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LambersonTherapist’s Corner...I Am Not Perfect, & I Embrace It

     Most mornings I find myself rolling out of bed saying “Oh crap” while looking at my alarm clock and realizing I have about 40 minutes to get myself ready, as well as my two children. I truly wish I was that person who needed 5 hours of sleep to fill refreshed and motivated for the day, while jumping out of bed and hardly having to do anything to get myself together. I am completely the opposite. Most mornings I am lucky to maintain my out-of-control curly hair, while frantically applying makeup so I don’t look like I have not slept in days, while refereeing the wrestling matches in the living room by my two small children, and controlling the dogs that seem to be following the kids around while they are eating their morning snack. 
     I have flaws and I accept them. I push the snooze button at least 2-3 times most mornings. I experience guilt when I am running around the house trying to get the children ready for school, when all they want to do is play a game or color before school starts. Society (magazines, celebrities, billboards, models, reality shows, etc.) places so many high expectations and false advertisements of what women and men should look and act like to feel accepted by others. Some friends, family and clients have voiced that they admire my strength, hard work and how I seem to have “everything” together. When I hear this reflection of me, I tend to chuckle inside and my inner voice screams “Oh my goodness if you only knew.” 
     I find myself almost 5 minutes late to everything, my laundry has the tendency to pile up, I have these “important piles” that I find myself making around my house and office but I do not take care of very fast.
     Reality is I do a pretty good job of wearing this mask outside of my home that gives the message to society that I have it “all together.” I pretend to be someone that I am not by covering up my flaws, not embracing them. I am scared that others may judge my flaws and use these flaws to break me down. 
     However, these flaws make me unique and are a part of who I am, so I have learned to embrace them. From the book, The Four Agreements, author Don Miguel Ruiz states, “The more self-love we have, the less we will experience self-abuse. Self-abuse comes from self-rejection, and self-rejection comes from having an image of what it means to be perfect and never measuring up to that idea. Our image of perfection is the reason we reject ourselves.” This is a good reminder to look at flaws as hidden strengths. How can I take these “areas of growth” and build them into the strengths I already have for myself? I came across a great article, “The Freak Factor: Discovering Uniqueness By Flaunting Weakness,” by David Rendall (2008) in which he provides a helpful lists that identifies what hidden strength lies underneath a weakness/flaw. 
1.) Disorganized……..Creative    9.) Boring….Responsible
2.) Inflexible……Organized 10.) Unrealistic….Positive
3.) Stubborn…….Dedicated  11.) Negative…..Realistic
4.) Inconsistent….flexible 12.) Intimidating….Assertive
5.) Obnoxious….Enthusiastic 13.) Weak…Humble
6.) Emotionless….Calm 14.) Arrogant…Self-Confident
7.) Shy…….Reflective 15.) Indecisive….Patient
8.) Irresponsible…..Adventurous 16.) Impatient….Passionate

