Alayna Mastrippolito, Author, Certified Peer Supporter
Are you always taking care of others? Perhaps you work as a nurse or a counselor, or maybe you’re the main source of income for your household, the caretaker of a sick relative, or you just happen to be the person that those in your life come to for help. You may experience compassion fatigue from time to time.
Compassion fatigue is the emotional and physical burden created by caring for others in distress. It’s the cost of losing yourself in the process of caring for others. Compassion fatigue symptoms may include anxiety, depression, feeling overwhelmed, irritation, frustration, worthlessness, isolation, and physical ailments.
It’s possible to take care of others without experiencing compassion fatigue, and it all starts with how you take care of yourself. The key is to allow yourself to make YOU a priority. Those who suffer from compassion fatigue often experience feelings of shame and selfishness around prioritizing themselves over others, but it’s necessary to give yourself that time in order to be able to take care of others. A way to ensure that you’ll take care of yourself is to create your own self-care plan. This allows you to uphold your own physical and mental well-being consistently, and it doesn’t have to take up much of your schedule.
Another important component of limiting compassion fatigue is having good boundaries. Boundaries allow you to love yourself and others at the same time. If you feel overwhelmed or taken advantage of, it’s hard to maintain your compassion to begin with. Setting boundaries within caretaking doesn’t mean you’re leaving others in the dust; this can look like asking for assistance or offering to help at a different time. By setting boundaries, you’re able to take care of your own needs while also taking care of the needs of others. Helping others should not be hurtful to you.
Try connecting back to the reason you began helping people in the first place when you feeling a bout of compassion fatigue. Your altruism likely gives you a sense of meaning which is important to your life purpose. Don’t overextend yourself to the point of forgetting the reasons why you care or getting so burnt out that you can’t help anymore.
You deserve to be taken care of too.
Mary Tanner, Author MSW, LISW-S, M.Ed.
Talk of back to school can trigger parents as much as children. Going back to homework, lunch money, after school programs, car pool etc. etc. can evoke a stress response in even the most seasoned parent. So, what can we do? First of all, Moms, Dads, Guardians, Caregivers, relax. Everything will be OK. Have fun in the remaining days of summer!
When parents ask me what they can do to help their child get ready for back -to- school, I start with the basics. I call them the “Big Four” This is a recommendation I give year- round.
If you do those 4 things with and for your child, you are giving them the best chance to feel good about themselves and to perform well at whatever activity in which they partake. Sometimes, the Big Four gets put on the back burner during the summer. It is truly beneficial to be consistent and do these things year -round. You are helping yourself too, Adults. You will have less irritable, more cooperative kiddos with which to contend. The Big Four applies to all kids big and small and to their adults, as well.
I recommend limiting screen time. Children, young and old are spending way too much time on their screens. This is one of the biggest obstacles that interfere with sleep and exercise. I have had young clients who take their I-phones, I-pads, laptops to bed with them. This is a very bad idea! One little guy I was seeing was staying up all night playing games, watching shows and falling asleep at school. I got to the bottom of it and told his Guardian, who didn’t know. She put a stop to it by simply taking all electronics away at bedtime. It was a fight, but one that was necessary.
On the subject of screen time, it’s good to shut off all screens an hour before bed time. The blue light emitted from all screens interferes with our sleep cycle and makes it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. If your child is experiencing difficulty with sleep, talk to your pediatrician.
If your child is shy or seems to have trouble making friends, summer is a good time to practice social skills. Talk to your child about communicating with others. Demonstrating skills and role playing can help them learn and develop better interpersonal skills.
Playdates are also helpful. Spending time with friends during the summer can help with back-to-school worries. Knowing they have friends at school eases transitions.
If your child is starting at a new school, ask the school for recommendations, if there are summer activities that will allow your child to meet classmates. There may be a local recreation center or swimming pool where children from their school go. I love libraries. They offer fun programs that encourage reading and may be a good place to meet other children.
It's important to always talk about school in positive terms. If the previous school year was difficult for your child, offer them hope and encouragement that the next school year will be better and you are there to support them.
