How do you measure perfection?

How do you measure perfection?

Walking along the beach in Northern California in June is a pretty amazing experience.  Bright blue sky, deep blue-green ocean water, crisp white caps on the waves, soft sandy beaches sprinkled with shells. 


I walked outside for a couple hours this morning picking up shells, rocks, and sand dollars. For a bit I was caught up in the trap of finding the ‘perfect’ shells. 

It got me thinking about what I deemed as ‘perfect’ versus ‘imperfect’ …

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Is your mindset helping your life? ... or hindering it?

An interesting thing happened to me while I was out on a walk.

I used to run long distance, but due to various injuries and a surgery over the past two years, I’ve been limited in the types of exercise I can participate in.

But the other weekend I decided to go for a 3-4 mile walk. It was a beautiful day outside, cool and sunny.

About half way through, the walk gets hilly and a bit more challenging. I’m out of breath. Muscles starting to feel tired. Pretty exhausted in general. Questioning what the hell I’m doing outside when I have a perfectly good couch and Netflix at home. My mind was talking me out of continuing. Pointing out that I can bypass the hills and cut the walk short. That’s when my internal dialogue got real nasty: “You’re so out of shape, how could you let yourself get this way?” (and this is just a mild example).

It spiraled down pretty quick; it caught me off guard.

Here it was a beautiful day outside, and at the first experience of physical discomfort my mind resorted to put-downs. It has been a while since I’ve actively and consistently worked out, so it was tough to get out there. It’s also difficult knowing your body can’t do what it was once capable of. 

However, there was no reason for the negativity popping up in my brain.

So I did what any therapist would do (well at least the ones that try to practice what they preach) and started working on shifting my mindset.

I started giving myself credit for what I was doing. “Good job on getting out here today. You’re a trooper for continuing when you want to quit. You’re going to feel good tonight, better than if you just watched Netflix.” And I started smiling (at first by force, then because I started paying attention to the beauty around me). And I finished the walk. I even went a little farther than I planned.

Shifting your mindset is all about perspective.

You get to choose the perspective that will benefit you.

In my walk today I had two options: criticize myself for struggling or praise myself for trying.

Considering the two options, I shifted and choose that option that was going to feel good, help me succeed, and motivate me to try harder.

I can’t think of anything that putting myself down would have accomplished. Honestly, if I would have indulged in the criticism I would have taken the short cut and ended the walk early.  Then I would have felt regret and shame at not finishing the walk I had set out for.

Can you think of any time that harshly criticizing yourself has served a purpose?

I talk a lot of choosing joy. And I realize that sometimes it can come across as trivializing.

Choosing to shift your mindset doesn’t change your reality.  My reality was that I was exhausted and struggling on a fairly easy walk. This would stay the same no matter what option I chose to focus on.

What did change was my attitude, my perspective, my mindset.

When I suggest to people to choose joy I don’t mean it to be trivializing. There are some realities that will continue to exist, including depression, anxiety, trauma, or ending relationships.

But what shifting your mindset can do is for just one moment, one minute, you can shift inside of you. You can feel a sense of control, no matter how fleeting, over your thoughts and mood.

It’s really all about perspective. 

If you have two options, why not choose the one that will be helpful to you and bring something good to your life?

Be bold,

Adriana

 

Adriana Joyner, LMFT, is a Sacramento area therapist specializing in helping people lead authentic lives.  Adriana’s most passionate about supporting individuals exploring their gender and sexuality, and advocating for the LGBTQIA community. Her office is located in Gold River, CA located off Highway ‪50 at Sunrise Blvd. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call ‪(916) 547-3997 or email adriana@adrianajoynertherapy.com.

 

Are you your own harshest critic?

As a therapist I spend a lot of time talking with people about their relationships with others.  We get in depth about how they interact, share, and express themselves with the people in their lives. Much of my work focuses on helping individuals in being authentic about who they are; being open and vulnerable with themselves and others.

Lately though, my work with many individuals hasn’t been about relationships with others, it’s been about how people are in relationship with themselves.  As in, is how they treat their self.

Do you ever listen to how you talk with yourself?  Specifically the words and messages you tell yourself when things get challenging or tough.

Do you nurture and support yourself?  Do you say loving kind things?  Or do you berate yourself for not doing it different or better?

Are you your own harshest critic?

In my experience, most people go through life saying some pretty awful things to themselves. And usually we realize it too. We would never say out loud to our loved ones some of the things we freely say to ourselves.

So if we don’t talk to others like this, why do we talk to ourselves like this?

While that may be a pretty big question to answer, the solution can start right now.

Get mindful about the language and tone you use with yourself. The first step is gaining awareness around your self-talk. Because you’ve lived in this body your whole life, you’re probably pretty used to this kind of negative self-talk. Slowing down, paying close attention and noticing the words, tone, meanings and details of how you talk to yourself will help you realize how often it’s happening. Because, if you aren’t aware of the negative language it’s difficult to change it.

Be kind to yourself.  When you become aware of the put-downs you use, and you hear yourself saying them, respond to yourself by saying something kind. Apologize to yourself for talking so mean. Take a deep breath and remind yourself you are worth more than that. Recognize when you wouldn’t say those words to others then they have no place in your mind/heart.

Take things a bit deeper and start exploring patterns. If you find that most of your self-talk is around a certain issue (for example: struggling with parenting, feeling like an impostor at work, difficulty finding courage to come out to someone in your life), pay attention! These patterns are your clues to creating change.  Try journaling or quite time with yourself and ask yourself: Where did I learn this pattern? What experiences in my past have contributed to my negative self-talk? What do I have control over to change? Is my talk helpful or harmful?

Changing negative self-talk is just one of many ways that you can care for yourself.  If you need support and ideas about more things you can do to have a fulfilled self-care plan in place, check out this free downloadable self-care checklist. It has several ideas for you to make sure all the parts of you are taken care of. Also, if this is an area you struggle, reach out, I'm here to help!

With you in personal growth,

Adriana

 

Adriana Joyner, LMFT, is a Sacramento Area therapist specializing in counseling for people healing from painful life experiences and traumas, support for individuals exploring their gender identity and expression, and the LGBTQIA community. Her office is located in Gold River, CA located off Highway ‪50 at Sunrise Blvd. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call ‪(916) 547-3997 or email adriana@adrianajoynertherapy.com.