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Enlivening Ourselves

Dear Dr. Norquist:

All my life I’ve not liked the way I look or who I am as a person. I try to hide this but inside I’m always feeling not as good as others. I see myself as too fat, too selfish, not smart enough, and certainly not interesting enough. I’ve tried, but I can’t seem to change these feelings.

Now I have a daughter who is becoming a teenager, and I see her struggling with the same feelings about herself. Seeing this really bothers me, because I see it as my fault. What can I do to help her (and me)?

Dr. Norquist responds:

Try the practice of choosing to take yourself and life more lightly. Try to be gentle and light in your attitude toward yourself and life. We don’t have to make such a big deal about ourselves, or the whole show of life. Doing this will ease the burden you are carrying. It’s human nature to take our lives and ourselves too seriously. As a consequence, we do not see or experience the richness of the world. It’s like we’re walking down the highway of life without looking around us to see, listen to, and experience what is all around us. We get caught up in our inner reverie about our “inadequacies”, or our resentment about others “inadequacies”, and the richness and enjoyment of life, there for the experiencing, eludes us.

When you find yourself in this state (as we all do, much of the time), try to apply the attitude of taking yourself lightly, and treating yourself gently. If you model this for your daughter, she may also be able to learn from you this way of uplifting oneself.

Check out Dr. Norquist’s new blog  GrowingThroughParenting.com

(Dr. Sallie Norquist is a licensed psychologist (NJ #2371) in private practice and is director of Chaitanya Counseling Services, a center for upliftment and enlivenment, in Hoboken.) Dr. Norquist and the staff of Chaitanya invite you to write them at Chaitanya Counseling Services, 51 Newark St., Suite 202, Hoboken, NJ  07030 or www.chaitanyacounseling.com or by e-mail at drnorquist@chaitanyacounseling.com. Questions can address various topics, including relationships, life’s stresses, difficulties, mysteries and dilemmas, as well as questions related to managing stress or alternative ways of understanding health-related concerns. Ó 2019 Chaitanya Counseling Services

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