If your child has experienced something upsetting, or seems anxious or depressed, talk to your school. Most schools have mental health therapists and counselors on site. It’s good to jump on potential issues early. Don’t let concern that your child will be labeled stand in your way. School resources are there to help.
Covid has caused issues for everyone. Educators are concerned students aren’t as far along in their learning because of lock downs and conducting classes via computers. Children are resilient and they will catch up. We, as the adults in their lives, can be their support and can help them see the fun side of learning. Learning doesn’t just occur in the classroom, give your children experiences, nature walks, trips to the playground, regular trips to the library, time at the pool, a picnic in the park. All of these and more are opportunities for learning.
Have fun with your child! Again, enjoy the remaining days of summer!
Alayna Mastrippolito, Author, Certified Peer Supporter
Transitions can feel intimidating, especially when experiencing a major change like transferring to a new school or moving from elementary to middle or middle to high school. Your child may be worried about several factors including making friends, bullies, school work, getting lost, or even whether or not they’ll be able to open their locker. Let’s talk about how to make this transition as smooth and comfortable as possible!
One suggestion for handling school nerves is to have them discuss or write out what they’re specifically afraid of, and then note which fears are out of their control. The idea is to shift the focus off of the things they can’t control and direct their energy towards the things they can control. When they’re done, take time to discuss or write the positive aspects of the transition so they can potentially get a little excited about it!
To prepare for the transition itself, it’s a good idea to get into the school routine the week before it starts. This may include getting supplies together, keeping a realistic bedtime, and encouraging more social time with school friends. If they’re going to a new school, see if they can visit the building before school is in session so they can know their way around.
Finally, ensure that your child is practicing self-care! This means taking care of physical health (enough water, nutrition, exercise, and sleep) and also mental health (activities that make them feel relaxed and rejuvenated). These actions will put them in the right headspace to feel their best no matter what happens at school.
Understand that it’s normal to feel nervous, and the nerves are what keep your child motivated to do their best! Remind your child that they’ve handled transitions before and can do it again… and they just might enjoy themselves!
Alayna Mastrippolito, Author, Certified Peer Supporter
We’ve all had the experience of feeling so overwhelmed and drained, yet having too many items on the to-do list to be able to rest. You’re backed up on work, the house is a mess, you haven’t had much time with your loved ones, and *sigh*... it’s only Tuesday??
According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology, burnout is defined as “physical, emotional or mental exhaustion, accompanied by decreased motivation, lowered performance and negative attitudes towards oneself and others”. It’s the result of doing too much of what drains you, without enough rejuvenation. Though there are times in life when it’s necessary and even beneficial to work hard, spending each day squeezing out every ounce of energy you have until you’re completely depleted is not a very sustainable or pleasant lifestyle.
Here are three steps to help you avoid burnout:
1) Know what your priorities and values are. Write these down and keep them someplace you’ll see often. Be clear on what matters to you so that you know what you want to work towards. This allows you to have a purpose behind your daily actions, rather than simply achieving for the sole purpose of being productive. Helpful questions to ask yourself might include: What uplifts and fulfills you? What promotes your personal growth? What is your reason for getting up each day?
2) Spend time on things that matter to you. Take a second look at your schedule. Is there anything on it that doesn’t align with your priorities and values? Is it possible to remove anything from your schedule that’ll make this week feel less draining? Is there anything you can delegate? When you’re spending more time on activities that you’re passionate about, you’ll feel more energized and less worn out.
3) Take time to recharge. In order to be productive, it’s essential to take time to restore your energy each day by taking care of your mind, body, and spirit in ways that make sense to you. A few ideas for rejuvenating activities include walking in nature, yoga, meditation, reading, creating art, journaling, calling a loved one, and practicing gratitude and self-love. It’s also important to be able to recognize your personal signs of feeling overwhelmed. This is the tipping point of your productivity when it’s actually more productive to rest!
You’re allowed to create the life you want. Be kind to yourself in the process.
