Michele Corgiat
marriage and family therapist
by Michele Corgiat on October 11th, 2015

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.  This week I experienced these opposite ends of the spectrum.  Both extremes brought a variety of feelings, vulnerability, loneliness, rejection, validation and acceptance.
I was invited to two separate party’s with two different groups of people.  Being the social being that I am, I attended both, expecting , at the very least, to have good conversation and catch up with my people.  

Party 1
I found myself in the middle of a party feeling rather alone. You may have had a similar experience when you have found yourself in a crowd but feel isolated.  People were cordial but conversation was superficial.  I personally am not a huge fan of being the center of attention in a party but I do desire for others to ask how I am doing and showing a smidge of care about my well-being...Nothing.  It was a long three hours.  
Have you ever asked yourself, "if I were to disappear, would anybody really notice or even care?"   It seems that we can become so caught up in our own lives and busyness that we forget about others.  We forget that others need for us to notice, listen, and validate.

So,  why is feeling validated so important to us?  I think we need to first ask, what is validation?  I’m don’t regularly quote Oprah, but I will make an exception with the following, when she defined validation as  “ what I do and what I say matters to you. You hear me. You see me. You think of me. You thank me. You acknowledge my accomplishments. You appreciate my efforts.”  We want to matter to somebody, we want to be heard, we want to be seen, we want others to think of us and to remember us, we want to be acknowledged and appreciated.  Life is not always easy, and we want somebody to say “good job” and to recognize our efforts. We want to feel less alone.

Party 2
Old friends are sometimes a mixed bag.  They know us well, but they sometimes don’t allow for maturing and the growth spurts within our lives.  The second party I attended was with a group of friends I have known since I was 13 years old. Today, we were receiving each other as grown ups in our grown up roles and lives.  Without going into too much detail, I felt validated.  People received me for being simply me.  They celebrated my gifts and talents that God has blessed me with and they reached out to me and I to them.  We shared relationship and it felt good. It felt warm.  I was no longer alone.

If you find yourself feeling alone and yearning for connection, begin to ask God to bring individuals into your life to  fellowship with.  Secondly, be the friend who validates others.  Let those that have been a blessing in your life know what an impact they have had.  Acknowledge others, celebrate their accomplishments, and show them Gods love.  You may be surprised at how connected you will end up feeling after becoming the person you want others to be!

by Michele Corgiat on September 19th, 2015

Riding in a school bus and peering out the window as we passed green fields, almond orchards, and dairy farms that had become so familiar during this daily trek to the 1st grade,   I found myself transported in my imagination to another world.  A world where this bus was my touring bus and the other students, my entourage.  I was adored by my fans and those who found me to be somebody special.  Perhaps a singer or an actor.   Somebody loved and respected.  Somebody who’s presence was sought after.  How many times in our life have we desired to be sought after.  Beginning when we are small children and throughout our adult lives, we have an innate desire to be connected with others and pursued by other.  The question that I continue to ponder is,  what price will we pay to have others desire our company.  Will we sacrifice ourselves to be loved?  Will we become somebody that God did not intend for us in order to feel connected with others.  Will I hide and ignore my true identity by “putting on” a facade to be accepted?
Picture a paper doll with all of her cut out clothing.  There are so many different outfits to choose from.  Some for formal occasions and others for casual affairs.  The facades that we put on in each role we play is like one of those outfits.  However, in the case of our personal paper doll existence, we carefully design each “outfit” to meet the expectations and roles that we grow to believe will be accepted by others.  Sometimes, these outfits include parts of who we really are, while other parts are pretty and well designed to hide the parts of ourselves that we believe are shameful and unacceptable.  Other outfits are created to protect us from being too vulnerable so that we do not feel ashamed while also hoping to attract others to want to connect and find us special.  
Here is my challenge for each of us.  Take off the facade!  God created you and desires you, in your vulnerable state.  He doesn't want you to pretend to be somebody you are not.  Stop buying into the lie that you have to fit a certain mold to be accepted.  
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
Psalm 139:14

by Michele Corgiat on February 17th, 2015

Today I find myself tearful and emotional.  I am not sad or depressed but I find myself  emotional over the stories of others.   Stories about grief, sadness and despair. We each have a story that seems as unique as we are.   Although each story is individual, they usually hold common threads.

Picture for me, a beautiful tapestry rug that has many different colors of thread woven throughout. Each thread may not hold a beauty in and of itself, and may seem trivial when alone, but once combined with others, it becomes a masterpiece.  This is our lives.  Each story has love and hurt, joy and sorrow, trust and mistrust., acceptance and rejection, security and fear. As a rule of thumb, people don’t often seek out counseling when they are in the middle of joy and peace in their lives. They muster the courage to seek counsel when they are feeling sorrowful, hurt, scared, or rejected. I hear stories everyday as people enter my counseling office to unload their burdens. Let me share some truths and threads I have found interwoven through the stories of others.

First of all, I want everyone to know that all feelings are normal feelings, including sadness, anger, rejection, hurt and fear.  You have not failed in your life and you are not crazy or really “messed up” if you are experiencing some of these feelings.  We all do!

