Words of Wisdom

 

 

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!

He is Our Hope

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

Throughout the Bible, we are encouraged to place our faith and trust in The Lord because He is our hope. According to Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, the definition for hope is "To trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future." Like every good father, it is The Lord's desire to bless us, He has something beneficial for you in your future.

Give IT Up!

Lynda Savage, M.S., LMFT, LPC

Is there something you'd really rather hang on to even if it's not the best for you? What is it? My friend does not want to give up rage. The delusion is it protects. Unless we give up the destructive, we have no way of realizing the productive.

ASK!

Brenda Spina, M.S., LMFT, LPC

A = Accepting we are not all knowing or all powerful sounds like a no-brainer. However, our pride often inhibits our ability to accept the reality of our need. Accept your limitations. S = Searching out requires giving voice to your need or question. So many roadblocks may seem present due to feelings of shame, not understanding the depth of our need, or just because prior to this we have been able to figure things out. Keep searching! There is no shame in searching for the answers you long for. K = Kinship is a blessing that increases when we accept and insist on the search. It is the squeaky door that gets oiled. Accepting and searching bring us to the knowledge of our place in the family of humanity. We are all in this together so let’s keep asking until the answers come!

Holding On To Hope

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

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." ~Romans 12:12 NIV When I was in graduate school, my favorite professor was Dr. Bob Castagnola. Although he taught different techniques to use when working with clients, Dr. Bob would often tell his students that sometimes the only thing you can do for someone is to hope for them, until they can hope for themselves. Additionally, he encouraged us to find the hope that situations and relationships would improve and change for the better. Dr. Bob, would also caution us that one of the most hurtful things we can do is tell someone else that there is no hope and to take their hope away. May you be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer, and may hope bring you comfort and peace.

Yes or No?

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

When to say no and when to say yes? What a question! A simple way to figure this out is, will it cause you pain or inconvenience? Is it a one-time thing or a repeated pattern? If the other person got to live the consequences, would it help them grow? These are all things to think about. If you have the opportunity to give grace to cover an uncommon thing, it's an easy time to feel confident in saying yes. If you're helping someone continue a pattern of sin and irresponsibility, that's a good time to say no.

A Thank-Ful Thanksgiving

Laura Demetrician, M.S., LMFT

With our country's political climate turbulent, many will find themselves around tables with people of different opinions and ideas. There are many ways to cope. Your positive and thankful attitude can help set the tone for your time together. If the conversation starts to go down a difficult path, try gently guiding the conversation to topics of common interest. Another idea is to take breaks and breathe. They may wonder why you have visited the bathroom 10 times, but remember to love others, be patient and respectful, and to have a very thank-full Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving from the Center for Family Healing & Practical Family Living!

Influence

Lynda Savage, M.S., LMFT, LPC

Those who influence us sometimes assign us things. A significant part of assigned influence is that we may choose what part, if any, of an assignment to take on from our influencers. Influence; assigned and assumed. We naturally influence others. Let’s remember, influence is who we are - not what we do.

Openhanded

Brenda Spina, M.S., LMFT, LPC

Needy people exist and will continue to exist. Generous people are those who are openhanded: people who loosen themselves to feel compassion and give of what they have. Some of you may only have a smile or a prayer. Others may loose belongings, time, or monies to help. Either way living openhanded means allowing ourselves to be open to need and give from the good stored up within.

Self Actualization?

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

Research psychologist, Abraham Maslow, theorized that we have a need for self actualization. Self actualization focuses on what an individual does or accomplishes. This is in contrast to God's word. God's focus is on who we are in Christ versus what we do or accomplish. After all, we are human beings not human doings.

The Standard

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

There are so many voices around us that call us to unrealistic standards, condemn us, and make us feel less than. But the reality is there's only one standard that we need to live up to. And, we do that, strangely enough by recognizing there is nothing we can do. Only Jesus can. Allow him to be perfection for you and live in grace instead.

The Holidays

The winter holidays can be a time of tradition, community, and meaning. But it can also be a time of loneliness and unexpected grief. In anticipation of the holidays, consider what you need emotionally and relationally. Set boundaries around your time and energy. Invite people into your life. Consider giving back trough a local church or charity.

Is Life Tough?

Lynda Savage, M.S., LMFT, LPC

If life is tough for you….you have been honored to hone things inside yourself that others cannot fathom and God has chosen to use as a vehicle for hope for those around you.

Calming Down

Brenda Spina, M.S., LMFT, LPC

Self care may be difficult depending on the circumstances. However, here are simple questions to ask yourself when anxious, upset, lonely or just plain tired: Am I normal to feel______? Have I ever felt this way before? Have I returned to a calmer state of mind? Now that I am here, what do I need to do first to care for myself?

Healthy Self-Esteem

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

We often hear the term "self esteem." But, what does healthy self-esteem look like? In Ephesians 2:10, God's Word says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." The word for workmanship is the same word for poem, meaning His masterpiece or His handiwork. We are each His masterpiece. When we internalize this truth that we are His masterpiece, created with a kingdom purpose a positive, healthy self-esteem follows.

