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Grow Your Confidence Through Self-Respect

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Confidence and Self-Respect

In order to maintain confidence we must be able to grow and nurture self-respect. When we learn to lean into our own self-respect we can maintain our confidence in a whole new light. Some of the things that get in the way of self-respect are: people-pleasing, negative people, hurt/anger, careless situations, not knowing yourself or the people around you, and not hold yourself or others to appropriate standards.

Self-respect is based on what you do. When you do or allow those things listed above to be in your life you are taking a toll on your self-respect. When we do well and surround ourselves with positive things our self-respect goes up, and when we feel good and surround ourselves with positive things our confidence goes up as well. There is a correlation between self-respect and confidence, often times if we have one we have the other. If we increase our self-respect and the things we need to have self-respect, we are able to increase our confidence as well. There are key ideas that can help us create a greater amount of self-respect, but the three that I want to focus on are: boundaries, gratefulness/positivity, and our support system.


Boundaries are a very hot topic, and for a good reason. One of my favorite authors, Brene Brown, simplifies boundaries as “what’s ok, and what’s not ok.” Simple yet profound. Many of us have a hard time establishing what is ok and what is not ok. We struggle finding that balance of helping others and still maintaining ourselves. We either help everyone and give too much or we withhold from others because we are afraid of giving too much or resentful because we already have.

When we hold tight to our boundaries we give ourselves the opportunity to harness compassion, love, and understanding with ourselves and with others. Having these qualities in our field because we are boundaried gives us the ability to increase our self-respect and confidence because we feel stronger about the way we interact with others and we maintain what is important and key in our lives and relationships.

Gratefulness & Positivity

When we develop a sense of gratitude in all that we do we start to view the world and our life from a different lens that increases our confidence. Science shows that when we take time to notice the good we are able to create positive pathways in our brain that begin to create a more positive outlook on life. When there are positive things happening in our lives we have the ability to increase our confidence because we feel better about who we are and what is happening around us. When we become intentional about noticing the good in our life we are more likely to have a positive outlook on life and various situations and people. If you take 10-30 seconds and focus on the good and write down one positive thing that happens for 30 days you will start to see a difference in your outlook on life and on yourself.

We are able to build more respect around who we are and what we do when we start identifying the positive things that are happening in our lives. The less positive we see the less respect we accumulate. When it comes to being intentional about the positive things in our lives we have to take an honest look at the things that bring us down: negative beliefs, family members, boyfriends/girlfriends, work, our own pattern of thinking etc. We have to find ways to take these areas in our life an cut away the bad, add more positive, and maintain the things that are good now.

Support System

Knowing who the important people are in our lives are so important in regard to our self-respect. When we have a healthy and functional support system, we give ourselves ample opportunity to be grateful, maintain boundaries, and maintain our self-respect. There is the idea that when we are in negative company we ourselves become negative, but when we surround ourselves with positive company we ourselves become more positive. When we have positive influences and positive people in our lives then we increase our respect for ourselves and for our confidence.

Moving Forward

When we start to align things in our lives and put in place necessary actions to increase our self-respect then we have the ability to naturally increase your confidence. Some of these areas in our lives are not always easy to maintain or change. If you need help to navigate some of these or all of these areas contact me. Going through this alone is hard work and having someone to walk through some of the challenges with can help you find the deeper respect and deeper confidence that you desire.

How to Develop Core Confidence

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There are so many voices in our head that come from us and from others around us that tell us we are not worthy or good enough. Those voices crush our spirit and with it, our confidence. While on one hand, these voices clearly have weight and have an impact us. On the other hand, the one voice that matters the most is the one that belongs to us, and our voice often unheard. We can combat these voices that bring us down by knowing, accepting, and loving ourselves in a more authentic way.

Knowing & Trusting Ourselves

When we are building confidence in who we are, we need to first understand who we truly are. The key is knowing that core self of who we are and what makes us function the way we do. If we want to become confident in ourselves, we must understand the ways we respond and why, ours needs, and our desires. We must learn to tune into our body and mind so we can understand our reactions and what each event tells us.

