How to Say No: An essential guide to setting boundaries for helpers

Since compassionate helpers want to please others and help, it is often foreign for them to set a limit or say no. When empathic givers say no, they are often plagued with guilt. Sometimes this is solely within themselves, other times it is from absorbing other’s manipulations. When empathic people teach others they are limitless in their giving, this leads other people to expect constant help and in some cases, even demand it.

The importance of boundaries

The risk of not setting boundaries for the helper can range from anxiety, depression, compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma and even burnout. If you would like to learn more about compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma and burnout, I have included this video for you to watch. Remember, boundaries are a part of self-care.

Boundaries teach others how to treat you. Limits show without a doubt what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. These invisible lines protect you from abuse. Boundaries allow you to have your own separate feelings, thoughts and actions. Now, you know why it is important to have boundaries, let’s get to how to actually do it.

Identify what is your boundary

This part of the process, increases your self-awareness and is not to be shared with anyone else. Take a moment and write down what you want and why. Others do not need to know your reasons for limit setting, but you do. If you have a close relationship you may want to share when you set a boundary or at a later date, why this is important to you. Sharing your why is not required or even necessary. Sometimes your explanation waters down your message. The next time you say, yes, think about why you say, yes. Is this something you want to do or are you trying to avoid fear or confrontation?

Communicate

It is important to be direct about what you want and need. You do not need to explain or justify your reason for a limit. Say what you want in simple terms, without apologizing.

For example:

It is inappropriate when you____________________________ (speak that way or touch me)

Then you may need to redirect the person’s behavior. I would appreciate if you ask me rather than assuming I will do it for you, etc. If you are dealing with a patient who is touching you, Re-direct them and say place your hands here instead.

When someone asks or requests your help and you are unsure of your answer, feel free to ask additional questions. How long do you expect this task will last? Perhaps you can help in a different way then requested and offer that. If you don’t know your answer, give yourself the space to figure it out. Tell the other person, I will have to get back to you tomorrow or I have to check my schedule first.

If you are impulsive with your answers, you may want to read How to slow down impulsive decisions and improve relationships

Practice saying no

First start saying no to little things, then work your way up to the big things you do not want to do. Sometimes saying no is not as big of a deal as you think it will be. Often your anticipatory anxiety, the anxiety you feel before you say no, makes it worse than the reality of saying it.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

When you set a limit, expect some people to be upset with you. People pleasers who feel other’s disappointment or anger, can feel threatened. When a person feels threatened, we want to avoid the threat at all costs. You can survive other’s negative feelings towards you. You will do this by getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Remind yourself, you are setting a limit to help others. Sometimes people don’t need help but rather need to learn for themselves or even hit rock bottom.

Instill consequences

Boundaries are not meant to be a punishment but rather a natural consequence of behavior. A consequence needs to be firm. For example. If you continue to talk to me this way, I will end our phone call until you can talk to me calmly. If you continue to yell at me, I will be in the other room. Feel free to join me when you want to talk calmly. If you break plans with me at the last minute or do not show up or call me, I will call you out on your behaviors and let you know how I feel.

Practice, practice, practice

The well-known proverb says, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Practice setting limits with yourself and others. The more you do it, the less anxious you will feel.

What is your experience with setting boundaries and saying no?

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

5 Powerful Actions to Love the Hard to Love

Right now, you can name at least one person who is hard to love. He or she could be someone who is self- absorbed, emotionally unstable or living with an addiction. Think of how you treat these types of people. Do you ignore, be little or think less of them? Are you harboring anger, resentment and guilt towards them?

When you consider this hard to love person, do you think of yourself? Often the most difficult person to love is the one staring back at us in the mirror. Empathic helpers freely offer love, compassion and kindness to others, even strangers. When it comes to giving to ourselves, we can become stingy.

If you are ready to take action. Read on.

Pray for these people and ourselves. Those who are on the spiritual path believe everyone is in our life for a reason. What do you imagine this person’s behavior is here to teach you? Imagine handing them over to a higher power or the light. Pray for their health and wellness. Pray for your own strength and patience. Remember you are not alone.

