Category Archives: self-worth

Do You Know What You Need?

One summer I worked as a coach at a children’s sports camp. It was a hilarious, hot, and wonderful experience. Amid games of soccer and capture the flag, kids aged 3-8 were bound to get bumps and bruises. It was a daily occurrence for a little one to come to me in tears. I would kneel to their level and ask her or him what they needed, sometimes giving options such as ice or a drink, to sit with me or be alone, and other times letting him or her simply tell me. When asked, they always knew what they needed and were more than willing to share.

It’s a beautiful thing to know what you need.

Yet somewhere along the road of growing up a great deal of us lose this ability. Perhaps it is due to unmet needs as a child or the negative messages received when making requests. It could be the disagreement that occurs when one pleads and the other instead gives what they want, not what is asked for, that leads to confusion of needs. Or maybe it’s the denial of any needs to begin with, passively teaching a person that they are always fine. The result is adolescents to elderly who have no real knowledge of their experienced needs, yet often feel slighted, overlooked and not enough.

Regaining the ability to identify what you need, be it physically, emotionally, spiritually, or otherwise, and to take action on that, is essential to your well-being. By checking in with yourself and getting curious as to if you need to move or need to be still, need company or need solitude, need advice or need empathy, need to change or need to accept, is a difficult yet necessary step in feeling more cared for and more in control of your life.

To be fair, having needs can be messy. It can be difficult and risky. Inviting others to help and taking time, space or care for yourself isn’t promised to be received well. And yet attempting to live without needs denies your human spirit and can easily make you all the more hurt, alone, and afraid.

By learning, acknowledging, and responding to the needs that arise within, you communicate validation and care towards yourself.

Learning to meet your needs, be it through your own means or the help of others, in turn helps you to reclaim your worth and feel as though you matter. This is indispensable to yourself and your relationships, and it allows you to return to the things of life—just like the kids above could quickly receive and return to the game at hand.

Written by Lindsay Williams, MA, LPC.

To learn more about your needs, contact Lindsay today.

Can We Move Forward By Looking Backward?

There are things we all would change if we knew then what we know now. Perhaps it is how you treated a kid in high school or the way you quit a job. Maybe it’s how you spent your teens or 20s or some of the people you chose to date. However big or small, we look back and see the places we’ve messed up, often quick to judge and shame ourselves for not doing or knowing better.

And what happens is we then attempt to use this shame and disappointment to propel us forward. We beat ourselves up, hide our stories, and talk down to ourselves all in the hope of doing better this time around. We believe that if we just hate that part of ourself and our actions enough, we will never repeat them.

But then we do.

The cycle begins again and the negative self talk comes right back even though we desperately try to separate ourselves from this version of us. We feel terrible and spend our time running from the things we don’t want to be — I just don’t want to be like my father, I’ll do anything not to be emotional like my mother, I hate that part of my past and yet it seems to define me. Too often this scenario results in us spending a significant amount of time running and little time being and doing the things we value.

Think of the last time you drove your car.  Your rearview mirror was helpful in backing out of a parking space or changing lanes. It gives you information and we are encouraged to check it frequently. We glance quickly and then return our attention and energies to the road ahead. Similarly, the rearview mirror in your life is no different. It gives you input into your current situation and can offer help in avoiding certain wrecks.

However. We are not meant to look solely behind us as we drive ahead.

What things would we crash into if we attempted to drive forward while only looking backwards with regret, anger, sadness, shame and guilt? These feelings, while a part of our human experience, are terrible motivators towards the life we want. Spending energy avoiding rather than becoming quickly becomes futile, just as spending time looking behind you while trying to drive forward would result in less than desirable outcomes and the simplest routes would become impossibly dangerous.

This is a call towards life and the road ahead. I encourage you to find some thing that matters to you or possibly a value that defines the man or woman you want to be. Put your energy towards going forward and drive towards it. Steer your life in a way that is headed in the direction of your destination while allowing space for brief glances into your past that keep you on track.

Written by Lindsay Williams, MA, LPC.

I’d sincerely love to hear what you’re driving towards. Or for more on looking ahead—please contact me today.

The Counter-Intuitiveness of Choice

“She can’t do that…”

“He has to understand that…”

“He can’t say that…”

“She has to change that…”

We’ve all uttered these sentiments, or something in a similar vein, at one time or another. Perhaps we say them as a longing for connection, a desire to be understood, a hope for validation or a plea for respect. We think we are making reasonable requests, yet toward the end goal of getting the other to change, we make demands of his or her behavior.

Simply put, this does not work.

