A Bit of Fluff – Grin and Bear It

Hey, look at me! I’m STILL on vacation.

“No way,” you might say.

I’ve got news for you: Way.

Since it’s playtime for me, I want everyone to have a bit of fun.

So this week I’m sharing a pic that’s not only so very true, it just might make you smile.

Hope your month is going well.

My face, when I'm eating salad and someone brings donuts

The Surest Way Not to Teach Kids Respect

ashamed girlI’m still on holiday this week, but in my absence I wanted to leave you with something nutritious to chew on.

Since I’m too busy whooping it up on vacation to moderate comments, they’re not available for this post.

However, you can leave comments over on PsychologyToday.com:

Shaming Children Is Emotionally Abusive

Next week I’ll share something on the lighter side.

Photo courtesy of www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Spider Chronicles

spider webDay 1.

Walking to work this morning, I tried to catch a glimpse of a helicopter thrumming overhead.

I spotted it way up there and followed it for a moment with my eyes.

As I did so, my mouth was open.

I noticed this because at that moment, I walked through a spider web.

Fortunately, I didn’t swallow the spider. All I could feel was sticky silk on my face.

The web must have been large. It spanned the sidewalk. Good job, spider!

I did the batting-at-my-face-and-head thing until I couldn’t feel the web any more.


I continued on in my absent-minded way, both helicopter and spider web forgotten.

After I got to the office, some time before the first client came in, I spotted something out of the corner of my eye.

It was a little orange spider, and it was crawling in my hair.

I did the batting-at-my-face-and-head thing again, until I couldn’t feel the spider anymore.

A subsequent examination in the mirror revealed that I was spider-free.

I thought, ‘Oh, I guess I did catch a hitchhiker in that web on the way to work.’

Then I forgot all about it.


Day 3.

As I was getting ready to leave the office today, I spotted a little orange spider on my filing cabinet.

“You’re not going to be happy there,” I told it. “I might close a drawer and squish you by mistake.”

So I transported the spider over to the giant lily beside my chair, an area known to be visited by bugs from time to time.

Then I remembered bringing a spider to work with me (or should I say on me?) the other day.

Is it the same one?

My mind was only 97% spider-free as I walked home from work today.


Day 5.

This morning before staring work I was dusting the client’s side table in my office when I caught sight of something from the corner of my eye again.

The little orange spider I’d deposited into the lily plant a couple of days ago was descending from the ceiling, right over the client’s chair!

‘Good thing there’s no client in the chair right now,’ I thought.

I went and grabbed the pole that I use to close the skylight shades, and tried to hook the spider by its silk.

It wasn’t as easy as it should have been.

The little spider had spun a very wide, practically invisible web, spanning the distance from the client’s chair to mine and beyond.

Every time I thought I had it, it sailed (like Spider-Man!) to a different part of its web.

Finally I snagged it, and without taking a moment to think through my plan, which had already proven to be flawed, I put it back among the leaves of the giant lily plant beside my chair.

Less than an hour later, in the middle of a session, the client stopped speaking mid-sentence.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I was distracted by a spider in that plant.”

The little spider was on the move again.

After the client left, I searched for the spider, eager to take it outside this time.

It was nowhere to be found.

But now it’s on my radar.


Day 6.

This morning when I arrived at the office, I felt the spider’s web stylings near the client’s chair again … but also way over by the water cooler.

It seemed there were webs everywhere. It was as though the little spider had thrown a fit and run around the office, pooping silk.

Was it trying to snare me and my clients?

I didn’t see the culprit at all that day. Just its handiwork.

I batted at the webs to clear them, and resolved to put that spider OUT at the earliest opportunity.

I’m obsessed with the spider now.


Day 10.

Haven’t seen the spider or any webs in four days. I think it left.

Looking back on my decision to put the spider in the lily plant, I see now that I should have put it outside immediately.

That little spider probably doesn’t appreciate the confines of a potted plant.

Remember, this is the spider that spun a massive web clear across a sidewalk, and then a giant one across an open space in my office.

It’s an outdoor spider. Dropping it onto a plant, even a large one, will never turn it into an indoor one.

We’ve all got to be who we are. I think the spider figured that out before I did.

My office isn’t airtight, which means it shouldn’t be spider-tight either.

I hope it made it safely back to the Great Outdoors.



A few days later, another client spotted the spider in the middle of a session.

It had emerged from the giant lily and was getting busy on the upholstered bench, planning its attempt to conquer that half of the office.

In the 10 minutes I had between that session and the next, I performed an emergency spider removal.

I went downstairs and out the back door with the spider (looking somewhat larger after two weeks — they grow up so fast) safely ensconced in a paper cup.

There’s a place where the back alley dead-ends. It looked pretty perfect for a spider habitat.

With an affectionate-but-not-at-all-regretful goodbye, I flung my arm out, attempting to launch the spider toward a pleasant-looking tree that overhangs the woodpile against a chain link fence.

I didn’t actually see the spider exit the cup. Or fly through the air. Or land anywhere.

It wasn’t in the cup anymore; I checked that before going back inside.

So it must have landed somewhere out there, right?


I forgot to check my hair.

*  *  *

PS. I’m taking a holiday this week and won’t be available to moderate comments, so they’re not available for this post.

I’ll use my imagination to figure out what you think.

Meanwhile, just stay right here in this nice potted plant till I get back.

