How to Choose the BEST Therapist for Your Child

child and parent looking at each other with connected hands london-scout-41029 unplash

Photo by London Scout

You are feeling you need to get help for your child. You want the BEST to help your child feel better and be able to function in the world in the most healthy way possible. It is so hard to come to a place where you feel you need help. But at times that is what is needed. Part of our job as parents is to recognize this and do what is needed to help our child have a reparative experience to heal and move forward. It may be to learn coping skills or how to communicate feelings or to deal with other things that are affecting your child in a negative way. As a child therapist I always try to help those in this situation find the best fit for their child or teen and for them as parents because I know this will mean the best outcome.

Key Components in Finding the BEST Child Therapist for Your Child

  1. Take into consideration what age your child is and find a therapist who has specialized training to do work with this age. If you have a child who is under 9 years of age, it is best to consider a Registered Play Therapist. Even if your child is older than this, it may be best to go this route. Those under 12 will normally benefit from this kind of therapy as well.  Play therapists are trained to interact and treat children in a way that is developmentally appropriate and that is most effective with this age. Play therapy is not just for young children. As a Registered Play Therapist I work with children and teens in a playful, activity based way that engages and helps children / teens to process and heal. In addition, play therapy can be used with adults.  Go to www.a4pt.org to find a listing of Registered Play Therapist in your area. This is the Association for Play Therapy’s national website. It has information on Play Therapy if you go into the Parent’s Corner section. If you have a teen, then you will want to have someone who regularly works with teens. A good play therapist will adapt the therapy to match the child or teen. Please note: Different child therapists will each have their own lower age limit. For many it is 3 years of age. Therapy for under 3 years of age is normally done in a parent/child format.
  2. Check in with the therapist and make sure they treat whatever you are needing help with. Each therapist will have their own specialties within the Child Therapy world. Or some areas they do not treat. So it is good to ask before you book an intake.
  3. Find a Child Therapist who also does Family Therapy.  Good child / teen therapy work will involve parents. As a therapist we will most of the time only see a child one hour a week. Parents play an integral part in helping their child or teen to get better. Parent sessions should be a part of treatment, along with parent / child work or family therapy if this fits with the particular situation. This kind of work involves a balance of helping children / teens have a safe place to express feelings and one in which they will be encouraged to work with their parents, but not forced. I love this wonderful opportunity to help families be more whole and help each other be more supportive and nurturing of one another. One therapist licensure that has specialized training in family therapy work is Licensed Marital and Family Therapists (LMFT). But there are others who have great training as well.
  4. Read up or ask about the therapist’s professional background – training and experience. Many therapist have a website which can be helpful in an initial screening as you begin your search. Some folks do an internet search. This said not all therapist have a website. In this case you will want to ask them directly about their background.
  5. Ask parents or other professionals that you trust if they have a recommendation to look into.  Sometimes your school or child’s doctor will know of some folks they feel comfortable recommending. But in the end it is who you feel comfortable with to treat your child. I might add that I think it is best to talk with a couple of different folks to get some feel for them as a person and as a professional before you set an appointment. Some therapists are willing to have a bit of a chat with you before you come in for a parent intake. This can be very helpful.
  6. Seek an individual that you feel will be a fit for your child or teen and you as a parent. Therapists come with different kinds of training and different kinds of approaches. Plus therapists are humans. They will each have their own personalities and ways of connecting with their clients. Find one that is a fit as to feeling comfortable with their approach and their personality. If you find you or your child are not able to connect and develop a relationship, then find someone who fits that bill. I am not suggesting going from therapist to therapist. If you have done some homework before and have a parent intake, you will probably know if it is going to work for you and your child or teen. Developing a close working relationship is key. 
  7. Check out the therapy “environment”. Does it feel warm and safe? Is the child therapy room set up with developmentally appropriate therapy materials? This would include: a therapeutic sand tray with miniatures, creative art therapy materials, puppets, doll houses, make-believe props, plus other materials that will allow children to express or act out their feelings. Therapeutic games for those that are older may be a part of this therapy set up. This kind of environment leads to playful fun and healing at the same time.
  8. Don’t be shy. Ask any question that you have about the therapy process or really anything that you feel you need to know as a parent. Your therapist should be ok with questions. A good child therapist will want to have a collaborative relationship with you the parent.
  9. The practical basics have to be considered: Kind of Setting, Fees, Location, Appointment Times. This really could be an article in itself. So this is the highlights. Settings could include: Private Practice, Non Profit Organizations, School Based, Home Based. There really are some choices. There are pros and cons for each of these choices. You will want to decide what you most want from the therapy to help decide this question. There is self pay and in and out of network insurance, health savings accounts as to how to pay for therapy. There are special considerations with choices here as well.  Appointment times and location are of course another thing that will impact your choice.
child happy on unsplash collection by michael-mims-134037 blog on therapy 2-

