by Sherrie Gerry, CMHC
Is the word Perfection, WORKING FOR YOU OR NOT?
Perfection, often a loaded word. Does this word add stress to your life? Maybe the following can lighten that stress.
At times, perfection can indicate the highest compliment and enjoyment. Yet, for many people; perfection can be the epitome of stress.
Coming from a religious background, I have experienced both.
A new way to look at perfection:
Today, I would like to share what I learned about the word, PERFECTION, that has brought it back to being a beautiful word for me.
Through the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) model we learn how our thinking determines our feelings and our feelings determine our behaviors and then our actions. This cycle determines the quality of our lives. Hence the focus on learning
Thinking Errors or Cognitive Distortions to avoid thinking that encourages negative
behaviors that can cause negative consequences; to encouraging thinking with more accuracy that increases positive behaviors that promote positive consequences.
So, one of the things I encourage clients to do when a particular word is causing
stress for them is to look up the historical definition of the word.
So, I did this with the word PERFECTION when I was a young mom with young
children wondering how I was ever going to be consistent, let alone perfect.
This led me on a beautiful path of discovery that blessed me with healthier, kinder
and more productive, thinking about the word, PERFECTION.
I looked up the word PERFECTION in The American Dictionary and it gave several
definitions of the word. I realized each one had it's own usefulness, some more than
The definition I really appreciated was, “…to become thoroughly learned.” Now
during the same time period I was reading several books about Maria Montessori’s
schools and her experiences and philosophy that caused her to create the
Montessori Method of teaching children.
In her books she described how she studied and observed children to find how they
learned, so she could facilitate autonomous learning with less outside judgment and
more autonomous judgment and joy.
Through this study and observation Maria came to a number of beliefs about how
children learn. Maria observed that children are not “thoroughly learned” until they
have memorized how to complete a task right and how to complete a task wrong. In
fact, she reports observing children purposely testing the wrong answers to test
Maria Montessori designed the stacked blocks for children we now often see in toy
stores. She created these kinds of learning “tools” to facilitate autonomous learning
where the child could judge for him/herself if something worked or did not work,
instead of having to rely on an adult to judge for them.
So, imagine a child stacking the biggest block at the bottom, then stacking smaller
and smaller blocks to complete the stack. Then, once in a while putting in the wrong
block to test and see for themselves the block is not in the right order.
Only when the child has memorized how to stack the blocks correctly and
memorized how to stack the blocks incorrectly does Maria consider that child
“thoroughly learned” with this task.
So, these two thoughts freed (liberated) me of my negative perception: Perfection is being thoroughly learned, and being thoroughly learned is knowing how to do something right and how to do something wrong.
Instead of thinking I had to do things in a very specific way, like walking in a straight
line military fashion, I now could learn how to do everything. I could learn by doing
things right and by doing things wrong. And I thought to myself, “I can do that. I can
learn.” So, if “Be Ye Therefore Perfect”, means going through a learning process, I
can do that.
And so can you. That is what we want to encourage here at Counseling For Success.
Thorough learning. We want to study with you how you have done things right and
how you have done things wrong, because we want you to be able to judge for
yourselves if your life is working for you or not.
Because we believe in you, we believe that helping you see more clearly you will
naturally and organically make positive changes in your lives.
by Donald Best, ACMHC
Ways to think about lying that I find helpful. Hopefully these will help you think more clearly about lying as well.
Most Science on Lying isn't useful. Many scientific studies define lying as - saying what isn't true with no regard to the motive behind the lie. So when you hear that in most conversations people tell at least 3 lies it is a deceptive truth. So why isn't it shocking?
When working with the Neurodiverse I tell them being polite is not even lying because no one is deceived.
The cashier isn't deceived when you tell her you are doing fine. She is just glad you didn't unload on her.
Your buddy isn't going to be outraged when he finds out there was some major things “up” you just weren't ready to talk about it, right then. He knows you, he knows something is up and how to get you to open up - later.
