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Read Sherry's Responses to Readers' Questions & Problems

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Should I Be Honest With My Daughter About How I Feel About Her Moving Across The Country?

Where Do I Go From Here With My Father?

December 3, 2021

DEAR SHERRY:


How should I move forward after my father has shown an unusually strange discomfort in helping me when I asked while pregnant for some help and also buying a car seat for the baby's arrival. I suspect a large part has come from his wife.


I have actually never asked for anything before and have bought everything myself since 15 Including self funded trips away overseas as a teenager. Being an independent person it was hard to even ask, but I lost my job and shortly after my house, I'd just built and saved 7 years for. Bringing me back to nearly nothing with only a few personal possessions. When I asked he couldn't look me in the eye and said I should not have asked without his wife present.


Christmas came and I declined an invitation to my father's as my baby was only 4 weeks old and I didn't feel comfortable with a large group on the day while I was just a new mother.

A month later was my birthday. He forgot to ring on the day (first time) and was upset on the phone with me 2 days later as he just found out I went to my aunties' very small Christmas day lunch instead. I said it was my choice and that didn't go down very well. His response was, but I asked you to our Christmas lunch? I just replied with the same response again. (First time I found my voice like this) It started a horrible childlike attack on me and I ended by saying please don't call me again if he wants to speak to me like this. Before trying to defend myself at every horrible attack or comment made, lies included! Looking back I'd wished I hung up and not listened to it all. It really hurt me and I haven't heard from him since.


It was my baby's first birthday and invitations were sent out. No RSVPs and no show from him and his wife's entire family.


I'm unsure how to move forward and especially defend myself as the questions come my way. On the outside to people my father is a gentleman when in fact this is not the truth. At this point I have no interest in seeing him because of our last few interactions. They have brought me to tears.


Where to from here? Looking for advice on what might be a healthy way or moving forward.


WHERE TO GO FROM HERE WITH MY FATHER


DEAR WHERE TO GO FROM HERE WITH MY FATHER:


I am sorry that your father hasn’t been there for you.


I want to start by saying that it is wonderful that you honored yourself by doing what felt right for you over the holidays, and that you are trying to find your voice with your father.


As I listen to your story about how your father has never given you anything and his discomfort even being asked, I can’t help but wonder if he experienced some sort of lack growing up? This lack could prevent him from giving to you, causing him to feel wounded when you didn’t come to his house for Christmas, and cause him to be afraid of losing his wife's acceptance.


A parent can often only give based on what they received from their parents. If our parents didn’t feel loved and secure enough, it would be hard for them to show love and provide security to us. We then make up stories in our mind about ourselves, and then react in our environment based on the stories we've made up. We might take in direct or indirect messages such as: I’m unlovable, I’m unworthy, I have no value, etc. This becomes the lens that we use to take in the world in all of our interactions. We all have our own lens that influences how we interpret others’ behaviors. Based on that interpretation, we then react. This often leads to discord in relationships.


You ask, where to go from here? Here are a few thoughts. If you need some space from your dad and time to think, I would give yourself that. When you are ready to talk to your father, I would ask him if he is open to having a conversation in the interest of improving your relationship? If he is, I would be honest and let him know how you have felt about his lack of generosity toward you. Before having this conversation with him, I would ask yourself how his lack of generosity has influenced your thoughts, feelings and behavior, toward him and yourself? I wonder if you are less giving toward him? It would be completely understandable if you are. I know you said you didn’t want to go to such a large gathering with the baby being only four weeks old. Is there any part of you that didn’t want to share the baby with him because of his lack of generosity with you? These can be challenging questions to ask ourselves, but they are essential as we co-create our relationships. Maybe this doesn’t resonate with you, but I felt it was important for me to ask.


As I said, we all have a lens of how we interpret things. When your dad learned you went to your aunt's house, he might have construed that you love your aunt more than him. (He was feeling a lack) He can be responding from a wounded child state, from his own family of origin. When he told you he was upset, it may have been hard for you to be empathetic, because of his lack of generosity of spirit toward you. It becomes a vicious cycle.


These types of cycles are at the root of so much discord in relationships. Your dad may or may not be open to having this type of conversation. Not everyone is open and on the journey of healing and self-discovery. If he is not open, I would try again if and when you feel ready.


If your efforts don’t work, you need to grieve the loss of the relationship you wish you had with your dad, and not just cut him off. When we cut people out of our lives, and don’t process our feelings, those feelings sit within us and prevent us from connecting with ourselves, and others, creating the onset of disease as disease is dis-ease of the body, mind and spirit.


You also asked how to defend yourself when questions come your way from others. It can be confusing and frustrating when others see our parents in a better light. Many people treat those outside their family better than their actual family, because it can feel too vulnerable to share our heart with those we love the most. You do not need to defend yourself to anyone if you know and are confident in your truth. If you feel you would like to say something, you can say something like, I know my dad is a certain way with you, but he is different with me, and right now I need some space to work through things.


I believe all discord in relationships provides the opportunity for a spiritual awakening within ourselves. We come to understand ourselves better through the problems that come up in our relationships. Ask yourself how these struggles with your father help you evolve? Maybe you are supposed to find your voice, as you said, this is the first time you spoke up to him.


No matter what, honor yourself and take care of your child within, because no one can take care of you better!


Sending lots of healing energy!


Love,

Sherry

How Do I Support My Teen Who Is Worried About Getting Into A "Good" College?

November 19, 2021

DEAR SHERRY:


My high schooler is a good student but seems anxious and worried about getting into a “good” college. How do I respond when self-doubt is at a high? What strategies can I offer to help calm the worry?


A WORRIERS MOM


DEAR WORRIERS MOM:


Getting stressed about college is an all too common problem among our teens. Unfortunately, we live in a culture that perpetuates this, but we can do our best to be a voice of reason.


I have a few thoughts about how to respond. First, acknowledge your teen’s fear, that it can be a stressful time, and that you know that they have worked hard and want their efforts to pay off. If you have any worries, or are reactive to your teen’s fears, I would encourage you to examine that. It is important that you remain calm and are a port in the storm at this time. Being empathetic and holding a calm space, will help your high schooler to settle and be more open to talking.


You might want to help them to understand what is at the root of their fear? Ask, if they do not get into the school of their choice, what does it say about them? For example, maybe in their mind it means I am not good enough, or I am stupid, or I tried so hard for no reason, or perhaps I am a failure. This is an opportunity for some reality testing, and or looking at past choices and learning from them.


You can also ask your teen what is the worst that can happen? When they answer, follow up again with, and then what? And then what? Continue to do this line of questioning so that they can see there really isn’t anything to worry about.


I might explore with your high schooler, what exactly is a good college? Many kids want to go to the most academically challenging, or the most popular college with the best parties. They aren’t thinking about what the best fit is for them.


My good friend's daughter, who recently graduated high school at the top of her class, was accepted into an academically rigorous University that she had been dying to attend. After putting down the deposit, she came back to her mom and said, “I made a mistake, I want to have fun in college and not work so hard”. She had already declined her offers at all the other colleges she applied to and went back and asked them if they would reconsider. One did and she is loving her freshman year!


As a final note, you and your high schooler may be interested in watching the Race to Nowhere documentary. It is about the pressures kids have to achieve today, and the dire consequences they suffer as a result. The movie provides many good talking points. I highly recommend it!


As far as strategies go, I would suggest they list things they can do to help calm the worries. When we are worried, it can be hard to think clearly. Strategies they can use to help calm the fears might be:


  • Think about what they would say to their own child or a friend and say it to themselves to help reassure them that everything will be ok.
  • Engage in fun activities that help to get their mind off of it.
  • Think about a time that they were waiting for news and things worked out well. Recounting positive past experiences like this can help calm their nervous system.
  • Think about the worst thing in the world that could happen to them on a scale of 1-10 and then have them measure this against not getting into a “good” school. This will help them to remember, no matter what happens, it isn’t the end of the world.
  • Examine your choices. Is there anything else they can do to influence the outcome? If there is, encourage them to do it. If not, reassure them that they have done everything they can.
  • Breathing into an area of the body that isn’t tense can be calming. It can be the tip of your nose or the sole of your foot. This too, helps to regulate the nervous system.


Remind them to trust the process. They will get into a college, which is usually the perfect fit. If it isn’t their first choice and they don't end up liking it, transferring is always a possibility. Things always have a way of working out.


May calm energy prevail in your home!


Sincerely,

Sherry

How Did You Become Interested In The Holistic Part Of Psychotherapy?

November 12, 2021

DEAR SHERRY:


I’m so curious about how you got into the holistic part of psychotherapy. Is it what you went to school for or did you discover it along the way?


Thank you!

CURIOUS


DEAR CURIOUS:


I appreciate you asking me this question!


