The New “F” Word: Fat-Shaming

Fat-Shaming sucks. Addiction-Shaming sucks. Bald-Shaming sucks. Shaming-Shaming sucks. There’s no way around that. It’s just plain true. There is too much shaming going on all around.

My question is: As good as it is to call the world out on their shaming behaviors, would we maybe be better off working on ourselves and, if we are health care professionals, working with our patients, to focus on the ways they shame themselves? AND OTHERS? At least simultaneously to trying to put an end to “Other-Shaming.”

The purpose of this post is twofold:

1. To have each reader assess themselves in regard to their own shaming-ness, and

2. To suggest we help individuals stop shaming themselves while we simultaneously encourage the masses to stop.

There are Tweets and Posts galore inviting us, inciting us, and urging us to help stop the Fat-Shaming done by society! I agree these are worthwhile efforts and must be done.

What I don’t see very often on Social Media are statements encouraging people to get help to stop shaming, bullying, and beating up on themselves. We want an end to shaming, an end to bullying and an end to domestic violence. Check it out! All of that occurs within many an individual’s head!

Here are some recent posts from social media, along with my posted responses:

“Stand up to #weightbias! Sign the #petition to end fat-shaming and weight bias today.”

      My response: “Yes, please! Also work to stop #SelfShaming and #SelfBias. Sign up for therapy in your    


“Why We Need to Ban the F Word: Fat-Shaming”

        My response: “If you believe people deserve to be treated well (and I do), please start by treating yourself well

        in your thoughts, words and actions.”

“Once a person has obesity, it’s too late." One more way to #dismiss people with #obesity.”

      My response: “I hate that people dismiss those with obesity. I hate even more how those with obesity often      

      dismiss themselves in so many ways.”

“I believe that the morbidly #obese population is stigmatized, abused, neglected and mistreated by most facets of


        My response: “I hate it, but those suffering from morbid #obesity also abuse, neglect, and mistreat themselves

       through negative self-talk, self abuse.”

“Don't blame the person, rather treat the disease.”

        My response: “Don't blame patient for factors related to obesity they can't influence. Hold them accountable for

       those they can.”

Please be clear about the message I am sending. I do hate the very real fact that society shames people who suffer from obesity. I hate that many people, including doctors and other health care providers, solely blame individuals for being obese. It’s horrible that a person is dismissed because they carry extra weight. No doubt.

I know from both my personal and professional work, as well as from life experience, that I can influence my own behavior a lot more quickly than I can influence the masses.

Typically, a person has an emotional connection to an issue if they are working to right some wrong related to that issue. Not all, but many people fighting to end societal Fat-Shaming, have “some skin in the game,” as they say. I am one of those people. Much of my work is done in a bariatric center where we aim to help those suffering from obesity, both physically and emotionally. Many health care providers, people who are personally struggling with their weight, along with family members and friends, all work together to try to end fat-shaming. Keep on keeping on with those efforts because they are worthwhile!

In the meantime, are you, regardless of your size, weight, color, or religion, looking within yourself in an attempt to “clean your own side of the street?” Do you have biases about other groups of people being stigmatized? And more importantly, are you aware of, and working on, the ways you stigmatize, dismiss and shame yourself?

Calling a person who suffers from obesity an ugly name, overlooking them for a job, dismissing their opinion or making a critical comment to or about them is wrong. It is equally despicable that people say things like, “I wouldn’t date a bald man,” or “He wouldn’t be right for the job. He’s bald.” My husband is bald and he struggles emotionally because of it. Have you (to include anyone suffering from obesity, alcoholism, drug addiction or any other ridiculed member of society) made ugly comments about bald people?

It is disturbing that subjectively unattractive people are considered less intelligent, are helped less frequently by the public if they have a flat tire, and are hired secondarily to “beautiful” people. Have you (to include anyone suffering from obesity, alcoholism, drug addiction or any other ridiculed member of society) made ugly comments about unattractive people?

