domains of your life with fulfilling, soul nourishing activities are the seeds to growing joy and contentment in your moment to moment and lifelong path.

Here are some basic ways to start building motivation, taking steps towards a life in which you will no longer label yourself as lazy. A life in which it is possible to enjoy, be financially supported by, and feel fulfilled by your career. Listen to your heart space and intuition – embrace your dreams.

1 Identify a Long Term Vision. 

Create a list of all the career goals you want to achieve in your life (as we are talking about career aspirations, we will focus on this, though you may substitute career goals with other types of goals and/or values). Examples include helping others, leadership roles, owning a business, charitable donations, discovery, traveling, financial stability, creative endeavors, etc. Take no more than 5 minutes to narrow your goals to no more than 3 using your gut. Write out your 3 top goals on a piece of paper.

2 Vision and Visualize

Place your goals in a place you can see daily and every morning allow your mind to come back to this vision and further flush it out. Take time here and there to meditate on it and visualize the details and concrete vision of this future career path. Perhaps it lines up with your current career, or maybe it is very different.

3 Materialize your Vision

Create a plan for action. What steps will you take to work towards this goal? Networking, workplace interviews, research, consultation calls? Daily life will continually try to get in the way of your dreams, you will have to make some time and space to materialize your vision. Allow the plan to be loose yet be committed. If you are unable to meet deadlines you set for yourself, be compassionate and continue to work towards your vision. Notice your blocks, pursue support to move past blocks, ask for help rather than self-sabotaging.

4 Check in with your Self-Talk 

Notice how your self-talk has changed now that you are working towards a dream. When you feed your soul – the energy resonates, and reverberates. You will see the difference this makes in your internal world as well as your external, your soul nourishing energy will magnetize to those with similar presence. You deserve to make your dream a reality.

I know this plan works because it is my reality. With some dreaming, visioning, hard work, and trust in divine power, I am now living my dreams and more. I love my work, I feel joyful when I arrive at my office, financially stable, and feel highly fulfilled by my work on a soul level. I share my experiences with my clients, generosity plus boundaries breeds joy. I am honored to help you manifest your dreams. 

 

To dreaming & living big,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, or sensoriotor therapy or to explore a career transition in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

STEPPING OUT OF THE STORY

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I know my old story.

It is :: I AM BROKEN.

And even before that it is :: I AM NOT WORTHY.

The stigma of having been divorced, the first of my friends and in my age group to do so, often bites at my heals, begging for me to pick it up and ride the downward spiral of WHAT IFs and SHOULDS. 

What if I tried harder to make the relationship work?
What if I wasn’t tolerant enough of my husband’s behavior?
What if I had staged an intervention?

I should have been able to see it sooner and leave…I wasted so many years.

I should have known, as a therapist, what my husband’s issues and my issues were.

I should have been able to help myself.

I should be married with children now.

And then the WHYs come parading into my brain in an endless stream of existential confusion.

Why have I been given this life?
Why must I go through these trials?
Why can’t I have the family I dreamed of as a child?
Why do they teach us fairy tales as children if that is not the script of reality?
Why didn’t anyone see what was wrong and tell me to leave the relationship?
Why can’t I get it right?

How long have I held this belief of unworthiness? Where did it start? Why is it so hard to shake?

I get lost in the story and forget to breathe. I look at the clock and I see how much precious time I have wasted trying to figure out an answer to the uncertainty of life. The unsolvable.

Then I melt into the embrace of unknowing and uncertainty, gratitude towards my path, trusting that I am headed in the direction I am supposed to be going. The anxiety and groundlessness ends as I sink into my feet, allowing the energy to disperse throughout my limbs and trunk, loosening my grip physically and mentally. I take a few moments to notice the peace I am currently surrounded by, the smell, the image, the sounds. I send an energetic bow of thanks to the universe for giving me the journey I am on, appreciating the highs and lows, the experience as a whole.

To say it no longer hits me would be a lie. I can, with strong conviction, assert that it hits me much less often and for short increments of time before I identify it, kiss it, and say goodbye. I trust my path. Only with time and practice have I learned to tune into this power, my power, my own intuition drawn from my feminine divine energy. 

I invite you to tune into your feminine divine energy to step out of your story when you can. To end the cycle of rumination over the unsolvable and unknowable and instead to tune into and be grateful for what you have now.

To tuning into the Divine Feminine in you, me & us,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute consultation for art therapy, talk therapy or sensorimotor psychotherapy to begin the process stepping out of the story, email kim@yoursoultherapy.com