Ever since I was a teenager, I knew I wanted to be a therapist. I majored in Psychology for my undergraduate studies. School had always been difficult for me, but I loved my psychology courses and it was so easy for me to understand; it came very naturally. I have always believed it was a gift from God.


When I applied to graduate school, I was trying to decide between attending Fordham University and Columbia. I remember sitting in my therapist's office at the time, uncertain where to go. Columbia is an Ivy League school, and I thought it would be my golden ticket to anywhere I wanted to go if I went there. However, I loved the program at Fordham, as it had a more holistic approach. Columbia focused more on a person's mind, and Fordham focused more on how a person relates in their environment. My therapist said to me, “If you go to Columbia, it may be your ticket in the door, but YOU will get yourself where you need to go in life.” I chose Fordham. I am welling up with tears as I write this, as it was one of the most valuable lessons in my life - to follow my heart.


No matter the situation, I have always believed we have a natural tendency to heal and work through our problems as long as we are in a safe environment. I have never subscribed to the medical model of disease or strict cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which only considers a person's thoughts and behavior. In the medical model, if someone is labeled as depressed, it is regarded as a disease, and it negatively influences a person's hope to get better.


It is proven that even if someone has a genetic disposition to depression the brain is malleable. I believe what is commonly thought of as a genetic disposition to depression is a multigenerational pattern of depressed people who pick up the energy around them. For example, if your mom is depressed, you will likely grow up and feel depressed because her energy surrounded you throughout your childhood. It is like osmosis; you soak it in. We all can pick up the energy of the people around us.


When I first became a therapist 30 years ago, CBT was the most common modality for treating patients. I never understood that, as it didn’t take into account a person's emotions. I have always tried to help people to marry their head and their heart. To illustrate, I know it isn’t healthy for me to eat an entire chocolate cake, (rational thinking). Still, I might do it anyway because my emotions and subconscious processes are driving my behavior. You need to delve deeper for actual change to occur. Unless we heal our hearts, we can not change our behavior permanently. We might be able to white-knuckle it for a while, but ultimately we go back to the unwanted behavior unless true healing occurs.


Through advanced studies and continuing my work with clients, I realized that although I was helping people to align their head and heart, I was not fully addressing trauma in the body. I further learned and incorporated techniques to help release trauma in the body. I use The Trauma Resiliency Model developed by Elaine Miller-Karas, Holographic Memory Resolution developed by Brent Baum, and The Body Code developed by Dr. Bradley Nelson. They are all excellent modalities to help release trauma in the body.


I want to share a personal story about the power of aligning the body, mind and spirit. At the beginning of the pandemic, I learned that I had nodules on my thyroid. The biopsy results indicated they weren’t benign, but they were not cancer either. Since they could develop into cancer, one of my options was to have my thyroid removed and be on medication to regulate my body for the rest of my life.


I went home and looked up the cause in Louise Hay's book,You Can Heal Your Life, and learned that these nodules were manifesting because I felt resentful about my career. This was very interesting to me, as I have always wanted to get my messages out to larger audiences, but I was too afraid. When I tried to speak in public, my throat would close up and my brain would shut down.


I knew I needed to overcome my fears when I heard this news, as I did not want to have my thyroid removed. In the last 18 months I have been on a journey to overcome my fears and share my philosophy with larger audiences by developing my workshop Discover Your Roadmap To Healing; Learn how to navigate your life and live in joy and my Dear Sherry Column. I still continue to challenge myself and face my fears.


I am happy to say that my nodules have shrunk 40% without medication. This is a true testament that disease is a dis-ease of the body, mind and spirit. We truly have innate power and wisdom within us and a natural tendency to heal!


With love and gratitude,


Sherry


How Do I Break A Vicious Cycle I Am In With My Child?

November 5, 2021

DEAR SHERRY:


My son gets very angry when things “inconvenience him.” Something as simple as waking him up an hour before he has to get up by mistake will set him off. His behavior then results in punishment. It’s a vicious cycle.


Signed,

FED UP MOMMA


DEAR FED UP MOMMA:


I can see how you could get caught in this vicious cycle. When someone becomes aggressive with you, it is easy to get caught up and react to their behavior.


I encourage you to look underneath the behavior. Seek to understand why your son is getting set off. We all take in our environment differently and therefore have different perceptions. Kids are egocentric and think everything has to do with them. Perhaps when you forget and wake him at the wrong time, he feels that you didn’t listen to him. Subconsciously, he might think that what he has to say doesn’t matter; therefore, he doesn’t matter. Hence, the explosion because everyone wants to matter to their momma!


My child likes to use a particular fork and spoon because he has sensory issues. In the past, if I forgot and gave him the wrong one, he would get furious. I explored this with him, and in his mind, he felt like I didn’t know him and therefore we weren’t connected. That is scary for any child, especially a child with sensory issues who struggles with connection. I assured him that we are always connected, that I do know him, and that sometimes I forget because I am human and can get distracted. I am happy to say that I hardly ever forget the fork now, but when I do, he can politely say, mom, look at the fork, we laugh and I get him the one I know he wants.


It appears that you too, are taking things personally, as evidenced by your part in this vicious cycle when you give him punishments for his disrespect. When we are reactive to others and take things personally, it is because “parts of us” haven’t fully grown up. Parts of ourselves get stuck in time. For example, we may have a hurt or lost 4-year-old or 10-year-old inside of us that hasn’t healed from an old wound. We then respond as if we were still that age, in a less than ideal way.


I would encourage you to think about how you perceive his outbursts. How did you take in your environment when you were growing up? Maybe the little kid in you thinks that you can never do anything right, or that you are not appreciated for trying? So subconsciously, you interpret him saying that you are wrong or not good enough and then you lash out by giving him a punishment.


The more we explore these events with those we love, the fewer volcanic eruptions and greater understanding and connection we will have.


Thank you so much for writing in!


Love,

Sherry

Dating Non-Exclusively

October 29, 2021

DEAR SHERRY:


I’ve recently become single and have started dating. I’ve become rather close to a person and he wants us to be exclusive, but I’m not ready for that and want to date other men. Can you give me advice on how to let him know that I don’t want to be exclusive but I care deeply for him?


Sincerely,

NON-EXCLUSIVE


DEAR NON-EXCLUSIVE:


I can see how this would be hard for you. You want to honor yourself and your own needs, but at the same time, you don’t want to lose someone you care about.


Being honest is of the utmost importance. Be clear about your reasons before having the conversation. It will help the person to understand and be compassionate about where you are coming from. Maybe you are afraid because you remained in a relationship you weren’t happy in, and you want to make sure this person is the one. Perhaps you want to experience dating others because you have been with the same person your entire life; much like a kid who has been in school for years, and wants to explore the world and backpack across Europe before settling down in a career. Whatever the reason, again, honesty is always the best policy. We learn and grow when we are vulnerable with ourselves and others.


I would let them know how much you care about them and what you value about the relationship. I would speak from your heart and tell them that you are not ready to settle down and why. I would express that you hope to continue seeing each other; however, you understand if that isn’t possible.


Perhaps there is a mutually agreeable solution. You might decide to set up parameters that work for both of you. For example, they may be okay with it if you are dating other people, as long as you are not sexually intimate with others. If you get to that point in another relationship, you would let them know.


If they are supposed to remain on your path now they will. If they are meant to take another one that will happen, or perhaps your paths will come together, when the time is right for both of you. Always trust the process.


I have had difficult conversations with people, even though I knew I might lose the relationship if I shared how I felt. As I reflect on these events, even though it is sad in some circumstances, because we never found our way back, I know I made the right decision because I honored myself. We have a deep sense of peace when we honor ourselves, even if the decision has painful consequences.


May the result of your conversation be in the highest good for both of you!


Love,

Sherry


Tips to Stay Calm With Your Kids

October 22, 2021

DEAR SHERRY:


My husband has a disturbing habit of doling out unrealistic punishments “in a fit of rage”. Oftentimes he reneges on the punishment afterwards. This is extremely frustrating since I believe when you give a punishment you need to follow through. What suggestions do you have for him to be more “thoughtful” in the “heat of the moment”?


