In searching for meaning in life, most seem to do this in attaining loving relationships, which are sometimes successful... and sometimes not. About a 50% gamble based on most statistics.
I do not personally or professionally believe in failures, I believe, and have witnessed in my practice, that it is all a building process of learning experiences, that lead to greater knowledge of self and others. Yet, to be in a loving relationship, one has to be vulnerable.
The word "vulnerability" can evoke, as I have seen in my clients faces, a squirmy uncomfortable feeling..."what is that"...what is vulnerability anyways, and why is it needed in love and relationships?
A very wise and dear friend of mine told me a while back, and I started to ponder it personally, and discuss with my clients as well,... To have a successful, full, meaningful relationship, two people have to be mutually vulnerable...sharing secrets, trust, all in...for better or worse, ego aside.
If this is so, why is it so hard to be vulnerable? Because being vulnerable is scary! Rejection, or judgment, or loss is right on the other side...what if...
It is like jumping into a lake that looks beautiful on the surface, yet you have no idea what is under the water.
It is like jumping out of a plane, wondering if the chute will open, or trusting your tandem partner will pull the cord at the right time...
But love, true love, the kind that lasts a lifetime...which seems to be what so many want...takes a leap, takes trust before it is earned... it takes vulnerability and being OPEN...in a way that they see the real you, and you see the real them, and then the magic happens...so we must not fear vulnerability, because in reality, it is the only way we can get, and keep, what we all seem to want so much...
It is a leap, a blind jump, faith in trusting one another to understand, and catch each other. It is facing the fear of judgement and being your full and true self with one another...that is vulnerability, and it is the only way love is going to work.
Jaclyn Fortier, LCMHC
Has anyone else noticed we are on earth, which is rapidly spinning in space each day? With the hustle and bustle of daily life, garbage trucks at the curb making the dog bark while you busily get ready for the day. Kids or cats needing food, work obligations, resolutions to yet again make everything better this year...It is no wonder why so may people are stressed and seeking more in their lives.
What we are seeking so furiously, may just be with us already.
One day not long ago, I was driving down a back road after an appointment, setting an intention to be mindful.
A big red pick-up truck came up behind me as I cruised at the speed limit...he got really close. So close I could feel his anger and hurried energy breathing down my mindfulness moment.
As we curved an winded down the road, I stayed my course, noticing the beautiful broken down barn in the pasture, the horses lazily eating their way through the fields... then with a loud muffler exhale...the truck ZOOMED passed me and darted out of sight. I could slowly feel his hurried anger leave my mindful moment and I took a breath...
A few miles down the road, I stopped for the red light, and to my delight and insight, the big red angry pick-up truck was in FRONT of me at the red light...we were at the same point in time...this was inspiring as I can relate, most can, to being in that kind of hurry. Maybe he was late picking up his children from school, maybe he forgot the milk on the way home...But...his hurrying did ABSOLUTELY nothing to change this.
AHHHH I wish I would have known this when I was younger...this bit of wisdom I have learned, and now passionately share with others...
WE ARE ALL GOING TO END UP IN THE SAME PLACE SO WHAT'S YOUR HURRY...
Mindfulness is practice of slowing down, paying attention, and being in the moment. It is a practice, it is hard to do in this world of hustle and bustle, although it can be life-changing. It is not mediation, you do not have to wear a Buddha robe to master it. You can even drive a big pick-up truck and still be mindful.
It is a practice and a tool. It does not mean you have to be in a mindful state all the time, although it is a tool used to come back to when you need it, whenever you can.
What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is the act of being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling at every moment — without interpretation or judgment or trying to change it.
Spending too much time planning, problem-solving, daydreaming, or thinking negative or random thoughts can be exhausting. It can also make you more likely to experience stress, anxiety and symptoms of depression.
Practicing mindfulness exercises, on the other hand, can help you direct your attention away from this kind of thinking and engage with the world around you. There are online mindful courses, guided mindfulness work, and many counselors, including myself, have training on how to implement mindfulness into your daily life.
What are the benefits of mindfulness exercises? Practicing mindfulness exercises can have many possible benefits, including:
Jaclyn Fortier, LCMHCS
We are opening in three weeks. There was a lot of change on the way, which always gives me "Life Energy". Some might call this anxiety, although I take that feeling and shift it into the framework "time is changing". Energy is needed, call the reinforcements! Things are shifting in the air, you can see it in the sky in this picture. It is magically beautiful with sparkles of hope. It is not scary, like some view change. It is perfectly beautiful and peaceful...
When we go with change, with grace, with faith, shift from anxiety into "Life Energy" we find peace and abundance. When we take time to stop and notice each day, we will find calm in the storm.
When we go with change, and view the anxiety against it as "Life Energy" we get strength to be brave and embrace what we are given. When things need to be done, we use this energy to do it in a concise direct way.
Now life is settling in after the shift of change, and in reflection I learn more about the world, myself, the people I meet with everyday. We are all shifting, flowing, fighting it, and learning along the way. When we embrace the beauty that comes with change, we are able to be open to the joy within.
Jaclyn Fortier, LCMHCS
Hello couples and anyone in a relationship...! Less is the new more. Quality is the new quantity. Lowering expectations about what healthy couples "should" do together is today's topic.
In my experience with counseling family issues, I see a lot of similar problems come through the door. Too many arguments, not enough "me" time, kids changing the relationship dynamic. I hear couples saying:
"I didn't expect it to be this way"
"All of my other friends marriages are not this way"
"We never spend time together anymore except doing things with the kids"
"I have nothing to myself anymore"
All valid emotions and experiences. Although the common aliment from this is two fold. One EXPECTATIONS and the second is RESENTMENT.
I expected something different than_________...
I resent my partner for not________...
We never do________...
I never get to do_________anymore...
There is also a lot of comparing to others, what we think others are anyways. We build these "perfect" couples and what they probably do all the time..Stop right there, they don't exist! Maybe there are healthier couples, although they still come to therapy I promise.
So what is the measure for healthy? Each family is different, although when you reduce and seek to limit the expectations of time having magical wonderful experiences together, and enjoy the few moments of peaceful time each month together, and stop having resentment for the other person, you ENJOY the moments so much more. Mindfully connecting when possible and letting go of the time you are not able to with peace. See it as a complement that you want to be together, not an insult if it does not happen.
Love is the ABSENCE of judgement. Do not judge your beloved for needing time away from you. Do not judge them for asking to have their own space. Seek support from others, a coach, therapist, or dear friend who has mastered the art of being one with themselves in a relationship.
In the meantime, less is more. Take time to yourselves and allow it with grace.
Remember, absence makes the heart grow fonder after all.
Jaclyn Fortier, LPC