Three Keys to Listening Well

Listening is loving. It is food for the soul and nourishment for relationships. Being heard and understood deeply has a powerful effect, enabling us to feel safe, cared for, loved, and empowered. However, listening well can be difficult.  This is becoming even more of a challenge in today’s society where a million distractions lay at our fingertips. Below are three keys to listening well and improving the way we connect with others.

  1. Presence

“When people have been with me in the moment of my pain, I have little remembered what they have said. It is their presence I recall. The gift of presence is not that it takes away the pain, but that it enables one to bear it.” – Stephen Howard, The Heart and Soul of the Therapist

To be present with another human means to offer my full attention. By setting aside other distractions, I can offer you the gift of thoughtful focus on you, your words and your emotions.  There is a remarkable difference between true presence and distracted listening. For instance, most of us have been guilty of trying to squeeze in a text while listening to a friend. Perhaps you’ve been on the opposite end of this as well and have felt the sting of rejection when you realize your words are falling on deaf ears.  Being human means we make mistakes.  A part of improving how we listen means to take note of what often distracts us and to set aside specific time to intentionally be present with loved ones.

2. Empathy

“If we share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” –Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

To listen well involves empathy, or the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings of another.  Practicing empathy via listening means that rather than offer solutions or try and “fix”, silence and patience is instead offered.  In the precious space of silence, my friend is allowed to give name to her pain, confusion, or sadness. She has a chance to be heard and to tell her story. Now, rather than burden of hidden shame or pain, she feels joined and a bit less alone in her experience.

3. Boundaries

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.” -Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

Boundaries are critical towards listening well because they enable individuals to offer presence & empathy. Practicing presence and empathy demands emotional energy.  Being human means we have limits to our capacity to give these resources.  Setting boundaries means we are in tune with how much we have to give and say yes when we feel capable and no when we do not.  The same people who often thrive in the areas of listening and compassion struggle to set boundaries because they want to give too much.  As Brené Brown mentions above, it is important that we care for and love ourselves enough by resisting the urge to merely please others and instead give when we feel truly able.

Presence, Empathy, and Boundaries set the tone for meaningful interactions.  By practicing these tenants, our relationships are given depth and life.

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Thank you for reading. Learn more about Lydia and her practice here.

Gratitude: A Poem

camp graceWaking up from a dream, I discover myself laying beneath a tree.

It is lovely, tall, green.

It asks for nothing besides this plot of land: a place to grow and be.

The wind disturbs the branches, limbs dance above my head.

I ponder, wondering what sight I’d see here if thunder storms rolled in.

There is no where to hide, no way to run when skies change from blue to gray.

The tree does not think on these things. It exists today.

All things impermanent. Always changing. Nothing guaranteed.

No crystal balls or time machines. Simply you and me.

Grass between my toes, sun in my hair.  Tears forming in my eyes.

Struck by Gratitude for such a moment, humbled by the love I feel inside.

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Thank you for reading. To learn more about Lydia & her counseling practice feel free to visit here.

On Feeling Stuck & How Therapy Helps

In my time meeting with new clients, I often hear some variation of this shared: “I don’t know…I just feel stuck.” This experience of feeling stuck leads many people to consider and potentially try therapy.  I have a hunch that at some point most people find themselves in such a place…

But what does it mean? This stuck-ness, what is it? And is it as vague as it sounds?

imageSometimes, yes it is. Unlike other times when a very clear obstacle or event causes pain, feeling stuck can mean finding oneself in a more general, emotionally undesired and familiar place. This place may involve a mixture of feelings – of frustration, anxiety, loneliness, envy, and sadness. Like wandering through a forest, hoping to find a clearing, yet winding back to the same ‘ole stump, it may feel like you have traveled in circles.
Perhaps you and the stump look a bit different now and the surrounding landscape has changed some too. However, the underlying ground and root issues remain, bringing forth similar tension each time.

If we dig a bit deeper and put names to these often-vague yet familiar places of being stuck, the following may serve as examples:

• Stunted…restrained by self-doubt, fear, and lack of confidence
• Lack of closeness and authenticity in relationships
• General boredom & apathy
• Unclear boundaries with others & people-pleasing behaviors
• Avoidance of emotions (i.e. “pushing down feelings”)
• Unsatisfied and frustrated by school, career, or overall life direction

…just to name a few.