A HOT HEAD’S WIFE


DEAR HOT HEAD’S WIFE:


I know this can make you have a HOT HEAD yourself! That being said, our kids can have a way of pushing our buttons, that at times leaves us feeling out of control and powerless. No one likes feeling this way, and when this happens, to assert our power, we may turn to punishment to regain control. Often, when the dust settles, and we are more regulated, we see our behavior as irrational which is why we do not follow through. I might suggest that your husband and all parents keep these things in mind:


  • First and foremost, I recommend recognizing the powerless and out-of-control feelings that are surfacing. When one goes into a “fit of rage” their autonomic nervous system Is going into a fight response. It is taking one back to other times in their life when they felt scared in some way and couldn’t do anything about the situation; this is usually a time from childhood. The punishment is a knee-jerk reaction to gain control of the situation. Understanding and exploring what is going on within oneself will help one to calm down.
  • Remaining calm will help your child to be more reasonable, as they feed off of your energy.
  • Disengaging from the situation if one senses they are starting to become angry can help. It gives you time to calm down, think clearly, and talk from a calm, centered place. Let your child know that your energy is getting heightened and that you need a little time to gather yourself. Assure them that you will revisit the topic a little later.
  • Parents are a source of security for children. If you do not follow through with what you say, it can influence your child's trust in you, themselves and their environment. Trust is fundamental to help a child feel safe and grow into the best version of themselves.
  • Kids won't learn to follow the rules without consequences, or if you do not follow through. They will “place their bets” so to speak, figuring the odds are on their side, when they are thinking of making a poor choice. They will think that they can do whatever they want and not learn to be accountable for their actions. Thus this makes your job more complicated as a parent.
  • Finally, clear limits help children to feel anchored and safe in the world. The safer your child feels, the more centered they will be, and thus more likely to grow into a well-adjusted adult.

I hope that keeping these things in mind helps to let calmer heads prevail.


Sincerely,

Sherry


How Do I Trust And Surrender?

October 15, 2021

DEAR SHERRY:

How do you surrender and trust that everything will work out the way it is supposed to when things are out of your control?

Thank you!

DIFFICULTY LETTING GO


DEAR DIFFICULTY LETTING GO:

I am smiling as I read this because it is so hard for so many of us. It is a process to learn to let go and try not to control things. On my journey, I have learned that it becomes easier and easier to surrender as I connect more to myself.


We often try to control things when we are afraid. The first thing to do is recognize that you are afraid and ask yourself what it is you are afraid of. Then ask yourself if your fears are based on reality. Doing this can help you let go or begin exploring some feelings that you may need to process. For example, let's say your child received a bad grade on a test, and you were afraid that they wouldn’t get into college. Ask yourself if that is really the case? You will hopefully realize that of course, it isn’t, because there is a college for everybody. Let’s say you wanted your child to go to Harvard because everyone in your family has gone there for generations and their grades aren’t good enough to get in. You may need to mourn the end of a legacy and what that means for you versus continuing to nag your child to study because you are worried.


Sometimes things can come up from our past that makes it hard to surrender in the present moment. When we are a child, we are powerless; so many things happen in our life that we often don’t understand that are out of our control. Perhaps your parents fought, or your mom had a drinking problem? Maybe your dad lost his job, or there was a health scare, and no one explained what was happening to you? To protect ourselves, we often disconnect from our emotions and adapt in various ways.


As adults, when things are out of our control, it brings our psyche back to times when we felt confused and powerless as kids. The present circumstance provides an opportunity to heal from that moment in time when we needed to disconnect from our feelings. When you revisit these experiences that you were unable to process at the time entirely, it helps you to surrender. The more you do this, the easier it is to trust that everything unfolds as it is meant to.


The Language of Letting Go, by Melody Beattie, offers short daily meditations that help you feel your emotions, own your power and accept what you can’t control. It has many golden nuggets throughout, and I highly recommend keeping it on your nightstand and reading a passage every morning or evening.


The Serenity Prayer also helps one to be mindful of what they can and can’t control. It is popular in Alcoholics Anonymous but can apply to all of us. It reads as follows:


God grant me the Serenity

to accept the things I cannot change,

the Courage to change the things I can,

and the Wisdom to know the difference.


As I said, this is a process, be gentle with yourself. If you go within and do the work, it does get easier. If your difficulty letting go creates unmanageable anxiety or depression, reaching out to a therapist can also be a great support.


Wishing you peace and calm in every moment!


Sherry


How Do I Deal With My Friends Negativity?

October 8, 2021

DEAR SHERRY:

What do you do when you have a good friend, who’s going through a really bad time and reflects her negativity on you, even in the most sensitive topics? I want to be there for her during her tough time, but I also can’t keep getting hurt anymore by her negative remarks.

TIRED OF THE NEGATIVITY


DEAR TIRED OF THE NEGATIVITY:

I am sorry that you are feeling hurt by your friend's behavior. I think you can handle this by either talking with her, trying to resolve it within yourself, or some combination of both.


You can be honest with her and let her know how you feel. I would start by saying that you care about her a lot and consider her a good friend and that you feel bad that she is going through a difficult time. At the same time, let her know that you have been hurt by some of the things she said and did.


My educated guess is that she probably isn’t even aware that she is doing it. We can all get wrapped up in our problems at times and be unaware of how we affect other people.

If she is a good friend, she will probably appreciate you letting her know and be apologetic. If she doesn’t have the bandwidth to hear you or the ability to make changes, I would limit my time with her, because the most important person to be there for is yourself. Relationships can ebb and flow, and this may be a moment in time where there is some distance between you.


You can also check in with yourself and see what she is triggering in you. We learn and grow from all of our experiences even though we may not always like what is happening. I believe she may be providing you an opportunity to look within yourself and process some feelings about this sensitive topic.


We all have a different lens from which we perceive what is happening in our environment. I wonder if everyone else is experiencing her in the same way; they might find her negativity upsetting for different reasons? To resolve this within yourself, I suggest asking yourself and writing down all the reasons this is a sensitive topic for you. This exercise helps you explore what's happening inside of you versus focusing on what she is doing and making it about her.


People can’t make you feel a certain way; they can only tap into feelings that already exist inside of you. For example, let's say she is complaining about being overwhelmed with her young children but thinks it is horrible for a mother to work and send their child to daycare, yet you send your child to daycare. If you know that is a good decision for you, and it won’t bother you, you will be able to look at it from her vantage point. Maybe she was adopted herself and has feelings of abandonment and thinks putting her children in daycare would be a form of abandonment. If it was a hard decision for you, there may be something about it that you need to resolve in yourself that she is bringing to the surface for you when she makes these negative comments.


You can choose to say something and also look at what is coming up for you. When I explore what is coming up in me, I am less reactive and have more tolerance for people, even if they are thoughtless and negative, whether I continue to spend my time with them or not.


Whatever you decide, remember to take care of YOU!


Love,

Sherry


How Do I Handle Unreliable People?

October 1, 2021

DEAR SHERRY:

What do you do if you find yourself in a situation with a person that isn’t being reliable, personally or professionally?

FEELING DISAPPOINTED


DEAR FEELING DISAPPOINTED:


This can be difficult for many of us, because no one likes to be let down, and it can be challenging to confront someone when you aren’t happy with them. Whether personally or professionally, I think it would be helpful to consider these things.


Ask yourself if this is always the way the person has been or is it more recent behavior? There are many reasons someone might be unreliable, such as; life stressors, a lack of interest, or clarity about expectations. They may be incapable of being reliable, as it may be a developmentally unrealistic expectation, or they may never have had anyone to rely on, so they now act unreliable toward others (this behavior could be unconscious).

These are reasons to give us context and understanding to help us develop compassion and prepare for communicating from a more loving and open place, versus taking their behavior personally. Reasons, by all means, are not excuses, as we all need to be accountable for our behavior, and it is important to be able to rely on people in your life. If we don’t communicate, that can lead to resentment and disconnection in relationships, as it is hard to trust someone that isn’t reliable.


If you choose to have a conversation, let the person know that you wish to talk with them and set up a time that works for both of you. People can be caught off guard and not as open if you try to speak with them on the spot. If you are both open to having the conversation at the moment, that is fine too. It is best to meet with someone in person, FaceTime, or on the phone, as things can be misconstrued via email or text.


When communicating, let the person know your intention to improve the relationship, or share what you value about the relationship, before voicing your concern. This will also help them to be more receptive. When sharing your concerns, provide factual data points and share how it affects you. For example, you were late for work three days this week, and I needed to prepare everything myself for the meeting. Another example might be, the last four times we made a plan you canceled at the last minute, and it was my only free night. It was too late to make plans with anyone else so I sat home alone. Share enough points so that the person can see the pattern; at the same time you do not need to express every single grievance if there are a lot. The person will get the point.


Ask if anything is going on with them and if there is anything you can do to provide support? Sometimes someone just needs a little support to help them to function better. For example, someone might need to meet weekly with you to stay on track with their responsibilities. Maybe your friend is late wherever they go, and it has been a problem in their life, and they could use your support to make changes. You bringing it up can be a catalyst for change.


Express your request for change and ask if they can do that? You can also ask them what they can do to improve the situation. Perhaps you can come up with a mutually agreeable solution? Like I said earlier, expectations aren't always clear, and people are often unaware of their behavior. We can not expect people to change their behavior unless we tell them.


Whatever the situation, you need to do what is best for you. If they can't change and be more reliable, perhaps you need to adjust your expectations and your behavior. An example might be, if you know your friend typically runs 30 minutes late, accept that is the way it will be. Start showing up 30 minutes late or you might do something while you wait.


