Beyond Therapy & Recovery “ Therapy and recovery can help you to heal past hurts and emotional wounds providing you with greater insight and clarity to improve your life. Once you are clear, you are no longer burdened by the emotional issues of the past. After therapy or recovery many people realize that they have many goals and dreams they never thought were possible. Life gets exciting as new options open up for you! Together we can clarify your vision as I provide you with support and accountability to accomplish your goals.

How to Move on in Your Love Life

You’ve been in your relationship for quite some time. Things have changed recently, and you’re beginning to doubt that it’s going to last much longer. You’re not even sure how you got to this point! What happened?

 Warning Signs

There are many warning signs that a relationship is breaking down. Think back over the last few months and you may recognize some of these signs:

 

Unnecessary criticism. Your partner blames you or attacks your character.
Contempt. Nearly everything your partner says is a complaint or an insult.
Avoidance. Your partner has begun ignoring or avoiding you.
Being defensive. You don’t listen to what your partner says for fear of being hurt or them lashing out at you again.

Two or more of these warning signs could signal that it’s time to move on, but how do you do that?

Moving On

First, realize that the end of any relationship is similar to dealing with a loss of a loved one. You may go through the grieving process: denial, anger, ambivalence, depression, and recovery. This is normal and to be expected.

Give yourself some time to grieve and you’ll come out a stronger person on the other side.

Here are the top ten ways to move on in your love life after the end of a relationship:

1. Recognize and accept that the relationship is over. Don’t hold on when there’s nothing to hold on to.

2. Remove everything in your home that reminds you of them. Don’t keep sentimental items; they’ll only make you miserable.

     •  Put away valuable items such as jewelry or other gifts rather than throwing them away. You may want those items in the future.

3. If seeing your ex hurts, make it a point to avoid them. Sometime in the future you may be able to be friends, but now is not the time to try.

4. Don’t make financial decisions right after a break up. Your emotions may cause you to make emotional decisions. It’s better to wait until you’re on emotionally stable footing.

5. Avoid rebound relationships. Give yourself time to heal from being hurt before opening your heart again.

6. Focus on yourself. You may have spent so much time investing in the other person that you’ve let your own needs go.

      •  Learn to find out about yourself again.
      •  What do you like to do that you haven’t been doing?
      •  Do something special just for you!

7. Take up a new hobby. Now is a great time to start something new. Renew your interests in hobbies that you like, and spend time exploring new creative outlets.

      •  Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn rock climbing, but your ex was afraid of heights. There’s no reason to wait any longer. Go find an instructor and hit that mountain!

8. Don’t stay cooped up at home. It’s important that you spend time with friends who can encourage you and help you feel good about yourself.

9. Be friendly with people you find attractive. Smile, say hello, and act interested. You may not be ready to jump right back into a relationship, but you can always leave the door open for future relationships.

10. Work your way back to dating slowly. You may want to start out by double dating with a friend. Be up front with your date so they know what to expect.

Breaking up from a long-term relationship is never easy. Let’s admit it, it hurts. You can move on in your love life after a break up if you recognize the end, and then follow the ten steps given above. Soon you’ll find that you’re over your last relationship and ready for someone new.

Top 10 Ways of Finding Closure in Your Relationship

As the song says, “Breaking up is hard to do.” Finding closure after the end of a relationship is often harder.

 “Closure” is a psychological term that simply means closing the door on something or someone.

Closure means you leave the past in the past rather than dragging it out into the present again. In relationships, this means learning how to let go of that relationship and move on to another, possibly better, relationship.

There are many ways to find closure. In fact, how you find closure will depend entirely upon your personality and particular situation.

Here are the top ten ways to find closure after a relationship ends: 

  1. Declare out loud to a close friend that you accept that the relationship is over. Choose someone who will support you and help you stay focused on the present and future rather than dwelling on the past.
  2. Call the person you’re letting go and release them. Acknowledge that you still have feelings for them, the relationship isn’t healthy, and they’re free. If it’s too painful to talk with them, write them a note.  
  3. Refocus on yourself. You may have let your own interests slide while you were involved with your prior relationship. Now’s the time to shift your focus back to yourself and what you want to do.
  4. Find a new hobby or activity to replace the time with your ex. If you always went out on Friday nights, invite some friends over, instead, and watch movies. Or you could volunteer for a worthwhile charity.
  5. When you start thinking about your ex, call a friend to bolster your resolve. Ask them to restate your reasons for letting them go.
  6. Create a mantra or saying that helps you refocus. Keep telling yourself this mantra and before too long you’ll start believing it. You’ll also start acting differently as well. “I am strong and I am over him.” could be all you need to say, but it may be something more detailed like “I’m a wonderful person who is worthy of love, respect and happiness.”  
  7. Remove things that remind you of your ex. At some point in the future you’ll be strong enough to look at these things with fondness rather than being tugged back to the past.
  • Take them off your speed dial.
  • Remove photos of the two of you.
  • Box up gifts they gave you.

