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Relational Reflections: Yes, another blog, and this one’s from Dr. Nadine and Dr. Zan at True Heights

A Pause to Feel the Sadness Before a Smile Can Return

Dr Zan’s Thoughts: 

True Heights Consulting came into existence because Dr. Nadine and I fervently believe that the relationships people cultivate with one another and the manner in which individuals relate to self are vital to finding happiness, health, and productivity. As psychologists and teachers who care deeply, we are committed to the notion that together we can inspire and support others. By facilitating more meaningful connections, we lead our clients toward living in a manner that is anchored in values and ultimately more satisfying. Our general style is to be perky, optimistic, and upbeat. We love to infuse our posts with positivity and encouragement. I notice that we frequently sign off with something that resonates as “Yes you can...” be more or better or well established in the process of becoming so.

While I do not apologize for seeking to uplift, I also recognize that there are times when we are more likely to look around and find the need to pause--to fully take in our larger community and to acknowledge that we are surrounded by mourning. There is much in this world that stands in need of repair. This is where I find myself this week. Certainly, my goal is not to offer political or social critiques or to presume that I have easy solutions. However, I am moved to express that I am deeply saddened to know that there are families and friends who are now mourning and missing those who were precious to them in El Paso and in Dayton. 

Even as I was spending a weekend surrounded by the love of family and friends, enjoying shared experiences that create and honor our memories -- beautiful beings in these cities in Texas and Ohio were having their lives cut short by violent expressions of hatred. The sobering reality is that these are but two examples of many similar tragedies. It feels appropriate to pause, to grieve with those who mourn, to realize that hate only breeds devastation, that senseless acts of violence impact all. 

Yes, people around the world live with violence every single day. Sadly, this is not new. However, may we never become accepting of or callous to the loss of life. When we pause to feel for and with others, we allow our compassion to arise and are moved to do what we can to alleviate suffering. While easy answers on a macro level may not exist, there is one clear antidote for hate. And that is love. May we all be on the lookout for opportunities to turn love into action, honoring those who are no longer here to do so.

Should anyone be in need of resources in the wake of tragic loss, here are some provided by our professional organization:

https://www.psychologynj.org/mass-shootings

Dr. Nadine’s Reflections:

In addition to the professional resources available to those of us suffering with the families and friends of the shootings this weekend, it is imperative to find personal ways to take care of ourselves in the horrific aftermath of these tragedies.  I find myself experiencing what we call “secondary trauma”. I’m not directly involved in the shootings, but they bring up my own vulnerabilities, and create within me a resonance with the victims. So I’m desperately needing and looking for reminders of the love that surrounds me, and want to see evidence that GOOD surely outweighs the evil in the world.

I don’t know if there is more hate in the world than ever before.  I really don’t think there’s a way to know that for sure. But I am certain that there is a more “normalization” of violence on a larger scale.  Remember when you were growing up? You knew who the bullies were in your neighborhood. They were few, and were most often contained within your small village or neighborhood.  But now, there is no containment, with social media connecting hate-fueled people across continents. The “contagion effect” promulgates permission for those “bullies” to behave in depraved and disgusting ways.  We have to stop it by not letting the horror commandeer our psyches. We have to stop it by grounding ourselves in love. We have to stop it by remembering that more people are good than bad, but often go unnoticed.  Let’s acknowledge them -- their sacrifices, their selflessness. We each know at least one person who fits that description.

I truly believe that love triumphs over evil.  So to meditate on that, I am outside, on my deck, sitting with my kitties surrounding me.  They are a clear representation that there is unconditional love. Pets are a simple reminder to us.

In the thoughtful and reflective words of Sarah Ban Breathnach, "...loving, caring for, and spending time with animals enhances our wellbeing...dogs love us unconditionally and cats are big on redemption.  Our sins and shortcomings don't bother them as long as we delight in their presence."

Take time to reconnect with those creatures who live in the moment, don't judge, don't carry grudges, and who appreciate a good meal.  If you don't have one of your own, feed the wild ones, or visit a zoo. Delight in the simplicity of life through their eyes. Find the love that surrounds you and let it buoy you in your sorrow.

To echo the final exhortation of Dr. Zan, “May we all be on the lookout for opportunities to turn love into action, honoring those who are no longer here to do so.”

#trueheightsconsulting #love #relationships #compassion


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