It could also be helpful to think about what they are triggering within you when others are unreliable. Maybe your mom was always late picking you up at football practice or dance class? This situation can bring up feelings of fear and abandonment, that you were unable to work through then, that you can work through now. Look at it as an opportunity for healing. When I work through the deeper issue, things often don’t bother me as much or the pattern ceases to exist in my life because I have healed in that area.

Finally, you may need to change the nature of your relationship and look for a solution that will meet your needs. Sometimes this might mean cutting ties altogether.


I am confident you will be able to RELY on this information to help you to improve your situation.


Good luck!


Sherry


Finding Balance

September 24, 2021

DEAR SHERRY:

How do I find a balance while taking care of 3 kids who are of different ages and have very different needs; one with special needs, a teenager, and a toddler, while also trying to find time to be with my spouse and develop a career?


Sincerely,

WONDER WOMAN


DEAR WONDER WOMAN:

Remember Wonder Woman and her superpowers? Summon her superpowers to achieve this balance!


The best gift that you can give to yourself and your family is to take care of yourself. Finding balance is not an easy feat, but you can start by using your tiara to make sure you carve out time for yourself to recharge. The better you feel, the more fluid your house will run, as everyone in your home picks up on your energy.


Teleport to a quiet place to focus on your career. If you are home, let everyone know they are not to disturb you while you are working.


Tap into your supreme wisdom to figure out how to structure your time. Perhaps only work when the kids are in school. Maybe two nights a week you can sit with your husband on the couch for an hour to connect and then go out for a date night every other week.


Use your magic bracelets to deflect anyone or anything that tries to interfere with you and your spouse enjoying a regular date night. Weekly date nights might be difficult, but acts of kindness and affectionate gestures will help you feel connected with each other. It is vital that your children see a healthy example of a married couple. It helps them to form a sense of security, and your marital relationship forms a template for what their intimate relationships will look like when they are older.


Use your superhuman strength to bring everyone together for meals and family time. Even if everyone is in different stages, there is nothing more valuable than a close-knit family. Watch a movie (give everyone an opportunity to choose), go on drives, go to the beach or to a park together.


You will then need to get your lasso and wrap it around your family to help them see the truth, that the household will run better if everyone chips in. Assign everyone chores and responsibilities. Ask others in The Justice League to assist you, and hire someone if you need to. Pay your teenager to watch the toddler.


With your mental and physical agility, seek connection and joy in routines, like bath time, meal prep, and pick up and drop off at school and activities.


Use your mental telepathy to remind yourself that it is the quality of the moment spent, not the quantity. Kids need only 15 minutes of uninterrupted time with them a day to feel loved.


Finally, use your empathetic nature to console your loved ones when you can’t always be there. Even Wonder Woman can’t be in more than one place at a time.


Sending lots of love to your immortal soul!


Your fellow Wonder Woman 

SHERRY


Starting A New Chapter

September 17, 2021

DEAR SHERRY,

I recently moved and started a new job, and it feels bittersweet. What is the best way to honor all of my feelings?


Thank you!

STARTING A NEW CHAPTER


DEAR STARTING A NEW CHAPTER:


lt certainly can be bittersweet when we move or start a new job, because as one chapter in our life is beginning, it signifies the end of another. I have a few thoughts about what you can do to honor your feelings during these life events.


First, recognize that with any change in life, you will have both positive and negative feelings. Take the time to reflect, so that you can acknowledge and process whatever is coming up for you. No matter how excited you are about a change in your life, you are leaving something behind. Ponder what you will miss about your old home and previous job, what your home and job meant to you, or what they symbolized? When you move, you may be leaving a great neighborhood, good friends, or a home that you made your own and created so many memories in. It might be the childhood home you grew up in, or the first place you ever lived on your own.


Perhaps your old job was so easy and didn’t require a lot of energy and the new one is more challenging and will require a lot more from you. You may have had a mentor that you counted on, and now you feel like you're flying solo, so that can be scary. Maybe you are leaving your first job out of college or where you met your spouse, so you might find yourself reminiscing.


Further, recognize that moving and starting a new job are considered life crises because they are significant transitions. Even if we are ready to move on, there is comfort in what’s familiar and some element of nervousness and discomfort in new situations. Give yourself time to adjust to the new experiences. It is a process, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to unpack and create your space the way you like it. Anytime we are doing something new, remember that there is always a learning curve. I have been a therapist for over 30 years, and it often feels like I am riding a bike. But it can feel awkward when I take a new course and try to assimilate the material into what I already know. When I began putting my messages out online to reach large audiences, I remember how hard it was and how exposed I felt.


It can also be helpful to save mementos and have celebrations to mark these milestones. When I moved, I hung a framed puzzle of my old house in my new home. I loved looking at it and remembering my time there. I also drive by my old house and go out in the neighborhood once a year. It always brings a smile to my face. Take time to celebrate your accomplishments and what it took to get you there. Share your news, go out to dinner to celebrate, have a housewarming party, bask in the joy!


We learn and grow from all of our experiences. Take time to reflect on all of the chapters of your life and how they have shaped you. As you do so, you may smile or shed a tear as you honor yourself and the life you have led thus far.


Wishing you much success in your new job and many beautiful memories in your new home!


Sincerely,

SHERRY


Impatient

September 10, 2021


DEAR SHERRY,

How do I cultivate patience? I find that I always have a hard time waiting.

Thank you.

IMPATIENT


DEAR IMPATIENT:

The way to cultivate patience is to recognize that there is a natural flow in the universe. You can’t speed it up, and you can’t slow it down. Everything happens as it should.


Did you ever have a day where everything fell into place? You were able to make an appointment easily, or you were finally able to reach someone after having tried many times in the past? Perhaps you were able to walk into a restaurant without a reservation and be seated right away on a busy night, or you found the perfect parking space? Maybe you easily landed the perfect job or found the ideal house. This is because you were in the flow with the universe.


I am sure you have had days where nothing went right, or you couldn’t get anything done? We all have had moments when we were waiting on someone or something? If it is one of those days that I am trying to get something done, and it isn’t working for whatever reason, I have learned to stop, trust it will get done, and try another day.


If I am driving and find myself getting frustrated because the car in front of me is going too slow, I might turn on the music, relax, and accept that I am not going to go any faster. If I am waiting for someone, I might occupy my time doing something else that I haven’t had time to get done, like clearing out my emails or organizing something in the house. I may sit and read or just relax and enjoy the moment.


If you are struggling with being patient, you can also ask yourself what is the worst that can happen if something doesn’t occur in the timeframe you were hoping for? You might want to assess the situation and see if you are being realistic, and then adjust your expectations. Perhaps you can think back to a time when you waited, what seemed like forever, and things worked out for the best.


If you notice there is a pattern with the types of things that are trying your patience, ask yourself what am I supposed to learn? For example, if you always have someone driving too slow in front of you, maybe you are supposed to learn to slow down in life? If you find that people constantly leave you waiting, perhaps you are supposed to learn how to be alone?


Whatever it is, that you are struggling to be patient about, trust the divine timing of the universe. Everything does happen in the perfect time, space, and sequence, always for your highest good.


Warmly,

SHERRY


Lost and Confused Genuine Guy

September 3, 2021


DEAR SHERRY,

I know I need to do certain things in life, but I tend to procrastinate or become afraid to take that next step. I’m sort of with this woman, and I feel she brings out the best in me. She motivates me but also can be critical of me. I feel like she is too good for me, but I also feel like she underestimates me.


We say we are just friends, even though we act like we are in a relationship. She admits to having a wall up and having a hard time letting people know her on a deeper level. She’s been through so much and she has dealt with it on her own. She feels that since we’ve experienced life differently, that I can’t stimulate her on a deeper level and that she wants someone to open her eyes and be at her level. Since I had a simple life, I have trouble coming up with meaningful things to say to keep a conversation going for a while.


She knows I’m a good genuine hearted person. She appreciates me and loves the core of me. I feel as if I’m always stepping on my toes; one week taking a step forward then the next two steps backward. She tells me she sees how much I have improved since we started talking, so I know I’m going in a good direction. I can’t help but feel like I’m walking on eggshells with her.


I’ve had trouble connecting with women for longer periods of time, but not with her. She means a lot to me. I’ve always thought I needed a simple woman when in reality I need a strong, independent, ambitious woman who will push me to do things I normally wouldn’t and one to enlighten me, and she is definitely that. I want to be able to do the same for her.


What are some things I can do to find deeper conversation topics? Do you think she is just keeping me around, or do you think she is patiently waiting for me to show her I'm the one? What techniques can I use to help calm myself and open up more?


Thank you,

LOST AND CONFUSED GENUINE GUY


DEAR LOST AND CONFUSED GENUINE GUY:

You started out asking me about some things you can do to find deeper conversation topics. There are many great products out there to help stimulate deeper conversations. I personally like the book, If...Questions For The Game of Life and Chat packs.


