Friday, February 27, 2015

The Dress that Broke the Internet!

Really...  Amazing that this dress is everywhere.  Not only on every social media feed but national news shows spent a considerable amount of time discussing this picture -

What is so amazing to me is NOT that people see different colors when looking at the same picture (for those of you who have avoided all media today, some people see blue/black and others see white/gold in this picture) but that it has become such a news priority that EVERYONE is talking about it.  
Basically the phenomenon has something to do with reflected light, ratios, cones, blah blah blah.  I don't really get it, but a lot of smart people seem to so that is good enough for me.

What I find fascinating is how no matter which way we see this dress we seem to be CERTAIN we are seeing it RIGHT.  The idea that two different people could look at the same thing, picture or event and see something different seems to have shocked the nation.  


Examples of when one person sees something differently than the next person happens all the time.  Remember those computer generated images of the 1980s that when you stared at them long enough and unfocused your eyes an entirely new picture showed up?  That's what this reminds me of.  We seem to be fascinated with the fact that if we see or think something to be true that someone else does not.


We all have our own values and ideas which act like lenses for which we see things through every day. Since we all have different interpretations of events we can look at the same event or person and see it completely differently.  Take a simple example:  My son.  In my eyes he is a sweet and loving and beautiful boy.  I'm his mom, thats my perspective.  My daughter on the other hand looks at my son and often sees a manipulative, sneaky, stinky little boy.  Who's right?  
Every mom out there knows it depends on who you ask and what day it is...
Just because we think something it does not make it a fact.  Yet when we think we know something to be a fact and someone else tells us differently we have trouble accepting it to be true.  Hence the reason this silly dress controversy became top story on the morning news.  


So with that in mind, how often do you find yourself judging other people, situations or yourself in a negative way?

Do you think things like, "He's a snob" or "I'm a loser" or "I am ugly, fat, stupid".  Do you label yourself or others because of a thought that pops in your head?  
Do you believe that thought to be a fact or just a thought?  When you buy into every negative thought as if it is true and there is no other way to see it, you may find yourself defeated, depressed, stressed, or anxious.  What if you were able to ask yourself if there was possibly another way to see the situation?  Could that white/gold dress be blue/black?  

Can I see my beauty, intelligence, compassion?  

 How can I change the lens though which I am looking?

Allow yourself to recognize that your brain sees something one way and someone else's sees it another way - and that is OK.  Thinking something does not make it TRUE.  

So when you find yourself stuck with negative thoughts about situations, other people or yourself, think of this silly dress and recognize that a thought is just a thought and no matter how certain you think you are about something,  someone else will be just as certain the opposite is true.   Take a step back and look at the big picture and ask yourself if there is another way to see the situation.  A way that looks at the positive, the beauty or the learning that can come of any experience. 

I see this dress as a reminder that we all see things differently and the more we open our minds to other possibilities the happier and more resilient we can be!

For more information on counseling or coaching or would like to attend a workshop or have a free consultation please check out and contact me.

Cara Maksimow, LCSW, CPC

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Perfection vs Positivity

Have you ever heard the term "Don't let Perfection stand in the way of Progress?"  There was a time when I would hear that phrase and not quite get it.  I saw it as an excuse for doing things in a sub par or less than ideal way.  Being a perfectionist I found it difficult to accept.  

Currently I work with clients to help them gain positivity and resilience and escape the challenges of stress, depression and anxiety.  The more I work with others, the more I learn myself. 

Perfection can be toxic!

When we look to be perfect in every way we can easily become disappointed and frustrated and that can lead to stress and feelings of depression.  

To gain more positivity (and progress) in your life - get rid of the idea of perfect.  I often ask my clients to take a piece of paper and write out "perfection" and throw it away.

Mistakes can be good!

You may be thinking that makes no sense however think about things you have learned in your life that have made you a stronger and better at something.  Were you perfect from the beginning or did it take trial and error to figure it out?  We are human and we make mistakes.  The key is to recognize it quickly, accept it and learn from it.  

Keep in mind you will make mistakes and you will get stronger.  It is supposed to be that way.  Our imperfections are part of who we are and there for us to grow.

Be kind to yourself!

Don't let "perfect" get in the way of increased positivity!

Feel free to contact me to learn more!

Cara Maksimow, LCSW, CPC