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Showing posts from 2020

Shoulds and Shouldn'ts

One way you can start to play around with your thoughts is take a look at what your brain is saying SHOULD or SHOULDN'T happen and flip it and see what your brain can come up with.  I'll give you an example: The dog didn't get walked today and when he doesn't get walked he has tons of energy and barks a lot, chews things, and digs in the yard. You may be thinking thoughts like: "My husband should walk the dog." "The dog shouldn't chew on dirty diapers." "The dog shouldn't be so loud." "I shouldn't have to deal with this." Then later when you're pondering the situation and these thoughts, flip it around on your brain and try thinking: "In what way should the dog chew on dirty diapers?" (possible answers: "When dogs are restless and have access to dirty diapers they chew on them.") "In what way shouldn't my husband walk the dog?" (possible answers: "H

Questioning Thoughts

A client of mine who is trying to decide if it's time to leave her husband or not brought up some ways she believes her husband was trying to control her and make it so that she couldn't leave even if she wanted to. I sent her this message with my thoughts about this: "My main thought for you about that scenario is if you decide to leave nothing will stop you, not money, not your husband, not the timing. This thought/belief is available to you.  Right now you are choosing to think things like "If I'm only working 2 hours a day I won't be able to leave because I won't have enough money." I know that if you decide to leave you'll do whatever it takes to make it happen and take care of yourself and the kids. Try replacing some of your current thoughts with "I wonder why..." like: "I wonder why he doesn't feel like he is responsible" or "I wonder why he feels like he needs to say these things to me&

Not Good Enough

Sometimes my clients let me know that they are struggling with "not good enough" feelings. Together we work on believing that "if it happens it was meant to happen and that I am going to be amazing" and that is all so great.  We run models on what the "not good enough" thoughts create for them and then what the "I'm amazing" thoughts create for them. Sometimes they need a bridge thought to help them get from the "not good enough" thoughts to believing the "I'm amazing" thoughts, they might try one of these: "I'm going to be the mom/wife/friend/sister/daughter I've decided to be."  "I'm going to be a human mom/wife/friend/sister/daughter. " "I'm going to do my best." "I'm going to accept all parts of me, the good and the bad." Being human is amazing and incredibly challenging and it involves forgiving ourselves every day and trying again.

Willing to Feel Negative Emotions

I'm working with a client who is preparing to foster some children in her home. Here's a message is sent to her that I wanted to share here: "There is a very real possibility that you will take these girls in or other kids in, fall in love with them, and then not get to have them in your homes.  You understand this risk and it feels very scary. You have to decide if having them in your lives and in your hearts and getting to feel that love for them is worth the potential loss and heartache that may come.  That is the power of the model because we can let our brains go to the worst possible scenario of any circumstance and know that what will come with that scenario is negative feelings and we know how to feel negative feelings.  We know how to take the good and bad of life. We don't have to be afraid of negative emotion, because we know it is not dangerous. We know how to experience it. The upside of this is that you get to have the amazing loving and

New Favorite Hobby

I encourage my clients to work on spending time thinking new thoughts almost like it's our new favorite hobby.  To me that looks like intentionally spending time thinking about it and doing things to get better at it. It also looks like thinking about it when you wake up and when you're falling asleep at night. What else might it look like to you? What does it look like when you have a hobby that you're really excited about? When we think these new thoughts it's a gift we give ourselves and we do it because of how we get to feel and the brain space we free up when we do spend more energy and brain space than we need to on trying to solve possible potential problems in the future.

Relationship with God

I spent some time today talking with a client about her relationship with God and how she has some thoughts in this area that are not serving her.  She let me know that she did not want to believe that God takes away things from us in order to punish us, but when things go "wrong" in her life her first thought is usually something like "This is because God is unhappy with me." or "God gave this blessing to me and then took it away." I asked her to think about what she could believe instead.  I asked her to think about what else could be true. What beliefs serve her and create the relationship that she wants to have with God. I believe that some things are really clearly defined about His nature and His role in our life (like that we are created in His image, and that we are His children, and that living a righteous life and repenting when we don't are how we return to live with Him), and lots of it is not clearly defined because God w