I am not sure what your friend's intentions are, and although deep conversations can help people connect, you are not responsible for stimulating her. You mentioned that she acknowledged having a wall up. It sounds like she wants you to come up with stimulating topics to help break down her wall, at least on an unconscious level. She is responsible for breaking it down. People often look to others, consciously or unconsciously, to make them feel better. This will lead to anger and resentment in a relationship, as no one can fill the voids within another person.


Grounding exercises can help to calm your nervous system. One that comes to mind, is grounding yourself in your five senses. You start by planting your feet on the ground and noticing what you see, hear, taste, and smell in your environment. Then knead your hands together and follow your breath. This can help to bring you back to the present moment when you are experiencing stress or anxiety.


Also, the more you explore and understand yourself, the more open and at ease you will feel. I recommend you get the book All About Me. This guided journal is an amazing tool for self-reflection. It will help you to connect more deeply with yourself, and then you will be able to connect on a more intimate level with others.


I think it is great that you notice the things you need to work on in life, and that your relationship is helping you to feel more motivated to do so. Being in an intimate relationship can certainly open the door to getting to know yourself better and personal growth. I would encourage you to explore these patterns related to procrastination and being afraid to take the next step so that you can break free from them. Once you do this, your motivation will come from within, verses from someone else, and then you can live your life to its fullest potential.


Sincerely,

SHERRY


Mindful Mom

August 26, 2021

DEAR SHERRY:

I have heard you accurately claim that schools do not teach students how to know themselves, the most important subject. I couldn’t agree more. I am not in a position to change school structure or curriculum, but I am a mother and public school teacher. I wonder, if you had your way, what would you say are the most important tenets or rudiments to be taught in the subject of “self” and how can I teach or model these priority lessons?

Thank you,

MINDFUL MOM


DEAR MINDFUL MOM:

I believe people have a natural tendency to work through their problems if one is in a safe, caring, and supportive environment. Healing begins to occur by establishing a trusting relationship with my clients and encouraging them to trust and believe in themselves.

Here are some tenets that can help cultivate a strong sense of self in children:


*Realize that some behavior can stem from experiences in the past that have not been fully processed. These events can go back as early as prenatal and birth experiences. Be mindful of heightened responses. Then identify its origin, talk about it, and help them to process this event.


*Children are egocentric, and when things are “off”, and they aren’t feeling secure, they think they did something wrong. Let them know they have done nothing wrong, and communicate with them about what is going on.


*Children pick up the energy around them. If a child is acting out or trying to be perfect, examine what is happening in their environment, especially at home.


*Let your child know they have innate wisdom and that the answers to all questions are within them. Foster this by asking them what they think as opposed to offering your opinion.


*Don’t try to protect your child from their feelings or deny them. Listen quietly and encourage them to tell you more.


*Seek to understand your child and help them understand their behavior. We don’t need to fix our children’s problems. Natural consequences and or examining the root of certain behaviors cultivate resilient children.


*Encourage play. Children naturally connect with themselves and process emotions through play. You may get a lot of insight into your child’s world (aspirations, fears, frustrations) by watching them.


I believe that being a parent is the most important job in the world. No parent can provide security to their child 100% of the time. We all have our issues, and there is no such thing as a perfect parent. We are all here to learn and grow through our experiences. Be mindful, though, of the tremendous influence you have on your child. By establishing a trusting relationship with your child through practicing these tenets, you can help your child to know themself better and thrive.


I talk about these concepts and provide many other tools to help people connect with themselves in my six-week workshop, "Discover Your Roadmap to Healing; Learn how to navigate your life and live in joy!" If you are interested, you can find information about my upcoming workshop on my website.


May you be mindful and compassionate with yourself on your journey of parenting!


Love,

SHERRY


How Do I Say No Graciously?

August 6, 2021

DEAR SHERRY:

How can I say no to opportunities that are presented without feeling like I am shutting someone down?

Thank you!

DIFFICULTY SAYING NO


DEAR DIFFICULTY SAYING NO:

As usual, I have some practical thoughts and some that delve a little deeper.

It is a good idea to start by thanking someone for the opportunity. If you are worried about feeling like you are shutting someone down, you can ask them if you can have time to think about it. If you already have a good idea that you are going to say no, it gives you time to think about how you will tell the person. So often, people believe that they need to answer questions right away, and you do not.

When thinking about it, you might ask yourself why aren't you interested in the opportunity presented? Perhaps it is not the right time for you, because you have other things going on in your life. You can let them know not now, but possibly in the future.

Perhaps you aren't interested, and you can tell them that it doesn't speak to you the way you think it should. Let them know that they would be better off with someone more passionate about the opportunity; if people energetically aren't onboard, something is less likely to go well. You are doing the person a favor by saying no, and hurting them by saying yes to something your heart isn't really into.

Saying no is hard for a lot of people. People often feel like they are letting someone down, or don't want to hurt their feelings somehow. This usually stems from our early childhood experiences, when we were disappointed somehow and we have unresolved feelings about it; therefore, we do not want to disappoint someone else. Inadvertently, we end up hurting ourselves by not meeting our own needs, hence recreating our past.

I might ask myself, why do you feel like you are shutting someone down when you say no? What disappointments have you experienced? If you allow yourself to process them, it will be easier to respond authentically.

Keep in mind that some people might feel shut down, no matter what you say or how you say it; as the child in them has not healed and they perceive their world through a lens from their past. For example, our adult self logically knows that someone's response has nothing to do with us. We might think something like, “I am glad he was honest”, or “I am sure I will find the right person”, or perhaps, “That stinks. I feel disappointed I was hoping he would be interested”. However, the kid in us might take it personally because kids are egocentric, and they think everything revolves around them. A child's thoughts might be, “They must not like me”, “My idea stinks”, or “Nothing ever works out for me”.

Although we are a certain chronological age, everyone has parts of self that are stuck in time, and these parts get triggered back to events from our childhood. My educated guess is that you may have felt shut down by one of your parents or siblings at some point in your childhood or throughout your childhood, and you don't want to do the same to someone else. This typically can lead to people-pleasing behavior.

As long as you are gracious, you are not responsible for their feelings.

I hope these practical tools, as well as a deeper understanding of your psyche and the psyche of others, helps you to feel more at ease.


Warmly,

SHERRY


How Do I Keep My Kids Busy?

July 30, 2021

DEAR SHERRY:

My kids are driving me crazy! Do you have any advice about how to keep them busy when they aren't in camp?

Thank you!

DRIVEN CRAZY


DEAR DRIVEN CRAZY:

It can be challenging when kids aren't in school and their time isn't structured. I hope these tips help to make your summer a little more enjoyable.

*Accept they are going to drive you crazy; they are kids.

*Remember, it is not your job to keep them busy, ask them what they would like to do. Let your children know that you trust that they can figure out how they would like to spend their time. If you always structure their time, they will not learn how to do so.

*Engage in a project together: plant a garden, organize your photos, clean out a closet.

*Take them to the beach, a park, or a lake. Enjoy a day trip, visit all of the creameries in your state, or go on a hike; there are many beautiful hiking trails. Listen to music on your town green, go bowling, go for a bike ride, visit the coastal state parks and have lunch in those towns.

*Let them sit on screens; they may surprise you and get bored of them. Mine did!

*If they are arguing with their siblings, listen to both sides. Ask each child what they can do differently to improve the situation. Do not take sides (even if one is older).

*Assign them chores or have them help you with yours. Examples might include: cooking dinner, vacuuming, emptying all the garbage bins in the house, folding the laundry, emptying the dishwasher, washing and drying the dishes, making the beds, or washing the car.

*Read the "The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children." It will help you see all the beautiful things your kids are here to teach you, especially when driving you crazy.

*Talk to your children, ask them what they would like to do this summer. Encourage them to come up with at least three ideas.

*Put down your To-Do list and play with them; they won't be little forever.


Wishing you joy and patience!

SHERRY

How Do I Get Over A Decision I Made Out Of Fear?  

July 25, 2021

DEAR SHERRY:

When I was 30, I chose to have an abortion. I made this decision out of fear - fear of being in an unhealthy marriage or being a single mom, fear of being rejected or shamed by family, friends, society in general, and all the other fears that come with an unplanned pregnancy. I was healthy and (fairly) financially stable. It is entirely possible that I would have come to the same decision if I made my choice out of love, but knowing the anger and sadness that motivated me to have the abortion gives me pause.

I cannot say I regret the decision, as I am sure the life that I love and have today would not exist had I made the choice to have that baby. I thought that with time and children of my own the pain of not knowing my first child would subside, but I find myself increasingly wondering who that child would be and try to insert him into what my life is like today.

My question is twofold: 1) I know I will always think about that child, but is it possible to move past the pain of knowing I made a life-altering fear-based decision? 2) Is there any wisdom or reading you can impart about what happens to the souls of aborted babies? When I search for this I only find sides of the political debate or religious dogma.

