Author Archives: gftadmin

Understanding What is Underneath Self Sabotage…

Getting out of our own way is required to heal from the instinct and behaviour of Self Sabotage!

Self sabotage can be a way we attempt to protect ourselves from further despair or hurt. When in reality we end up creating increased amounts of pain and suffering for ourselves to miss out on opportunities or experiences. This is often due to fear of the unknown (and the idea of something that feels out of our control).

We need to understand the underlying reason (the unmet need) that exists for why the self sabotage exists in the first place.

Awareness: What is your ambivalence? —What are you being pushed and pulled from?

Challenging yourself: What are you trying to protect yourself from? —- What part of you is active in fear?—- What is preventing you from feeling safe in the uncomfortable?

Equitable Households…

The idea of living life with a partner where you are both doing 50-50 in all aspects is not realistic. That can be a harsh statement to read and feel seen in. You may be stressed and overwhelmed currently (or have been for some time) and have had continuous conversations with your partner of needing help or have been unsure how to start the conversation and ask for what you are needing (could also be coming from a place of unsure of what you are needing).

What I am meaning by 50-50 being unrealistic is that equal is not the goal, having an equitable household is. However, one partner doing 90-100 % of the household management isn’t realistic for a long-term healthy family dynamic. Establishing balance and understanding is key.

A great resource/book ‘Fair Play’ by Eve Rodsky speaks to the rebalancing of the household cards/tasks we hold within our family units (with or without kids). This can be a helpful learning experience and game to get to know your partner on a different level. It speaks to understanding the core values you each have and what the full task of each household responsibility needs to look like.

This game forces and guides us to have the conversations we may not have the words to start. It gives ques to understand what’s important to you and why, as well as your partner’s priorities.

The Bitter and The Sweet…

This time of year —-January is known as the longest, darkest, and often coldest month of the year within Canada. Sometimes within the darkness it’s hard to hold space for the appreciation of the quiet, freshness, and stillness.

The theme of ‘bittersweetness’ can be such an important and helpful reminder for our state of mind. If we go through life only acknowledging the dark, the heavy, and uncomfortable we live in that state alone. If we see the dark and the light, the heavy and the effortless, and the uncomfortable and the comfortable we regain connectedness. We need to see both sides in order to fully experience life. We seek out the positive and often don’t realize what the other side has to offer us.

We need both sides; the positive with the negative.

Take a moment today and see both. The darkness and light. The heavy and effortless. The uncomfortable and the comfort.

“Everything that you love, you will eventually lose. But in the end, love will return in a different form.”— Susan Cain, Bittersweet.

The Impacts of Our Automatic Responses—

We all have a hard-wiring within our brains that has been written from our development, genetics, experiences, and knowledge base. These four areas shape our understanding and create an automatic response that occurs prior to our brain even registering a reaction (our defaults). Understanding and noticing these automatic responses to situations allows us to further understand our thinking patterns and emotional comprehension. This ultimately allows us to connect both with ourselves and others.

Let’s challenge ourselves to notice these automatic responses (especially when this time of year brings increase stress levels within our environment—- even though some of the added stress that comes with the holidays is a positive our bodies automatic response can get in the way of our understanding of the excitement vs negative stress, which results in us falsely seeing something as a threat).

1. Take frequent pauses prior to social situations beginning to understand what your expectations of the event are.
2. What is my internal judgement (and fears) of the individuals that will be present?
3. What are my needs; to remain safe in this social situation (knowing the exists, giving myself a script for certain questions I worry that will be asked, etc)?

Taking the time to “check-in” with ourselves in these intentional ways gives us the ability to notice our automatic responses. This allows us to course correct to an alternate response that better suits our needs based upon the different situations.

Trusting our Gut Instinct and Intuition…

“Trust your instincts, Intuition doesn’t lie.” Oprah Winfrey

Trauma often disconnects us from our inner workings of what we need in certain situations. Resulting in us disconnecting from ourselves and putting ourselves into increasingly risky situations. IE: not trusting our gut instinct when it’s telling you to leave the conversation you are in (because that would be rude) or choosing to not sit next to an individual on public transit and stand instead (as that would be rude or offensive).

Allowing ourselves to hear our gut instinct is an indicator of healing from our trauma. We start to develop internal safety and trust through restoring that communication line. We can start this process by:

1. Being in touch with our inner desires and voice.
2. Being curious as to what your body is telling you and why.

Grief—The Inner Beast of a Human Experience

There is a strong (and damaging) myth when it comes to grief “time heals everything; and as time passes, you’ll heal, and it gets easier.” Those phrases are well meaning but very inaccurate. As time passes parts of the grief shift, memories refocus, meaning from their life is created and honoured, and emotions become processed. Grief is a unique beast within the human experience—- we all go through it, as we all experience loss, and yet we never experience the same loss as another person (even if we both lost a sibling, parent, spouse, child, etc.).

