Category Archives: Childhood

What The Muppets Taught Me

Share

Is it odd to love The Muppets more than the average bear?

While it’s true, my family thinks there’s something seriously wrong with memuppet when I express overt enthusiasm for this peculiar gang of characters, I can’t help the goofiness they bring out in me. And I’m flat out gaga over the return of The Muppet Show this fall on TV. But more than their whimsical antics that string along my amusement, The Muppets have meted out some good horse sense.

Here’s what The Muppets taught me:

 

1. Stay playful

The Muppets peddle humor. Stress has no audience when I allow the child in me to be her goofy self. Any weight on my shoulders disappears at the arrival of laughter and silliness.

Laughter is the best medicine. In addition to helping the mind to stay positive, laughing triggers the release of endorphins in your body–the feel good chemicals and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. Stay merry my friends. Engage in laughter is what the muppets taught me!

 

2. Use encouraging words

kermit-54237_640Kermit, the philosophical frog and ringleader, isn’t your typical skipper. He cares so deeply for his buddies that he thinks of ways to be helpful and encouraging, especially if any one of them is in a jam.

He’s the wise guru for a gang of seriously off-beat oddballs. He believes in the genuine goodness of the world. And that reminds me that I do, too. His consistent quest keeps me more aware that people need encouragement and compassion. And, being different is a rare and good thing.

 

3. Rock outmuppet3

Music makes my soul want to dance. It’s a power that lifts my spirit. It moves me. And who can go wrong with Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem? A band stuck in the 60’s. Me, too!

muppet2When it comes to tickling the ivories, Rowlf the Dog plays piano like my good friend David Longo. He also has a pretty good singing voice. Rowlf, not David.

But nothing beats Kermit sitting on a log in a swamp, playingkermit1 the banjo and singing The Rainbow Connection, for lovers, and dreamers, and me. La da da di da da dum da duh da da dum di da ohhh

 

4. It’s okay to suck as a cook

I’ve pored over most of the gibberish cooking advice from the Swedish Chef. I’m relieved that food and utensils flying through the air is not as bad as I muppet1previously thought.

Thank goodness jogging back and forth along the kitchen counter is perfectly normal.

And to make a word salad, you simply talk to yourself or hum a nonsensical song. At last, a chef I can relate to! Bork! Bork! Bork!

 

5. Spread love. Pass it on.

It’s impossible to look at a Muppet and not feel some goodness in life.muppet5

Jim Henson created The Muppets in 1955 with a visionary passion. When he died in 1990, Disney eventually bought the rights to The Muppets in 2004. I’m thankful for the vision of love, morals, humor, and hope Henson played out with all his created characters. All the qualities of a well-played life, human and otherwise.

In 2006, Kermit the Frog was credited as the author of the self-help guide “Before You Leap: A Frog’s Eye View of Life’s Greatest Lessons” — an “autobiography” written from the perspective of the Muppet himself.

Life’s greatest lessons. That’s what The Muppets taught me.

 

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

When You’re Left Out

Share

WHEN YOU’RE LEFT OUT – Dr. Sandy Nelson

As adults when you’re left out and rejected by a friend, it triggers childhood memories most of us can recall. Those cliques in class that excluded others in the playground games, or the secret chats by the lockers, or the in-crowd table in the cafeteria. Cliques that seemed to have fun seeing others isolated and alone.

Judith Sills, PhD, says in Oprah.com …being left out is not an inherently grown-up phenomenon. It is 1000213_10151708767561439_258385478_na grade-school agony that recurs throughout life. Being left out is an emotional drama that unfolds in three acts: discovery, distress, and, if you can get there, detachment. These psychological rhythms prevail whether you are reeling from the whispers of a group of girls at recess or excluded from a bridge game in your assisted-living home. Being left out is the dark side of friendship…

Female cliques—and the power they wield to trample feelings—are not just an unpleasant memory from junior high and high school. These groups that are aloof to outsiders thrive in the grown-up world too. It makes feeling welcomed as a newcomer difficult. When you’re left out, you know it. You feel it. It’s perplexing to be ignored or dismissed after a group has invited newcomers.

11046458_999199456780643_2534625398824416841_nDebbie Mandel, author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul writes: Cliques tend to be more about power and control and less about the open door of friendship.

Clearly, there are good reasons to better understand the effects of being excluded when you’re left out. Humans have a fundamental need to belong. Just as we have needs for food and water, we also have needs for positive and lasting relationships, says C. Nathan DeWall, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Kentucky. This need is deeply rooted in our evolutionary history and has all sorts of consequences for modern psychological processes.

Being on the receiving end of a social snub causes a cascade of emotional and cognitive consequences, researchers have found. The social rejection of when you’re left out increases anger, anxiety, depression, jealousy and sadness. It reduces performance on difficult intellectual tasks, and can also contribute to aggression and poor impulse control, as DeWall explains in a recent review (Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2011). Physically, too, rejection takes a toll. People who routinely feel excluded have poorer sleep quality, and their immune systems don’t function as well as those of people with strong social connections, he says.