Photo courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net

“Negative” Feelings and the Law of Attraction

woman looking through rainy windowOccasionally someone tells me with dread that they don’t want to feel depressed because the Law of Attraction will bring more bad things to them if they let themselves go down that path.

Now myself, I do believe in the attractive power of intention.

There’s nothing magical about it; when we think about things a certain way, we tend to behave in ways that match our beliefs.

Our behavior has consequences.

Example: If I’m sure no one likes me, I’m more likely to act in ways that are off-putting to others, e.g., trying too hard to be liked, or rejecting them before they can reject me.

Voila! I make myself less likable.

The Law of Attraction isn’t mysterious. It’s just common sense.

But what about when we experience “negative” feelings like anger or despair? Does that bring negative energy into our lives?

I think it depends on what we do with those feelings.

I explored this topic in the following post this week:

Negative Emotions Don’t Obey the Law of Attraction | Psychology Today

Photo courtesy of www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Facing a Scary Diagnosis

man with head in hands“You have cancer.”

Nobody wants to hear those words, but this year over 1.5 million people in the U.S. will become members of a club none of us wants to join.

Being diagnosed with cancer, Parkinson’s, ALS, or any other dreaded condition can knock you to your knees.

The emotional impact can’t be overstated.

Kenya McCullum writes about how to navigate the emotional landscape of a frightening diagnosis.

It’s worth a read if you or someone you know is facing a serious illness.

As a proponent of constructive wallowing, I’m quoted in her article. It’s here:

How to cope with a bad diagnosis

Getting Out From Under Parental Alienation Syndrome

upset boy with picture of parentsParental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is when one parent poisons a minor child’s attitude toward the other parent, usually during or after the dissolution of the parents’ relationship.

What PAS amounts to is children being used as pawns in a war between their parents.

The biggest loser in this scenario is the child, according to Kathy Hardie-Williams in her article on the topic (see below for the link).

If you were encouraged as a child by one of your parents to reject the other, I’d like to hear from you.

Is it possible to re-establish a connection to the rejected parent as an adult?

If so, what did you (or they) do to break the ice?

Please either post in the Comments section or email me directly.

My Gmail address is TinaGilbertson.

Here’s Kathie’s informative article, complete with a list of to-do’s for alienated parents:

When One Parent Alienates a Child from the Other Parent

Photo courtesy of www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Replacing “Don’ts” With “Do’s” for Self-Esteem

sticky note on fingerAfter last week’s post on name-calling and how it ruins your self-esteem (and possibly other people’s as well), a reader called Multnoma left the following comment:

 Ok. I get that I am holding myself back by calling names. Even if only in my head. Or under my breath.
But it’s only another item on the list of what I shouldn’t do.
I don’t know what I *should* do. Where is the list for that?

Multnoma’s comment was right on the money; it’s relatively easy to come up with a “Don’t” list.

This is one of those times when mental health advice parallels physical health advice.

For example, we’ve all heard these popular “Don’ts” for health:

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol/drug abuse
  • High sodium
  • Refined sugar
  • Too much red meat
  • etc., etc., etc.

But there always seem to be differing opinions about what we *should* do…

  • Vegan diet, or everything in moderation?
  • More fruit, or less?
  • Reduce carbohydrates, fat, or protein?
  • How much fiber?
  • How much water?
  • Are supplements even helpful, let alone necessary?
  • Etc., etc., etc.

In light of conflicting opinions, at a certain point we’re left to rely on our own observations and intuition about our bodies.

For instance I’ve noticed that for me, there is such a thing as too much fiber.

Mike on the other hand is a two-legged fiber-processing factory. He can handle any amount, it seems.

Fasting is not my friend no matter how much I’d like it to be.

Others thrive on fasting and swear by it.

Ultimately, we all must decide for ourselves what works and what doesn’t when it comes to our health.

This is probably true for mental health as well.

Solutions Need Problems

If you wander the earth asking people what you should do, you’ll probably often get the response, “About what?”

This is because the answer to the question, “What should I do?” depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

In the physical realm, if you’re trying to lower your blood pressure I’m told that, among other things, you should reduce your salt intake.

If your blood pressure is fine but you sweat a lot, you probably need to make sure you get enough salt to replace the sodium that’s lost through sweating.

Different goals, different means.

If your goal is to improve your self-esteem, the basic “to-do” is to esteem yourself.

Self-esteem is an action.

But the “to-do” inherent in that action depends on what it means to you.

How do you show esteem?

Here are a few ways that esteem can be expressed:

  • verbal or written communication (e.g., “I like you; you’re different”)
  • generosity (donating your time, money or energy)
  • compassion (seeking to understand and commiserate rather than judge)
  • affection (inviting closeness; cuddling, caressing, smiling, gazing)
  • interest; attention (being enthusiastic about knowing the person)
  • admiration (recognizing qualities you appreciate)

Think about how you treat those you hold in high esteem. What are your go-to actions?

That gives you your answer, because once you know how you’d treat those people, you can treat yourself the same way.

Are you an affectionate person? Give yourself a hug.

Do you enjoy being generous? Give yourself a gift.

Are you interested in others? How about getting interested in yourself?

Try a little constructive wallowing; knowing your feelings is a shortcut to knowing your authentic self.

If you have ideas about how to practice self-esteem “do’s” rather than “don’ts,” please share them in the Comments section.

Many thanks to Multnoma, whose comment inspired this post.

Photo courtesy of www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net