Check out the following article I wrote for marriage.com:
Let’s work to tear down the wall,
Check out the following article I wrote for marriage.com:
Let’s work to tear down the wall,
Let it Shine,
Check on this article on dealing with stress:
Check out a recent article I wrote for the popular British website, Having Time:
Let’s see the value in our own green grass,
Please check out the recent article I wrote for Marriage.com. They are the world’s largest online marriage website and they are committed to providing information and a community that supports healthy, happy marriages.
May we recognize the importance of autonomy and connection in our relationships,
Check out this post on the benefits of online therapy:
Please check out the article below I wrote for the mindfulness, peace, health and happiness online magazine, OutofStress:
Let’s be gracious to one another,
Are you interested in signing up for online therapy? Check out this post:
When I tell you that you are beautiful, I don’t just mean your appearance. I mean all of you; who and what you are is beautiful. Steve Maraboli
As I child, I remember sitting in the bathroom with my mom and watching her get ready for the day. One day in the bathroom, I told my mom how beautiful she was and I clearly remember her answering,”No, I’m not.”
At a very young age, I knew my mom was a very pretty woman, but somehow she did not know this deep within herself. In college, she had been a contestant in the Miss Alabama pageant. Even as a 70 year old woman, friends tell me how pretty my mom is, but I am still not sure she realizes she is and has always been an attractive woman.
My mom’s dad left the home, when she was only three years old. I imagine the absence of a father, to express pride in her and affirm her, contributed to her own diminished self-esteem. Over the years, I have met many people, like my mom, who struggle to see their own beauty. And often when someone has difficulty seeing their external beauty, they also can’t see their internal worth.
Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time with teens, who have told me stories about family members or teachers telling them in various ways that they will not amount to anything. Even if this is not what their teachers or family members actually said, this is what they have heard. And because they have internalized the message that they will not amount to anything, it becomes extremely difficult to convince these teens of their beauty and worth.
I often invite teens to combat their negative thoughts about themselves, by saying an “I am” mantra. I encourage them to look at themselves in the mirror, as they speak these words of truth to themselves. We can rewire the way we see ourselves, if we find a new vocabulary. Here are some examples:
Recently, I spoke with an elementary school child, and she told me about another child at school telling her, “Your face is ugly.” The child pointed out a scar on her face, and she verbally expressed to me her worry that this is why she had been told she was ugly.This dear and beautiful child, was already internalizing the comments of others, at too young of an age.
I pointed out to her several scars on my face, and told her that these scars did not take away from my beauty or from her own beauty. After I told her this, she said she was going to make up a game for us to play, and I agreed to play her game, which she called “pretty tag.” She explained to me her rules for “pretty tag”, which she had just made up, on the spot. If you want to play this game, all you need to do is tag everything you think is pretty. She said she would go first and so she touched a pretty wreath, a necklace, and many other lovely items. And then she tagged me and then she tagged herself!
Her game thrilled me, because I felt like our conversation had helped her to reframe things. She was reminded of her beauty and worth. Perhaps you could play your own game of “pretty tag” today.
I encourage you to say some “I am” mantras in the mirror today. Or maybe you can capture the lively spirit of a five year old child and play a game of “pretty tag.” It is so important to know our worth and beauty, and to also find it in one another.
Tag your it,
Please visit this post to learn more about the difference between a therapist and a psychologist:
Please check out the article I wrote for a popular website in the United Kingdom called, Having Time.
Let’s Go Scared,
This post provides info on how to find a therapist near you:
I originally wrote the article below for the Mountain Mirror. http://www.mountainmirror.com/
Many years ago I helped facilitate a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) support group for Vietnam Veterans. The Veterans told me stories of coming home from war and being spit on, jeered and despised. These veterans, who served in combat in their teens and twenties, had just seen and experienced atrocities of war that no one should have to witness at any age. They saw fellow soldiers die and witnessed the death of innocent children. And then they sadly came back to a nation that treated them with vitriol. These soldiers already were wrestling with profound survivor’s guilt and shame because of their time in Vietnam, and then they returned home, only to have their shame exaggerated by fellow Americans, who treated them as if they were immoral and un-loveable.
The experience of Vietnam Veterans is just one of many examples, validating how our culture influences the way we treat and see one another. When we look at history we can find countless examples of a majority group perceiving themselves to better than a minority group. We now know the way African Americans and many other groups of people have been treated by our country was horrific and yet not so long ago the Jim Crow laws enforced racism. I think we find ourselves again in a time when we have to be careful to be intentional to choose to see, affirm and celebrate all people.
