By Jennifer Eulberg, MA, LPC
Sandhill offices are named with words above each door. Some included are laugh, play, be, courage, believe, and gratitude. I feel inspired by these words, taking moments here and there to contemplate how they each fit into my life.
When I first began my journey as an Independent Contractor with Sandhill, the main office I used was “Gratitude”. It was a perfect match for what I felt in joining the practice and starting a new life in the St. Louis area. Gratitude is something I practice for my own health and well-being and encourage its use to friends, family, and clients. I believe it is an honor to be a safe and comfortable place for people to share their intimate thoughts and feelings. I am grateful to those who have placed such trust in me. I treasure the opportunity to be a part of their journey.
Gratitude is a powerful tool; however, it is sometimes used in unhealthy ways. Does this sound familiar? “You should be grateful!” or “I have it better than most people, I need to be grateful and get over this.” These statements may be intended in a helpful way but the benefit isn’t there.
When we experience difficulties, our brain is processing and thinking about those struggles. Sometimes these thoughts are toward problem solving, sometimes they are related to disbelief, confusion, frustration and many others. We can often start to think hurtful things about ourselves. Those hurtful thoughts don’t usually lead to problem solving but just more hurtful thoughts.
Instead of an OR approach, I recommend an AND approach. For example, rather than saying to yourself, “I can feel upset OR I can feel grateful,” try saying, “I can feel upset AND grateful.” Feeling pain and struggling doesn’t mean you lack gratitude, it just means you are feeling pain and struggling too. Sometimes our brains get stuck in our struggle, our dislike of ourselves, and a belief that the world is out to get us. When we hurt, it is so difficult to turn things around. Perhaps adopting the “AND” approach can be a small step toward your healing.
I saw an article recently that talked about how important it is to go to kids' events (sports games, concerts, recitals, etc). It pointed out how much this means to kids and how the child looks for the parents to be there. I agree it is important to go to your children's events but we don't need to go to all of their events. For one thing, if you have more than one child, eventually things will overlap. For another, many parents work hours that make attending events regularly impossible.
Growing up, my stepdad always worked second or third shift. He usually had Saturday and Sunday off. This meant that any event on a weeknight, he had to miss. I would, of course, know that he was not going to attend because I knew he had to work. I was never disappointed by this as I knew he was doing what needed to be done. My mom attended events but for things like sports, she was clueless. I looked forward to the weekend and talking to my dad and filling him in on how the game went. He showed interest in what I had done and that is what mattered to me.
I also know families where both parents work shifts that make them miss events. But again, asking about the event later and showing interest shows that the parents care.
I write this blog because I want parents to know that it is okay to not attend all events. Life is hectic! You can connect with your kids in other ways.
JENNIFER EULBERG, MA, LPC
Welcome Jennifer, our new blogger!
Jennifer is a counselor at Sandhill who specializes in depression, self-esteem, and grief & loss. Get to know Jennifer as she shares her perspectives on life, contemplates value themes, and offers gentle encouragement.
THANK YOU to Stefanie Pisarkiewicz, LPC for her blog contributions from November 2014 - February 2019!