Image result for stop hating yourself for everything you aren't

What a way to start improving your self-esteem!  The self-deprecation, self-loathing works against you feeling better about who you are and what you do!  How many times a day do you catch yourself being self-critical?  Full of self-put-downs?  Have you become your own worst enemy?

What would it take to befriend your self?  What do you need to hear from others to help you feel better about your self?  Can you begin to say those things to your self?  What has been stopping you?

What you “aren’t” is not of value.  Start building on the foundation of who you are.  If nothing else, tell yourself, “I have survived low self-esteem!  Now, it’s my job to improve my situation.  I am capable of it and, I am beginning now!”

Challenge the negative self-talk and replace it with positive self-talk.  It won’t take as long as you might think to start improving.  You are worth it!  Persist to maintain it … and, keep yourself growing!

I wish you peace in who you are, and in all that you do!      

                                                                                                         Peace, John

“A healthy relationship should add value to your life, not force you to give up who you are” ~ John Pacheco

There, I’ve said it, and now I’ve put it in writing!  I’ve said it often in sessions.  A relationship is two people and a connection and it can’t be any healthier than the sickest person in it!  Each person in the relationship, to make it healthy, must ask themselves, “What am I putting into this relationship and what am I getting out of it?”  For a healthy relationship, each of them need to think they’re getting a good deal.

This quote eliminates control issues from any kind of  healthy relationship.  If one person, or both (as in codependency) must give up parts of themselves, then they are losing themselves and value cannot be added if one is losing self.

Why not look at some of the relationships in your life today and see if you are paying a price for them.  If so, can you do anything to realign them?  If not, I _______ (fill-in the blank).

You deserve to have added value from the relationships in your life!

Peace, John



Today a guest blogger has shared with us a quote and some thoughts that are meaningful to her.  I thank her for sharing.

Image result for If we are always guided by other people’s thoughts what is the point of having our own.

This reflects somewhat of my personality. I seem to always be driven by others’ thoughts that I lose myself.  I find that, with the guidance that I have, one day I will be closer to achieving having my own thoughts and not giving a rat’s buns what others think. Then I will be finding myself and living a life without limitations.  – Kat E

You too can become a guest blogger.  Simply find a quote that is special to you.  Remember to add some of your own thoughts/interpretations to it that may be helpful to others.  Send it to me via email, along with your name.  Please put “Guest blogger” in the subject line of the email, and then….. be patient.  I will check it and put it on the blog when “guest blogger time” arrives again.  Thank you. Peace, John


Image result for The difference between involvement and commitment

A little different approach today – I’d like to invite you first to spend a few minutes thinking about different activities and organizations that you’re connected to.  Think of work, home, family, leisure activities, hobbies, volunteer groups, classes, etc.  Think about your relationships with those organizations and the depth of your involvement or commitment to each of them.

Some you may be more involved with or committed to than others There is no right way to be connected to them. What determines the difference in your level of commitment? The simple answer is you do! Frequently it’s helpful review and to know your priorities. Knowing can help you decide how much of your time, energies and resources you want to involve.

Now to the quote:

Image result for The difference between involvement and commitment

Peace, John

Image result for Letting toxic people go is not an active cruelty

“Toxic” – What makes someone toxic?  Simply put, they’re not good for you!  They may be actively toxic, e.g. manipulative. They may be passively toxic, e.g. just being around them, their negativity rubs off on you.  There’s also the combination toxic, the passive-aggressive.  I invite you give me some feedback on that last type, and, if you can, an example.

Since they’re not good for you, you need to let go or risk bringing yourself down.  This may be a challenge depending on how close you are to them, what your history with them has been and whether they are a relative or not.  How does one let go? There are many ways but they all involve changing yourself and thereby changing the relationship.  Perhaps you see them less often, interact with them less often and develop other relationships to diffuse the intensity of this one and reduce the loss you might feel.  Frequently fear of being alone stops us from letting go. There is a book entitled, Feel the Fear but Do It Anyway! Why?

Are you worth it?

Repeat after me, out loud, “I AM WORTH IT!”                    

                                                                                                                       Peace, John

Image result for unexpressed emotions will never die. they are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways

While I am generally not a fan of Sigmund Freud, the above quote certainly has value. What we feel needs to be identified and accepted. Perhaps the easiest way of doing this is to discuss them with someone close to us, i.e. someone “safe.” It’s important when sharing feelings that you choose healthy people, ones who will listen, not judge and not ask why you’re feeling what you’re feeling. Others’ acceptance of your feelings helps create the environment where you can accept them too.

Painful feelings could be “repressed,” i.e. pushed out of conscious awareness by our psyche which is attempting to protect us from something that is usually traumatic. More often, painful feelings get “suppressed.” This means we are aware of them but we try to make believe they don’t exist or they don’t bother us. Notice the mask in the picture above. This leaves us working against ourselves and is not productive. It may also contribute to depression.