The Result of a Good Boundary

A few thoughts on setting boundaries from love means that the goal result isn't that the person who the boundary is about won't get mad, the goal result is that you set intentional loving boundaries and honored them.  If you feel solid on the decisions you've made and the boundaries you've set and you've done it from love, then it will be ok if the person that the boundary is about likes them or doesn't like them, if they are angry or fine, if they create problems or if they're well accepted.  How they respond is out of your control and if they respond poorly or well just means something about them and isn't an indication about if it's a good boundary or not or a successful boundary or not or an appropriate/healthy boundary or not. It just means something about them.  What makes it a good boundary or not is if you decide it's a good boundary or not. What matters is if you like how you're showing up and you are getting the result


It is very valuable to spend time acknowledging and gaining awareness around the concept that your thoughts create your feelings, not your circumstances.  Even without changing anything you're thinking at first this will already give you more sense of control and freedom. Then as you begin to gently and lovingly direct your brain to think thoughts that are more productive for you and that create the feeling you would like to create you will improve your life and mental health that much more. 

Familiar and Efficient

It's normal for your brain to resist working on new thoughts because it would rather do what is familiar and efficient than what is good for you. What is familiar and efficient is for you to keep thinking what you've been thinking.  Have patience and keep at it. For example, you may be working on thinking thoughts that create a supported feeling for you so that you can feel supported because you're tired of feeling unsupported.  Set your brain to work on the task of figuring out how you can feel better without changing anything for now. You are not letting anyone off the hook, you are giving yourself a gift.  

Making Requests

Once you clean up your thoughts around a situation and start showing up as the person you want to be in that situation, you will be amazed to see how your requests will change in nature and will increase in likelihood of being met.  Right now (even if it's mostly on a subconscious level) your requests represent something other people have to do or stop doing or you won't be able to feel better.  Imagine if you were feeling completely taken care of either way and then you asked someone to do something. That person would be able to sense that whether they did your request or not you'd be ok, and then they can make the decision to read it or not from a totally different place knowing it won't mean anything about your relationship or who they are as a person.

Opinions (thoughts) vs Facts (circumstances)

A really important concept to understand is the difference between opinions (thoughts) and facts (circumstances).  It's pretty easy to intellectually understand this concept, but your primitive brain has a hard time getting on board (as all of ours do).  So I have a little homework for you. Do a thought download and make a 2 column list with facts and opinions written on the top and separate everything you wrote down into the two columns. I would love for you to see your list once you've made it, so email me a copy at if you want me to look it over and give you my feedback. You should be able to see that there are truly only a few facts about your circumstance and the rest is what you've decided to believe and that's totally fine.  You should decide what to believe and then lean all in on it, but the power is in realizing that your thoughts are always 100% in your control and your life is created by your thoughts. You just get to

Leaving From Spring vs Leaving From Winter

Our relationships have seasons. In a romantic relationship when we meet and fall in love, that's summer. When our relationship matures and we get married that's Fall. Naturally most relationships have occasional winters where you struggle or don't feel close and lots of relationships naturally move into Spring where you find each other again. The cycle continues in a variety of ways and it's important to understand it because we often think our marriage is over when we're in winter. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't, but I really recommend doing what it takes to move into spring (even if you move into spring alone and your husband stays in winter) before you decide if it's over. Once you move into spring and depending on how you are feeling and what you are wanting and what your relationship looks like from spring you can stay or go from a place of love.  Not from a place of fear, panic, retreat, pain, hurt, desperation, etc. that leaving from wi

One Foot Out the Door

If you want to give your marriage a real chance, you can't if you have one foot out the door.  I believe we get one foot out the door because we believe that our spouse can hurt us with what they do and say. They can't hurt us, we hurt us with our thoughts.  Please keep in mind that I am not talking about abusive behavior when I say that. I'm talking about regular challenging behavior and normal human weaknesses. We are suffering and thinking our marriage is SO bad because of our thoughts, not because of what our husband is doing.  Even if we could know for sure that he 100% believed we were a bad wife and mom or whatever the problem is, none of that hurts us. Only our thoughts about that hurt us.  This is such good news because we have 100% control of your thoughts, but we do not have any control over our spouse. Because if you believed that he was allowed to think and feel and believe and do whatever he wants and know that everything he does only means

What Other People Think

Your lower brain thinks that what other people think is dangerous.  So when it comes to how you will handle telling other people something your afraid to tell them, you think that they will freak out and worry about your decision and have lots of opinions on what you have decided to do.  What if all of that was totally ok? What if you planned on no one understanding just yet and everyone having strong opinions and not approving and then when they do those things you reassure your lower brain that the way they feel about your decision is totally fine and it's not dangerous.  It's ok that they don't understand yet. You understand. You know. You've received answers and inspiration and this is your life. It's enough for now for only you to know that this is the right next step for you. They'll come around or maybe not, and it's all totally fine. We don't need to manage other people's reactions ever. The exhausting part of telling people

