6 year old offers advice about divorce

Sometimes, if we care to listen, we can learn so much from our children. This precious 6-year old, offers wise words to her mom about a pending divorce in the family. She’s “not trying to be mean, not trying to be a bully.” She’s trying to be …straight.

She says, “My heart is something. Everyone else’s heart is something too. And if we live in a world where everyone’s being mean, everyone’s gonna be a monster in the future!”


Friend Therapy

Lately I’ve been writing about ways to save your sanity. In the insane world in which we live it is sometimes hard to have quiet moments. In my last post, about claiming your space I offered some suggestions on how to make that happen.

This post is going to flip that idea and suggest you talk.  Or listen.

I will refer to this as FRIEND THERAPY. It’s when you are able to share your issues with another person in a safe environment. Yes, we can pay for this and go to a counselor but most times that will never happen.

Women sitting on a dock, having an intimate conversation during friend therapyFriend Therapy happens all the time. It’s give and take. It’s the freedom to badmouth a spouse, regret words said in anger or words never said at all, and cry like a baby. In the presence of a friend, these words are not acted upon, they are not resolved, and they are not repeated. Often just the act of voicing our thoughts is the cleansing part.

In the presence of a true friend, there’s no judgment, just allowing.

Last week, in the presence of a friend I related a story about a time in my youth when i was in a bad car accident. In the ambulance and at the hospital I was holding my breath with the fear that when my mom found out she would ‘drive like a bat out of hell’ and get herself killed on the way to the hospital. In the meantime, my dad showed up and suddenly I was able to be a 15-year-old child again. I didn’t have to be the parent and could just be an injured kid. The relief came through in waves of tears and gut wrenching sobs.

While sharing this story, it was as if I was still holding my breath. My shoulders, muscles and throat were tight… all over again.  What I received from my friend was a hug, validation and silence so I could continue.

When my story was over we discussed the topic of children of alcoholics and she related her story too.  Even with friends it takes courage to share a piece of you. And yet, I’ve found when I put myself out there, I’m met with more understanding and openness from them as well.

There are times, however, when going to a therapist is the right thing to do. In therapy, you can dig deeper and express thoughts without worrying if you are upsetting anyone. A therapist can offer insights and help you remember what’s important. A therapist is totally focused on you and offers a place to lay down your innermost burdens.

Friend therapy or professional therapy? I’ve sat on both sides of the table and know there are benefits to both. If you need talk therapy a friend may be able to help. If you need intensive, long term help – ask around for someone you can trust and schedule an appointment. with a therapist.  Knowing when you need more than your friend can offer is key to getting balanced again.

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How your body language shapes who you are!

I watched a great Ted Talk today titled, Your body language shapes who you are by Amy Cuddy. This engaging talk focused on how we (yes, you and I) can do some simple things to empower us.

Arms out wide shouting YES!People who expand  – arms out, arms up, legs out, arms stretched on head, legs crossed taking up LOTS of space… have more power.

People who contract – closed arms, curled up legs, elbows near body, taking up tiny spaces … have no power.

The sweet thing I learned in this video is that by taking a powerful stance, my body takes on a powerful aura. My mind registers that feeling and it shows in my words, actions and demeanor.

Last week I employed the techniques that Amy Cuddy offers during a very depressing phone call.

I stood, reached, arms out, elbows up and as the conversation continued the input from me changed. My tone grew stronger, my stance improved and the overall message evened out as I rose to claim it.

You are really going to like this one!

TED: Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are – Amy Cuddy (2012) (ted.com)

Tell me what you think!

The Gift of Gab

Why is it that some people can just walk into a room and strike up a conversation with a total stranger? What is it they do that makes it so easy? How can they be so engaging with a total stranger? To them, it’s not about talking. It’s about making contact with another person.

It’s about listening.
It’s about sharing.
It’s about caring.

It seems that when you have a talent, you don’t even know it. That’s how it is for people who have the ‘gift of gab’. They know how to engage you in conversation, encourage you to share and are wonderful listeners. They walk away with an awareness, understanding and insight that enrich them.

Everybody has a story and most people are willing to share it if they think someone really wants to hear it. What’s your story? When was the last time you heard someone’s story and walked away with a new appreciation for life?

For most of us, when we are in a conversation we realize we weren’t even listening. At the store you may run into a friend and get introduced to her sister. You say hello, chat for a bit and leave. What was this woman’s name? What was she wearing?

A good communicator is a person who listens with eye contact, awareness and interest. Have you ever talked to someone only to realize that person was looking across the room – perhaps waiting for someone better to talk to? It’s a creepy feeling and it’s obvious the person is not engaged and is not listening.

You can become a better communicator by doing these three things:

1. When meeting someone for the first time, ask them a specific question and then just let them talk. “What brings you here today?” is a good question. Keep your eyes and ears open to the spoken and unspoken reply. Watch for body language such as hand movements, facial expressions, posture, and other qualities that help to connect you to that person.

2. Repeat their name in the conversation as a way to remember it and to become more personable. If you don’t remember or didn’t hear the person’s name, ask. And when you ask someone to tell you their name, ALWAYS repeat your name to them. If another person joins the conversation, stick your hand out and introduce yourself again. This is a great way to remind others of your name and to get them to repeat their name.

3. We all want to be acknowledged, so it’s important to let the person know you are listening. You can ask a follow-up question,add a comment, make eye contact, smile and all those things that you appreciate in others. To really connect with another person, share something about yourself. When you offer something personal in a conversation, you help the other person to see your humanness. It’s the sweetest gift you can offer.

Making contact with another person is an art that anyone can master if you are willing to ask a question and then truly listen… because the gift of gab isn’t about talking at all!

Marge Mercurio is an expert in The Art of Contact, Meeting Facilitation. She is an eternal student, loves visiting bookstores, libraries and meeting new people. With a BA in Communication and a MA in Counseling, she has expertise and experience that comes through in her writing.
The Gift of Gab in 3 Easy Steps