When we take the time to explore our relationships and the way they operate and work along with our values and beliefs and how they track with us throughout our days. When we start to understand our passions that drive us in daily life we can start to build confidence on who we are rather than second guess everything that we do.

Here is a list of questions that you can ask yourself to start this journey of self-exploration:

  1. Looking back on my past, what are three common themes that I can say were a part of my life?
  2. What are three driving forces for me in this current stage in my life?
  3. What are my top three values that I hold dearly to my heart?
  4. What do my relationships tell me about myself and the way I connect and relate to others?
  5. What are the three things (material and non-material) that I hold closest to my heart?
  6. Who is the one person that was the greatest influence and why? What do those qualities say about who you are or strive to be?

These are some of the key ideas that will help you find greater understanding in who you are. In turn, you will begin the process of becoming more confident in who you are and the way you operate in the world. As you walk through each of these questions and explore the implications each area has on your life it is important to remember that we all operate in our own unique and beautiful way. We have to learn to stay kind and true to who we are and the people around us.

“Being confident and believing in your own self-worth is necessary to achieving your full potential.”         -Author Unknown

Accepting and Loving Ourselves

In order for the above to take place we have to learn some self-acceptance and self-love. In order to accept ourselves we have to start looking inward and stop looking outward. When we look outward is when we fall into the comparison trap, and we begin lose our joy and our passion for things in life.  When we learn to love ourselves for who we are and recognize our strengths and weaknesses in such a way where we grow and prosper we have that ability to love ourselves (even the parts that are hard to love). There is no methodological or linear way to work through accepting and loving ourselves, and each person has their own beliefs and visions about who they are and what they have to offer. This process takes time and there is a constant battle going on between love and hate and acceptance and denial. There are some small things you can do in order to help yourself start to take the steps toward loving and accepting who you are.

Allow yourself to be loved by others

Often times when we struggle to love and accept ourselves we struggle to accept those offerings from other people. When someone shows you affection learn to embrace it and sit with it rather than push it away. This will help us learn what positive feels toward yourself will feel like.

Celebrate your strengths

Start recognizing areas of strength and write them down. If you have a hard time with this do one a day, and reflect on something you did well that day and how that could be interpreted as a strength. Create awareness around more positive and uplifting areas in our life.

Forgive yourself

It is very difficult to make it past regrets, and when we get hung up on those regrets it is difficult to move toward self-acceptance. We have to learn to forgive ourselves and learn from the regrets and the mistakes and move forward in a way allows us to be stronger and better prepared for future endeavors.

Surround yourself with positive people

Our environment has a big impact on who we are and what we believe. If we are constantly surrounding ourselves with people who bring us down and offer negative company, we will find ourselves in the same state of mind. If we surround ourselves with people who build us up and accept us we will find ourselves in the same state of mind.

Each of these are little steps you can take in order to start working toward building confidence and acceptance in yourself. This process takes time and it is so important to be kind to yourself during it. This topic is a tough one to handle so if you need help or want a neutral party invested in your growth and transformation please contact me. I would love to walk through this journey with you toward a more confident and whole-self. You don’t have to do this on your own, and I know taking that first step is hard. We can set up a free 20 minute consultation to see if this would be a good journey for you to begin.

3 Ways We Shadow Our Sunshine

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“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Confidence is our sunshine. Many of us want confidence in our lives, but we are often overshadowed and the confidence gets displaced in insecurity. Having sunshine doesn’t make us cocky or arrogant (which is a fear of many). Confidence is grown and hindered in many ways. The key is understanding that we are the only ones that can actually allow our confidence grow and emerge, but anyone, including ourselves can hinder our confidence. Let us look closer at confidence.

