Words of Wisdom

 

 

Attitude of Gratitude

Brenda Spina, M.S., LMFT, LPC

Early January is the time of year most people determine their personal or professional goals for the year. Blame it on age, if you wish, but a goal this year is to develop an attitude where I see and express thankfulness for who/what is in my life. This shift alone makes managing life much, much easier.

Stay Connected

Christine Vander Wielen, M.S.W., LCSW

Over the holiday season, you may have had a chance to reconnect with family and friends. You may have promised “let’s get together again soon” or “let’s not wait a whole year.” Although it can be easy to allow busyness to interfere and another year to pass; may I encourage you to follow through, reach out and connect with those special family members and friends.

The Holidays are (almost) OVER!!

Carrissa Pannuzzo, M.A., LMFT-T, LPC-T

Whether this is a relief, a sadness, or bittersweet there is always a lot tied to this season. A lot of preparation, thought, emotion, get togethers, and parties. Now that it's over, take time to renew. Enjoy the positive memories, give grace to the negative, and rest in the present.

The Best Traits

Lynda Savage, M.S., LMFT, LPC

When asked, college students have shared that the most wonderful people in their lives: "are generous, there when we have fallen, show a depth of kindness that inspires us, and laugh from a place of wisdom and peace." Most of us could share similar things about the people we trust and admire. Long lasting pleasure in life comes from living a life of meaning, compassion, and loving others despite our differences. Sounds like loving others as we love ourselves. Let us ask God to further develop these traits in ourselves.

The Fruit of Life

Brenda Spina, M.S., LMFT, LPC

Each fruit tree or bush has a particular DNA that reveals the fruit it provides. The same is true for people. The fruit of our lives will reveal our heart. What does the fruit of your life reveal about you?

A Simple Reminder

Christine Vander Wielen, M.S.W., LCSW

For years, clinical researchers have asserted that the psychological origin of anxiety is not FEELING connected to others. (As opposed to anxiety with a physiological origin) When in truth, we all have connections to God, family, friends, neighbors and coworkers whether we FEEL it or not. Sometimes a simple reminder to ourselves that we are connected to others in meaningful ways can lessen or alleviate our anxiety.

What You Say to Yourself Matters

Carrissa Pannuzzo, M.A., LMFT-T, LPC-T

The things we tell ourselves determine how we act and feel. For a few hours today notice what you tell yourself about yourself and about your life. If your thoughts are negative, you likely feel negative and then choose actions that support feeling negative. If you can balance and counter those thoughts with positive truths, then your actions and feelings can change, too, which will reinforce positive thoughts. The things we tell ourselves are so important! So, tell yourself many true positive things today and notice how your outlook changes.

The Problem With a Grudge

Lynda Savage, M.S., LMFT, LPC

Forgiveness unlocks the jail door that keeps relationships stuck. The problem with a grudge is, the person holding it does not tell the so-called offending person they are holding it. It’s a secret sentence. The opportunity for a forgiving exchange is not there. People who move on with one another, grudge or no grudge, move on in the following way: They believe that all people commit actions that require an apology: everyone does something wrong with each other from time to time. Successful “movers on” in relationships conclude that, in the end, the hurts from you should even out with the hurts directed toward you. It’s helpful to get an apology, but the wise person doesn’t sit there and wait for one to come without sharing the hurt. Assume the best. Open the jail door if you hold a grudge (because you are in the cell,) invite a dialogue if you are the holder of a grudge, or as a possible recipient of a grudge; believe until proven otherwise that no grudges have been assigned.

People of Conviction

Brenda Spina, M.S., LMFT, LPC

Convictions are born out of what we come to know as truth about life, ourselves, and others. Some may think we are crazy to hold fast to our beliefs and values. Despite the varied views abroad, trust what you have learned is true. Dare to be a person of conviction.

Close Enough

Christine Vander Wielen, M.S.W., LCSW

My father was a highly educated and accomplished man, particularly for his generation. Even so, there were no airs about him. He was very down to earth, friendly to everyone and easy to be around. One of the traits that made him so easy to be around was that he was not a perfectionist. My father did not require himself or others to be flawless. He easily laughed at his own mistakes, and was fond of saying, “close enough.” If we could all accept imperfections in ourselves and others, we would learn to complain less and laugh more. After all, it does not need to be perfect, it just needs to be “close enough.”

A Good Story!

Carrissa Pannuzzo, M.A., LMFT-T, LPC-T

We all came from somewhere and we're all headed in some direction. We all have a story and our stories determine who we are. Be courageous and own your story instead of hiding from it. Engage the pain, experience the joy, and use these things to become a well-developed character. After all, nobody likes a story with boring characters.