Then there is flattery:
When you tell an older lady she doesn’t look a day over 29, she is complemented, not because she believes you but that you care enough to say what isn’t true.
Then there are lies to entertain;
Fish stories and tall tales often fit here. If the motive is to entertain not to self aggrandize. These are when no one believes it but loves how entertaining it was.
White lies are distinguished from Polite ones by the fact that they are believed. While the lack of deception distinguishes a polite lie from a bad one, the unselfish motive is what makes a lie white. You really hope they believe those pants make them look thinner. Not that you are so fat that what you wear makes no difference. Does the other party want to be deceived and benefit from the deception? Dangerously there is always a selfish motive too. Part of not insulting someone serves them but it serves you too. As the benefit moves from primarily the other person to the actual person fibbing - the lie gets more and more grey. The person might really be served better by telling them they aren’t a good singer before they embarrass themselves. Even if they might shoot the messenger.
While any good liar will believe the lie while telling it. These lies are simply natural consequences of the lies people tell themselves. You are not the intended victim just the collateral damage.
The classic example is the alcoholic who doesn't think he drinks too much so he or she can drink as much as they please. Then they grossly underestimate how much they drink to you. A person cannot possibly be more honest with others than they are with themselves.
These people are lying to themselves to avoid pain, comfort themselves, endure hard things, etc.
They tend to be believed because they believe what they are saying, They get away with it long term with others who they can foster sympathetic denial – co-dependence with.
Deceiving another person to obtain personal gain. Whether it is to avoid punishment, nagging, or to make yourself look good. The motive is selfish and the people deceived are going to feel harmed if/when they learn the truth.
The science here is good. One of the things science tells us is people are very good at keeping score and tracking cheaters of any sort, whether they verbally lie or not. Which is one reason these people keep lying, because they don't realize people are keeping score and tracking.
What feeds these liars?
A cheating liar is really what people mean by lies. This is our focus.
If a lie gets someone an extra piece of cake, others eventually notice even if they don't say anything.
Without the liar realizing it they are under more scrutiny and no longer get the benefit of the doubt. The next time it is convenient - under the bus they go. They don't understand the cost they paid for that piece of cake. This is the truth behind cheaters never prosper.
Unfortunately that is a lie.
“Good liars” don't prosper simply when others believe them at the time. Their long term success requires manipulative or moralistic tactics. So they can lie and get away with it.
One common way to manipulate is to use feelings as facts. These kinds of liars attach such emotional value to the situation, the truth never matters even when it is eventually discovered. These people can tell you what you know isn’t true but the emotional backlash makes you behave like it is. It basically gas lights the entire system.
Another system is “stooping to it.” Most people will not sacrifice self-respect to get ahead. So when someone is willing to play the victim card, others will be forgiving. Yes, they told you what you wanted to hear but they were desperate.
Often the most consistent lie these people tell is: “I care about my self-respect.” You believe them because you care about your self-respect despite every indication they don’t care about theirs.
There is a touch of a moralistic, empathetic, and codependent manipulation here – “if you are a good person you will have compassion and help me abdicate my responsibility.” True compassion empowers. If you are focusing on how pathetic and powerless someone is don't call it compassion.
Perhaps the simplest ploy, that cheating liars use, is tallying all the other kinds of lies. So they can say “I'm not the liar, you are.” Then when you make a distinction they can say – “Oh that's just your justification”.
There are too many of these to go over here often many are employed at once.
Point is if you find yourself wondering how someone in your life “gets away with it (lying)” all the time. Get help. It’s probably pretty sick, pathological. You may need support to hold your own.
By Bonnie Bennett, ACMHC
Truthfully, how important is self-esteem? It effects every decision and touches every part of your life.
