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When Things Fall Apart: BlogTalk Radio Episode 9/17/14 8:30 PM EST

Don’t miss my next BlogTalk Radio episode tonight about the subject of dealing with life when things fall apart. We’ve all had the experience at times of dealing with crises which create a sense of chaos and uncertainty – maybe the loss of a loved one, or a debilitating health issue, or the loss of a job or business. It always feels horrible and destabilizing, and often creates a story of victimhood or bitterness for us. But the fact is that misery is just another part of life – it inevitably comes with the joy, relief, and triumph that are also part of our story.

Tune into this half hour episode tonight and join the discussion or just listen in, and hear about some attitudes and behavioral tools which may help you to accept some of these hardships as part of being human, and move through these experiences with more wisdom and perspective. Call toll-free 877-497-9046, or if the lines are busy call 760-542-4114. I hope you can join me! If you can’t make the live show, listen to it online at your convenience by going to the web player on my website, www.SusanLager.com or at www.BlogTalkRadio/SusanLager.com

Facebook Envy

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I love the idea that users can connect and re-connect with all the people they may have lost touch with. I love the “instant feedback loop” around ideas, events, and tastes. I love the marketing possibilities inherent in the site, being able to get a read on what potential clients and subscribers want and need. I love the inspirational content when it’s posted, and how it can change the day for so many people. I love the easy access to resources, often so difficult to find elsewhere.

But I hate all the posturing, self promotion, and mental masturbation which is so common on that medium. I hate all the PR falsehoods, the whole idea that anyone can have 3,000 “friends”! I don’t want to know all the graphic, obsessive details of Barbie’s awful time cleaning up Fido’s poop, and how it’s ruined the grass she paid thousands to maintain. I hate all the wasted time millions of people around the world are committing by living obsessively online, and not in their lives. I hate the marital violations and boundary crossings committed on Facebook which I work so hard to repair with couples. I hate the whole “faux intimacy” it generates, making face-to-face relationships seem so flat by comparison.

What I hate most of all is the envy it creates through all these illusions. I see so much unnecessary self-devaluation getting fueled by what Martha Beck refers to as “FOMO” – Fear of Missing Out, the idea that everyone else’s life is so fabulous, and they’ve all gone to a giant daily party that is exclusive.

If you ever have this experience of envy when you read other people’s posts on Facebook, then I have some tools for you which you may find helpful. I’ll share one here:

  • Think of what you are reading about other people as just the corner of the picture frame. You are often looking at the outside trimming, not the substance in the picture. It’s the part people want you to see, not the real internal deal. Would you buy a painting just because the frame looked good? Probably not. Trust that for all the ideal looking vacations, parties, connections, and fun stuff people are posting about, they too have disappointments, frustrations, hurts, and heartbreaks. Barbie may tell you about her dog poop dilemma, but probably won’t share her deepest issues. (If she does on that forum, then her boundaries are bad, or she needs attention and a good therapist.)

Hopefully, the next time you cruise the Facebook site you’ll take it all with a grain of salt, use what’s relevant, and stay with the goodness you experience in your own life.

If you’d like some one-on-one help with envy of any kind, I have other strategies which may be useful to you. Feel free to contact me at my Portsmouth office at 603-431-7131 for a live or remote session.

Cheers, Susan Lager

www.SusanLager.com

Dreading Another Birthday? Here’s An Antidote….

I recently turned a big number. WAY too big for comfort. I had been feeling a bit blue about my upcoming birthday, thinking about how lousy aging can be – worsening vision, hanging flesh, age spots, the need for Shingles shots, people you know dying, more aches and pains, and worst of all, time running out!

Even so, I greatly enjoyed our family’s four day celebration marking the event in Philly. After the weekend, I spent the actual day of my birthday off from work with the plan of doing intense “self nurture,” something I’m always yapping to my clients about needing to do for themselves. I felt a bit blue, however,  thinking about how fast life had gone by, so I went for a speed walk by the river nearby, feeling a bit lighter immediately. I immersed myself in gardening, cleaning out the beds and planting beautiful new perennials. Felt even better at that point. But the thing that really changed the day into something lovely was a simple thought. As a Baby Boomer, I realized what an amazing group of fearless, feisty, groundbreakers my generation was. We were the ones who initiated the women’s movement, reinvented music, fought for racial equality and sexual freedom, peace, love, and FUN, FUN, FUN!