How Therapy Helps:

In response to feeling stuck, I find that it is important to seek understanding. We need to understand what keeps us coming back to our familiar places in order to ultimately head in a new direction…

Therapy invites you to take intentional time for this. It involves a commitment to self – a decision to pause amidst the chaos and choose awareness. In doing so, we can begin to gain insight into the patterns and tendencies which continue to re-emerge. By taking this step we also learn more about how heartache, rejection, and how other painful parts of our individual stories have impacted us. Due to this, therapy includes a leaning-in to the discomfort of our vulnerable feelings to know what our emotions are telling us. It also entails asking important questions such aswho am I, what causes me pain, and what do I hope for?

Finally, therapy is a brave step in the journey of healing. In the presence of a caring and focused counselor, therapy offers us a chance to go – at our own pace – into the hurting places of our hearts with purposes of being understood, seeking clarity, and finding new possibility. Along the way…perhaps we discover why we tend to return to “the stump” and with greater knowledge and comfort, find that we can move forward in a new way.

As a helping professional, I feel grateful for the chance to walk with people as they set aside the time to invest in their wellbeing and explore the depth of themselves in the hopes of growth.

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Thank you for reading. To learn more about Lydia & her counseling practice at Foundation Counseling, feel free to visit here.

Acceptance & Empowerment: When Change Happens Deeply

sky photo“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”  – Carl Rogers, On Becoming a Person

Upon hearing the quote above, some individuals question psychotherapist, Carl Rogers’s message. You may similarly wonder, “How does that work?”

The idea of Acceptance preceding Change goes against much of the quick-fix/self-help/problem-focused culture we often find ourselves in. I must be ______________ (smart, “normal”, outgoing, thin, organized, well-off, educated, popular, confident, in a relationship, stress-free, employed, composed, attractive, spiritual, sober, “well-adjusted”, etc.) before I can be _______________ (accepted, loved, happy, respected, understood & okay). Yet, I question the depth of change possible when we try altering the outer behaviors and “problem areas” without also taking time to understand and attend to the inner person of who we are. Much like trimming grass at the surface only to have it grow back days later, there are deeper, much more complex roots that lie below and require understanding.

In my last post I discussed the idea of the inner Child – the part of each one of us, which is formed in childhood, and continues into adulthood, and which asks the question: “Am I Okay?” Related to this question, I believe change is what many seek when attempting to answer another quite similar question: “How Can I Be Okay?

Empowered to “Climb the Mountain”:

“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”  – Brene Brown

And why is self-acceptance, or self-love and the development of understanding one’s core self, so important and necessary for moving forward? Perhaps because in its absence, we often find shame. I find that shame can be explained as that gnawing, pit-in-the-stomach feeling that coincides with thoughts of “I’m bad,” “I’m hated,”, “I’m useless,” or “I’m uncared for…” Perhaps a specific event impacted the amount of shame you carry? Or maybe rather than the presence of something negative it was the lack of the positive (i.e. love, understanding, & validation) that resulted in your shame?

Regardless of what your shame looks like, carrying shame with us through life is similar to carrying added weight to one’s backpack and then attempting to hike – or sprint – up a mountain unsuccessfully. The weight is needless and unhelpful -pulling us backward – but we’ve carried it for so long. It has become “our normal” and we’ve become all-too accustomed to the aches and pains it provides. Stopping to unpack the extra load takes time and commitment. It also requires looking at difficult realities below the surface. Yet, it is an investment in ourselves and provides the empowering effect of standing and walking forward more free to create and enjoy the journey ahead.

Psychotherapist, Irvin Yalom, refers to therapist and client as “fellow travelers.” (The Gift of Therapy). I love this idea and I have found it to be true both in my role as counselor as well as in my own time spent in the client-seat. Traveling together in the reflective journey of counseling requires the difficult tasks of looking at the “weight” – the shame, the pain, and the confusion present. However, through the challenge it also provides the exciting experience of exploring what hopes are possible when a person begins to see him/herself through the lens of love rather than shame and encounters change happening deeply. ___________________________________________________________________________________ Thanks for reading. Learn more about Lydia Minear, MA, LAPC’s counseling practice @ East-West Psychotherapy Associates here.