“I am a human being, not a human doing.” ― Kurt Vonnegut
Author, Stacy Ruse LPC, EMDRIA Approved Consultant & DBT Certified Therapist
We love empaths. We are empaths. We understand it can be hard to be an empath, or a highly sensitive person, in this polarized world.
What does being an empath mean?
To us, we are all empaths and highly sensitive persons at some level; however, there is a continuum that ranges from being completely unconscious to being an empath, all the way to being an embodied and fully conscious empath. Additionally, the continuum also goes from having slight empath characteristics to having significant empath characteristics.
Many people also interchangeably use the term ‘Highly Sensitive Person’ coined by Elaine N. Aron Ph.D. in her highly recognized book The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You. Another personal favorite is Judith Orloff’s use of the term ‘Empath’ and her book The Empath’s Survival Guide.
We also go as far as seeing the Empath as a lightworker in this bleak world and love Rebecca Cambell’s work.
So, what are the Empath characteristics?
When you look up the dictionary online, it defines an empath as ‘a person with the paranormal ability to perceive the mental and emotional state of another individual.’ We believe that not only can an empath pick up energetically, from other humans, but also from nature, animals, objects, rooms, places, etc. They are simply more able to sense energetic information, subtle energy, of the world around them.
This can be overwhelming, especially when you don’t even know what you are picking upon. Science shows us that some people may experience the same event, the same stimuli, and react very differently to it via seen-on brain images.
What is most important truly though, is understanding this is valid and is real to your experiences, regardless of whether others pick up on it or not. Someone who is a strong empath may feel very invalidated in this world. Feeling things at heightened levels is not easy, and you may have grown up, and may still be, being called too sensitive.
From our research, both novice and experts alike, believe most empaths are introverted, however, we don’t necessarily believe they are interchangeable.
Rather we believe that an empath just ends up taking on so much energetically, whether they are introverted, extroverted, or a mix of the two, that they often need a lot of downtimes, away from others and stimulating environments, in order to recharge. And if they don’t get this downtime, they are more prone to higher levels of exhaustion, anxiety, anger, migraines, depression, and more. Therefore, this may make others perceive them as introverted, but it is not necessarily a characteristic.
An empath has a mission, you could say a soul-mission, here on earth. Whether they are conscious of it or not, they are here to bring in healing, compassion, light energy, new technologies, or something meaningful in some way. And if left exhausted and burned out, they can not do this to their full potential.
Therefore, counseling, bodywork, and other supportive therapies are crucial for these highly sensitive beings. The empath tends to be highly clairsentient, which means having the ability to acquire intuitive knowledge by means of feeling and having a sense of knowing. Additionally, it is defined by the Merriam-Williams dictionary as the perception of what is not normally perceptible.
Remember an empath feels more, therefore they can perceive and feel what we perceive as good feelings and energies also. All energy is amplified for the empath. One of the trickiest issues for an empath is having an enormous ability to take on others, or external, energies that are not their own, and feel them as if they are. This is particularly difficult because, at a deep level, we can’t process other people’s energy for them.
The empath is especially sensitive to other people’s unprocessed traumas, and unclaimed emotions. No wonder why many empaths feel anxious and overwhelm. And this is not going away, in fact, it seems to us, more people are developing strong empath characteristics and younger generations may have even more empath characteristics. In fact, in our group counseling practice, we serve many clients who deeply resonate with this, and are having extraordinary experiences they may not be able to explain and in some cases, spiritual crises.
What can lead to more of these characteristics, well it is not completely known, but it appears many come into the world as empaths, others develop these characteristics through traumatic experiences, and others awaken to these abilities later in life. And likely most of us have a combination.
Know, you are not alone. There is hope, you have more power than you know. The empowered empath knows how to navigate energy, learns to become mindful of the energy within and around them, and learns how to release it, transmute it, or use it appropriately.
It is necessary to have tools so you can realize the gift these characteristics offer you and the world around you.
The Empath’s Tools:
Trauma processing can recalibrate your nervous system and help you stay more calm and present.
