My Wish for You; A Poem

I came across this timeless poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson (who wrote poetry in the 1800’s):

This is my wish for you;

Comfort on difficult days,

smiles when sadness intrudes,

rainbows to follow the clouds,

laughter to kiss your lips.

Sunsets to warm your heart,

hugs when spirits sag,

beauty for your eyes to see,

friendships to brighten your being.

Faith so that you can believe,

confidence for when you doubt,

courage to know yourself,

patience to accept the truth,

Love to complete your life.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is my wish for you. What lovely sentiments that we can hold in our thoughtful intentions for the loved ones in our lives, including ourselves. 🙂

Photo credit:http://Photo by Saad Chaudhry on Unsplash

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Self-Reflection Question #5

Today’s self-reflection question is an interesting one:

“Does it really matter what others think of me?”

Interesting because I would say that the answer is “It depends.” If we tend to suffer from low self-confidence or self-worth, we can often spend far too much time worrying about what other people think of us. We begin to fear that others are judging us, which can lead to denying invitations to social functions or gatherings. If we tend to lean into perfectionist tendencies, we may also care too much about others think, as we are trying to aspire to expectations that are unrealistic.

Other times, we may not care enough. Indifference to others, a need to have our own needs met first, or leaning into an over-confident nature can lead us to a place where we are only considering our own thoughts and become dismissive of others.

It would seem that if we care too much about what other people think, we carry the weight of the hurt and if we don’t care enough about what other people think, we run the risk of hurting those closest to us.

Perhaps the answer lies in who and not what. Perhaps, when we think about what other people think of us, it should be the people that matter to us the most that we think about when answering that question. “Does it really matter what my loved ones think of me?” And the answer to that should be “Yes!”

Photo credit: http://Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

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Sesame Street Does It Again

In true Sesame Street fashion, they are not shying away from tackling real issues for children. In an article entitled “Yellow-haired Muppet Karli helps ‘Sesame Street’ tackle addiction,” by Kristen Dahlgren and Jay Blackman and featured on NBC news, we meet Karli, a muppet who has to enter foster care because her mother suffered from addiction. Karli joins many other muppets in bringing issues that affect children to the forefront, including Julia, a muppet on the Autism spectrum and Lily, a muppet who lives in poverty.

All too often, the issues that we face as a society we shelter from our children. And yet, it affects children. As much as we like to think that the “resiliency” of children will be their saving grace, we have also witnessed a significant rise in the number of young adults suffering from anxiety and depression – resilient, yes, but it often comes with a price tag.

Bringing a face to the experience will help children feel validated and understood. Perhaps meeting Karli will allow a child to feel less alone, and perhaps less likely to carry the shame that will come with such an experience. Children not experiencing a similar situation can begin to learn that not everyone has the same life and we need to be open to accepting everyone’s experience. Good job, Sesame Street!

To read the full article:

Photo credit: http://Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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Relationship Behaviours That Are Not Cool

Being in relationship is an invested process. When we begin to examine relationship issues in therapy, I often speak about the fact that our behaviours either feed the health of the relationship, or its dysfunction. The following list are things that feed the dysfunction of the relationship and will lead to issues of mistrust, unease, and general dissatisfaction:

  • Dismissing your partner’s feelings.
  • Extreme reactions (of any kind – they lead to mixed messages and drama, both of which are harmful)
  • Love bombing – also on the extreme continuum; love bombing is all or nothing. One minute you are lavished in love, the next, you are being accused of something, mistreated or ignored.
  • Blaming your partner; for your actions, for their actions – it is the underlying and consistent tone of blame that harms the communication process.
  • Gaslighting – rewriting events to convince your partner they happened a certain way.
  • Using guilt to control; including threatening to hurt yourself.
  • Jealousy; leading to constant, unfounded accusations.

All of these behaviours exist on a continuum. The more extreme they are constitutes for emotional abuse. The same abuse principle applies if you recognize many of these behaviours in your relationship. Abusive behaviour is never okay.

Seek help. Move on if necessary. Work towards a relationship where the health of it is being fed by both partners. After all, relationships are an investment 🙂

Photo credit: http://Photo by Vish K on Unsplash

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Chanel Miller Speaks; Oprah Podcast

In 2015, we knew her as Emily Doe. She was the victim in what the world has come to know as the “Stanford Rape Case.” Brock Turner was found guilty of sexual assault and served only three months.

In Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations Podcast, she sits down with Chanel Miller; Chanel has written a book called “Know My Name” and is speaking out about the experience and how her life changed as a result. When Oprah asks her if there was ever a time when Chanel felt like harming herself, to not go on living, this is what Chanel shared:

“I think sometimes, when you are really isolated, you think I’m just going to slip out the back door, the world is going to keep spinning,  I can’t be here right now. Then I would think, no that’s not the case – I would always keep coming back to the thought – This can’t be it. This can’t be the ending, or where the story ends. How impossible. Because up until then there were so many things that I enjoyed doing. I enjoyed drawing, I enjoying running. And I knew that self was there and I would look around and wonder what happened to her – I knew she was always there, I just couldn’t figure out how to get back to her. And I would always tell myself, “Even if you have no idea what your future looks like, something is there.”