Healing & Uniting in Relationship: Three Keys to Constructive Communication

chairs beach“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.” ~ Rollo May (late psychologist/psychotherapist)

Communication is key in not only healing from wounds in relationship but also – as Rollo May states (above) – it is essential in truly understanding another person, being understood yourself, and cultivating intimacy and mutual respect together. The following skills are helpful in gaining this awareness and seeking clarity in the midst of conflict:

[*I consistently use the word spouse in the following explanations but these skills can also be applied to other close relationships such as dating relationships, family relationships, & friendships.]

  1. Listen rather than Defend

When conversations become emotionally difficult, the normal feelings of anxiety and fear can leave us wanting to defend ourselves. We desire for our loved on to view us in a positive light. Therefore, defensiveness can be a typical response when discussions become heated. However, defending oneself often creates a wall, blocking our ability to truly empathize with the other person and genuinely hear his or her concerns.  Instead of defending yourself, “lean in” to this discomfort and accept it as normal. Then attend to your spouse, putting aside your own discomfort, and focusing on what his or her message is. Doing this for one another allows each individual to have the validating experience of having his/her voice recognized and valued.

  1. Ask rather than Assume

When engaging in discussions about tough topics, resist assuming. Assuming to know your spouse’s thoughts, feelings, and intentions impedes progress in communicating clearly. Our assumptions may be based on past experiences (even with other people) and can often be incorrect. Similar to defensiveness, assuming can be a near-automatic response when in the midst of an argument. Difficult topics often make us feel vulnerable. Out of fear of being hurt, assuming to know is a way of “having a leg up” in the moment of relational struggle. Yet, it typically causes more confusion and miscommunication by invalidating the other person’s true ideas and feelings.  Instead, approach your spouse with honest curiosity and a willingness to respect their response.

  1. Own your choices/thoughts/feelings rather than Blame them on your spouse.

Taking responsibility for your own choices, thoughts, and feelings is essential in promoting honesty and trust between you and your spouse. Use “I” and “me” statements rather than “you” statements when explaining your ideas and feelings. [ Example, saying: “When we discuss difficult topics, I feel misunderstood.” Rather than: “You never try to understand me when we have difficult conversations.”]. Blaming only further pushes your spouse away in tough conversations. Taking ownership of what you are personally responsible for cultivates a space for respect and compassion to flourish, enabling healthier, less aggressive dialogue to occur.

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Thanks for reading. Learn more about Lydia Minear, MA, LAPC’s counseling practice @ East-West Psychotherapy Associates here.

 

Noticing Vs. Judging Your Feelings [ A More Compassionate Way ]

“But feelings can’t be ignored, no matter how unjust or ungrateful they may seem.” ~ Ann Frank

I have a paper tucked away in my office drawer that I like to pull out every once in a while with clients. On it you’ll find a list of several dozen “Feeling Words” – each listed under a specific sub category. This simple sheet of paper can often provide some clarity. For instance, I’m not just “happy”, I’m “hopeful” or I’m more than simply “angry”, I feel “bitter”. I find that this simple sheet of paper comes in handy when people find themselves stumped – unsure of exactly how they feel. Gaining this deeper insight also opens the door for better answering the questions of whowhat prompt these feelings within us and whyhow they occur. More so, beyond the use of any kind of “Feeling Words” cheat sheet, I find it important that in the safety of the therapy room that feelings are discussed and processed in a different sort of way. Honestly, I see a need for a kinder, more compassionate stance towards our feelings – and towards ourselves – than we often experience. And what do I mean by this? What I typically notice is that we can quickly get into a harsh cycle of (1) feeling our feelings and then (2) criticizing ourselves, even shaming ourselves, for experiencing these true feelings. An example of this may sound like:

“I feel jealous towards my co-worker for getting the promotion…and now I hate myself for feeing jealous when I should be happy for her.”   OR

“To be honest, I feel depressed today – like I really did not want to get out of bed. Man, I must sound pathetic.”   OR

“I miss my mom so much right now. I feel like I should be dealing with her death much better than I am.