Author, Stacy Ruse LPC, EMDRIA Approved Consultant & DBT Certified Therapist
What makes someone feel they have been born into the wrong body? Gender identity is a prominent topic these days thanks to the transgender movement, yet many people are still uncertain about what causes this issue.
What is it, exactly, that determines whether an individual thinks of themselves as “male” or “female” or something else or neither of these two options? It seems that a possible answer to this question lies in the structure of our brains.
A considerable number of gender differences in the brain have been described and many are housed in the parts of the brain concerned with sexuality. For instance, an area of the brain that has to do with sexuality is larger in males than females and smaller in male-to-female transgender brains.
There are also reports of chemical differences in male and female brains, though there is still confusion as to how these differences, as well as size difference, relate to gender. Studies have also suggested that connections between brain areas may differ between genders, yet scientists struggle to interpret these findings in a meaningful way.
So, while we are a little closer to understanding this complex topic and understanding what exactly causes someone to identify with a different gender, there is still confusion and much to learn.
How Can Parents Help Their Transgender Child?When a young person develops a physical disease or ailment, tests can be ordered, a diagnosis given and a treatment plan put into motion. When a young person identifies as a different gender, all of the answers don’t fall into place, and there isn’t one “correct” way to handle the situation.
So how can parents ensure they support their transgender child as they face an uncertain future and possible rejection and isolation?
Accept Their IdentityTo be rejected by their parents can be profoundly damaging to a child. Most young people that come out as trans have thought a lot about their feelings and experiences before telling anyone. Their identity should not be treated as a passing phase or something “awful” they will grow out of.
So, believe your child about their status as trans and accept them.
Follow Their LeadTransgender people are individuals. Not all will wear the same type of clothing. Not all will want to make the full transition. Don’t assume what your child’s journey will or should look like. Let them lead and you follow and support them.
Don’t Misgender or "Dead-Name" Your ChildUndoubtedly it will be hard to say goodbye to the child you gave birth to and have known for so long. But it will be important that you show love and respect to your child by referring to them as the right gender and by the name they now choose to go by, if you slip up, simply apologize. But don’t intentionally misgender or dead-name them.
You may find it very helpful to speak with a therapist during this time. He or she can help facilitate good communication between you and your child as well as help you navigate these new waters.
If you’d like to explore treatment options, please be in touch.
Author, Alayna Mastrippolito, Certified Peer Supporter
You know that feeling when you're going through a tough experience and you find someone who's experiencing the same thing? And it's so relieving when you can talk to someone who really understands, especially when they've learned a thing or two on how to handle it. That’s what peer support is!
Certified peer support specialists provide practical, relatable mentorship and guidance to their clients through the lived experience of their own journey. Since peer supporters have overcome the same obstacles that their clients are going through, this creates a very unique safe space. For those who’ve felt like they aren’t understood, finding a peer supporter who “gets it” makes a huge difference.
Alayna Mastrippolito, a peer supporter with Mindfully, mentions that her clients appreciate having someone who they can come to with the “uncomfortable” topics. For example, adolescents who are experiencing puberty may have questions that they don’t feel comfortable discussing with their parents or their friends. A peer supporter can help to normalize and validate their client’s experience, no matter how embarrassing or vulnerable it may feel.
Peer support is also an evidence-based practice that can work beautifully in combination with other mental health providers. Studies have shown that people who receive peer support in addition to traditional mental health treatment are more likely to recover, and the diverse, encouraging team of peers at Mindfully works across specialties to ensure that every client gets the support they need to thrive.
How does peer support with Mindfully work?
First, think about what you need more of in your life to feel mentally stronger. Then, choose from one of our programs or we can create a personalized program to target your specific needs. From here you'll be matched with a Certified Peer Support Specialist who you can meet with weekly via our app, which also has helpful resources, the ability to join group sessions, and goal tracking to monitor your progress.
If you’re already seeing a counselor at Mindfully, you now have free access to a Peer Supporter! Speak with your counselor to get connected!
