Baby, You’re Worth It

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Loving yourself is a process.

Knowing your worth can be an even longer process. 

Sometimes a life long process.

But, I want you to know that you deserve to look at yourself in the mirror, or simply think about yourself, and feel pride and happiness, and WORTHINESS.

There are a few tips and tricks you can use to find love for yourself and to feel worthy. 

First: Make a pros and cons list. No one is perfect, so you will always find cons about you. BUT if you allow yourself to truly take stock, there will ALWAYS be pros! 

Second: Take a look at the cons list.

What is really there? Are they things about your body? Your personality? Your character?

If they are body image issues, I want you to ask yourself one question. Am I healthy? If the answer is yes, then throw a middle finger to society for setting an unreasonable standard.

If the answer is "I'm not sure", then set up an appointment to get a physical with your primary care doctor. You deserve to find out if it's society-based or if there are some changes that could potentially be made.

And if the answer is "No, I'm not healthy" then find the areas you need to make changes, and make ONE change a week. Decide to eat healthy once a day or decide to go for a walk once that week. Start small and set do-able goals. Don't focus on the end result because that will take time and we 100% live in an instant gratification world. Focus instead on the changes you are making. Most importantly, find an accountability buddy. We do better when we don't feel like we are alone in it (seriously science has proven this).

If they are character or personality quirks, I want you to ask yourself two questions: "Where is the evidence?" and "Does it make me a bad person?". 

It is absolutely so important to critically think about these types of cons. It's so easy to just list it as if it's fact without really giving ourselves the benefit of the doubt. 

Look at your con list and SHOW ME THE EVIDENCE (said in the voice of Tom Cruise from Jerry Maguire). 

I figured I would include the clip just in case you haven't seen it. Context matters, trust me. : ) 

Anyways, show me the evidence. Show me what you do, or think, or say that makes that an actual con. More importantly, show yourself. 

If you can't find the evidence, good chances are it's not really a con. We have this really great way of putting ourselves down for no good reason at all (and by really great I mean super terrible). 

If you can find evidence that it's a con, move on to the second question: "Does it make me a bad person?".

Again, it's so important to check yourself and your thoughts. I truly believe that what you feel is a con more than likely doesn't mean that you are a bad person. And if that's the case, can it truly be a con? Could it possibly mean that it's just your mind playing tricks with you?

If you ask yourself that question and you truly believe it makes you a bad person, then I want you to take that to someone you trust and check yourself with them. Good chances they will tell you that it doesn't make you a bad person. 

We don't always see ourselves clearly.

SIDE NOTE: 

Another REALLY important question to ask yourself here is "Is this con something I created or does it stem from something that was done to me?" 

We have a tendency to take the awful things that other people do to us and make it our fault. 

If this is the case I want you to scream right now, "IT'S NOT MY FAULT AND THIS IS NOT ME!!!!!". Seriously. Scream it now and who cares who hears you. Good chances are they need to hear it and Lord knows you need to say it! 

If for some reason they tell you that it does make you a bad person OR if you just truly feel that despite what anyone else says or thinks that it's a con, then let's make some changes. 

Just like earlier, start small and make do-able goals. 

The beautiful thing about life and humanity is that we have the power to choose who we are in ANY given moment. 

This means that you get an unlimited amount of moments to create and continue your own worth and self-love. 

Remember, give yourself the grace and mercy that you give others. 

I believe in you and am standing with you in your journey! 

Still don't believe it?

Call me...

I'll tell it to your beautiful, incredible, amazing, face. : ) 

 

What Is Wrong With Us?

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Sometimes, we can sense there is a problem in our relationship, but we aren't sure what it is. 

We feel disconnected, but it's hard to pinpoint how it got to this point and why we feel that way. 

Take this quiz to help you figure out what is happening in your relationship that helps you feel disconnected to your partner. 

From your viewpoint, is your partner accessible to you?

