Pictured above: Marilyn Burns signs copies of her book in an undated photo. (Image courtesy of Marilyn Burns)
By MARILYN BURNS | Metro Monthly Contributing Writer
When I was asked to write an article on health and wellness for women, I began to think about the challenges women face to get and stay healthy. Women are notorious for taking good care of others. In fact, many women define themselves by how well they care for their home and family.
In my mental health practice, clients often are fearful of making the wrong decision. But the worst scenario is not to decide. All of our decisions lead us to where we need to go next.
Life is really simple. I think we are divinely guided to know what’s right and wrong. Our body and our minds will tell us. However, it takes courage, strength and determination to make decisions based on what we are learning about ourselves and to apply what we know to be true.
In life, once you learn that things weren’t what you were hoping for, why conclude that it was a wrong decision? Why carry that experience forward in a negative way? Instead, why not be grateful for what you learned and apply it. How can anything we learn be wrong, when we are learning something new?
It’s necessary to gather all information in order to move forward properly. Once you apply what you learned, you move forward with insight, experience and wisdom. And things begin to go right!
As a counselor, I’ve treated thousands of women who have struggled mentally, physically and spiritually. I’ve treated my share of wounded warriors: those affected by infidelity issues in their relationship; those not knowing how to manage stress; those unwilling to do what’s necessary to change their life; and those not using the wisdom and insight to know how to move forward.
These are women who have been hurt by others and freeze-frame the experience for years. Some will sabotage their own happiness so they won’t be hurt again. These are women who are not growing through their life experiences; they are getting stuck on them.
I expect my clients to take responsibility for their sense of well-being. By that, I mean to take charge of their own mental and emotional needs, to get as healthy as possible, and to not wait for someone to do this for them!
A mistake many women make is to expect too much from their partners to feel better and to wait too long for it to happen. I often hear things like: when my kids leave home, when I lose 25 pounds, when my in-laws move out, when my husband gets a better job. Those are the times when many women predict they’ll feel good.
However, we will be too damaged if wewait. Instead, if we are mindful of caring for our needs and not waiting for it to happen in the future, we will be on our way to a healthy lifestyle, regardless of our age.
Mindfulness is a word that I use often in my office.“What did that decision teach you?” “Are you willing to apply that insight somehow, and, if so, what is your plan and when will you begin?”
I feel it is our birthright to be happy and healthy. Why not use the divine guidance – the powerful insight and wisdom that can be gained in the moment to lead us? No need to worry, just follow the lead that you get in the moment – good, bad or indifferent. Use these experiences wisely and often. And don’t ignore the elephant in the room: That pain in your left side; the joints that ache; the discomfort that you get around certain people, places and things; the gut feeling when you aren’t sure if your spouse or child is telling you the truth.
You’ll smile and laugh more and you’ll walk with confidence once you apply what you learn every day and make the moment work.
That’s when a sense of well-being and happiness is experienced. Relationships are more joyful and meaningful. Striving to be the best version of yourself is a wise choice. Do it for you!
Mother Teresa wisely wrote, “Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; give the world the best you’ve got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God; it was never between you and them anyway.”
About Marilyn Burns – Marilyn Burns is a licensed professional clinical counselor with a private practice in Boardman. She specializes in women’s and marital issues, grief, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). She is the author of two books, “Lost No More … A Mother’s Spiritual Journey Through Her Son’s Addiction” and “Now I Lay Him Down To Rest.” She is a contributing author for “Faith, Hope and Charity,” an anthology published through Warren Publishing, and is a contributing writer for the Open to Hope Foundation, a California-based, grief-recovery program.
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