The Other as a Mirror

By Isabel Galiardo
The only way to overcome the vicious cycles we create in our relationships is to understand that our partner is mirroring our shadow aspects. By this, I mean our blind spots, aspects of ourselves that we are not aware of, as they are avoided because they somehow create pain and contradict our self-image.
It is good to know that our relationships serve the purpose of healing the old wounds that we carry inside of ourselves. Our partner is not responsible for fixing, rescuing or saving us but he/she can contribute immensely to our growth. How? By giving us the opportunity to look at our own ‘reflection’ in the dynamics we create together. In order to experience our partner as a mirror, we need to shift from a codependent relationship to a mindful one.
We can use conflict as an opportunity to get to know ourselves better, to understand the disowned members of our internal family and welcome them. If I don’t accept my neediness it is likely that I will judge the other when he/she is dependent and vulnerable. If I have a strong need for pleasing people in order to feel loved and included I will get frustrated and let them down when their behaviour is not reciprocated.
Being in a conscious relationship requires paying attention and staying present. It is as if all of a sudden we become detectives of our own psyches. We follow the clues. We shift from autopilot to a mindful state. In order to do so, we can start by bringing our awareness to our bodies when we react to a comment, or to our partner’s behaviour. By acknowledging that a trigger can activate our wounds but most of the times are not the real cause of our painful emotion, we learn to stay in touch with whatever arises without immediately reacting. This choice implies the willingness to embark on a journey of self-inquiry that refers to oneself again and again rather than pointing our finger at the other. Instead of blaming the other person for our feelings, we own them. This allows us to express assertively rather than judgmentally and listen openly without having to go into defence mode.
‘’We want to be loved in a very particular way, one that soothes our emotional wounds from the past.’’ John Welwood

The Motion of Emotions

What you resist, persists. When you avoid and deny your pain and internal discomfort you are neglecting and abandoning yourself.
Self-care is not only about going on holidays or taking hot water baths. To take care of myself means that I’m in touch with the totality of who I am at any given time. I care, and therefore I listen to myself and I take responsibility for my wellbeing in any area of my life: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
We are wired to avoid pain. We can escape from it in multiple ways, from the most obvious- entering a new relationship, finding a new job or moving countries- to the more subtle ones like distracting ourselves with work, sex, food or alcohol.
When we consciously choose to sit with the pain and we endure the discomfort and the fear, keeping the presence and the connection with what is arising, we are fighting against our natural instinct of survival and reshaping our minds. When we train ourselves, through meditation and mindfulness to remain aware and fully present, without dissociating from the emotion or running away, the so-called ‘’negative’’ emotions become our allies, instead of toxic influences that poison our lives.
My emotions put me in motion. My anger, experienced mindfully helps me set proper boundaries. Today I am tired and cannot give you more. My sadness helps me grieve the many losses we encounter, losing a friend or a lover, a job, an opportunity. Healthy emotions are happening here and now, and they are energy expressing itself through ourselves.
That is why our awareness is so fundamental. We need to discern between the aliveness of the fresh, raw emotion related to the present time and serving a purpose, and the narrative I tell myself based on past experiences, which makes me get stuck in it. The narrative feeds the idea of inadequacy and separateness while the raw emotion is the messenger that tells me what is necessary and important in order to take care of myself. You choose!
Isabel works with individuals and couple’s in consciously expressing and exploring their emotions, stories, and here and now. To make an appointment with Isabel contact us. 

