12 ways to learn to love yourself.

By David Joel Miller.

The way you treat yourself is the way others will treat you.

Child and adult on beach

Love.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Feeling loved begins with learning to like and then to love yourself. Loving yourself means you are gentle and caring towards the person you will spend your life with – you. Children who grow up never being shown they are loved may find it hard to think that they deserve love. Here are some ways you can create that feeling of being a valuable loved person.

1. Turn off the noise – disconnect from social media and others opinions.

A sad fact of modern life is that with more ways to connect people are feeling less and less connected.  Frantically posting and liking people on social media can create a false sense that your worth as a person is dependent on how many people like you and your posts.

The person whose opinion about you most matters is yours.  What other people think about you is not something you should be focused upon.  Stop comparing yourself to others.  Stop rating yourself.  Work on doing more things that you can feel proud of.

2. Spend some quality time with yourself.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your happiness will come from the time you spend with others.  Balance your time with others and your time alone.  Being alone should not be the same thing as being lonely.  Work at making your alone time an opportunity to rest, recharge and work on yourself.

3. Make meal time an adventure not a chore.

Think about all the times that you have shared food with someone else.  Shared meals are a part of many celebrations.  Couples go out to dates over dinner.  Family share meal time. Share some time with you. When you eat invest some time in making special things for yourself, experimenting with new foods and making your individual meals something special.

4. Make bedtime and sleep important.

Sleep is an important component of the happy life.  Not getting enough sleep will leave you grumpy and irritable.  Value yourself enough to make rest an important part of your daily routine.  Staying up late doesn’t make for a happier life.  Putting off bedtime is trying to borrow hours from tomorrow to extend today.  The consequence of this is you shortchanged your tomorrow.

5. Maintain your body; you deserve it.

Take good care of herself.  Beyond the sleeping and eating part get plenty of exercise.  Do those things each day that make you feel valued and loved. Pamper your body.

6. Stop and savor the good things.

Difficult, painful times will be easy to remember.  The happy events in life are harder to capture.  Make sure you spend the time observing and studying the good things that happen in your life.  Commit the flowers, the sunrises and the sunsets to memory.  Make a point of noticing and returning each and every smile you receive.  Share all the happiness you can, and you will never run short.

7. When you make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up.

Be kind to you. The evidence tells us that beating someone up will not make them a better person.  A little bit of kindness for yourself and others goes a long way.  Compassion spent on yourself is never wasted.

8. Save some treasured mementos.

It is rarely the expensive things in life that bring the great joys.  Hang onto those little keepsakes that remind you of the fabulous adventures of life.  Those little pictures that your child draws, the craft projects they make in school, all add meaning to your life.

9. Learn to laugh.

Laughter is not frivolous.  The more you laugh, the more your soul matures.  People who smile and laugh more become happier.  Don’t wait to be happy to laugh, laugh to be happy.  Time invested in watching comedy, swapping jokes and gaiety will yield great dividends.

10. Have time to play.

Time spent playing is fundamental to creative pursuits.  Playing was someone can develop and strengthen relationships.  Play with your child.  Play with your friends.  Make having fun part of your time budget.

11. When something is wrong, take care of it.

People who love themselves do not hide from life’s problems.  When there something wrong the sooner you take care of it the better.

12. Save your stories.

As you move through life, you will experience things. These become your life stories.  Hold on to those stories.  Retell them as you can.  Writing out the stories of your life can become very good therapy.

Try to do some of these self-loving activities each and every day.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

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Belonging.

Sunday Inspiration.          Post by David Joel Miller.

Belonging.

Belonging

Belonging.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“How could you ever feel comfortable if no matter where you went you felt like you belonged someplace else?”

― Mark Peter Hughes, Lemonade Mouth

“I didn’t belong as a kid, and that always bothered me. If only I’d known that one day my differentness would be an asset, then my early life would have been much easier.”

― Bette Midler

“The desire to belong is in every mind.”

― Debasish Mridha

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Ways to be more likeable

By David Joel Miller

Ways to be better liked

Friends

Friends
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Some people are just easier to like than others. No, likeability is not genetic. Likeable people have certain skills that they excel at. Even if you did not pick these skills up unconsciously you can learn them. Want to be one of those very likable people? Here are some skills you can practice to improve your likability index.

