Five letters, three syllables, two very small words and one very large impact. The greatest lesson I ever learned was to know…it’s ok.
I’m confused – it’s ok
My heart hurts – it’s ok
They don’t like me – it’s ok
I don’t like them – it’s ok
I didn’t get the job – it’s ok
My life is so screwed up – it’s ok
I can’t fit my clothes – it’s ok
Why can’t I look like her – it’s ok
Why doesn’t he look at me – it’s ok
I think something’s wrong with me – it’s ok
I’ll never kiss him again – it’s ok
I miss her so much – it’s ok
What will happen next? It’s ok
I’ll never be good enough – It’s ok
God, can you hear me? It’s ok
God, do you love me? It’s ok
This pain hurts so much – It’s ok
I just want to be better – It’s ok
Without negative narrative in my head I would not know that:
It’s ok, I won’t have all the answers
It’s ok, my heart will mend
It’s ok, I’m not meant for everyone
It’s ok, everyone’s not meant for me
It’s ok. There’s a better opportunity with my name on it
It’s ok, nobody’s life is perfect
It’s ok, I am wonderfully and awesomely made
It’s ok, God made me in His likeness
It’s ok, he doesn’t deserve me
It’s ok, I know to ask for help
It’s ok, memories like this are precious
It’s ok, I was blessed to have known her
It’s ok, enjoy the moment
It’s ok, what’s for me is for me
It’s ok, God knows my heart
It’s ok, I am not alone
It’s ok, at least I’m alive
It’s ok, I AM Beautiful
Pamela Smith, MS, LPC
Parenting Adult Children
In my humble opinion, parenting adult children is much harder than parenting younger children, even the tenacious teens.
During the years of parenting my children, I did my best to keep trauma at bay. I tried to shield them and protect them from as much hurt as I could while teaching them how to be productive, reasonable, intelligent young women. I stressed the importance of respect, education, self-worth and value. I built them up as much as I could and did my best to play the role of both parents, even to the point of putting my own issues aside and trying to co-parent so my girls could identify and run away from dysfunction, unhealthy relationships, and the like. So, you can imagine my horror and confusion as they entered into adulthood and make some of what I can only call the craziest choices (notice I did not use the word, mistakes).
I have not always worked as a licensed therapist. However, currently working in the mental health profession, my senses are heightened, and it makes my heart heavy when I see an issue I can help my adult children avoid but because “mom” made a suggestion they choose the wrong path anyway. So how does the parent of adult children step back and allow said children to make poor choices, get hurt, experience unnecessary setbacks, I can go on and on, but you get what I’m saying.
Ross Campbell, MD and Gary Chapman, MD, writers of “How To Really Love Your Adult Child” suggest forgiving yourself first. Release yourself from any shame or guilt you’ve ever experienced in the past as you parented your younger children. They also suggest illustrating self-control and don’t lose sight of the prize. What’s the prize you ask? If you’re thinking the prize is to continue “parenting” your adult child as you have all their lives and those children suddenly become grateful and obedient, then like me, you are incorrect ma’am and/or sir. According to the great authors, the prize is to preserve and progress in your relationship with your adult child(ren). So, in other words, leading by this example would be the most effective lesson you can ever teach your adult child. Let your actions take place of your words, they don’t listen to them anyway.
Pamela Smith, MS, LPC
Reading the tweets and articles on the #TimesUP and #MeToo movements is a bittersweet moment for me. I applaud those brave enough to stand up and fight the good fight against sexual harassment and inequality across the working industries of America. Several weeks ago, I read about #MeToo, another sexual harassment movement that went viral after actress, Alyssa Milano tweeted asking women to share their stories of sexual assault.
I believe these are great movements. I believe the intentions are great and hearts are in the right place. What concerns me is once the band-aid is ripped off, the memories are relived, and scabs caused by the trauma and post traumatic stress are removed – who is there to help these women pick up the pieces of their lives? What is the plan for a healthy recovery? The number of women who are responding to the calls on social media far outnumber the total of licensed mental health clinicians trained to assist them in their recovery. What I am not seeing in my community, on the news, or on social media outlets are those licensed mental health clinicians complaining that they are inundated with calls, overbooked with appointments, and more clients than slots to fill.
This is a major concern for me not only as trained licensed mental health clinician but also as a survivor of sexual assault and inequality. These calls for justice have identified the problem but what is the solution? Is there a coalition of licensed mental health clinicians dedicated to provide affordable, which may sometimes mean free mental health care for those who need it? Where is the beacon of light these women so desperately need? The solution should be three pronged: Identifying the problem, Accountability which may include but not be limited to legal resolution, and most importantly, Healing. In our zealousness to right the societal wrongs, we often overlook the cartilage left lying in the road. We lose sight of what’s important – the decimation of the human mind.