Posted By Tina Dubin, Ph.D. on August 17, 2013 at 4:42pm | General, Tina's Musings

Who do we spend more time talking to and listening to than ourselves?  Here are some self-reflections along with those I’ve heard from others about what goes on inside.

Understanding Our Feelings and Behaviors

Have you ever felt anxious or upset though you didn’t really understand why?  Maybe you hadn’t realized that something was bothering you as much as it was.  Or perhaps you were trying hard not to see or feel something that was uncomfortable to look at.

In therapy, we often talk about how to make sense of your feelings and behavior.  A lot of my Musings are designed to help you allow yourself to tolerate painful thoughts and emotions [read  Doing the Hard Stuff.

Working Through Hard Stuff In Our Hearts and Minds

Something worrying you?  Something you have to figure out?  Something you need to understand or develop a plan for?

But you’re too anxious to think about it.  You don’t think you’re really capable.  It’s too confusing; too conflicting.

Be sure to allow the time it can take to think it through – it may be weeks, months, maybe years.  Don’t give up too soon.  Leave it alone and come back to it as often as necessary.  Take breaks but don’t avoid it altogether.

Comfort and Distraction are the simplest ways to go when it’s just too hard to deal with.  Indeed, it may be best to start with Comfort and Distraction.  But don’t stay there forever.

Negative feelings and thoughts usually come up first.  You’ll need to see yourself all the way through the negative – using Buffers, Containers and Contradictions – like memories of times you’ve made it through in the past; figured things out and performed well before [Read  Doing Hard Stuff]

Honor all your feelings including the dark, the angry, the shameful, and the weak.  But watch out for getting angry at yourself for feeling as you do.  You will otherwise surely  double your misery.

Remember to include:   the positive and rational;   what good has come or can come from your situation;  what capabilities you know you have even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.

Difficult feelings like grief and fear come and go.  So, you’ll have to go through them again.  But when you begin to understand, make sense of it and forgive where necessary (which includes yourself), they will diminish.

Allow yourself to look at what you really think – positive and negative.  [Read Pulling Up Into Adult]  What do you think about how you’re doing?

Remember emotional stuff is physically exhausting.  People are often surprised to find how tired they are having gone through some intense emotional experiences.  We don’t realize how big a physical toll emotional reactance can take.  So be sure to take care of yourself.

Give yourself credit whenever you do give it time and energy.  A pat on the back, a reward, an “atta girl/boy” – all along the way.  Good job!


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Posted by Tina Dubin, Ph.D.

I received my doctoral degree in Psychology from the University of Kansas in 1977. I completed my post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Texas at Austin Counseling Center. Since then, I have been a research associate at the Institute of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Texas, a founding associate of Family Eldercare, and have been in private practice with my husband, Dr. William Dubin, at Psychological ARTS since 1980.

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