What stands out most to me in these three examples can be summed up in one word: JUDGMENT. I can picture three separate individuals bravely and honestly speaking these truthful emotions outloud and then upon recognizing the discomfort, isolation, or sorrow that these feelings bring, swiftly judging themselves.  Perhaps they deem themselves not “strong enough” or not “normal enough”. Further, how often have we – you and I – responded the same  to our own feelings. The danger about this judgment is that it provokes a third part in the cycle mentioned above. First (1) we feel our feelings, (2) we judge our feelings, and then as a result (3) we get stuck in the “muck” of self-loathing. All of the sudden we are trapped, our self-condemnation preventing us from the necessary work of digging-deepeer and seeking awareness and possible healing in the midst of the initial feeling that brought us here. A Better Way?: Perhaps a better response to our feelings can be found in replacing Judging with simply Noticing. As the initial quote by Ann Frank so accurately states, “feelings can’t be ignored” – especially the bad ones. Furthermore, there is something so incredibly important in recognizing that we are not “bad ones” for feeling these natural human emotions. Anger, guilt, desperation, sadness – it’s all there for any one of us to feel. How completely human we are when they touch our hearts. As psychotherapist Stephen Howard (in his book Heart & Soul of the Therapist) explains, we are much better off approaching our feelings with honesty and curiosity than avoidance or disdain. The reality is that our feelings are important. Though not always easy and rarely simple, our active feelings tell us something. How vital it is to listen to them with openess, ready to be aware of what direction they may be leading, truth yet to uncover, or acceptance needing to be had. __________________________________________________________________________________ Thanks for reading. Learn more about Lydia Minear, MA, LAPC’s counseling practice @ East-West Psychotherapy Associates here.

Meeting as Equals: The Value of Person-Centered Therapy

In an earlier post, I discussed the counseling style I adhere to: person-centered therapy. Today, I’d like to share a short video clip from an interview with the founder of person-centered therapy, the late Carl Rogers.  To me, his thoughts at minute 1:20 & 3:00 highlight the essence of this particular psychotherapy style.

“I think that some of what I have done professionally in my work has been a reaction to my early upbringing. Where I was not heard, I really wanted to hear people. Where I didn’t dare to expose what was going on in my own world, I would really like to hear from other people – I would like to make it safe for them to reveal their own inner worlds.” ~Carl Rogers (at 1:30 of interview).

“What I learned was – if I want to seem very smart and very expert, then I will continue to diagnose and tell you what’s wrong with you and tell you what should be done. But If I really want to be of help, perhaps the thing I should do is to listen to where the pain or the problem or the issue is within you. And that had a profound effect on my later experience.” ~ Carl Rogers (at 3:00 of same interview).

“Perhaps the thing I should is to listen…”  My own personal experience sitting in the client seat along with professional experience working with individuals as a therapist has highlighted this truth: “meeting as equals” is invaluable towards the process of true self-awareness, understanding, and healthy emotional healing.  Like Rogers explains, we all have an inner world. Perhaps your inner world is composed of guilt, fear, worry, or pain. Perhaps it is filled with regrets – choices you wish you could undo, experiences you wish you could erase, and questions you long to ask . To sit with another human being who travels to that inner world with you – not in a prideful, demanding, or pressured way but rather in a humble, empathetic way – is a powerful and potentially transforming experience.

And why is it so impactful?

…likely because being completely alone in one’s inner world – in the hidden and dark places is scary.  Similar to being trapped in a deep, dark pit, being alone in this way can result in feeling emotionally “stuck.”  Fearful of being “found out” and nervous that we will be misunderstood or punished by those around us, we may be left with the feeling that there is no way out. Yet, seeing that another person can sit with you in that world and in your distress provides incredible relief. When we allow a safe person into that place, we begin to see ourselves and our circumstances differently. No longer am I so different, so weird, or so horrible when I feel the comfort of someone else’s presence there with me in the reality of my thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Knowing that I am not hated, pushed away, or rejected for these things provides a way for me to begin the crucial acts of self-compassion, self-forgiveness, understanding, and growth towards perhaps new choices and greater self-acceptance.

As a counselor, this is my heartbeat – my highest hope for the people I sit with: that they would know they are not alone. That they would feel the comfort and strength that is offered from sitting with another equal – a human being who is able to travel to those dark places with them in a safe and kind way.

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Learn more about Lydia Minear, MA, LAPC’s counseling practice @ East-West Psychotherapy Associates here.