By: Jordan Thurman, MSW, LISW-S
I have naturally curly hair. I am the only one in my immediate family that has such hair, which made it very hard for them to understand my hair care. I remember my grandmother trying to brush my hair while I screamed and then cried when I looked in the mirror at the frizzy mess before me. They had no idea what to do with it, and as a consequence, neither did I. I was taken to hair salons that would spend two hours trying to straighten my hair after they trimmed it, only for my hair to instantly curl back up the minute it was washed.
As I grew up and muddled my way through trying to discover how to best care for my hair, I found myself able to locate salons that didn’t attempt to straighten my hair, but that was really it. No one really noticed the unique needs of my hair. It wasn’t until recently, I decided I was going to go to a hair salon that specializes in curl care. It was such a unique and wonderful experience for me. I felt understood and seen for the needs I had, and everything was all customized to me. I was able to be educated on things to better help my hair, and I left with a sense of pride in this part of me. I felt more confident and empowered.
Why do I share that story on a blog post about Pride Month? The answer is simple: to help us recognize the differences between tolerance and affirming and why it is important to understand these differences. Many already know that intolerance is a bad thing. However, we think it’s enough to just say, “Oh you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community? Cool!” The reality is that this is far from enough.
To start, we need to look at what tolerance is. If you were to do a quick Google search of the word “tolerance,” you would find that it is defined as the willingness to tolerate something “in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.” It is often described as an ability to endure something painful or unenjoyable. The essence of tolerance in the LGBTQ+ community is this: it sends a message that the individual makes us uncomfortable. There are many people out there that will go, “I’m okay with you being gay or whatever, but I would prefer you to not discuss that.”
Imagine being on the receiving end of that for just a minute. Imagine going to a doctor, going on a date, or just any encounter with a person where you start talking about something important to you. Maybe you bring up your family, your job, a hobby, or anything else you love and enjoy. As soon as you bring that up, the person you are talking to becomes visibly uncomfortable. Two things would likely happen: 1. You would never bring up that part of you that is essential to you and keep a wall up or 2. You will make efforts to avoid seeing this person again.
Many health care professionals, including therapists, fall into this category of tolerance citing that they do not believe it is necessary for treatment. These professionals are often left wondering why their patients stopped showing up to appointments despite doing what they believed was effective treatment for their patient’s needs. The reality is that a clinician in this mindset did more harm to a patient by promoting a sense of shame and guilt. As mental health professionals, it is important for us to remember we are to be culturally competent clinicians who embrace a comprehensive, biopsychosocial approach that meets the individual needs of a patient seeking services. When there is an aspect of a patient’s identity or culture that is not
welcomed into the time together because it makes the clinician uncomfortable, then that clinician has failed to uphold best practice standards.
The definition of affirming is simple: offering someone emotional support or encouragement. That’s like Therapy 101, isn’t it? We know taking this approach is what can help our patients believe that they are capable of growth. An affirming approach with the LGBTQ+ patient is an approach that invites that part of their identity to be part of the conversation with welcome arms. “I would love to hear more about your relationship. How long have you two been together?” “I go by Jordan, and my pronouns are she/her/hers. What name and pronouns do you go by?” In these moments, we can show we welcome that part. This is a place you can talk about that piece of you and what it means. This is important because as therapists, we should recognize that many systems can contribute to stressors as well as protective factors and resources.
The harmful culture of tolerance and the effectiveness of affirmation is evident in research. In 2014, a study conducted Durso and Meyer found that 39.3% of bisexual men, 32.6% of bisexual women, 10% of gay men, and 12.9% of lesbians did not share their sexual orientation with health care providers. Another article written in 2015 by Sabin, Riskind, and Nosek found that stigma, lack of cultural sensitivity, and reluctance to address sexuality may hamper effectiveness of care. A study in 2006 by Steele, Tinmouth, and Lu found that positivity and inquiry about sexual identity led to disclosure, and disclosure led to regular health care use.
Tolerance alone is not enough and could potentially cause more harm, particularly in a health care setting as it could lead to patients disengaging from services. If we want to keep patients engaged in treatment, we must embrace an attitude of affirmation. If we want to be a better ally to our friends and family, we must embrace an attitude of affirmation.