Webster’s dictionary defines self-esteem as “a confidence and satisfaction in oneself : SELF-RESPECT, 2: SELF-CONCEIT” (“Self-esteem.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/self-esteem. Accessed 28 May. 2020.); I would say the definition is most accurate, but most people focus on the self-conceit part and feel that if they are confident in themselves then they are conceited, self-involved, or worse yet…. A NARCISSIST!
How can you tell you have no or low self-esteem? The answer is how you treat yourself- internally and externally.
How can you improve your self-esteem? The answer is how you treat yourself – internally and externally.
The first and most important thing people should look at is the internal dialog one has with their self. It is not uncommon for people to be mean to themselves when they feel they did not do the best they can do, or if a mistake is made, or a poor choice was chosen; here comes the punching gloves!
Media, society, culture, community, and experiences; all have had a huge role to play in how we look at ourselves.
The media presents concepts that could be considered either self-indulgent or confident; and the perception is twisted by the intent of the story.
Society and community unknowingly (knowingly?) set a tone for “normalcy” or what is expected of us as an individual, along with the bar that is to be achieved that is usually miles high.
Culture- in a sense is how we live our lives, helps define who we are. But if not defined carefully can limit us and set standards that may not be healthy or beneficial to us.
So now what?
Treat yourself as you would your very best friend. Be kind and honest with yourself. You would not look at your friend and say “Really, your gonna wear THAT?!, not likely. You are more apt to say “let’s try something that will work better for you”.
Approaching yourself with kindness and acceptance is the pinnacle to repairing self-esteem and starting to feel not only better about you, but maybe about life in general. Removing others expectations of yourself also removes some of the pressure to reach the bar that others have set. We want to help you learn to lean on yourself to set the standards.
The term self-love can be very confusing. What does it really mean? It means the basic care of self:
The concept of self-worth can be confusing at best. What is it? How do I judge it? Noting your self-worth is looking at your value. When we value ourselves, we are more apt to take care of and protect ourselves. One of the major components of self-worth is:
We have all heard before how important it is to accept ourselves, but the real question is how many of us actually do?
No one person is all good or all bad; we are all a beautiful mixture of both (although we lean heavily one way or the other) and that is part of our uniqueness, part of what makes us human.
Does this mean allow our ‘bad’ to rule the day? Not necessarily, but it does mean being kind to yourself and recognizing that it is all part of being a human being.
Sometimes it is easy to say we have forgiven ourselves for whatever… but reality is most of us choose to brush it under the rug and forget whatever the offense is that we have done to others or ourselves or we beat ourselves up for years about the event.
Reality is, you need to forgive yourself more than you forgive others (still need to forgive others eventually).
Holding onto negative emotions that go with not forgiving ourselves slowly eats us alive, the continual emotional beatings we give ourselves lends to the pain and anguish that literally breaks us down.
What can we do about it?
Today’s culture does not make it easy to be kinder to ourselves. There are so many factors that work against that very concept. And yet, we have the ability to break free and love ourselves for who we are, our uniqueness, the very beauty in how we are made, to be authentic and true to who we are while striving to be the best that we can be in the same breath.
No matter what happens with you today: remember one thing…..
YOU ARE PERFECT JUST THE WAY YOU ARE RIGHT THIS MOMENT, LATER TODAY, TOMORROW, AND FOREVER.
by Donald Best
Prime For Life is a court ordered program typically for those individuals who have received a DUI.
This is a national program that was first created in 1971. This program has been continually improved and researched. This class focuses on teaching students how protect the things they value most in life by making low-risk choices.
The most important benefit to students of this class is learning to
protect what you value, your families, your careers, your goals, your leisure time activities, your health, your spirituality, by making low-risk choices.
The second benefit to you students is understanding your choices.
The third benefit is learning why you want to make those choices.