Why Counselors Welcome Silence in Session

I have found that people often hold one of two fears about counselors:

(1) Counselors exist to tell me what to do and what not to do. (In essence, the belief that counselors exist as advice-givers i.e., An extension of your parent, spouse, or boss.)

(2) Counselors just sit in silence, nodding, and writing notes while I spill out my heart and then hand over a check at the end of the session. (i.e. The belief that therapists are mysterious and aloof, adding little to the therapy session.)

Coming from a person-centered approach, I believe both of these approaches to psychotherapy can be largely unhelpful. Thankfully, I work with a team of counselors who similarly believe in a different way of meeting with clients…

The kind of psychotherapy that I personally and professionally believe in involves cultivating a place of safety, freedom, and honesty. Meeting with another human being and providing both empathy and sensitive challenge to their unique way of being requires more humility than advice-giving and greater mutual cooperation between counselor and client than “lounging and listening”.

As human beings, we as counselors naturally carry our own experiences and perspectives with us, which color they way we see circumstances and those people we sit with each week in session.  However, we are also trained to acknowledge “our stuff” and strive to discern when it is appropriate and helpful to vocalize our insight (for instance, offering tools and strategies to help clients in dealing with stress and managing moods) and when it is necessary to “get out of the way.” “Getting out of the way” simply means to ethically allow the client time to explore the spaces of their mind and heart, which often go ignored or avoided until an opportunity of safe silence is afforded…

“Sitting with” Silence

In a culture & time in which there are endless distractions, readily available to sweep us away from emotional discomfort, it can become rare that we are faced with moments of “sitting with” our stories and acknowleding how we feel about our relationships, our jobs, our past, our future, and simply stated-our lives.

Do any of these behaviors sound familiar?:

Immediately turning on the radio when I get in the car. // Flipping through Facebook when I’m stressed and take a break at work. // Swiftly changing the topic of conversation when someone asks how I’m really doing.

I have been guilty of allowing some of these behaviors to become distractions. How about you? Do you find yourself escaping, minimizing, or numbing emotions?

How about the times when you don’t – when you allow yourself to feel and sit with the reality of the moment. What is it like? Until we allow ourselves to sit with and process our feelings with a safe person & in a safe place, it can be challenging to accept the reality of the struggle, problem or loss we have experienced.

…And this is exactly why I believe that silence can be “golden.” I notice that when silence is constantly “rescued” by my noise, that clients can become stuck in the therapy process. Further, their story is not being told if I fill it with my own opinions. Opening up space to think, evaluate, feel, and deal is not only helpful, it is healthy. However, it is not necessarily natural in a world in which so many interferences reside. Therefore, we must be intentional in seeking it out.

As someone who can attest to the deep value present in allowing silence to produce natural and authentic expressions of true feelings, I am ready to begin banning the presence of “awkward” before silence, and instead allow for silence to be exactly what it is: a needed, quiet space that offers the chance for honesty and freedom.

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Learn more about Lydia Minear, MA, LAPC’s counseling practice @ East-West Psychotherapy Associates here.

Daring Greatly [by Brené Brown] Book Review: Wholehearted Living Vs. “Culture of Scarcity”

Daring GreatlyIn the month of February, I had the pleasure of reading Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, & Parent, by talented writer & research professor, Brené Brown.  I consider Daring Greatly to be a fantastic – and important read for anyone who has felt or currently feels stunted – perhaps relationally, professionally, or emotionally – by the experience of rejection, shame, and the pressure of perfectionism.

A few months ago, I shared a video by Brené Brown on my blog, entitled The Power of Vulnerability.  In this 20 minute talk, she outlines the research she conducted for 6+ years on the topics of shame, vulnerability, and what it means to live Wholeheartedly.  She also candidly admits to her own personal struggles with perfectionism, her honest disdain for “messy” emotions, and the journey she endured in therapy to truly “lose the fight [for control] but win my life back.”

Daring Greatly showcases in much more detail the research and findings Brené touches on in her TedTalk.  It is difficult to summarize 250+ all-noteworthy pages of insight into a brief book review. However, I want to share one of my favorite points Brené shares, which is what she calls “Wholehearted Living.”

