Beliefnet
The Celebrity Therapist

NOWe all have a right to say no.  Most of us are used to hearing this phrase in terms of drug use or consent (“Just say no!” and “No means no!”).  Many of us feel as though we are obligated to do things, or that if we commit to something, we cannot change our minds and back out.  This is false.  We have the ability to make our own decisions, and to say no whenever we feel we need to.

Saying no can be hard!  There are people that we want to impress, and a lot of the time, we truly don’t mind doing something for a person here or there.  There are some of us however that feel overwhelmed with how much we have agreed to do, and we find ourselves unable to say no.  Perhaps we want to seem like we are always willing to help, or we want to give a good impression of ourselves.  Maybe, we don’t even realize that our problem is saying yes to everything.  The good news is that there is always room to grow.

I have a friend that freelances her work, and she used to say yes to every job she was offered.  It wasn’t long before she found herself exhausted and overworked, and ready to call it quits.  After one particularly grueling few weeks of working straight through with no days off, my friend realized something needed to change.  She was trying to hard to please the people around her that she lost her needs in the process.  After a while of saying yes to everything, this friend began to say no to jobs based on a specific criteria.  If that’s what helps you – go ahead and make a list of requirements in order to say yes.  Or maybe, you just decide that you want to say no three times a week.  The important thing is to remember that it is completely okay to say no to people, and you do not have to justify why you have done so.

I think this is something that trips up a lot of people, myself included.  Not only do we feel as though we can’t say no, but we feel as though if we do say no, we have to have an amazing reason for doing so, and the person we are saying no to has to somehow be okay with it, or we must feel guilty.  We’ve got to stop this!  It is so much easier said than done though.  If we can start saying no, and stop justifying ourselves for every decision we make, we might just be happier.  But we have to start one step at a time.  These behaviors are ingrained in us and they will not change overnight.  We can become aware, and work to change them one behavior at a time.

Today, I challenge you to say no to something that you normally would say yes to.  If you don’t feel comfortable with that quite yet, try to just become aware of the times you are justifying your actions to yourself and others, and see if you can’t catch yourself and remind yourself that you have your reasons, and others don’t need to know them.

Sherry Gaba, LCSW, Radio Host, Certified Transformation Coach and author of  the award winning book, The Law of Sobriety:Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery and Ecourse www.wakeuprecovery.com. www.sherrygaba.com sherry@sgabatherapy.com

happiness-826932_960_720Expectations: we all have them. Maybe we wake up and think it will be a good day. You were on time all morning, and just about to get to work when an obstacle arises, causing you to be late, thus ruining your momentum, perhaps even your day. We have all heard the sayings, “expect the unexpected!” and “it will happen when you least expect it!” Do we ever stop to think about what our expectations are? We certainly do.

In fact, we might do it too much. We expect to have a fun time at our friend’s party, or a mediocre time during family holidays. Sometimes, we are so focused on what we expect to happen that we miss out entirely on the events. Perhaps because we expected not to have fun, and sat in a corner sulking, trying to prove our own point. Maybe we had expectations and then were disappointed with the result because they did not fit our vision. When we put our hopes into expectations, we will usually be disappointed, because expectations are a wish, not a guarantee. The only guarantee that is true with expectations is that you cannot predict what will happen.

When you enter a situation with little to no expectation of what is to come, you will find yourself pleasantly surprised. Normally, when you expect something, you control certain aspects of your life and others to try to guarantee that outcome. If you don’t have an outcome to demand of the situation, there will not be situations and people to manipulate in your direction.

When you let go of expectations, and allow yourself to be present, you don’t miss out on the event, you are not disappointed with the outcome, and you will not spend hours agonizing over the chaos later. Of course, there are always cases where even without expectations, one can be disappointed, but it takes less energy to let go of expectations than it does to worry and obsess over outcomes.

Many of us are searching for ways to siphon off some of the conflict and chaos in our lives, and I hope that today you can try to join me in letting go of expectations to achieve just that. Find one situation in which you are expecting something to happen, or someone to do something, and release your worry. Embrace being present and accept that you don’t know what is coming, but that is okay.