Photo by Michael Mims

The right therapist for your child is out there. With a little bit of research you will find the BEST therapist for your child. Best wishes in finding the right fit!

PROFESSIONAL DISCLOSURE: THIS BLOG IS OFFERED AS EDUCATIONAL INFORMATION AND IS NOT OFFERED AS PROFESSIONAL THERAPEUTIC SERVICES. THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO SERVE AS TREATMENT. FOR PROFESSIONAL HELP CONTACT YOUR LOCAL MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL. STROM INDIVIDUAL AND FAMILY THERAPY IS NOT LIABLE FOR ANY ACTION OR NON ACTION YOU TAKE IN REGARD TO THIS ARTICLE.

Setting & Keeping Healthy Holiday Boundaries

andrew-walton-w_andrew_j-instagram-176048

photo by andrew-walton

As we are now immersed in the holiday season, it is a good time to decide if it is gong the way we want it to go. There are so many ways to celebrate and so many activities to be involved in. Lots of decisions as to what to do within this potentially beautiful time of the year. So getting a clear vision of what you want is a good start  The second part can sometimes be the more challenging one – setting boundaries.

Here are Five Tips in Setting Healthy Holiday Boundaries

  1. Creating a Vision of What You Do Want. This is the first step in creating healthy holiday boundaries. What is it that you most want and desire for the holidays? What kinds of things would you see  yourself doing if you were creating a holiday that you most wish to create?
  2. Sharing Your Vision with Your Partner and Children. This may or may not be their vision. So it may mean being able to collaborate and find a way you can all have some things you most desire. Or you may have two visions – one for you and one for your family, coming to a place of self-care and of spending conscious mindful time with your family.
  3. Set Healthy Respectful Boundaries to Protect Your Emotional and Physical Self. If you feel something is just too much or you really do not want to participate in something, it is ok to say no. We can say this tactfully and politely. But we can say no. We can suggest something else that will work for us. Or we can just say no. This is hard ,for we all want others to be happy with us. But in the end we really need to do what is best for us and our emotional and physical health. If we are concerned about hurting feelings, we can say something positive and express our caring if we feel the other person will see our no as a rejection.
  4. Whatever You Decide, Enjoy Each Moment in a Mindful Way. Be good with what you decide. Try not to second guess yourself. Or feel guilty or selfish. Your job is to be joyful and take good care of yourself. I am not saying we do not care or assist others, just that we do it in a way that balances with what really works for us. It may be it feels good to do something extra for somebody. The thing is that we are doing it because it is what we really want to do or feel is the best for us in the long run. It is all about the many choices that lay in front of us and mindfully choosing.

Enjoy this wonderful holiday season. Peace and light to you all.

 

alexey-kuzmin-175371

photo by alexey-kuzmin

 

Professional Disclosure: This blog is offered as educational information and is not offered as professional therapeutic services. This is not intended to serve as treatment. For professional help contact your local mental health professional. Strom Individual and Family Therapy is not liable for any action or non action you take in regard to this article.

 

Facing the Dragon Together

couple holding hands andrew-welch-229150 (2)

Bad things happen. We struggle. We feel pain. We need our loved one by our side. This is what Dr. Sue Johnson, Creator of Emotionally Focused Couple’s Therapy would call “Facing the Dragon Together”. As human beings this is one of the reasons we are wired for human connection and bonding, to get us through the tough times. As Dr. Johnson would say, “We are bonding mammals.” It is part of our survival system.

