Friday, November 11, 2011

Finding passion in life

Racoon looking bored at Shepreth Wildlife ParkImage via Wikipedia

Ever had the feeling that you were meant to do or be something more?  Do you feel lost and overwhelmed in the day to day grind?  When was the last time that you were happy- truly happy?

Often times we take a job or choose a career because it is what pays the bills, but where does that leave us on an emotional and/or spiritual level?  If you think that your job has no affect on your happiness, well-being or even relationships with your family and friends- think again.  What we do in life matters- every thing we do in life matters.  While I'm not asking you to go and quit your job tomorrow, I am asking you to explore what you are passionate about.  Without passion and fire what are we left with?  I imagine a mouse on wheel just running and running getting nowhere.  We are meant to be and do so much more than just that!

Now is the time to explore and find out what makes you happy, because I guarantee if you start doing those things your life will change.  This might mean that you have a job that isn't your favorite, but you start to pick up hobbies that you enjoy.  Who knows where this might lead you?                                 Well, actually I know...

happinessImage via Wikipedia

...a more happy, less stressed, and more relaxed existence.  Sometimes it takes us getting into this state of mind to realize what life is really about.  Perhaps you may decide to look for another job, or maybe you find new joys in the one you already have.  Either way, don't throw your life away into a passion-less existence- you deserve so much more!

I wish you health, joy and much abundance,
Elizabeth Cappelletti, MA, LMFT
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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Moving Forward...

Forgiveness lesson from flowersImage by juliejordanscott via Flickr    I'm sure most of you have realized by now that I love quotes.  Especially inspirational ones.  So here is one that I would love to share with you because it is a topic I often work on with my clients:

 On no account brood over your wrong-doing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean. 
Aldous Huxley (1894–1963) 
English writer 

While we can't rewind the clock and erase what we have done, we seem to beat ourselves up over and over again and replay in our heads how we could have done things differently.  Don't get me wrong, I am all for learning from your past and making amends when needed, but how much time do we need to spend hating ourselves for things we have no control over?  

One of the biggest obstacles to health and happiness that I see clients struggle with is a relentless beating of themselves and putting themselves down.  Often this stems from past abuse they have experienced and they have merely picked up where the abusers left off and continued the vicious cycle to prove that their abusers are correct.  I am here to take a stand and take that metaphoric whip away from you.  You need to be gentle to yourself and learn to forgive yourself.  If there are relationships that need to be repaired because of your actions, by all means reach out and make attempts to amend them.  Sometimes people in our lives have past away and we don't have the opportunity to speak with them face to face.  For this I recommend writing them a letter or perhaps visiting their burial site and reading it aloud or just going there and expressing yourself.   For those of you who are able to connect with a lost love one in silence- no matter where you are- then use that time to express your feelings.  After all, our bodies are merely vessels in this life and we are much more than just our bodies.

Perhaps you need to forgive yourself for doing things that have hurt you.  Do you really think that beating yourself will make it any better or take the pain away?  Make attempts to be gentle with yourself, love yourself and give yourself the respect that each of us in life deserves.  Take the steps you need to make a better life for yourself because beating yourself will only keep you stuck or pull you back into the darkness.

Sending you lots of love,
Elizabeth Cappelletti, MA, LMFT
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Monday, August 29, 2011

Loving you...

Some of you may already know that as I write this I am creating new life in my body- I am pregnant- and very excited.  Although I have been quite sick, which is why there was such a delay in writing my blog, I have this overwhelming sense of gratitude and love that I wanted to share with all of you.

One of the many issues I work on with my clients is the topic of loving yourself.  At first when I bring this up many people aren't certain of what I mean or even how to begin this seemingly arduous task.  I often explain that we each have a little child in us that needs love and every time we put that child last or put that child down in any way we are causing more damage to ourselves.  Often times loving yourself will make you feel guilty or selfish at first, but it is a necessity that I like to refer to as self-fullness.  It's not about taking away from or hurting anyone else- in fact, if we give to ourselves first we are far better able to take care of others!

I too struggled for a very long time with this issue.  I was so concerned about the needs of others I always put myself last and never gave myself the love I really needed.  This led to a lot of problems for me because I didn't speak up when I was hurt or angry as I never wanted to burden anyone with how I was feeling.  Although I was the first to be there as support for anyone who needed it, I never allowed that for myself-  partly because I felt I wasn't important enough.  It brings tears to me as I write this and I think about others who may be struggling with this issue.  It also brings me to tears to think of the idea of my own child ever feeling this way.  Being able to give life is one of the most amazing gifts in the world for so many reasons.  I want my children to go through life knowing that they are wanted and loved and how important and special they are.  The truth is though, that it doesn't just stop with my own children- it continues on with each of you.  Not all of us had a parent(s) or caregiver(s) who gave us unconditional love and positive regard.  Many of us have struggled and been hurt in more ways than one can ever even imagine.  After a while you may have begun to question your own self-worth.

