Think about your favorite pair of shoes. You know the ones, the ones that you’ve had for a while. Maybe you save them for a special occasion, because they make you feel invincible. Maybe it’s because they fit exactly how you want a shoe to fit, and it is impossible to find something that feels that good again. My favorite shoes in high school were a pair of yellow converse. Sure I have had other converse in my life, but something about these yellow ones made me feel like I could tackle anything that the high school drama might throw at me. Like most shoes you buy, they had that shoe store smell. The ends were white and the yellow was bright and sunny. This didn’t last long for my faithful yellow converse, and never lasts for other shoes either. The laces start to fray, the memory foam wears down, maybe eventually the sole starts to rip from the upper, but there is something about those shoes that you want to wear them regardless. You love the shoes, and no matter how dirty they get you are going to wear those shoes. Now relate this to yourself. You at one time were new, shiny, and full of potential just like your favorite pair of shoes. As you get older and you start to go through messes, you may find yourself believing you are dirty. You may feel as if you are not worthy of being cared for because of the dirt that you have been treading through. You are sure that maybe you should just be thrown out, because afterall who wants a dirty human? The problem is that we often look down and see all our own dirt and forget that friends, family, and strangers are all walking through dirt too. We love them regardless, just like I loved my yellow converse. I wore them proudly with their frays, tears, and stains. I saw them all as something that told a story. Our dirt and our scars tell stories. We love our best friend’s scars, their dirt, their baggage. Why is it that we do not give ourselves that same treatment? Today when you think of your dirt, treat yourself with self-compassion. Care for yourself regardless of the dirt, and realize that it just makes you part of a really big club, the human race.
February brings up thoughts of romance and love for our significant others. Every magazine you see in the super market check- out line reads in bold letters: how to spice things up in the bedroom, or how to plan a perfect romantic evening for your better half. But what about your kids? One of my favorite marriage authors likes to say that teaching your kids about good healthy relationships starts the minute they are born. The same is true of romance. How you treat your spouse teaches your kids how to treat their own spouses in the future. When you make your wife a priority ahead of your kids you are teaching your kids that not only do women matter, but that their mother matters and has great worth and value. When you make your husband a priority you are teaching your kids that their dad is worthy of respect and has great value as well. So, tell your kids 'no, because I have date with your dad'. Tell your kids, 'you'll have to wait until I'm not done kissing your mother.'
Let your kids learn what is normal physical touch. By holding hands and being close, you are modeling a healthy relationship. Let your life and your marriage be the love letter that inspires your kids to write their own love letters. As your children grow and develop their own relationships, they will rely on what they know to be true about their own value and worth. Right now, they will think they have the grossest parents ever, but in the end their own marriages will thank you for it.
Perhaps you have come across this letter because you have been considering talking to a therapist. Maybe this is not the first time. Perhaps a concern or problem has come up recently, or maybe there’s an old problem that won’t go away. Maybe it’s been getting worse and worse lately, and you find yourself running out of ways to fight back. Or could it be that this problem has told you that it’s your only friend, promising to give you support and comfort while it actually works to rob you of your life?
I know from my meetings with other people struggling against difficulties in life, that sometimes they are not enthusiastic about seeing a therapist. I'm afraid to say that’s what I am, but I am also someone who is very interested in helping people reclaim their lives from the grip of their problems. I have no intention of scrutinizing you to find the ways you don’t measure up, nor of convincing you to go along with my own ideas or perspectives, nor of converting you into a lifelong patient. Effective therapy is about meeting your needs and attaining your goals, and therapists strive to serve their clients in all aspects of their work.
It can be very difficult to decide whether to reach out to a therapist. It may seem strange to share of yourself with someone you don’t know, who might share little about their story in return. Additionally, the time and expense of therapy can be significant, or they may even seem to be impossibly high costs. These are important considerations, and we at Lantern Lane Farm take them seriously. We aim to provide a welcoming space for our clients, and we work hard to make sure that as many people as possible are able to afford our services.
If you are trying to decide whether to make an appointment with a therapist, I think there might be other considerations worthy of your attention, the kind which can be easily overshadowed by concerns like unfamiliarity or finances. Perhaps it would be helpful to consider these questions:
• If you were to take the step to consult with a therapist, what would you be giving value to in your life? What would that step say about what is important to you?
• If the problem(s) in your life got to vote on whether to take that step, how would it/they vote?
