Wake Up to Loving, Living & Letting Go!
There is a lot of needless suffering when it comes to relationships. For many people, the desire for loving relationships trumps most other wishes. The solution is so simple, but it is difficult to master: ACCEPT PEOPLE AS THEY ARE. Put your energy into the only thing you can change: YOU! Most of us want to believe that we are sad or angry because of the way someone else has treated us. But in reality, we suffer because of the meaning we place on what has been said or done. The truth is, we create meaning that is congruent with our own self-image… and that self-image, when closely examined, can be pretty terrible. Change the relationship you have with yourself and everything around you will change. Take responsibility for your choices in friends and lovers. We suffer greatly if we have chosen to be in a relationship with an abusive person or to work for an abusive boss. See the people in your life as they really are, not as you wish them to be. Look at those around you with grace and consider that they are doing better than they should be considering all they are dealing with. A powerful statement in recovery groups is “Expectations are premeditated resentments”. Go ahead and expect others to be kinder, calmer, more timely, neater, more thoughtful, more wise, more independent, more driven. Go ahead. But it won’t bring you any peace. Stay with what you control: your kindness, your addictions, your integrity, your choices. Communicating your desires clearly is another thing you do control. Some people are so caught up in being offended that they themselves don’t know what they really want — except to be offended. Your self-respect and faith will ultimately be demonstrated by who you choose to date, befriend, work for, hang out with, or marry. This is important stuff.
On March 15, my RENEWAL RETREAT FOR WOMEN: Waking Up to Loving, Living & Letting Go! will take place at the Rush Creek Country Club in Maple Grove, MN. I am so excited to work with fantastic, brave women who are committed to explore ways to bring more love into their relationships and work. For true serenity, we must let go of wasting energy on trying to change others. Perhaps it is true that if you are trying to change someone, you don’t really love them. We must accept that we do not know what others need. Are you able to feel someone else’s anxiety in their chest? Are you able to experience someone else’s goosebumps when they are inspired by a strain of music? Do you know the private thoughts that are exploding in your partner’s head? Do you know everything that happened to your friend in 5th grade? Of course not. But ironically, your own body, spirit and mind are trying to love you by shouting your own needs at you as you ignore signals that YOU are out of balance, or unfulfilled in your career, or using food or substances to quiet your own self-criticism. Many of us have quit noticing what the muse is telling us, because we have become addicted to the distraction of other people’s business. We also impose our abusive perfectionism on others. Healing starts with loving you as you are, forgiving all your mistakes, and embracing your wonderful imperfection! When you invest in YOU, everyone around you will be touched by your content spirit. Marianne Williamson wrote about this power of personal transformation in Our Deepest Fear, “Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you… As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
I look forward to being in the midst of seekers on March 15. We will laugh, explore, create and be transformed by each others’ presence. I invite you to join us (register here at http://bit.ly/1eyttoO). Springtime is near and new life is about to explode everywhere. Consider a new life for you!
Note: The wonderful painting, above, is entitled, “5 Muses”. It is the creation of Suzen Juel of Minneapolis.
I Am Grateful: A Poem of Thanksgiving
I am grateful.
For touch, warm kisses and tender moments
For the man I adore, who enjoys my quirks and thinks I’m pretty
For passionate conversations and finding new truths.
For all the brave, unique people who light up my world
For being loved… especially by him.
I am grateful.
For my children who challenge and teach me
For their wit and earnest quest for meaning
For their struggles that I cannot and should not fix
For their raw and bold insistence to blaze a path of their own
For my kids… especially my kids.
I am grateful.
For our home, the sanctuary that protects us from cold, bitter winds
For rooms that echo laughter, ideas, music and entertainment
For big windows, yummy paint colors, treasures and golden lamps
For safety, sleep, passion and beauty
For our home… especially there.
I am grateful.
For celebrations, holidays and family traditions
For gorgeous meals, bright vegetables, rich meat.
For cooking timers, linens and china
For noise, conversation… old people, awkward teens and toddlers.
For my dear friends and family… especially them.
I am grateful.
For difficult, meaningful work
For my office, my ingenious computer and magical phone
For clients and colleagues… and paychecks and bills.
For problems to solve, people to serve
For a venue for my talent… especially that.
I am grateful.
For our breathtaking world
For bumblebees, beasts and lilacs and owls
For mountain peaks, oceans and babbling brooks
For breezes and snowflakes and deep orange maple trees
For nature… especially nature.
I am grateful
For miracles and second chances.
For the loving force that never gives up on me
For muses, whispers and ancient truths
For Spirit’s guidance and revelations
For the sacred… Amen to that!