Secondly, we grow the most in our lives when we are in desperate places.  It is in these periods of our lives when we find ourselves on our face before God, seeking answers, and open to change.  Why are we going to want to “do life better” or  seek out healing or help in our lives if we never feel a need?  

Third, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!  Desperate places feel like lonely and isolated places.  They are the desert of our existence, but you are not alone. Deuteronomy 31:6 instructs us to  “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you;  he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  FYI, this doesn’t mean that you must have failed if you are experiencing anxiety and fear.  God is  simply letting us know that He has us in His care.  

And finally, know that this painful and dark place you find yourself, is temporary.  You may find yourself in a season of  life that seems endless when you are in the midst of anguish, but it is a season.  There is a new season around the bend.  Be diligent and steadfast in working through the painful times and you will begin to find that  healing will take place followed by fruit and growth in your life.

by Michele Corgiat on December 27th, 2014

We often hear others say, “stop and smell the roses”.  I don’t know who those people are but they must not have the same busy and chaotic life that I have! STOP?!?!?!? You must be kidding me!  If I stop, how is “it” going to get done???  How will others survive if I stop???  How will the earth continue to turn on it’s axis?  This may seem absurd, but we often use this kind of grandiose thinking to rationalize the chaotic lifestyle that we subscribe to.  We make it part of our identity and wear it as a badge of honor.  When we make small talk with the other moms at the school drop off line, the conversation often goes…
Mom 1.  “So, what have you been up to lately?”
Mom 2.  “ We have been sooooo busy”
Mom 1.  “Oh, us too!”  
This is followed by an onslaught of explanations including music lessons, sport practices, family gatherings, PTA meetings and church Bible studies that define our “busy lives”

Okay, I will be honest.  I have forced myself to slow down this holiday season because to be quite frank...I was going to lose my mind if I did not slow down and I was not being a good steward of my time for God, my family or myself.  I’ve made a conscious effort to not answer the social quandary of “what have you been doing?”  with “I’ve been busy”.  I don’t want people to define me by what I’m doing.  I want to be identified by who God has created me to be. I still have a long way to go in finding the right balance in life.  In truly letting Him to show through me as my identity and not get caught up in the expectations that we or others place on ourselves.   

by Michele Corgiat on December 8th, 2014

I admit...I am not the most patient person in the world.  I struggle with waiting in lines at the grocery store, waiting for the computer to boot up, waiting for my kids to do their chores, but most of all, I have been struggling with waiting on God.  I have found it difficult to stop focusing on my circumstances and to trust that God is going to work it all out.  Just being real here folks!  Maybe that makes me a bad Christian, but I’m thinking that it is just making me a human.  Recently, I have had no choice but to wait.  The circumstance that I found myself in felt as if my back was against a wall.  I had no other choices but to wait on God to show his handwork, grace, and mercies.  I continue to wait.   In the past week, however,  I have witnessed God’s goodness take root in my situation.  

Sometimes we have to pay deep attention to the small details and recognize God’s presence and presents.  I know that He can perform miracles in an instant, but it seems that He favors a slow and consistent approach.  When we allow God to  weave his faithfulness throughout our lives,  the tapestry that he creates in us is a unique combination of His beauty, grace and trust that is longsuffering.

There are side effects of practicing patience.  We are also given the gift of Thanksgiving. The most amazing position we can find ourselves in is one of being thankful.  It is a humble place but not humiliating.  It is a place of graciousness and not shame.  It is a place where we are allowed to recognize what God has done already in our lives and reminds us that he hasn't forgotten about us.  We remain in his hands. 
Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.…                                
Phillipians 4:5-6

by Michele Corgiat on October 26th, 2014

When I was a kid and we were playing a game, ever so often somebody would yell…”DO OVER’S!!!!” How I translated that as a child was that the person wanting “do-over’s” just didn’t like to lose.   Oh how I wish I had “do over’s” in so many areas of my life now.  This past spring I was asked by a mentor to list three things that I believed in.  I took this task very seriously and wanted to answer as if my life depended on it.  This is what I came up with.

 1. I believe in God and everything that goes with Him.  That the Bible is truth, that Jesus came and died as a sacrifice for my sins, and that he was resurrected in three days.  I believe it ALL! 
2. I believe that relationships are the catalyst for change in our lives.  Whether it is our relationship with Christ, our relationship with friends or family.  We often make changes in our lives due to the influence of others or because we want to influence others.
3. I believe in “do-over’s”.  Let me clarify, I have no desire to go back and relive traumas and dramas.  I know that I can’t take back things done and said (although I often wish I could have “take-backs”).   I do believe that I can continue to try to do “it” better and hopefully be more successful the second, third, or maybe fourth time. 
 What does God say about the “Do-Over” process?  God isn’t about doing the “do-over”, but He is about being the “do-over”.  Isn’t that what salvation is all about?  We get to be a new creation in Him.  We get to BE a “Do-Over”!

Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.17Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,…                                  II Corinthians 5:16-18

We  have the opportunity to be a “do-over”.  He doesn’t desire for us to stew in the guilt of our failures.  Instead, we need to go back to allowing our relationship with Christ to change our heart, effect change in our behaviors, and to be the center of our attention.  Do we always get this perfectly?  No!  But he gives us mercy and allows us “do-over’s” constantly.

The LORD'S loving kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.23They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24"The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I have hope in Him."… Lamentations 3:23

That brings us to having hope that we can work on getting “it” right.  We have to continue holding onto hope that with God’s help, we will find success in Him

But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
5I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.
6I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.
7Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.
Psalm 130:4-7

by Michele Corgiat on October 22nd, 2014

Have you ever had a “really good idea”?  Not an idea that seems good…but an idea that you know will make your life easier, better, and make you feel that you have experienced some feeling of success for at least a day of your chaotic and messy life.  It’s that great idea that you know would be wonderful if you could just find time to implement it.  It may be an organization idea, a marketing idea, a teaching idea or a parenting idea.  We pin them on our imaginary bulletin boards on “Pinterest” and have a brief moment of intention.  The intention of “I will accomplish this _______....this time!”…only to be followed by the call of a child in need, a mess that needs cleaned, or an errand to be run.  I’m not sure when these people find time to do all of their projects that they post online?  
Maybe it’s that underutilized time frame of 1:00 AM – 4:30 AM.  A fellow blogger that I thoroughly have found joy in reading about her daily messy life is Jen Hatmaker.  Over the summer she was posting in the middle of the night.  Yep, that’s when she found time to keep up on her blog!  Whether you are a mother who works out of the home or a mother who’s job is being a stay at home mom (bless you), and you have yet to achieve your “really good idea”, you are not alone.  Keep “pinning”, keep “dreaming”, and just know that someday you will have another “really good idea”!

by Michele Corgiat on July 6th, 2014

I am a girl,
a woman,
a dreamer 
In my youth, I have visions for the future,
but fear my own limitations
I desire to be strong, but I feel so small 
To be a woman of independence,
but I remain in need 
To have a life of adventure,
but revel in the comfort of stability 
I have visions of sailing through life,
but have a constant sense of drowning 
I yearn to be loved by a man that will cherish me as a treasure 
I want to believe that I am that treasure but am not sure
I anguish over God’s presence,
but sense that He has always been there.
I reject the faith of my family,
but want a faith that I own. 
I learn to deal with my wounds,
but struggle to not avoid them at all cost
 So many vie for my attention,
but I struggle with finding a focus that is worthy 
I want to know who I am,
but find this to be journey and not a destination

by Michele Corgiat on July 1st, 2014

Recently, I have come across many young ladies who find themselves in unhealthy relationships with unhealthy guys.  The answer seems crystal clear….lose the looser!  It’s not always that simple! 
When we don’t feel worthy of anything better, we often settle for something less.  

How do we change this “settling” behavior if we don’t feel like we could or should deserve better?  

1.  Change the recording – Most likely there have been messages from people who have been close to you that have caused you to believe that you are of lessor value or worth.  Maybe it came from a parent, grandparent, sibling.  If you have been constantly belittled or criticized, those messages often take a front seat in our brain.  They are the messages that we begin to believe most about ourselves. What would happen if you began changing that recorded message to positives about yourself.  You are worthy, you are a blessing, you are talented, you are intelligent, you have worth to so many people!!!!  As you begin to play this message over and over in your head, you will begin to believe it. 

It’s a fight to drown out the negative messages.  We want to believe the negative so much more than the positive. When you buy those negative message, Satan gets a foot in the door. 
2.  Identify how God see’s you.  
Isaiah 43:1.“But now, this is what the LORD says—He who created you, O Jacob, he who has formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.’ “ 

He knows you by name!!!! He may be a God who created the universe and who is taking care of the “Big Stuff”, but he takes time to know your name and know you intimately. 
Hebrews 4:13  “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” 

Kind of scary to think he knows everything about us, but he loves us in spite of ourselves.  We often try to hide our “true selves” from others because we don’t like the person we think we are…he knows us and still loves us. 

I Samuel 16:7… For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the heart. 

He knows your heart.  He knows when it is hurting.  He knows when it is broken.  He rejoices when we rejoice and he comforts us in our sorrows.  He knows how you feel. 
3.      Take appropriate action -  (a.k.a. – lose the looser!)  In all seriousness, if we know that we are making choices that support the negative view of ourselves , we keep reconfirming the idea that we are not worthy to be loved by the actions we take and whom we take it with.  We will never break this ugly cycle.  Take action!  Make good and healthy changes!  If you need to cut unhealthy people out of your life, do it.  It may be one of the most difficult tasks you have ever done, but it is necessary to find that healthy view of yourself.  If you have an infection, you have to clean the infection out or else it will spread throughout your body.  Negativity is an infection.  Is that other person helping you see yourself in the eyes of Jesus or a negative self that isn’t worthy of a healthy love. 
You are beautiful in God’s eyes.  He made you. He created you with purpose.  He cares about you, even when you don’t feel worthy of being cared for. You deserve the best that God has for you!!!!

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