Offer them a personal healing intention. You can create a simple sentence or even a one word mantra to repeat internally. When you think of them, repeat to yourself the following words, “love” or “peace.” One of my favorite personal intentions is the Buddhist Loving Kindness Prayer. If you enjoy meditation, you may want to check out my mp3 meditation; Spreading Kindness.

May I be filled with loving kindness.
May I be well.
May I be peaceful and at ease.
May I be happy.

May you be filled with loving kindness.
May you be well.
May you be peaceful and at ease.
May you be happy.

ancient – tibetan buddhist – meditation

Forgive yourself and others. Forgive yourself for not knowing, being judgmental, for all the times you were stuck in your own pain, fear and bitterness. Forgive yourself for not seeing the truth or reality of a situation. Forgive others for their abusive behaviors, all of the times you felt disappointed and hurt.

Repeat the forgiveness process as neededForgiveness is like doing the laundry or washing the dishes, it is rarely completed after one time.

Stop spreading negativity through gossip or tarnishing their name or reputation. I get it, you are hurt. Spreading more hurt, keeps you stuck, victimized and in pain.

Increase you awareness and catch yourself when you think negative thoughts. Before you speak or act on these, just notice the thoughts. Next re-direct your thoughts and actions to something positive for yourself. If you are having difficulty shifting gears, cognitive and cognitive behavioral therapy, can help you with this.

Have empathy- Put yourself in other people’s shoes. You may not agree with their actions but you can come to a new understanding. Maybe this person is insecure, stressed or lonely? Remember there at times in life, you have been hard to love as well.

We can have a kind world, it all depends on how we treat ourselves and others. Choose love, kindness and compassion. It won’t always be easy, but it is worth it.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

5 Unacknowledged but Useful Truths to Know about Self-Care

Self-care sounds cozy and pretty but often is not. It is made up of those routine moments you need to dig in deep and motivate yourself, when you would rather be doing anything but self-care. Sometimes, it would be a heck of a lot easier to mindlessly zone out on social media, watch marathon hours of TV, or eat a half gallon of ice cream out of the tub. If you find yourself here, no judgment. We all do what’s easiest when we experience extreme stress. If you are ready to incorporate self-care into your routine, here is what you need to know.

Self-care is not easy to do- Doing what is good for you emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually, often does not come easy. Setting boundaries, eating healthier, and managing your finances are not always fun or relaxing. These types of activities often don’t feel good initially but have long-term benefits.

Self-care takes practice and persistence. When you fall off the horse, dust yourself off and get up again. Self-compassion will become your best friend in moments like these. There is no shame in reaching out for counseling support to keep you on track.

In order to be successful with self-care, you need to become aware of the blocks and obstacles within yourself and in your external world. Once you are aware, acknowledge these and put your self-care plan into action. Self-care means taking responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and actions. It is about embracing your vulnerability and being kind to yourself. If I sound like a broken record, this is not always easy.

You may lose some relationships- People who do not take care of themselves cannot support you in your self-care efforts. You may not notice this kind of relationship discrepancy until you set a self-care boundary. Do not allow other’s guilt or manipulation get in the way of your health and wellness.

Self-care is not selfish, it is self- FULL– It may feel unnatural to put yourself first or even include yourself on your list of priorities, when you are a caregiver or empathic helper. The more you take care of you, the more you can take care of others. We all need times of silence to process and integrate. Time away from others means more quality time together. Remember self-care is for everyone, whether you are a man or woman. We all need a little TLC.

Self-care does not require a lot of time– The more you devote time to self-care, it increases your productivity. When you feel better, you become more engaged and mindful with all you do. Take five to ten minutes each day in the morning or right before bed to engage in a relaxing activity, such as deep breathing, writing in a journal or mindfulness techniques.

The person who says, I don’t have time to do self-care, needs it the most. Do not wait until your body or mind breaks down before you start making your health a priority. Sometimes people say they don’t have the time, when they really don’t want to become quiet and sit with their feelings. Your emotional pain will not heal until it is acknowledged, felt and released. If you don’t make time now, when will you?