How dismissive it must be to be a person who is part of an ethnic minority to have people call you a hateful name, to overlook you for a job you are very qualified for, or assume negative things about you. Have you (to include anyone suffering from obesity, alcoholism, drug addiction or any other ridiculed member of society) made disparaging comments to or about minorities?

Religions are always good fodder for shaming, dismissing and bashing. Have you partaken?

“You don’t look like one of them,” said my doctor to me when I shared that I am a recovering alcoholic and addict. One of them.

A patient in a therapy group of people suffering from obesity said, “I cannot, for the life of me, understand why an alcoholic doesn’t just stay away from the bar.” To which I responded, “What is it like for you when someone asks why you can’t just push away from the table?”

Wrong is wrong and it is wrong when any of us engage in dismissive or shaming conversation or behavior. Check yourself. You’re human and that means you have your own prejudices. You’ve likely engaged in your own dismissive comments about groups other than the one(s) you’re most closely aligned with. Relax, I’m not shaming you! I’m asking you to look at your own side of the street. Does it need sweeping? We all need to keep a broom nearby because we are all guilty of judging others at times.

In my work, it is a priority to help people stop shaming themselves. Negative self-talk is a powerful way in which we shame ourselves. Yes, you do it, too! “I’m such an idiot!” “How could I have done such a stupid thing?” “What is wrong with me?” “I don’t know why I even bother. I never follow through anyway.” The list of examples illustrating negative self-talk, or stinkin’ thinkin’ is endless. Every single negative statement you make about yourself is dismissing the value of the person you are.

Ironically, the shaming statements people make about themselves are representative of their own internal shame. The negative self-talk says, “There’s something wrong with me.” “I don’t feel ok about myself.”

Isn’t it odd that we run around making a fuss about stopping the masses from shaming people when we spend some much time shaming ourselves? I’m thinking we would all be better off if we “swept our own side of the street” first. When we treat ourselves more tolerantly and we are accepting of others who we tend to dismiss, then it’ll make more sense to focus on what the masses are doing wrong.



Opinions and A#*%^#s. I MEAN... Opinions and Attributes of a Healthy Adult

My goodness, I had quite an unintended episode of online entertainment this weekend. I posted an opinion of mine on my Facebook page and what an outburst ensued! I found it rather enlightening, in a sad sort of way. The discussion dismally affirmed something I stated in my last Blog post: “I don’t know too many really healthy adults. Fortunately, I know and see a lot of people who want to be healthy adults and who are working toward becoming healthier adults. This includes me. I want to be a healthy adult and am continually working toward becoming a healthier adult.”

On an optimistic note, many of the responses to my post demonstrated very clear examples of healthy adult behavior. Other responses indicated the unhealthy adult attitudes and behaviors of the postee. We have all exhibited unhealthy sorts of behaviors at one time or another, so I’m not picking on anyone. When we do behave in less than healthy adult ways, hopefully we are willing to recognize our behaviors. Equally important is the willingness to make amends, if appropriate, and to learn about ourselves with the goal of ongoing personal growth.

My purpose in writing this particular blog is not to point out any specific responses or persons. My purpose in writing this is to share a list of healthy adult behaviors I think we can all benefit from.

If you are totally willing to be honest with yourself, you might learn some ways you can grow as a person. Challenge yourself to see the ways in which you need to “grow up” and then work toward doing so!

The following information is from an article entitled Embrace Your Inner Adult by Barrie Davenport.  (

“Here are some of the characteristics of an emotionally mature adult:

1. Accepts criticism gracefully, being appreciative for an opportunity to improve.

2. Does not indulge in self-pity and has begun to feel the laws of compensation operating in all life.

3. Does not expect special consideration from anyone or have a self-inflated sense of entitlement.

4. Controls his/her temper but can express anger or frustration in healthy ways.

5. Meets emergencies with calm and poise.

6. Is not easily hurt or wounded by others.

7. Accepts the responsibility of his or her own actions without making excuses or blaming others.

8. Has outgrown the “all or nothing” stage, and recognizes that no person or situation is wholly good or wholly bad.

9. Is not impatient at reasonable delays, and has learned that he/she is not the center of the universe and must often adjust to other people and their convenience.

