Whole: Better By Monday

Healing is becoming whole.  Such wholeness, …emerges as a self-organizing process that has a natural drive to create harmony, a flexible and adaptive state that is created with integration. – Daniel J. Siegel, MD.  Founding Series Editor, Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology

At the close of the last millennium, the Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) field was created not as a type of therapy but as a vehicle to inform therapies and practitioners about some “universal discoveries” which provide new insight and understanding about healing and wholeness.

One idea which has been given importance in the IPNB uses the acronym: COAL which stands for being curious, open, accepting and loving. Dr. Siegel wrote, “ Being mindfully aware entails letting go of our propensity to filter ongoing perceptions through the lens of previously existing judgments, or prejudgments, and attempting to be open to whatever arises as it arises.”

Being able to be present and let whatever is going to happen just happen is being in a state of openness which is also a state of letting go (of control). There is a beautiful thing that happens in this state of being – you find out that you can trust yourself.

While you stay open to people and moments with those people, you become more aware of who you are, what you think and what resources you naturally have. The freedom to think your thoughts and pull from your resources happens while you are open and accepting of your experience. You are being true to yourself not controlling how you are seen or what people think of you. The real you will show up.

One Thing To Do: Set down your impression management skills and use COAL in your next conversation. Enjoy how mush easier listening with a curious, open, accepting and loving heart feels.

Dawna Daigneault

Dawna Daigneault, Eds, LPC

Dawna Daigneault, Ed.S., LPC.

Zest of Life, LLC. Professional Counseling.


Pretending: Better By Monday

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” – Kurt Vonnegut

If a pretense must be employed to make self-confidence seem more present and real within a person than it is, then does the pretending make the person more or less confident?

I believe that the immediate reward of pretending is a sense of confidence but not in oneself. The confidence that a pretender develops is in an ability to pretend. The usefulness of the pretense reinforces being false which doesn’t make a person more secure in who he/she is.

My motto on this matter is: Never pretend – Always protect. Never pretend to be someone you are not and always protect the person you are. When these ideas are together we get the benefit of being true to ourselves with the added protection we want which pretending seems to provide but doesn’t.

Never pretending means being you but it doesn’t mean answering every question about you that someone asks. It also doesn’t mean exposing parts of yourself prematurely to an audience (of one or more) before you have their trustworthiness established. Pretending is hiding parts of yourself and therefore reinforcing that there are things about you that you believe are not good enough.

Always protecting yourself can be a graceful skill of honoring some inquisitions and disallowing others because you know yourself and respect your need for safety. Pretending seems to be a way of getting around feeling vulnerable but while it temporarily shields our truth from an unkindness – it restricts us from being seen by the people who really like us and to whom we make sense. It also sends your inner child a destructive message (you’re not enough) which feels awful. When you tell your story keep the right to pace yourself and hold back whole chapters until sharing feels safe.

One Thing to Do: Make a list of ways you have pretended in the past. Then next to each item write down what you hoped the pretending would do for you. Did it work? Was there another way to achieve what you wanted without pretending?

Dawna Daigneault

Dawna Daigneault, Eds, LPC

Dawna Daigneault, Ed.S., LPC.

Zest of Life, LLC. Professional Counseling.

Your Self-Worth Can Be Better by Monday

Better By MondayWhen does self-worth begin?

Some may argue that because babies can hear their parents while in the womb that self-worth may begin before birth. I think that worth begins the first year of life as a relational message from caregivers to care receivers. Leslie Becker-Phelps, Ph. D. wrote in her book, Insecure in Love, that “…children develop a way of bonding that seeps into their very being. This way of bonding becomes a working model that sets their expectations for how others will respond to them, as well as for how they feel about themselves.”

Babies are made to be care receivers in the first year of life.  They are often doted on by one or more family members through well intentioned bouncing, hugging, feeding, burping, changing and more.

Please consider that the first year of life is often the worst behavior year for most of us.  When you were a baby  (when you weren’t being sweet) you cried, vomited, peed, pooped, refused to sleep, woke everyone up, and slobbered on everything. If you were attended to and comforted regardless of how demanding your cries were – you were being told over and over – you are worth it. That was solid validation.

Despite the “bad behavior” issues (which no one will let you get away with as you mature) you were given as much comfort as your caregiver(s) knew how to give.  This first year set a precedent for trust (Psycho-Social Stages by Erik Erikson) and for self- worth. You didn’t have to pay for care and there were no requirements for to you follow to achieve care receiving status. No conditions for love were in place.

The conditions you may experience now couldn’t be placed on you then. You got to be true to yourself, in a primal sense, and you were still worth getting to know.

One Thing To Do: Remember your worth this weekend. You can’t remember your first year of life but you can remember what is feels like to be cared for – take that thought and fill up on it for two days.  Repeat to yourself, “I am worth taking care of.”

Dawna Daigneault, Eds, LPC

Dawna Daigneault, Eds, LPC

Dawna Daigneault, Ed.S, LPC.

Zest of Life, LLC.