The Celebrity Therapist

supportWhen we are choosing the people in our lives, we like to pick ones that comfort us and support us in our times of need. Part of our relationships with these people means supporting them as well. Some of us don’t really know what it means to be supportive, and we do the best we can.

So, what does it mean to be supportive? What can we do to connect with our loved ones better, and help lift them up without any burden to ourselves? Luckily, the answer is quite simple.

Many of us are fixers – we like to solve other people’s problems, lend a hand, and make sure everyone else’s lives are running smoothly. As a fixer myself, I know that more than enough time is spent on these tasks. Living as an adult child of an alcoholic means that I am well versed in the art of fixing, whether it is cleaning up after someone, fixing their mistakes, or bailing them out of trouble when that might not be the best thing for them. Being a fixer is not a bad thing; many of us are caregivers by nature, and we genuinely do love to help out. Being a fixer just means we spend a little too much time focused on fixing others.

Unfortunately, the best intentions can sometimes go astray. We know that we are coming from a loving place or wanting to help and connect with the other person. Constantly telling them how to fix their problems, however, is not what someone wants out of a supportive friend, and we often get pushed away.

Instead of fixing, try affirming what the person is saying. When someone complains about work, or a problem with a boyfriend, try to just listen and make them feel heard. By doing this and letting them figure the problem out on their own, will show them you have confidence in them, rather than fixing them and showing them that your way is better. A lot of times, we just want an ear, and for someone to agree with us that the situation we are in is difficult. We don’t need to try to fix someone in order for them to like us and enjoy our company. We don’t have to bend over backwards for other people, we just have to be there for them. Allow them the dignity of making their own decisions and offer insight when they ask. Fixing generally means that something is broken, and we don’t want to make people in our lives feel broken, we want to empower them and make them feel strong.

Today, I’d like to challenge you to just listen to one person that is venting, and show them that you hear them. Validate what they are saying, and try to hold back from fixing them. If the temptation is too strong, try asking them if there is anything you can do to help with the situation. Remember, you don’t need to use your energy focusing on anyone else’s problems.

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  Find out if you are #codependent. Take my quiz.

Dahlia_'White_Perfection'_1                Hello all!  Today I want to talk about the topic of perfection.  As codependents and love addicts, we have striven for perfection constantly, only to be disappointed when our expectations were not met.  Whether it was someone else we were trying to impress or just ourselves, we were hard on ourselves for not executing it perfectly.

We don’t have to be hard on ourselves.  Nobody in this world is perfect!  We seem to hear that from people all the time, but the struggle is in understanding and really believing it.

We look at other peoples’ lives, especially with social media, and they seem to have it all – jobs, families, houses, vacations, and happiness.  But there is so much of peoples’ lives that we do not see, and each person has their struggles.  Truly, nobody is perfect.

But oh how we wanted to be.  If we were perfect, our parents would love us right, or boyfriend would be our husband, and we would get that promotion we dream about.  But our perfectionism hinders us more than it helps us.  We focus too much of our energy into trying to please others and be the perfect person that we lose ourselves.  We don’t do what we want, or what may even be good for us, because there is a chance that we can be the perfect person and that will solve our problems.  When we fail at being perfect – not because we are failures at all, but simply because nobody can be perfect, we are ashamed of ourselves.  We feel guilty, and we tell ourselves that next time we’ll be more perfect, an antagonize over minute details rather than the bigger picture.

Our worth is not defined by how perfect we are, as we have been led to believe.  No matter what, we are worthy, and if there is someone that expects perfection in return for their presence in your life, they are not the right person for you, and that is okay.  We are imperfect.  It makes us human,  It allows us to empathize and have compassion for others, and when we share our imperfections with others, we are courageous and it creates connections with others.  We don’t have to be perfect.  Nobody is.

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

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

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