1. I can get my partner's attention easily. True or False

2. My partner is easy to connect with emotionally. True or False

3. My partner shows me that I come first with him/her. True or False

4. I am not feeling lonely or shut out in this relationship. True or False

5. I can share my deepest feelings with my partner. He/she will listen. True or False

From your viewpoint, is your partner responsive to you?

1. If I need connection and comfort, he/she will be there for me. True or False

2. My partner responds to signals that I need him/her to come close. True or False

3. I find I can lean on my partner when I am anxious or unsure. True or False

4. Even when we fight or disagree, I know that I am important to my partner and we will find a way to come together. True or False

5. If I need reassurance about how important I am to my partner, I can get it. True or False

Are you positively emotionally engaged with each other?

1. I feel very comfortable being close to, trusting my partner. True or False

2. I can confide in my partner about almost anything. True or False

3. I feel confident, even when we are apart, that we are connected to each other. True or False

4. I know that my partner cares about my joys, hurts, and fears. True or False

5. I feel safe enough to take emotional risks with my partner. True or False


If you answered False to any of these questions, then improvements to your relationship can be made. 

Take a look at the statements you answered False. 

Are any of them stacked in one particular section? Maybe you don't feel your partner is accessible (section one), responsive (section two), or emotionally engaged (section three) with you.

Begin to think about the interactions you have with your partner that make it possible for you to say false. 

What is your partner doing specifically? Yelling at you, Scoffing at you, Turning away from you, or something else?

What are you feeling in those moments? Anger, hurt, Lonely?

What are you thinking in those moments? They don't care, I don't matter to them, I'm failing them?

Begin to take the risk to talk to your partner about these hard thoughts and emotions.

The only way out of it is through it. 

You can do this, and I'm here to help. 

The Science of Love

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How many of you were told growing up to never rely on a man? 

 

 

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Women are often taught to become independent, to take care of themselves, to determinedly pursue their career, and to never rely on a man.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this.

I am the driven, determined, bold and strong career woman I am today because my mother encouraged me to do just those things. 

However, I truly believe that so many of us took "never rely on a man" a little too far. 

Somehow, it all got lost in translation and we learned that it wasn't safe to rely on men emotionally. 

Over the years, we began to protect ourselves. We closed ourselves off emotionally and climbed the stairs in the tower we built, never letting our hair down because it was too risky. 

I am here to free you of those walls.  

Sue Johnson, a leading expert in love and relationships, wrote that love shapes the brain. 

Science tells us that we are literally, biologically hardwired for love.

Our brain has billions of nerve cells. Each of these branch out on their own to reach out to nearby nerve cells. They are constantly talking to each other and sending signals that allow you to function properly. 

Research has shown that our brain creates more branches between nerve cells when we are emotionally engaged with others. When we are not, those little nerve tendrils don't branch out, and sometimes even shrink or die. 

Put simply, when we don't have emotional connections with others our brains literally wither and waste away, which means that we wither and waste away. 

Research has shown that when we are emotionally unavailable or closed off, we produce less oxytocin (the love hormone). When we are not producing much oxytocin, we are found to trust less, be more fearful, and have more anxiety. This literally causes us to spiral into a cycle because the more anxious and fearful we are, the more we close ourselves off, and the more we close ourselves off, the more fearful and anxious we are. And around and around it goes. 

The opposite it true, the more we emotionally engage with others, the more oxytocin is produced. As oxytocin is produced, we feel more trusting, safe, and relaxed. As we feel trusting and relaxed, the safer it feels to open ourselves up emotionally to the person we love, and the cycle continues. 

To take this a step further, scientists believe that oxytocin increases dopamine production. Dopamine is the chemical in your body responsible for you feeling happy. 

Let me put this together for you. If you open yourself up emotionally to another person, your brain's nerve cells will remain healthy and strong, this will also release oxytocin and dopamine into your body and cause you to feel safe, relaxed, and happy.  

