Archive for the ‘Children and Parents’ Category

It’s Thanksgiving week, so I suppose a post on gratitude is in order.  And A Serving of Gratitude May Save the Day by John Tierney in today’s New York Times makes my job really easy.

Cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others, including romantic partners.

What’s not to like?!  The article looks at what gratitude is, suggests ways to integrate gratitude into your life, and presents some findings that show expressing gratitude will make you happier.

Without making a conscious decision to bring more gratitude in my life, I’ve noticed over the past years that I am a lot more grateful.  I think it may have started with death, maybe illness, maybe age.

And in order to keep it real, I’ve been playing a game with myself for a while that keeps me remembering to be grateful or consider a different perspective.  Every time (not really every time, but a lot) I have a complaint or think something negative, I make myself come up with a counter statement of gratitude.   Okay, an example.  If I’m feeling old and achy, I say I’m grateful that my body can still exercise regularly.  If the wrinkle between my brow is looking particularly deep, I express gratitude that I can still see the wrinkle!   If my child wants me to lie with him again at bed time, inevitably meaning I’ll fall asleep and not read my novel, I’m grateful that he still wants to lie with me.  And on and on.  I can still be annoyed with the aches and pains, the wrinkles and the lack of time for myself, but I can also keep them in perspective, and for whatever reason that keeps me feeling better.

Be grateful, be thankful and have a lovely Thanksgiving if you celebrate it!

I just read another article from The Atlantic that has my mind buzzing.  So much to think about!  On so many levels I don’t even know where to begin.  But I want to share it.  Right now.

I assume the article by Lori Gottlieb, “How to Land Your Kid in Therapy” is mostly aimed at parents, but since we are all children to someone and deal with other human beings in our lives, I think it’s a great read for anyone.

Where do I fit into this?  How was I raised?  What am I doing?  What makes me happy? How are those around me doing things?  What is my reaction to how others do it?  What about the things that society encourages/discourages?  What is society?

My biggest take-away, is, Wow, I need to do some thinking about myself as a parent, as a coach to my clients and as a person. What is your reaction?


I just reread this article from The Atlantic, “Caring for Your Introvert,” by Jonathan Raush.  I read it several years ago, and remember it giving me some amazing insights into myself and also a sense of relief…Oh, that’s why I feel like that! Reading it again, at the end of what feels like a long and social summer, makes me feel a little less crazy and a little more understanding of myself.

If you’re an introvert, read it to connect to who you are.  If you’re an extrovert, read it so you’ll stop asking introverts, What’s wrong? Are you okay?

We’re okay, we just need you to be quiet for a while.

There is nothing like traveling to shake up the mind, body and soul.  I got home yesterday from more than a month away…in Barcelona and all over South Africa.  I thought about writing a few times while on the road (amazing what animals living in the bush and being with family non-stop makes you think about), but I decided to let it sit in my brain and take it all in.

Now I’m back…doing laundry, letting the fog in my mind from more than 22 hours on an airplane dissipate, even if the fog in San Francisco seems here to stay.   I’m ready to post again…some stuff I wrote before we left, some new thoughts inspired by tracking wild dogs and others on scarcity and a bicycle tour in Soweto.

Stay tuned…

I was drawn to a recent article in the New York Times by Tara Parker-Pope, Go Easy on Yourself, a New Wave of Research Urges (click here to read the whole article).  I’ve been trying to do that over the past few years…go easy on myself, that is.  I’m getting better at it, but I’d say my strength, and inclination, is still to be hard on myself.

Self compassion, as it’s called, is a new field of study and researchers are finding that people who are kind to themselves are less likely to be depressed and anxious.  They also add that self-compassion is not the same as self-indulgence.  I sometimes wonder when I’m “taking care of myself,” whether I’m just using that as an excuse to avoid doing something that is difficult or unpleasant.  And so, I think it’s important to be really honest with oneself.

The author says one way to get a clearer idea on how to be nice to yourself is to think about what you would tell a child or friend in your situation.

Imagine your reaction to a child struggling in school or eating too much junk food. Many parents would offer support, like tutoring or making an effort to find healthful foods the child will enjoy. But when adults find themselves in a similar situation — struggling at work, or overeating and gaining weight — many fall into a cycle of self-criticism and negativity. That leaves them feeling even less motivated to change.

And that’s the thing, you want to stay motivated and open to possibility.  Reminding yourself that it’s hard to lose weight, get new clients, switch jobs gives you some breathing room to fail and struggle, but ultimately it doesn’t take away from your desire to lose weight, get new clients or switch jobs.

I was drawn to coaching and love doing it because I am very good at supporting others and steering them out of their own way.  I’m not always as good at using the same techniques with myself, but I have started to ask myself what I would ask a client in my own situation.  How would I support her/him?  Why am I able to have total faith in the brilliance and potential of others, but not in myself?

Are you more compassionate with others than you are with yourself?  What are your most common self-criticisms?  Can you think of a new, more supportive way to look at yourself?