Confidence is one of those virtues that we see in other people and crave for ourselves. Many of us want to be confident, we don’t enjoy walking around insecure and uncertain. Most people don’t know how to work toward building a more confident and strong self. There are many ways to approach building self-confidence, but I want to focus on the idea of how we get in our own way of being confident. We demand so much from ourselves and we typically beat ourselves up over things that we miss or things that we struggle with day in and day out. Even when we conquer an uphill battle, at the end, we expected it of ourselves or “it wasn’t that big of a deal”. Either way, it never seems like we can win with our eyes, we are always fighting to be good enough. If you want to be a more confident person here is some ideas to identify where we sometimes struggle:

Stop Beating Yourself Up

We put so much effort and use so much energy on correcting, critiquing and criticizing ourselves. The way we look, our performance, our personal life, our status, our finances, among other things. We aren’t:

  • “pretty enough”
  • “thin enough”
  • “smart enough”
  • “wealthy enough”
  • “busy enough”
  • “happy enough”

These are all things that some of us say to ourselves on a daily basis, and hearing these thoughts stream in and out of our head can leave us feeling pretty insecure and uncertain with ourselves.

Take a second take a deep breath and imagine the difference it would make if for every criticism you had instead you had a compliment for yourself? This is something you can try: every time you catch yourself saying something negative or critiquing yourself you have to say two positive or uplifting things about yourself in that situation. Every time you judge yourself you have to do something nice for yourself in respect to loving the area that you judged.

Give Yourself Credit

When we accomplish our goals we often times just expect that goal accomplished in that manner. If someone tells us good job we often quickly jump to “it was nothing” or “oh you really thought so? Because I thought…” or that is how I am supposed to be or perform or you are just trying to be nice, it wasn’t good at all. These are just a few of the many conclusions that we jump to when we accomplish any task.

Take a deep breath and imagine how different things would be if you were able to give yourself or accept a compliment. Try walking through the day and allowing yourself to be humbly proud of the accomplishments you have made. Allow others to say good job and simply say “thank you” instead of the thoughts that down play or degrade your work or appearance in anyway. When you are able to appreciate who you are and the work that you do, you will find yourself being much more confident in your abilities and personal life.

Be Compassionate with Yourself

When we make a mistake we are often so quick to jump to all of the things we should have done and all of the things we aren’t. We find it so easy to come down on ourselves for mistakes and missed opportunities, and often think that our actions are who we are.

Yet, often we are quick to offer affirmations, grace, and a caring gesture to help others who make mistakes. We are supportive and caring and we don’t judge or criticize them. We show them compassion. Why can’t we do the same for ourselves? This is one of the hardest things for people to grasp, simply because we do expect so much from ourselves. We want to be perfect, but we should also want compassion for ourselves because our view changes a lot when we give ourselves a little grace to move forward.

There is a big difference between “I messed that up” versus “I am a mess up”. This is many times where we go wrong in giving ourselves compassion. We don’t see how we could be given grace because we internalize our mistake. We then make the mistake part of our identity instead of looking at it as an action. It is much easier to look at an action and give compassion to the person who made a mistake than it is to give compassion to a person who is the mistake. Taking a second to re-frame what has happened as an action rather than as an identity is key to being able to give ourselves to compassion and grace we need when we fall flat on our face.

If you can walk through and move those criticisms to compliments or to grace, we can build confidence. It is so easy to beat ourselves up over our wants and our dreams, but the reality of it is if we beat ourselves down we can’t build ourselves up in order to achieve those wants and those dreams. We must love ourselves and build ourselves up in order to gain confidence a move toward a more well-rounded sense of self.

“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”
– Louise L. Hay

There are so many reasons why we are built on criticisms and negative thought patterns, and they could have been self-started or they could have been patterns we picked up from a young age. Exploring these patterns can help us break these cycles that are running our lives and it enables us to create a new story and a new journey in a new light. Navigating through these experiences or the “why” of who we are can be very difficult and can bring up some very hard thoughts and emotions to deal with alone. You do not have to do it alone, reach out to me and allow me to walk with you through this journey. Navigating through the good and the bad, and understanding yourself at a deeper more beautiful level. You can be the confident and wonderful person you know you have to ability to be, sometimes it just takes a little extra work.