Be kind with yourself and catch those moments of comparison to others lived experience of grief and turn that inward—- Refocus yourself too: How far have you come in your personal grief story? Focus on that comparison. As I’m a firm believer that, this is the only form of comparison that is productive and supportive.

Building Connection with your Partner: Through the Concept of ‘Turning Towards’

Reflection thoughts from: “The Love Prescription: Seven Days to More Intimacy, Connection, and Joy” Written by: John Gottman and Julie Schwartz -Gottman

Our inner narratives can get in our way of truly loving and receiving love. Unpacking that narrative to truly see what the negative and positive cognitions you are holding, is so important within this process towards understanding (and ultimately healing). Some cognitions you might want to check in on are do you feel: You are you worthy of love? Worthy of self-love? Deserving of love? Good enough?

We are geared for connection as humans; and we need to invest into connections for them to be successful. This reflection work of our romantic relationships will give us the answers of how much we have invested into them, how much more is needed, and what we need (tools, support, etc) to accomplish the work towards a successful connection.

In partnerships we often can get stuck on talking about time (“there is no time,” “I don’t know where to schedule in the time,” etc). ——Time isn’t this pressure filled reality we believe it to be. We don’t need to be spending 20 plus hours together a week, or any set amount for that matter, with our partners——small moments are the most valuable. The concept of “Turning towards” (as described within the Gottman’s work) can take a few seconds to validated and make our partners feel seen, heard, and valued. Examples of this are: when your partner starts a conversation by asking a question or making a comment, physically turn towards them and lean into it. Give them a response, answer the question fully, ask if they got the information they required, validate their comment. Simple moments equal connection.

If we become aware of the opportunities for connection with our partners and then build habits with them, once we master these two very key concepts we assure that our partners are feeling seen, heard, and valued.

The Realities of Managing Stress…

The beautiful work within ‘Burn Out’- By Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski; They speak to the realities of stress within our lives and the impacts that it has on our overall well-being. Their research focused on a new vantage point of stress and didn’t focus on the specifics of the situations that create our stress points. They highlight that —of course in circumstances that we have control over preventing a stressful situation from occurring we should do that, otherwise they provided insight to how can we adapt and learn to productively survive stress when we must go through it. — That is where their ‘completing the stress cycle’ approach becomes a fundamental requirement for us to positively care for our overall well-being.

Completing the Stress Cycle can occur in so many ways:

1. Physical Movement: Focus on moving your body (dancing it out, shaking your body, fast-paced walking, etc).
2. Creativity: Making something new (craft, art, music, writing, humming, etc).
3. Laughing: Moves the mindset (even when forced to start), provides a release and can be even more beneficial when sharing laughter with someone.
4. Crying: Expressing the emotion, sitting with it, and releasing it.
5. Physical affection: Hugging (for a prolonged period—ie: 2 minutes or longer), holding hands, sitting close to those that are a safe connection for you.
6. Deep breathing: Trying a variety of different breathing techniques—Box breathing, 4-4 breathing, etc. Having the focus being on the breath.

Communication Approaches

It’s important for us to reflect upon how we communicate. What is our communication style? What is our intention of the specific communication? What is the expectation of the person I’m communicating with? What is my need within the communication itself? If we define clear answers to these questions we can effective improve our communication abilities within all our relationships (personal and professional).

Realizing and acknowledging that we can only control our own actions. Through this approach we can set boundaries within our communication to ensure we are heard, understood, and the other individuals on the other side of the communication are respected. This can effectively reduce defence mechanisms on both sides of the equation.

Living for Yourself

Within the book Burn Out- By Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski; They speak to an important concept of the ‘Human Giver Syndrome.’ This concept highlights the methodology that society feeds off the belief that we (especially women) have a “moral obligation to give your entire humanity and do so cheerfully.” It is the belief of:

1. ‘Owing’ something to all those relationships around you.
2. That any ‘failure’ of being kind, calm, self-less is a failure of you being a human.
3. That ‘failure’ is deserving of harsh punishments—resulting in negative cognitions.

The damage that the ‘Human Giver Syndrome’ creates is a barrier that ultimately stops you from pursuing a larger meaning in life. It stops us from believing in ourselves and taking risks, putting ourselves first, and active problem solving that looks out for our best interest. As the ‘Human Giver Syndrome’ forces us to live a life for others, not ourselves.

Take a few moments to reflect if this represents you in any way, if it does take some active steps today to start living for YOU.