• Sometimes it can be difficult to imagine how therapy may be of help to you. I’ll admit, I often have a tough time describing it in a general way, because the process of therapy holds so many possibilities that simple descriptions tend to be either too limited or too vague. Here’s a starting point though: How might life be different if you had more say in how things go, instead of the problem calling the shots?
• Here’s another question in a similar vein: If a therapist could meet you as a person, instead of as a patient to be cured or a problem to be solved, what would they get to know about you? If you were only a patient in their eyes, what would they miss out on?
If you are ready to meet face-to-face, we would love to hear from you. Any one of us on the team at Lantern Lane Farm would be happy to answer any questions you may have about walking together awhile on the journey.
Aaron Karr, MMFT
#mentalhealth #therapy #counseling #lanternlanefarm #Tennessee #equinetherapy #help
Making Lasting Changes
“New Year, New Me.”
We have all said it at one point or another, and when the clock strikes midnight we resolve to make lasting changes. Everything from eat healthier, to exercise more, to learning a new skill or language, resolutions tend to be quite broad and all encompassing. Whatever our resolutions are, they tend to revolve around the theme of “making healthy choices.” Which is fantastic! Yet, despite our best intentions on January 1st, July rolls around and we realize that we are nowhere near our goal. Maybe you’re even like me and cannot remember what your resolutions were way back then! Life happens, and we get busy, and as is often the case, we lose our momentum.
The most common resolution is to lose weight and it is that resolution I would like to help with. Now, what I’m going to say isn’t going to be anything magical, and it’s probably something you will not want to hear, but if you take it to heart, you will find that you are much more likely to accomplish the goal of losing weight and being healthier. Most of us tend to dive into the deep end of our resolutions, and if that includes weight loss we tend to do the following: sign up for a gym membership, go nearly every day, push really really hard, drastically change our diet overnight, and so on. All of those can lead to weight loss and a healthier lifestyle, but there is a problem.
Doing all those things, all at once, is biting off more than we can chew. We simply get overwhelmed and burnt out, which is why we tend to give up around Valentine’s day.
So how do we make those lasting changes without getting overwhelmed?
Make one small change at a time.
Make one small change at a time.
It isn’t popular and doesn’t sound all that exciting, but making one small change at a time builds momentum, and that moment will carry you through the entire year.
So it would look something like this.
Step 1: Identify how much weight you want to lose.
Step 2: Identify what “eating healthy” looks like for you (I follow the 80/20 rule: 80% of my meals are made at home and consist of whole foods, 20% of my food is whatever I choose.)
Step 3: Identify how often you will REALISTICALLY exercise in a given week.
Now, pick the most basic actions from steps 2 and 3.
That may look something like “this week I’ll drink 1 coke per day (instead of 2), and I will exercise for 30 minutes at the gym 2 days per week.”
Then, the next week you can do something like “Eat one less meal at a restaurant this week, and go walk in the park 1 day this week.”
And so it goes! Each week you make one small change, and those changes build on each other. After a few weeks you are exercising regularly, eating healthy, and will find yourself intentionally making healthier lifestyle choices. After a few months you will find that you have lost weight and feel like these new choices are just a part of your every day life. Then, by next January, you will have successfully met this year’s resolution.
Happy New Year everyone! If you need any further help, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
by Carol Fancher, LPC-MHSP(temp)NCC
Have you experienced a loss of a loved one recently and wish you could skip the holidays? Everyone’s scurrying about with all this decorating and singing and shopping and parties, yet, you find yourself uninterested, even disgusted at times by it all! You used to love the holidays, so what is different? In his book, A Grief Observed, C. S. Lewis compared the death of a beloved to having an amputation. I would agree, because the impact of losing a limb, as well as losing a loved one- profoundly impacts every aspect of one’s life-mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Other circumstances of the loss can also affect one’s road to recovery. So then on top of this, there are the holidays! Wish they would go away, or hope they will help you get your joy back? Whatever your thoughts, it may be helpful to focus first on self-care and grace! It’s important to take care of yourself with healthy eating, sleeping, and regular exercise. Next, take one day, one moment at a time and give yourself grace! It’s ok not to be in the “holiday spirit”! It’s ok to skip or take a break from a party or family gathering. If you do go, take some grace with you, because people say all the wrong things-even if they mean well! Let me leave you with one challenge for this holiday season: create one new tradition. It can be to honor your loved one, or for your fresh start, or both!