As clinicians we are impressed with the Prime For Life program for
several reasons. First, because of the staggering amount of empirical (duplicated and randomized) research that has gone into this program. Not just drawing on other research but on the program itself to make it evidence based. Secondly, the dedication to helping people prevent addictions. Finally, the ability of the course to meet the needs of every student no matter how diverse their ages, economics or culture. Those who are required to take this course could be an underage person who has only ever had one drink to a confirmed alcoholic in a relapse. How do you teach one single class designed to help each person make the diverse changes each needs to avoid further problems? Yet that is exactly what this program does so well. By mapping out the stages of addictions those just starting out can see how they can get to where they want to be and how to avoid getting somewhere they do not. Others further along can see how they got to where they are and how to get to where they want to be.
Additionally, the program has a deep understanding of what it takes for people to change woven into every particle of it. Many people who have taken this course have found it emotionally moving and helpful. We are excited to be offering this course now.
Do you need to take Prime For Life?
We are pleased to announce we are offering Prime for Life class over video conferencing. (We will also be offering in person sessions as soon as the Covid – 19 situation makes it possible.)
Our first classes begin: Monday, June 1, 2020 at 6pm for those over
the age of 21.
Our second class begins: Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at 6pm for
those under the age 21.
Our ongoing class times are:
Class 1 : Age group over 21, Monday & Tuesday 6-8 pm, Starting with the first Monday of the month, through the 4th Monday &
Tuesday of each month.
Class 2 : Age group under 21, Wednesday & Thursday 6-8 pm
Starting with the second Wednesday of the month, for 4 weeks.
Please contact us to find out the next start date for each section.
How to register for Prime For Life; Online video classes
1. Call Donald Best, CMHC 435-691-1302, or email him at
2. Receive your initial intake paperwork.
3. Return your initial intake paperwork along with your court
documents requiring you to attend Prime For Life.
4. Schedule and Complete your software set up and testing
session with Donald.
5. Make payment.
Please contact Donald Best to register for the class and to obtain a
Substance Abuse Assessment.
by Bonnie Bennet, ACMHC
As we introduce you to our first blog, Counseling For Success understands and is here for you as we face an unthinkable time in our history. It is common for these negative emotions to come forward and add some unwelcome chaos or try to take over our lives. Worry, fear, anxiety, and the effects of isolation are very real. In a time when we are supposed to keep safe social distancing, how does one meet with a therapist? We are still meeting people in office where we provide masks and are cleaning surfaces every hour. We also have introduced a HIPAA compliant system that allows the therapist and client to have a session via video. The Telehealth video is simple to navigate, as a client all you have to do is click on a link that the therapist sends you for the session; you are then connected and can see one another.
Although the face to face is through a screen, the therapists at Counseling For Success will do everything they can to demonstrate the same type of empathy, caring, and support that you would get if you were sitting in their office. Do you just need someone to talk? Or is it time to work through some trauma that is creating some issues in your life? Or is it time to update some old coping skills that just aren’t working anymore? We want to listen and hold a spot for you on this journey. We want to be there with gentle guidance and empathy. Our therapists have a variety of trainings; give us a call and see what we can do to help you.
Let us look at a wonderful coping skill to help with anxiety. 4x4 breathing is used by first responders in order to help keep calm as they deal with every day trauma. The breathing technique, which is a form of diaphragmatic breathing, when done properly activates the Vegusstoff “Vegus” nerve that weaves through your entire body, but especially through your organs. The Vegus nerve releases acetylcholine, which acts as a sort of tranquilizer to the nervous system and slows your heart rate down, easing some of your symptoms of anxiety.
Here are the steps to doing the 4X4 breathing:
1) Breath in slowly through your nose while you count to four; pushing your belly out as far as it goes (the goal is to fill all of your lungs with air and flatten your diaphragm)
2) Hold the breath to the count of four
3) Exhale slowly through your mouth to the count of four
4) Repeat four times.
You may feel dizzy at first, especially if you have been anxious for a long period. It is recommended that you use this tool every day in order to master this skill and you will find that you do not get as dizzy and the technique does become easier.
May I suggest you also check out our FaceBook page as well as we are open to ideas about issues or topics you would like to know more about.