~ Mandy Lamberson, Therapist

Jordan

Therapist’s Corner...Child Safety

      According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before turning 18. Nine times out of 10, offenders are relatives, neighbors, family friends, teachers, coaches or some other trusted person with whom the child already has a trusting relationship. Because of this, teaching children how to protect themselves can be very difficult and confusing. Simply telling children to stay away from strangers is not effective. Teaching children the difference between “good” touch and “bad” touch doesn’t necessarily translate to the kinds of offending that may be happening as some abuse may involve no touch at all.
     Start early with children by teaching them the proper names for their body parts. This enables children to communicate more clearly to adults regarding any sexual situations. Rather than focusing on good or bad touch, focus more on privacy situations such as bathroom and changing clothes and private parts. If you have a child who still requires assistance with bathroom and dressing, discuss who is an appropriate person to help with such activities, and use specific names. Allow your child to help identify who should be on this list and respect boundaries a child is looking to put into place. For example, if at family gatherings your child is hesitant about giving hugs and kisses, respect that and honor their attempt to assert themselves.
     A natural part of a child’s growth is their ability to function independently from parents, such as spending time at friends to play or attending sleepovers. Prior to these events it is important to talk with a child to reinforce their ownership of their boundaries and establish a “game plan,” the best way to get a hold of a parent without having to be granted permission should they feel uncomfortable for any reason. Following events or activities in which a child was in someone else’s care it is important to take time to talk to a child one-on-one about their experience. Below are some helpful questions to ask upon a child’s return.
     1.) What activities went on?
     2.) Who was there (kids and adults)?
     3.) Was there anything that went on that you didn’t like?
     4.) Is this something you want to do again?
     5.) Is there anything else you want to tell me?
     Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) has free, confidential, secure service that allows victims past and present to get help via its phone and online hotlines. 800.656.HOPE, rainn.org
     National Children’s Alliance has nearly 700 advocacy centers nationwide and helps with the process of reporting and recovering from abuse. 800.239.9950, nationalchildrensalliance.org
     Childhelp USA maintains a 24-hr National Child Abuse Hotline 800.4.A.CHILD, childhelp.org
     Stop it Now! Offers a phone and an email Helpline dedicated to sexual-abuse prevention. Its Ask Now! Advice column features actual situations so people can seek guidance for their own concerns. stopitnow.org

~ Jordan Allen, Therapist

Lenz

Tips from Our  EAP..Don’t Give Up On Your
                        New Year’s Resolution!

     If you are about to break your 2017 New Year’s resolution, you aren’t alone. Some statistics find that up to 92% of us never meet our goal. However, you can beat the odds this year by employing some of these strategies that the successful 8% use to reach their goals. Half of the tips involve setting yourself up for success by thinking through your resolution and being realistic. The other half help with keeping you motivated and on track. Planning and executing your resolution are equally important.
     Write down a complete resolution. People remember things they write down, so place your resolution somewhere you see it every day, such as taped to the bathroom mirror. Move this reminder to a new location every three-four days so you don’t start overlooking it. This process of actually touching it will also reinforce your commitment.
     Think through your resolution, including why you want to meet your goal. Understand the motivation behind the resolution. Do you want to lose that 40 pounds to lower your cholesterol or to drop three pants sizes? Understanding what you will gain by keeping your resolution will help keep you on track.
     Set a more realistic goal. Many people blow off their resolutions because they set unrealistic goals. You can’t expect to go from saving no money at all to socking away $20,000 in a year. Start small. Instead of exercising an hour a day, six days a week, try a half hour a day, three to four days a week. You can always add to your goal after you’ve been successful for a while.
     Share your resolution with others. When you tell others what you plan to do, you’re making yourself accountable to them. Ask an assertive, but trusted family member or friend to ask you about how you are achieving your goal. Having supportive people in your corner increases the odds that you’ll keep your resolution.
     Address the naysayers. We all have at least one negative person in our lives. Whether it’s your jealous relative or a nasty coworker, you cannot let what they say derail you. Plan what you’ll say to the naysayers. Try a conversation stopper, such as, “Thank you for your input,” or “I’ll certainly consider what you’ve said.”
     Pat yourself on the back for your successes. Once you’ve successfully worked toward your goal for a week or two, be sure to give yourself some credit. Celebrate your successes in positive ways. If you are trying to lose weight for example, treat yourself to something (other than unhealthy food or slacking off on exercise.) Some studies find that we have as much willpower as we think we do, and reminding yourself that you’ve been successful in the past will help you when the going gets rough.
     Don’t abandon your resolution because of a setback. Most people give up after they break their resolution once or twice. It’s unrealistic to believe we are going to work toward our goals consistently, especially when trying to break unhealthy habits or establish healthy ones. Note what happened to get you off track, make any adjustments you can to avoid those circumstances and start again. It doesn’t matter how many times you start over, as long as you reach your goal. You can always start your day, or even your year, over. Look back at your previous successes, and keep going.

~ Lana Lenz, EAP Coordinator (resource: Daniel Feerst, LISW-CP, WorkExcel.com) ) 

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