Free Tips On Loving Your Body

Give yourself a break: when you compare yourself to people in magazines, remember that these people don’t actually look like that.  They are photo-shopped and air brushed and have had their hair and makeup professionally done. 

Focus on appreciation: Take 3 deep breaths and ask yourself ‘what do I love about my body’? Maybe start with things like: ‘I love the way my arms are able to hug people’ or ‘My legs get me places and help me close drawers when my hands are full’.  See how many things you can find about what your body DOES that you can appreciate.

Reduce the criticism: Sometimes people believe that if they focus on what they don’t like, it will motivate them to change.  The opposite is true.  If you notice yourself measuring and pinching parts of your body that you don’t like, see if you can get yourself to STOP these actions.  If you notice you’re in front of the mirror or critiquing your selfies often, commit to yourself that you will avoid the mirror and/or stop taking selfies for 1 week (or 1 day if you need to start there).  Journal about this experience: what did you notice?  Were you as critical?

Breathe into Compliments: If you receive a compliment, see if you can breathe into it rather than brushing it away.  Take a few moments to really savor the compliment.  Give yourself a few moments, even if you don’t believe it, to just pretend that it’s true.  How would your life be different if you believed the compliments you received? 

Project: You are on a search for body love.  Look for images of people who are beautiful but are not perfect – whatever that means for you.  If you feel that you need to be very thin, look for images of people who are NOT thin, but are beautiful anyway.  Get at least 20 images.  Gather these images in a place where you can look at them often – weather you have a paper copy or a Pintrest Board – put them all somewhere you can look at them at least daily and notice what you appreciate about these bodies.  You might be surprised how your view of perfection shifts.

To learn more about how to love your body, call now to schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation: 610.314.8402

Megan Delp, Marriage and Family Therapist Intern

Megan Delp, MFTI specialties:

Couples’ Counseling:

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You and your partner are working hard to communicate and get along, but nothing seems to be working these days.  You know you love each other, but it’s just so difficult lately.  This life change has thrown you for a loop.  With the new baby, the new move or that other big, life changing event - it’s completely taken a toll on your relationship.  Your partner just isn’t “getting you” the same way they used to and you can’t quite see things eye-to-eye.  Without help, it could mean the end of your relationship, and that’s not what you want.  

I know how to help!  I work with couples who have hit some bumps in the road.  As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I have specialized training in helping couples to move through difficult times and come out on the other side; stronger because of it!  This change in your life does not have to destroy your relationship.

Women’s Issues:

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As a woman, you’re not feeling fulfilled by your current role or situation in life.  You’re feeling stuck and you’re not sure where your life is going.  You’ve had a recent change - your kids have left, you’re newly single or you just want a make-over!!  You have so much passion and insight, but you’re not sure what to do with it.  Your relationships have been falling flat, to say the least, and you want to draw more excitement and richness into your life.  

With experience in career counseling and women’s issues, I can help you get un-stuck!  Together, we can sort through your goals, desires, and obstacles and help you create satisfaction in your life.

Experience:

I am currently a Marriage and Family Therapy Graduate intern at Abilene Christian University.  I have lots of experience in helping my clients to overcome personal obstacles to improve their own lives and their relationships.  Through the use of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), I help clients learn crucial skills such as interpersonal effectiveness, mindfulness and distress tolerance.  Using Bowen Family Systems, I help my clients to explore ways they can bring their families together in better harmony.  I have specific experience working with geriatric family members.

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If you’re ready to take the next step in your relationship, your family or your life in general, give me a call today at 267-664-9747 for a free 15 minute phone consultation.  I’m here to help and look forward to working with you!

"We cannot love others until we love ourselves" by Mikala Morrow

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 "We cannot love others until we love ourselves"

by Mikala Morrow, Villanova Graduate Counseling Intern

This saying has been a cliché statement that has been thrown around as a way to encourage self-care or even used as a convincing statement to those who find it hard to love themselves. What does this statement truly mean?

It means that someway, somehow we must find, within us, love. This must mean that love is an innate ability and we all possess the ability to love ourselves without the assistance of others.

Personally, I do not believe this to be true. Can we truly have an innate ability to love ourselves without any help from others? If we truly cannot love others until we love ourselves, we have to be able to love ourselves without help, right? Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Which comes first, our innate ability to love? Or is love taught to us from our caretakers, partners, peers or a higher power?

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What if, “We cannot love others until we love ourselves” becomes “We cannot love ourselves and others until we have been loved.” My argument is that in order to learn to love others, we must first be loved. We must learn how to love and what love is.

Imagine a child who is neglected by their caretaker. This child never truly learns love. Instead, to them, love means neglect. Later on in life when meeting new people, how will they love them? If all this older child has known is that love is neglectful, they too will neglect those that they love.

Compare the first child with someone who has a loving caretaker who has shown interest in who they are. This child will grow up with the idea that love is showing interest in others and will love in this way. These examples may not be true for all, but it is something to think about. The child in the first scenario may

learn somewhere how to truly love but this will not come as easily as the child in the second scenario.

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We need to learn what love looks like towards us and we also need to learn how we love.  We may love by giving others gifts or our time. We may show our love through compliments or by offering a shoulder to cry on. We all have a unique way to show love. In order to practice our ways of loving, we need people around us to accept our love. If our unique way of showing love is rejected, we learn that we are not good at loving, or our way of loving is wrong.

