Tag Archives: counseling

An Adult’s Guide to Social Skills, for Those Who Were Never Taught

This is the most important thing a person an learn in their lifetime, and if you were never taught, you can learn it. Mastering this will make your life much better – in every possible way. If you struggle financially, or with loneliness, this could be part of it.

“It’s a shame so few of us are taught the basics of how to interact constructively with each other. If you never were, we’re here to help.

Learning social skills can be difficult if you weren’t exposed to traditional group dynamics as a child, if you struggle with a mental illness like anxiety or depression, or even if you just didn’t have a lot of positive role models when you were growing up. Young people tend to learn how to manage their own emotions, recognize those of other people and manage them both effectively by socializing. If these weren’t skills you developed growing up, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

Before we get to specific social situations, we should discuss the concept of emotional intelligence (or E.I.). Put very simply, E.I. is your ability to acknowledge your own emotions, recognize emotions in others and use that information to guide your behavior. This is a relatively new area of study in the field of psychology, and developing your own E.I. can help you understand and improve your social interactions.

There are several models of emotional intelligence, but for our purposes, we’ll look at the author Daniel Goleman. He outlines five general categories of E.I. that complement and support one another.

  • Self-awareness: This simply means being able to identify your own emotions and how they work. Are you anxious in loud environments? Do you get angry when people talk over you? If you know these things about yourself, then you’re practicing self-awareness. This can be more difficult than it sounds, but simply being aware of yourself is all it takes for this step.
  • Self-regulation: Taking it a step further, self-regulation deals with your ability not just to know your emotions, but manage them. Sometimes that might mean handling them as they come up. If you get angry, knowing how to calm yourself down is important. However, it can also deal with managing the emotions you will face. If you know that stalking your ex’s Facebook is just going to make you feel bad, self-regulation would help you go do something to better your own life instead.
  • Motivation: External factors like money, status, or pain are powerful motivators. But in Goleman’s model, internal motivation is a key component. This means that you know how to manage your own motivation and create or continue projects because you choose to, not because something outside yourself demands it.
  • Empathy: It’s just as important to be aware of the emotions of others. This might mean developing the skills to recognize how people are expressing themselves — can you tell the difference between someone who’s comfortable versus someone who’s anxious? — but it also means understanding how other people may respond to the circumstances they’re in.
  • Socialization: This area deals with your ability to steer your relationships and navigate social situations. It doesn’t mean controlling others, but understanding how to get where you want to be with other people. That might mean conveying your ideas to co-workers, managing a team, or dealing with a conflict in a relationship.

Every social situation is different and there isn’t always a “correct” way to handle any of them. However, when viewed through the lens of these core competencies, most social situations become a lot more manageable. We’ll go over some common scenarios even adults might struggle with, but keep in mind how these principles can apply in all situations.

Confronting someone when you have a problem with that person can be scary. If you’re the type to avoid conflict, you might rationalize it away by saying you want to keep the peace, or you don’t want to upset anyone. However, this can be a way of avoiding your own feelings. If there wasn’t something bothering you, there would be nothing to confront anyone about.

Dr. Ryan Howes, a clinical psychologist, explained to Psychology Today that it’s our own fears that keep us from confronting others. Our fear that we’ll lose something we have, that we’ll hurt someone we care about, or that it will hurt but accomplish nothing. One of the first steps to constructively confronting someone is to recognize that fear in yourself and identify the real issues that led to the conflict in the first place. If you’re annoyed that your partner forgot your birthday, for example, ignoring how you feel about it won’t resolve the conflict.

Once you’re ready, Gregg Walker, a professor at Oregon State University, recommends having the conversation when there’s time to discuss the issue, focusing on “I” statements like “I feel hurt that we didn’t do anything for my birthday,” and describing behavior and your reaction to it, rather than hurling accusations. Healthy confrontations require a fair amount of awareness of your own emotions, so this is a good time to practice that skill.

Whether it’s a meeting or a party, any time you get more than a couple of people together in a group, it can become difficult (if not impossible) to get a word in edgewise. While most tricks on how to combat this involve managing how you talk — pausing in the middle of a sentence rather than the end, or finishing your sentence even if someone tries to interrupt — an often overlooked issue is managing how you react to being talked over.

