Your Say Yes to Life Weekly Motivator: Who the “Beautiful People” Are

The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.

The woman who wrote this, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, was one of the foremost medical researchers into the end of life stages. By the time she penned this quote, she had known pain and suffering both in her own life and through the countless lives her work touched as she struggled to make sense of what the dying need from the living in their final months, days, and breaths.

She was a doctor, a healer, a teacher, a researcher, and most of all a friend to those who were striving to embark upon their final transition with dignity, support, and grace.

She knew about beauty, because she lived it, lived with it, lived immersed throughout the course of her career in the essential precious fleetingness that is human life. Through her work she became quite literally steeped in the beauty of courage that is awakened within us in those first moments when we realize that yes, death really will happen to us too.

Dr. Kubler-Ross witnessed firsthand how we do rise to our own occasion, when the unthinkable thinks of us and comes to call. We do surprise ourselves with how strong, how resilient, how peaceful, how resourceful, how courageous, and yes, how beautiful, we truly are. We do amaze ourselves by how well and easily we can find gratitude for the unavoidable, peace amidst the painful, and acceptance even in the face of loss or regret.

We do look defeat, suffering, loss, and the unutterable depths that death invites right in the eye, and relatively fearlessly proceed through the Five Stages of Grief – denial, anger, bargaining, grief, and regret – not necessarily because we want to (although some of us do) but rather because we must, because that is what being human demands of us.

Dr. Kubler-Ross witnessed this, time and again, as she diligently researched and recorded the grief process that families go through during the final stages of life. She learned about beauty – true human beauty – not from the airbrushed pages of a high gloss, high fashion magazine, but from those from whom physical beauty had long since departed, leaving behind mottled hands, rattled breaths, bedpans, and dedicated caretakers who rearranged their entire lives to bring comfort and companionship to a loved one’s final days.

In every moment one of her dying patients took another labored breath, Dr. Kubler-Ross found another piece in the missing puzzle that is life. We live because we can, because we are able, because life is not just what we do but who we are, and because it is in our moments of most intense suffering when we can finally catch glimpses of our own remarkable beauty, which is the same beauty that all human beings share, and the very same beauty that gives us the willingness and the courage to wake up and try yet again.

The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.

How would your life – your experience of being you – change if you were to reframe your assessment of your own beauty in these terms?

Where have you known defeat, suffering, loss, unimaginable depths, and have exerted such superhuman courage to survive them that you are still amazed you had it in you?

Where have you experienced a seemingly endless series of insistent “I can’t’s” in your life, followed by the most unbelievable experience of “I can”?

In what ways have you survived the unsurvivable, be it the loss of a loved one, the break-up of a relationship, a job suddenly ending, a natural disaster, a mental or physical illness, an occurrence where, when you first learned of the tragedy, you thought, “I will never recover from this” – and yet here you are, still standing?

Are you….perhaps…..beautiful?

If you told your story, not knowing it was yours, would you be inspired, listening?

If you are struggling to process or progress through a painful loss or a period of suffering or questioning in your life, Southlake Counseling can help. Our compassionate, highly trained staff has more than two decades of experience with supporting people just like you through to seek a higher level of wellness, self-care, and vision for all the richness your life can hold. If you or someone you love needs support to say “no” to unresolved suffering and “yes” to a rekindled desire to live in the presence of your own wise beauty, we invite you to contact us at www.southlakecounseling.com.

Be Well,

Kimberly

 
 

Your Weekly Meditation: What Comes Down Eventually Goes Back Up

We don’t often consider the “coming down” parts of life from this perspective. But with thoughtful reflection and a willingness to connect to our life as it truly is, we become humble and honest enough to recognize that even when we go down, we don’t stay down. Eventually, somehow, in a miraculous or mundane way, we eventually make our way back up again. We can count on it. For those of us who seek spiritual solace, we can have faith in this as the way of things. For the rest of us, we can simply notice the truth of it.

This week I resolve to: Allow myself to have hope even on the darkest days. I WILL survive this. I WILL thrive, live, laugh, love, feel grateful for my life-as-me again. I can count on it.

Has Your Grief Taken You Over?