I had the opportunity to obtain some additional training with Dr. Johnson this last weekend in Austin. The focus was on Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy for Trauma Survivors. This kind of therapy focuses on adult attachment. As we are now learning, attachment and bonding is not just for children.  We all need a secure base of attachment with knowing someone is there for us and will respond with helping us to face the dragons we encounter.


Dr. Johnson’s acronym: ARE is helpful in looking at the key points of attachment.

ARE YOU THERE FOR ME?

  • Are you ACCESSIBLE? – Do I matter?
  • Are you RESPONSIVE? – Can I depend on you?
  • Are you ENGAGED?

What is NOT helpful when couples face internal or outside the relationship distress is DISCONNECTION. Isolation and withdrawal only fuels our panic and feelings of being over-whelmed. This leading to escalation of helplessness and more disconnection. This is a behavioral cycle that  make matters worse.

The dance of  “attunement, engagement, and responsiveness” leads us to the  “safe haven” we all need. Reaching out and taking a chance and engaging in a “dance of attachment” with our partner is what we need to “face our dragons together”.

When we experience fear, we need a place of safety. We need connection and comfort to sooth our anxiety.  This is what our secure attached relationship can provide.

We all have dragons to face at one time or another. Secure attachment to our partner protects us from trauma. Plus, we cannot forget the “healing power” of our relationships if we must face trauma. So take your partner’s hand and face your dragons together!

Source Material for this Blog Article: Facing the Dragon Together: EFT for Traumatized Couples. Presented by Dr. Sue Johnson. November 3-4, 2017 in Austin, TX.
Professional Disclosure: This blog is offered as educational information and is not offered as professional therapeutic services. This is not intended to serve as treatment. For professional help contact your local mental health professional. Strom Individual and Family Therapy is not liable for any action or non action you take in regard to this article.

 

 

Gratitude for the Small Things Grows Your Relationship

 gratitude-quote-on-small-sitll-voice-of-gratitude-in-pear-shape

Do you give your loved one credit for when he or she “tries” to show their love or caring? Gratitude for these small steps can create a beautiful chain of more happiness and connection in your relationship.

Maybe it is not exactly what you had hoped for but it is a try or an effort toward what you do want. It is easy to get into a state of wanting it exactly the way you want it and standing firm that you will not be content unless it is that way. I am not saying you should give up on what you want or need, but that you should consider the “process” of getting where you want to be in your relationship.

Some Things to Consider as Loved Ones “Try” to Show Their Love and Caring:

  1. It does not have to be perfect. When you expect perfection and your sweetheart comes up short, it is a set up for dis-contentment or unhappiness. Maybe you want or hope for more. And that can come. But in the moment you can acknowledge the try or effort toward what you wanted or hoped for. Maybe you want a sharing of chores in the household. Your husband chooses to help with dishes one night. It may not be all you want, but it is a start. 
  2. Search for the parts in the try that feel good to you. Be mindful of what is being done or offered to you. It is Valentines Day and your husband brings you chocolates home. You like chocolate but you had hoped for something new and different. You can still enjoy the chocolates, savoring each piece knowing your spouse was thinking of what he knew you liked and was trying to please you. 
  3. Let your loved one know you appreciate what they did do. This will bring more of this your way and beyond. You have been telling your wife you would like to carve out more couple time away from the kids. You are thinking in your head a weekend away. She sets up a 2 hour date night. You choose to thank her for carving out this special one on one time to be just with you. 
  4. Let the good stuff from the try or effort sink in and stay with you. Let it nourish your inner self and know you are cared for. Let it be a part of you, not letting it slip away. Keep it as a touchstone to remember and build on.

gratitude-quote-with-flower-pics

Moving Toward More of What you Do Want:

  •  Do express your needs and desires. Do so in a calm, respectful manner, letting your partner know how this specific action will help to make you a better couple and increase happiness for both of you. Avoid demanding or insisting.
  • When these things occur let your happiness show, telling your partner how this makes you feel and express your thankfulness. This does matter. Your visible reaction and encouragement helps your loved one to know it is worth it.Plus it makes them feel very good as well. And it increases your chances of more connection.
  • Do illicit and ask your loved one what it is that THEY need or are hoping for in your relationship. Try to work toward these desires if it is a healthy request that could strengthen your relationship.

