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Perfection: The Really Cute, Organized, Put-Together BULLY

This is not my laundry closet. I believe what I have is more appropriately called a laundry dungeon. Still, I do love pictures of tidy, sparkling cupboards, “mud” rooms, and, of course, closets. My house doesn’t look like one of these very lovely Pinterest images and that’s okay. Other people do have houses like this, and that’s okay too. I admire and applaud their dedication to beautifying and organizing their homes. However, I think we need to be careful not to be too seduced by the idea of having everything be just so. We can’t expect to have every aspect of our life look like it should be documented in a magazine. There is no such thing as perfect. Everyone intellectually knows this. Yet, somehow the striving for perfection is a big part of our lives. Well-meaning people everywhere are     . . . read more

Generosity and Love

I’m weary of assigning one day of the year to celebrate love. I’d like to re-frame Valentine’s Day a bit, if I may. How about if it’s one day of the year to be reminded how to stay loving? I believe that it’s in our words, thoughts, and actions that we truly express love. (Not so much in chocolates, flowers, or sexy…whatevers). When we really make the effort to be loving, we are being emotionally generous. I think this is what fuels a loving relationship throughout the years. Some ideas to help love flourish through generosity: Be generous with your assumptions. Try not to automatically assume that your loved one’s actions or words were ill-intended. Much of the time, mistakes are not intentional, let alone meant to be hurtful. Be generous with your words. Provide words of support, validation, positive     . . . read more

I Wonder

I don’t have the answer. I really don’t think there is one answer to most complicated human questions. Often there are many steps that lead us towards better outcomes. This is true on the individual level and I think it must be true on the societal level as well. When people first come into therapy, I try to advocate for taking small steps that can’t hurt. Often these small steps make things a lot better. We tend to underestimate how helpful small steps can be. When the problem is bigger and more complicated, like when people kill innocent victims, I wonder if some of the same ideas can apply. What if we all did something that doesn’t hurt? Even if it’s not the answer, I have to wonder, what would happen if…. we chose to articulate each day the things     . . . read more

Surviving the Holidays with Your Family

Ever wonder if you are the only one who walks through the door of a family gathering and reverts to behaviors and mannerisms that have been mostly dormant for decades? I can fully assure you that it is extremely common, if not universal. I hear this complaint in my office (okay plenty in my private life too). It usually sounds like this, “I don’t know what it is but when I get together with my family, it’s like I’m a 13-year-old all over again.” Needless to say, this is a huge topic around the holidays when there is a high concentration of extended family togetherness. Why is this? My observation is that it can be a number of factors that make you prone to this situation. For some people, it is that their families have out-of-date stories about them. Or     . . . read more

(Not So) Great Expectations

I was invited to do my very first guest post on the fabulous another jennifer blog. Here it is: My daughter is a young toddler now. On a recent family outing around town, she decided to keep in her hand, through a few stores and the intervening car rides, an oversized red fork from a toy picnic set. Sometime after this outing, I got her a set of sand toys. She loved this set, but not for the reasons I’d imagined. She had a particular fondness for a small blue sand shovel. That night, she brought it with her to her highchair, right along with the big red fork. Suddenly, my perspective changed. That was not a sand shovel, it was the big fork’s long-lost spoon friend. What I love the most about children is how uniquely they see and     . . . read more

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