Self-care does not make your problems disappear- Self-care does not magically erase your problems or pain but it will help you cope better. It helps your body release stress and tension, which left unchecked can make you feel much worse. When the crisis has resolved, you will be able to bounce back quicker.

Activities involving self-care fill your cup. Self-care can help you gain a clearer perspective and detach from other people’s energies. This way you can focus more on what needs to be done in your life. Self-care can help you feel supported by yourself and others, which helps you feel less alone.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

How to Slow Down Impulsive Decisions & Improve Your Relationships

Impulsive decisions can wreak havoc on your boundary setting and relationships. When you act without thinking, you can contradict the very limit you were attempting to set with someone. This leaves you appearing to negate what you previously said or did for others. Understandably, people will question whether you have integrity or if you can be trusted.

People in today’s world are more impulsive. Many of us react to whatever is seen or said, without pausing to think first. We expect and some of us demand, instant gratification. I see impulsive behaviors on social media, whether it is reactions to posts, posting without thinking and even expecting an instant answer or response through messages. Sometimes people get blocked, ghosted or impulsively cut out of others’ lives.

Impulsivity as a Symptom

Addictive behaviors thrive on impulsivity. This can include people pleasing, social media, along with any type of substance or alcohol abuse. Many mental health issues feature impulsivity as a symptom. Some are bipolar/mania, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Cluster B personality disorders (borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, etc.) and impulse control disorders. You can also find people act impulsively when they are anxious or experiencing trauma. If you are suffering from a mental health issue, treatment is available to help decrease these kinds of impulsive behaviors.  

It’s Not All Bad

As with everything, there is a healing and a destructive side. The healing side of impulsivity is taking action whereas you wouldn’t have before. This push can help you step outside of the box and explore new ways of being. Much of our intuition and gut feelings lead us to take immediate action without thought. It is important to trust these drives, which protect and guide us.

What Fuels your Impulsive Behavior?

Often people act impulsively to get rid of anxiety or anger. By acting to remove your discomfort, you end up creating more discomfort.

Ask yourself;

Is my impulsivity from a learned behavior through society, a mental health condition, people pleasing or a combination of these?

Ways to Decrease Impulsive People Pleasing

Growing up and sometimes as an adult, I felt compelled to jump in and help, whenever a need arose. I automatically said yes to all requests, as if I didn’t have a choice. I did not take the time to consider if this was something I wanted to do. This is how impulsive people pleasing cuts you off from your own feelings and thoughts. 

Whether you identify as empath, empathic or a people pleaser, here are some ways to decrease impulsivity and connect within. The next time someone asks you for a favor or help, try these phrases to give yourself the space to process;

1. Let me sleep on it.
2. I will consider it.
3. Give me some time to check my schedule.
4. Let me get back to you. 

These phrases give you the option to make a choice based on what you want. In this space, check in with your body and mind. Observe your thoughts and feelings. 

Ask yourself;

Does this feel right for me? 
What does my gut tell me?

Ways to Decrease Reactivity in all Situations

When you feel triggered by another person or situation, this is the time to not respond. It may go against everything you feel within and seem wrong, but do not do it. Create a space of calmness and try these activities instead;

Write out all your thoughts and feelings uncensored. Shred the page.

Talk to a trusted friend and ask their opinion.

Go for a walk.

Practice deep breathing and stay in the present moment.

Pray.

Final Thoughts

The more you can build awareness, take responsibility and be specific, the better you can manage impulsivity. When you react out of fear or anger, take responsibility for your part. In unhealthy relationships, we contribute something to keep them going. Look at your own patterns and heal these.

You do not have to say yes to every request on your time and energy. If you are repeating your boundaries multiple times to the same person, it is time to detach and possibly disconnect from this person. You do not need or require another’s permission or approval to heal yourself. Remember, we are all on our own journey of healing. Some people will not be traveling with us.

You do not have to share every thought that comes into your mind. In fact, it is often best when you don’t.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

Why narcissists avoid you and your boundaries

One surefire way to know if you are dealing with a narcissistic personality is to set a boundary. If the person has an angry outburst or gives you the silent treatment, that is your answer. People who are mentally healthy keep the lines of communication open, respect and honor other’s limits.