Reality or Fiction

by Isabel Galiardo
Things are certainly not what they seem. What we believe to be real is false and what we consider unreal actually contains the truth.
The character we call I, which we defend and protect, is just the self-image which we present ourselves to the world. This superficial self is neither authentic nor real. Its existence is based on the need to be accepted by others. It is the result of our conditioning, the sum of ideas we have about ourselves, the learned patterns and defense mechanisms that accompany us since childhood, offering a false sense of protection. It helped us in the past to survive and adapt to the environment with the limited resources we then had, but now only limits and impoverishes our existence.
Becoming an adult has nothing to do with time passing, but with our ability to become aware of our true being. It is not so much about what we do or have but who we are. It is about being, about existing, and for that, there are no recipes or formulas. To mature emotionally requires that we leave our lairs to let ourselves be touched and affected by others. We need to let go of our false idols, our infantile need of certainties, and to relate instead to existence in a dialogue of awareness and attentive listening. When we are true to our essence, we start living exposed to the unpredictable, instead of clinging to the illusion of being in control.
When we are authentic and true to ourselves we remain open and present to the dynamic and creative current of life.
” One must not always think so much about what one should do, but rather what one should be’’.
Meister Eckart
Isabel works with individuals and couples seeking to explore their relationships and themselves in an authentic way. Contact us to make an appointment to see Isabel or attend one of her workshops.  

Destroying to Build

by Isabel Galiardo
One of our greatest fears is the fear of change. Change forces us to face the unknown, to abandon our references and our security, to enter new and uncertain territory. Change is death, it implies the end of a time and the beginning of another.
In the Hindu Trinity, Shiva, the God of destruction and death, plays a fundamental role in the cycle of existence. Without these forces there would be no evolution, there would be no transformation, we would always remain stuck in the same place, trapped, fixed, dead.
We face a wonderful paradox: without death, there is no life. In order to grow and evolve, we need to die, to change. It is essential to remember that change is necessary, that it is fundamental for our progress. Change invites us to develop different aspects of our being and offers us the possibility of experiencing different dimensions of our humanity, always with the purpose of becoming the best version of ourselves.
Our first great move occurs at birth, we die to our intrauterine existence by leaving the womb to begin our life as individuals on earth. Our baby dies to give way to the child, the child gives way to the teenager and then to the young person, the adult and the elder. These different vital stages lead us through successive deaths and resurrections. Life drags us, drives us forward, mobilizes and transforms us, killing us and making us be reborn a thousand times.
On a psychological level, whenever we gain understanding, abandon an old belief, or let go of a certain prejudice, we are making space for the birth of something new, more encompassing and inclusive. It is a liberating and enriching act which is preceded by tension, rigidity and resistance. Something is about to come to an end and we find it hard to let go.
In times of change, we feel fear, we contract and we resist. This resistance is due to us not trusting our abilities or being unable to make sense of the impending change. We fear the unknown. The key is to trust, to go ahead and move towards the apparent emptiness despite the vertigo. At that moment we do not have the clarity to see where our steps will lead us to, but we do have the certainty that something has started and that within it lies a growth potential. Then, with the perspective that time gives us, we will realize that what we interpreted as a loss would end up being a gain, a progress on an inner level.
The processes of change are fantastic opportunities to better understand our fears and attachments. In those moments we have the opportunity to recognize them and face them with consciousness.
Each biographical stage entails its own challenges. Depending on our limitations and our strengths, we will live each change as an expansive and rewarding phase or as an intolerable and difficult loss to overcome. In any case, it is about cultivating the basic trust in life which sustains and leads us along the paths that are necessary for our learning and evolution. When we trust, transitions are more fluid, we relax and cooperate, putting ourselves in consonance with and at the service of existence. If we connect with the wise and loving current of life, then life becomes an adventure, magic and miraculous and we are available to dance with her movements.

Nuestros Hijos No Son Nuestros

De forma inconsciente manipulamos a nuestros hijos, les exigimos que se comporten como deseamos, o si no, les retiramos nuestro afecto. Así hemos sido educados y así educamos.

‘’Si no te comes la papilla mama se va a poner triste’’. ‘’No disgustes a papa.” ‘’Me has decepcionado.” Hemos crecido tratando de ser lo que no somos, tratando de agradar y cumplir con las expectativas ajenas, y pasamos gran parte de nuestras vidas aterrorizados ante la posibilidad de dejar de ser amados y aceptados.