Grief can overstay its welcome. Grief is a normal reaction to loss. We grieve the loss of loved ones, loss of careers, loss of pets, loss of personal fortune and/or loss of physical abilities. Grief can be defined as a feeling of sadness, anguish, sorrow or regret over something or someone that is gone or lost.

Sometimes, however, grief can become lodged into one’s personality, changing how they view themselves and the world around them. It can cause feelings of bitterness, dejectedness and inadequacy. Those are signs that grief may have turned into depression.

Some questions to ask yourself to determine whether your grief has taken on an extreme role may be: “Do I tend to be cyncial about the world and others?” “Do I tend to focus on my losses and can’t get past them?” “Am I more withdrawn and not interested in the things I used to enjoy?” Do I see my future as bleak?”

If you answered ”yes” to any of these questions you may be struggling with depression and would benefit from talking with someone about these issues. Take the first step toward feeling whole again by scheduling an appointment with us at Southlake Counseling today.

Be well,

Shannon


Are You Worried About Your Daughter?

Adolescence is a tumultuous time, in which rapid physical, emotional and mental changes occur, along with profound environmental transitions. Over the past decade, parents, teachers and therapists have become increasingly concerned with the effects of this period of development, and particularly with how adolescent girls are managing this critical time. Research has shown that adolescent girls are twice as likely as boys to suffer from depression, and the causes contributing to the prevalence of this problem are varied. Society pressures, combined with their desire or need for the approval of others, makes these girls overly sensitive to signals from other people that confirm or deny their feelings and behaviors as appropriate. Unfortunately, our society may be guilty of socializing young girls into depression proneness.

Friendship attachment has been proven a strong predictor of healthy mental development in adolescent females, and girls with lower levels of friendship experience higher levels of anxiety and depression, and exhibit less effective coping skills. Another study indicates that girls cite disconnection from important people in their lives, including peers and family members, as a major factor in causing depression.

The 2005 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance survey, conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reveals some troubling facts about adolescent girls in the United States. According to the data collected from almost 7,000 high school age girls, 37% of them reported having felt sad or hopeless to the point that they ceased their usual activities for two or more weeks during the year preceding the survey, and almost 22% of them had seriously considered attempting suicide. The incidence of depression in adolescent girls is prevalent at a serious level and can lead to a wide range of social, physical and mental problems. Mary Pipher in her bestselling book Reviving Ophelia points out that depression in adolescent girls ranges in degree from ordinary adolescent misery to the extreme of severe clinical depression, but that given the impulsivity of this age group, any degree of adolescent depression should be taken seriously.

Research on the effects of socio-evaluative concerns theorizes that girls experience depression at higher rates than boys, because they are more concerned with what their peers think of them. Although there are benefits to the importance that girls place on interpersonal relationships and the support that they provide, there are also negative consequences when an adolescent girl worries incessantly about concerns such as her appearance and being accepted by her peers. Adolescent girls cite feelings of loneliness and lack of support as contributors to a purposeful withdrawal from social interaction, leading to depression.

As a concerned parent of an adolescent girl, what can you do? First, pay attention to your daughter. Get to know her friends, be supportive of healthy friendships, and acknowledge her dreams as well as her fears. In order to keep their true selves and grow into healthy adults, girls need support and acceptance from both family and friends, meaningful goals, and respect, as well as physical and psychological safety. They need identities based on talents or interests rather than appearance, popularity, or sexuality. They need good habits for coping with stress, skills for self-nurturing, and a sense of purpose and perspective.  They need quiet places and quiet times, and they need to feel a part of something larger than their own lives.

Secondly, allow your daughter enough freedom to make some of her own choices, with clear and consistent consequences. Girls need homes that offer both protection and challenges.  Inside that home, they need both affection and structure.  The best message for teenage girls is “I love you, and I have expectations.” Ask your daughter questions that encourage her to think clearly for herself.  Listen for what you can respect and praise in what your daughter says, and whenever possible, congratulate her on her maturity, insight, or good judgment.  In other words, “Catch her doing good.”

At Southlake Counseling, we offer individual, family and group therapy services for adolescent girls and their families. If you are concerned about your daughter’s well-being, schedule a confidential assessment and allow us the opportunity to provide the guidance and support that she may need to thrive during this difficult phase of her development.

Be Well,

Debbie

Debbie Parrott, MSW, P-LCSW
Southlake Counseling