Metaphors in Life

A young girl came into my office for a session. She complained about having anxiety. During our initial session, she explained that she read an article about a man who was sleepwalking and killed someone. This ignited so much fear and anxiety in her that it affected her ability to function and disrupted her days.

From my years of experience working with people, I knew the story of the violent sleepwalker was a metaphor for something from her past she needed to work on.

This metaphor gave me a starting point from which I could explore her mental landscape. I sensed that she may have previously experienced a “death of self”, so to speak. Through our conversations, I gathered her history bit by bit and was able to identify moments in her life when she felt violated. A part of her “self” was hurt, lost, abandoned, taken away.

A hypnosis session uncovered several traumatic situations that she didn’t realize still affected her. In only a few sessions she was able to accept the cause of her discomfort. Once she gained an understanding of the reasons behind her anxiety, it naturally dissipated. If anxious feelings surface again, she now knows how to manage them.

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The Optimistic Pessimist

My father loved to tell a story of the two twin brothers. One was a pessimist, the other an optimist. On their ninth birthday, the father led the pessimist son out to the backyard and presented him with a beautiful pony. The boy fretted, “What if I fall off and hurt myself!”

The father went to the optimist son and led him to a room. When the boy looked inside the room, he found a pile of manure. Delighted, he exclaimed, “Oh boy! Underneath all this manure, there must be a pony!”

How do you explain the events in your life?  The lesson here is that it makes a difference how you respond to whatever life presents you. To cope with the unpredictability of life, some of us think optimistically. A positive mental attitude empowers you to be aligned with your goals, values, and dreams. For others, with a pessimistic mindset they think of what did or might go wrong and only consider the downside. In both cases, the optimistic and pessimistic mindset is the driving force to protect against future disappointment or hurt.

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Mistaken Forward

Oftentimes, making mistakes sets us back or discourages us. Embarrassment, shame, or diminished self-confidence sets in. In order to defend our self, we begin making excuses, rationalizing our conflicting behavior or become self-justifying.

Mistaking forward allows us to become aware of our mistaken behaviors, realize what we are intending to accomplish, and to then, direct our thoughts and manage our feelings productively. In order to reach our intended outcome, it has everything to do with choosing each moment where we focus our attention and how we move from our intention into purposeful action.

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Honoring Your Feelings

“Your intellect may be confused,
but your emotions will never lie to you.”

Roger Ebert

When I was a young girl, my mom called me Mona Lisa.  If I looked sad, she’d tell me to smile. I assume now she was teaching me to have a positive mental attitude, but instead I began to disregard my feelings. Over the years, though, through my endless soul searching, training and reading, I discovered a respect for myself and the importance of my feelings. Now, I pay attention, I accept, I validate, and I listen to what I am feeling. My coaching clients tell me that is also what I help them do for themselves. Becoming an expert in ourselves is important in having a better relationship with the experience of who we are.

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Michelle Miller - Life Coach
(305) 793-2647


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