Friday, October 31, 2014

Don't Leave Yourself Out of Thanksgiving Gratitude!

Thanksgiving is almost here - that time of year when “get your gratitude on!” is the game of the day. And indeed, you do have your gratitude well in gear.

You are ready to express your gratefulness for your family, your friends, your job (maybe, could be a stretch), Pilates, football, the roof over your head, your pets, your new smart phone, the Macy’s sale, and lots more.

The only thing notably lacking in your list of “things I am grateful for” is YOU. Ah yes. Can we talk? Because when it comes to you, yourself, your list is composed of “I’m too fat, too thin, too tall, too short, not smart enough, not getting it together enough, too lazy, too ambitious, too talkative, too quiet, fashion-challenged, a procrastinator” - and that’s the short list. The rest would take up several more blogs . . .

Yet you are, with all your supposed lacks, the most astonishing combination of flesh, blood, bone and consciousness ever to grace the earth.

I invite you to be grateful, this Thanksgiving, for YOU.

Not in some overblown narcissistic way, “I’m grateful for me because I’m so much better than all you other humans out there,” but with the graciousness available to us all. “I’m grateful for all that I am and am becoming.” There’s humility in that statement, a simple recognition that how you are right now is truly OK, and that the future holds the possibility of yet more of whatever you want to be.

Make your list of all that you are grateful for about yourself. It may take you a while if you’re not used to this exercise, but it’s well worth the effort, I promise.

I’ll share with you some of my list, to give you an example: I’m grateful that I’m pretty darn healthy most of the time; that I manage to keep my wits about me for the most part; that sometimes people think I’m funny; that I have ears to hear the sound of wind in the trees, of laughter, of music; eyes to see the splendors of our natural world; a heart that quickens to kindness, and gets sad when I witness or experience despair. There’s more, but you get the gist.

Be grateful for you! When you reflect on what there is about yourself that you are grateful for, you’ll find that you have so much to share with others. It is an odd truism, that only self-love allows us to truly love others. Honest self-gratitude, without arrogance or strut, allows us to be that much more grateful for others with whom we share this amazing planet.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Domestic Violence Is Not Just The NFL's Problem

Despite how it appears on the 24-hour news channels, domestic violence is not likely to be any more prevalent between professional athletes and their partners as in relationships in other segments of society.

Domestic violence can happen to anyone at any time and does not respect age, gender, financial circumstances or sexual preference. It also does not occur in a void. In fact, there are common characteristics and warning signs that may be preludes to violence. Knowing what to look for and how to uncover a potentially abusive relationship long before it ever gets to the hitting stage greatly diminishes the chances of one becoming a victim of domestic violence.

Here are the most common behaviors leading up to physical violence.

The abuser initially showers the victim with attention and passion.

The abuser soon becomes possessive and seeks to control, dominate and isolate the victim from family and friends.

The abuser has sudden personality changes--from Mr./Ms. Wonderful to Mr./Ms. Hyde.

The victim is suddenly wrong about everything while the abuser is always right.

The abuser shows a cruel and insensitive attitude toward others.

The abuser becomes verbally abusive. The stage is set for physical violence.

Partners of abusers often ignore these signs, and even when the hitting begins, believe it was either their own fault that they were attacked or the abuser will somehow change and not hit again. That's not the case. Most abusers have underlying issues that make it difficult for them to treat others with respect. They see violence as a way of dealing with what they perceive as a problem.

Because stopping the violence is difficult, if not often impossible, once it starts, learning to identify the warning signs of a potentially violent relationship and how to deal with the situation appropriately and immediately is critical. If you see these warning signs in your partner’s behavior, get help from a mental health professional immediately.

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Office of Women’s Health