I was a member of the club that transformed the world, and was now entering their last chapter of life. To celebrate, I brought out my stack of 60’s Rock CD’s, pumped up the volume (poor Dave next door!), and danced for hours, joyous to be at this place in my life, forever young.

So, if you’re dreading another birthday yourself, connect with all the amazing people in your own generation, celebrate your contributions, and enjoy the rest of the ride!

Cheers,
Susan Lager

Tax Time Crazies – Same Insanity, New Year…..

(It’s been almost a year since I entered this post, but I’m submitting it AGAIN to make a painful point: This part of our lives seems to never change! The only major difference I’ve noted in this department was the year I hired a new accountant, one with a great sense of humor who helps me laugh at all this, just a bit. I refer to hiring Gene as a huge “emotionally corrective experience.” But as for the rest of it, I’d rather eat glass). Read on and see why…..

Every year starting in March, and going through April 15th, most everyone I know, myself included, gets weirded out about taxes. Preparing them for the accountant, realizing all the money spent on ridiculous things, waiting to find out the verdict about what’s owed or what, if anything will be refunded, then PAYING FOR IT! Most dining room tables have long been lost to piles of papers, documenting finances for the past year. Some tables, I hear, have remained in “tax mode” for years!

It’s a little bit like pregnancy and childbirth. The buildup is literally and figuratively huge, the event is unnerving, but then, thankfully it’s over and forgotten – until the next time around.

The one consolation is that you are not alone. Thousands and thousands of people procrastinate to the very end when dealing with taxes. (I have clients who were just beginning the whole process this week!) Thousands more are checking their mailboxes daily to get the package back from the accountant telling them if they’re screwed or not. (I see at least one neighbor doing this each day.)

Everyone moans about it. Nobody has a viable alternative though, if you like having drivable roads, safe bridges, public schools, and such things.

My best advise? Remind yourself that:

1. This is the un-fun part of being an adult.

2. This too shall pass – at least until next year…….

Cheers,
Susan Lager

Nothing Is Ever Easy!

Have you ever had days where everything you try to do seems to get complicated by red tape or bigger problems?

Try this on for size:

I go to get a routine “balance and rotation” at my local car service place for my practically new (28,000 miles) car I’ve kept in great shape. It ends up requiring new brakes and more complicated fixings I can’t even comprehend, to the tune of more than $300.! (and 3 hours waiting time, not 45 minutes)

I proudly paint all the trim on the back of the house after carefully matching the color to the existing one, only to find it’s mysteriously WAY bluer and more glossy than the previous color, so now it looks like we’ll either have a two-tone trim, with windows and doors and upper floors one color, and the ground floor another color, or I’ll have to re-paint the whole side of the house.

I do my 23rd BlogTalk Radio show, only to discover that the crackling sound of someone eating corn flakes has gotten worse. I don’t eat anything during shows, so I’m not the culprit, it must be the USB port, the Skype connection, or my headset. This mystery has still not been solved….

I get notified of some possible fraudulent activity by some sociopath on my main business credit card, so I have to spend the next week contacting all the billing departments of all the vendors I do business with of the change to a new card. In the process, I discover that not all the passwords on file jive with the ones I have recorded, so that’s another several hours! (Not to mention all the websites that don’t work properly…)

I get notified of an enormous “quality credentialing” process I need to be on file with, which requires me to dig up every detail of my professional life back to the time of the cavemen. (“When did you start and stop using your maiden name, when did you start and stop hyphenating it with your married name”?) Mind you, I have trouble remembering what year I graduated High School, let alone the specific days when I graduated from college and grad school, and what their numbers and faxes are! This requires a trip to my office to actually look at the degrees on my wall.

Then, as I do the bi-annual transfer of clothes from and to the attic (5 huge boxes), I discover that it will take me until next winter to get the whole job done. So what if I’m wearing sandals in February…

And, my favorite pair of cozy, black jeans has totally disappeared. (Probably the same bandit who took off with my credit card number, or the same wiesel who changed the color on the paint can!)

All I can say is two things:

1. Thank God for my clients with their “normal” problems!

2. Nothing is ever easy!

PS. For more of my musings about life, love, and the absurd, sign up as a subscriber (on the right) to get loads of free articles.

End Of Summer 2012 – New England Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Here we are, amazingly in September, when just yesterday it was the beginning of June! Where did the time go? I think most (normal) people feel a twang of sadness at this time of year, saying goodbye to the sweet, long days of summer, when you don’t have to wear socks or coats, or worry about the cold, and the snow.

