The Love We All Need and Deserve

“We have rationalized the taking out our own unhappiness and incompleteness in many destructive ways…Unconditional love is the only soil in which the seed of a human person can grow…Of course, free will is a factor in every human life. Everyone must say his or her ‘yes’ to growth and integrity. But there are prerequisites. And one of these is someone must empower me to believe in myself and to be myself. ”

Positive Reframe...

”The essential message of unconditional love is one of liberation: You can be whoever you are, express all your thoughts and feelings with absolute confidence. You do not have to be fearful that love will be taken away. You will not be punished for your openness and honesty…There may be days when disagreements and disturbing emotions may become between us. There may be times when psychological or physical miles may lie between us. But I have given my word of my commitment…So feel free to be yourself, to tell me of your negative and positive reactions. I cannot always predict my reactions or guarantee my strength, but one thing I do know: I will not reject you! I am committed to your growth and happiness…There is nothing else that can expand the human soul, actualize the human potential for growth, or bring a person into the full possession of…

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Holiday Triggers and Partnerships

Positive Reframe...

Every major holiday like Thanksgiving and Christmas, my body’s impulse is to shut down, disconnect, and cut out all pressure. My Mom slaved to create picture-perfect holidays. Most of it was magical and I am very grateful for all she did. The conflicting part for me was witnessing her killing herself to make it perfect. Sure she tried to get her six kids to help but most of it came in the form of yelling and anger as she was at her wit’s end. I just wanted to avoid her at all costs which of course stressed her out even more. It just didn’t make sense to me why she was doing all this work and seemed miserable doing it. I know now, she was wanting to give what she never had and once she earned that role, she didn’t know how to let go and set boundaries to preserve…

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Positive Reframe on Risk-Taking

“If children feel safe, they can take risks, ask questions, make mistakes, learn to trust, share their feelings, and grow.” ~Alfie Kohn

Positive Reframe...

“If children feel safe, they can take risks, ask questions, make mistakes, learn to trust, share their feelings, and grow.” ~Alfie Kohn

I ran across this article from NPR Is It Time To Bring Risk Back Into Our Kids’ Playgrounds? and I say ‘Yes’ and not just at playgrounds but in life! Risk-taking is a healthy, life-long skill which builds confidence and competence, especially when kids are younger as their brains are doing the most development and the consequences are typically smaller. Overprotecting inhibits natural growth and resilience. How are kids suppose to learn if they can’t experience the decision-making process and the consequences of those choices? There is also no need to punish or add more shame to these experiences like the sadly common reaction of lectures and “I told you so” or “You should know better”.

Children learn when allowed to feel the full range of emotions of…

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Reframe on “Mental Illness”

I have found that unconditional love, kindness, attunement, compassion, understanding, safety, and assertive, non-violent communication in our relationships, especially in the parent/child relationship and our partnerships, to be the most effective for cultivating mental health. #endstigma

Positive Reframe...

I am very grateful that there is a shift in language from “mental illness” to “mental health”. Personally and professionally, I have yet to meet an individual who was diagnosed with a “mental illness” that was not surrounded in environments or relationships that were loaded with emotional, social and chemical toxins or had a significant negative event occur during critical and sensitive periods of development. Unprocessed toxins build up, dysregulate our systems, create dis-ease, leads to disconnection, disorder, and trauma, then passes on through generations until processed. I have found that our culture tends to accept toxins and violence as well as grossly neglects getting vital needs met which would nurture and heal us during times of stress. I believe this systematic problem and subversive dynamic are contributing factors to the development of a “mental illness” so why should the individual bare the weight of a diagnosis and stigma?

Levine truama quote


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Conflict Reframe

Positive Reframe...

Conflict, or times of significant stress, can also be the greatest opportunities for connection, healing, and growth when you learn to embrace the negativity and trust the journey. It is scary to be vulnerable and even though I have experienced the benefits of this experience, a part of me still gets triggered to fear and naturally wants to resist and that’s OK. It matters more how we choose to respond, to love ourselves and everyone else through. ~Debra

“Conflict can be a sign of where we are in conflict with ourselves: It can signal an unmet need that we’ve ignored for too long. It can give us a clue to where the fire’s burning so we can find ways to put it out instead of letting it spread and destroy us. It can point to where we’re stuck in our lives. It can invite us into awareness and reduction of stress…

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Vital Needs

Unfortunately, what we need the most to heal, connection, we have learned to fear.

Positive Reframe...

