By Chandrama Anderson
E-mail Chandrama Anderson
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ... (More)
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background in high-tech is helpful in understanding local couples' dynamics and the pressures of living here. I am a wife, mom, sister, friend, author, and lifelong advocate for causes I believe in (such as marriage equality). My parents are both deceased. My son graduated culinary school and is heading toward a degree in Sociology. I enjoy reading, hiking, water fitness, movies, 49ers and Stanford football, Giants baseball, and riding a tandem bike with my husband. I love the beach and mountains; nature is my place of restoration. In my work with couples, and in this blog, I combine knowledge from many fields to bring you my best ideas, tips, tools and skills, plus book and movie reviews, and musings to help you be your genuine self, find your own voice, and have a happy and healthy relationship. Don't be surprised to hear about brain research and business skills, self-soothing techniques from all walks of life, suggestions and experiments, and anything that lights my passion for couples. (Author and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Calif. Lic # MFC 45204.) (Hide)
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Doesn't everyone look together? The happy couple? Doing their job well? Driving their nice car? Getting schoolwork done? Christmas or Hanukkah shopping? Cooking gourmet meals? Entertaining at a beautifully set table? See their well-behaved kids?
That's the outside. We have no idea what is on the inside. Many of us have a "Gremlin" (from Rick Carson's "Taming Your Gremlin") saying we're not good enough, or we made a mistake, or we're not lovable, or we're bad and not worthy, or we better keep putting on a good show otherwise people will find out what we're really like. Or maybe we're grieving the death of our mom, son, brother, dad, sister, daughter, cousin, grandparent, friend, or partner, and just trying to make it. Maybe a loved one is away at war, or battling cancer, and we're putting one foot in front of the other to get through this day. Or maybe my partner hardly talks to me anymore or we sleep apart, but we don't want anyone to know. Or . . . we can't begin to guess.
Any day can be hard because of the gap between the media/Norman Rockwell happy family, and the reality of our own situation. The gaps may be about a variety of things: family, your partner, money, who does "all" the work, alcohol consumption, power, etc.
Please do not compare your insides to others' outsides. We have no idea what they are going through. Instead, focus on self-care, and what is in our realm of control. Breathe, exercise (even if just a little bit), drink a lot water, eat healthy food, be kind to yourself and those around you.
Notice your Gremlin and say "Hi," but don't give yourself over it it. Find a realistic and constructive answer to your Gremlin.
Ask yourself these three questions, and act on your answers:
1."What is in my control?"
2."What are my options? (seek three)"
3."What works best in THIS situation?"
Be sure to maintain your integrity and be kind to yourself and others, no matter what you decide.
Think about helping someone (even one person) who needs help, even in a small way. It will help you , and them. It will be much more fruitful than comparing yourself to others.