Made By the Creator

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

When life feels crazy. When your responsibilities are piling up. When you feel like you just can’t do it all. Remember, you are enough. You are valuable. And that value comes from your Creator, not your productivity. Rest in this truth today.

Guarding the Calendar

Laura Demetrician, M.S., LMFT

Life can feel out of control sometimes, and as the school year starts, I recommend taking an honest real look at the calendar. Before your schedule gets cluttered, sit down as a couple and then as a family to decide what will make it on the calendar. What will your priorities be? What will you say “no” to? Remember that you as the parent/s are in charge of the pace of your family. You are the guards…the protectors of your family.

Our Own Worst Enemy?

Lynda Savage, M.S., LMFT, LPC

Do you strive for perfection rather than for satisfaction in a task? If so this leads to repeated frustration, disappointment and worse; self-condemnation. This is a result of a drive to be perfect. If expectations will allow for learning from mistakes, a sense of well-being is in your future.

Need to Rest?

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

Take time to rest. It’s easy to believe that we can keep going or that taking a break really won’t make much of a difference – but it does. Even a small pause can change the attitude of the day. A bigger break, like a vacation, can be a reset button when everything had seemed like it was spinning toward disaster. We’re human and we need to rest.

Watch Out

Brenda Spina, M.S., LMFT, LPC

Behaviors that hinder the life stream of any relationship are as follows: Consistently resist sound, fair feedback; blind to grace even when it is freely offered; persist in selfish thinking or behavior; pridefully trust their intellect vs. the truth of what is; treat other people as villains or rail against them. These behaviors, when chosen, sound the death knoll of any relationship.

Working Through Trauma

Laura Demetrician, M.S., LMFT

When trauma and pain occur, it is common for us to make vows for the future to protect ourselves from further pain. Common vows are “I will never let another man (or woman) hurt me,” or “I will never let them see me sweat.” The problem is that these attempts at protection also block us from being connected to ourselves and others. They may initially help us feel safer, but after time they keep us from true connection and love.

Affirmations of God's Love

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

Scripture is full of God's affirmations of His love for us and His benevolent thoughts toward us. In 1 John 4:10, we are told, "This is love: not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." (NIV) Ephesians 2:4 states, "but because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved." (NIV)

A Difficult Road?

Lynda Savage, M.S., LMFT, LPC

It is probably true that you have a difficult road. If you do, consider the lessons learned in it and the value that God has for you in these lessons for your future.

Difficult People

Brenda Spina, M.S., LMFT, LPC

Difficult people are men and women who, no matter what is said or done, always see you as “bad,” “wrong,” or insist on you proving otherwise. This is a game. Their demands help them avoid responsibility for their choices. Care enough to refuse participation. It sends a message of respect for yourself. Your choice allows them to feel the result of their choices.

Think and Feel

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

We are all given the ability to think and feel. Some people favor thinking and some people favor feeling. Thinking and feeling are not good or bad. Both of them give us some good information to make healthy decisions. The problem comes when we let one overtake the other. Listen to your mind and your heart and ask God for discernment. Chances are the answer is going to be a combination of both.

Read Your Body

Laura Demetrician, M.S., LMFT

I heard the saying recently, "Our bodies don't lie." When we aren't feeling well physically, it is wise to take a moment and ask what our body might be signaling to us. Is the pressure on our chest telling us that we are anxious? Is our shallow breathing relaying the truth that we are pushing too hard? Sometimes taking a few moments each day to check in with our bodies can help steer us in the right emotional direction.

Make A Choice

Lynda Savage, M.S., LMFT, LPC

We certainly can make ourselves miserable by going over the unfair things we’ve experienced. Or…we can make ourselves, with God’s help, sane and comfortable. The amount of emotional work involved with either is the same. I choose the latter and hope you do too.

Mandate for Success

Brenda Spina, M.S., LMFT, LPC

A state of being whole, sound, and undiminished comes from the refusal to exaggerate to make yourself look good, honoring all who have contributed, refusing to take things that do not belong to you, and your walk matching your talk. It’s called integrity.

God Promises

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

Have you ever thought that God was mad at you or that He has turned his back on you? Those thoughts were not based on Truth. He will never turn away from you. Rather, He promises that He will never leave you nor forsake. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

The Source

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

Some days drag. Some weeks seem to move like molasses. Some months require survival mode. Maybe it's time for a refill. Or better yet, a daily plug into the Source. The Lord is waiting to pour into us, we just need to stop and make ourselves available. With him, those hard days, weeks, and months will flow so much more smoothly even in the rough patches.

The Marriage "Mess"

Laura Demetrician, M.S., LMFT

Marriage brings us (sometimes quite often) to a place where we must make a choice. We have the decision of running into the mess and loving one another in it, or running away and pretending the mess isn’t there. Don’t miss the opportunity! The mess has the potential to create something beautiful in you and your marriage.

Wisdom