       8. Take care of yourself. Eat better, take up a new exercise, and get plenty of rest. Hydration is important, too, so be sure you drink plenty of water.

       9. If you’re feeling particularly sad over the break up, don’t hold it in. It’s natural for you to feel upset about the end of the relationship. Go ahead and cry. You may even want to write in a journal how you feel so you can get the feelings out rather than holding them in.

      10. Try to figure out what went wrong in the relationship. Reflect on this after you’ve distanced yourself from it for a while.

  • If  there were things you did that could’ve damaged the relationship, admit them.
  • Try to determine the red flags that signaled the relationship was ending.
  • Decide to avoid similar mistakes in future relationships.

If you didn’t want the relationship to end, you may be tempted to leave the door open hoping to rekindle that lost love. It may be difficult to find closure, but the emotional price of holding out hope can be costly. For your own health and peace of mind, learn to let the relationship end. Let go of the past, close the door, and walk into a better future.

 

 

 

Make the Yuletide “Gay”?

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is one of the most heartwarming Christmas songs. The haunting music and depth of the lyrics speak volumes. As gay guys we often laugh at the pun – but can we really make the yuletide “gay”?

The holidays pose many unique challenges for gay men who are often forced to make compromises due to their sexual orientation. Couples may be faced with homophobic parents or family members that place undue burdens upon them. Singles often feel like an “outcast” for showing up to family gatherings alone when their siblings may be married with children. Oftentimes a significant other may not be welcome to attend even when siblings are allowed to bring their dates. Further, if you’re not out to your family, you may be forced to dance around uncomfortable questions or merely keep silent about various aspects of your life. There are no easy answers and only you can decide when to come out or confront your family about these issues; however, the holidays may not be the best time to do so. These internal and external conflicts cause a lot of stress and can lead to isolation and depression.

Fortunately there are some things you can do:

Stay connected – Keep in close contact with your friends and partner even if they are not physically with you.  Debrief with them and try to laugh and find humor in the situation. Laughter relieves tension. 

Set realistic expectations – Prepare yourself for any family tensions that might arise. How can you remain detached and keep your spirits high? Remember- you can’t change anyone.

Be kind to yourself – Acknowledge and accept your feelings. Do things that bring you pleasure – listen to music or go for a walk. Do whatever makes you feel good.

Volunteer to help those in need – You may decide to opt out of a family gathering and do something to help others. You can avoid potential family conflicts and feel good about helping others too.

Seek support – If you find that you are depressed or your situation is too hard to manage on your own, seek professional help. Find out if your company has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) where you can discuss your situation with a Counselor. You can also call your insurance company and ask to be connected to Behavioral Health to request therapy referrals. Your local GLBT Community Center is another good resource for support. You can also find supportive resources at: http://www.lifesolutionsforgaymen.com/category/resources


As Featured On EzineArticles

 

Transcending Homophobia

The surge in anti-gay bullying and violent attacks on gay men is quite disturbing – particularly in New York City where diversity and tolerance is the norm, recent random attacks are hard to comprehend. Moreover, the rise in suicide among gay teens is truly heartbreaking.

How do these events affect us as gay men and what can we do about it?

For many, these incidences can re-stimulate past hurts and struggles of being bullied, harassed or discriminated against for being gay. Further, hearing about anti-gay attacks in places we deemed safe can instill fear, causing us to withdraw and hide our true selves from others. But we must not succumb to our fears or absorb the hatred and prejudices of others. We need to be strong and stand proud of who we are.

All of us have internalized many negative voices about our sexual orientation throughout the years. If these thoughts and beliefs remain unconscious they can lead to disastrous consequences as we have already seen with the recent adolescent suicides. These conflicts can also inhibit our lives and keep us from living more fully.

Does internalized homophobia prevent you from asserting yourself in the workplace? Does it keep you from engaging in a love relationship for fear of being “perceived” as gay in society? Has it eroded your self-esteem causing you to feel that you are just “not good enough”?

Self-awareness, self-acceptance and loving yourself are the keys to freedom from this negativity. Loving yourself can be difficult when you have limiting and derogatory messages still playing in your unconscious mind. Most of these messages were absorbed and recorded during childhood. You may still be influenced by the beliefs of your parents, teachers, religious institutions, and others that were drummed into you years ago. What beliefs are you still holding onto today? Are they serving you or harming you? You can start to change negative thoughts and beliefs by increasing your level of self-awareness and by learning to love and accept yourself more each day.

As much of a cliché as it sounds; the most important person to learn to love is yourself. Be gentle and kind to yourself. Find ways to love, nurture and support yourself. Do things that bring you pleasure. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good. Find positive role models and if you need assistance seek out support – talk to a trusted friend, family member, therapist or coach about your experiences. Join a support group at your local GLBT Community Center. Do not isolate or give in to thoughts of self-hatred, depression and suicide. You deserve so much more and your life can and will get better with each new day. Remember! Time does not stand still – whatever troubles you now will not last forever. No matter what’s stopping you from believing in and loving yourself, there’s a way to overcome it. You first need to identify what’s causing your self-doubt. Is it fear, insecurity, mental attitudes, or something else? Only then can you face the obstacle and overcome it. Most importantly, work to eliminate internalized homophobia and learn to love your incredible gay self!