THIS IS SCIENCE, Y'ALL. 

It is perfectly fine not to rely on a man financially. Go out there and slay. 

But do me a favor and begin to let those walls down and let people in. You need love and emotional engagement. Science says so. 

I know this can be easier said than done. So, if you find yourself not knowing how to really effectively emotionally engage with your partner, read these to help guide you through it. 

If you would like to read more on the science of romantic relationships, then get this book. 

If you are still struggling, then call me! I'll personally help you figure it all out. 

How Do You Fight?

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Every couple I meet with says the same statement in the first session, "We have no idea where to even begin."

Most of the time they say this because they have been disconnected or fighting for so long that there is SO much to tell. 

I usually ask them to think back to their most recent argument or moment of disconnection. 

I throw in "moment of disconnection" because I actually have couples who tell me they don't really fight. 

That may seem confusing.

It wouldn't surprise me if the thought that just went through your head was, "well then why are they even there?" 

I used to ask myself that same question in grad school, before I understood that couples don't have to fight to feel disconnected. 

I always begin each couples counseling journey by trying to identify the type of cycle they have fallen into.

Essentially, what's happening between them when they feel disconnected.

What I often find is the same thing happens over and over and over again, no matter what the "issue" is. 

There are three different types of cycles, or patterns, couples can fall in to: Protest-Withdraw, be loud to be heard, and avoid conflict at any cost.

Protest-Withdraw

This is the most common cycle couples find themselves in. 

In this cycle, one partner typically gets louder and presses the issue at hand while the other partner tries to keep the peace and begins to withdraw into themselves.

Protesting behavior can include complaining, questioning, criticizing, and even blaming. 

Withdrawing behaviors can include reasoning, defending, trying to smooth things over, or avoiding. Avoiding can take on many forms like not responding, yelling to shut the conversation down, or even walking away. 

The loop takes over by the protesting partner getting louder or more insistent when the withdrawing partner starts to shut-down, which causes the withdrawing partner to get quieter and more shut down, making the other partner protest even more, and around and around it goes. 

Be Loud To Be Heard

This pattern typically happens when both partners tend to protest in the cycle. Neither partner withdraws into themselves or away from the situation. 

Most couples describe their interactions as escalating quickly. Anger is readily shared on both sides and fights happen frequently. 

One partner might interrogate their loved one in an angry tone of voice and the other responds with angry accusations. The more they interrogate, the more they accuse, and the cycle continues, sometimes to explosive levels. 

Avoid Conflict At Any Cost

This cycle typically has two people who both engage in withdrawing behaviors. 

Basically, neither partner feels comfortable with conflict and they freeze each other out. 

One partner might be worried to make waves in the relationship and cause conflict. They don't want to upset their partner and so they constantly try to smooth things over when ripples come up. The other partner might see this as placating and may feel they aren't trusted enough to confide in. This is too painful so they get busy to avoid feeling that way. The cycle perpetuates itself by neither side ever feeling comfortable enough to share how they feel. 


Most of the time I can identify a couples cycle simply by starting with their most recent fight. From there, we can peel back the layers and discover what they are really feeling and how they act once those emotions come up. Change begins to happen once those vulnerable emotions like fear and sadness are talked about and shared with one another. 

Think about the last hard moment you had with your loved one. Can you identify your cycle?

If you can, you just took the first step! 

If not that's okay! Call me and I can help you figure it out. 

Date Night, Y'all!

NEVER STOP DATING EACH OTHER!

I don't care how long you have been dating, you can't ever stop working on your relationship. An aspect of that work is continuously dating one another. And honestly, sometimes figuring out date night is hard. After a while, you start to run out of ideas and it's harder to get creative. And let's face it, sometimes you're straight broke! Here is a big list of date night ideas for all budgets! Feel free to add you own to the comments section! 