Hemos creado una sociedad competitiva donde solo puede haber ganadores o perdedores. Debemos cumplir unos estándares, aunque sea a costa de sacrificar nuestra esencia. Ganar dinero, tener buena apariencia, obtener méritos académicos y profesionales son las máximas aspiraciones en nuestra cultura.  Nuestros hijos viven desde bien temprano sometidos a la presión que implica estar siempre bajo examen. Hay que obtener resultados, pasar exámenes, aprender idiomas y destacar en esta carrera desesperada por salir adelante. Ya no hay tiempo para ser, para jugar, para aprender por el mero placer de hacerlo.

Nuestra cultura ha hecho prevalecer la mente sobre el corazón. Nos enorgullecemos de nuestras conquistas en el terreno científico y tecnológico, pero hemos perdido algo fundamental en el camino, nuestro corazón. Sin el estamos incompletos, somos seres tripartitos: cabeza, corazón e instinto.

Enseñémosles a desarrollar una relación consigo mismos en la que escuchen sus tripas y su corazón, además de a sus cabezas, en la que puedan reconocer lo que necesitan y desean, no lo que se espera de ellos. Así podrán compartir desde su grandeza, desde su pleno potencial, en lugar de encogerse para amoldarse a nuestras expectativas.

Que es la autoestima?

Nuestra autoestima depende de la aprobación externa y de unos estándares que nos sirven de referencia para dar valor a lo que somos.
Si una determinada sociedad o grupo humano valora positivamente ciertos aspectos, estos serán percibidos como deseables y cotizaran al alta.
A su vez los criterios de valoración se plantean en términos binarios, en polaridades. Guapo o feo, trabajador o vago, egoísta o generosos, fuerte o débil. Es una manera de percibir el mundo algo rígida y limitada.
En las ultimas décadas hemos constatado los efectos indeseables de una baja autoestima y hemos tratado de compensarlo con una nueva forma de educar a nuestros hijos utilizando mensajes positivos que refuercen su confianza. Es un progreso el haber superado un modelo basado en la exigencia y en la descalificación. Ahora tratamos de cultivar nuestras fortalezas en lugar de poner el acento en nuestras debilidades porque sabemos que elevar nuestra autoestima repercute en toda la areas de la vida de manera positiva.
Sin embargo este modelo sigue basado en el juicio y sujeto a la aprobación externa.
Sigo necesitando que determinadas autoridades, que van variando a o largo de mi vida, me perciban de manera positiva. Esas autoridades que un día fueron mis padres y maestros, mis compañeros de clase, los vecinos y la sociedad que me rodeaba, ahora viven dentro de mi en la forma de un critico interno que esta a cargo de juzgar mi comportamiento,  mis sentimientos y mis pensamientos.
El problema de raíz no ha sido resuelto.Nuestra autoestima es siempre precaria porque esta condicionada a las caprichosas y azarosas circunstancias sobre las que no tengo control alguno. Puede perder mi dinero, mi status, mi belleza y juventud,…Y entonces quien soy/ Cual es mi valor? El ego se compara, compite y teme al prójimo porque lo percibe como un rival. Vive en un permanente estado de ansiedad temiendo no llegar a ser o  perder lo conquistado.
Cuando me acepto tal cual soy y comprendo que no necesito demostrar nada o probar nada, empiezo a disfrutar del  momento presente y suelto el miedo.
Dejo de identificarme con una serie de atributos y de rechazar otros, dejo de estar dividido y peleado conmigo mismo.
Cuando me percibo en proceso en lugar de como una obra acabada, me puedo permitir distintos estados de animo, distintas experiencias de aprendizaje, distintas vivencias. No necesito etiquetar lo que siento o por lo que estoy pasando. Simplemente estoy en el ahora y asisto con curiosidad y apertura al despliegue de mi existencia.
También dejo de percibir al otro como un rival contra el que tengo que competir para ser mas. El otro se convierte en un compañero de viaje porque también esta pasando por diversas experiencias y aprendiendo, creciendo en este mágico viaje que es la vida.

