Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Learning to Cope With Sadness Will Make You Happy

Validation - Tonight, Perry and I went to hear a wonderful family therapist named Susan Stiffelman speak on her book, "Parenting without Power Struggles." She had a lot of great lessons that seem so obvious and of course the minute we get home we fall right back into our regular script. Perry and I are committed to teaching our kids to grow up to be healthy adults with good coping skills. So when Susan said in the beginning of her presentation that one of the key lessons for us to teach our kids is how to cry and to cope with sadness, I was so excited because this is what I say all of the time. I had an even prouder moment when Perry leaned over to me and said, "you just wrote about that." So here is my repost from Feb. 3rd.


Sadness - it's okay
February 3 - In thinking more about my post yesterday, I realized that one of the most annoying aspects of these self-help reality talk shows is that I'm sick of the hosts telling me to fix something, do more, be better, and be happy. Perhaps as a society, the reason for so many depression and anxiety medication commercials is because we are constantly being told that we should be happier and more grateful. By the way, I truly support medication for anxiety and depression, so do not take this in any way as a suggestion for you to stop your medication. And if you know anything about me, I'm pretty much not just a "see the cup half full" woman, I often see it bubbling over. These are pretty much my daily responses - "Life is good," "everything is great," "I'm happy," and at the very least, "I'm fine."

I suggest that we find ways to cope with sadness and teach our kids to be sad. In developing these coping skills, our kids will be healthier adults who can move in the world with less anxiety. I have learned that being sad is okay. Sad things happen, life is not fair, and sometimes people disappoint you. And it isn't until you walk through it and come out stronger that you realize how important it is to understand the sadness. Without exploring this, it is then that one becomes angry, depressed, anxious. When my father passed away a little over 2 years ago, I couldn't comprehend how huge the loss would be. The months following his death, I was numb, the word SAD seemed liked a joke. 3 little letters to describe how I was feeling, I don't think so. Confusion is more like it. And now 2 years later, with the Giants playing in the Superbowl on Sunday, I can smile knowing that my dad is somewhere with his old friends and will be enjoying the game. And there are other times when I will experience a moment of discomfort and sadness, like when my kids do something really cool and I think, "I wish my dad was here."

Thanks for listening and stay tuned. Shabbat Shalom.

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