Comparison Consumes Our Confidence

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Comparison consumes our confidence. This is the first segment of how we let the shadows of this world overtake our sunshine (confidence).
We are all guilty of playing the comparison game. In one way or another we have compared ourselves, our jobs, or our life to other peoples’. It doesn’t seem like this would have a huge impact on us, but the truth of the matter is it does. When we compare, we limit our thinking, our confidence, our authenticity, among other virtues in our life. When we allow ourselves to be swept over with the emotion of what we wish we had or what we should be.

The way the world is set up has made life a comparison game, always wanting more. There are ads and movies and systems that are in place that allow us to fall in the trap of comparison and wanting. Some of the most common avenues that we compare ourselves are:

  • social media
  • television
  • magazines
  • our friends
  • family members
  • neighbors

There are many different areas that are right at our fingertips that keep us wanting more. Comparison will be around for the rest of our lives, and it will be something we combat nearly every day. The goal is to help you become aware of how comparisons break you down, and to develop the skills to combat the comparisons that we are faced with.


Social Media

Everything in life is gravitating toward social media, but the truth of the matter is that even though there are some great things about social media there are so very damaging influences produced by social
media. Some research states that people spend almost one-third of their time awake on their phones. This gives us tons of time to compare and envy over things that we want or don’t have. Social media is not always accurate, and sometimes it can put up a very false idea of what is realistic and what is true in peoples’ lives.

The first step is: start by becoming aware of how many times you get on social media, the amount of time you spend, and how you feel after. Change the way social media affects you, start following positive, helpful, and hopeful people to fill your screen with positivity, and begin weeding out the negativity that comes across your page.

Next challenge is: get off and get connected. Start building meaningful relationships that give you light into what true life really looks like. Not the surface level “everything is perfect in my world” kind ofrelationships, but the relationship you can sit down and say “you know what life is hard right now and here is why…” and you are met with compassion and care. Connection allows us to foster meaningful purpose in life and true in-person connection gives us a view of reality that social media cannot. This will help you feel more real, more authentic, and less likely to compare yourself to what is happening on your social media.

“Connection is why we are here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”

-Brene Brown.


Our “Shoulds” and Materialist Thinking

Our “shoulds” are another huge source or stress for comparisons. Our shoulds portray a way that we need to see ourselves, and it puts a large amount of pressure on us to be inauthentic. When we should ourselves it puts us in a place we are not:

  • “I should be skinnier”
  • “I should be married by now”
  • “I should be further along in my career”
  • “I should have it all together by now”

These among other things can trap us, and we need to learn to turn our shoulds into dreams and aspirations. Change the talk from:

  • “I should be skinnier” to “it is important for me to be healthier”
  • “I should be married” to “it is important for me to find the right person to marry”

It takes the pressure off and it puts things into perspective as to why you are where you are and why your situation aligns with you are at your core.

We need to stop looking at all the things around us that others have or that others are doing and stop
putting pressure on ourselves to be like them. Be YOU. You don’t have to be anything else other than what you want to be. Start turning that pressure of being like someone into the desire to be more of who you are.

Start building awareness around each time that you compare what others have around you. Start asking yourself: “Is what I am chasing after represent who I am or does it represent something I feel pressured to be like?” Start asking yourself that question and you will start to understand yourself a little better and relieve some of the pressure you have put on yourself. When you stop living up to other peoples’ standards and start creating and living by your own, your confidence in who you are and what you are doing will increase as well.