It would be great if everyone was polite and let you finish or paused to ask what you’re thinking. This doesn’t always happen. If someone interrupts you and you become annoyed, that can kill your motivation to speak up again. Or you might become visibly agitated and demand to be heard, which can be off putting and make people less likely to want to listen to what you have to say.

Instead, Chris Macleod, counselor and author of “The Social Skills Guidebook,” suggests accepting that group conversations are a “vortex of noise and chaos” and going with the flow. Don’t spend all your time trying to fit in that one thing you badly wanted to say. Instead, go with the flow of the conversation and look for new opportunities to jump in. When you do, speak loudly and with confidence. More practical tricks like keeping your stories short or framing a complaint as a story can smooth over the experience, but regulating your own frustration and annoyance is the foundation these tricks build on.

When you’re young, making friends can be relatively easy. School often means that there’s a group of people you’re required to hang out with who are your age. You may share some interests, and you’ll see one another almost every day. As an adult, it can be harder. Everyone’s busy, everyone’s tired, and time feels in short supply. Or so it seems. What really may be lacking is motivation.

As Vox explains, one of the most important keys to developing a new friendship is, well, showing up. You both say, “We should hang out sometime!” but for some reason you never do. Why? Sure, you have things going on, but you still managed to binge watch the latest “Stranger Things.” There’s nothing wrong with a little “me” time, but it’s also O.K. to spend some of it reaching out to someone new.

When making new friends, you have to start with some internal motivation. Decide for yourself that you’re going to make friends and then put yourself in situations where that can happen. Take a class, join a club, or just talk to people you know but aren’t friends with yet. More important, follow up. If you find someone you want to be friends with — and especially if there are indications that person wants to be friends with you, too — put it on the very top of your to-do list to follow up. You’ll be surprised how easy it is when you do it on purpose.

Talking to a stranger for the first time — whether it’s at a party, a work event, or just on the street — can be complicated. You never know less about someone than when you first meet them. That’s also something you can use to your advantage. People like to talk about themselves. So much so that, according to research from Harvard University, people will sometimes even give up money to be able to talk about themselves.

You might feel awkward or uncomfortable when you’re out on your own, but practicing a little empathy can reveal a powerful truth: So does everyone else. Research from the University of Chicago found that less than 47 percent of its participants believed a stranger would be willing to talk with them. In reality, every attempt was successful. Most of us are willing to have a conversation, we just don’t always want to be the one to make the first move.

However, not everyone is open to a conversation with strangers all the time. An easy way to check is to pay attention to what they’re doing at the time. Are they wearing headphones? Do they seem in a hurry? Are they at their job and only making conversation as part of their duties? If so, you might try again later (or with someone else). If they’re not busy, start by saying hello or opening with a compliment. From there you can keep the conversation going with the “insight and question” method. Simply offer an observation or insight, follow it up with a question, and let the conversation flow naturally.

These are far from the only social situations you might find yourself struggling with, but the principles that can be applied are nearly universal. Acknowledge your own emotional state and manage your needs and feelings in a constructive way. Take the initiative to pursue the social outcomes you want, and empathize with others who are dealing with the same struggles you are. With practice, the rest of the complex nuances of social interaction will flow a lot more naturally.

Full Moon in Gemini

Nicho

Sankt Nikolaus and the Krampus

Sun at 19 Sagittarius.
Mercury is now DIRECT at 2 Sagittarius (detriment… not happy).
Mars at 14 Scorpio (strong) and Venus at 19 Capricorn (weak).
Jupiter at 1 Capricorn (in it’s fall, or weakened).
Saturn at 19 Capricorn, Pluto at 21 Capricorn.
Neptune at 15 Pisces.

Full Moon in Gemini on Wednesday, Dec. 11th at 9:12pm. The theme is LIBERATION, and it will effect everyone individually depending on where it falls in a chart. This week we are resolving dualities, and looking for the unifying energy. As we inch closer to the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in January, it’s time to get our affairs in order. A glimpse of January’s event appears this week as Venus conjuncts Saturn and Pluto. A huge shift is arriving next month; it will deliver either a sobering wake-up call, or rewards for hard work.