There are no bad people, only those with less vital needs met and more pain to heal. Every interaction is an opportunity to nurture, heal and grow… 

Burning Man sculpture called “Love” by Alexandr Milov Burning Man sculpture called “Love” by Alexandr Milov

Human defense mechanisms intrigue me (i.e. passive/aggressiveness, distortion, projection, denial, fantasy, rationalization, minimizing )…They protect us from absorbing too much pain at once so that the body/mind/heart can prepare to process the uncomfortable, hurtful, and overwhelming experience in order integrate and transcend but if we depend on these mechanisms or use them too long, they harden to bricks that build a wall. You might feel the illusion of safety behind this great wall, but the build-up of toxins, the natural consequences and negativity will delude you. Connection, being able to touch another’s heart is one of our vital needs. Many of our other needs are cultivated within well-connected and mutually satisfying and respectful relationships. Unfortunately, 

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Promoting Resiliency and Connection Tips

We can promote resiliency & connection by ‘tuning in’ to our senses, thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and relationships. Negativity, symptoms, and conflict often come from a state of stress and/or unmet needs.

Positive Reframe...

We can promote resiliency & connection by ‘tuning in’ to our senses, thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and relationships. Negativity, symptoms, and conflict often come from a state of stress and/or unmet needs. 

Here are keys to empowering you to make conscious choices to get your vital needs met. Understanding and following these will harmonize your connection to your mind, body, and soul as well as your relationships.

Bright side..Resilience

Inconsistent or inadequate amounts/quality of the following vital needs trigger dysregulation (dependent on context and individual temperament or special needs):

  1. Nutrition/Hydration
  2. Temperature
  3. Sleep
  4. Level of stimulation (from all senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, & smell)
  5. Connection and Emotional needs of feeling Respected, Important, Secure, Accepted, Included
  6. Unprocessed stress/trauma (negative events, thoughts, emotions, chemicals)

“…kids don’t get dysregulated because we allow their emotions. They get dysregulated when they need to express an emotion but can’t. So, instead, they act (it) out.” ~Dr Laura…

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Self-Regulation VS Co-Regulation or Both?

Positive Reframe...

Human bodies are amazing and self-regulating. We each have a unique homeostasis that our bodies need to feel balanced and function optimally. Thus based on our environment, interpersonal neurobiology, genetics, temperament, exposure to toxins or trauma and so on, we each need a variety of nutrients, needs, and level of stimulation and arousal to function well. When we are pushed out of our window of tolerance or are deficient in anything, we will automatically react with symptoms and signals to get what we perceive we are needing. The body will actually shut down certain functions based on how vital the functions are to staying alive under the current conditions we are perceiving.

You may have heard the term self-regulation which refers to being able to control oneself in order to find balance and calm within our internal and external systems. When it comes to emotions, self-regulation often means having the…

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Negative effects of toxic stress

Positive Reframe...

All negativity comes from a state of stress within our central nervous system. Stress can be an emotional, mental, physical, or chemical stimulus that is prolonged, unpredictable, and/or overwhelming to our body and mind. Stress can come in the form of having big and conflicting emotions at once, lacking skills and not knowing how to handle the situation appropriately, or having unmet needs like nutrition, rest, connection, etc. Any stress that goes on unexpressed, unprocessed, and/or misunderstood can become toxic and traumatic.  Naturally, experiences that involve actual or perceived death or serious injury increases the potential for toxic levels of stress and trauma. Toxic stress and trauma lead to dysregulation which is being in a state of STRESS beyond one’s window of tolerance and does the following:

  • Alters the chemistry and functioning of your mind/body/heart connections;
  • Creates unconscious emotions of fear;
  • Activates stress hormones and flight/flight/freeze mode of reactions;
  • Decreases ability to access higher brain…

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Letting Go…

“To Let Go doesn’t mean to stop caring; it means I can’t do it for someone else…”

Positive Reframe...

“To Let Go doesn’t mean to stop caring; it means I can’t do it for someone else.

To Let Go is not to cut myself off; it’s the realization that I can’t control another.

To Let Go is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.

To Let Go is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.

To Let Go is not to try to change or blame others, I can only change myself.

To Let Go is not to care for, but to care about.

To Let Go is not to fix, but to be supportive.

To Let Go is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.

To Let Go is to not be in the middle arranging outcomes, but to allow others to effect their own outcomes.

To Let Go is not to be protective, it is to permit another to face reality.

To Let Go is not…

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