As mature adults, shouldn’t we be more embracing of people who have initiated their interest in our clubs, groups, or even our coffee house gatherings? Isn’t this the gift of affirmation and inclusion we all seek?

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

The Painful Paradox of Parenthood – Dr. Sandy Nelson

Share

Life affords no greater responsibility, no greater privilege, than the raising of the next generation. –Unknown

It’s not natural to guide, protect, teach, and give to children for eighteen years IMG_2109and then sit back and let them go out into the world on their own. It’s unnatural. Letting go of a kid is so adverse to being a parent. It’s like attaching your child to a helium balloon that holds the parenting of 18 plus years–love, academics, guidance, morality lessons, wisdom, and values. You stand back with awe and apprehension, wondering if the balloon will ascend. Does it have enough of everything it needs inside to take flight? And then suddenly, your child rises up and floats away to his or her own future and life, on hope and a prayer.

And you’re never the same parent again. 

IMG_1714The task of every mom and dad is to raise a child to be an independent, moral, and responsible addition to the world by the age of eighteen. Blah, Blah, Blah. Of course, that makes sense. But it’s not biologically innate for a mother or a father. Even though the parent’s are proud, it’s painful to experience the changes that come with an empty nest. The dark bedroom that had once seen many transitions of paint and many different styles of wallpaper from zoo animals to concert posters and blaring music, is now vacant. The chair at the dinner table is empty. The everyday banter about everything and nothing is absent.

But, this is the child’s milestone, not the parent’s.

When a child grows up, a child is no longer a child. He or she is someone who can contribute to mankind and knows how to lift the spirits of other people. Someone who is a good person and a good friend to those pals along that path. Someone who is caring, responsible, and genuine with the world in the horizon. Someone with a separate life to live.

And, just like most other important experiences in life, it’s a paradox.

Think about it.

 

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014 Dr. Sandy Nelson E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

A Star is born and guess who it is?

Share
You were born with an instinctive, endless amount of self-acceptance, and self-love. It’s innate. Think about it. You were created with ten fingers and toes, billions of brain cells, a specific DNA, a heart that would pump gallons of blood babyfor years, and an endless supply of self-acceptance, and self-love. When you came into this world, you possessed no fear of disapproval. As a baby in the hospital you didn’t compare yourself to the other babies next to you. You didn’t stay awake in your crib worrying that you might not measure up. You didn’t lie in the arms of adults wondering “Are you mad at me?” As you started to explore your world as a toddler, you existed in glory. You freely showed goofiness and laughable antics. You weren’t concerned if your actions would make you look stupid. You weren’t hung up on avoiding mistakes and appearingbaby1 better than others. You believed you were the Cat’s Pajama’s–fantastic, important, and special! You were open, free-spirited—full of enthusiasm. You didn’t fret over your appearance. You weren’t concern with what someone was thinking about your dance moves or your conversation with toys. You believed in who you were. Your self-love wasn’t shown in self-conceit—it was a sincere and humble certainty that didn’t need to knock others to feel good about yourself. You believed you were special and significant and that others were too. Your world was one of self-love and because you loved yourself, you treated others the same way—with love, value, and acceptance.
Then it started. It was unintentional, of course, yet it shook your world of self-love and slowly, little by little, that self-love dimmed as you believed what some well-meaning adults were saying about you when they were upset, angry, or frustrated.
Children don’t know what is right or wrong, good or bad until an adult tells them. The methods that some adults use to tell kids what’s wrong and bad often, unintentionally, crush a child’s self-love. To avoid raising self-centered, baby2narcissistic kids, well-meaning adults quickly criticize kids who think of themselves first and what they like, want, or need. These kids are told that to seek what pleases them is selfish. When kids express their self-worth by stating their wants, ideas, opinions, and thoughts, they are often scolded. These kids then, sadly, grow up listening and believing what they are told, and conclude that there must be something wrong with them for wanting what they want, liking what they like, and needing what they need. The free-spirited child who once beamed from self-love fades into self-doubt and fear.
What surfaces is a child (and later, an adult) who’s set on pleasing everyone else to avoid rejection, disapproval, and possible withholding of love. Some adults indirectly destroy children’s inborn self-love and teach them to love others instead; not to love others and themselves, but others instead of themselves. Children are taught to honor teachers, ministers, coaches, but not themselves. They’re instructed to respect the neighbors, but not themselves. They’re taught IMG_0684 - Copyto love their parents, siblings, Gramma and Grampa, but not themselves. To be kind to their pets, friends, babysitters, and cousins; but not themselves. They’re told to be gentle with toys, books, pillows, and clothes, but not themselves. They’re taught to remember their mittens, homework, and library books, but not themselves. These children learn that the correct thing to do is to forfeit themselves, give up their own needs, and ignore their own opinions for the approval of other people.
I want you to plow through all the Childhood Programming you received growing up, set it aside for just a minute, and remember who you really are. You’re special and significant, and deep inside yourself you know that’s true. No matter what someone says about you, there’s an inborn part of you that wantsstar to take a stand for what you say about you. You want your own approval. You want dignity and self-respect. You want to stop needing others approval and start wanting your own. Deep inside, you know you deserve more in life. Self-love is the source of all other love.                                                                                
A Star is born and it’s you. Think about it!  -In caring, Dr. Sandy
©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

What did the adults in your childhood tell you about yourself?