Durso, L. E., & Meyer, I. H. (2013). Patterns and predictors of disclosure of sexual orientation to healthcare providers among lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 10(1), 35-42.
Sabin, J. A., Riskind, R. G., & Nosek, B. A. (2015). Health care providers’ implicit and explicit attitudes toward lesbian women and gay men. American journal of public health, 105(9), 1831-1841.
Steele, L. S., Tinmouth, J. M., & Lu, A. (2006). Regular health care use by lesbians: a path analysis of predictive factors. Family Practice, 23(6), 631-636.
Jordan works with a variety of clients, but has a passion for working with women, the LGBTQIA+ community, survivors of trauma, and individuals who have experienced loss. She specializes in working with new parents, as she is certified in perinatal mental health, and she has specific training in working with perinatal and infant loss.
Author, Stacy Ruse LPC, EMDRIA Approved Consultant & DBT Certified Therapist
The world is calling for more inclusive and compassionate ways to communicate and understand the full spectrum of gender, sexuality, and relationship preferences. Let's explore what "inclusion" means - it is about welcoming, accepting, and advancing a diverse mix of peoples.
It is imperative that as a parent, teacher, counselor, or anyone caring for children that we expand our knowledge and scope of understanding to the wide and beautiful spectrum that exists in terms of topics on gender, inclusivity, sexuality, and LGBTQIA+.
And yes, it is changing fast, with new belief systems and language coming all the time. At times it may seem daunting when you worry about knowing everything or getting it right, yet when we relax into changes we can feel the excitement of witnessing the broadening happening across the world. And our children will have so many more opportunities to love and accept themselves and others, and all parts of them, rather than having to ignore, suppress, question, and shame natural feelings, urges, questions, and seeking and exploration behaviors.
If you or a loved one has experience suppression, oppression, confusion, shame, and/or other traumas around sexuality, gender, inclusivity, etc., compassionate and inclusive counseling from qualified licensed professionals can help.
Many people fear changes, and have anxiety children will be hurt, confused, or judged. And are scared to talk about these subjects at all, fearing something bad will happen and yet, in truth, it is quite the opposite. It allows children and the upcoming generations to find a greater sense of acceptance in their own sense of self and authenticity in the world.
If you need coaching or want an inclusive setting to have healthy conversations, counseling can help. Also, it is important that if you have a child or teen who having difficulty with any of these topics and more, counseling with a licensed professional can be a crucial step
Our younger generations, and ALL who have for too long been ostracized, marginalized, and judged are speaking out and demanding that we have difficult and real conversations that promote change. This includes with each other, and with our children.
As a parent, caregiver, or teacher, it can be difficult to know the right thing to say when kids question what we deem to be adult topics. Broaching topics of sexuality can be awkward for both parties; however, it is a necessary and very important conversation to have. And it is crucial to have some knowledge and understanding and to approach it with an open heart. It takes willingness, openness, and compassion.
Want to learn more skills, develop great empathy and compassion for self and others, and become more mindful. Try our DBT Skills Groups for adults or teens.
When it comes to talking about gender and sexuality, and the wide spectrum that continues to expand in preferences, children should be given truthful age-appropriate information so they can better understand and empathize with themselves and with others. Regardless of whether your child identifies now or in the future with LGBTQIA+, having a conversation about LGBTQIA+ issues will help reduce prejudice while teaching compassion and empathy.
This is powerful, as it can, directly and indirectly, reduce tensions, anxiety, social awkwardness, interpersonal difficulties, and enhance wellbeing, inclusivity, and acceptance.
When to Talk
It’s never too late to start a conversation on issues of sexuality with your children. While there may be initial discomfort and reluctance from preadolescent children and older, ultimately having these discussions with your children will help them develop a sense of safety and security with you, while it teaches them tolerance and acceptance.
For young children, the age of 5 is generally a good time to begin discussing these topics by sharing some basic information with them.
What to Say
For very young children, keep the conversation simple and focus on basic concepts. When talking about sexuality, you can explain to your child that just as a man and a woman can fall in love, so can a man with a man, and a woman with a woman. When talking about transgender individuals, you can explain that how a person looks on the outside isn’t always how they feel on the inside. You can refer to the familiar adage about “not judging a book by its cover.”