In her times of hopelessness, Chanel searched for the hope – even when it was momentarily hidden from her. She goes on to speak about leaning into mantras she had learned from her mother about staying open, about learning in order to grow and she would focus on how to do that in even the smallest of ways.

A very poignant episode, an eloquent and well spoken young woman. This podcast is worth your listening time:

After the trial was over, Chanel’s (then Emily Doe) 12 page victim impact statement was released, with her permission. It was a powerful read:

Photo credit: http://Photo by Faris Mohammed on Unsplash

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Gratitude Quote for Thanksgiving

What better day to share a gratitude quote than on Thanksgiving weekend:

“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer

We have many reasons to be thankful; including those people for whom we are grateful – past, present and for those we haven’t met yet. 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Photo credit: http://Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

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In Order to Thrive: Post 6

In our last on a series on which we have explored what the Canadian Mental Health Association marks as 6 things we need in order to thrive, today we examine sense of belonging.

As I often remark, we are a relationship species. Part of our ability to have a sense of self, purpose, contribution, hope and resilience depends upon the connection we have with others. When we have the sense that we belong, we feel accepted; when we can feel unconditional acceptance from others, it leads to feeling safe and secure.

Sometimes we get our sense of belonging from only a few people; other times from the communities we are connected to such as a church, group, or sports team. Sometimes our sense of belonging extends to where we live, and to society in general. We feel that we are part of something bigger than ourselves; we recognize the value in having supportive people in our life.

Cultivating our sense of belonging includes the appreciation of other, being open minded to both the similarities and differences to those around us, saying yes to opportunities to making our world a bit bigger. It is about feeling good about our personal relationships.

This concludes our series highlighting six areas we need in order to thrive. Our goals for emotional wellness can begin to include self-reflection, recognizing the areas that we have identified as our current strengths and reinforcing any area that may require some fortifying. We can continue growth through cultivation.

To visit the Canadian Mental Health Association website:

Photo credit: http://Photo by Ben Duchac on Unsplash

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In Order to Thrive: Post 5

As noted by the Canadian Mental Health Association, we need 6 things to help us thrive. So far in our series, we have explored sense of self, purpose, contribution and hope. Today, we look at resilience.

Resilience is our ability to adapt and bounce back from adversity. Although there are certain factors that can lead a person to be more resilient, such as having a positive attitude and being able to regulate emotions, resilience is also something that can be cultivated. Two areas that we can work on in this area include:

  • Addressing what we do have control over. We can’t get through life without some adversity; difficulties tend to come with a sense that we don’t have any choices. But we do have control over how we react, on how we choose to process the adversity, on making decisions as to how we heal from our troubles.
  • Seeing adversity as a challenge and not something that is paralyzing. Failures are viewed as mistakes, grief is viewed as a part of life, growth can come out of trauma.

Resilient people tend to set goals, they see the value in self-care, they lean into their support circle for guidance and love. Like the other senses we have touched upon, resilience can be developed with attention and time.

Tomorrow we will conclude our series with a sense of belonging.

To visit the Canadian Mental Health Association website:

Photo credit: http://Photo by Tina Rolf on Unsplash

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In Order to Thrive: Post 4

The Canadian Mental Health Association lists a sense of hope as one of the factors that contribute to our ability to thrive.

We are born with eternal hope. It is one of the traits that allows us to have faith that things will work out; that the rough times will pass; that we can face our challenges. A sense of hope; however, is cultivated.

When we feel intrinsically that we have some control over which direction our life can go, we feed hope. When we look for a deeper meaning in what has hurt us, integrating the experience, we feed hope.  When we connect with someone else’s story, we feed hope. Sometimes it requires that we shift our expectations; sometimes we may need to purposefully seek out the good in the world.

And lastly, we can reinforce hopeful feelings through our joyful moments. Making sure that we build joy into our lives, we actively cultivate our sense of hope, contributing to our overall sense of well being and a satisfied life.

To visit the Canadian Mental Health Association website:

Photo credit: http://Photo by Jan Tinneberg on Unsplash

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In Order to Thrive: Post 3

Moving right along in our series about the 6 things we need to thrive (as noted by the Canadian Mental Health Association), today we look at sense of contribution. This is a bit different to our sense of purpose, although has similar qualities. As we learned yesterday, our sense of purpose helps to define our priorities and helps to give our future meaning and security. Contribution tends to be more about the act of giving and can even include altruism – which is the act of giving without expecting anything in return.

We are a relationship species; we rely on connection to feel secure and safe. Being able to give to others, whether it be to our loved ones, our co-workers, the communities we belong to or to society in general, allows us to form connections that are meaningful. We can contribute financially or through volunteering; our acts of kindness towards others count as well.

A sense of contribution is important for our emotional health as it gives us a sense that what we do matters to others. It also allows us to feel useful and productive – two factors that help to create movement and growth. It is comforting to know that we can make the world a better place in our own way, big or small, acknowledged or not.

It is important for us to examine in what ways we contribute; not only are we making others happy, we feed our own sense of contentedness as well.

To visit the Canadian Mental Health Association website:

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