Take A Moment: PLEASE

Lynda Savage, M.S., LMFT, LPC

Moms are made to nurture. Often in the red zone of busy, moms really don’t care about stress reduction. Even in the most insane day, lots can be done to lower stress and it’s good to lower it for those you nurture and their nurturer; you. Repeat to an overflowing, even obnoxious to you degree, truth about you: *You are loved by God *God’s thoughts toward you are good and not evil *You are precious to God *Cast all of your cares upon Him. He cares for you.... Breathe, really breathe.

Keeping Secrets

Brenda Spina, M.S., LMFT, LPC

We all like knowing we are well thought of. A good reputation is built over time and maintained by continuing the same work that got us there. Revealing another person’s secret to a third party (without permission) is a sure way to undermine the very foundation you have worked hard to have. Learn to keep another’s confidence and in so doing, build a good reputation.

Something Different

Christine Vander Wielen, M.S.W., CAPSW

We all have habits and patterns, including how we interact with others. We even get into patterns of acting and reacting to one another, especially with those close to us. The closer someone is, the more patterns of interaction there are. Simply put, when the patterns are unhealthy, we need to change how we respond in order for the patterns to change. “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein

Choose to Live and Love

Carrissa Pannuzzo, M.A., LMFT-T, LPC-T

Overload. Embarrassment. Betrayal. Rejection. Loss. Inadequacy. These, among many others, work to keep us disconnected. Hidden. Alone. For as painful as these things are it makes sense that we often desire to hide, to remain disconnected from our world, ourselves, and the others in our lives. But, there are also beauty, laughter, joy, kindness, courage, and the many other things that bring us life and freedom. The reality is, life on this earth hurts. But, there are different kinds of pain. There's the pain of being stuck and hidden away and there's the pain of growth and risk. I don't know about you, but I'm choosing love and life and joy as my act of defiance against all that's evil and cold in our world. I hope you'll join me!

You'll Not Know It, But I'll Get You Back

Lynda Savage, M.S., LMFT, LPC

Masking angry feelings, a loved one can act them out in deliberate, but hidden ways. The child who is angry at his mother but fears expressing himself directly may pretend not to hear her when she calls him for dinner or may choose to complete his chores in an intentionally incorrect way that he knows will infuriate her. In these ways, the child gets his mother to act out the feelings that he had been holding inside. Adults can, in similar but perhaps more “grown-up” ways, get revenge.

Building Confidence

Brenda Spina, M.S., LMFT, LPC

Encourage your child to think about what their thoughts are on any given topic. Take time to validate what is true without demeaning them for what may not be true. Elementary children are literal, black-and-white thinkers so validating them helps them know when they are on the right track. Gentle redirection creates an atmosphere where they trust the attitude or behavior you are describing. Gentle feedback creates the confidence you wish for them to have.

Restlessness!

Carrissa Pannuzzo, M.A., LMFT-T, LPC-T

That mental, emotional, and physical sensation of not being settled. Maybe life is up in the air or it's been stagnant for too long. The best remedy is to take time to reconnect with oneself. Get some space to reflect and ponder what's important to you and whether your days are spent supporting your passions and values. If they're not, make a change today. Even the perspective difference will give a settled feeling and begin the journey toward peace.

I'll Get You Back

Lynda Savage, M.S., LMFT, LPC

“Man’s anger does not produce what God wants.” (James 1:20) Have you ever sat back and watched someone “go off the rails” with anger? If it is aimed at you and you know you don’t deserve it (not that “deserves it” is tenable) you may watch in disbelief. After the shock wears off, you have at least two choices: Get even, or get before God. Ask God to help you do the latter. The fruit of waiting in Him is worth it on every level.

Look Beyond

Brenda Spina, M.S., LMFT, LPC

There is tremendous value in looking beyond what people say and do to the possible condition of their heart. Despite my life’s work of providing counseling, like anyone, this is a tough shift both in our thinking and acting. One fact that IS real is when successfully looking beyond the words to the heart, compassion rises to the surface making it easier to let go of offenses.

Something So Simple...Yet Challenging

Christine Vander Wielen, M.S.W., LCSW

An essential ingredient for a healthy marriage is being willing to work at it and to refuse to allow bitterness to take root.

Anger: Good or Bad?

Carrissa Pannuzzo, M.A., LMFT-T, LPC-T

Anger itself is not good or bad. It often gets a bad rap but anger is a psycho-biochemical response that gives us information to help us respond appropriately in specific situations. The problem with anger results from our interpretation and motivation, both things that happen after the initial emotion. Anger gives us the message: find out why you're angry, take care of yourself, and then change something. Change your relationship, expectations, location, or something else. Don't be afraid of your anger. Use it for your and your relationships health and benefit.