 

Look for the bright spot in everything.

Likeable people are positive. The see good in every situation. People who only see the problems and the difficulty are downers. To be likeable you need to pull others up not push them down.

Look at every situation and ask yourself “what is the good I can find in this situation?” Practice finding the good everywhere you go and people will invite you to go with them.

Look for the good in people.

Popular people have positive attitudes about those around them. They encourage others to be the best they can be rather than pulling them down. To improve your likability look for the good in others. What you look for you will find. People like to be around others who like them.

Good leaders look for the skills in people and “encourage their strengths.” Encourage the best in others and you may become their best friend.

Be curious about others.

To become more likable think less about yourself and more about others. Cultivate a curiosity about others. What do they enjoy? Where do they like to go? Learn about their hobbies and their interests. You may find that something they care about interests you also. The best way to develop more friendships is to find interests you have in common. Shared activities build strong friendships.

Don’t look for someone to blame.

Avoid blame when things go wrong. Take responsibility for your errors and try to remedy the situation. If things go wrong look for alternative solutions not someone to blame. People who are willing to help when things are off kilter are more likable. Those who are always looking for someone to blame drive others away.

Practice patience to become more likable.

Impatient people are annoying. Patience people give others time to explain what they means. Patient people are just easier to be around. Let everyone talk at their comfortable pace. Give others the time they need to learn a new skill.

Walk in their shoes.

Their Shoes

Their Shoes
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

Think about what the other person is going through. Why do they see things the way they do? There are often two, or more, ways to see things. Look at it from the other person’s perspective rather than asking why they don’t think and do things the way you do.

Let people see the real you – do not be fake.

Trying to be something you are not is not the route to popularity. Be the real you. Those who like you will be attracted to you. People who do not are just not the ones you need to attract.

Improve yourself – Be the kind of person you would like to be around.

Work on being the best you possible. Do not work on making others like you. Work on being the best possible person you can be and those who matter will want to hang out with you.

Look for the characteristic that you find admirable in others. Develop those characteristics in yourself. Become your own best friend and others will want you for a friend.

Have a clear moral compass.

Likable people have a clear understanding of right and wrong. They do not need others to agree with them to feel confident in their beliefs. Do not change your beliefs to please those you are around. Learn from all the people you meet but be a consistent you.

Be willing to try something new.

Popular people are not set in their ways. They are willing to try new things and explore new ideas. This does not mean you should do things that you feel are wrong only because others are doing them. But do not close your mind just because the situation or the person is different from what you expected.

Say what you mean in a clear way.

Do not be wishy-washy. Likeable people are able to communicate well. They know what they want to say and they say it. Avoid “weasel words” and take a position. Do not keep others guessing about your true intentions.

Care about others.

Likeable people are not all about themselves. They care about others. Develop your caring skill and you will encourage others to care about you. If everything you do is about you, then you will be cultivating friends who are selfish and only care about themselves.

Practice these methods and develop the skills you need to become a more likable person, likable to yourself and likable to others.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Learn these skills to be a more likable person.

Ways to overcome shyness.

By David Joel Miller.

Here are some suggestions to get past your shyness.

Shy

Shy
Photo courtesy of Flickr (Andreas Kollegger)

Shyness can keep you on the sidelines and out of life. Some people have been shy since early childhood and others are only shy in certain social situations. Whatever your personal issues with meeting or being around others these tips can help you get past that shyness and get into a fuller, richer life.

1. Positive self-talk – keep telling yourself you can.

Keep telling yourself that you can do this. Have a personal mantra or affirmation that helps you keep your fears at bay and maintains your focus on meeting others and making new friends. Repeat the self-affirmation silently to yourself. Concentration on your coping slogan takes your mind away from your fears.

Remember the children’s story about the train engine that kept saying it could. When you are repeating positive thoughts there is less room for self-doubt.

2. Slip into character.

Some performers, actors, musicians and even public speakers, are shy people in their personal life. But when they get on stage they think of themselves as filling that role. When you think of yourself as a “rock star” there is no room for shyness.