Being a therapist I have heard horror stories of abuse from both children and adults that make my heart break.  What hurts the most is to see how much this abuse has scarred and damaged these individuals into a place of distrust, anger, sadness and most often self- hatred.  I am writing this because I want you to know that you matter and you are important- who ever and where ever you are.  I also want you to know that your life doesn't always have to be this way.  But you have to take a stand and begin with one foot in front of the other.  You need to break the path that others have created for you. This is not an easy task I know.  We blind and numb ourselves in so many ways through so many addictions or self-defeating behaviors.  I'm asking you to take off those blinders and take a different path towards love and positivity.  Start to surround yourself with positive, loving people. Find a therapist who will support you and help you to see the beauty that lies with-in you; start saying positive affirmations to yourself;  limit the time you spend with negative and abusive people; visit people. places and things that inspire you; do something nice for yourself; eat healthy and exercise.  There are so many things that you can begin to do today to start loving yourself.  You deserve so much more from 
My photos that have a creative commons license...Image via Wikipedialife- you deserve to be happy.

And if you do have children, please know that how you treat them and the words you speak to them have a huge impact on how they will feel about themselves for the rest of their lives.  Another important note here is that how you treat yourself and what you model for your children will also greatly affect and impact them. If you want them to truly love themselves- you have to truly love yourself!

Sending you lots of love,

Elizabeth Cappelletti, MA, LMFT
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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Commitment-Make your words matter!

CommitmentImage by eschipul via Flickr

Have you ever heard the saying "Your word is everything"?  While it may seem like another old cliche, there is a lot of truth to that saying!  Today I am encouraging you to take a look at how often you commit to or say you are going to do something or be somewhere (and yes just "saying" you will be there is a commitment) and then end up canceling or not showing up.  While you may have 1,000 good excuses of why you couldn't make it- I'm telling you right now that if this is a trend for you, people will begin to feel like they can't depend on you.

For a lot of people many of the excuses are work related- in fact this scenario is often played out in many movies where the child is eagerly waiting for their parent to spend time with them, take them somewhere or show up for a game or recital and the parent doesn't show up because they got caught up at work. In each of these movies you can see the great heartache in the child.   While it is true that you have to put food on the table and a roof over your head, what will it all be worth if your kids and family harbor great sadness, anger or resentment towards you?

This message isn't just for parents though! It is for everyone because if you have a tendency to flake off on your commitments- no matter how small- it will begin to affect your relationships.  If you are in a romantic relationship and you promise to make changes to better the relationship, but continually break that promise because you forget or it's too much work- I guarantee that you are going to feel the effects of this from your partner.

Today I heard someone say "under promise and over deliver".  When I first hear this I thought to myself: "why would someone under promise"?  It makes a lot of sense to me as I write this now.  I realize that people may have a lot of really good intentions when they make some of the promises that they do but the important thing to realize is that it causes great pain and disappointment when you let someone down because you overestimated your ability to follow through.

Growing up I had a very strained relationship with my father because although he was well intended when he made a commitment to me, he wasn't always able to follow through with it.  Given the fact that my parents split when I was young and my father moved far away I felt like all I had was his word.  If he ever had to go back on his word- no matter how small or seemingly insignificant- I was crushed.  I began to feel like I couldn't count on or depend on him in anyway because if I did I was setting my self up for a huge amount of pain.  I know that my dad really did mean well but that didn't take away from the pain I felt as a child and young adult.  It taught me a very great lesson about the words that I speak and the promises I make.  It is my goal to teach others this very thing too.

commitmentImage by glsims99 via Flickr

You know that in your work if you make a commitment you need to follow through with it, otherwise you will be out of a job or client.  I encourage you to look at all of your commitments and promises in the same way- because your word matters!  Your word matters with your friends, family and loved ones.  In fact I think it matters most with your loved ones.  So really take a look at the promises and
commitments you are making and how it truly affects those around you when you don't follow through.  Get out of your head and be present with those around you because I truly feel that if you are really present and connected with those around you, you will easily pick up on the impact that your word- or lack there of- has on others.