Share

Fred Rogers tells us, “The roots of a child’s ability to cope and thrive, regardless of circumstance, lie in that child’s having had at least a small, safe place (an apartment? a room? a lap?) in which, in the companionship of a loving person, that child could discover that he or she was lovable and capable of loving in return.”¹ 

What did the adults in your childhood tell you about yourself?

IMG_0418We were born with an enormous amount of self-love and love for others. Our enthusiasm and joy for life was clearly apparent as we began to explore the world.  Whether those attributes were able to grow within us, and thus enable us to believe in ourselves, depended a great deal on how the adults in our lives handled our individual needs and how they dealt with our mistakes.

If we were encouraged to be great and if we were not shamed when we were not, then it is easier for us to believe in our abilities. If the adults in our childhood believed in us and trusted us, then we are more likely to believe in ourselves and possess self-confidence

It is never too late to have a happy childhood. Today, provide to yourself the love and acceptance which may have been missing in your childhood. -Dr. Sandy

¹From Mister Rogers Talks With Parents by Fred Rogers

Where do you stand with the real enemy today?

Share

Our real enemy is neither war nor poverty. Our greatest opposition isn’t the economy or people with differing opinions. Our worse enemy is the inner critical voice that resides in each of us. It’s that voice that will not allow our success, security, or peace.

IMG_0916In the 16th century, Sir Thomas Browne became aware of this inner woe. He was an English polymath and author of varied works which revealed his wide learning in diverse fields including science and medicine, religion and the esoteric. He wrote, “But how shall we expect charity towards others, when we are uncharitable to ourselves? Charity begins at home, this is the voice of the world; yet is every man his greatest enemy, and, as it were, his own executioner.”

Our opponent is not the stock market or threat matrix; it’s the echo of self-degrading comments that arrests any love or kindness towards ourselves, and therefore; towards other people. We must break free. What are your thoughts, your comments, about where do you stand with your real enemy today? -Dr. Sandy

How were you rewarded for achieving as a child?

Share

What are the ways in which you were rewarded as a child for achieving?

From little on, most individuals are taught to strive for perfection in their IMG_0281.JPG (2)endeavors. Teachers applaud kids that get correct all the answers. Family members cheer the child who achieves and accomplishes. Those who seem to do things perfectly are praised and favored.

Yet reality tells us that there is good, and there is great, but perfect does not exist on a continual basis. Since you may have been taught as a child to seek a standard that is almost impossible to sustain, you may have an inner conflict between what you believe you must obtain, and what you actually can obtain.

You need to determine how important a certain standard is in every situation. But determining the importance of a standard should not come from an inner critical parental voice that berates less than perfect efforts.

Are you daily battered with the idea of perfection? Today, recognize that good and great outcomes are respected and valued. –sn

Do you remain living under the thumb of an inner critical voice?

Share

Is there evidence today that you remain living under the thumb of an inner critical parental voice? In the book Between Tears and Laughter, author Alden Nowlan writes, “The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself he becomes wise.”

IMG_0203When we tell ourselves the same critical things our parents told us, we remain in a damaging childhood under the ever critical and condemning eye of disapproving and displeasing parents.

Not all of what we were told to believe in childhood is true. Critical remarks about mistakes are not true. Performance does not determine self-worth. Perfection does not define importance. Our significance is not dependent on another person’s opinion.

When we choose to tell ourselves today the same degrading remarks our parents verbalized, we linger in a harmful mental setting.

Today, share with me how you silence that inner critical voice. -sn

Is it tempting to blame-shift?

Share

In what ways have you felt unable to experience happiness as an adult because of your days as a child? “It is an act of irresponsible self-indulgence to cite our childhood histories as excuses for any of our present behaviors, attitudes, or qualities that are less than healthy,” says Robin Norwood in From Daily Meditations for Women Who Love To Much. That’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s the truth.

IMG_0326.JPG (2)When you blame your childhood for the shortcomings you display today, you imply that your anger problem, employment struggles, relationship difficulties, or other trouble, are not your responsibility to correct. To say that you can’t do this or that because of how you were raised isn’t the truth. It’s your responsibility to stop blaming your past for why life now is what it is. 

Whatever unfair circumstances you survived as a child are now circumstances in your adult life that you’re required to address and remedy. That’s a difficult calling, but a necessary requirement to have a shot at happiness and fulfillment. As a grown-up you’re no longer powerless.

Check for any excuses you may be using today to avoid accountability for your current struggles.–sn