What is a narcissistic personality?

In a nut shell, a person with a narcissistic personality disorder has an inflated sense of self-importance, a need for excessive attention and admiration, relationships problems, and a lack of empathy for others. Their behavior occurs the majority of the time, not as an isolated incident. These people have big EGO’s and take offense at the slightest criticism. This can be what you say or you setting a boundary. Either of these may not be a criticism but they perceive it that way.

Below are five specific reasons narcissists hate boundaries and why they avoid them.

1. They have a sense of entitlement and feel superior to others. Narcissistic people think limits or boundaries are beneath them. These rules may apply to other people but not to them because they are special people, who deserve special treatment. They expect favors and unquestioning loyalty. Your boundary, no matter how healthy it is, can cause them to feel offended. How dare you set a boundary with me! Don’t you know who I am?

2. They use chaos as a way to control others. Narcissistic people have to be in control. One way they do this is to either delegate or create chaos. Interestingly, when this type of person delegates work or planning to others, they often change the timing or plan at the last moment to suit them, without any regard for your schedule.

A part of their chaotic presentation is their narcissistic rage. This type of personality has difficulty controlling and regulating their anger. You will experience their outrage, a pouty silence or both. Sometimes they intentionally start drama to see what you will do. They don’t like limits because you can’t have chaotic behavior, if you have healthy boundaries.

3. They refuse to take responsibility for anything. If you assertively point out a narcissist’s poor behavior and set a limit around it, he or she will refuse to acknowledge the behavior as harmful. In fact, they may project their poor behavior onto you. Somehow it is your fault or responsibility, they have acted this way. Don’t take the bait. Either they will rage, cut you off through the silent treatment or disappear completely (ghosting you).

4. They want to be enmeshed with you. They do not know how to be a separate person. Together you are one and they like it this way. This sounds romantic but it is a recipe for disaster. A narcissist feeds off of your energy, in order to feel powerful. Their self-centeredness leads them to believe their feelings are your feelings and vice versa.

When you are enmeshed, they can control your identify, thoughts, feelings, and even opinions. The narcissist wants to mold you to give them an endless supply of whatever they need. They want you to anticipate their needs before they even speak them. This type of personality does not want you to have your own sense of self.

5. They don’t like the word, “no”– Much like a toddler, the narcissistic personality disordered person has a temper tantrum, when a limit is set on his or her behavior. They feel rejected as a person and insulted. No to them says I don’t care about you, when in fact you are saying, I don’t care for this behavior.

Exit stage left

A true narcissist is an opportunist and will use anyone to get what he or she wants. Once they see no usefulness for you to stay in their life, you will be discarded. This is when they avoid or drop you. If this person has a need for you to be in their life, he or she will attempt to manipulate your boundary in order for you to change your mind. The bottom line is, a person with narcissistic personality disorder will not respect you or your boundaries.

To learn more about boundaries here are two blogs to read: 3 Ways to Maintain Good Boundaries and How to Stop Being Controlled and Get Empowered Learn more about Narcissistic Personalities with this blog: Why Narcissists Overreact When They Don’t Get Their Way and watch this video: When Narcissists Claim to be Empaths

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

How to Recognize Emotional Abuse & Rise Above It

Emotional abuse can be difficult to identify. Unlike other forms of abuse, there are no physical wounds. It is subtle, making it difficult to pinpoint the problem. Since, there appears to be a lack of evidence, the person who acts abusively, often denies any type of trauma has taken place. This rejection of reality, can cause long lasting damage to a person’s self-esteem and mental health.

Similar to physical and sexual abuse, emotional abuse is cyclical. This means you will experience a period of emotional abuse followed by what “seems” like a normal relationship.

What is Emotional Abuse?

Emotional abuse is a way to control another person through the manipulation of communication or action. Some overt forms of abuse are criticism, rage or making threats. Others use covert forms of abuse such as withholding communication, money or love.

People who act emotionally abusive seek to dominate all aspects of the relationship. This can include making all of or changing up plans, telling you what you wear and who you spend your time with. They will demand respect and loyalty, yet show you none. It is their way or the highway.