10. Acts as a good sport and a good loser. Can endure defeat and disappointment without whining or complaining.

11. Does not worry about things he cannot help.

12. Is not given to boasting or “showing off” in socially unacceptable ways.

13. Is honestly glad when others enjoy success or good fortune, and has outgrown envy and jealousy.

14. Is open-minded enough to listen thoughtfully to the opinions of others.

15. Is not a chronic “fault-finder” or complainer.

16. Plans things in advance rather than trusting to the inspiration of the moment or leaving things for others to handle.

17. Shows kindness, patience and good manners, especially with those who are less capable, sophisticated or mature.

18. Has a set of guiding principles, beliefs or values that create the framework for decisions and actions.

19. Is more solution-oriented rather than needing to be right.

20. Feels comfortable with a wide variety of people and situations.

21. Has the ability to experience and understand one’s own deepest feelings and needs, and is able to act on and express these feelings and needs in appropriate and constructive ways.

22. Has the ability to act on and react to life circumstances with intelligence, sound judgment and wisdom.

23. Has the ability to recognize, empathize with, and respect the feelings and needs of others.

24. Can love unconditionally – to allow another person’sneeds, feelings, security, and survival to be absolutely paramount – just as if these were our own.

25. Is able to adapt flexibly and creatively to life’s changing circumstances and conditions.

26. Can channel energy, both positive and negative, into constructive contributions to one’s self, to others, and to the community.

27. Can relate comfortably and freely with others, to like and be liked by others, and to maintain healthy and mutually satisfying relationships. The ability to choose and develop relationships that are healthy and nurturing, and to end or limit relationships that are not.

28. Does not indulge in destructive habits or behaviors.


What's Your Passion?

I need your help. I’ve been tasked with coming up with a brochure that explains “my passion.” In this case, my work passion. Although sharing what my passion is, in and of itself, fairly easy for me to do, synthesizing my thoughts into a clever title and compelling brochure… well, that’s another thing all together.

You see, as I wrote about in my first blog post, I have an “interview” of sorts tomorrow with a manager for a professional continuing education organization. We had a first interview after I submitted a proposal for an all-day program to educate other mental health professionals. He liked the proposal, my style and my website. Just not the topic I proposed. He encouraged me to succinctly share what “my passion” is and present it in a way that would entice others in the health care field to come listen to me talk all day long and hopefully take away useful information with which to help their own patients.

Plainly stated, “my passion” is to help people acknowledge and address any unsettled issues from their past that are interfering in their present life so that they may live as the healthy, happy people they were created to be.

How? Primarily by healing the relationship they have with themselves.

What does that mean? People spend the years in the families in which they are raised learning about life, attitudes, communication skills, relationship skills, boundaries, and how to express feelings. Children are shown examples of high or low self-esteem, styles of self-expression, religions, and political attitudes. They see how the adults in their lives treat children, how they treat members of the same and opposite sex, and how they treat the elderly. In their families, children learn work ethics, the value of education, and thousands of other things.

Keep in mind, the things we learn when we are children can be healthy examples of how to be an adult, or they can be unhealthy examples. Often, we learn some healthy and some not-so-healthy ways of being, thinking, and behaving in our families of origins.

In the families in which we are reared, we are supposed to become prepared to live as healthy adults in the world. To which I say, BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Why do I laugh? Because I don’t know too many really healthy adults. Fortunately, I know and see a lot of people who want to be healthy adults and who are working toward becoming healthier adults. This includes me. I want to be a healthy adult and am continually working toward becoming a healthier adult.

Am I being cynical believing there aren’t many emotionally healthy adults? I suppose I could be, but in the world in which I live, as a psychologist, I hear a lot of the worst of the worst about unhealthy adults whose children have grown up and are now sitting in my office.

