It's time to say 'YES'

It's time to say 'YES'

Around the beginning of each year I tend to talk about intentions, a lot.

I’m not a huge believer in resolutions (you can read why here), but the idea of creating an intention for the year has a very different meaning for me. To me, intentions are a shift in your mindset, the overarching structure that you guide your life by. Setting an intention is also not something you can succeed at or fail at, but instead a shift in your way of living.

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How do you show love to others in your life?

About a year ago I took in a stray cat that had been visiting my yard.  She was small with a sleek black coat, little smooshy face, and very affectionate; I named her Panther. Within six hours of being brought into my house she gave birth to four kittens. While my initial plans were to find adoptive homes for her and all the kittens, she and two of the kittens have become permanent parts of my family.

Panther has some adorable ways of showing love. To her kittens, she is an affectionate mama cat, grooming, feeding and playing with her babies. She chases them around the house, pouncing on them from a hiding space before aggressively licking their faces. 

Almost every day she greets me by bringing me her favorite mouse toy and laying it next to me. She licks my hand and arm, rubs her face against me, and purrs loudly whenever I pet her.

For Panther, this is how she shows me love and gratitude and appreciation.

Cats and dogs express love pretty easy. They are clear and upfront with how they feel, and they show affection in ways that we can pretty easily recognize is love.

With humans, however, it’s not always so easy. Sometimes we’re pretty good at hiding our feelings of love. Or we think we are clearly expressing love through our actions, but our partner doesn’t always recognize it in the same way.

 

How do you show love to the people in your life that you care for?

What ways do you recognize people in your life show you love?

 

One difficulty is that we most likely recognize and express love in different ways from others in our life.  For some people, the most powerful way to express love is through direct expressions… telling your partner “You mean the world to me” or “I can’t imagine my life without you.”

But this may not be how your partner recognizes love. They may have a different style that lights up their heart.  They may recognize love through affectionate touch (holding hands or cuddling while watching a movie) or kind actions (like when you do the dishes or get the car tuned up for them) or gifts (bringing home flowers or a thoughtful card).

The book “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman really brought this concept of different ways to express and recognize love to light.

 

When was the last time you talked with your loved one about how to meet their needs, or how they can meet yours, around feeling loved?

 

A friend of mine who recently starting dating someone new shared with me that they have been openly communicating around how they recognize and show affection, love, and romance.  They each made a list of things they believe are romantic and shared with each other. What an amazing way to share your needs with your partner!

 

My challenge to you this week is to open up a conversation with a loved one in your life the ways you show and recognize love. 

  • Try telling your someone special: “I love it when you do _____ for me.” Or: “I really feel your love for me when you take the time to ____.”
  • Ask them directly “How can I show you that I love you?”
  • Or you can make it more playful by each making a list and trading with your partner about how you recognize their love and affection. Then, try putting into action the items on their list.

 However it comes about, either direct or playful, the conversation around how you show and recognize love will strengthen your connection with your loved ones. Find the courage to be vulnerable in love, it’s worth it.

Adriana

 

 

Adriana Joyner, LMFT, is a Sacramento area therapist specializing in helping people lead authentic lives.  Adriana is most passionate about supporting individuals explore 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.

Creating a vision for an amazing year

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.

So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.” 
― Neil Gaiman

 

A couple weeks ago I shared about a trend I’d noticed in people around me who seemed to be struggling with barriers in their life that were keeping them from opportunities and experiences that they want. As we dug in deep to what the block was, it turned out these boulders were typically fear or discomfort. 

It’s hard to persist through a tough situation when you’re scared or uncomfortable.

So to start out 2017 let’s focus on getting clear about what your vision is for this New Year.

What are the things that you want in your life for this next year? Be bold and creative and honest about what you really want.

Dig deep!  What are the secret desires you have… the dreams that you have fleet through your head but it’s even difficult for you to admit to yourself that you want it.

Most of us tend to limit ourselves when we dream about our futures.  

We let ‘reality’ set in and tell ourselves we don’t have the money, or time, or support, or intelligence, or ability.

Let me tell you right now, that’s bullshit. That kind of talk is often inaccurate and blatant lies that your brain tells you based in fear or discomfort.

What likely has happened is that you unconsciously or consciously believed messages you’ve heard throughout your life from others that had those same fears.

Creating your vision is about breaking away from that fear and discomfort.

Here are a few different ways that you can create your vision for 2017.

For those of you that love to write:

Grab a journal and start exploring. Some prompts to get you started:

·       What do I want? What is important me right now in my life?

·       What am I missing from my life that I need more of? How can I bring that into my life?

·       How am I going to get to my goals?  What are the steps I need to take to get what I want?

·       What can I do this week (or today) to get started toward my goal?

For you visual, hands-on people out there, get crafty:

Pull out some poster board, scissors, glue, and a bunch of magazines. Spend some time selecting pictures, photographs, and words that represent what you would like to bring into your life for 2017.  You can cut up magazines, flyers, grab old photos or print photos off the Internet. Arrange and glue down on a piece of poster board and display proudly where you can see it frequently (cubical at work, closet door). 

For you techies out there… here’s an on-line option:

Not feeling like writing or crafting?  Pinterest is another option.  Create a board for yourself for your vision and pin articles, photos and ideas that inspire you and represent your vision for yourself.   Here’s an example of a board I made for travel and vacations that I would LOVE to take this year.

 

So my wish for you is that you break free from the fears, doubts, discomfort, and barriers that keep you stuck. To reiterate Neil Gaiman, make mistakes, get messy, try new things. And keep taking chances!  It’s YOUR 2017 so be bold!

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.