I have experienced both overt and covert forms of emotional abuse from family members, a grade school teacher and people who I thought were friends. When you experience emotional abuse at an early age, you are more likely to experience it as an adult, until you heal the pattern. Here is what I have learned and what I teach others:

Why Empaths are Vulnerable to This Type of Abuse

Many empaths are born to care deeply and find themselves being raised in emotionally restrictive or explosive families. Since, there is a lack of healthy feelings being expressed, the empath becomes the feeler of all the feelings in the family system. You not only carry everyone’s emotions energetically but also feel responsible for them. Talk about exhaustion! Your reactions go into soothing and comforting others, while walking on eggshells. This also reinforces the faulty thought; since you feel other’s emotions, you are supposed to do something about them.

It is not your job to fix others. As children, many empaths, are told they have the power to make others happy by doing what they want. No one asks what makes the empath happy, not even themselves. This is how you get accustomed to others manipulating you, while you become the ultimate people pleaser, at any cost.

How to Rise Above It

Separate Yourself from Those Who Use Emotional Abuse: When someone tries to shame and guilt you, don’t take the bait. Know you deserve better. Spend less time with this person and if the person refuses to take responsibility for their actions, end the relationship.

Learn about the Various Kinds of Emotional Abuse: Education builds your awareness to identify overt and covert signs of abuse.

Step into Your Own Power: Apply empathy and healing to your own wounds. Spend time building your self-esteem and confidence.

Where do you give your power away? Those who act abusive often play on your needs or areas of vulnerability. This can include financial help, how much you value the idea of a relationship or experiencing a sense of belonging and approval.

Forgive yourself for not seeing or recognizing the early signs of abuse and for not knowing better at that time. Remember, this is the most difficult kind of abuse to identify and many people often miss the signs.

If you are struggling, remember you are not alone. Seek out psychotherapy to help you heal past patterns of abuse and find a safe way to leave a current abusive situation.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach who helps sensitive souls not just survive but shine. She is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now at http://www.lisahutchison.net

How to Effectively Communicate with Reactive People

Many of the reactive people you will encounter are in emotional pain and lack communication skills. While a few people enjoy raging because they like it, most people are stuck in their suffering.

People who react, either are combative or avoid. Yes, you can be reactive internally and not show it outwardly. The most common reaction is through passive aggressiveness and the silent treatment. Whether you rage outward or inward, the body reacts with the same physiology. When your thoughts trigger the brain, your heart pumps, blood pressure rises and vision sharpens.

As a society, we are chronically stressed. Many of us are at a simmer level, waiting to boil over. It doesn’t take much to reach this tipping point. You could react to someone in traffic, a social media post or even yourself for making a humanly mistake. This way of functioning, long term, causes physical health issues such as anxiety, depression, memory loss and sleep disturbances. Our bodies are not meant to be stuck in high idle.

The biggest challenge for empathic helpers, is to recognize another’s negative mood or energy and not absorb it into their bodily system. You want to stay engaged, without becoming angry or shutting down. The first step is staying centered within your energy.

How to stay grounded no matter what life throws at you

Practice resilience. Resilience is the ability to bounce back in the face of adversity and grow from it. When you are in the present moment, you can easily adapt to changing circumstances and take purposeful action. Rather than look at a reactive person in a judgmental way, look at this interaction as a way to grow and learn new communication skills.

Fill Your Cup. Do something you love every day to cultivate well-being. Practice the concept of flow, becoming completely absorbed in a pleasurable activity. For me, I enter a flow state while writing, hours can go by in the blink of an eye.

Learn about Your Strengths. Notice when you use your strengths and how it feels to use them. You can take a free VIASignature Strength Test and learn your top strengths. Self-awareness is the best tool in communication.

Self-Compassion. Recognize your own suffering and lessen it. Become mindful of when you feel judgmental or critical of yourself and others. Practice loving kindness and forgiveness.