Plus, I have worked in a number of adult office environments. Think about where you work or have worked in the past. Were there people who gossiped about other co-workers? Did anyone ever “lose it” and scream and holler and cuss in a place they ought not to be behaving in such a manner? Have you ever had or seen a boss play a power-hungry-person just because they could? Were there “cold wars” amongst factions in the office, some groups not speaking to other groups? Did you ever observe a co-worker sabotaging another’s work? How about seeing a person who lets everyone in the office know they are mad at so-and-so, but never talk directly to so-and-so?  Have you seen office egos out of control? Tempers out of control? Dictators out of control? Those are NOT the behaviors of healthy adults.

How about adult friendships? Ever hear someone say “yes” to doing something when they didn’t have time or didn’t want to just so they were included, befriended, or kept in the loop? Ever hear a group of friends backstab someone who isn’t present? Know anyone who has slept with a friend’s spouse? Again, not healthy adult behaviors.

What about healthy adult communication? How often do we see direct, healthy communication skills in action? More importantly, how often do we implement healthy adult communication skills? Particularly in our most intimate relationships? Do spouses tend to talk more kindly to their friends and coworkers or to their spouses and children? Do the couples you know engage in sarcasm? Pushing of emotional buttons? Defensiveness? Regular arguing rather than discussing of issues? The silent treatment? Passive aggressive behavior? Accusations? Nagging? These are NOT healthy adult behaviors.

And then there’s the area that causes me the most deal of anguish: PARENTING. Do you know adults who neglect children (don’t pay attention to their school work; don’t attend their activities, recitals, games; don’t listen to them when the child tries to share something important to them; don’t get children the educational or dental or medical or mental health care they need; neglect to tell pre-teens about what happens at the time of puberty; parents who leave kids home alone when they are too young or leave them with a sitter too often; adults who don’t hug or kiss their children or tell them they love them; adults who regularly abuse substances in front of children or fail to get help for an addiction)? Do you know parents who abuse their children (call them negative names like fat, stupid, idiot, slut, or annoying; tell them they can’t succeed; compare them with their siblings; yell/rage at them on a regular basis; hit them with hands, fists, belts, or other objects; sexually abuse them; abuse spouses or others in front of them)?

Were you a child that experienced adults in your life who behaved like any of descriptions of adults above? These are not healthy adult behaviors. Yet that is what we saw. And that is what we learned about being adults.

Most of us did experience or witness these examples of unhealthy behavior by the adults in our lives, to one degree or another. No adult is the perfect example of “healthy.” Most of us, as children, had some good and great things happen in our lives, and saw some great examples of healthy adults and healthy parenting from the grown-ups in our lives. Most of us also experienced some negative things in our childhoods and saw unhealthy examples of “adulting” and unhealthy examples of parenting.

This is not about blaming parents or others for our problems in our own adult lives.

This is about the fact that CHILDREN LEARN WHAT THEY LIVE.

Then guess what they do? THEY LIVE (in their adult lives) WHAT THEY LEARNED!

Sure, our adult behaviors may look different or we may have pledged to do things the exact opposite of the way our parents did things. But to one degree or another, we, as adults, we do live what we learned. Or we marry someone who behaves the way the adults from our childhood behaved.

In addition, we continue, in our adult lives, to use whatever coping skills we developed as kids to cope with unhealthy, negative things that were happening in our young lives. Unfortunately, our childhood coping skills don’t work in our adult lives if we want to be healthy adults.

For example, perhaps you learned to “disappear” as a child (by reading, watching TV) to tune out and avoid seeing/hearing arguing or fighting, or to avoid being yelled at or criticized or abused. In your adult life, you likely avoid any form of real or imagined conflict in your present relationships. You opt to “shut down” and don’t communicate directly. You “disappear” into social media or reading or television rather than deal with the present reality in healthy ways.

If you were the type, as a child, to try to intervene in adult arguments or if you tried to protect your siblings, you may now be the person butting into others’ lives when it is inappropriate to do so. You want to “fix” everyone else’s problem.