If what you’ve been doing with your feelings hasn’t been working, why not stop burying them alive where they will come back to haunt you? Instead simply try to name and accept them. No need to fix what isn’t broken, just like there’s no need to bury what’s still alive!   Remember, you don’t need to approve or like something to accept it!

Your feedback on this post, and willingness to share it would be appreciated.

                                                                                                                                                  Peace, John

Image result for just because you think you're worthless doesn't make it true

This is the season of the year for depression, isn’t it?  While some depression has bio-chemical causes and treatments, not all fit into this mode.  Some are more psychological.  For instance, the above quote is talking about shame.  Shame is a key part in depression.  At a workshop, some years ago, I heard [pardon the paraphrasing] “Shame is the result of lies we were told about ourselves that we believed because we didn’t know any better.”  It took me several weeks to fully wrap my head around that statement.  External messages about ourselves form the basis of shame – if we hear enough of them, we internalize them, i.e. they become ours.  Frequently they come from shame-based members of our dysfunctional families.  They can also come from outsiders, peers, schools, and/or work.  A lot of them come from primary relationships [think boy/girlfriend, lover, spouse]. If we continue to choose similar relationships, then that way of thinking becomes hardened and habituated. When it’s internalized, then we are no longer “being shamed” but are “shaming ourselves.”  “Shame on us.”  But that’s not quite true – just like the lies they told us about ourselves were not true.  We had become victims.

Today is a new day – we no longer need to be held hostage by the way we were trained to think of ourselves.  We can learn new ways of thinking.  To reverse the pattern, we need to mindfully change our thoughts, starting small and then take some small actions based on the new beliefs.  If this is too much for you, try some new, low risk behaviors and then change the thoughts.

You might ask, what is he talking about?  These kinds of topics were discussed in my Thursday evening group this past week. Here’s some thoughts from that experience.  Perhaps something might resonate with you:  slowly learning to make positive I statements;  doing something small like buying healthy food for your self rather than based upon what others will think or say; assertively standing up for your self;  saying “no” and sticking to it;  finding people and/or a job situation where you feel included;  finding a way to start taking those piano lessons you had wanted so long ago;  and taking/making some pictures.

The objective is clear: keep trying to find your self and work on discovering your own potential. When you catch yourself thinking about what others may think, simply let it go and come back to your own truth of who you are, what you have experienced and what you know to be true about yourself.  Discover, explore and enjoy what it is you value about yourself.

Time to change that belief at the top of this page? Persist and make sure to get the support you need.

                                                                                          Peace, John




Take a moment and think of the last bad decision you made?

You know there’s only one bad decision you can make and that’s one that doesn’t work out the way you had hoped and you fail to learn from!

That’s the point of bad decisions – you must rethink them, change your thinking and figure out what you would do differently the next time a similar decision needs making. A lot of people don’t do this and continue chaining one bad decision to the next. When they blame others for their current situation, the word “should” is usually used. Guilt is usually involved and that inhibits learning. Guilting accomplishes nothing healthy! It may be used to control others but that certainly is not healthy.

Why not go back to those “I statements,” own responsibility for your self in every situation and “grow up?”  You could also not take on others’ guilt and avoid those who are immature!

Peace, John

Click the arrow in the center of the picture and be sure your sound is turned on/up!  Enjoy this beautiful Christmas message…….




Image result for no person has the right to condemn you

I wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a happy and blessed New Year!

This time of year, I always issue a request that you be mindful, in your happiness, that not everyone is in the same spirit. Many of our loved ones are going through their first holiday season without someone who was close to them. Many also struggle with loneliness, depression and personal difficulties. I ask that you be mindful of how your words and activities may affect them. Most need more of your time and listening then they do any kind of gifts. Remember, your non-judgmental presence can be one of the best presents you can give them!

Thank you for following my blog and sharing my wisdom.

Peace, John

Image result for when you focus on problems you'll have more problems

Many of my clients come in and tell me their problems, some of them repeating them week after week.  They are truly in emotional pain and, if they continue to do that, they’re going to continue to be in “hurtsville.”  Spending more than 90% of their time detailing their problems leaves them less than 10% to focus on the solutions!  When I invite them to talk about the possibilities, I often hear “it’s hard.”  After hearing this a couple of times I invite them to drop the word “hard” from their vocabulary and replace it with the word “challenge.”  If you focus on how hard it is, it continues to be hard.  If you focus on the challenges in your life, possibilities may come more readily, don’t you think?  If you want to make changes it matters what you focus on. It’s all about, “focus, focus, focus – and that’s no hocus-pocus!”


What is PTSD?

