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My son was feeling very badly about not living up to his potential: not being a good enough son, not listening, being lazy, stupid, playing too many video games, mean brother etc. were some of the negative thoughts he expressed. No matter how much we told him we love him and highlighted all the good things he does, he could not hear us and resisted. As a therapist, I know too well that our attempts were invalidating and actually making him feel worse. That one must first truly listen, accept, validate the speaker’s feelings and expressions so they may be able to process their pain and move on. Yet being a parent, feeling so responsible and sad for hearing your magnificent child feel so bad is hard to accept and cope with.

After becoming conscious of my own insecurities, I then chose to respond by cuddling with him and remaining silent as he cried and vented. I agreed how painful this must feel. I apologized for the times my actions have led him to feel this way and that I will keep working on improving myself. I then shared a story of how I woke up early yesterday and caught a glimpse of the intense orange from the sunrise.  I was reminded how blessed we are that *god gives a beautiful new horizon to awake and go to sleep with every day. I thought about Easter approaching and how many are celebrating how Jesus rose from the dead. I told my son that holidays are really just symbols of the gifts god gives us every day. We have been given the gift to rise every day and try again, to be more kind and helpful.

My son immediately said thank you, gave me a kiss and popped up exuberantly. He began to hug and say thank you to all the many items on his bed: his books; his new big, blue, soft blanket; his giant stuffed elephant, his fan, his light.  I then read him some stories, the last one was: I Believe In Me. (

I wish everyone to see the beauty and miracles given every day and when you don’t, forgive yourself and others, and rise again.

Deep breaths and baby steps

*I believe god is universal and defined by what you conceive it to be, plural or singular ( Universe, Tao, Mother Nature, deities etc).


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