Maybe you found a substance at a tender age that helped you not to feel: food, alcohol, pills. As an adult, you continue to abuse substances or engage in additive behaviors to avoid relationships, feelings, or conflict.

Lord, have I gotten off track! The point I’m trying to make is that people often grow up ill-equipped to be a healthy adult because they never learned how to be one. They didn’t have examples of communicating in assertive, direct ways. They weren’t shown how to set healthy boundaries. They didn’t see healthy marriages, healthy family relationships or healthy friendships.

Most people grow up and behave like children trying to protect themselves. Most people grow up feeling not so great about themselves, for a hundred different reasons. Partly, just because they were kids. Children naturally think anything in life that goes on around them is somehow their fault. They blame themselves for parents divorcing, for siblings being hurt, for a mother’s depression, a father’s gambling addiction, for grandma being mean and critical. In the child’s mind, if bad things happen, it’s their fault. That’s the nature of children.

Children also grow up and, even as adults, behave like children. Because that is what they know how to do. And that is what they know because that is what they learned from the adults in their lives when they were children.

The tragedy is, many people grow up not feeling good about themselves. They act out their not feeling good about themselves in the ways mentioned above: poor communication skills, poor boundaries, eating too much, drinking too much, avoiding too many things, unable/unwilling to share their thoughts, feelings and honest observations with others. Adults carry with them shame from the past. Shame that says they are not okay; they are flawed. This shame prevents them from knowing their true selves, prevents them from following their own passions, prevents them from acknowledging and sharing their own gifts, and prevents them from living fully.

My passion is to help people learn to acknowledge those things that lead to living a shame-based life: any losses, neglect, or abuse. I want to help people talk about those things they never shared with anyone. I want to be with them as they express what it was like to be a child in a home where a parent dies and they didn’t have anyone to help them deal with their grief. I want to give them a chance to talk about what it was like having to move across the country in the 4th grade and leave their friends. I want to sit with them as they share the sadness and anger of having a parent who made promises to spend time with them and then not show up. I want to be present as they talk about the disgust, the rage, and the pain of being betrayed by a cousin, aunt, grandfather or babysitter who sexually abused them.

I want to help them heal. Then find their authentic self, discover their talents, their unique gifts and their love of self. I want to help people heal the relationships they have with themselves in order that they may live fully. I want to help them learn what it means to be a healthy adult and share tools for living as such. I want to help them love and respect themselves enough to care for their physical, emotional and spiritual health.

THAT’S IT! You have helped me figure it out.

My passion is about helping people heal from the inner shame they act out in their adult lives through unhealthy behaviors, to compassionately heal their relationships with themselves, and in so doing, heal other relationships in their lives. I want to help adults learn healthy adult living tools in order to become the best version of themselves and live fully.

Okay. Now to put that even more succinctly and then into “therapeutic terminology” that the “mental health professionals” will approve of!

My passion: To help people overcome shame and become healthy adults.

A possible title for the continuing education workshop: Helping Adult Patients Grow Up: Therapeutic tools for Overcoming Shame and Generating Emotionally Healthy Selves. A Psychodynamic Approach.

We’ll see how that goes!


“Meaningful Matters” to replace “Resolutions!”

Curiosity about the origins of New Year’s resolutions led me straight to the quickest source of information I know: Google. Sure enough, there was the sought after knowledge, straight from the wizardry known to us as Wikipedia. What I learned is that, “Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. [1]The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.” [2]

 Having a prior life as a salesperson, I know the value of stating specific goals. We are more likely to follow through with the behaviors that support our said goals if we state them clearly. Writing them down and telling others about them increases the odds of our following through with these behaviors.

So what about those for whom the stating of, the writing down of, and the sharing of specific goals does not translate into changed behavior? Not an easy answer, that. Possibilities include (but are certainly not limited to):

·      the person didn’t really want to make the changes

·      they get more out of being a “failure,” (which may even give them a perceived               excuse to continue the behavior)

·      they may have bought into negative messages they received about themselves as         a child and are playing out the negative role,

·      or they may have an addiction in action.