Thank You!

HARD ON MYSELF

DEAR HARD ON YOURSELF:

I am so sorry that you are hurting so much over this decision.


Yes, it is possible to move past your pain. As with any loss, it is important to move through the 5 stages of loss; denial, bargaining, anger, grief, and acceptance. We weave in and out of these stages until we ultimately end up at acceptance. We never forget, it is like a scar, we remember what happened, but we no longer experience the pain of the gaping wound.

It sounds like you are stuck in bargaining when you speak of wishing you made this decision out of love versus fear. Bargaining is wishing we did something different to somehow prevent the outcome. We hold on to this to protect ourselves from our grief. This may be preventing you from moving forward. It is natural to wonder what your child would be like and imagine your life with them in it. Take the time to honor your feelings, whatever they are, when they surface. If you feel sad, cry. If you feel angry express that, it will help you to move through the loss.


It would be ideal if every decision we made was out of love, but the reality is sometimes we make decisions out of fear. We are human and we learn, grow and connect to ourselves more, through every experience we have. Beating ourselves up never makes it better. In order to forgive yourself, I think it could also be helpful to look at this from a deeper perspective and perhaps you can have some compassion for yourself.

Ask yourself and write down all of your thoughts about this experience. Then write down all of your feelings. After that, ask yourself if this circumstance is familiar in any way? Did those responsible for you make decisions that negatively altered your life. Perhaps you need to explore that and forgive that person and then you can forgive yourself for making this choice.


To address your second question, "Your Souls Gift, The healing power of the life you planned before you were born" by Robert Schwartz is a great book that addresses what happens to the souls of aborted babies. He explains that the soul is not present during an abortion, as it does not fully reside in the body until birth. He also says that the soul of the baby is in agreement with this decision and will choose to come into your life at a different time or take another path. I am hopeful this information will give you a different perspective about your decision and help your heart to heal.


Sending lots of love and a big comforting hug,

SHERRY​

How Do I Go Through A Transition Without Losing My Mind? 

July 20, 2021

DEAR SHERRY:

How can I go through a transition without losing my mind?

TROUBLE WITH TRANSITIONS

DEAR TROUBLE WITH TRANSITIONS:

The first thing to do is accept that transitions are difficult. You aren’t where you once were, which was safe, simply because it was familiar. You aren’t entirely in the new place and haven’t acclimated, making it feel scary and unsafe.


It is important to understand that life transitions such as moving, getting married, having a baby, starting a new job, or retiring are all considered “life crises.” Even though these experiences are often wonderful times in our lives, they can be challenging because they are significant changes and can bring up many emotions. Take time to process your feelings. These are tremendous opportunities for emotional and spiritual growth.

Furthermore, when we are transitioning, it can be tough to stay grounded because there is so much happening. When we have a lot going on, we can feel overwhelmed. These periods can also bring us back to other times when we felt ungrounded in our lives. Take time to process these events from the past. You are being reminded of them because they are coming up for healing.


Additionally, it is essential not to make any other major life decisions during a transition. Try and avoid adding anything extra to your plate. Give yourself the time and space to adjust.


It can also be helpful to ask yourself what other transitions you have gone through that went well or that you made it through even though it was hard. This will help you to feel more positive and confident during this transition.

Self-care is critical as well during times of transition. When we are busy, that goes by the wayside, but it further prevents us from centering ourselves and getting through the transition with greater ease.


A final thought I have refers to times when we don’t know where we are transitioning. If you are trying to make a positive change in your life, trust the process and look for signs along the way to guide you. Try to slow down and pay attention; do not make decisions too quickly out of fear. We all have innate wisdom. Trust your inner guidance system. If the answer isn’t clear, then wait.


Wishing you peace and enlightenment along your journey!

SHERRY

What Should I Do When My Kids Compare What They Have With Others?

July 13, 2021

DEAR SHERRY:

My kids are constantly comparing what they have with what others have. Do you have any thoughts on this?

Thank you!

AT MY WITS END

DEAR AT MY WITS END:

I can hear them now, “Mom, so and so has a pool, why can’t we have one”? “I want a dog; we are the only family that doesn’t have one!” “My friends get to stay out later; why can’t I?” “Everyone else has a phone; why can’t I get one?”


Although it could be annoying, I think it is natural to compare. Even as an adult, at times, I compare myself to others. We see what someone else has, and often we want it too. It may invoke a feeling of insecurity or jealousy as well.


I would engage your child in a conversation. Ask them questions and try to get a good idea about why it is important to them and what might be coming up for them. Ask why is it important to you to have that or do that?


Use it as an opportunity to discuss important topics like a desire to fit in, self-esteem, working hard for something you want, and the fact that all families have different circumstances.


Different things come up for a parent when their child compares what they have with others. Ask yourself what is coming up for you? Perhaps you grew up without a lot, so you might feel guilty that you can’t afford to get your child all the things they want. Or you might think your child is selfish and entitled because they have so much already. You might also feel pressured to work harder to get them the things others have.

If you understand what is coming up for you and work through your own feelings, it will help you to be open, compassionate, and patient with your child. You will then be able to do what feels suitable for both you and your children.

Remember, all of our circumstances are different. It isn’t important to “keep up with the Jones,” and the most important thing your child needs is your love and understanding.


Wishing you and your family everything in your highest good!

SHERRY

How Do I Set Boundaries With My Teen?

July 6, 2021

DEAR SHERRY:

Do you have any tips for setting boundaries with teens?

Thank you!

SETTING BOUNDARIES WITH YOUR TEEN

DEAR SETTING BOUNDARIES WITH YOUR TEEN :

From the moment our children are born, we are slowly letting go to teach them to fly on their own.


It is essential for adolescents to branch out and make mistakes, and at the same time, they need to know we are providing them with a sense of security at home. We do this through setting limits, being there for them, and loving them unconditionally, no matter what they do.


My thoughts are:

BE CLEAR WITH EXPECTATIONS AND CONSEQUENCES

It is essential to set clear expectations with resulting consequences for your teen. For example, if your teen misses their curfew, a logical consequence would be not to go out the next night. Another example is, if your teen doesn't do their homework, the natural consequence is they will likely get a poor grade on their test.


BE CONSISTENT WITH YOUR EXPECTATIONS AND CONSEQUENCES

Kids are more likely to try and break the rules if they know you aren't consistent. If it is your teen's job to empty the dishwasher every day, but you do it half the time, they won't remember to do it.

Going back to the curfew example, if you do not set a consistent consequence when they are late, they are more likely to be late again, because there is a chance they can get away with it.


BE REALISTIC ABOUT YOUR TEENS BEHAVIOR

Teens are supposed to push boundaries; it is part of the developmental stage. Also, their brains aren't thoroughly developed, so it is not uncommon for them to act impulsively.


BE MINDFUL OF WHAT YOU MODEL

Most of what your kids learn from you is through observation. I don't always appreciate how my teen talks to me, and I sometimes realize I talk that way to them.


BE CALM AND SUPPORTIVE

Kids will make mistakes; they aren't born with life skills; it is our job to teach them. They will make many mistakes, just like us; we are all constantly learning.


Remember, it never helps anyone to get "beat up" when they make a mistake. It creates fear and insecurity, which makes someone more likely to make more mistakes. Ask your teen how you could support them in making better choices.


Ask them what kind of life they want for themselves and if their behavior aligns with what they want? It is crucial to help them to learn to be internally motivated to engage in responsible and respectful behavior toward themselves and others.


As hard as it is to be a teenager, it can be even harder to be the parent of one!


Wishing you strength and patience!

SHERRY

How Do I Handle Social Situations When People Aren't Wearing A Mask?

June 29, 2021

DEAR SHERRY:

How do I socially handle it with grace when people who are not vaccinated and not wearing masks sit next to me?

RESPECTING MY HEALTH

DEAR RESPECTING MY HEALTH:

Great question! I have some thoughts about your question and the Covid pandemic in general.


I believe Covid has brought the opportunity for a significant transformation in our world, to heal from our deepest fears that have been lying dormant since childhood.

When the covid pandemic began, so many people felt so vulnerable. People became afraid that they would get sick or get someone else ill, uncertain about what would happen, and many experienced feeling lonely and isolated. So many people are still feeling so vulnerable.


This period in time is taking us all back to the most vulnerable insecure times in our childhoods when we were scared and couldn't control things in our environment.

So although it may be prudent to take safety measures, many people are experiencing a heightened fear response because it brings them back to other times in their life that are mirroring similar emotions or circumstances.


I encourage people to explore this fear response within themselves; it will help them get back to living and feeling safer.


As for your question, the reality is, no matter what the mandate is in each state, some people who are vaccinated still wear masks, and some people that aren't don't wear masks.