We all fall victim to the comparison trap. This is not an issue that dissipates after a little work. The comparison game is something that is a life long battle. The best way to combat this battle is to build that inner self who is comfortable, certain, and courageous. This issue takes a special type of navigation and validation. If you are looking to start this journey of building your confidence and establishing a more solid framework of who you are contact me. I would be happy to navigate through this mucky waters with you as you begin the journey to a more confident you. Remember that sunshine is what casts out the darkness. We are the ones that have control of our own sunshine, and sometimes finding access to our sunshine is a bit more difficult than other times.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

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Confidence: The Sunshine and Shadows

By Counseling 2 Comments

“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

We can look at many different things in this life as sunshine and shadows, but today I want to look at confidence. Confidence is our sunshine, and when we feel confident in our world, we feel like we can conquer and combat anything thrown our way. Sunshine is amazing and I think we can almost all agree that we all want to live in the sunshine, but when there is sunshine we can also find shadows. Shadows can be cast from various things in our life and they steal our sunshine of confidence. We all know there are outside factors that can get in the way of our sunshine, but there are inner factors to be aware of as well.

We all desire to be confident. We want to feel secure and strong in who we are, and we want to be able to be our true authentic self and feel confident in our identity. It seems like there are so many things that get in the way of our ability to portray ourselves as confident. Throughout the month of March I will be going into depth about the following points (in no particular order) and how they can become a hindrance of self-confidence:

  • Comparing
    • Social Media
    • Place in Life
    • Our Worth in Others
  • Authenticity
    • Knowing Yourself
    • Accepting Yourself
    • Knowing Your Worth
  • Perfectionism
    • Conquer the World
    • Pressure on Yourself
    • “Go Big or Go Home”
  • Getting in Our Own Way
    • Being Hard on Yourself
    • Compassion
    • Give Yourself Credit
  • Appearance
    • Inner and Outer Beauty
    • Exercise
    • Choices We Make
  • Self-Respect
    • Boundaries
    • Gratefulness
    • Our History

Each of these areas are ways that we sometimes (unknowingly) break down our self-confidence. These are the shadows in our life that once we introduce a little light to will no longer be strongly cast shadows, they can transform into sunshine. As you walk through these next few weeks discovering areas in which you find you are more confident and other areas where you find that you could use some development, please feel free to reach out and ask for tips or any other questions that you may have.

The most important thing to remember in confidence is we are the ones that allow confidence to enter and leave our lives. Circumstances or people may try to break us down and when we allow them to have that power to control our lives we lose a small part of who we are. If we do not allow them to have an impact on our lives, then we gain that power back in our lives. We are able to identify within ourselves the inner strength and the inner beauty that we have. Of course, people’s words and actions hurt, and they have an impact on us but the weight that they hold is determined by us.

There are many different responses that come when someone degrades or breaks us down. The emotions we experience can be: hurt, anger, sadness, rage, betrayal, abandonment, and helpless. It is normal and important to feel these emotions that come with the hindrance of our confidence. Feeling these emotions and working through them is key to being steady in our confidence as we move forward. Learning confidence is a process that takes time and work. Confidence doesn’t come naturally to people, and is typically a learned virtue that people. If you are looking to navigate through building self-confidence contact me. I would be happy to work with you to find and master the idea of what confidence looks like and feels like in your life.
The sunshine of confidence is always there at your fingertips, sometimes mastering confidence is really hard. The shadows in this life can cause us to only see darkness and fear, but that is not how it has to be. Our previous learned habits and attachments do not have to define who we are now. We have the power at our fingertips and it is finding a way to harness that power into our lives and become confident people in our own unique way. We can leave those shadows behind us and harness the sunshine that we deserve in our life.
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Finding Ourselves in Relationships

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Relationships can seem endless, and it can be overwhelming and, at times, very limiting. Sometimes it just feels good to be noticed, and we jump at the first person that looks at us. Relationships and life are some of the hardest things to face. We often struggle with  There are four very important ideas to consider when you are trying find the right person in your life:

  • know who you are
  • know what you want/need
  • know your boundaries
  • know your worth

Your relationships reflect who you are. We are often a mirror of what is around us. If you don’t know who you are or what you want, then how are you being reflected in your relationship and in your life? Simply put, you are not. If you are simply trying to “make it work”, then you are attracting the wrong type of person and life. We do not have to be defined by our circumstances and look around us and see the chaos, but we can instead see the chaos, stare it down, and overcome. We have to tap into these four ideas first.