PTSD is not a mental illness.

PTSD is a reaction to society’s illness!

PTSD is not about what is wrong with someone!

PTSD is about what happened to someone!

PTSD is very often inflicted with intent!

PTSD is resistance to the evil in the world!

PTSD is a painful reaction and protective measure of mind, body and soul!

The “D” in PTSD is certainly symbolic of the state of the world we live in and the reaction good people have to it!

The PTSD reaction is most always the result of a Human Rights violation.

PTSD is an injury that can be healed!

The above quote, with a couple of small edits, is from Pinterest and reflects a recent small upsurge in clients we are serving who have post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD.  Several of them are domestic violence and childhood sexual abuse survivors.  I’m hoping this quote will give my blog readers a different way of looking at people who may be emotionally distant, easily startled, unwelcoming of hugs and who have a lot of difficulty being close and trusting.  It’s usually less about them and more about what has happened to them. They need support, listening, nurturing, acceptance and love, even though they often resist it.  Be patient — the healing takes time and may need professional assistance.  I’m also hoping this will give survivors some validation for their struggle, help in reducing some of the guilt and hope in their process of healing. For them, and for those who love them, I am also including the Survivor’s Psalm (below). Please feel free to share this or any of my blog posts.   Peace, John

Image result for survivor psalm

Image result for anger is a feeling that makes your mouth work faster than your mind

Anger can be a tricky thing! You can feel angry; you can think angry thoughts; and you can behave angrily!  I believe that feeling angry and thinking angry thoughts, while not the best experiences, will never get you in any trouble.  What inevitably creates trouble are the choices you make about what to do with the anger. Frequently the response to anger is impulsive and, it can easily become habituated if repeated over and over.  Impulsivity can lead to “acting out” which can involve become physical or verbal.  When your mouth works faster than your mind, that’s impulsive!

How can you feel angry and not act on it?  It may take some practice but you need to slow the process down and “think, think, think” before saying or doing anything.  Instead of going from the feelings directly to the behavior and then thinking about it afterwards (i.e. rationalizing), try mindfulness.  Become aware of what you’re feeling, accepting it and then thinking about what healthy choices are available.  Can you figure out what you are powerless over?  Can you identify what you were expecting that didn’t quite align with the reality?  Try lowering (or eliminating) the expectation!

When the match is struck, you have many more choices than lighting a forest fire, wouldn’t you agree?



Image result for i am a lighthouse quote

What an idea to start your week! This affirmation leads to a healthier sense of self. It breaks down that unhealthy triangle of persecutor – victim – rescuer. All three of those are unhealthy roles.

Here one stands firm and solid in who one is and “lights” the way so that others, if they choose, can find their own way. They are not allowed to “jump on us” and jeopardize our journey with the threat of sinking.

Instead we point the way. Their choice is not ours to make. If we gently persist perhaps they will find their way more easily.

Your choice: lifeboat or lighthouse?

Most alcoholics and addicts in sobriety and/or abstinence have relapsed. “You are not alone.”

If you have relapsed, now or in the past, it is a part of your process. What is most important is that you do not let a “slip” become a “slide.”

Catch yourself, get back in the saddle, get back to meetings and to a sponsor who cares and has time, time in the program and time for you!  I believe it’s important that you also take the time and figure out what that slip was about. As Terrence Gorski, a well-known relapse prevention specialist has told us, you and a trusted person need to do an autopsy on the slip to find out where you began to drift, what those issues or feelings were, and to develop specific strategies when you encounter those early warning signs again. Failure to do so will likely result in another slip down the road. Do you want that? Isn’t it easier to relearn and have more resources available to you. The choice is yours.

“Be proud that you’ve tried.” Many don’t try, they just wallow in it and die. “You can recover!”  Try saying over and over to yourself, “I am recovering.” Recovery is a process that needs regular tending – it does not happen just by itself.  Learning (“what did you learn” from your relapse), persistence in thinking differently and making different choices will get you there. Are you willing? Earn the success you deserve by making those changes. Believe in your self, believe in the program, engage in and trust the process.  I believe you can and you will!

Image result for our prayers may be awkward our attempts may be feeble

I used to think that I wanted to pray like a fella in my prayer group. When I shared that with him, he set me straight. He told me that my “talk time” with God was not supposed to be like his.  He then told me whatever I had to offer to God in prayer was 100% acceptable to God.  It took a long time of thinking about that and coming to believe it.

