How to keep going when it gets hard

Most people naturally desire to improve and will make an effort to move in a direction of expansion and growth. What happens is that we will start a new thing and we will go at it for a little while at the beginning. We try a new tool, or a new way of communication or a new way of being with ourselves. Most of us get to a wobbly stage when we learn something new- a stage when our new venture doesn’t feel natural quite yet, it’s still difficult and sometimes even uncomfortable. Any pottery instructor will show you the unusable vessels that were made by his first-time students. Any child learning to walk has had their knees buckle under them or has fallen and hit their head on the table corner. And oh man, that hurts. The pride hurts, and the ego hurts and our disappointment hurts. And we are tempted to quit and be angry at ourselves for being so naive as to even try. So here I am to encourage you to be patient. Just like a loving parent would put ice on the bump and soothe the pain away, but then keep helping the child learn how to walk, so I ask you to show up for yourself: loving, consistent, encouraging, helpful and most of all filled with hope and faith for this new part of you that’s trying to grow.

A Depth Psychological Exploration of Ego and Shadow

This article is written by depth psychology based emotional health life coach Diana Deaver and is copyrighted. Please contact Diana if you wish to publish or use this article in your own writings. Diana offers online and in-person life coaching sessions to individuals desiring a deeper exploration of their psyche. See more of her articles here and youtube here.

Article Summary

This article explores the Jungian archetype of the shadow and the complex of the ego from a perspective of their function as aspects of the human psyche. Within are also observed the emotional and experiential manifestation of the ego and the shadow in everyday life and how their manifestation influences the process of self-development. Depending on how it is engaged with and related to the ego can be experienced as a grounding beacon of consciousness or a controlling dictator-like force. Similarly, the shadow can be encountered as a temporary respite from what is unbearable or the repressed evil force that demands to be acknowledged. Interactions with the ego and the shadow are a normal and emotionally vivid part of an individual’s psychic life. While observing their influence with complete detachment is not possible due to their very function in the psyche, the more their dynamics are understood, the more functional the entire psychic system can become. more “A Depth Psychological Exploration of Ego and Shadow”

Short Q&A about how Archetypes and Myth Play into Emotional Health

Question by Dylan Hoffman, PhD: How has mythology aided your personal interaction with archetypes? Does the personification of archetypes, specifically in myth, provide access to the psyche in ways that you personally find beneficial? How you engage with myth—perhaps through ritual, active imagination, dance, prayer, art, drama, etc.—and how this deepens your experience of archetypes?

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Extended Article: A Critical Glance Into The Jungian Shadow

This article offers a critical view of Carl Jung’s description of the concept of the shadow as described in his essay on “The Shadow” found in Aion, CW9, II. References to the shadow found in selections of his other work will be used to compare and complete the descriptions found in Aion. Jung’s definition of the concept of the shadow will be examined both through a linguistic perspective as well as in a modern cultural context.  The article will argue that Jung’s metaphor of the shadow is both brilliant in the way it suggests its principles and incomplete inadequate in the way it tends to focus on what is considered negative by the ego consciousness. The shadow is, in general, a difficult concept to define and explain, specifically to individuals who are becoming familiar with the concept for the first time. Jung’s use of the visual metaphor of the shadow is ingenious because of the similarities between the phenomena of shadow and the features of the part of the psyche he describes. At the same time, the term shadow has connotations that make the conscious attitude more reluctant to orient towards the part of the psyche it denotes.

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Symbols, Archetypes, and Jungian Psychology in Great Expectations Movie (1998)

Jungian Psychology in Great Expectations Movie (1998)
This article explores the movie Great Expectations (1998) through the lens of depth psychology in general and of certain concepts of Jungian psychology in particular. The movie Great Expectations (1998) offers a modern time story similar to the one told in the well-known novel with the same name by Charles Dickens. This article focuses on the movie alone without discussing the similarity or deviation from Dickens’ novel. Set in the United States, the movie narrates the memories of Finnegan Bell and how each experience influences his development as an individual. The main Jungian themes identified in the movie are the protagonist’s journey of individuation, the encounter with different archetypal dynamics (the death mother, the anima, the inner child), the destructive influence of unaddressed complexes and a numinous encounter with the shadow. The movie’s strong use of strong visual elements such as the color green, the strategic use of water and the repeated image of the fish, provide a mirror of its symbolic contents.