In fact, in hopes of creating the relationship we want with others, we can actually forfeit the relationship with ourself. When we require of others, we handcuff ourselves to their actions rather than choosing for ourselves how to best navigate a situation. We describe all the ways in which we need him or her to behave so that we are ok rather than choosing ways to be more ok ourselves. And therefore, we limit our choices by limiting ourselves.

In no way is this an excuse to stay in unhealthy relationships, rather a call to empowerment in what you can and cannot choose. You can choose what is ok with you and what is not, you can choose how to respond, you can choose how much space and slack is in a relationship. However, you cannot choose what others say to you, how others view you or what they do.

Perhaps this feels unfair, annoying, hopeless or simply wrong. And to some degree it may absolutely be those things. It may drain and exhaust you to choose to bow out, overlook or move on. Yet this is the only way to live un-handcuffed. Grab hold of the counter-intuitive idea that you get the choice only in how to respond and not in how others show up. And grab hold of the great freedom this actually is.

Written by Lindsay Williams, MA, LPC.

For more information, contact Lindsay today.


Why Therapists Love the Word “Journey”

It was recently brought to my attention that “journey” is a therapy word; that those outside the walls of the office can often miss the meaning that we as practitioners are trying to bring to light.


It is rare that anyone would eagerly long to embark upon a “journey” of unknown length, time, and degree of difficulty. And all that with a virtual stranger leading and inquiring about the most intimate parts of your life. Therapy-wise, perhaps you are willing to do a few sessions to teach you how to better interact with your boss or touch upon the loss of your parent, but a “journey….”

And yet, that is exactly what I do.

I admit, I do love the word “journey.” Simply look at the tag line of this website. Journey holds so much truth to the work I offer my clients. Similar to a journey, we prepare by using what we know. We continue together by reflecting on the past and look into the unknown future. Together we trek untravelled paths; you gain healing as you interact with your possibly painful history and gather insight on ways to navigate your future. On our journey, you learn new skills and together we practice them. With one another, we weather the uncontrollable storms of life and you come out stronger and more confident in yourself.

While sprints with pre-determined finish lines are great, I view therapy as longer than a sprint. Journey’s take time and relay the idea of growth and change, adventure and excitement, and they intentionally account for more than the finish line. Therapeutically, we address not only the surface behavioral changes, but I invite you into relationship that allows for deeper, more sustainable change. I am honored to journey alongside you and allow time for struggle, change, and lasting celebration.

Best of all, this journey is completely yours and no one can take it from you. You are empowered and encouraged try new paths, new ideas, new behaviors, and new thoughts. You experience changes and take those changes into your world, knowing the work it took for you to get there while finding rest in the comfort of having someone in your corner and someone who is for you, someone safe and someone willing to stand with you. And like the tagline says, there is meaning you will find that is unknown to you in the moment.

If this excites, intrigues, invites, or even scares you a little, I invite a conversation and ask you…when shall we embark?

Written by Lindsay Williams, MA, LPC.

If you’re interested in a journey, contact Lindsay today.

Can We Really Do Whatever We Want?

“If you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything, you can be anything! Do what you want so that you’re happy.” I overheard a thirty something telling a college student this in casual conversation the other day. It got my attention as I pondered all that the future held for this college gal. I loved the encouraging words yet, I took pause at the idea of doing what you want so that you’re happy.

Can we really do anything we want? And furthermore, are we meant to aim only for happiness?

There is a popular belief that a lack of happiness is to be dreaded above all. Struggle, strife, and unhappiness cheat us from all life is supposed to be. We leave jobs, spouses, families, teams, and commitments that don’t make us happy. The message is we are meant to be happy and it is the worlds job to ensure this end. You must keep looking until you find happiness. When did happy become the goal?

In the book Amusing Ourselves To Death, author Neil Postman describes societal downfalls as a culmination of the pursuit of pleasure, specifically as related to demanding entertainment in the political and news realms. RJ Snell writes in Acedia and Its Discontents of the idea that the desire for freedom to do what we want is actually not freedom at all. These two authors bear witness to our inability to understand what makes us happy and how counterintuitive chasing pleasure is to our experiencing it. Contrary to popular belief, it seems as though we stumble upon happiness when we pursue what we were created for instead of grasping at what we want—more pleasure,  less responsibility, a feeling, or a freedom.

Happiness is an elusive end-goal that is better experienced as a by-product of a balanced and intentional life. When we begin to pursue values and live as the men and women we want to be, we find happiness because we are living aligned. We are created to work. We are created for relationship. We are created to play. We are created for responsibility. We are created for balance.