Let the small acts of love take root in your heart for they can grow and fill your soul with happiness and joy.

Professional Disclosure: This blog is offered as educational information and is not offered as professional therapeutic services. This is not intended to serve as treatment. For professional help contact your local mental health professional. Strom Individual and Family Therapy is not liable for any action or non action you take in regard to this article.

 

 

Less Serious, More Playful

Less Serious, More Playful

Feel like your life is one endless stream of “to do” tasks? All work, no play. You can go through your life seriously “serious” all the time. I have to admit I tend to run this way, full of purpose … Continue reading

How to Create What YOU Really Want for the Holidays Ahead

happy-holidays-with-snow-and-penquin

I cannot believe I am writing a blog post on this, but it has already began – the thinking, the obsessing, the worrying, the planning, the stressing about the holidays ahead. The four upcoming holidays can feel like they all merge together into one massive overwhelm. It can be hard to separate them out. But of course it does not have to be that way. I want to share some ideas on creating holidays that are truly what YOU want. And now is the time to contemplate all of this – at the beginning of this time frame.

It is so easy to get caught up in it all and end up doing things you may not really want to do. Or to sometimes not really plan and end up not doing what you really want to do with your holiday time. So here are some ideas to consider.

 Questions you might ask yourself about the upcoming holidays that may help you be the true “creator” of  YOUR  holidays:

  1. What would my perfect holiday times look like? What would I be doing? Who would I be with? Ex. – For some it may mean enjoying time with loved ones. or slowing down to enjoy a special what ever it might be.
  2. What does each holiday really mean to me? Or what do I want it to mean to me? Ex. –  One family may say it is a time to reflect on what we are really thankful for?
  3. Does what I do reflect what I want my holiday to look like and be about? Ex. – Yes and No. Maybe yes we spend time together. But no there is too much competition with iPhones, video games, etc.
  4. What are my most favorite memories of past holidays? What was I doing? Ex.- One child may say when we had the snow ball fight in the front yard. Dad may say, when we went out looking at holiday lights and had hot chocolate after. Mom may say when we all made a holiday meal together.
  5. What are my most un-favorite memories and what can I do to avoid these from happening again? Ex. – This might be for some – the stressing and rushing and overwhelm.
  6. Do my holidays all merge together without a real feel of truly enjoying each one for what they are? A very good question, are we really mindfully enjoying each holiday?

Develop a Flexible Plan That Fits You and Your Family

  • Meet together as a couple or a family to talk about some of the above questions.
  • Decide together (or for yourself if you are single) what your main goals for the holiday are. Is it to relax? To be with family? Enjoy special holiday activities? Celebrate a particular religious belief? A mix?
  • As a couple or family you can put together a flexible plan of the kinds of things you want to do and begin gradually to work toward this.  Incorporating everyone’s ideas is very important if you are in a family or as a couple.
  • Keep in mind that too much will feel overwhelming for most people and that thoughtful choices are a much better route to go. It is not so much about how much you can pack in, but incorporating what you most want to do and really taking time to ENJOY it.
  • Try to stay open and flexible as plans shift and change as they will at times. Knowing you can be happy even if things do not happen exactly as planned.

My hope for you and your family is that you create what you most want and desire. Happy Holidays to you and your family!  holly-leaf-small


Professional Disclosure: This blog is offered as educational information and is not offered as professional therapeutic services. This is not intended to serve as treatment. For professional help contact your local mental health professional. Strom Individual and Family Therapy is not liable for any action or non action you take in regard to this article.