Jupiter entered Capricorn last week, marking a significant shift for the next year. Our desires and ambitions experience new limits or obstacles. Think back 12 years ago, and what was going on in your life. With Jupiter in Capricorn, you’ll find some of these themes repeating in your life, but in a different way. Jupiter is not happy (or in it’s fall) in Capricorn, but there are some good character-building qualities to this placement. Jupiter in Capricorn grounds us, and helps us accept the realities of personal achievement. We focus on creating solid foundations, and develop the patience for long-term ambitions to be realized. We get to work. If you want a personal reading on how this shift will affect you, schedule me here.

Wednesday, 12/11: Full Moon in Gemini at 9:12pm. Catch up with friends, take short trips, call your family and engage with your community. Messages could arrive from the universe today, so pay attention to synchronicities. Great day for writing, negotiation and expressing your genius in creative ways.

Thursday, 12/12: Moon in Cancer. And just like that we are in the realm of Crab; we withdraw into our shells and comfort zones. The power of the Full Moon is still in effect, so be sensitive to people’s feeling today. Focus on self care, and work around the house.

Friday, 12/13: Moon in Cancer. The mood might lighten a bit today, but still avoid social complications – especially in personal relationships. It’s a romantic evening though.

Saturday, 12/14: Moon void-of-course in Cancer all day. Indulgence. Allow yourself to relax, eat too much food and engage in escapism. Not much progress can be made today to go with the flow.

Sunday, 12/15: Moon in Leo. Today we bust out of the quiet, Cancerian mode and move towards matters of the heart. The emphasis today is on personal achievement and artistic expression.

Full Moon in Taurus

pagandawnSun at 18 Scorpio.
Mercury at 19 Scorpio.
Mars at 24 Libra and Venus at 11 Sagittarius.
Jupiter at 24 Sagittarius.
Saturn at 16 Capricorn, Pluto at 21 Capricorn.
Uranus, Neptune retrograde.

Big events this week with Mercury crossing the face of the Sun today, and a Full Moon in Taurus tomorrow.

Mercury conjunct Sun in Scorpio allows us to connect with our soul’s purpose and express it outwardly. We go deep and finally say things we’ve been repressing or hiding. It’s time to be as authentic and real as possible.

Monday, 11/11: Moon in Taurus. Mercury crossing the Sun is the BIG thing today! It brings fresh ideas, new beginnings and clarity. We see the next phase of our path and we move towards it. This is a rare event that won’t happen again until 2032! Today we are also within the orb of the Full Moon in Taurus tomorrow, but first the Sun conjuncts Uranus, bringing an air of rebellion and independence.

Tuesday, 11/12: Full Moon in Taurus 5:34am Pacific, Sun in Scorpio. The Moon is exalted – in it’s best position – in Taurus, which allows for grounded thinking. We can sort through our emotions and make solid choices on the best direction.

Wednesday, 11/13: Moon in Gemini on the day of Mercury. Since the planet is currently retrograde, our focus is on researching, re-doing and re-working. Lots of chattiness and socializing too.

Thursday, 11/14: Moon in Gemini. Kind of a weird day with the Moon opposing both Venus and Jupiter during their square to Neptune. Facts evaporate as we grasp them, and the progress we made earlier in the week seems like a far off dream. Go with the flow and avoid excesses.

Friday, 11/15: Moon in Cancer. We slow down and turn our minds towards taking care of ourselves. Emotions rule the day, and comfort food is encouraged. Avoid confrontations because feelings are highly sensitive and you may not be forgiven.

Saturday, 11/16: Moon in Cancer. The Moon opposes Saturn and Pluto today, casting a melancholy shadow over our affairs. Try not to ruminate on yourself too much – or on the intentions of others. Distract yourself by going to an uplifting movie, or being of service to a friend in need.

Sunday, 11/17: Moon VOC in Cancer. It’s a “nesting” day of getting the house in order and cooking some nice meals.

Scorpio: Week of Halloween

hecate

Sun at 5 Scorpio.
Mercury at 27 Scorpio.
Mars at 14 Libra and Venus at 25 Scorpio.
Jupiter at 22 Sagittarius.
Saturn at 15 Capricorn, Pluto at 20 Capricorn.
Uranus, Neptune retrograde.

The intensity of Scorpio is visible in the California fires and the current posturing on the political stage. Saturn and Pluto have barely moved from their Direct positions, which brings more stubbornness and guardedness to the climate.