2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the inception of the children’s show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968-2001). Mr. Rogers was an integral part of my childhood and perhaps he was a big part of your own memories as a child. For those of us who watched him regularly, we may underestimate the way his ideas informed our own worldview and the way we see one another. At the end of every show, Mr. Rogers said, “You’ve made this day a special day, by just your being you. There’s no person in the whole world like you; and I like you just the way you are.” Mr. Rogers not only heartened children to accept themselves, but songs like, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” encouraged us to see and accept others just as we find them. In his book, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember, Fred Rogers says, “As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has- or ever will have- something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.”
Mr. Rogers argued that our call in life is to see the unique gifts and beauty in all people. My concern is that the current climate of anxiety we find ourselves living in, is causing us to fear one another, in lieu of highlighting the gifts and graces that are present in all people. In the last few years, I’ve been aware of a growing climate of judgment and gossip in our culture. It seems like we need Mr. Rogers’ encouragement to see one another more than ever. We must be careful to look for the good in others, instead of seeing the flaws.
I also think it is vital to differentiate between our own experiences with a person or group of people, versus seeing others through someone else’s lens. It is important to remember that we all observe the world from our own narrow perspective and this outlook is based on our culture, beliefs, feelings, worldview, social history, and personality.
The way we treat other people correlates with how we see ourselves and the world around us. As we nurture the beauty in others, we simultaneously cultivate the divine light within ourselves and the world.
The recently school shootings across our country have been heart-breaking. But I do think these shootings can help us to pause and think about the importance of making sure people know they are valued, seen, and loved. In 2003, Mark Leary and his colleagues analyzed 15 cases of school shooters, and found all but two of the shooters suffered from social rejection (Aggressive Behavior, 2003). I think one of the best ways we can respond to the violence in our world, is to make sure we find concrete ways to communicate to our veterans, our children, and all people in our circle that they are loved, worthy, and special. We must continue Mister Rogers’ work of making sure people know they truly are “rare and valuable.”
Lately, I have been aware of a growing tendency in our culture to demonize one another. Earlier this year, Fergie, sang her own unique version of the National anthem at a NBA all-star game. The talented musician tried a sultry jazz approach and while it was not my favorite version of the national anthem, I was shocked by thousands of cruel and mean-hearted responses on Twitter to Fergie.
More recently, the news host, Laura Ingraham, disparaged David Hogg; a 17 year old student who survived the school shootings in Parkland, Florida. On Twitter, she shared: “David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it…”
I am sure Laura regrets her comments (we all make mistakes), but I was disheartened she would make fun of a teenager, for not getting into college, especially when he and his classmates have just experienced so much trauma and grief. But even though I did not like Laura Ingraham’s message to the Parkland teen, I think we have to be careful to respond in a thoughtful way to her, so that we are not continuing the vicious cycle of hate-filled responses.
As adults, we talk to kids about bullying, but more recently it is us, the so-called “grown-ups” that are doing the bullying. As children we learned the rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But this message we learned as children is wrong, and the truth is words do hurt.
A research study, conducted by Heaphy and Losada, examined 60 business leadership teams, to determine the ideal “praise to criticism ratio.” They found the most effective of the 60 teams, had a ratio of 5.6 positive words to 1 negative word. Words of praise included phrases like, “That’s a terrific idea” and a negative example is, “I don’t agree with you.” The lowest performing work teams, had almost three negative words for every positive one.
My husband’s love language is affirmation and I have noticed that when I affirm him and tell him I am proud of him, it is as if he becomes an Easter lily that blooms or a butterfly that soars out of the cocoon. When I am being critical towards him, the budding flower closes back up and I clip his wings and ability to fly.
Everyday on social media, in our workplaces and in our relationships, we have the choice to speak words of life or words of death to one another. You will find that your workplace, marriage, friendships and the world we live in, will thrive more, when we start treating one another with dignity, love and respect.
Perhaps it is difficult to think about how we can be kinder to the family member who is, “Good for nothing.” When I start to feel this way about someone, I remember Brene Brown’s sage advice, “People are hard to hate close-up. Move in.” How can we move in closer and start to see the gifts and graces of the people we struggle to see and appreciate? We have all been through difficulties and pain, and love is a universal need that everyone deserves. Affirmation is a love language we all need. Let’s stop the bullying and move in closer and fill this world up with love.
Let’s see and affirm one another,