And to this end, we answer the question of can we really do whatever we want as “yes, and…” Yes, you are meant for choice, and true choice never comes without boundaries and limits. Yes, you have the freedom to pursue what you want, and also the knowledge and ability to choose what’s best. Yes, you can puruse happiness, and the way to experience it may not be simply chasing it.

Writen by Lindsay Williams, MA, LPC.

To learn more about what does and doesn’t help you experience happiness, contact me today!


All The Feels

The opening scene in Love Actually poetically describes the hellos and goodbyes, the reuniting “welcomes” and the separating “see you laters” that occur in airports. It goes on to portray the excitement of new adventures, the joy of return to awaiting loved ones and the sadness of leaving behind pieces of our hearts as we board our planes. It truly is one of my favorite movie scenes for the simple yet complex truth to which it bears witness.

This one location holds so many seemingly opposite emotions and thoughts. Joy and sadness. Expectation and anxiety. Even the traveler may be experiencing an array of thoughts and emotions such as readiness to return home while perhaps longing to stay with loved ones. And airports aren’t unique in this. Many places, our homes and workplaces, sororities, and dugouts, all bear the burden of complexity.

Such is life.

For many of us, the tension that differing thoughts and emotions present turns into an internal tug-of-war. We disregard the pain of leaving the familiar to convince ourselves the adventure will be better. We push aside the joy of returning home to agree with the masses that vacationing is the best thing available to us.

What if it didn’t have to be this way?

As individuals with rich and full experiences, we can learn to hold the tension. We can learn to validate our entire experiences. And we can learn to grab hold of a life that reflects our true and complete self.

This is part of the essence of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Dialects are two opposing platforms, such as black and white or change and acceptance. These typically force us into decisions where one is viewed as “the right way” and the other “the wrong way.” However, upon closer inspection, and the reality of our personal experiences, the world is much more gray and requires our acknowledgment of both to create the wisdom for an effective response.

As we learn to navigate these dialectical parts of our world, we gain freedom. By giving attention to our entire experience, we move towards awareness of the best plan of action and gain the ability to do so.

Written by Lindsay Williams, MA, LPC

I invite you to learn more about DBT. While it is not the only therapeutic framework I use, because of its practicality, I often incorporate it into many of my sessions. Let’s talk today to see how it might benefit you.

I Have Made Mistakes

The small Texas band, The Oh, Hellos, have a song entitled, “I Have Made Mistakes.” It is one of those songs that seems to so simply and completely express the universal human experience of messing up. In their poetic lyrics, The Oh, Hellos sing of the trials and struggles that no one escapes untouched.

Listeners resonate with the difficulty in getting it right and letting mistakes be a part of their reality. The brother-sister duo allows for doubt and fear, connection and conquering. And while in no way lowering the bar, they sing of a lower degree of pressure to be perfect. They invite acceptance, growth, and grace alongside acknowledging the realities life presents.

How would your life be if you did this or if you felt mistakes were acceptable and ok? What if the things that seem messy are the exact things you need to help you to grow? If you allowed for acceptance towards yourself and the grace that you are doing the best you can, how might you feel at the end of the day?

Struggle, mistakes, failures. These are the things life is made of and made for. When you feel you can’t go on, when you worry you’ve messed up too much, when you let fear of failure propel you, you need the space and grace to get back up, try again and move towards the men and women you want to be. We must continually remind ourselves that the struggle isn’t always the enemy, but rather can be the very thing we most require.

I invite you to read the lyrics below and ponder…how do you interact with and accept your mistakes, how do you receive the metaphorical rain in your life that is necessary for growth, how do you give yourself grace while you’re in process?

I have made mistakes, I continue to make them
The promises I’ve made, I continue to break them
And all the doubts I’ve faced, I continue to face them
But nothing is a waste if you learn from it

And the sun, it does not cause us to grow
It is the rain that will strengthen your soul
And it will make you whole

We have lived in fear, and our fear has betrayed us
But we will overcome the apathy that has made us
Because we are not alone in the dark with our demons
And we have made mistakes
But we’ve learned from them

And the sun, it does not cause us to grow
It is the rain that will strengthen your soul
And it will make you whole

And oh my heart, how can I face you now?
When we both know how badly I have let you down
And I am afraid of all that I’ve built
Fading away

-The Oh, Hellos

Written by Lindsay Williams, MA, LPC.

I’d love to read your stories of the growth that has come from mistakes and messing up. Or for more on learning to interact with your mistakes in a way you feel better about, give me a call today!