Everyone has different viewpoints about wearing masks because we all have had different life experiences that shape us. Again that can be bringing up strong reactions to the pandemic and the mandate to wear masks as well.

We can't judge how each other handles the pandemic, whether we think someone is too cautious or not cautious enough because we haven't walked a mile in their shoes.

The best thing we can do is take care of ourselves in the best way we know-how.

I do not recommend telling others to put on a mask. It is a lot easier to control yourself than it is to try and control someone else.

My recommendation would be, if you learn that someone isn't vaccinated and you feel uncomfortable in their presence, politely say, "I am sorry, but I feel uncomfortable being around people that aren't vaccinated because I am afraid of getting Covid. So I am going to excuse myself. I hope you understand."

You are open, honest, non-judgmental, and taking care of yourself. If someone takes offense, that has to do with their issues.

I hope this post helps people to understand and have compassion for themselves and others.

With love and gratitude,

SHERRY

How Does An Em​path Cope?

June 22, 2021

DEAR SHERRY:

As an empath, I find it very hard to separate the hurt and sadness I feel for other people so that it doesn't affect my own life in a very big way. Sometimes I feel like other people's sadness becomes my own. If a friend is not ok, I am not ok. Do you have any strategies for helping an empath cope?

Thank you!

EMPATH

DEAR EMPATH:

I am sorry you are struggling with this. When I first became a therapist, I almost quit. All of the feelings that came up in me when I listened to people's problems were so overwhelming that I couldn't function.


I soon learned that the world is a mirror to my soul. Buried feelings were coming up in me that I couldn't deal with earlier in my life.


I believe these circumstances bring up feelings in you from the past that you have not processed yet. To help yourself not to take on other people's feelings, I would ask yourself these questions:

How is their circumstance similar to something you have experienced?

What feelings are coming up for you? Perhaps you feel helpless, lonely, discouraged?

When might you have felt this way before?

What do you think about their problem? Perhaps you think they will never feel better?

When have you thought this way before?


Sit and journal. As you connect to yourself and process your feelings, you will stay more centered and grounded. Then their problems won't become yours, and the light inside you will help light up the world!


I am sending light your way!

Love,

SHERRY

How To Stay Grounded During Re-Entry?

June 15, 2021

DEAR SHERRY:

I got used to things being quieter this past year and a half. I was never a fan of crowded places, and as more things start to open, I would love some tips for not being overwhelmed and to help me stay grounded.

UNGROUNDED

DEAR UNGROUNDED:

I have heard quite a bit that people have gotten used to things being quieter and that they even quite enjoy a slower pace in life.


Being in a crowd can be overstimulating for the nervous system and can cause someone to feel out of control because there are too many stimuli to process.


Some tips I have for staying grounded are:

BALANCE-

Even though the world has opened back up, it is essential to balance going out and being home and slowing down.

Being quiet and sitting with ourselves is so crucial for optimal physical and mental health. Imagine if you put gas in your car and just kept driving? Eventually, it would run out of gas and break down. You need to stop and refuel for the vehicle to run well. We need to refuel as well, and one of the ways we do that is through resting.


SEEK TO UNDERSTAND-

As I said, being in a crowd can cause someone to feel out of control. You might want to ask yourself, what other times have I felt out of control and couldn’t process everything that was happening? We all have painful or traumatic experiences that cause our limbic system, the emotional center in our brain, to become overwhelmed, and then our pre-frontal cortex, the part of our brain that helps us to think clearly, goes off-line. When we can’t think clearly, we become ungrounded.


If you spend some time thinking about and processing these past experiences, it can help ground and center yourself, making it easier to be in a crowd. Speaking to a counselor could be beneficial if it feels too scary to explore these experiences on your own.


TAKE A MOMENT-

If you find you become ungrounded when you are out, take a sip of water, follow your breath in and out a few times, and tell yourself that you are safe. All of these things can help to ground you and bring you back to the present moment.


Wishing you a peaceful re-entry!

SHERRY

Should I Be Honest With My Daughter About How I Feel About Her Moving Across The Country?

June 8, 2021

DEAR SHERRY:

My 23-year-old daughter is moving across the Country. She is excited to be on her own and have her first apartment but I can't help being sad. What is the best way to support her in this transition? Should I be honest with her about my sadness or is it better to pretend to be excited for her sake?

HARD TO LET GO

DEAR HARD TO LET GO:

It is so hard when someone you love moves far away. I feel so sad when people I love move away, it is a big loss and it takes time to process the many feelings it can bring up.


As a parent, you devote your life to raising your child, only to give them wings to fly. It can feel like it’s a cruel joke when they tell you they are moving away.


I would recommend being honest with her and letting her know you are sad and that you will miss her being here. At the same time, I would make sure not to discourage her from leaving or make her feel responsible for your sad feelings. Let her know you just need time to adjust to this big news.


Give yourself permission to process this loss. Things just won’t be the same. You can’t go for a walk with her, or shopping, or to get your nails done, or out to eat. Things will be different, but you can still connect and see her beautiful face through the internet, which is a blessing. When you see her in person, it can be even more special.


Besides the “surface” loss, there can be a “deeper” loss here as well. Everyone in our life represents something to us. Someone might represent adventure, joy, security, companionship, self-esteem. When they leave, it leaves a void that we need to now find in ourselves, or in another way.


For example, I have an old friend who is moving, and I didn’t even realize it, but growing up he represented security for me. Even though it is 35 years later, his move is bringing up emotions from the past that I had never dealt with. I never had to deal with these emotions because he has always been here and a source of security, just by his presence alone. As I work through these emotions, it allows me to reclaim a part of myself that was buried within me, which feels great!


I would try and share in your daughter's joy even though it is difficult for you. The more you process your own feelings, the more you can truly be happy for her and the new life she is creating.


Big hugs,

SHERRY

How To Support A Friend During A Difficult Time?

June 1, 2021

DEAR SHERRY: I have a friend who is in an unhealthy relationship. She has made the mistake of sharing some of the hurtful and emotionally abusive things her "on-again-off-again" boyfriend has done. It is really difficult to sit by and support her going back to him again and again after her confiding in me how bad he is for her. What can/should I do?

Sincerely,

CONCERNED

DEAR CONCERNED: I know sometimes it can be hard to support a friend when they are making choices that are not in their best interest. The reality is, it can take going back and forth many times before someone ultimately leaves an emotionally abusive relationship. There are many reasons people stay in unhealthy relationships. These patterns are usually deep-rooted in dynamics from one's family of origin and require therapy to break free from them.


I may ask your friend why she keeps going back? She may be afraid to be alone or she may not feel good about herself and believe on some level that she deserves to be treated that way.


I would also ask yourself what comes up for you when she keeps going back? It sounds like you are investing a lot emotionally, listening, and perhaps advising her. Perhaps you feel like you have no control over the situation? It could be reminding you of another situation that you invested a lot of time in that you couldn't change?


If you find that it is too hard for you to listen to stories about her being mistreated, I would just be honest, and let her know that. Only listen when you are in 

the space to do so; it is important to be aware of your own needs and limitations.

The reality is, we can't change other people and that might bring up feelings of helplessness. We can't truly understand or judge someone's situation unless we walk a mile in their moccasins. If you deal with your own emotions, that may help you to listen with an open heart and just be there for her.


With Love,

SHERRY 

Worried About Daughter's Symptoms

May 18, 2021

DEAR SHERRY: I'm concerned about my teenage daughter's mental health since she has been learning virtually all these months. She recently developed a tic. It looks like Tourette's syndrome. Suddenly out of nowhere, she will shudder loudly as if she just caught a cold breeze. Sometimes she jerks her head and neck too. At first, I thought it was for attention, but now I can see that it's involuntary, and she can't help it. It seems to get worse when she's stressed about schoolwork or when she's out with friends, which is very little these days.

Should I worry about this new symptom? Is there something I can do to help her deal with it, or should I just ignore it? Will it go away eventually?


Sincerely,

WORRIED

DEAR WORRIED: I am sorry to hear your daughter has developed a tic. I would recommend taking her to the doctor to rule out a medical problem. The Tourette Association of America has a wealth of information and a list of providers in Connecticut. https://tourette.org/find-a-provider/


We can have various reactions to stress. In my experience, this type of reaction isn’t permanent. However, it is important to learn how to regulate your nervous system so that you can bring your body back to equilibrium after a stress response.


The iChill is a free app developed by Elaine Miller, a trauma specialist. It is a great resource to help anyone navigate stress and feel more at peace.

www.ichillapp.com I hope your daughter feels better soon!


SHERRY

Should I Let This Relationship Go?