Sherry Gaba, LCSW, Radio Host, Certified Transformation Coach and author of  the award winning book, The Law of Sobriety:Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery and Ecourse www.wakeuprecovery.com. www.sherrygaba.com sherry@sgabatherapy.com

intimacy                Hi everyone!  Today i want to cover the topic of intimacy, something vital to each of our lives, and a topic that is a big part of love addiction and codependency.

A lot of us have found that in relationships, we have lost ourselves, and a big struggle is trying to rebuild our behavior patterns in relationships so that we can have healthy relationships where that doesn’t happen.  We have also found that the people we choose to be intimate with are unavailable to us emotionally, or maybe we have even found someone to be intimate with, but we push them away and sabotage our relationships.  Intimacy can be scary!

Growing up, intimacy was not modeled for us properly.  Many of us are working on issues like love addiction and codependency because we grew up in a dysfunctional home of some kind, but the good news is we don’t have to keep those lessons we learned.  We can learn a new way to interact with intimacy in our lives, one that is rewarding and allows real connections to be created.

What we’ve seen so far has been nerve-wracking: watching our parents stumble through similar relationships to us told us that intimacy wasn’t worth it, or that being super intimate with someone was the only way to live life.  But there is a balance, one that we didn’t see.  Instead, we either latch onto someone, holding on for dear life, trying to be the perfect person for them, or we shove someone away, telling ourselves that we don’t care about the relationship because they are too this or too that.  We don’t have to do that!

When we start setting boundaries for ourselves in terms of intimacy, we can see the way healthy intimacy can work in relationships.  We don’t have to sleep with someone we just met because that is how we’ve always done it, and we don’t have to share our entire life with someone in one night.  We can make boundaries with ourselves to take intimacy in relationships one step at a time, rather than taking the full plunge, or not entering the contest at all.

As humans, we crave social interactions and intimacy.  It is such an important part of who we are and what it means to be human, but we can try to let people into our lives even though we are scared.  We can take it at our own pace, and nobody else’s.  The more you practice healthy intimacy, the more positive results you will see, and you will be encouraged to create more positive, healthy relationships.

Sherry Gaba, LCSW, Radio Host, Certified Transformation Coach and author of  the award winning book, The Law of Sobriety:Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery and Ecourse www.wakeuprecovery.com. www.sherrygaba.com sherry@sgabatherapy.com

abandoment               Hi guys.  Today I want to talk a little bit about the topic of letting go of our fears of abandonment.  I think it’s a really important subject when delving into love addiction and co-dependency, and fear of abandonment is one of the main things that prevents people from getting out of unhealthy relationships.

The idea of being abandoned is scary.  Nobody wants to be left alone to fend for themselves.  As humans, we are social creatures, and having other people and even animals in our lives is comforting and part of being human.  The issue then, is when our fear of being alone – a reasonable fear – becomes so deep that it prevents us from being independent.  We can be independent people without having to give up healthy relationships.  What we have to strive for there is balance.

Those of us that do have major fears of abandonment have a reason to be afraid – we were left alone as children, or left alone at many other times in our lives.  We have felt the pain of people leaving, and the pain of wondering what we did to make them leave.  It is only natural for us to want to hold on tight when we find something or someone we love.

We have also found at times that we have felt abandoned by our higher power.  Things were not working in our favor, and the pain was so great, that we did not honestly believe our higher power was there.  We were so caught up in chaos, that we blamed our higher power for not taking care of us.

There is good news in all of this: we don’t have to feel this way.  We can be independent people that stick up for ourselves, and strive to have a good relationship with ourselves and our higher power.  We can work hard to make sure that we can take care of ourselves, and know that we don’t have to rely on anyone else to take care of us.  We can remember that our higher power was always there, we just had too much chaos in our lives to hear their guidance.  We can understand that moving forward, and letting go with love of others and of circumstances are a part of life, and we will have feelings about it, but our world will not end.  If we become our own best friend, and let our higher power become our best friend, we can always have a best friend there for us when we feel alone.  Allow yourself to let loving people be a part of your life, because the more you push past the fear and step out of your comfort zone, the more you will grow, and the more you will see that there is another way to live life – one not filled with fear.

Sherry Gaba, LCSW, Radio Host, Certified Transformation Coach and author of  the award winning book, The Law of Sobriety:Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery and Ecourse www.wakeuprecovery.com. www.sherrygaba.com sherry@sgabatherapy.com

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