-THE NAVIGATEUR- 
                     
n. One Who Navigates

1, 2, 3 EASY DOES IT

Tonight, I was in the mood for the #15 at Jimmy John’s. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the #15, think of tuna salad on steroids; I really like it on their wheat bread because it’s also a healthier option. I also like to pair the Jalapeño potato chips because they add to the flavor of the sandwich. It's now 8:15 p.m., and while waiting anxiously for my sandwich since I was starving and hadn't eaten since noon, I found this sign hanging around the restaurant and I had to take a picture and write a blog post. undefinedBut first, I want thank Jimmy John’s for teaching us how to apologize! Made me think about the difficulty many of us have in apologizing for something we have done wrong. Why is apologizing so hard to do? Is it we don’t know what to say? Are we afraid to take responsibility of any wrongdoing? Is it about our pride? Do we fear appearing weak to the "other?"  Although we could analyze all day why it might be difficult for you or another to apologize, if you use these three easy steps, you will not only improve your communication but the other person will feel understood and validated. This really is one the basic fundamental principles to healthy communication, and once you have this down, you can build upon your communication skills. Why don't you give it a whirl the next time you find yourself in a situation that requires you to take ownership and apologize. Do as Jimmy John's says and does and you can't go wrong, and plus, you will have a healthier relationship <no pun> for doing so:

1. Acknowledge “What I did was wrong.”
2. Verbalize, “I feel badly that I hurt you.”
3. Articulate, “How can I make this better?”

Thank you, Jimmy John’s for helping the nation communicate more effectively! Oh, and thank you for keeping us healthy too!

CROSSROADS

undefined Have you ever struggled with a conflict in your life where you had to choose something over another and which caused great suffering? You’re probably thinking right about now that this is a silly question and thinking to yourself, “Isn’t this just part of the human condition.” I agree wholeheartedly. Importantly though, this is a blog post about the conflict of some individuals who identify as gay and Christian, or maybe even some other particular faith, and who have difficulty blending these parts of themselves. As many of you know, I work with a lot of individuals who identity as gay and bisexual and/or gender variant and I have heard many stories of how family and friends have rejected or abandoned them for “coming out of the closet” or for being themselves; or vice versa, those being scared to be who they are for fear of these things. Could you imagine having this conflict? Most individuals find the task of blending one’s faith and sexuality daunting and I think sometimes their resolve of this conflict is to leave the church. Unfortunately, I see this more than I would like in my practice. I believe it’s disheartening that anyone would have to struggle in blending their sexuality and faith, especially since sexuality and faith are usually at the core of one’s being. At this time, you’re probably wondering what I’m getting at. Although I don’t identify with any particular religious denomination, while working with these individuals lately, I have been reminded of a Bible verse I’ve heard repeatedly. In Hebrews 13:8 it says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Although my explanation may not be elaborate here…I’m not a hermeneutic scholar so please forgive me; nevertheless, this verse is simply saying that Jesus is the same today as he will be any day and forever. You might ask how does this apply to someone who is gay, bisexual, or gender variant? Interestingly, when people “come out” sometimes others see these individuals as somehow changed. They are still the same person they are today as they will be tomorrow; nothing per se has changed about this individual except that they genuinely and authentically own who they are. The way this person cares hasn’t changed…the way this person loves hasn’t changed…ones ethics and morals hasn’t changed. What does all this mean? It means that the next time someone you know “comes out,” understand that nothing about this person has changed; they are still the person you know, the person you love, and the person you care about. Interestingly, it’s sort of a paradox; although these individuals will be changed forever, they’re still the same person today, tomorrow, and the next. I think it takes a lot of courage for someone to “come out” and to be authentic. Aristotle says, “Courage is the first of human virtues because it makes all others possible.” If you’re reading this, I enCourage you to find ways to also be authentic!

*Image courtesy of jscreationzs

PAIN IN MY SIDE

undefinedAccording to the Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, Perseverance is the “Continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.” I thought of this word one day when I was running on the treadmill at the gym. During this time, although rare, I was experiencing some pain in my side and I said to myself, “I’m going to make it through this run even if I have to push myself through this pain and die.”  Okay, I’m not going to die but don’t you just hate it when you get that annoying pain in your side; I’m sure many of you know what I’m talking about. And yes, I made it through my run, and of course, I didn't die!

I also think of this concept often in my practice because many patients that come through my door embody this characteristic. That in many ways, individuals, especially those with psychological suffering, often persevere despite the many challenges they face each day. By making it to their session(s), they unknowingly communicate that they believe that things will get better. I believe that perseverance is something that comes from within; something that is internal rather than external. What is the internal drive that motivates one to persevere? Why do some have it and some really struggle to persevere so much so that some might die by suicide because they don’t see any way out. Can it be hope?  Is hope what drives one to persevere? I remember in my first graduate class my professor said, “Is there always hope.” I can’t recall everyone’s responses, but I do recall being the first person to say, “Yes, there is always hope” and I said it without hesitation. Interestingly, today I read an article on hope and how it can create stuckness for some. I found this idea interesting because I've never given it much thought about how hope can actually become an obstacle to obtaining one’s goals and aspirations. What do you think? Do you think that perseverance and hope are intricately tied together? Is perseverance perhaps connected to any other drive(s)? Regardless of what we might think, the one who perseveres, is one who has hope, is one who is resilient, and is one who can accomplish and succeed despite the hurdles. No matter what your pain, there is always hope!

*Image courtesy of stockimages

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