As Featured On EzineArticles

Solutions for Overcoming Addiction

When you think of the word addiction, the first thing that comes to your mind may be alcohol or drugs. However, there are many other types of addictions you may experience, including addictions to sex, food, cigarettes, shopping, gambling and many other things.

These addictions seem to have a power of their own. They can control your thoughts, actions, and your very life, if you let them.

If you think you might be suffering from an addiction, it’s great to know that there are techniques you can use every day to help you overcome them and take control of your life.

Here are some helpful solutions:

1. Have faith. In order to overcome addiction, the first thing you need is faith. Faith has been described as the “hope of things unseen.” This means you should have hope for tomorrow, recovery, and success.

  • Hope can bring you through challenging times and allow you to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Believe in a greater power. Having faith can also mean believing in something bigger than you. If you have nothing to believe in, it may prove quite difficult to win the battle over your addiction.
  • It’s never too late to reconnect with your faith and spirituality.

2. Develop a courageous attitude. Courage will help you face your addiction and see  it through, regardless of what that addiction is. Your sense of courage is stronger than you probably know! Look deep within yourself to find it and bring it out.

3. Draw on your inner strength. Like courage, we all have an inner strength that makes us stronger than we realize. When you draw on your inner strength you have greater power to face challenges and overcome them.

4. Be patient and persevere. Patience and perseverance will help carry you through the long journey to recovery. It takes time to overcome an addiction, but it can be done.

  • Take things one day at a time and fully trust that things will get better.
  • Keep your end goal in mind and persist in your efforts to get there.
  • If you can’t take it one day at a time, then begin with one hour at a time. Hours will become days, days will become weeks, and before you know it, you’re cured of the addiction that plagued you.

5. Request help and support. Support from your friends, family members, neighbors, clergy, coworkers, social groups, or any other type of support system is crucial to your recovery.

  • There are likely many support groups – both online and in-person – that focus on your particular addiction. Seek out this type of support group. You’ll find specialists in overcoming your specific addiction, as well as those who’ve also experienced your pain.
  • Don’t forget to support yourself! Give yourself rewards at different milestones of your recovery.

In order to succeed at your endeavors, it’s important to understand that you do have an addiction. Once you’ve accepted this, you’ll be ready to take the necessary steps to achieve power over your addiction and take back your life.

Yes, overcoming an addiction is a challenging task. In spite of this, when you use these solutions to help you each day, success can be yours!

Top 7 Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem

Everyone needs to feel a sense of self-worth and healthy self-esteem in order to live a successful, content life. While some people look to others and their material success to gauge their own self-worth, the most important assessment is how you feel about yourself.

There are many things you can do to boost your own self-esteem. By taking the steps to build your own self-worth and well-being, you’re practicing the best form of preventative medicine possible.

Here are the top seven ways to boost your self-esteem:

1. Do things you love. The more time you spend doing things you love to do, the better it makes you feel. Doing the things you enjoy causes your brain to produce higher levels of endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that increase your sense of joy and well-being.

Engaging in activities we love also helps us recall other times we’ve done them, and those memories increase our self-esteem. Our favorite activities are often things we do well, which is a factor in increasing our self-esteem.

2. Strengthen your strengths. When you exercise your strengths, they become stronger and your self-esteem rises as well. We all like to feel proud of the things we excel at and those things cause us to feel better about ourselves.

Spend time working on, building, and renewing your strengths, and your inner approval rating will soar.

3. Surround yourself with positive people. Positive energy is like an electrical charge as it spreads from one person to the next. When you spend time in the company of positive people, your own attitude will lift to match theirs, and you’ll be charged from their energy.

4. Determine your worth based on yourself, not on others. Everyone sees the world based on his or her own biases and circumstances. When someone pours negative thoughts on another person, it’s a greater reflection on their own deficiencies than the person they’re attacking.

Basing your self-esteem on another person’s opinions is never a good idea. Instead, take your value from what you know to be the truth about yourself from the inside out, not the other way around.

5. Believe in yourself. Trust in your ability to achieve whatever you set your mind to accomplish. When you believe that you’re capable of attaining your goals, you unleash the ability to do so from deep within you, so trust in the process.

6. Focus your thoughts on the things you want to attract. Albert Einstein determined all things are made of energy and energy attracts more of the same energy. Focusing your thoughts on the things you desire in your life keeps the energy of those things moving toward you.

7. Speak affirming thoughts to yourself. We’ve all heard the phrase “act as if.” Affirmations work on that principle. Instead of saying, “I want to be happy,” say, “I am a happy person.” Say it out loud everyday.

You’ll begin to reprogram your subconscious mind to believe it as the truth, and soon you’ll be feeling that truth every day.

These simple steps to boost your self-esteem are easy to put into practice in your day-to-day life. Start today and build your self-worth and self-esteem into the foundation of your character. Your life will never be the same.