It is hard to believe that we turned the calendar page to February over a week ago. Where did the 1st month of 2017 go? Ready or not, time marches on and we have said goodbye to the first month of the New Year. By early February, many of us have already given up on our New Year’s Resolutions (remember the ones we made about a month ago?). Although we all make resolutions with good intentions, so many of them aren’t met because of the way we view our sometimes-incremental progress toward them. Many of us don’t make progress toward these goals because of a common thinking error, whether we are aware of this error in our self-talk or not.
For parents, kids returning to school for the new school year is a bittersweet time. We’re ready for consistency, structure, free childcare, and by golly…a much-needed break! But also, we are sad to say goodbye to those extra long snuggles in the morning, late afternoons at the pool, the freedom we get from having less rigidity in our evening and morning plans.
Dear American Veteran, You don’t know me, but in a way you do. I am an average American. I have family and friends. I work a full-time job and have responsibilities. I also have hobbies and interests. Every day I enjoy the freedom that this country offers me. For the most part, I am like a lot of Americans. What is kind of unique about my perspective is that I am a Social Worker, one that has had the privilege to be the therapist for many American Veterans. I love that I get to do this. What hurts my heart is that so many of you all truly lack self-compassion. I see how hard you are on yourself.
A Christmas Carol is one of my favorite classic Christmas movies. Part of me just loves cranky old Ebenezer Scrooge and all his bah humbug grumpiness. I’ve found that in spite of my best efforts to soak up all the Christmas joy each year, it’s easy for my perspective to shift from excited to go gift shopping to feeling financially burdened and stressed about finding the perfect gift for everyone. And from thrilled to attend holiday parties and enjoy time with friends to feeling overwhelmed, over-booked, and just plain exhausted. As I get older, it becomes harder and harder to embrace the magic of the holiday season with childlike wonder and joy…
"What costume are you going to wear?" As Halloween approaches this question is being heard throughout most schools, offices, and homes. The deciding may be one of the harder choices for some. This decision can be difficult for a lot of people. Should I be a werewolf, should I be a princess, should I be a zombie cheerleader. There are so many difficult decisions to make. Which mask are we going to put on for this holiday? Do we want to be scary, do we want to be pretty, or do we want to be funny? It all depends on what mask we decide to put on for a day. Do these masks really represent the roles that we adopt? If we are expected to act one way in a certain role, does that mean we are going to act as is expected of the mask we put on? We may use all of these questions to make the final decision on what costume we want to wear.
Have you heard that Rhianna and Eminem song that came out a few years ago about being “friends with the voices inside of my head” and “get along with the monster that’s under my bed”…or something like that? Well, as I prepare for Halloween, and all the fun of embracing spooky costumes, scary movies, and haunted houses, it got me thinking about the actual stuff we all hold inside that we’re afraid of. The real skeletons in the closets that we’re deathly afraid to look at, much less, embrace and invite into the light of day. It takes serious courage to stop distracting ourselves with our drugs of choice, and face our fears.
Every morning, it was the same thing. At 6:00am, Cole’s mother would turn on the light, touch his brown hair, and say, “It’s time to get up for school. It’s going to be a great day.” Fifteen minutes later, his father would climb the stairs to tell him breakfast was ready, but instead of being awake, Cole had closed his eyes just one more time and fallen soundly asleep. Tensions mounted minute by minute, day by day, and year by year, as Cole’s parents shouldered the responsibility for getting him to school on time. Things worsened as he became older, and his parents wondered if he would ever take responsibility for anything. His parents had rescued him since before he had begun school; unfortunately, 10 years later, Cole continues to depend on his parents to rescue him on term papers, projects, and other things he is capable of doing independently. He needs reminder after reminder to accomplish the simplest task.
It’s that time of year again! Already! So long, summer vacation, relaxation, sleeping in, and lounging by the pool… here comes homework, setting an alarm, and packing lunches. This time of year yields a mixture of emotions for kids and parents (and teachers) alike. Along with the excitement of picking out first day of school outfit options, finding out who your kids’ teachers are, and discovering if your child’s BFF is in her class so she’ll be less nervous, sometimes anticipating the next school-year inspires anxiety and fear – at any age. Back to school ads are everywhere right now telling you to buy the hot new trends for Fall, cute school supplies, and basically the essentials for fitting in and having a successful school year. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the back-to-school madness!
The total agony of not knowing the future, not knowing if it really will be ok, and not knowing if we are making the right choices that will ultimately lead us on the right path can be just that….total agony! Personally, I’m the queen of suffering with uncertainty and have struggled with trusting my gut and letting go of the intense need to know how it will all turn out for as long as I can remember.
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