Sometime later I spoke with a trusted spiritual guide.  I shared with her that I felt guilty for not taking the time to pray the way I thought I should. She asked what I meant and I told her that I had good intentions of setting aside time but then I got caught up in the things of the day, my work and didn’t get to it.  I did tell her that I prayed in church and sometimes with certain clients.  She asked me if I had conscious awareness of God throughout my day. I told her yes, that often I think of Him in the “inter-stitches” during the day, times between activities, times when I’m in my car, and times when I’m in transitions. She simply said to me, “That’s prayer!” I was taken aback, but as I reflected on it, I realized she was right. She also told me not to worry about the structure and the amount of time. She also asked how God communicates with me. I told her in different ways – sometimes an idea in my head (“aha”), sometimes something from my reading, sometimes in a song or the words of another person, sometimes in what I see and, at times, just a sensation in my heart.  She also pronounced this as fine and told me I was on the right track.  I was relieved, but it still took me a while to work this through and to let some of the guilt dissipate for not doing it “the right way.”

“The power is in the One who hears it.”  The receiver has all the power. He is a better listener than I!  He hears and knows everything, even my weak and sometimes infrequent attempts to communicate with Him.  He loves me just as I am, with all my shortcomings, blemishes and character defects – I’m still trying to wrap my head around that one!  He doesn’t judge – He just loves me for who I am.

Be mindful of God’s presence in your life and you are already praying.  Your prayers are not wasted.  Be humble, contrite, thankful and ask on behalf of your self, and others. When in doubt, to paraphrase Mother Teresa, “Pray anyway!”

“Do you have a case of “less-than-ism?”

A lot of us do.  Some of us have a warehouse, or warehouses of cases!”

What creates less-than-ism is when we compare our selves with others and end up on the short end.  This is a frequent way to put our selves down, criticize and judge our selves and find our selves unworthy.  We can be unmerciful in this.  The result is shame – the lies about our selves we have been told and/or come to believe because we didn’t know any better.  We now know better and it is time to change this process if we want to improve our self worth, our self esteem and our self confidence.

Suppose you only compare your self to who you were yesterday or last week and focus on the growth you have made?  Suppose you clear the warehouse(s) and put them into your memories of yesterday (past).  When you catch your self comparing your self to others, try balancing it out.  “Desiderata” by Max Ehrman tells us, “If you compare yourself with others, you may become bitter or vain, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.”

Put your self on the same level as others.  Say, and do, “Eyeballs (i.e. ‘I’-balls) Inward!”  Practice and soon you will close the case on your less-than-ism!  Treasure your self.  Empty and sell the warehouse!

Image result for you gotta stop watering dead plants

Why do you have plants? They make our homes and workplaces look nicer. They complement people. They ingest carbon dioxide which humans expel. They give off oxygen which we breathe. Most plants don’t need much to thrive: a soil with some nutrients, warmth, light for photosynthesis and some water. Water.

Plants, like people, can die from a multitude of factors: disease, abuse, poison, temperature extremes, lack of nutrients, neglect, and thirst.

What happens when you water a dead plant? Perhaps the soil gets saturated but the plant ……nada!

Plants are like relationships. If you’re not getting anything out of it, why keep putting stuff into it? Maybe you need to call the Medical Examiner and pronounce it “lifeless.” Start accepting the death and begin the grieving process. Take your watering can and sprinkle it where there’s life. Remember, the green plant that is you also needs watering. What can you do to water your self? How many and who cares about you enough to water you, to provide just enough? Not too little (thirst) and not too much (root rot and drown). Can you let them? Will you?

Image result for When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane

Think of it… airplanes were built to fly.  Originally flight was thought impossible.

Think of yourself at the beginning of the runway of your life.  Think about your destiny, flying, being all that you are capable of being. Like our first fliers, you need to believe in your capabilities.  Rev up your engine, feel the power, release the chocks (whatever it is that’s holding you back) and start moving down the runway into the wind.  Build acceleration, and then momentum.  When the time is right make the /25/16small adjustments to the plane, gently pull back on the stick and let the wind provide extra lift as you take off and settle in fulfilling your life’s purpose.

If all this seems a bit much, know that you have a lot of help.  You have radar that helps you know what’s going on around you, gauges they give you instant feedback about your engine, fuel supply, your orientation, speed, destination, altitude (and attitude!).  Stay alert.  And above all, know that your whole process is Higher Powered!

Leaning into your difficulties, heading into the wind, provides extra lift.  Remember, “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.”

Image result for Grief never ends

How paradoxical is that?  Grief, usually caused by an ending, never ends either.  It is a passage between the old way and a new way of living, functioning with the weight of the grief.  Many feel like they are not moving along the passage especially in the earlier phases. 

Some think that tears, one of the expressions of grief, are a sign of weakness. They are wrong. Tears express the love where the beloved is unable return the expression.  Love continues.

Grief and faith may seem to part company but they are traveling companions. How deeply one grieves is directly related to how much one loved and was loved.

When you accept grieving as a part of you, as a passage to a new you, then you no longer grieve. You have evolved into a loving and grieving person.





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