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Self Acceptance vs. Putting too much Pressure on Ourselves and Others

One of the things I come back to again and again in my coaching practice is self-compassion.
In a culture in which success is valued above well being, most of us end up putting an enormous amount of pressure of performance on ourselves. Performance at any cost. Self acceptance is for many foreign, unattainable or even offensive.

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Emotional Intelligence in Business

This article explores the effects of emotional intelligence in business interactions. The two main goals of the research here is to grasp as much as possible about emotional intelligence and the core skills involved with it and to understand the influence that developing these skills can have on an individual’s work environment. While, in general, Emotional Quotient (EQ) is challenging to measure and test, several studies were found that successfully recorded its impact in the professional world. The evidence collected from the manuals, articles and studies suggests that indeed Emotional Intelligence (EI) is not only a skill that can be sharpened in time but EI skills can actively contribute to four key areas of influence in the professional setting: better business relationships, increased efficacy of business teams, improved leadership development and higher adaptability to change. It was also apparent from the literature studied that EI is becoming a required core competency in the business world. Even though the field of EI is, in general, gaining more and more interest from researching institutions, there are many aspects of EI that need further exploration and understanding. 

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The Comfort Zone Obsession: Personal Growth or Emotional Self Abuse?

As an emotional health life coach and I am often exposed to inspirational quotes and encouragements shared publicly by other people in the life coaching industry. One of the popular ideas that I come across is that “You have to push yourself outside of your comfort zone in order to grow”. This thought has been so popularized and regurgitated that most people accept it as being the truth without questioning it.

more “The Comfort Zone Obsession: Personal Growth or Emotional Self Abuse?”

The Purposeful Appreciation Practice

Today I caught myself feeling really grateful for the small black plastic trashcan in my bathroom. This made me smile. I have never before been so mindful of the good in my life as to appreciate a trashcan. To a part of me this felt like a sort of graduation.  I have been actively working on my ability to feel appreciative for everything that I am allowed to have and experience. I feel strongly called to take nothing and no one for granted. I want to fully see and feel all that has taken shape in my life. I call this the purposeful appreciation practice. Purposeful Appreciation Practice (or more affectionately called The Bliss Bubble Technique 🙂 involves making time to experience and embody appreciation for all the things and beings that positively impact a comfortable and enjoyable life experience, no matter how small the impact may be. You may ask: well, how do I know if something makes a positive impact. Here are the questions I use to help me with this:

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3 Reasons We Are Afraid to Care About Our Planet

I have to admit that when my compost-loving, spunky brunette friend asked me to share my thoughts about the times when humans are afraid to care, my immediate thought was… But are we? Are we indeed afraid to care? Yes, it’s true, many of us are. But not all of us. There are also many of us who aren’t afraid to care. This article is for those who may have a twinge of fear ping into their hearts anytime they contemplate making an emotional investment. Because that’s what caring implies: an investment of mental, emotional and physical energy into a nurturing relationship. In this article, I will specifically address the fear of caring for our planet, and how this fear stems from deeper love avoidant characteristics.

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The Illusion Of Good Enough

I think it’s pretty safe to say that most of us would love to be good enough for everybody all the time. And we probably all have examples of times we were told we were a disappointment or when we couldn’t seem to be good enough for certain people no matter how hard we tried. 

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When Women Stop Blaming the Men They Love

At the beginning of this year as part of my resolution making process, I decided to stop blaming others for my unhappiness. In particular, I gave up “man bashing”. You probably know what I’m talking about- man bashing is that thing women do when they get together and go about finding faults in the opposite sex. And I’m not trying to bash women for bashing men here- I get it- it feels good to find a culprit and take him through the court trial where our best friends are the jury. For a second- it gives a sense of power, false power. But just like glazed doughnuts give you a brief 30 seconds of pleasure, the real cost of that comfort is way too high to choose it every day. See, for me, this unspoken cultural standard of punishing our loved ones by exposing their perceived faults to our friends, is a highly effective relationship damaging technique that I no longer want to apply to my life. The problem with finding fault with others is that, in time, you get good at finding fault in general and then eventually that becomes a way of living- looking for someone to blame.

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Learning Stillness

I have been learning about stillness from animals. They are so comfortable enjoying a moment. No expectation. No “to do”. No end goal. Just being. Content. Still. Present. Watching them fills me with awe…It seems they have a superpower of being comfortable by themselves, no neediness, no phone, no numbing, no distractions. Being present with them, watching them reminds me of my own superpower of being. It seems as if humans will do just about anything to avoid accessing this superpower of being, including me. For us,  being alone, doing nothing is often a curse. It’s painful, uncomfortable, something that must be covered, filled, changed. Yet, somehow, underneath my addiction to being busy, to “doing”, there is a deep and powerful calm. I know this peace! I remember it…I too once knew how to just be, I still do. I want to make that my practice again... Photo by me 🙂

Letting Go Of Painful Emotions

The way I see it emotional shedding is the organic process through which our emotional body lets go of repressed emotions.