Let’s set the addiction possibility aside for purposes of this conversation, at least until the end of the blog.

Rather than set “resolutions,” which, although helpful in some cases, are typically focused on the letting go of, or incorporating of, a specific behavior. Think weight loss, smoking cessation or the addition of exercise or quiet time.

Think bigger! Think about the kind of person you want to be overall. Think in terms of what I call “Meaningful Matters.” And consider this in many areas of life, rather than limiting yourself to a potentially short-lived, one-area-of-life issue. After all, I would guess most New Year’s Resolutions fall squarely into a health-related category.

Hey, I’m all about good health! In fact, I suggest you establish Meaningful Matters in the area of health, as well as in other important areas of your life including relationships, spirituality, education, career, finances, and anything else you deem to be a significant area of your life.

To determine your Meaningful Matters, start with one area of your life. Since you may have made some health-related resolutions in the past few days, let’s go with the Health area of life. I’ll show you how creating Meaning Matters makes better sense than making resolutions and how Meaningful Matters help guide you toward becoming and remaining the kind of person you want to be!

I’ll go first. I’m going to list as many things about my physical health I can think of that are important to me (at least in the five or ten seconds I’m going to give it):

-       maintaining a healthy weight for my body frame

-       consuming foods that have a high nutritious value for me at least 85% of the time

-       eating at regular intervals and not skipping meals

-       exercising a minimum of 45 minutes, doing cardio and/or resistance exercises 4 or        5 days a week

-       maintaining a regular schedule of routine check-ups for overall health, female                health and dental health

-       getting a minimum of 7 hours of sleep each night

                   -       consuming a minimum of 60 ounces of water each day

Next, I will synthesize that list into 1 – 3 statements that capture what is most meaningful to me in terms of maintaining good health. These statements will describe what matters the most to me about my health. For example, my Meaningful Matters in terms of my health are:

1.    It is meaningful for me that I eat healthy foods and drink water on a regular basis throughout the day.

a.     To me, this is defined as:

          i.     maintaining a healthy weight for my body frame

        ii.     consuming foods that have a high nutritious value at least 85% of the                time

         iii.     eating at regular intervals and not skipping meals

          iv.     drinking at least 60 ounces of water per day

2.    It matters to me that I obtain exercise on a consistent basis.

a.     To me, this is defined as:

 i.     exercising a minimum of 45 minutes, doing cardio and/or resistance exercises 4 or 5 days a week

3.    It matters that I obtain regular health care from qualified professionals.

a.     To me, this is defined as:

i.     maintaining a regular schedule of routine check-ups for overall health, female health and dental health

So then what?

Then I use these three Meaningful Matters as a guide for my Health behavior throughout the day, every day! I can easily do this by asking myself one simple question:

“Will ______________________________ move me closer to, or farther from, the person I say I want to be as I defined in my Meaningful Matters?”

For example, let’s say there are two days left in the week and I have exercised only twice already during this week. I said it is important to me to exercise 4-5 times each week. Assuming I am not sick and there are no circumstances preventing me from exercising, this means I am going to exercise on both of those two remaining days. Why? Because I said (not my doctor said, or my spouse said, or my mother said… but I said) exercising 4-5 times a week is what is meaningful to me. This is how I describe the person I say I want to be.

So then I say to myself, “Self - will skipping my workout lead me closer to, or farther from, the person I say I want to be?” Obviously, skipping the workout moves me farther from who I have determined I want to be. Farther from what I have stated is meaningful to me. Away from what matters to me in terms of my health.

And so, because I value what I have said matters to me, I follow through with my exercise. I actually use the mantra I developed years ago when it comes to exercising, whether I feel like it or not. I say to myself, “It’s what I do.” Saying that over and over to myself prevents an argument with myself. I said this is who I want to be and “it’s what I do.” No debate. I exercise.