What is Self-Esteem?

By Isabel Galiardo
Our self-esteem depends on external approval and on standards that serve as a reference to give value to who we are. If a society or human group positively values certain aspects, they will be perceived as desirable. At the same time, the evaluation criteria are presented in binary terms, in polarities. Handsome or ugly, hardworking or lazy, selfish or generous, strong or weak. This is a rigid and limited understanding of life.
In the last decades, we have observed the undesirable effects of low self-esteem and we have tried to compensate it with a new way of educating our children using positive messages to reinforce their confidence. We have surpassed a model based on negative feedback and strong judgements. Now we try to cultivate our strengths instead of focusing on our weaknesses. We know that improving our self-esteem has a positive impact in our lives, however, this model is still based on external approval.
We still need to be perceived in a positive way by certain authorities. Those authorities who once were my parents and teachers, my classmates, neighbours and the society that surrounded me, now live inside me in the form of an internal critic who is in charge of judging my behaviour, my feelings and my thoughts.
The root problem has not been solved. Our self-esteem is always precarious because it is conditioned by capricious and random circumstances over which I have no control. I can lose my money, my status, my beauty and youth, … and if that happens Who am I? What is my value? The ego depends on that self-image. The ego compares itself, competes and fears its neighbour because it perceives it as a rival. It lives in a permanent state of anxiety fearing not to become someone or losing what has been conquered.
When I accept myself as I am, I understand that I do not need to prove anything and I begin to enjoy the present moment and release the fear. I stop identifying with a series of attributes and rejecting others, I stop being divided internally.
When I perceive myself as in process rather than as a finished work, I can allow myself to go through all sorts of emotional states. They are learning experiences. I do not need to label what I feel or what I’m going through. I am simply in the now and I attend to the unfolding of my existence with curiosity and openness.
I also stop perceiving the other as a rival. The other becomes a travelling companion because he is also going through various experiences, learning and growing in this magical journey that is life.
Enjoy the ride!

Afirmando la vida

Por Isabel Galiardo
El instinto contradice a nuestra mente racional y las emociones nos arrastran mientras que nos esforzamos para que nuestros valores morales prevalezcan.
Deseamos sentirnos seguros y pertenecer, por eso formamos una familia, pero también sentimos la necesidad de explorar nuestra individualidad y nuestra libertad.
Deseamos crecer y aprender, pero tememos los cambios.
Queremos jugar y disfrutar, pero también alcanzar nuestras metas, lo que requiere disciplina y esfuerzo.
La sociedad espera que encajemos en el molde, la familia que cumplamos las expectativas, mientras que tratamos de ser lo mas fieles posible a nosotros mismos, a nuestra propia autenticidad.
Nuestra condición humana esta inevitablemente abocada a lidiar con el conflicto y la fricción.
Nos sentimos internamente divididos, tironeados por multitud de voces que habitan en nosotros.
A menudo huimos de nosotros mismos para evitar confrontarnos con semejante caos. Aliviamos la tension interna buscando placeres como la comida o el alcohol o distracciones como las redes sociales. Muchas personas escapan del dolor tratando de no parar, de mantenerse activos y ocupados.
El problema es que esta situación no es sostenible en el tiempo y esa division tarde o temprano acaba manifestandose en forma de una crisis nerviosa o problemas de salud.
Cuando descubrimos que podemos dialogar con esos aspectos dentro de nosotros, que nos son tan amenazadores, les damos bienvenida.
Cada uno de ellos nos habla de una necesidad, una creencia, un anhelo o un temor. Algunos son viejas heridas que buscan ser sanadas, otros son viejos sueños que no nos atrevemos a contemplar pero que hablan de nuestro potencial,…
El mindfulness nos enseña a abrazar nuestra personal y singular experiencia de la vida en cada momento. Nos invita a ser curiosos y compasivos con nosotros mismos. Nada es juzgado ni rechazado, ni las emociones supuestamente negativas como la ira o la tristeza, ni los eventos dolorosos o incomodos. Todo cumple una función en el desplegarse de la existencia, aunque nuestra limitada perspectiva humana no sepa reconocerlo.
Asumimos que la vida es mas sabia que nosotros y nos entregamos a ella.
Nos desapegamos de ideas preconcebidas, expectativas y miedos y comenzamos a fluir.
 El Mindfulnes es una practica basada en el amor y la confianza en la vida porque la afirma, diciendo SI con valentía a todo lo que esta propone.
Book an individual or couple’s session with Isabel here.