Create a person for yourself. Become the leader of the group, the den mother or some other role. When you realize that you are here to represent something it is easier to get into that role and be that outgoing extrovert. Pretend to be extroverted a few times and you will find yourself being transformed from shy to confident.

3. Take a friend along.

A friend is reassuring. You can introduce them and they introduce you. Having someone there as a cheer leader can give the confidence to tackle challenges you might otherwise find impossible.

Two people challenging their fears may be just the strength you have been needing to take that step towards being more outgoing.

4. Play to your strengths.

Engage in activities that make you feel comfortable. Do you like to garden? Join a garden society and you will have like-minded others to talk with. Like to read? Join a book club.

Make it a point to attend activities that you enjoy and feel good about engaging in.

5. Do your homework.

Going somewhere new? Try to learn something about the people you will be meeting and their interests. Attending a charity function? Look up the charity and see what they do and who the leaders of the group are.

Knowing a little about your host’s interest or the place you are going helps you feel more confident in conversation.

6. Ask lots of questions.

Feel embarrassed when talking about yourself? Ask the other people lots of questions about themselves. Most people are delighted to talk about themselves and if you give them the chance they will carry most of the conversation. Once the conversation ball starts to roll you can add value to the conversation as the chances present themselves.

7. Make technology your friend.

Stay connected in between face-to-face meetings by emailing or texting. With email you get extra time to think over what you want to say and to proof read to get your message right.

Give yourself time to compose your reply. You are not required to engage in Ping-Pong emails.

8. Put your hand out and introduce yourself.

A simple Hi my name is — will go a long way towards breaking the ice. Be the first one to say hi and you will become the sought after friend of others.

There are 8 short ideas to help you overcome your shyness in positive ways without having to resort to drugs, alcohol or other negative behaviors. Which one of these suggestions will you try first?  Have you found other ways to overcome your shyness?

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books  

Affairs, Pornography Addiction, Sexual and Internet Addiction Posts

The effects of affairs, pornography and sexual addiction on couples.

Here are some of the recent posts on the effects of affairs, pornography and sexual addiction on couples. Topics covered include making the decision to stay or go, how to repair the relationship and when and how professionals can help in mending relationships touched by these problems.

The internet is making it harder to define all the things that may be damaging relationships. Cybersex and virtual affairs are become destructive of relationships in the same way real life meeting-up affairs.

Despite the suffering these problems cause most are not yet recognized as specific diagnosable illnesses. Most are very close to being a behavioral addiction but to date only one behavioral addiction (gambling) is recognized as a specific mental illness.

Here are the posts so far – more to come

5 Misconceptions about the causes of affairs

Does an affair mean you should divorce?

Are internet affairs real affairs?

Internet affairs

Internet affairs? Internet addiction?

10 Rules for recovery after an affair

5 ways the Internet may destroy your relationship

Grieving bad relationships? Why men fear marriage counseling

Length of time together in failed relationships or marriages

Is he internet addicted 

(Some of these posts are scheduled to appear in the future so if the link does not work please check the list of recent posts or let me know and I will fix the links as the posts publish.)

Feel free to leave comments on these posts or send me a note via the “contact me” feature. I can’t do relationships counseling here via blog or internet. That is not what this blog was designed for, but I will try to answer questions as I can and where possible tell you about other resources. If you know of resources out there that might be helpful then please let the rest of us know.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Thanks for reading, till next time. For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended books.

6 Ways to Banish Loneliness.

By David Joel Miller.

Ending Loneliness.

Friendship

Friendship.

In a past post we talked about Loneliness first-aid – ways to keep that creature from moving into your life. But if you find that Mr. Loneliness has been a longtime guest in your life – How do you get him to move out?

Here are some ways to banish Loneliness from your life. Breaking up, when you are in a bad relationship is hard to do. The person who is causing you so much pain will resist leaving. Loneliness is sneaky that way. You send him packing out the front door and you might find him climbing in the window later that night.

Here are ways to get through to loneliness that he is not welcome in your life any more.

1. Become your own best friend.

Remember back to elementary school. If you had a best friend they did not like it if you started hanging out with someone else. Mr. Loneliness is like that. He never grew up. So if you start hanging out with a good friend he will not want to hang out with your anymore.

What better friend to be with than yourself.