Cherish Those You Love

Lynda Savage, M.S., LMFT, LPC

A few smiling moments with your loved ones can change your day. A string of them can change your life. (Edited from J. Gottman)

Rude

Brenda Spina, M.S., LMFT, LPC

Answering before listening is both stupid and rude. It reveals our focus on our self, our own argument and need to win. A person of understanding waits, listens, provides feedback focused on the theme of what has been shared, then moves on with their thoughts.

Words

Christine Vander Wielen, M.S.W., LCSW

The closer we are to someone the more our words can hurt or heal. Let your words be like a healing balm in your loved ones’ lives today.

Finding Peace

Carrissa Pannuzzo, M.A., LMFT-T, LPC-T

Find your peace. We live in a frantic world. It's easy to get caught up in the crazy that's around us. But, in order to have a satisfying and peaceful life we need to stop. Often. A few times a day take a break and notice the world around you. Notice your breaths. Notice your environment. And, remind yourself to be present. You'll feel a lot more at ease afterward and thank yourself for it.

Money Troubles?

Lynda Savage, M.S., LMFT, LPC

Are you in a relationship where you argue about money? Though some studies show it’s a huge relational problem, arguments concerning money aren’t really about money. Money in relationship settings is symbolic of safety and power. It is important for loved ones to explore what money means to each of them in light of their personal history. How much something costs is not the problem. How safe and how influential (give and take) people are with each other is a good measure of successful money management. Money trust is a measure. It goes hand in hand with relational trust. If you have a relationship where you have worked this through, you know what I mean.

Forever Student

Brenda Spina, M.S., LMFT, LPC

Who out there loves to be “wrong?” I don’t! Yet, allowing the possibility of being wrong in thought and behavior, insists on challenging us with our limitations and a need to be comfortable as a forever student.

How Are You Treated

Christine Vander Wielen, M.S.W., LCSW

The way others treat you is not a reflection of who you are – it is a reflection of who they are.

Freedom From Frustration

Carrissa Pannuzzo, M.A., LMFT-T, LPC-T

Somedays it’s difficult not to be frustrated with the world and the people around us. “Why won’t they think and act right?? I’ve put on my big boy/girl pants! Why can’t they?!” It’s okay to feel this way for a bit, but not for long because pride and entitlement develop. The reality is, everyone is wired differently and their way of doing things or the season of life they’re in may cause us to judge them more harshly than we ought. Let’s focus on ourselves and the things in our control and find peace!

But I'm The Nice One!

Lynda Savage, M.S., LMFT, LPC

People hide anger from themselves. They do this because they’ve learned to believe that only nice, hard-working, focused (unknowingly usually stubborn) people are “good.” Being unaware of being angry does not mean that one is not angry. It is the anger unaware which can do most the most damage. It damages you and your relationships with other people. Since anger does get expressed, but in inappropriate ways, it’s like water in a blocked drain dripping and seeping into areas that eventually weaken, collapse, and may even rot support systems.

The "Right" Way

Brenda Spina, M.S., LMFT, LPC

We all have truth that exists in our perspectives. Insisting on our perspective as the correct view short-circuits the life of any relationship; personal or professional. The truth in each person’s perspective is real and to be respected. Searching for the truth in another’s eyes teaches us new information, enriching our understanding. Our wisdom in relating only increases.

Communication 101

Christine Vander Wielen, M.S.W., LCSW

When I was in graduate school one of my professors asked the class, “Can you ever not communicate with a loved one?” There was silence among us, followed by numerous philosophical answers. Finally, he answered his own question and explained, “You cannot not communicate with a loved one.” For a minute or two, we all sat puzzled. Seeing the expression on our faces, he expounded, “Even if you don’t say a word, you are still communicating.” So true. Not only do we communicate through words, voice inflection, volume, posture, and body language, but even our silence sends a message. The challenge is our communication is not an exact science. Sometimes the simplest phrase can be misunderstood. How many times have feelings been hurt, arguments started, tension between family members begun because of a misunderstanding and assumption?

Being Human

Carrissa Pannuzzo, M.A., LMFT-T, LPC-T

You're allowed to be human. You're value does not come from what you do, but from who you are. You have worth simply because you exist. Enjoy being a human "being" today.

Patience in Progress

Lynda Savage, M.S., LMFT, LPC

"Progress in relationships, business, family; comes in steps, not lightening strikes." Harry Bosch

Overwhelmed

Brenda Spina, M.S., LMFT, LPC

Who doesn’t feel overwhelmed these days? So many options, issues, relationships, and tasks demand our attention every day. Here is a simple reminder that just may maintain a bit of sanity. It’s simple but rarely used: Pause, Process options, then Proceed.

Thanks A Lot

Christine Vander Wielen, M.S.W., LCSW

Our physical bodies are greatly impacted by our emotions. According to research, positive emotions such as gratitude, compassion, and love not only feel good but are also good for our physical body. Our bodily systems work better and are more efficient. So give thanks a lot - it is good for you!