Who You Are

You can’t be happy if you don’t know what makes you happy. This is the most important part in attracting someone the right person. Many times, you walk into relationships bending and shaping out of your comfort zone to make someone like you. When you bend and shape for other people to make them happy, you eventually lose your sense of self. Knowing who you are gives you the power to create a meaningful relationship. If you know who you are then you know the qualities you are looking for in a person. This gives you the influence to choose the type of person you want to attract. You have the power to say no to people who don’t fit…you don’t have to be the one to fit in order to make it work.

What You Want/Need

If you don’t know what you want in a relationship or in life you are setting yourself up to attract the wrong kind of people and circumstances. By knowing your values and needs from your relationship and your life you are able to shape your mental picture of who and what it is that you want in your life. When you know what you want you typically get a well-balanced result that wholly reflects who you are through your wants and needs. When you express your wants and needs in a healthy way it sets you up to create successful and meaningful relationships and lives.

Create Boundaries

Know your boundaries walking into a relationship. If you continue to find yourself in situations that are uncomfortable and uncertain you are probably not setting or holding boundaries. When we attract the wrong type of person, we often find ourselves trying too hard or being suffocated. Boundaries are something we have the power to create and enforce. Boundaries tell you “what is ok” and “what is not ok”. This helps you create stability and security in relationships which helps you create strong relationships. Setting boundaries could be anxiety provoking because there are costs and benefits to boundaries. People who respect your boundaries are the people who can stay. People who do not respect your boundaries are also not respecting who you are, what you want, or your worth.

Your Worth

When you know what you are worth you stop attracting the wrong type of person. When you know your worth, you know the things you deserve. Many times your experiences with others shape the way you view yourself and what you are worth. We develop attachments  to ourselves and to others through our previous relationships and experiences, and it is hard to separate yourself from those experiences and develop a sense of worth that is all your own. If you want to stop going from bad relationship to bad relationship you have to start loving and respecting yourself. Sometimes you have to be more choosy about the people that do enter your life. When you start seeing yourself as worthy, you are able to find a person who respects who you are, what you want/need, and your boundaries.

You need to gain your power again in your relationships and in your life. You can’t give your power to the person you are pursuing, because when you give them your power they have control to use, manipulate, and control you. When you are a person who knows who you are, what you want/need, your worth, and your boundaries then you know that the person that you meet reflect the qualities that you are put out there. They will know who they are and what they want, they will have boundaries and self-worth.

Each of these areas take time and preparation to develop, and finding the right counselor to help guide you through some of these areas may be beneficial to your overall well-being. These areas do not come natural to most of us and we have to take time to develop a sense of identity, understand what we want, create boundaries, and find the courage and strength to know our worth. Contact me, I offer a free twenty-minute consultation to see if we would be a good fit to walk through this journey together.

The Importance of Attachment

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The Importance of Attachment

Have you ever noticed yourself struggling with the same thing over and over again in your relationships? As we grow up, we develop a style of relating to people from our experiences and upbringing. These relational styles drive our sense of developing meaningful and fulfilling relationships. The styles we develop from our early experiences and upbringing are called attachment styles. Attachment has been researched for many years and has been proven to play into the context of our lives. There are four dominating attachment styles:

  1. Secure Attachment
  2. Avoidant/Ambivalent Attachment (Insecure)
  3. Anxious Attachment (Insecure)
  4. Disorganized Attachment (Trauma/Unresloved)

Each of these styles is unique in what we learned growing up through our everyday encounters with our caregivers. Some of the encounters are at the forefront of our mind while others are buried deep in the back of our mind. Our brain holds the key to our survival, and these attachment styles were developed to protect us in our relationships and our connection with people. Our attachment style has a huge impact on our mind, brain, and relationships. Each attachment style holds patterns and behaviors that are acted out in different ways in different people. A description of the attachment styles are as follows:

Child Attachment Styles

  • Secure Attachment (58% of population)
    • Developing a secure attachment style typically means that parents were: attentive, caring, nurturing, attuned with child’s needs/emtions, and predictable most of the time.
    • The belief that a child creates when their parents follow these patterns consistently is “help will come”, “I matter”, and “I can depend on others and myself”.
    • Some traits that are developed with this style are trust/safety, connection, resilience, and empathy.
  • Avoidant Attachment (Insecure) (23% of population)
    • Developing an avoidant attachment style typically means the parents were: dismissive, inattentive, non-nurturing, unavailable, and rejecting for much of the time.
    • The beliefs that a child creates when their parents follow these patterns consistently are: “I don’t need you”, “I don’t matter enough to deserve your attention”, and “I am alone in the world”.
    • Some traits that are developed with this style are distrusting, independent, distant, and critical.
  • Anxious Attachment (Insecure) (19% of population)
    • Developing an anxious attachment style typically means the parents were: inconsistent, intrusive, noncommunicative, over nurturing, and unpredictable most the time.
    • The belief that the child creates when their parents follow these patterns consistently are: “I must work consistently to get what I want” and “I must control everything to make it predictable”.
    • Some traits that are developed with this style are clingy, controlling, untrusting, and low self-esteem.
  • Disorganized Attachment (Insecure) (18% of population)
    • Developing a disorganized attachment style typically means the parents were: unpredictable, abusive, noncommunicative, neglectful, and chaotic.
    • The beliefs the child creates when their parents follow these patterns consistently are: “the world is not a safe place” and “the way to survive in this unpredictable world is to be unpredictable”.
    • Some of the traits developed from this style are aggressive, unaffectionate, extreme, and distrusting.

It is easy to see how attachment can have an impact on our adult relationships. Now you ask, these are all attachment styles that I developed as a child, what does that mean about my adult relationships? Our attachment styles typically carry over into our adult relationships unless there is an intervention. The adult attachment styles and descriptions are as follows:

Adult Attachment Styles

 Secure – For most of the time people are: able to regulate themselves in stressful situations, comfortable in relationships, able to seek help from others, resilient, and empathetic.

Dismissing – For most of the time people are: greatly independent, often do not seek out relationships, highly critical, emotionally withdrawn from others, and intolerant of others.

Preoccupied – For most of the time people are: fearful of rejection from partner, desire extreme closeness, controlling and blaming behavior, anxious, unable to regulate self (often need others to do it for them), codependent in relationships, and living in extremes.

Unresolved – For most of the time people are: chaotic, insensitive, aggressive, unpredictable, unable to regulate self, abusive, and explosive.

**All listed qualities are not a must in every situation. These are general researched characteristics for each attachment style**

Adult attachment styles are important to understand because it is how we relate to those around us. Whether it be friends, significant others, coworkers, bosses, or acquaintances. Our attachment styles also tell us about how we think about ourselves and the relationship we have with ourselves.  It impacts our self-esteem, our self-worth, and our self-love. Attachment styles do not have to remain the same forever. It is important to understand and build awareness around our this issue because through awareness we can begin to develop a healthier sense of self and connection with people. Attachment work takes time and effort to work through. Our brain has created these patterns to help keep us safe because when we were young all we had to rely on was what our parents conveyed to us. The one thing we understood was: we had to do what was needed to survive. If you are trying to break these patterns, but find yourself repeating the same behaviors over and over again, please contact me. I work directly with people who struggle with attachment to help them build the sense of self, safety, predictability, and consistency in their lives and relationships. We develop emotional regulation goals, relationship goals, “self” goals, parenting goals, and other life goals.

4 Fundamentals You Must Know About Emotions

By Counseling No Comments

“Danger! Danger! Emotions approaching! Run, hide, push them away, do anything, just make them go away!”


I know I have had this dialogue in my head more than a few times. Have you ever experienced the previous panic or something similar before? Emotions can be a scary and hard thing to handle, but hopefully I can help you see emotions in a new light and clear up some misconceptions for you.