This is hard for some folks. They tell me they have low self-esteem. They are not sure they like themselves and they would not want themselves from a best friend.

This lays out a clear road map to becoming happier. Make friends with you.

Get to really know yourself and like yourself. Stop beating yourself up. If no one ever gave you credit for things well done, learn to take a bow when you did something right.

Accept yourself and forgive yourself. Become the model of a best friend and start by becoming your own best friend.

It is hard for other people to like to be with us if we do not like ourselves.

2. Reconnect with old friends.

Loneliness wants you to forget about people who have been supportive and rely only on him. Look through your phone list and call someone. Call someone or email them every day. Chances are that since you stopped staying in contact with that old friend loneliness has been hanging around their door also.

3. Make some new same-sex friends.

When people are lonely the first suggestion loneliness makes is to find a new lover. Loneliness knows that the high of a new love feeling will only last a short while. Sex with a new partner can leave you alone sleeping with Mister Loneliness faster than anything else.

The loneliest time for most people is after a close relationship ends.

So if you want to avoid the new sexual partner trap Mister Loneliness has set for you, make new friends who are the same gender as you. That takes the mating ritual stuff out of the picture for most people.

If you are gay or lesbian, forget what I just said and work on making more friends of the opposite sex. The idea here is to develop social connections that can chase off Mr. Loneliness without falling into the new relationship trap.

Those hormones in the brain love releases last 6 to 18 months. If you haven’t learned how to be happy without your partner there all the time, then as that new love turns to everyday routine you will start dating Mr. Loneliness again.

4. Get out there.

You need to get out of the house and do things. Nothing makes you and Mr. Loneliness closer than you isolating from other human contact.

Now by “get out there,” do not think you need to hit the clubs and bars. That is a good way to run into Mister Loneliness again. He likes to dress up as an alcoholic or an addict. The man who looks like Mister Right probably has some drug habits and a few ex’s, baby’s mommas and the like.

What you need to do is get out there around other happy positive people.  If you have an interest in a sport, join a team or league. If you like reading, join a book club. If you have a religious or spiritual faith, get active in that group.

5. Learn friend making skills.

Learning to make friends is a skill not an ability. Some people just seem naturally better at making friends but a few of those naturals have confided in me about the process they went through to get good at making friends. Watch those people who are good at making friends and see how they do it.

Do not start telling yourself that you could never do what they do. Maybe not exactly what they do in their way. You are you after all. But you can pick up a few pointers by watching the popular people.

Ask one of them how they do it and you may get a helping hand you never expected.

When in a new place learn to put your hand out and introduce yourself. Ask about others and wait to be asked about yourself. Do not regurgitate your whole life story but offer up small tidbits to keep the conversation moving.

Keep telling yourself you can get better at making and keeping friends.

5. Learn the skills to be alone but not lonely.

Being all alone should not mean being lonely. If you have done the work on yourself, become your own best friend learned the things you like and the things that are not ok with you, then being alone some of the time should be a good thing.

6. Take yourself on a date.

Do nice things for yourself. Go to places you like to visit. Try out new foods and new positive experiences.

Where would you take a tourist who was visiting your town for the first time? Many people have never seen the top tourist spots in their own city. Take yourself there. If you really like the place invite a friend to go back with you.

Ask people you know for recommendations of places to visit. If they come up with suggestions ask them if they have ever been there and either way ask them if they would care to join you. If they say no do not take this as a rejection of you. We all have busy lives these days and sometimes people are just not available to go places and do things when you might invite them.

Those are six ways to get Mr. Loneliness out of your life. There are many more. Have you found any that work for you?

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended books.

If you would like to stay connected to the posts on counselors soapbox, hear about the progress of my book in progress or the flow of the conversation about mental health and substance abuse issues – please subscribe or follow counselorssoapbox.com

7 Dos and Don’ts of loneliness first aid.

By David Joel Miller.

The do’s and don’ts of loneliness.

loneliness

loneliness
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Loneliness follows you around. Sometimes that old bugger is waiting just outside your door for a chance to move in. Loneliness is one of the largest causes of relapse. It can take you back to depression, anxiety or drug and alcohol abuse in a minute.

If you hear Mr. Loneliness knocking at your door here are the things you should do and not do to keep yourself safe and headed forward in a happy life.

