Insights from Atlanta Counselor Bill Herring, LCSW, CSAT

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Over the years I've enjoyed writing little essays and observations about a variety of topics related to personal growth, emotional development, relationship enhancenment and other topics I find meaningful and interesting. I hope you enjoy them! 

You can read small snippets of each blog post below: click the title of any that interest you to read the entire post.  Each entry has also been loosely grouped into categories which can help guide your viewing.

Long Train, Big Mountain

Since I've worked as an Atlanta counselor and psychotherapist for decades I've been fortunate to frequently witness people making heroic changes in their lives. Sometimes these are major transformations that are evident to anyone close enough to notice, but often the kinds of changes that make the most difference in the long run are subtle and not immediately evident to anyone other than the person who is undertaking them. One of the many challenges along your journey of personal growth occurs during the initial period when other people either don't notice the change you're making or don't believe that it's real.

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The Best Time to Plant An Oak Tree

I love this old saying: "The best time to plant an oak tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today."

Who among us doesn't have at least some feeling of regret about actions not taken in the past? The decisions made in youth often take many years to reach full fruition in later life. Maybe you wish you had mastered a second language, learned how to play a musical instrument, gained skill at a sport, developed your artistic ability, or engaged in any other dream that would be reaping deep emotional dividends today.

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Meaningful Meantime

The phrase "meantime" is defined as the interval between one occurrence and another. As simple as this is, this one word has vital significance to the goal of experiencing a deeply satisfying life. Whether the interval between any two events is very large ("between birth and death") or very small ("between breakfast and lunch"), you are at this moment living somewhere within the span bridged by those two points in time.

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Last Of The Old, First Of The New

In my working counseling many hundreds of individuals and couples over the past two decades I've noticed that many people are striving to create new paradigms in their lives that are very different from anything they experienced in their family heritage. For example, I've seen countless courageous parents attempting to raise their children in ways that represent a striking departure from the way they themselves were brought up. Many people are making commitments to personal growth throughout their entire life cycle when such effort was unheralded in previous generations.

I consider these people to be pioneers of a new landscape, not just figurative but literal explorers in an uncharted world with few existing guideposts. One of the major challenges to being the "first of the new" is the relative absence of meaningful precedence to fall back on, and this lack of easily accessible guidance has resulted in many people simply "winging it", trying to figure out the best they can how to make their way across unfamiliar emotional and relational terrain. It is as if they are cutting a new trail through a wilderness.

Sanity Equals Limits and Boundaries

I once heard someone say "sanity equals limits and boundaries" and the concept has stuck with me ever since. There are a lot of useful ways to apply this philosophy to daily life.

To clarify, I use the word "limits" to apply to the inner self and "boundaries" to apply to others. For example, if you don't buy Girl Scout cookies to save yourself from the temptation of eating the whole box, that's a limit. If you tell a friend not to bring alcohol to your house, that's boundary. Limits address our own behavior while boundaries address to the behavior of others. One is measured inwardly and the other outwardly.

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Sometimes A Problem Is A Solution

We all have lots of problems.....or so we think. I recently heard a simple but powerful statement that merits a lot of reflection:

What you typically think of as problems are often

 simply solutions you don't like.

The most basic definition of a problem is a struggle or conflict with no readily achievable solution. But more often than we care to admit, it isn't that the answer is outside of our grasp; it's just that we don't want to face it.

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Progress Works Backwards

To resolve a problem obviously means that a desired outcome has been reached, while progress means that some type of incremental improvement has been made. Seems simple, right? If something "bad" gets "better", most people would consider that to be progress. But have you ever considered the implication that progress works backwards? Let me explain what I mean.

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Go Slower to Get There Faster

The phrase "go slower to get there faster" is an important component of personal growth.

We all generally want to achieve our goals quickly, right? Magazine covers are filled with tips for "losing weight fast", and the desire to "get rich quick" is compelling. Yet it's common knowledge that weight quickly lost can be easily regained, and the idea that "fast money" can be earned with little investment is a major reason the housing market tumbled and investment earnings evaporated almost overnight.

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