I wish you much peace and joy and may you start to make your words really matter!
Elizabeth Cappelletti, MA, LMFT
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Friday, July 1, 2011

Overcoming Life's Obstacles

Life can be difficult- there is no doubt about that!  It hits each of us at different times.  Sometimes we seem to be flooded and bombarded with it and other times we seem to get hit by it out of nowhere.  I was recently speaking with someone who felt like her whole world was falling apart and was quite upset because this seemed to be the trend for most of her life.  She stated that perhaps this was "karma" from her previous lives.  I stated to her that sometimes when life gives you lemons you have to make lemonade.  She chuckled and stated that she likes the other version of this advice: "When life gives you lemons you squeeze the lemon juice into the persons eye who wronged you and then make lemonade".  I must say that I was taken aback by this and stated to her that as Gandhi so wisely stated: "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind".  I also told her that perhaps this is where her "karma" is coming into play and nipping her in the butt.

With this particular individual I have seen her make poor choice after poor choice constantly blaming everyone around her for it.  It's so sad because she is stuck in this vicious cycle of anger, resentment and retaliation.  I share this story with you because I think it's important to examine your own life to see how you have been living.  Are you always pointing the finger at everyone else?  Do you refuse to take a look at yourself and your actions?  I realize this is very difficult to do but if you take the time to do this and really look within a lot of change may start to come your way (for the better).

                    Cover of The Lion's Paw                                  (Little Golden Book)I remember reading this story about a lion who had a thorn in his foot. (Bare with me as this is an adapted version from my memory- but the gist of it is as follows).  The lion was hurting terribly but his paws were too big to pull the thorn out.  When a tiny mouse appeared asking if he needed help the lion was angry, irritable and distrustful.  Out if this anger he threatened to eat the poor mouse.  If this mouse wasn't able to see the thorn in the lions foot- the real reason for his fierce reaction- the mouse would have ran off leaving the lion to suffer greatly.  The mouse quietly snuck under the lion's paw and removed the thorn.  The lion roared as the thorn was removed from him and he slammed his paw down on the mouse out of anger and suspicion that the mouse was trying to harm him. After a few seconds the mouse crawled out from under his paw with the thorn in hand.  The lion was taken aback by this and thanked the mouse as well as apologized for his frightening and hurtful behavior.  The unexpected duo became great friends!

If you are anything like that lion you may think that everyone is out to get you!  In fact you may strike first in anticipation that they no doubt are intending to hurt you.  It becomes somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy because that individual may be very upset for how you treated them, especially since they were not ill intended. Out of this anger and hurt they may then treat you in the way you were expecting!  Once again I encourage you to take a look at how you are viewing, interacting and treating others.  Maybe it's not always about them needing to change first!

I have made it my life's purpose to help others and anyone who truly knows me will agree.  If there is one person in the world that is like this then there must be more!  It is true that everyone you meet will not be like this and that there are some people who have been so hurt and wronged that they make it their mission to hurt others.  But the truth is, not everyone is like that.  There are a lot of really beautiful and amazing people out there- you just need to open your eyes and your heart to see what is really before you.

P.S.  If you have enjoyed this blog please leave me a comment or send me an email.  I never know who is reading this and I am always pleasantly surprised and honored when people share with me that they have been and it has helped them in some way.  It keeps me going and keeps me inspired- so thanks for reading and I hope that my blog can help inspire you in one way or another!

I wish you a beautiful and blessed life,

Elizabeth Cappelletti, MA, LMFT
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Friday, June 10, 2011

Make yourself a better person!

EarthImage by tonynetone via Flickr

"You make the world a better place by making yourself a better person"- Scott Sorrel

What powerful words of wisdom!  We often think that by taking care of others first we are always doing the right thing.  And while this is such a beautiful thing to do there is a problem with that plan.  If you always leave yourself for last this starts to take a toll on you- whether it be through resentment, decline in health, etc.  One of the greatest lessons I have learned in life is the importance of taking care of myself first.   Initially this seemed so foreign and selfish, but there has been a few times in my life that God/ The Universe really screamed at me to learn this lesson.

My life has always been about helping others and I often had a very difficult time saying "No"- even when I was exhausted and had nothing left to give!  Eventually this finally took a toll on my body and I injured by my back in such a bad way that I was in bed for over two weeks and I could not walk, sit or stand.  The muscle relaxers and prescription pain killers didn't even come close to diminishing my pain.  Here I was in such a state of pain and now depression because of the pain and worry about what it all meant for my future- I really feared my life would be like this forever.  I was fortunate enough to find a chiropractor who did very different work and helped me so much with the pain!

This life lesson taught me a lot- but the learning wasn't done there!  Several years later, right after I graduated from grad school- and was ready to save the world- I once again had to learn the lesson of the importance of self-care.  This time I was working in very unsafe areas in Long Beach- going into people's homes to work with them and their children who were totally defiant and out of control.  My heart sunk deeper and deeper with every client I met with and I became more and more saddened by the fact that the work that I was doing wasn't "fixing" everything.  I bent over backwards and answered calls in the middle of the night.  I spent hours driving to and from Long Beach from Orange County.  The supervision I received was much less than what was needed for such intense cases, but I pushed through regardless because I knew these kids needed me.  When I look back I know that I was the only positive and loving person in a lot of these kids lives- what a gift I was able to offer- but the weight of that was so heavy.