Shame and Guilt

Carrissa Pannuzzo, M.A., LMFT-T, LPC-T

Shame and guilt are different. Guilt says, "I did something wrong" and causes us to turn to the other person and desire to make it right. Shame says, "I am made wrong" and it causes us to turn away from others. We are made for relationship. We need people and people need us. We all have shame and relationship is the antidote. Don't let your shame keep you from connecting with loved ones.

Conflict Happens

Lynda Savage, M.S., LMFT, LPC

Conflict is normal and natural because differences in "wiring" are normal and natural. The absence of conflict is not the goal of a relationship. Getting through differences to the other side without contempt is the marker of a healthy relationship. The goal is to learn to love one another.

Courageous

Brenda Spina, M.S., LMFT, LPC

Courage is a thought, emotion, statement or behavior that propels you forward. Ingesting it brings you to a place of alertness and mental clarity. Whether or not you succeed is not the point. The point is to keep moving forward.

Oh, How Humbling

Christine Vander Wielen, M.S.W., LCSW

Recently, I was wrestling with a software program used for bookkeeping. Struggling for more than an hour, I relented and called tech support. The technician’s name was Kay. I was barely able to keep my impatience and irritation out of my voice as I explained the problem to her. After an hour of working together, the issue was resolved. Before we hung up, Kay thanked me for my patience in working with her and then she said, “You will be more prosperous this year and every year to come. You and your family will enjoy health, happiness and peace throughout the year.” The help and blessing from Kay will not be forgotten soon. It was humbling and thought provoking. Kay went out of her way to bless me even though I did not deserve it. I had begun the conversation clearly irritated and very prideful. I was full of myself and frustrated that I was having difficulty. In short, I could not do what I wanted when I wanted.

The Power of Words

Carrissa Pannuzzo, M.A., LMFT-T, LPC-T

If you're like me, sometimes it can be easy to forget the power of words. Different words are powerful to different people. Everyone has a speaking style and some of the more blunt types can forget to soften, and feeling types can forget to be more direct. Three questions recently noted can help us all communicate more clearly and carefully. These are: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? Join me in considering the motives behind our words.

Be Strong

Brenda Spina, M.S., LMFT, LPC

We are designed to know truth when we hear it. Truth brings clarity of thought and provides strength by giving us a principle or thought to seize onto. Grab it and make it yours. This practice will carry you through.

Miss But Don't Miss

Lynda Savage, M.S., LMFT, LPC

A thing about remembering loved ones gone, is that the missing of them is powerful. We need to honor that. In the missing of those gone, we must also be sharply open to NOT miss those who are here.

Letting Go

Brenda Spina, M.S., LMFT, LPC

Many reading this will believe that letting go means the other person wins or they condone the behavior as ok. This is hardly the case. Letting go is acknowledging things to be what they are. Letting go is embracing your powerlessness to influence another. Letting go is no longer demanding things be your way. What letting go is NOT is a lack of boundaries or self-respect and self-protection in the face of harmful behaviors.

Positive Aspects of Hope

Christine Vander Wielen, M.S.W., LCSW

In the past decade, there have been numerous studies on hope, and science has simply affirmed what God's word has already encouraged us to do. Researchers have discovered that when a person has hope there is a positive physiological effect on circulation, respiration, and motor function. Furthermore, having hope can positively alter the neurochemistry in the brain. According to Romans 12:12, we are to "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." (NIV)

Managing Emotions

Carrissa Pannuzzo, M.A., LMFT-T, LPC-T

Emotions can be difficult to manage. Sometimes they crash over us like gigantic waves, other times they aren't there when they should be. Emotions are valuable messages. If we can learn to listen to them and allow ourselves to feel them, surprisingly enough, they become very useful tools.

Is This Just My Imagination?

Lynda Savage, M.S., LMFT, LPC

REMEMBER, we don’t “make” another person do the things they do. If you are being blamed for another’s behavior, it’s a sign of immaturity at least and serious abuse at most.

Greener Grass

Brenda Spina, M.S., LMFT, LPC

It is easy to view the lives of others as seeming so much better than our own. However, comparing rarely is helpful. Comparing is easy to do but definitely not beneficial. In reality, all people have concerns and issues that weigh on them. Some are out in the open more than others. Let’s stay home for a change and enjoy what we have.

Happy New Year!

Carrissa Pannuzzo, M.A., LMFT-T, LPC-T

With the New Year comes the desire to change. However, it's not uncommon to be a bit jaded because we know that these changes often don't stick. But, God is bringing us from glory to glory. So, this year, be encouraged to trust the process. We're not there yet – BUT, we are not where we were. Happy New Year!

Wisdom