1. Do practice thought stopping.

When Mr. Loneliness whispers his message of pain in your ear, drown him out with the positive things you tell yourself. Tell yourself to knock off those thoughts and think about something more helpful.

There are lots of books and articles out there on how to stop negative thoughts and replace them with positive thinking. Make use of thought stopping.

2. Do reach out to people who are supportive.

Mental health and substance abuse recovery professionals all agree you need a support system. You also need to make sure that those people will really support you in times of need. Mom may let you stay with her but when you are depressed, lonely or feeling like picking up will she know what to say?

Make it a point to maintain contact information for all the people who are supportive of you. If you are a member of a support group or a 12 step community get a list of phone numbers, email addresses or other contact info.

Each day reach out and communicate with someone in your support system. Some people will be there for you and some will not. Some can help with physical things like a ride but are not able to listen to how you feel. Others will be glad to listen to you but can’t, for a variety of reasons, give you a ride.

Know who will support you and in what ways.

Remember support systems are a two-way street. Sometimes when you call, just to check in, you will find that the other person needs to talk more than you do. Be there to support them also.

3. Do pull out your gratitude list.

When you are depressed, lonely or fiending for a drink it is easy to see what is wrong in your life and hard to remember the things that are good.

Whatever you call your lists, gratitude, things that are helpful, things that make you smile, a WRAP plan, write these lists down and keep them close. That way when there is a time you need to see the happy, positive things in your life, you can pull that old gratitude list out and remind yourself the things you are thankful for.

If you lists are thin, work on these lists with your friends, supporters, sponsor or professionals. Often others can see the good in you and the changes that you are making long before you can.

When you are tired and there is still a climb to get to the top of the mountain, it is easy to forget how far you have already climbed.

Do not

4. Do not pick up drugs, alcohol or another addiction.

Drugs, Alcohol, Gambling sexual addictions, these were the old solutions to that lonely feeling and the other pains you wanted to avoid.  These are the solutions that did not work.

Remind yourself that more of the same gets you more of the same and no matter what do not reach back for an old addiction. Keep moving forward.

Things can and do get better. People do recover from all manner of problems and you can too.

5. Do not rush to hook up with someone to hold that loneliness at bay for a few minutes.

The old saying was “marry in haste and repent at leisure.” Most people spend more time shopping for a used car than for a baby’s mother or baby’s father.

Trying to cure loneliness by jumping into a new sexual relationship is a prescription for disaster. When the novelty of the experience wears off you will find yourself in worse shape than before.

It takes two healthy people to create a healthy relationship. Two people can help each other but you can’t fill the hole in your heart with someone else’s private parts.

6. Do not invite Mr. Loneliness to move in and live with you.

Beware making your life all about loneliness. Do not wear your pain on your sleeve for all to see. You can get caught up in rehashing all the reasons you are lonely and find out that you were the prison guard that locked you inside that lonely cell. Do not torture yourself and call that being realistic.

Being alone may be your condition right now but Mr. Loneliness is a cruel person who does not make a good long-term companion.

7. Do not isolate and hope the feeling will pass.

The cure for loneliness is not avoiding people. It is getting comfortable in your own skin and in being around others.  Reach out for help. Do not expect others to fix you. It is the interactions with others that cure loneliness, not the having or being had.

Try these loneliness first-aid tips and see if this procedure keeps Mr. Loneliness away. If you find he has already moved into your life while you were not paying close attention then stay tuned for an upcoming post on ways to get Mr. Loneliness out of your life.

Some people will find that once they let go of Mr. Loneliness they are frantically trying to get someone in their life, anyone, to keep them from feeling lonely, they do not know what to do by themselves. We have a post in the works for that topic also.

Not sure when these posts about Mr. Loneliness and his gang will appear, they are scheduled out into the future, so watch for them and check the topic list to the right of this page for more on the adventures of Mister Loneliness.

Have you had some experiences with Mr. Loneliness? If he is gone – how did you get him out of your life?

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended books.

If you would like to stay connected to the posts on counselors soapbox, hear about the progress of my book in progress or the flow of the conversation about mental health and substance abuse issues – please subscribe or follow counselorssoapbox.com