Let’s say you show love with your time but your partner becomes annoyed and tells you they just want space. Your way of loving has been pushed away. We need other people around us to affirm the way we love.  While the statement, “We cannot love others until we love ourselves” has a good message at the core, it can be damaging for those who have never learned how to love themselves.

We all need love whether it is from other humans on earth (maybe even from a pet) or a supernatural love. Then we can truly love others’ authentically and comfortably.

Mikala, Villanova Graduate, Counseling, Bryn Mawr, Love, Therapy

Mikala has an intensely compassionate and unique way of connecting with you to help you identify and express your feelings and your deepest sense of self.  She is persistent and encouraging in the face of hopelessness and despair.  She especially loves working with women to provide tools to alleviate anxiety and depression.  Mikala has a wealth of experience and is skilled in the mental health field working with domestic violence, food & body issues and addiction.  If you're struggling to tolerate your emotions and you're looking for a guide to help you get to know yourself better, give her a call now at 570-412-4516. 

 

Dealing with Anger About Your Past: 5 Ways to Channel Your Rage

You’ve been through a lot of scary, horrible situations - more than most people.  It’s in the past now, but it still feels so present.  Every time you take a shower, eat a meal, hear a certain song or smell that familiar, sickening smell, the memories are right there - alive and well in your life.  You’ve tried to get past them and move on.  You’ve tried talking about them and it hasn’t helped.  You’ve cried about it, cut your skin, cursed your perpetrators and done everything in your power to make it go away, but you’re angry.  They hurt you.  They took parts of your life from you and you can never get it back.  Here are some healthy ways you can channel your rage:

1.  Sweat it out:

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What we resist, persists.  If we continuously try to squash the anger and make it go away, it will continue to resurface.  Find ways to move the energy through you rather than trying to stuff it down.  Find a self-defense class - the physical activity and the techniques to learn to defend yourself as well can be empowering, even retroactively.  Bikram Yoga is a yang activity, as opposed to most other yin yoga.  The heat, the intensity, the discipline and repetitiveness along with the pain are quite cathartic.  Additionally, some of the poses are meant to help move emotions through, my favorite is the camel, heart opening pose - lots of emotions and no one will notice if you shed a few tears in the midst of all the sweat that happens.  Beat up a punching bag - you can imagine it’s your perpetrator or not, but either way, it’s a physical reflection of your internal state and it helps to externalize.  Other physical activities such as running, biking, swimming, etc are all excellent ways to boost your neurotransmitters AND the bi-lateral stimulation has a similar effect as EMDR.  Just be careful to make sure you stay in your body - if you dissociate while you engage in these activities you can injure your body, so feel your feet and stay present.

2.  Loud Music:

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Create an angry playlist or find a favorite angry song or two.  Listen while you drive, or walk or run.  Listen and write down the lyrics.  Create your own lyrics or your own song, change the lyrics in your favorite song to make it more relevant to your memories.  Find music that talks about resolve and peace.  Depending on your mood you might want to lean into the anger or you might be ready to cool it down.  Music is an excellent way to reflect feelings and feel connected to others’ who might have gone through some similar things.  Here are some excellent bands that write songs about anger: Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, Perfect Circle, Disturbed, Pierce the Veil, Bush, Emarosa, Dance Gavin Dance, The Amity Affliction, I Prevail.

3.  Get Creative:

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Write a poem or a song, create some art, write a story about your trauma, then re-write it with the ending that empowers you - it’s transformative.  Write an angry letter to your perpetrator and/or another person involved in your trauma - perhaps someone who didn’t protect you.  Create a box to hold all your anger - as things come up, write them down or create something to represent it and put it in your box.  Even if you don’t think you’re good at art, do it anyway (you don’t have to show anyone), use magazine images, clay, paints or all of the above.  Get messy, rip up a phone book, find a safe space to burn things in.  

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4.  Get Verbal: Scream!  

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Take a drive, blast the music and scream loudly.  Go into the woods and scream.  Talk to a safe friend, find an online community who understands, find a good counselor to talk to.  Talk about it with your spiritual community.  Phone a hotline or attend a meeting or a group.  Contact me at TiffanySpilove@yahoo.com if you need help finding any of these resources.

5. Center and Redirect:

If you imagine your rage as a fire hose, blasting towards unhealthy behaviors, you can learn to turn your hose towards something productive.  In order to do this, breathe deep into your belly, feel the fire of the rage, allow it to be there, then imagine you can channel this energy towards something else that benefits you.  Perhaps it’s helping others’ who’ve been through the same thing, maybe it’s writing a book on the subject or to building a support group.  Go inside and ask yourself - if a miracle happened to you and tomorrow you woke up in your own personal miracle, what would your life look like?  Where would you live? Who would be around you?  What would you do with your days?  Take that rage and channel it towards creating that life for yourself.

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You can let your trauma destroy your life, or you can use it to rise from the ashes like a phoenix.  Don’t let your perpetrators have any more of you.  Take back your power, your body and your life.  If you need help doing that, I’d be happy to help.  Call me at 610-314-8402 now for a free 15 minute phone consultation.  www.TiffanySpilove.com