Then you do the same thing in the other significant areas of your life: Finances, Relationships, etc. Write a list of the things that matter to you and having meaning for you in each area. Then synthesize the list into a few statements, which are your Meaningful Matters!

For the rest of your life, when faced with a decision in whatever area, ask yourself:

“Will ______________________________ move me closer to, or farther from, the person I say I want to be as I defined in my Meaningful Matters?” 

Not to belabor the point, but here are a few examples for other areas:

“Will nagging at my husband to take out the garbage move me closer to, or farther from, the person I say I want to be as I defined in my Meaningful Matters regarding Relationships?

“Will spending this $150 not allocated in my budget move me closer to, or farther from, the person I say I want to be as I defined in my Meaningful Matters regarding Finances?”

“If I call in sick today, even though I’m feeling fine, will I move closer to, or farther from, the person I say I want to be as I defined in my Meaningful Matters regarding my Career?

You get it. Using Meaningful Matters can be a much more rewarding experience than setting short-term, limited “Resolutions.” Take some time and follow the few steps to determine who it is you want to be by identifying with is most Meaningful, and what Matters most to you in the important areas of your life.

Then get into the habit of making decisions by asking yourself that one simple question:

“Will ______________________________ move me closer to, or farther from, the person I say I want to be as I defined in my Meaningful Matters?”

Before I write “The End,” let me explain why I set the addiction possibility aside earlier. If a person is struggling with an addiction, they need to first acknowledge the addiction and completely abstain from the addictive substance or behavior before they will have the ability to follow through with their Meaningful Matters, at least in some situations. (And don’t start with the, “I’m a food addict and I have to eat to live.” Yes, you do have to eat to live. However, you are most likely very aware of what foods trigger you and you do not have to eat those foods to live. There are thousands of healthy foods to choose from that will not trigger that addiction.) Also, please don’t hear what I’m not saying! I am NOT saying that Meaningful Matters won’t ever work for an active addict. I am saying addiction complicates things. I’ll tackle that in another writing, but for now, get busy writing your Meaningful Matters and then live like the person YOU want to be!

Ok. “The End.” For now.

1.      Lennox, Doug (2007). Now You Know Big Book of Answers one of the amazing thing. Toronto: Dundurn. p. 250. ISBN 1-55002-741-7.

2.     Jump up^ Julia Jasmine (1998). Multicultural Holidays. Teacher Created Resources. p. 116. ISBN 1-55734-615-1







The other day as I was walking on my treadmill, I texted my husband, henceforth referred to as “the Lovebug,” (or, on rare occasion, as “Steve,” which also happens to be his real name) the following: “Lovebug. I MUST WRITE. Every spare minute. It is what I NEED to do. Thank you for loving me.” His response, “Absolutely! Help me know what I can do to make that happen for you.” He knew. Because he knows me. He knew I wasn’t talking about writing, because I actually do quite a lot of that. He knows that I must now WRITE. I must write from ME, more genuinely than I have ever written before. Less fearful of what I DON’T know (for fear I will be judged) and more ok in knowing what I DO know because it’s from my experiences, personally and professionally and because it’s from my heart and soul. I have to write, not because I am a prolific writer or because what I have to say hasn’t been said before, but because it is time. I know it is time for three reasons 1) because every time I read lately, I literally, physically feel the MUST related to my NEED to write, 2) because earlier this month I received a “message” in the form of a gift from a woman I very much admire and respect for the unbearable pain she has been through in life and the amazing resiliency and positive attitude she chooses to maintain while allowing herself to grieve as needed; the gift is a desk plaque that reads, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail,” and 3) because the same day I got that gift, I received another “message” in the form of a gift from a woman whose courage to grow and become more her authentic self awes and encourages me; it is a bracelet with a number 33 charm on it which, according to the numerology description it came with means, Master numbers indicate that you have learned the lessons of numbers 1-9 and have come to help mankind. With double the creative traits of the number three, the number thirty-three is a master teacher and healer. Said to be knowledgeable both emotionally and intellectually, people who embody this number use their whole selves to contribute to the betterment of the world. Be an inspiration to others and integrate your physical, emotional, and mental state with your higher will. Be grounded in your own ability to create change.” 