ACT Limit Setting for Children

I love the ACT Therapeutic Limit Setting method for children. This is a wonderfully positive and helps children to begin to develop self-discipline. This is what we ultimately want for our children – to be able to regulate their emotions and behavior; in addition, being able to set healthy boundaries for themselves and others. That is what I feel this kind of limit setting model can do for those who use it consistently.  I had an opportunity to present to a group of therapists last week and part of this training was presenting this model to them.  It is simple, but effective.  I find it to be respectful of children and gives parents the needed skills to set healthy limits with their children.

Here are the Basics for the ACT Therapeutic Limit Setting, which were developed by Dr. Garry Landreth, University of North Texas and author of  “The Art of the Relationship” and co-founder of Child Parent Relationship Therapy.

ACT Limit Setting 

  1. Acknowledge the Feeling – Example: “I know you want to eat some cookies right now. You are hungry and you like cookies.
  2. Communicate the Limit – Example: “It is almost time for supper. Cookies are for after supper.
  3. Target the Alternative – Example: “You can have some carrot sticks or you can help me set the napkins on the dinner table.”

This is simple, but effective. Part of making it effective is REALLY listening to your child and reflecting what they are feeling. And then respectfully letting them know the boundary, with a follow-up of “what they can do”. This last part is so important in giving the child something to move toward that is acceptable.

You might ask what do you do when the child will not comply? You can first repeat what you initially said. Some choose to repeat this a couple of times, with a bit a space in between the information giving. If there is still no movement toward what is needed, you can then make the choice for the child or follow-up with a natural consequence. With the child in the above example you might simply put the cookies up high out of reach or ask that they go to another part of the home as they are getting into things that are off-limits. Of course standing by the limit you have set is important as well. This all said in a calm, matter of fact voice is best.

For more information about this method you can go to Dr. Garry Landreth’s book “The Art of the Relationship”.

I highly recommend the following video on the ACT Model of Therapeutic Limit Setting. This video is done by Dr. Theresa Kellam. She is one of the co-authors of the Treatment Manual for Child Parent Relationship Therapy. This video is of her own personal experience with her own child when she first learned this method of limit setting and what happened afterwards with her child as she grew older.

www.youtube.com     Go to: ACT Limit Setting by drkellam.

I encourage you to try this model of limit setting. I think it is a healthy interaction in helping children to learn to self regulate and in learning how to accept and set boundaries themselves when needed.

 

fullsizerender-77

Here I am presenting a workshop on Family Play Therapy, in which I cover ACT Therapeutic Limit Setting.

.

Disclosure: This blog is offered as educational information and is not offered as professional therapeutic services. This is not intended to serve as treatment. For professional help contact a local mental health professional . Strom Individual & Family Therapy is not liable for any action or non action you take in regard to this article.

 

How to Set Healthy, Respectful Boundaries

Pic of flowers with Boarder FullSizeRender

Do you need to set some boundaries with someone and not sure how to do it without being offensive? I wanted to share some thoughts on boundary setting and how to do it in a healthy way. For many folks boundary setting is not easy. We all want to be loved or we want to protect our relationships. Setting a boundary can feel scary as we may worry about any upset that it may cause. Setting a boundary or limit or saying no can come off abrupt and sharp or it can be done in a way that is respectful and non offensive.

Boundary setting is something that can apply to lots of different kinds of situations. This is intended to share information in regard to the general idea of healthy, respectful boundaries for all relationships. And among that sometimes it may not be a relationship but a situation that is occurring.

If you care about yourself and want to do good self-care, boundary setting will be a necessary interaction that you will need to engage in from time to time or quite frequently depending on those you are in contact with. Here are my thoughts on setting healthy, respectful boundaries.