I took on all this pain and responsibility but was not taking the time to take of myself in the ways I needed to.  I eventually decided to quit that job and for a time was very reluctant to work with kids again because I felt that perhaps I was just too sensitive to handle it all.  After some time in my own therapy I realized how much I was lacking in the self-care department.  I started to take time to exercise and eat healthy, to journal about my feelings and share them with my therapist or other support system.  I even learned to ask for help when I needed it.  I stopped trying to do everything on my own.   I learned how to set boundaries with those around me- even those that I love- and I learned the word "no".  The fact of the matter was that I hadn't only been trying to save these kids and their families, but also everyone around me.  Another deep truth and nugget of wisdom I learned was this "Give a man a fish you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

By me learning to care for myself I was better able to teach others how to do the same.  Instead of trying to fix all their problems I realized that my life's purpose was to teach people and to give them the tools they needed to fix their own problems.  While much healing comes from sharing your woes and worries with another person, true healing starts to come from that plus the changes we begin to implement in our life.  And the truth is nobody can force anyone to change- this is something they have to want to do.

I have found time and time again- whether I am working with a parent, individual adult,  teen, or a couple- the best advice or tool I can give is to teach them how to take care of themselves first.  For a parent it may prevent them from taking out their anger and frustration on their child.  In couples I see that they start to find joy in life again and in their partner because they are no longer exploding on the other person and they are setting healthy boundaries that increase their respect for themselves and their partner.  For teens (and everyone else really) taking care of themselves may mean really exploring their feelings and finding healthy ways to cope instead of drugs, alcohol, sex, oppositional behaviors, self-harm, and or any other type of addictions.

Fortunately I didn't let that early experience drive me away from working with kids.  In fact, I spent many years after that primarily working with kids and found that with this new wisdom I was able to create long lasting change.  Most importantly I took care of myself (and continue to do so) so that I was and am able to help many more children, teens, families, couples and adults.

If people really took the time to take care of themselves there would be a lot less resentment, anger and hurt in the world.  Remember this- you can truly give way more to others if you are starting with a full cup versus an empty cup.

So fill your cup up daily- love yourself in every way possible and you will see that through this love you will not only see more beauty and give more love to others but you will truly make lasting change on this planet!

Sending you lots of love and positive thoughts,
Elizabeth Cappelletti, MA, LMFT
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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Life is a Journey

The Drumavoley Road near Ballycastle (1) The D...Image via Wikipedia
Many of us seem to race towards goal after goal in the hopes that this next goal with ultimately be the thing that makes us happy.  But time and time again- after the newness of this attained g
oal has worn off- we are out seeking the next thing that is sure to fill us with happiness.

I have heard the quote "Life is a journey not a destination" many times in the past and I think it can mean many things depending on where you are in your life.  Today it means to me that we need to enjoy the present moment!  When we are so focused on the unattained future we suffer greatly due to a deep longing for what we do not have.  The funny thing is that we so often miss all that is around us and in some cases the very thing we are looking for.  If we are able to find peace and joy in this very moment we are relaxed enough to pay attention to that which is all around us.

There are times that you may be very sad because you don't have the mate you want- or career etc.- and you slum around without showering or caring for yourself.  You may venture out of the house totally unaware of others around you because you are so absorbed in your sadness and pain.  Now the question I ask you is what if on that "journey" out of your home you met a potential mate, employer or business opportunity?  Do you think anything will truly blossom here if you are in such a state of despair?  Perhaps you or the other person don't connect because you are doing everything you can to not stand out or be seen.

Keys.Image by Bohman via FlickrIt's like trying to find your keys when you have lost them.  You search frantically around the living room, kitchen and bedroom and can't find them anywhere.  You are so stressed out that you search again and again.  Perhaps you plop down on the couch to give up your search and there right in front of you are those keys you have been looking for for the last 20 minutes.

That which you want may be right in front of you, but you need to get out of your head to see it!  Expect the unexpected and keep your eyes open.  Life doesn't always go the way we plan because it may have something even better to offer us.  If we are so focused on what "must be" we lose sight of what "might be".

I encourage you to begin to look at life like a journey to be traveled, not a destination to be rushed too. Find beauty in everyday- but most importantly find beauty in yourslef- for when you truly see the beauty that lies within you, you will see the world in a whole new way!

May you have a blessed and abundant day and life:)
Elizabeth Cappelletti, MA, LMFT
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