Wholehearted Living vs. the “Culture of Scarcity”

After years of collecting the stories of real men and women with real hurts, pains, struggles, and joys, Brené noticed a common theme in one group of research participants who she noticed lived “Wholeheartedly” or from a place of worthiness.  These “Wholehearted” persons who experienced a deep sense of love & belonging were only different in one way from others.  The difference was not in financial status, race, profession, gender, or age. The difference existed in one area: they believed they were worthy of love & belonging. Living from this place of worthiness did not shield them from heartache, disappointment, or loss. They experienced pain like any other person. Neither did they possess some kind of super-human ability to always say and do the right thing. They were flawed, made mistakes, and felt normal guilt just as any person does. However, Brené explains that the defining difference involved how these “Wholehearted” people viewed themselves. When life threw them a curve ball or they themselves made mistakes, they offered themselves grace & understanding rather than harsh criticism. Rather than reacting to life from a place of “scarcity” – (a fear of not being or having enough), Brené notes that Wholehearted living involves “digging deep” and seeing themselves in a realistic and compassionate manner.

Scarcity is the ‘never enough’ problem…Everything from safety to love to money and resources feels lacking” (Brown, p. 27).

“What makes this constant assessing and comparing so self-defeating is that we are often comparing our lives, our marriages, our families, and our communities to unattainable, media-driven visions of perfection, or we’re holding up our reality against our own fictional account of how great someone else has it” (Brown, p. 26).

“The opposite of ‘never enough’ isn’t abundance or ‘more than you could ever imagine.’ The opposite of scarcity is enough, or what I call Wholeheartedness…[which] at its core is vulnerability and worthiness: facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks, and knowing that I am enough” (Brown, p. 29).

After reading Daring Greatly, I believe the idea of living Wholeheartedly is not a mere Self-Help idea like the “Power of Positive Thinking.”  It goes much deeper than patting oneself on the back. Neither does it involve sticking our heads in the sand and denying problems in our lives or within ourselves. Furthermore, to say, “I am enough” does not denote a narcissistic belief system or idealism that assumes “I can do anything” or “I can be everything.” Instead, it simply means that I can accept in essence my humanness – of feeling pain, of experiencing brokenness, and of battling shame and accept these parts of me as instrically human. To be enough, also means to be able to look into our hurts and our fears and see them for what they are, and to allow ourselves the freedom to exist with these things under the umbrella of kindness rather than under the umbrella of contempt and disdain.

“Leaning into the Discomfort”: Stepping off the Zipline

Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness” (Brown, p. 27).

Brené Brown speaks of “leaning into the discomfort” of emotional messiness in her TedTalk as well as in her book by embracing vulnerability. As I read Daring Greatly, one image kept crossing my mind: I imagined a child preparing to experience a zipline for the very first time. He’s on the edge of the platform, strapped in to the harness, and ready to jump. However, his heart beats fast in his small chest as his legs shake beneath him.  The fear is real. Walking off the platform means leaving the security of what is known behind and facing a thrilling yet risky challenge…he literally must lean in to the discomfort of the reality of his adventure. What boldness it takes to respect the fear, experience it, and embrace the challenge regardless.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path” (Brown, p.27).

I believe facing our fears – emotional fears- feels like this. I sit with courageous clients who dare greatly by sharing their innermost thoughts, feelings, and experiences they have carried for years – and even decades alone.  Leaning into that kind of discomfort is powerful. It can also feel intimidating for the person exposing their truth. Further, it is a process to be done with a safe person (aka, a “secure harness”). One of the most true messages that Brené makes clear in Daring Greatly is that not everyone is worthy or capable of sitting with you in your place of vulnerability. I believe that especially with deep hurts and sensitive struggles, finding persons who can be with you in your discomfort to provide support and compassion – rather than judgment, advice-giving, or a legalistic “finger-wagging” is essential. A safe person allows the space for your story to be told without interruption and respects the uniqueness of your story as your own.

I learned a great deal from Daring Greatly and hope to share more  of what I gleaned in future posts. If you feel that the topics of the book I discussed speak to your own personal story, I encourage you to check-out Brené Brown’s books here.

Brown, Brené. (2012). Daring greatly: How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, and parent. New York, New York: Penguin Group Publishing.

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Learn more about Lydia Minear, MA, LAPC’s Counseling practice @ East-West Psychotherapy Associates here.