There are times when things are ok and we are able to slow down. And then all of a sudden, we seem to become very sensitive and emotional without any apparent reason.  Then right after we’ve cried o have been kind to ourselves through our sadness we feel lighter than before. I call this emotional shedding- which means your emotional body finally has time to catch up with us. It’s like when we finally take that vacation we’ve been postponing for years and then we get sick as soon as we get there. It’s as if the stress that has been accumulating in our body is finally ready to come out and it’s showing up as sickness. more “Letting Go Of Painful Emotions”

7 Ways Working With a Life Coach Improves Emotional Health

Working with a life coach is a highly personal experience that involves quality one-on-one time and deep meaningful inquiry. Most people who choose a life coach are not only looking for someone to partner with to relieve and heal emotional pain but also someone who can teach them how to do that for themselves. It’s a more intimate process than reading a book or doing an online course, and that’s why, when clients and coaches are matched well, profound life changes take place organically. more “7 Ways Working With a Life Coach Improves Emotional Health”

Mental Health Resources

 

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health resources organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

Visit www.nami.org for more info.

mental health resources

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders. NIMH is one of the 27 Institutes and Centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research agency. NIH is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Find out more at www.nimh.nih.gov

Overgiving- Thoughts About People Who Give Too Much (article + video)

Overgiving

People who give too much tend to create value for themselves through what they have to offer to the world. The more they offer to the world and the better appreciated that is, the more valuable they feel, the more worthy of love and affection they feel. Unfortunately that carries into their everyday life where overwhelm and exhaustion begin show up, especially when they constantly focus more on other people’s needs while neglecting their own’ Over-givers are very attached to the outcome of their giving. If they’ve offered your gift or service and it’s not well-received or well appreciated, they feel resentful , lonely and unappreciated. At the same time over-givers have a very hard time receiving. They often feel uncomfortable if they can’t offer something in return. Whatever you offer them, they feel the need to reciprocate right away or find something of equal value to offer you in exchange. more “Overgiving- Thoughts About People Who Give Too Much (article + video)”

Ten Tips For End of Year Emotional Health

End of Year Emotional Health can seem very out of reach, especially since holiday season tends to be an intense time of the year for some of us. The end of the year is generally an emotional time of the year. Here’s why:

  • It’s the end of something. Nature is desolate. The weather is more dull than usual. You tend to be more aware of the passing of another year of your life and well as be faced with the expectations and desires for the following year.
  • If you’ve suffered any kind of loss recently, your heart may be tender. When our heart is tender, holiday time will be particularly challenging, an emotional marathon sort of speak. It’s like trying to run on crutches, particularly if you’re used to running away from your emotions during the year. It exhausting and you may feel guilty for not being happier. You may feel inadequate and undesirable.
  • At this time of the year we tend to both crave connection and  fear connection. we may be faced with the fear of not being good enough to be in the company of someone else
  • Because usually the holidays are a time gifts are exchanged, it may be a particularly challenging time for those who are afraid to receive.

Is it possible to manage the difficulty of the holidays? Only if you are willing to. 

If you are willing to offer yourself an easier time during the holidays  and create more end of year emotional health here are a few tips that might help:

  1. Preparation is key: just like there is a hurricane disaster relief plan, there can be a holiday disaster relief plan. Consider “donating” time and resources for your “relief”.
  2. Make several holiday allies– these are people you can reach to for support when you get overwhelmed
  3. Manage your expectations of how things should be. When you stay present and allow things to be what they are, you save yourself a lot of stress.
  4. Limit exposure to the elements: practice strong boundaries, know what triggers you and consider avoiding exposing yourself by staying away from potentially harmful situations or people.
  5. Stock up with supporting options: healthy snacks, healthy drinks, music, movies and peaceful surroundings.
  6. Have a worst case scenario plan. It can be reassuring to know that you have a plan B in case you get overwhelmed. Talk to your life coach ahead of time and get them to agree to make themselves available to you over the phone if need be. Also have the numbers of several crisis hot lines available.
  7. Count your blessings– be grateful for what you DO have. What can you notice around you that you’d be sad if it was missing? That’s what you’re grateful for.