Low Budget/No Budget

  • Go star gazing - The Perseid Meteor Shower is set to peak this year on August 12th!
  • Go to Costco or Sam's and try all the samples
  • Go Hiking 
  • Take a walk on your local green way
  • Go for a bike ride (No bikes? See if your area has bike sharing)
  • Get dressed up and go to expensive open houses
  • Build a home made slip and slide
  • Go to your local public library and check out a book you both can read together
  • Attend an event through your local public library or community center
  • Drive or walk around neighborhoods in your city you don't know well and see what's there (boutiques, restaurants, breweries, etc.)
  • Take advantage of free museum days in your area (Bank of America account holders are lucky because they already have those set up for you! Not a BOA Account holder? Check your bank to see what they offer). 
https://about.bankofamerica.com/en-us/what-guides-us/arts-and-culture.html#museums-on-us
  • Go to your local humane society and play with ALL the puppies! 
  • Find a movie screening or play in the park
  • Host an at home poker night (Hey you might even make money on this date!)
  • Play strip poker/chess/checkers... or if you aren't quite "there" in your relationship then play the opposite! Add on an article of clothing each time you lose
  • Go to a trivia night (Typically if you do well you will even get a gift card so you can come back and snack on your next date night!)
  • Go to your local used book store and find a video game you can play together
  • Feed the ducks at your local park (Don't use bread! It's bad for them. Switch to corn instead)
  • Go to the park and throw a frisbee or football
  • Build a blanket fort and snuggle while reading a book or watching your favorite show
  • Take a free DIY class at Lowe's or Home Depot
  • Have a board game night with or without friends
  • Go to yard sales or the flea market
  • Go dancing!
  • Go to your local coffee house or bar for live music night
  • Go to the mall and try all those weird samples kiosk workers keep trying to give you

Medium Budget

  • Go Roller Skating
  • Try Ice Skating
  • Sign up for a self-defense class together
  • Mark a location on your apple or google maps and search for restaurants in that area. Pick one neither of you have ever been to before
  • Go to a near by drive-in theater
  • Get an air bnb for the night. (Usually these are cheaper than hotels and you can find great lofts in the heart of the city!)
  • Drive to the beach for the day and night, and sleep in your car (or on the beach!) 
  • Go bungee jumping
  • Go sky diving
  • Try horseback riding
  • Go bowling
  • Mini Golf! 
  • Go to a stand up comedy show
  • Find a Dave and Buster's near you (or local arcade) and be a kid again
  • Go to the zoo or aquarium 
  • Try painting with a twist! (Don't forget to byob!)
  • Sign up for a local pottery class
  • Go to a matinee play or musical
  • Get a day pass at your local gym (Remember to find one that has a pool, sauna, and steam-room! Some even have a "movie-theater" room.)
  • Find your cities local food truck night and eat all the things! 
  • Head to a local convention (most cities always have something: guns, tattoos, hair, etc)
  • Go on a cave tour
  • Go indoor rock climbing

High Budget

  • Grab a hotel for the night and get room service. Remember to enjoy the pool!
  • Buy tickets for the nearest amusement park
  • Spend a day at the spa (Couple's massage, please!)
  • Go for a helicopter ride
  • Take a night course together (you can audit classes at your local university or college and you don't have to do any homework or tests! It's sometimes cheaper that way too.)
  • Rent a convertible or topless jeep for the day and drive around
  • Go to a music festival 
  • Find a restaurant with a standard 5-course meal and wine and dine yourselves!
  • Hire a personal chef for the night
  • Buy a record player, your favorite album, an expensive bottle of wine or spirit of your choice, and light some candles. Turn the music low and just talk or turn it up and dance!
  • Go on a dinner cruise
  • Find the casino nearest to you and have fun! (Remember to set a budget and don't go over it)
  • Rent a boat for a day on the lake
  • Find an air bnb on a house boat and stay the night
  • Buy VIP and backstage passes to your favorite concert
  • Go shopping and pick out each other's outfit for the night