Meanwhile, we had a New Moon In Scorpio on Sunday. This officially ushers in the witchy season. The veil between the worlds is thin and we can see spirits. Scorpio dives deep into our dreams, secrets and psychology; unearthing healing truths that make us feel triumphant or morose. There’s no middle ground with Scorpio, and we must depend on our instincts and primal nature to walk this underground path.

Scorpio is psychology, ambition, passion, sex, intensity, control, sensitivity, moodiness and suspicion. Practice forgiveness whenever possible and embrace authenticity in yourself and others.

Tuesday, 10/29: Moon void, then into Sagittarius. The Moon is making conjunctions with Venus and Mercury in Scorpio today, which are great aspects for focusing your mind. Mercury brings up issues that have been neglected or hidden. Creative and insightful day.

Wednesday, 10/30: Moon in Sagittarius. Uplifted mood today! You can safely speak your truth and make progress with people. Mercury and Venus form a conjunction in Scorpio, also bringing the desire to get on solid footing with people. If you find yourself ruminating on the motivations of others, either ask them point blank or let it go.

Thursday, 10/31 HALLOWEEN: We start the day off with a Moon-Jupiter conjunction in Sagittarius; bringing elevated spirits and the party vibe. Follow already established plans though, because Mercury stations retrograde around 8:30am bringing a lot of unpredictability to the day.

Friday, 11/1: Moon in Capricorn. After all the partying and soul retrieval this week, it’s time to refocus on working hard. Venus enters Sagittarius tonight, lightening the mood and reigniting the fun. Good evening for money spells.

Saturday, 11/2: Moon in Capricorn. It’s a day of errands, house cleaning, and getting our ducks in a row. Good day to plant bulbs or anything needing root development and a solid foundation.

Sunday, 11/3: Moon into Aquarius and daylight savings time! We fall back an hour, giving us extra time for projects and people we enjoy. Be of service today, and write down your insights and ideas.

Full Moon in Pisces

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“Sirens by the Sea” by Victor Karlovich Shtemberg (1863-1921)

Sun at 19 Virgo. Full moon in Pisces today (Friday) at 9:33pm Pacific.
Mercury enters Libra just after midnight tonight.
Mars at 16 Virgo, and Venus enters Libra at 6:43am Pacific tomorrow morning.
Jupiter at 16 Sagittarius
Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto retrograding.

Happy Birthday to all the Virgos! Tonight’s lovely Harvest Moon is for you. It will be in the sign of Pisces, which represents inspiration, psychic sensitivity, compassion, mysticism, and connecting with the divine. We’re doing some soul searching this weekend; be open to messages you receive from the universe. They could come through your own thoughts or insights, something someone says, or a synchronistic event. Today’s Full Moon in Pisces brings actualization to that personal area of your chart. Meditate and reflect.

Virgo and Pisces are both signs of purity, but Virgo focuses on the body and healthy habits, while Pisces brings a purification of the Soul.

The danger of Pisces is engaging in escapism to avoid facing reality. If you are able keep your feet on the ground, Pisces brings huge spiritual strength. Try not to overindulge in food, drink, sex, shopping, alcohol, TV or drugs this weekend. Instead, be open to what the Universe wants to show you about your current path. Take a break from worrying and personalizing everything and see that you are part of something bigger. The ruler of Pisces is Neptune, and this planet brings connection to all the different planes of existence; the feeling that we are all ONE.

Orangefis

 

New Moon in Virgo

 

dolcegabbana

Dolce & Gabbana. Beautiful image of a Caduceus, the ancient duality symbol of Mercury.

Sun at 5 Virgo. New moon in Virgo on Friday at 3:37am Pacific
Mercury enters Virgo (it’s ideal position; exaltation) on Thursday 8/29
Mars at 6 Virgo and Venus at 8 Virgo.
Jupiter at 14 Sagittarius
Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto retrograding.

We are in the dark of the moon, preparing for the rebirth of a New Moon this Friday. Clean your house and get yourself organized; if you do you’ll be ahead of the curve. Virgo is the sign of organization, service, practicality, detail,  purity and the focused mind. It’s the only Earth sign ruled by Mercury. This allows Virgo to take practical steps towards achieving ideals and dreams. Virgo makes goals into a reality. Because of this unique quality, I believe Virgo is closely related to the occult and Magick.