    gratitude quote End of Year Emotional Health
    Gratitude- End of Year Emotional Health
  8. Give it over to your higher power: more than anything the holidays are about connecting with a higher source, a guiding star or a spirit we can hand our messy lives to, when we can no longer hold them. Consider surrendering your weight to be carried by “the spirit” of the holidays.
  9. Let your heart GROW IN SIZE by giving a hug, a meal or a ride to someone who has it worse than you. Consider sending a word of encouragement to someone else.
  10. Lastly, once the new year begins consider training yourself to connect with your emotions in a healthier throughout the year. End of year emotional health really depends on how much we have practiced it during the rest of the year.

In reality our happiness does not depend what we do, but what we are. What would you like to be?

Motherer- a personal experience on how parenting your romantic partner can kill intimacy

written by guest blogger Melanie Coles
My name is Melanie, and I’m a motherer.
This is something I’ve recently come to realize and admit about myself. Yep, I’m just a big, smothering, overbearing mother when it comes to romantic relationships.
You’re hungry-let me make you something to eat. You don’t feel well-let me get you a blanket and stroke your head. You had a bad day-let me hold you and make it better. When does being a caring partner turn into becoming someone’s mom? If this is something you find yourself contemplating, this may be a warning sign that you’re parenting your romantic partner.

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A symbolic meaning of flooding…

“when spirit becomes heavy it turns to water”Carl Jung (Collected Works, Vol 9, p.1, para. 16)

After having recurring dreams or visions of large waves crashing over me, or my home, as well as real-life occurrences of flooding in my city and even neighborhood, I decided to do a little bit of research into this phenomena. It turns out this is a common occurrence for many people. The meaning we give things is very personal, so whatever water symbolizes for you personally may be very different than what it symbolizes for anyone else. My intention in this article is to offer a starting point for a personal exploration of what this symbol may hold for you. For this purpose, I offer a number of questions to consider with each of these potential interpretations. I hope they stir curiosity for you and invite you to look deeper into your own mind and heart. 

Water as a Metaphor of the Unconscious

Dreams and visions often emerge spontaneously. Both Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, the fathers of depth psychology and psychotherapy, believed that the unconscious part of the mind is the place of origin of such images. According to Jung, “water is the commonest symbol for the unconscious” (Collected Works, Vol 9, p.1, para. 40). The unconscious is the part of us that is unknown to us, which is still under a sort of mystery. Because of the unconscious, we maintain the ability to surprise ourselves every now and then, we do things we didn’t know we were capable of, we say things we later don’t know where they came from. Because the flooding is so massive, intimidating, and overpowering, we could therefore see it as a symbol of our consciousness being overpowered by our unconscious. What we are unaware of in ourselves is invading our consciousness. This could mean that an inner complex is taking hold of us and that further inner work is necessary. more “A symbolic meaning of flooding…”

Self Sabotage

What if I told you that self sabotage is actually a way you take care of yourself? Maybe not the best way you can take care of yourself, but certainly one way you can. Let’s take a deeper look. more “Self Sabotage”

What is a Spiritual Practice?

What is a spiritual practice?

The first time you begin examining your life is the beginning of your spiritual practice. You will notice a need to do it again and to deepen your exploration each time. A spiritual practice involves anything that has to do with the spiritual aspect of your life-all that is unseen, all that is felt at a core level, the intangible, the unexplainable. more “What is a Spiritual Practice?”

Emotional toxicity vs Emotional Empowerment

Could it be that every emotion we have is neutral? That there is no such thing as a negative emotion or a positive emotion. Our reaction to our emotions is what can be called negative or positive, rejection or attraction.

Could it be that emotions choose us as opposed to us choosing them? Does anyone decide to fall in love or out of love, does anyone reach for sadness or grief?

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Self-Love in 3 Simple Steps (article + video)

We have all seen the ultra-popular advice of “love yourself”. It’s so easy to say that to someone. But many of us have no idea what that even means. We have rarely been given the model of self-love or been taught by example. And that’s because self-neglect is often more common than self-love is. For many of us, the idea that we “should” be loving ourselves more can have the opposite effect. It can create even more internal pressure or expectations. We might feel guilty or defective. “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I love myself more?”

Chances are, there’s nothing wrong with you. YOU CAN love yourself. In this article, I address exactly that – how to love yourself – the small and consistent actions towards nurturing our well-being. more “Self-Love in 3 Simple Steps (article + video)”