Blame Someone… Anyone
“He makes me so angry”. “She’s the reason I drink”. “My parents made me feel worthless”. “Our son is 24 and he still lives with us. I hate it.” Blame. It’s very popular. If we knew how much power there is in letting go of blame, we could quickly transform our lives. I know. I’ve spent a lot of years in the past blaming — my dad’s rage, my lousy marriage, religious guilt, dating after divorce, adult children struggling… yikes. I think I was the most judging in my 20s, confused in my 30s, liberated in my 40s, and happiest in my 50s. The happy part comes with accepting how messed up (and lovable) most people are. As a therapist, I have been listening to clients for 15 years. Lots of blame. The story is usually that someone else should be kinder, wiser, more timely, more laid back, more organized, more patient, smarter, more attractive, more articulate, more fair, more thoughtful. Rarely do we consider that it may be a victory for our insecure dad to be merely yelling instead of throwing a lamp through the window. Even more damaging, is all the blame we put on ourselves. Then comes the less conscious self loathing.
Here’s the core of the problem: there is no power toward change in blaming. Yes, we have been hurt by others. But if we convince ourselves that we are permanently damaged by what happened, we begin to believe we are worthless. If we are in love with being a victim, we are seeking rewards by being small, and thrive on pity. We get people to take care of us, we lose sight of our ability to change our situation. We are more drawn to being resentful than being grateful. We convince ourselves that we are what happened to us. But the truth is, we are what we have chosen to believe. We were all raised by wounded humans that were doing the best they could given their own insecurities and secret traumas. Serenity doesn’t depend on events outside of us, but it does depend on the meaning we place on events, the story we write in our heads.
On November 15, I’ll be presenting on this topic to a group of mental health professionals in Minneapolis. The continuing education workshop is entitled, “I’m Miserable Because of You”: Undoing the Blame Game (see Workshops & Retreats). The goal of this seminar is to provide inspiration, skills and techniques to instill profound change in clients by moving them out of resentment, blame and victim mentality to empowerment and personal responsibility. Too often, we as therapists unknowingly impair our clients by focusing on all the ways they have been hurt or betrayed by life circumstances. We need skills to show empathy without enabling people to stay stuck in self-pity thereby encouraging their role as a victim. As therapists, we hear from our clients all the ways their parents, partners, ex-spouses, bosses, children, jobs, siblings, coworkers, friends, the economy, the government — have hurt or disappointed them. Authentic change requires acceptance that life is difficult and the ability to find the tenacity, hope and wisdom to move forward in spite of, or even because of, the things we have endured. Being consumed with anger and resentment results in depression, anxiety, poor health and strained relationships. Alcohol, drugs and other addictive behaviors are used to cope with resentments and fear. Additionally, many therapists were first drawn to the field to work through their own personal pain, resentments and victimization. Becoming aware of our own unconscious blame is necessary to help free clients of the same. Here’s to accepting the imperfection in ourselves and thereby showing compassion to others’ faults. Life is difficult. Get going on your mighty purpose.
Embrace your dark side — Happy Halloween!
When we acknowledge our own darkness, we paradoxically, become more loving. Notice what you envy. That thing can be key in striving toward a more fulfilling life. Notice who drives you crazy. Chances are, that person displays characteristics that you loathe or do not accept in yourself. Admit your need for attention and recognition. Maybe then, you will find work that feeds you. Be aware of your own selfishness. Seeking approval through giving compliments and doing good deeds may have little to do with being kind, and more about gaining favor and impressing people. Knowing this about ourselves is healthy and keeps us from feeling like a martyr. Recognizing the little “demon” in yourself is powerful when met with compassion. Striving for perfection will kill your spirit and cause you to expect perfection in others. When that happens, we behave like self-righteous “monsters”. So, today is Halloween. Remember that people who admit their shortcomings are far more lovable than those that think they’re perfect. Happy Halloween to my kindred messed-up spirits!
~~ Rebecca Aadland
The Minnesota Board of Marriage & Family Therapy, Social Work, & Behavioral Health & Therapy have approved Rebecca Aadland’s workshop for CEU credits for LMFT, LSW, LGSW, LISW, LICSW, LPC, and LPCC professionals
The State of Minnesota Board of Marriage and Family Therapy has approved Rebecca Aadland’s workshop, “I’m Miserable Because of You”: Undoing the Blame Game, for Continuing Education (CE) Credits for the license renewals of LMFT professionals. Also, the Minnesota Board of Social Work has approved Rebecca Aadland of Aadland Counseling Services as a Continuing Education (CEP) Provider for Continuing Education hours for license renewals of LSW, LGSW, LISW, LICSW professionals. The Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy has approved the workshop for LPC and LPCC Continuing Education Credits as well. Sign up for 6.25 Board Approved CEUs at Rebecca’s website: http://www.rebeccaaadland.com, click on Workshops & Retreats, then Current Registration, for a full description of her workshop for psychotherapists and mental health providers. This event will take place on November 15, 2013 at the Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West in Plymouth, MN.
Presenter, Professional Continuing Ed Workshop
MN Board of Marriage and Family Therapy, MN Board of Social Work, MN Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy
Coming November 15, 2013 — Crown Plaza Minneapolis West, Plymouth, MN
Rebecca’s workshop, “I’m Miserable Because of You”: Undoing the Blame Game is approved by three mental health boards for continuing education credits for licensure. The focus of this seminar is to provide inspiration, skills and techniques to instill profound change in clients by moving them out of resentment, blame and victim mentality to empowerment and personal responsibility. For registration, see “Current Registration” under the Workshops & Retreats Tab on this site.