Today we hear about all the mental health diagnoses related to emotions. Depression and anxiety are the two diagnoses that we hear spoken about regularly. Diagnoses are typically emotions left untreated. Yes, diagnoses are real, and no, I am not here to minimize the impact they have on people all around the world. Emotions are made out to be a very scary idea, and we are taught that to be strong we are supposed to suppress emotions and show the world that we are “happy and productive”. Emotions get a bad rap, and what I want for you to understand is: emotions are important and essential to living a well-rounded life. Here are some reasons why emotions are fundamental in life:


  1. Emotions help create purpose and meaning: When we allow emotions to surface and take time to experience them, our body, mind, and world come alive. In this state we are able to make meaning out of what is going on.
  2. Emotions create connection between ourselves and the world around us: When we allow emotions to show we are able to connect with people on a deeper level. This gives us richness and fulfillment in our relationships.
  3. Emotions help us adapt to varying situations: When we allow our emotions to surface we are able to explore areas in our life that may need attended to. Areas that are lacking or areas that are too full and need to be cut back in.
  4. Emotions offer an understanding of our inner working: Every experience we encounter leaves us with an emotional imprint. That emotional imprint can either help or hinder our growth, and it will help us understand that experience and how to move forward from it.

Emotions communicate very important messages that we need in everyday life. Sadness, fear, anxiety, loneliness, anger, and hurt, all represent some need that our body wants us to interpret in the moment. Each individual will have a different interpretation of emotions based on past experiences, current situations, and genetics. Here are some reasons why we should explore emotions instead of push them away:

  • Having emotions (even the “bad ones”) is a good thing (it allows us to do the previously mention fundamentals).
  • Emotions tell us what we need in the moment.
  • Emotions help fight off danger.
  • Emotions help us feel alive and connected when we acknowledge them.
  • Emotions provide a sense of stability when they are understood.

We have been taught to push emotions away because it is what society says is needed to be “lady-like” or a “manly-man”. The problem with suppressing our emotions is our body is not able to get what it needs and therefore typically goes into survival mode. Many times, due to suppression, emotions become overwhelming or we learn to turn them off. People then typically start to create maladaptive coping skills (which then creates symptoms) that can call for a mental health diagnosis. Sometimes people turn anxiety into repetitive behavior, fear becomes panic attacks, sadness becomes isolation, loneliness becomes thoughts of suicide. It is when we get stuck with overwhelming emotions that the world tells you that there is something “wrong” with you.
Here are some effective coping skills to help you work with current symptoms:


  • Grounding– grounding is a skill that utilizes our five senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch). It can help slow down the emotional side of the brain and pull into the logical one so that our full brain can begin to work so we don’t get swept away by emotions.
  • Deep Breathing– deep breathing is a skill that has been proven that when practiced consistently over a period of time changes the chemicals in the brain to maintain a more level state of being. Deep breathing also offers us time to gather our thoughts before we react to our emotions.
  • Nature and Exercise– There have been studies that have shown getting out in nature releases good chemicals in the brain, and in turn give us a more positive sense of well-being. Exercise does the same thing, and if you make these things a habit you will start to create more level states in the brain.
  • Tolerance- This refers to making emotions more bearable. Emotions can be difficult to handle, but learning the skill to sit with emotions will help with becoming familiar, understanding, and building tolerance. When we build tolerance, each time we encounter the emotion the sense of overwhelm becomes less intense and the emotion becomes more bearable. Learning to build tolerance in long-term helps us build resilience to specific situations that used to create intense reactions.

Our body works endlessly to protect us from the outside world. Emotions are just one way that our body alerts us to what is happening around us. Sometimes, when we leave emotions unattended to our body kicks into overdrive to help us understand the importance to what is happening around us, and we develop unwanted symptoms. If you would like some help with where to go next, mastering skills, understanding the importance of your emotions, or how to move forward after you have explored the previously held ideas then please contact me. Understanding, knowledge, compassion, connection, and love are what makes the world feel complete. I offer each of those critical components into my time with you in order to help you find the passion you want for your world.


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