Self-awareness. Most of us believe we have a good measure of it. But how did we learn it? Is it just natural? If we had to teach someone to become more self-aware, how would we teach them? We know that self-awareness is good for personal growth and increasing well-being, but how many of us actually have a way to work on improving self-awareness?
One thing I have learned as an insight-oriented therapist is this: we are blind to aspects of ourselves. It can take years and even some crisis-experiences before we are able to fully realise the deeper parts of our hearts and minds. It is as if we are immune to negative feedback on those parts of us that we don’t like. But in order to grow with integrity-of-self coupled with a sense of freedom and authenticity, we need to get in touch with every part of our selves.
Over the years of work with clients and seminar participants, I have put together a useful and robust framework to help people develop deeper self-awareness. It is an abstraction and combination of different therapy modalities** into a simple acronym I call: The BET-RR Way. BET-RR [pronounced “better”] stands for: Body – Emotions – Thoughts – Reactions/Responses. Let’s talk about BET first.Continue reading “The BET-RR Way: Self-Awareness for Better Living”
One of the challenges clients face when entering therapy is knowing whether they are improving. Unlike coaching, where clients enter the process with clearly stipulated goals (not dissimilar to hiring a golf coach to improve your swing), therapy is much deeper, and clients often come in with great distress. They only knew one thing in starting therapy: they want the pain to end, all of it!
But pain will always be with us. In fact, to hurt is human.
Due to their great distress, clients can hold on to the notion that therapy should get rid of all their pain. It doesn’t and it is not meant to. What therapy does is to help individuals, couples, and families learn how to manage pain and conflict more effectively.
Perfection is not the goal of therapy. Therapy is to help you improve in your process to the point where you can continue to improve on your own, ready to terminate your work with your therapist. The pain is still there, but you can move on.
I work with incredibly successful leaders and entrepreneurs. While I help them with the “well-being” piece, they inspire me with the “potential” piece — the potential for success in almost any endeavour.
Recently, I was able to draw out from one entrepreneur some key characteristics that make her super successful. These are characteristics that sound simple but can be hard for some to do. Nevertheless, I think they are great to incorporate into our lives in some measure befitting our contexts.
Here are the 5 P’s for a promising life filled with Possibilities:
1. Always move towards the Positive.
2. Don’t take things Personally – let it go.
3. Stay focused on your higher Purpose.
4. Live out your Potential, right now.
5. Be super Practical.
When disagreements arise, it can be difficult to stay connected with the disagreeing person and yet remain true to yourself at the same time. If feels more natural to either blame the other person or to walk away. But if we are to grow into emotional and relational maturity and wellness, we must learn to be able to ask and manage this question in times of conflict:
How can I be fully me and fully us at the same time?
Put it slightly differently: “I want to be true to myself (to be fully me) while I stay connected to you (to remain us), even when we disagree. How can I do that with you?”
I learned this idea from one of my family therapy supervisors many years ago: move from “either/or” thinking to “both/and” thinking.
We often think in “either/or” terms especially when we are caught up in a fight-or-flight mode during a conflict. Being able to engage in “both/and” thinking instead gives us new power for creative collaboration.
Preface: I work with high-conflict couples stuck in dysfunctional relationship patterns for many years. This post is for such couples. It does not apply to the average couple who might have short-term disagreements here and there.
The first time I see a couple for an intake session, I take time to explain to them how therapy works. For individuals, I emphasise the importance of the client’s willingness to take up the ownership of his or her own change. For couples, the story is a bit more complex.
I will say to the couple: “Many couples come in to see me hoping that therapy will cause their spouse to change. But if you have been in any longterm relationship, you will know the answer to this question: Is it possible change your spouse if he or she does not see eye-to-eye with you on that change?”
Most will answer, “No.”
I will continue, “So if you cannot change your spouse, what can you do?”
Starting in 2018, my blog will have a distinct focus. I will be writing practical, readable articles to help busy executives and discerning homemakers with helpful advice for “living and leading well.”
What do I mean by “living and leading well?” Basically, how to be happy in life and family, and how to achieve success as managers and leaders in the workplace.
The fundamentals for positive living in both family and work are actually the same. First, manage yourself. Second, manageyour relationships.