Affirming Life

By Isabel Galiardo
Instinct contradicts our rational mind and emotions drag us as we strive for our moral values to prevail. We want to feel secure and belong, that is why we form a family, but we also feel the need to explore our individuality and our freedom. We want to grow and learn, but we fear changes. We want to play and enjoy, but also achieve our goals, which requires discipline and effort.
Society wants us to fit into the mould, our family to meet their expectations, while we are trying to be as faithful as possible to ourselves, to our own authenticity. Our human condition is inevitably bound to deal with conflict and friction. We feel internally divided, torn by the multitude of voices that dwell within us.
We often flee from ourselves to avoid confronting such chaos. We relieve internal tension by seeking pleasures such as food or alcohol or distractions such as social media. Many people escape pain by keeping themselves active and busy.
The problem is that this situation is not sustainable over time and sooner or later it manifests itself in the form of a nervous breakdown, depression or health problems.
When we discover that we can dialogue with those aspects within us, that instead of being threatening, they are our allies, we welcome them.
Each voice indicates a need, a belief, a yearning or a fear. Some parts are wounded aspects desperate to be heard and healed, others are forgotten dreams we don’t dare to accept, but they are pushing because they want us to experience our full potential.
Mindfulness teaches us to embrace all of it, our personal and unique experience of life in every moment. It invites us to be curious and compassionate with ourselves. Nothing is judged or rejected, neither the supposed negative emotions like anger or sadness, nor painful or uncomfortable events. Everything fulfils a function in the unfolding of existence, although our limited perspective does not recognize it.
We assume that life is wiser than we are and we surrender to it.
Mindfulness helps us detach from preconceived ideas, expectations and fears. It is a practice based on love and trust because it affirms life and says YES with courage to everything it proposes.
Learn more about mindfulness by joining our mindfulness workshops, including our Mindful Living series, or book an individual or couple’s session with Isabel here

Entrando en el Castillo

por Isabel Galiardo
Estamos perdiendo nuestro valioso tiempo y dando palos de ciego cuando nos identificamos únicamente con el aspecto material de la existencia y olvidamos su dimension espiritual.
Cuando hacemos esto la vida se limita a una carrera contra reloj en la que los máximos logros son el dinero y el status. La felicidad nunca sucede ahora, y si lo hace, no es duradera.
Cuando la felicidad depende de lo externo experimentamos un enorme vacío que se manifiesta de diferentes maneras, como adicciones, soledad, depresión, ansiedad y una falta de dirección y de sentido. Ninguno de nuestro logros logra satisfacernos por mucho tiempo. Cuando solo nos ocupamos de los aspectos físicos, nuestras almas están famélicas. Podremos vivir en entornos sofisticados llenos de comodidades. Podemos alcanzar nuestras mas deseadas metas y sin embargo seguimos sintiéndonos pobres. Somos vagabundos vagando sin rumbo cuando olvidamos que nuestro verdadero hogar esta en nuestro interior.
Teresa nos invito hace cinco siglos a entrar en al castillo de nuestra alma y a descubrir sus distintos aposentos. Adentremonos pues donde las mas maravillosas riquezas nos esperan en forma de amor, paz y plenitud. Seamos místicos modernos y accedamos a esa riqueza para luego traerla de vuelta al mundo en forma amor, sabiduría y valor.
“Es gran bestialidad cuando no procuramos saber que cosa somos, sino que nos detenemos en estos cuerpos.’’
  Teresa de Avila