Children should understand the basic concept that there are all kinds of people in this world, and that is what makes us all special and beautiful, like the colors in a rainbow. Allow the colors to be different, each one is amazing on its own and when combined to form a rainbow is magical.
Encourage them to ask you questions as they explore the world. Stay curious with children, they have a sense of wonder that we all need and should be encouraged and validated. Just as they see a rabbit for the first time, they ask "what is that"? This is from a place of curiosity and wonder, not judgment.
If we allow them to ask, explore, and provide back loving, truthful, age-appropriate, and compassionate feedback they will learn to engage in the world from this place. How powerful and wonderful is that?
Our own willingness, openness, and curiosity go a long way and will foster that in children. Or maybe it is the other way around, if we let them, they can foster it in us. Either way, it is transformative and healing.
Stay mindful, and be careful to not consciously, or unconsciously, give answers or communicate verbally or nonverbally in judgmental, confusing, and/or biased ways. Nor ignore a child's or your own curiosity. For mental health and wellbeing, you want to communicate in a way that celebrates all people. We all are and equally deserving of love, acceptance, and respect. And if we all treated each other, and ourselves, this way, what a world it would be.
The research shows it all starts with self-compassion, and it can totally transform us and the world around us. “Compassion is, by definition, relational.
Compassion literally means 'to suffer with,' which implies a basic mutuality in the experience of suffering. The emotion of compassion springs from the recognition that the human experience is imperfect.”
― Kristin Neff, Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself
If this is difficult for you to do, due to what you have experienced in your life, please seek compassionate support. What happened to you and how you were communicated may have impacted you and left you judgmental, in pain, angry, or hateful. If you are mindful enough to recognize this and willing to explore it, wonderful. Please don't beat yourself up to more, or hate yourself more, as that created more of the problem in the world. Counseling can help, so you can move through pain, trauma, and open your heart to more wellness as well. This will help you and the children and others in your life tremendously.
Remember You Don’t Have to Know Everything
Your child may have questions that you can’t answer. It’s okay to admit to your child when you don’t know the right answer. This could be a discussion point for later after you’ve done some research, or it could be a good opportunity for you to learn from your child.
Take time to explore, ask others as well, stay humble and you will build a stronger relationship with yourself self and the children in your life.
Author, Stacy Ruse LPC, EMDRIA Approved Consultant, DBT Certified Therapist, IFS Intensively Trained
We can all make a difference, even in small ways, to help uplift, support, and be an ally for LGBTQIA+ and other marginalized communities.
We believe in empowering and advocating for ALL persons and beings and supporting marginalized groups by standing up against systemic bias and oppression for LGBTQIA+ and ultimately for everyone.
We believe in more inclusion, and that at the deepest level we are all connected. We open our hearts and creative energy centers to welcome a full spectrum of ways to identify with in terms of sexuality, gender, and beyond, including but not being limited to queer, intersex, asexual, pansexual, non-binary, and more.
We believe we are all connected, energy is fluid, and that we all are empowered to have our own unique ways of expressing ourselves. So it is best to be in the present and to have ways to describe what we experience creatively among one another, and if we learn to accept and love ourselves, we will love and accept others and vice versa.
Some Ways to Empower and Ally
Other ways you can help may include volunteering at shelters and participating in and/or donating to groups like the Trevor Project in providing national resources.
PFLAG (formerly known as Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) connects parents, families, friends, and allies of LGBTQIA+ community members to support one another and the members of the LGBTQIA+ community members in their lives.
Looking for compassionate and supportive counseling services, Contact Us. Learn more about our services & our specialties or join one of our DBT Skills Groups! Check out our Trauma Talks YouTube Series & Blog
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Author, Stacy Ruse LPC, EMDRIA Approved Consultant, DBT Certified Therapist, IFS Intensively Trained. Stacy is a modern-day Light-Worker, Trauma-Crusader, Shame-Untangler & Star-Seeker.