May 11, 2021

DEAR SHERRY: I am in a long-term relationship which is in its 12th year. I have various moments throughout the relationship that made me wonder if I was with the wrong person. This feeling is becoming stronger and stronger during the past 6 months or so after I landed a new job, but he is still struggling with his job/career, plus being together 24/7 in a one-bedroom apartment in NYC is not helping the situation. I feel that we have drifted apart and became two different persons vs. at the beginning of the relationship 12 years ago while we were just graduate students. My struggle is that I know I should let this relationship go now (can't drag along another 12 years like this), but I am also afraid if it's a wrong call. Dear Sherry, can you please help me? (1) What is the sign(s) of when I should let go of a wrong relationship, especially when it's a 12 years long relationship? (2) How to break up with a guy you have been with for 12 years? How to stay strong after that?

Sincerely,

SCARED AND CONFUSED

DEAR SCARED AND CONFUSED: How does someone truly know if they are with the wrong person? That can be complicated. The most important relationship is our relationship with ourselves. We all have an innate knowing, and the more we are connected to ourselves, the easier it is to access our truth.


Relationships take work. Whether it is the relationship with yourself or a significant other, you will drift from that person and yourself if you don't tend to it.


We grow and learn about ourselves through every relationship we have, especially our intimate ones. Keep in mind that we can tend to follow patterns in relationships. The problems you see in this relationship may happen in your next one unless you make some changes. The things that bother you about a person you are in a relationship with are often a reflection of a part of you that may be hard for you to acknowledge.

What comes up for you in any relationship, especially a relationship with a significant other, provides you with an opportunity to deepen your relationship with yourself through self-reflection.


Whether you choose to stay or not, it is important to take an action step to cultivate the relationship or to end things. As you said, you can end up being in the same position 12 years from now.


You may want to ask yourself, do I have a desire to work on this relationship? Have I given it my all? Perhaps you may find it helpful to write a list of why you think this is the wrong person for you? You can then see if you have any similar characteristics in yourself that you need to work on.


You may not be confused at all, just scared. I believe we can live life in faith or fear. If we make decisions based on fear, we won't be truly happy and end up creating more of what we don't want. Any steps we take in faith lead to more opportunities and greater fulfillment. Trust that.


If you decide to end things, I would be honest and compassionate. That will help you both to grow and evolve. Take time to process your feelings and grieve the relationship. Ask yourself what you learned about yourself and what you want in a relationship, and keep that in mind when you start a new one.


There will be moments where you have doubt, and it will be hard to stick to your decision; that is just fear creeping in. Work through your fears and keep moving forward. You deserve to be happy!


With love and light,

SHERRY

How Can I Feel Comfortable About Winning?

May 4, 2021

DEAR SHERRY: I hope you can help me with this. I’m a very good tennis player but when it comes time for a game, I feel so bad if the other team is losing that I will throw the game. It’s not that I’m not competitive - the funny thing is I am! But seeing the other people look sad just gets to me. I wish I could play and win without feeling this way. Thank you!

BAD WINNER

DEAR BAD WINNER: No one likes to see anyone sad, but you aren't doing yourself or your opponents any favors by throwing the game.


Does it sound like this situation may be reminding you of a past experience? You might want to ask yourself if there was a time when you shined at something and you were given a direct or indirect message that it wasn't okay. Perhaps you had a sibling that wasn't as smart as you, so your parents didn't celebrate your achievements in an attempt to spare your sibling's feelings, for example.


Maybe your opponent's sadness is reminding you of a time when you were sad about something. So you might feel uncomfortable being in the presence of someone sad because you don't want to be reminded of your own sad feelings.


In life, we win and lose. Losing helps us to develop character and build resilience. We learn how to pick ourselves up, which helps us trust ourselves and develop a sense of confidence and security. When you rescue someone from their feelings, you inadvertently give them the message they aren't capable of dealing with things.


Be the best you can be; it truly inspires others to do the same!

SHERRY

How Can I Have a Positive Mindset About Money?

April 27, 2021

DEAR SHERRY: Both of my parents have a poverty mindset. Their parents went through the Great Depression and this impacted their beliefs and my parents' outlook. My parents are much older now and doing very well financially, especially my father (they divorced and remarried others) but their views remain the same. They do not trust wealthy people and are verbally disparaging towards them. How can I change the impact of my parents' ideas about money, on myself, so that I can embrace it in my life? I find I am very self-conscious around wealthy people. - POVERTY MINDSET

DEAR POVERTY MINDSET: No matter how old we are, there is nothing more important than being loved by our parents. If your parents don’t trust and judge wealthy people, whether it is conscious, subconscious, or unconscious, if you embrace money in your life, in your mind you will risk losing their love and acceptance. You may have a hard time being yourself around wealthy people because it triggers a lot of emotion in you regarding this. I recommend working through these fears within yourself or having a conversation with your parents so that they can help to alleviate your fears about losing their love. You will then be able to live your life in abundance!


With love and light,

SHERRY

How Can I Hand​le My Fears About My Daughter?

April 20, 2021

DEAR SHERRY,

I have a teenage daughter whom I love very much and am very close to. The issue that I am having is that I see myself in her so much that it is really hard to separate and not project my fears consciously or unconsciously onto her especially when I see her struggling. When I see her struggle it really brings up all of my childhood pain and rather than go into a positive mindset I go into fear that she won’t be ok. This has heightened during covid time as I see so many teens struggling. I get afraid for her. She doesn’t want my fear and quite understandably will repel from it because I am sure that makes her scared. How do I manage my emotions and fears and work on being the nurturing trusting loving parent that she needs? My mom was a very fearful and aloof mother who was unable to nurture so it’s difficult for me. I find myself getting frustrated with myself.

Sincerely,

FRUSTRATED

DEAR FRUSTRATED: Being a mom is the hardest job in the world, so first and foremost, it is important to be gentle with yourself. Beating yourself up won’t help you or your daughter.


It is amazing that you already recognize that seeing her struggle brings up pain from your own childhood. Our children are our greatest gifts; they truly teach us more than we teach them. Their struggles and our struggles with them provide us an opportunity to look within ourselves and to heal from our own childhood wounds.


The suggestions I have are endless, so I won’t write them all. Two books immediately come to mind: The Conscious Parent by Shefali Tsabary and You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. These books are excellent guides to help you on your journey within.

Again, be compassionate with yourself and trust the healing process. Accept your feelings that come up; they provide you an opportunity to heal. Journal to help process your emotions, allow your tears to flow. It can also be beneficial to have a therapist support you on your journey.


Practice self-care, whatever that might mean for you. It might be meditation, a bubble bath, walking in nature, etc. The more you love and nurture yourself, the more secure and peaceful you become. You can then navigate any storm in life and be the calming presence your daughter needs.


With love and light,

SHERRY

How Can I Stay Motivated in School?

April 13, 2021

DEAR SHERRY,

Recently I have found it really hard to stay focused and motivated with my school work. As Covid hit and school became online, I figured it would be easier and more laid back. Throughout each day I have noticed that every day feels the same and I am losing the passion for handing in my school work and wanting to achieve with my classes. I have also noticed with myself that if I am not told to go to class I will simply not go which will hurt me in the long run, but I have been feeling so mentally drained that it doesn’t affect me as much anymore.


With that being said, are there any tips that can help me and other students my age that feel the same way in order to get motivated? Or even methods that can help myself and other students to cope with all the negative thoughts that come along with struggling to maintain a healthy mental state.


Sincerely,

UNMOTIVATED

DEAR UNMOTIVATED: I am sorry that you are struggling. It sounds like you might want to ask yourself what do you want out of life? When we are doing what makes us happy, we are naturally motivated. If our behavior is externally motivated, for example, perhaps to please our parents,s our teachers, our friends, or by the number of likes we get on social media, it is hard to be motivated if there aren't a lot of expectations.


Covid has been very difficult, there has been a lot of loss. At the same time, the world is in a major stage of transformation for the better. All the pressures, prior to Covid, were creating a lot of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse in teens and society as a whole.


Other teens have shared with me that less is expected of them during the pandemic, which can be positive because it is a time for not only teens, but everyone to reevaluate what they want their life to look like.


So, it is important to engage in two vital activities. Firstly, maintain a healthy state of mind. To maintain a healthy mental state it is important to develop a routine and practice daily physical and mental hygiene. Physically, you might want to ensure you are getting proper rest, eating healthy foods, exercising and showering, and getting dressed, even if you have nowhere to go.


Mental hygiene might include journaling about your thoughts and feelings, talking to a trusted adult, writing a list of 5 things you are grateful for every day, listening to uplifting music, or guided meditations. Start slow and build on a routine as you go.

Engaging with friends as much as possible in person, safely, is also highly recommended. We are meant to connect with each other, meaningful connections lift our spirits.


Secondly, focus on your aspirations. I suggest writing a list of all the things that you truly desire in life. Double-check that they are for you, and not for someone else, and then ask yourself what you need to do to get what you want. What you want may be the same as what the adults in your life want for you, but if you have never asked yourself that question, it might be hard to access your internal motivation.


Remember, we all have a guiding light within, and there are better days ahead.


With love and light,

SHERRY