But in New England, it’s another thing entirely. People here grieve the end of the carefree warmth and sunshine. Typical conversations focus on charming things like: When are you getting a generator? Do you have a decent snowblower? Did you get a roof rake yet? Does that new car you bought have 4 wheel drive? Have you winterized your shrubs? Did you bring in the air conditioners? How’s your winter coat? Did you paint the side of the house yet? Have you raked all the leaves? Did you drain your septic while the ground is unfrozen? Do you have good boots? How are your knees doing? (You’ll need them).

The list of “to do’s” goes on and on, as New Englanders grieve and prepare for:

 piles of snow

– cabin fever

– Nor’Easters

– frigid temperatures

– dark mornings

– dark evenings

– shoveling

– slipping and sliding

– black ice accidents

– gaining weight, etc., etc…………

I call it New England Seasonal Affective Disorder, something unique to us in our little corner of the globe. We adore our measly little summers. We love our glorious Fall, but whine incessantly about winter coming. Then when winter is actually here, we marvel at its beauty while we ski, ice skate and snowshoe, or sit by our blazing fires reading books, talking to our spouses, playing instruments, cooking, doing projects. Ah, winter……

The irony is that only a fraction of us New Englanders would trade it all in for a condo in a gated community in Florida. Okay to visit, but no thanks. We’ll stick with our ice and snow, and our seasonal schizophrenia, because we’re tough, and besides, it’s so beautiful here!

Hang in there, (the days get longer again after December 21st!)
Susan Lager

Tax Time Crazies

Every year starting in March, and going through April 15th, most everyone I know, myself included, gets weirded out about taxes. Preparing them for the accountant, realizing all the money spent on ridiculous things, waiting to find out the verdict about what’s owed or what, if anything will be refunded, then PAYING FOR IT! Most dining room tables have long been lost to piles of papers, documenting finances for the past year. Some tables, I hear, have remained in “tax mode” for years!

It’s a little bit like pregnancy and childbirth. The buildup is literally and figuratively huge, the event is unnerving, but then, thankfully it’s over and forgotten – until the next time around.

The one consolation is that you are not alone. Thousands and thousands of people procrastinate to the very end when dealing with taxes. (I have clients who were just beginning the whole process this week!) Thousands more are checking their mailboxes daily to get the package back from the accountant telling them if they’re screwed or not. (I see at least one neighbor doing this each day.)

Everyone moans about it. Nobody has a viable alternative though, if you like having drivable roads, safe bridges, public schools, and such things.

My best advice? Remind yourself that:

1. This is the un-fun part of being an adult.

2. This too shall pass – at least until next year…….

Cheers,
Susan Lager

The New Year’s Blues

I’m not going to start by saying “Happy New Year”, ok?  If you’re reading this blog entry, you’re probably bummed about facing your (tedious, overwhelming) everyday life now that the party’s over, and you’re not feeling very happy. Maybe you’re in good company with millions of people suffering from Seasonal Affective Depression (SAD), getting more glum as the daylight hours are diminished. If so, get the special light for that, and sit if front of it at least 15 minutes per day. It will help immensely. And cheer up – after December 21st the daylight hours expand bit by bit every single day until June 21st when it goes the other way and we’re all screwed again.

Maybe you don’t have S.A.D., but you drank too much, ate too much, spent too much, and overall had WAY too much fun during the holidays. If so, don’t worry – I’m not going to offer you chirpy advice about how to stay positive and get back on the horse. Go look EVERYWHERE else for that “helpful” stuff. Instead, I have two words for you to repeat to yourself frequently during the next week or two as you feel that dreaded New Year’s “back to the grind” feeling:

“SO WHAT?” That’s right, “SO WHAT?”

Unless you’re clinically depressed, (in which case the above doesn’t apply, and you should seek professional help), most people don’t die from feeling sorry for themselves occasionally. So enjoy your pity party, complain to all your friends and family, listen to their complaints, slog around, and milk it for all it’s worth, knowing that you’re “normal”, and in great company with loads of people. Chances are by mid January, you’ll get sick of the whole routine, and will be ready for the next thing.

Hang in there,
Susan Lager

PS. Stay tuned for my “next things”, which are my long overdue Ebooks and articles available for sale later this month on the “products” page of this website. You can get a “sneak preview” right now if you want.

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Susan Lager

I am a licensed, board certified pyschotherapist and relationship coach in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Through my psychotherapy or coaching services, I can provide you with skills and tools to transform your life.

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