Worry vs Fear

It can be incredibly helpful to learn to identify productive fear vs unproductive worry.  Fear serves us and is from our higher brain, worry does not serve us and is from our lower brain.  It is very normal to have fears around doing big important things, especially when there is risk and usually when we do big important things there is risk.  So work on allowing the fear and knowing that it's normal and healthy. You know how to feel fear. Worry is similar to fear but mostly just makes us miserable and doesn't accomplish much beyond that. Listen to my podcast episode #9 Worry vs Fear, here's the link:

Making Decisions From Your Higher Brain

When you make a decision from your higher brain, it is VERY normal for your lower brain to panic and offer you lots of concerning thoughts filled with worry and self doubt.  That's your lower brain's job. When this happens we often question our decision, like "oh no, if I'm so worried about it maybe it wasn't a good decision." But it does not serve us to make decisions from our lower brain or to change decisions when our lower brain panics.  So if you feel like you made the decision from your higher brain, then you can feel confident in sticking with that decision and moving forward with it even when your lower brain offers you a lot of worrisome thoughts.  Just remind yourself that it's your lower brain doing that, nothing has gone wrong, it's right on track and so are you, the decision you've made is a good one. These thoughts are all available to you. Listen to the protests from your lower brain, thank it for do

Letting People Off the Hook

When we choose to love someone and feel loved by that person even when they are doing things that are challenging for us, we are not letting them off the hook for bad behavior.  Your lower brain is worried that's what we're doing. What we are doing is choosing to feel love and love feels the very best. It's an amazing gift we can give ourselves and puts us in such a better place to take good care of ourselves and show up as the person that we want to be in the world.

Emotional Childhood

Another important lesson I was able to teach my client who was struggling with her employee was about emotional childhood.   I let her know that it sounded to me like her employee is totally in emotional childhood which is why she has blamed everything that’s happening to her on my client even though a lot of it is just untrue. I asked her to notice that and acknowledge it for what it is. What other people do and say always only means something about them. Because she’s in emotional childhood, my client has to be the problem and the reason the employee is quitting because if my client isn't the reason then the employee would have to be the reason... ...and when we’re in emotional childhood we are never the problem. It’s always other people. 

Emotional Adulthood

I have a client struggling with an employee or hers and we've been talking about emotional adulthood vs emotional childhood in our coaching recently. In our session today she was feeling frustrated that she was having so many negative emotions about what her employee had done because she has been working really hard to live in emotional adulthood. I reminded her that being in emotional adulthood doesn’t mean not having negative feelings. It just means owning those feelings and not blaming your feelings on other people. This looks like asking herself how she wants to feel about the fact that her employee did and said those things. If she decides that for now she wants to feel frustrated and inconvenienced that’s totally ok as long as she acknowledges that her thoughts about the situation are creating those feelings, not what the employee did. Resisting her negative feelings is making them bigger. I suggested she try naming them and doing the work to allow

Problem Solving

It's interesting to note that we often try to create change or solve problems by being hard on ourselves or others.  That's definitely our lower brain at work. Our rational brain can easily see that the most productive/effective/efficient way to solve a problem and execute the solution is from a place of love, caring, compassion, confidence, commitment, optimism, hope, understanding, responsibility, etc.  So when you find that isn't occurring (like when you identify an issue in your life that you can't figure out how to resolve) just observe that it's because your lower brain is in charge at that moment and that you may be thinking thoughts that are creating feelings like shame, resentment, anger, frustration, confusion, doubt, overwhelm, etc. Then do the work to get your rational brain back in charge and solve the problem. You've got this!

Hurt So Good

I've been having some thoughts about something a client said this morning at the beginning of our session. She said that she is spending a lot of effort being positive and it seems to be having the opposite effect.  Right now she feels like things are worse than before she started working on all of this. I reassured her that unfortunately she was right on track. My first thought is that I actually don't see it that way at all, I think she is learning and growing so much.  I reminded her that we are so hard on ourselves and it is also very difficult to measure small subtle changes over time. We have been working together for months and I believe that she has come so far! I then encouraged her to go back and listen to our first calls and look over her notes and my notes to just remind herself of where she started.  My second thought is that her brain may be offering her a bit of a lie because it wants her to stop. Her life wasn't working for her before,