Work Your Body. Practice deep breathing and muscle relaxation techniques. Ground your energy by visualizing tree roots coming from the bottom of your feet and anchoring deep into Mother Earth. Better yet, place your bare feet into the ground or sand, feel them connect with the earth.

Once you have your feet firmly planted on the ground, through the above practices, continue onto the next steps.

How to not get pulled into other’s reactions

Be a witness. Learn to observe what is happening without taking it personally. This is very easy to understand, yet challenging to do. If you are having difficulty, revisit the above steps or contact a licensed psychotherapist. Subconsciously, you may be getting triggered from a repressed memory.

Be engaged. Listen with empathy. You are not here to give solutions or suggestions, but rather to understand where the other person is coming from. Suspend judgment and the belief that your way is the right way. Many people who react, want to be heard and understood.

Be a curious detective. Ask questions to get to the bigger picture. Figure out what is really going on. Beneath the outrage, there is a content or story. When you get to the meat of the conversation, you know what is at stake. This is where change can happen.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach who helps sensitive souls not just survive but shine. She is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now at http://www.lisahutchison.net

How to not leave anything unsaid with loved ones

Death will touch all of our lives at some point, as it is a part of life. For myself, I learned about death when I was five years old and my Daddy died suddenly. I did not understand death, all I knew was he was here one moment and gone the next. My brother-in-law died when I was fifteen years of age, after three months of becoming ill. I learned early, why it is important to live life to the fullest and express my love to others. By the time, my Mom had her second severe stroke, we didn’t leave anything on the table. She died when I was thirty seven. I miss her but I don’t have any regrets. The same can be said with a couple of close friends of mine who have passed on to the other side.

These losses shaped how I view and live my life.  For example, I am an avid photographer because I enjoy capturing moments to savor later. During this time, I find myself cherishing these visual memories until we can all be together again safely. The most difficult part of social distancing is not hugging or being physically close to those you love. In this in-between time, we need to communicate our deepest feelings.

How to Boost Your Energy Vibration while Social Distancing (1)

Express your love verbally at every chance. Whether you have phone or video chats, tell your loved ones, “I love you.” Be vulnerable and open your heart.

“Be” with one another as much as you can- Talk about other topics besides the virus, politics and the supermarket. Although, these can be good ice breakers, dive deeper and be in the present moment with one another.

What do you personally need to say to your loved one? This answer may be different for each one of you. You may have said these things before but I urge you to say them again and again. If you are more comfortable with the written word, write your friend or loved one a letter or type an email.

Some wording to dive deeper can be:

  1. I love you- Express the warmth in your heart.
  2. Forgive me- Release regrets and move on.
  3. Thank you for__________________________. Express gratitude for who they are or what they have done.
  4. Remember when_______________________. Connect with fun memories.
  5. I admire you for_____________________. Be specific and tell them how proud you are of them.
  6. You have helped me with ___________________. Tell them how they have changed your life for the better.

Life is all about loving and letting go. At first, you may feel awkward having these types of conversations. Keep practicing, it will get easier and you will notice a change in yourself and all of your relationships. Give with all of your heart and you will never regret it.

Stay safe and I am thinking of you all.

Blessings, Lisa

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach who helps sensitive souls not just survive but shine. She is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now at http://www.lisahutchison.net

6 Reasons to Embrace Being an Outsider

We all have felt different or left out of something, at one point or another in our lives. For some people, being an outsider is a part of their life purpose, not just a temporary circumstance. Many empathic people have felt like an outsider because society does not embrace vulnerability and feelings.

My own story

For many years, I resisted being an outsider. Being different meant something was wrong with me and I needed to fix it. I silenced my voice and people pleased to be accepted. I often gave much more than I received in order to gain others’ approval. At first, I felt it was worth it. Trying to fit in where I didn’t belong, left me unhappy. It wasn’t until I accepted and got comfortable with my isolation, I felt connected to a world of spirit and my own soul.

It is difficult and sometimes emotionally painful to feel outside of the norm, whether it is with your family, peers or society. There are many reasons to embrace your uniqueness, not just for yourself but for others.