I have come to accept that I am on this earth in part to do my part to help mankind. I am also more willing to believe that I am teacher and one who helps others to heal themselves. And I am willing to be grounded and lead by my creator to believe in, and share what I have learned with others to help create positive change in whatever ways I can.

And so, I MUST WRITE. It occurred to me to wait until the beginning of the New Year, which is only a few weeks away. But why? This is not a New Year’s Resolution. This is my MUST in life. Unless I want to let my MUST pass me by, which I do not. I think it’s interesting and suspect there are probably some research findings out there somewhere in the world related to this… I wonder how many children are aware at some level of their MUST at an early age and let someone know in one way or another. I also wonder how many of us on this earth follow through with our MUST. Heck, maybe not everyone has a MUST, although I do believe each of us has gifts, talents, skills, and abilities that are uniquely ours that we can choose to employ and/or impart - or not. They say there’s nothing new under the sun, but there sure are a lot of different personalities and learning styles. So, although I do not envision myself reinventing the wheel, it could be that my voice speaks to a select group who get my style and thereby make great changes in their lives, which I firmly believe positively benefits generations to come. I hope to reinvent the scale (as in, the one we weigh ourselves on), but that is for future ramblings.

I suspect that many, many (or “yots and yots,” as my tiny grandson would say, rather than the more clearly understood “lots and lots” of) people lose the vision of who they were born to be and what they were born to contribute to this world. I have a hunch I’ll share my thoughts on how people lose sight of themselves in the process of following through with my MUST writing.

In a box of miscellaneous momentos from my childhood is the assignment every child who has ever been in the 2nd grade has completed: “Answer the following question. When I grow up, I want to be a __________________.” My second grade self not only told the teacher, but she wrote a letter (to whom, I am unaware) that read, “I would like to be an author. I cannot draw well so I will need someone else to illustrate.” And so, there you have it. I MUST write. I knew it in the second grade. I was accurate about the drawing thing, too, by the way.

So what MUST I write about? OH, yeah! I forgot! There is a fourth reason I know it is time I MUST write. If you know much about me, then you know I’m not often afraid to inquire about something I want to do. Truly the worst that can happen is I’ll be told, “No.” And “no” has happened a whole heap of times (I haven’t the slightest idea how many “no’s” constitute a “heap,” but I’ve had plenty of them.) I’ve also had some really cool affirmative responses; hence, the reason for many an incredible experience in my life. I wasn’t afraid to ask because the “rejection,” if it came, usually only stung for a moment and then I moved along, knowing that particular situation wasn’t meant for me. This week, however, after attending a truly riveting continuing education program (yes, I am being serious), I sent in a proposal to present a continuing education class of my own as a course offering for this company. Within days I received a notification from the continuing education company asking for a time to chat. After 30 minutes of a relaxed and sincere talk about the great things about being from the Midwest (he works in Wisconsin and I lived for 33 years in Iowa), about how walking onto the Master’s Golf Course (and Lambeau Field) are examples of walking on hallowed ground, and about my history of direct sales (yes, knocking on doors) as an encyclopedia sales person, we finally got down to the real reason for the conversation. This man (speaking of direct) informed me that the topic I submitted for a continuing education course, does not, historically, draw an audience of fellow mental health practitioners. He did however, tell me he wanted me to present for them, based on my work history and my really great website (thanks to my son)! He gave me homework and we have an appointment to speak again on January 4th. I am come up with a marketing brochure based on what I am passionate about. I know exactly what that is. I have yet to crystalize my thoughts and need a robust title. I think you’ll help me with that in the next few days.

For now… How about you? Do you have something you MUST do in this world? Have you ignored the signs? What’d you think of first when you read those words: “Do you have something you MUST do in this world?” Give it some thought!