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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

FEAR BASED LIVING

by Kim Ottinger, MA, LPC, ATR-BC
Your Soul Therapy Associate

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Exploring your fear

What is it there for? What is it’s purpose???

Fear, as does every emotion, serves human as an indicator or reminder. Emotions have evolved to help humans survive, emotions navigate us towards healthy behaviors and connection with others. Without connection with others, we would not survive in many environments. For example, happiness rewards us for doing something that is healthy or good for us. Guilt reminds us not to do something hurtful to others thus keeping us connected.

What is the point of my fear?

Your fear and anxiety keeps you safe from danger. The trouble is your human mind is always set on problem solving. You don’t need to focus on problems you have solved or successful experiences as you have already succeeded. But when a problem arises, your mind goes into problem solving mode and you begin to ruminate on an issue, whether it is solvable, in the past, present, or future.

When there is no solution to a problem or you have already made a mistake you get stuck and spend hour upon hour thinking through the problem, your brain believing it necessary to solve the problem to survive. However, most likely you will survive, the problem is not solvable, and worrying will not help you through the issue.

How many hours would you have free to use for more positive thinking if you were not living in fear based thought?

Why not choose to be brave, release your worry and use your time to pursue your dreams or take care of yourself.

Explore the fear. Come face to face with it. It won’t hurt you. Then…

Thank your fear for giving you a head’s up about that possible negative outcome or the past mistake you want to avoid. Then give your fear a hug and say goodbye to that anxiety. Pursue your passion, learn something new, occupy your mind with something that makes you feel good. 

Your Soul Therapy is a support and resource for you.  You can subscribe to our newsletter.  To schedule a counseling or art therapy appointment in Washington, DC with Kim Ottinger email kim@yoursoultherapy.com or call (240) 480-0152

Should We Share Our Relationship Stories?

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Whether you are single in the city, dating, partnered, married, or divorced, you most likely are an expert storyteller about your relationship(s)or lack their of. With friends, some family members, and even choice colleagues, your relationship stories may be sprinkled with a mix of humor, sarcasm, and disbelief. While the laughter or shock factor keeps things light, this level of storytelling doesn’t reveal any fears about relationships, intimacy or you. Part of us holds onto the idea that “this (experience) will make a good story.” This notion protects one from feeling or thinking about why your relationship isn’t working or why you’ve been on endless OKCupid,match.com, Tinder, JDate.com, eHarmony, or speed dates without finding any lasting connections.

At some point during the ups and downs of being single, dating, or partnered, most of us will have had our fears about life, others, or ourselves exposed. Our inner dialogues, banter and stories about our relationships are most likely too painful to share.

Many people tell the story that all of the data points in their life reveal a singular – capitol “T” – TRUTH. The data points show that they are (the only one) not worthy of a being in or having a real relationship. Our inner stories are often not shared because we believe that everyone else around us has it figured out or is doing it better than we are.

When we want to reach out for real support, sometimes we are at a loss. What we are wanting is be met with empathy to be seen for our humanness. However sometimes, we are judged, blamed or shamed for our struggle or story.

Learning who has the right to hear our story is an invaluable skill. Below, I share a few tips of when to share or not share your story.

When Should I Share My Story?

Consider friends or family in your life. Out of this group, who takes you as you are, accepting or loving you for all of your strengths or struggles. Often, there may be 1-2 people in our lives, who fit this description. You trust them. These are the people, who are able to hear your story or your struggle and respond with empathy. When you do choose to reach out to them to check in about the inner story you are telling, you feel more connected because they meet you where you are. They may not know your specific relationship struggle, but they connect with you from a deeper place of knowing a painful struggle in their own life but they don’t make the conversation about themselves. The offer feedback when you request it. Their feedback is nonjudgmental. They are willing to sit with you in your struggle knowing they can’t take the pain away, but they share that they will there for you. Practicing reaching out to this type of person can be helpful to manage the pain and disappointment that comes with relationships. This takes both vulnerability and courage.

When Shouldn’t I Share My Story?

Think about the people in your life you have been sharing either the internal version or external version of your story. If after sharing either version of your story, you were met with unsolicited: feedback, solutions, advice, sympathy, sarcasm, judgement, blame, or shame, you may want to consider not sharing with them in the future. Those responses are disconnecting on many levels. We feel disconnected from the responder, from ourselves and even at times from our sense of worthiness. It often time unsolicited feedback and responses further fuels the data points that detail our inner story, tapping into our worst fears around feeling unlovable or that we will never belong. Learning to set clear and healthy boundaries is essential. This will support you in not sharing your story or struggle with people who judge, blame or shame you.

Between the stories we tell ourselves and the stories we tell others, navigating relationships can be challenging. I highly recommend the following books to support you on your relationship journey.

Beattie, M. (1987). Codependent no more: How to stop controlling others and start caring for yourself.

Brown, B. (2012). Daring greatly: How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead. New York: Gotham Books.

Chödrön, P. (2000). When things fall apart: Heart advice for difficult times. Boston: Shambhala.

Johnson, S. M. (2008). Hold me tight: Seven conversations for a lifetime of love. New York: Little, Brown & Co.

If you are ready to create a new story around relationships or need help navigating them, call Amy at 202.540.076 or email her at amy@amytatsumi.com for a psychotherapy free 20 minute consultation today.