Because Virgo is ruled by the airy planet Mercury, it brings us messages through our mind’s eye and inner voice. Mercury speaks to us through signs and omens, and from this process we are guided to the right path. You can make use of this energy right now, whether you’re a Virgo or not.

Here’s the upcoming astrological events:

Thursday 8/29: Moon void-of-course in Leo all day; into Virgo at 4:57pm Pacific. Mercury moves into Virgo which places Mercury in it’s exalted position. Wednesdays are perfect for Mercury Magick for the next several weeks.

Friday 8/30: New Moon in Virgo at 3:37am Pacific. The Sun, Moon, Mercury and Mars are traveling tightly together and trining Uranus in Taurus, which brings some unexpected circumstances to this New Moon. There’s also a need for liberation, and the desire to express one’s genius – all of this happening in our jobs, homes or health (Earth issues). Just go with the flow and honor your deep feelings.

Saturday 8/31: Moon into Libra at 4:08pm. New Moon still in effect today. Avoid being overly analytical about all the great movement happening now. Exercise your mind and avoid crankiness, since Mars is still in play in the morning. Thoughts get loftier in the evening.

Sunday, 9/01: Moon in Libra. How do we move forward in a balanced way? How do we include friends and family, work and play, into our dreams and visions for ourselves? All of us need other people for sharing, encouragement and companionship. The Sun and Mars form a conjunction in Virgo today, which happens only once every two years. We want to put action into our souls’ desires.

She Isn’t High-Maintenance, You’re Just Low Effort

high-maintenance-woman

I saw the title of this article and was intrigued… it’s an interesting idea…

There are plenty of women AND men in the world who are ridiculously demanding, self absorbed and emotionally avoidant, but I don’t hear men being called “high maintenance” very often. When a woman is called “high maintenance”, it could be true, but it also might be a way of dismissing her power. Maybe a woman referred to as high maintenance, is actually high value.

It takes effort to make your life work well, to heal yourself and become a high value person. It takes a lot of work, and ANYONE can do it.

Getting your s*** together is worth it, because it helps one to thrive in life. A high value person, in my view, is someone who takes responsibility for the own happiness, makes an effort to not cause harm or hurt to others, and lives a life of honor and integrity.

It’s someone who aims to live a life in harmony with the eight fold path in Buddhism: right view, right aspiration, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. Once this person has achieved their own happiness and stability, they try to be helpful to others and guide and support them too.

“Last time I checked, having standards doesn’t make a woman high-maintenance, it just makes her a person who knows what she wants.
It doesn’t make her a mission impossible, it just requires a bit more effort than it normally would. And putting in extra effort can be a problem to some, which is why it’s always easier to come up with excuses than it is to step up your game.

She is the kind of woman who doesn’t depend on anyone.
It’s because she knows to lean on someone in life means to be left without anything once that someone decides to walk away from her.

That’s why she takes care of herself and she makes life good for herself. She doesn’t need you to do that for her.
She’s perfectly capable of doing it on her own.
She knows her worth.
She feels good about herself and she isn’t afraid to show it. But she only feels this way because she’s worked hard on herself.
She’s aware of how much she brings to the table and she always keeps in mind that she’s more than good enough.

And there is nothing more valuable in this world than a woman who knows her worth.

She knows where she wants to be in life. And she knows how to get there too. She’s a person who constantly pushes her limits and who’s constantly trying.

She keeps working on herself. She takes care of her looks and her brains as well.
She knows what she deserves.
And she isn’t settling for anything less. That’s why she might appear as high-maintenance to some. But she is just asking for as much as she’s ready to give and that’s all.
In case you’re failing to reach her standards or win her over, perhaps it’s not the problem that she has set her standards high, but that you have your efforts set really low?

You don’t get to disrespect her.
She doesn’t let people treat her badly and she never allows other people to project their insecurities on her.
She is a high-value woman and she holds her head high. That’s why she’ll never put up with someone who tries to bring her down to feel good about himself or with someone who disrespects her.
You don’t get to treat her right only sometimes.
She wants constant effort and she deserves someone who’ll treat her right on all occasions.
She deserves someone who’ll treat her right even when she makes a mistake. She deserves someone who’ll try constantly to prove his love, his admiration and his commitment to her.
You don’t get to be mediocre.”

Read full article here