Once more, with feeling: On intention & living your values.

I recently completed Brene Brown’s Dare To Lead (read it; it’s wonderful and you will be better for it). Within the book’s beautiful contents are a few pages dedicated to Values from which we choose to intentionally conduct ourselves. The reader is asked to select two Values that resonate with them, and challenged to curate a life that is in harmony with those chosen Values. If a relationship or a business decision does not align, it might be changed, or cut out entirely. The exercise brings up the importance of having a plan – an intention– for who and how we want to be in our limited time on this planet.

Seize the day.

It’s hard to incorporate intentionality into our day-to-day lives, because there’s a billion things to accomplish in order to get to the next day, and if we don’t get them done, we have anxiety, or feel crappy about ourselves, or become overwhelmed and depressed. These are compelling reasons to keep on keeping on, and so we keep running on the hamster wheel for another long day to keep the stress at bay. We might work a mediocre job or stay in a so-so relationship in the name of being “realistic,” only to find ourselves 20 years later wondering what we did with all our time!

Many of us operate on the “as soon as” principal – we will pursue meaning “as soon as” we’ve made a certain amount, or been promoted to a certain position; we will invest in our friendships “as soon as” our kids are in daycare, or we have retired. “As soon as” is a time frame that we can push out forever. Get off the hamster wheel and seize the day.

Be on purpose.

We make a gazillion choices in a day, and I think it’s safe to say that many of them are unintentional. I can personally attest to the fact that I sometimes find myself sitting in front of the television, or at a social event, or pacing in circles, or doing busy work, without having intentionally chosen to do so.  We get caught up in the Doing of daily life, and lose sight of the why behind the Doing. Have you ever cultivated an entire social relationship before asking yourself, “Wait, do I actually even like this person”? Right. It’s like that.

Examining every little thing we do can be exhausting, but we can start in small ways. Rather than committing ourselves to every little thing, we can ask if we truly want to be doing those activities, with those people, at those times. Rather than distracting ourselves from every negative or uncomfortable emotion, we can sit with the emotions, even momentarily, and try to connect with them and see what they can teach us or what they want from us. Even the little choices matter – make them on purpose.

Values will change. Change with them.

Values and priorities change over the years, and it’s important to notice when these shifts occur and what they mean for us. As Joan Didion said, “I have already lost touch with a couple of people I used to be.” I can confidently attest that the person I was at 18 bears little resemblance to the person I am today. I expect that this is generally true for all of us.

Given that, why should we feel compelled to operate from the Values that we held 20 years ago, when we’ve had so much time to learn and experience new things, and integrate that information into our developing selves? When our Values shift as we grow, can we take the time to hear from them, and consider making changes to honor the selves we are becoming? Sometimes we struggle mightily to enact Value systems that we no longer relate to. I gently and respectfully posit that it’s normal for Values to change, and so it is okay to modify our lives over time to accommodate our new Values. Otherwise, we stop growing.

Living with intention requires harkening back, again and again, to the why behind our actions, behaviors, and decisions. How and where and with whom we spend our time and attention matters. To think otherwise is to diminish the magic and significance of being alive.

What are the Values from which you live your life?

Originally posted on my blog, Common Humanity, at Psych Central.com. To read more, visit https://blogs.psychcentral.com/common-humanity/


Useful Information

Some frequently asked questions and useful answers.

Online therapy works in the same way as in-office therapy, but is done online, similar to a Skype or FaceTime conversation. Clients are able to have sessions from home, work, or any other convenient location. We meet with clients using a HIPAA-compliant secure platform.

Online therapy allows you to work with us from the comfort of home, or any private location of your choosing. For some, the screen provides an added layer of comfort that makes the challenging work of being vulnerable in therapy a little easier.

Online therapy also creates the unique opportunity for you to work with us without the constraints of proximity! The practice was born in Keene, New Hampshire, but has since grown to service clients anywhere in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey, Florida, and New Hampshire.

Online therapy is a great option for clients that travel for work, for college students that go home during the summertime and do not want a break in their sessions, and for anyone with a challenging or inconsistent day-to-day schedule. It is an excellent choice for clients seeking a therapist with a particular specialty that they are unable to find support for locally. Some of our clients report that online therapy makes the vulnerability element of therapy a bit less intimidating.

No. For some clients with more complex symptoms or safety concerns, having a local therapist that is readily available is important in case of crisis or the need for a higher level of care. Online therapy is also a challenge for clients that do not have access to a private, quiet space to be “in session” for the hour, or for those that do not have adequate internet connectivity.

There are several reasons why we don’t accept insurance. The most important are:

Confidentiality. Insurance companies require that your information be shared with them in order to pay for services. We prefer that clients’ information is kept as confidential as possible.

The pressure to diagnose. Insurance companies require that clients are given a mental health diagnosis in order to pay for therapy. We have found that many clients benefit from therapy, but do not meet criteria for a diagnosis. Not using insurance allows clients to access therapy without being given a mental health diagnosis.

Flexibility and freedom. Insurance companies dictate the length and number of sessions they will authorize, as well as when a client is no longer eligible for the benefits of therapy. Because we do not work with insurance panels, you and we can collaborate to determine your individual needs regarding session length, frequency of sessions, and when to terminate therapy.

While we do not accept insurance, many clients choose to submit receipts to their insurance companies to receive reimbursement via out-of-network benefits. We are happy to provide these receipts for you! Please check with your insurance company for details on your benefits.



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