Healthy Boundary Setting

  1. Let’s first look at what Boundary Setting is. This is about self-protection and good self-care for your self OR if you are a parent setting a boundary with a child or teen, it may be about protecting them and caring about their well-being. Respecting and standing up for yourself is a part of boundary setting. Healthy boundary setting is also about being respectful of those you are setting a boundary with.
  2. What is the difference between Offensive Boundary Setting and Healthy Boundary Setting? Offensive boundary setting may come off as harsh or uncaring. Healthy boundary setting will be aiming toward a respectful dialog and a healthy relationship.  Examples – Talking to your spouse: “I know you are upset with me, but I need you to tell me in a softer voice and without yelling” OR  Talking to your teen: “I know you like talking to your friends late at night, but our family rule is no cell phones after 10:00 pm.”
  3. Healthy boundary setting involves you deciding what is best for you or as a parent of children at home for your children.  It is about being in touch with your feelings and honoring what feels right to you. If someone is doing something that feels hurtful or abusive, then setting limits of how you are willing to interact is important. You cannot control another person, but you can choose to step away or disengage from someone who is being hurtful or disrespectful in an adult relationship.
  4.  Arrange a time to talk with the person you need to have a conversation with that is a mutually good time. Or it may be that you need to have this conversation as the need arises in a more natural consequential way. 
  5. Take some deep breaths and center yourself before you embark on a conversation about boundaries.
  6. When having a boundary setting conversation, start with letting the person know you desire a good relationship (if this is part of the issue) or that you need to let the person know your feelings on something. 
  7. You can acknowledge the other person’s needs or feelings first before begin to express your own.
  8. Use respectful language about your feelings and what you can and cannot do, keeping your voice calm and using a low tone.  You can ask for what you need. The important thing is that you express your feelings and needs. The person you are engaged with may or may not be willing to accommodate you. If not then you will need to decide what you need to do. This is not in retaliation, but in the stance of good self-care and respect for yourself.
  9. Stand your ground and keep with what you feel is best for you. Do reiterate if your boundaries are pushed again or if your initial request was ignored. But at the same time don’t push it in someone’s face if they are cooperating with you.
  10. Feel good about your self growth of being able to stand up for your self.

Boundary setting will involve you having a healthy self-esteem, knowing that you matter and how others treat you matters. It also involves having courage to have a potentially hard conversation with another. I  recently read one of Rick Hanson’s articles in which he talked of “speaking from the heart”. That is really what we are talking about here – speaking from your heart and letting the real you express what is needed to be said to help you feel better.

Disclosure: This blog is offered as educational information and is not offered as professional therapeutic services. This is not intended to serve as treatment. For professional help contact a local mental health professional. Strom Individual & Family Therapy is not liable for any action or non action  you take in regard to this article.

 

Letting Go and Creating What You Do Want

IMG_4067

One of the first steps to creating what you want is to “let go” of what no longer serves you. This opens the door to the possibility of creating “what you do want”.

I have always hated the term “letting go”. Have you ever had someone say “You just need to let it go.” I have and my first internal response is, “No, it’s not fair and I am not letting it go.” This letting go thing is not always easy and I think one of the  lessons I have learned from my own personal experiences and many of my clients is that is a journey or a process.

There are little, medium and big letting go of things that occur. Small things, like someone was rude to you is different of course than a loved one doing something very hurtful. The journey process mentioned below is more about the significant or larger things that occur that we feel stuck in.

Let’s take a look at this journey of letting go and what we might do to help navigate this process. Then put our focus on what “we do want” as this is what will get us to what will make us happy.

  1. Recognize that letting go is a process and it is ok for it to take some time. This will be different for different folks.
  2. Honor your real feelings of upset. Explore them and acknowledge them.
  3. Talk with someone who understands your need to process the genuine feelings you have and who can listen in a non judgemental way, without giving lots of advise. This may be your spouse or partner or another family member. Or it may be a good friend or even a therapist.
  4. To keep these upset feeling from overwhelming you, consider setting a certain amount of time that you will think about these feelings. And then do and experience other feelings outside of this time. Let the good come into your live during these times.
  5. Decide on what you want to do with your feelings. For example you can tell the person who hurt you what you are feeling. You can decide what you want to do from that point out that will make you feel better.
  6. When the time is right decide it better serves you to let go of the upset and move to a place that makes you feel more happy, with less worry. You can do this. And it will lead you down the ultimate path of being at peace.

sunshine riverparks

At this point, you are ready to create “what you do want”. Now that this upset energy has been moved out you have space for the good stuff. And isn’t this where most of us want to end up. Being in a place that brings us joy and happiness. Letting all that is good into our life. Here are some of my thoughts on creating what you do want.