6 Reasons To Embrace Being an Outsider

1.) You see clearly. As an outsider, you see through the facades of other people, politics and institutions. For this reason, you maintain and strengthen your values because you aren’t manipulated. You discover dysfunctional patterns and break free from them.

2.) You live your own truth. Spending more time alone can be beneficial when you tune into your own thoughts and feelings. Whether you spend time in nature, write or meditate, you make time to listen within for what is true for you.

3.) Outside of the box thinker. Whether it is a family feud or workplace conflict, you see what the real issues are because you have the benefit of an alternative perspective. You may develop a resolution others can not see. Not only do you think outside the box, you often live outside the box. You choose alternative ways to work, live and love.

4.) You are different for a reason. Being created different is not a punishment, it is a gift. If being an outsider is part of your life’s purpose, find your unique life path and live your life. Your energy is needed in this world.

5.) Open to learning. Many outsiders are curious people who want to grow spiritually and emotionally. You are not interested in supporting the status quo and understand that change is not only good but many times necessary.

6.) Be a shining example to other outsiders and the haters. You are a leader, this is why you don’t fit in following others. Teach through your example. Show others how you can live a life you love and be who you truly are despite other people’s opinions.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC  is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach who helps sensitive souls not just survive but shine. She is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now at http://www.lisahutchison.net

How to Regain Balance When Your World Falls Apart

“Tough times never last, but tough people do.”-Robert H. Schuller

How to Regain Balance When Your world Falls Apart

From November into December, my sense of security was disrupted. I felt like a shaken snow globe and I didn’t know where all of the pieces swirling around me were going to land. It began with a sudden health issue. While I was going to doctors, changing my diet, taking medications and being prescribed more tests, I had some relationship conflicts and then a sudden death in the family.

The more I tried to control my health situation and relationships, the more my world fell apart. Like many empaths, I shifted into overthinking because the feelings of overwhelm were too much. This was not working. I began to develop a deeper trust in myself and the Divine. I am happy to report, I am feeling better and am optimistic I will continue to improve. Here are a few steps I took to regain equilibrium, perhaps you will find them helpful too.

1.) Admit this sucks. Being a spiritual person, I work to be positive. This isn’t about being cheerful, it is about being real. Sometimes you have to be in the sh**. You will let others down and you will not get to do all the things you want to, right now.

Remember, you are in a place of suffering, but it will pass. Everything in this world is temporary. When you accept and acknowledge this state of the situation, it often shifts.

2.) Accept the out of control aspects of the situation and look for what you can control. Dust off that Serenity Prayer and begin to use it. The only person you can control is you and your choices.

Educate yourself about this situation and ask professionals for their advice. Be aware of too much research, which can turn into an obsession. Get off the Google search engine and step away.

Take steps to nurture yourself. Go to bed early and keep a lighter schedule. Say no to others like never before.

3.) Pray for others and yourself. Often it helps to take the focus off of yourself and help others. Pick five people each day who are in need of healing. Pray for these people specifically by name and in detail. Take five minutes for this practice. This is more than writing a passing thought of care on social media, this is about Divine connection. You can pray for the same person multiple times a week or different people.

If you are stuck on who to pray for scroll through your social media feed to find friends, who are reaching out for support through their posts.

4.) Be mindful. Practice deep breathing and meditate daily. Relaxation practices support health and healing. Stay grounded in your body as much as you can. This will create an inner sense of security. Listen to your inner wisdom and act on it. You may also want to read 6 Ways to Reconnect to the Body & Feel Secure

5.) Seek out supportive relationships. You do not need a lot of people, look for one or two. If you have one or two people, who you can share your difficulties with, this will be a source of healing for you. When you begin to share with too many people, you receive a lot of unsolicited advice, which can drain your energy.

6.) Focus on what you have. Gratitude can be healing. Keep it to five things a day. You can combine this with a few positive affirmations. If this feels forced, go back to steps one through five.

Remember you will get through this, you are strong and you are not alone. 

If you need assistance, support or an empathic ear, I am available for psychotherapy,  spiritual coaching sessions and angel card readings.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Lisa is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach who helps sensitive souls not just survive but shine. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now at http://www.lisahutchison.net