  • Spend some time really thinking about what you do want. What do you want more of in your life? Who do you want to spend more of your time with? What do you want to do that is new? What makes you really feel happy and passionate?
  • Begin to boldly take some first steps in what you do want. It is time to give birth to your new you or your new life you want and desire. It is not always easy to take these first steps, but after you get going you will find a momentum that occurs.
  • Enjoy and absorb all the good feelings that are coming from taking the first steps toward what you do want now. This can nourish and feed your soul that is recovering from the hard things you needed to let go of. It feels so very good to focus on the good.
  • You will find the more you focus on what you want, the more it will evolve in your life.
  • Remember it does not have to be perfect. Enjoy all that leads you to where you want to go!

It is all about allowing a space for the good to come in and then creating the life you desire! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Be Happy Even in the Tough Times

Daisies in open field with blue skies

We all want a PERFECT life, with all good things always coming our way. Nothing wrong with that. What we envision will many times be what we get, just not always in the form we think it will come or with the exact timing we wanted. We are all human and live in a human world with constant change and things not always going in the way we planned. Being able to go through those times and still be happy is a sweet thing indeed. It means we have some control over our emotions and have some choice. Isn’t that a grand thing.

Sometimes it takes us remembering what it is that REALLY makes us happy.

  1. Yes it is fun and exciting to go on vacation. Or buy a new something for our house. And it can make us feel happy. But in the end, for most of us it is about our time with our loved ones and the beautiful interaction and love that flows between us. So for me I try to remember when I am feeling sorry for myself that it is not so much about what I have or specifically if something goes as planned, but who I am with and my time spent with them and the joy and playfulness that we create together. Plus the support and strength we draw from one another. Giving us a life of love and connection – what we truly need as humans. For example: Your spouse or partner seems down and really is not into the fun time you have planned together. You feel upset too in that you wanted a fun time with your loved one and it is not happening. So opposed to having a fit of upset, you dig a little deeper and find that your sweetheart is really distressed about a particular something that you did not know about. So you learn more about this and find an empathy and wanting to help make your loved one feel better. You begin to feel closer with the sharing of this information. So all is not lost, you connected at a deeper level. You now understand your loved one better. You can put your heads together and find some ways to make it better for both of you.
  2. We see something going a certain way and it does not. We don’t understand. We did all the right things. What happened? Sometimes we don’t always know. But, what we forget is that the other something can lead to something even better. And we have to remember that all is well regardless of what happens. We don’t have to let what happens to us dictate weather we are happy. You have all heard the saying: “One door closes and another opens.” Well it is true. We just have to know and have confidence this is happening. Knowing there are good things out there for us. And things will work out. Our knowing and action toward this will facilitate this happening. Meaning we accept and move on when a door closes and go out there and create opportunities for others to open for us. Knowing that many times these new open doors will lead to something even better.  For example: You are in charge of a project in which you have taking a lot of time to find another to assist and they do and you feel all is going so well.  Happiness blooms all around you! And then the person needs to   bows out. All that thoughtful planning down the drain. Frustrated, you begin again. But is all lost?  No. You are just now ready for the next person to finish in another way that may be just as good or maybe even better. So stay tuned for Chapter 2.  Your story will enfold, maybe even with a better ending! 

Please Note: I do want to say I am not promoting that we ignore our upset or sad or angry feelings. Those are all valid and should be acknowledged. I am promoting that we allow ourselves to go beyond this when we are ready to do so and know that it is possible. I am saying basically we do not have to stay stuck in an emotion that we have more choice that we all think. 

In the end, it is all about perception, how we view something and how we choose to respond. We can choose happiness. It is just a step away. It may not look the way we originally thought it would, but it is still there. So go for it. It does not have to all be perfect to be happy. So step out and dare to be happy even when all is not perfect. You will be glad you did!