Joy

/Joy

HOW CANADIAN BORN CHINESE CAN CONNECT WITH THEIR CHINESE HERITAGE

“You don’t understand. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I need you to be compassionate.”   In that moment, she felt the all too familiar feeling of what it was like to be a Canadian born Chinese wanting to connect with her Chinese heritage.   When Ming* (name changed to protect privacy) first came to see me, her back was hunched forward as if she was carrying too heavy a burden on her shoulders. She nervously pushed her glasses up the tip of her nose before letting her long black hair drop forward to cover part of her face.   When I asked this young Chinese woman what she needed, Ming made the following comment:   Through my talking with Ming, I found out her Chinese grandmother had been the one primarily responsible for her caregiving while she was growing up. Her grandmother, who was living with

HOW TO FOSTER RESPONSIBILITY IN TEENAGERS

"Show responsibility!  This is all your fault!” I said to my 16-year-old son who had just come home with a zero on a school paper he had handed in late. Showing very little compassion, I pointed my index finger to his face to justify the anger and shame I was feeling inside. “How could you let that happen?” I insisted.   While my parenting tantrum was taking place, my son kept looking outside the kitchen window, verbally acknowledging zero of my questions. Mostly, he remained silent, probably waiting for the storm to boil over. His behaviour showed how I had trained him to ignore his own feelings and emotions and the feelings and emotions of others. He was behaving as I had taught him: like a victim.   ‘How was that possible?’ you might ask.   It is my belief …   When a parent is unaware of their conditioning and

HOW TO HEAL FROM A PARENT UNAWARE OF THEIR ADDICTIONS

(PART ONE OF A TWO PARTS SERIES) “You’re just like your father/mother!” “Why can’t you ever do anything right?” “What is wrong with you?” are some examples of what an unaware parent might keep telling their child(ren) out of their addiction to emotional patterns. When we think of the word addiction, many of us tend to list alcohol, sex, drugs, and gambling as the most ‘obvious’ ones while at the same time probably defending our position saying things like, “Others have addictions! Not me!” How do I know that? Because I used to be the sort of parent who claimed ‘Not me!’ when the word addiction was mentioned; I had a very narrow perception of what an addiction actually is. ‘So what is an addiction?’ you might be wondering. I believe the answer is, An addiction is anything that is consistently detrimental to the human spirit. If that is true

HOW TO ESTABLISH AND GAIN SELF-WORTH

HOW TO ESTABLISH AND GAIN SELF-WORTH   There’s a lot of talk around self-worth, this ability to love ourselves no matter who or what we might be facing.   Self-worth represents what we feel towards ourselves beyond anything external defining us.   Self-worth and self-esteem are two different things and the two often get confused. Before we go any further, allow me to explain what I consider the difference between the two.   Self-esteem is external. It is the value we think we have in the eyes of others. For example, if you care mostly about what others think of you, your self-esteem is probably higher than your self-worth right now.   The problem with self-esteem is, self-esteem can easily be taken away. A wrong word, a negative behaviour, and pouf! a person’s internal view of themselves might crumble into ‘I’m never good enough!’ ‘What’s wrong with me? ‘Why can’t

HOW TO DEAL WITH AN EMOTIONALLY SICK PARENT

I didn’t ask myself ‘Is she emotionally sick?’ I was eight years old and like many other kids, I just wanted to go play outside and make sure I had a clean pair of pants to wear to go to school the next day. Plus, what does ‘emotionally’ even mean to a kid?   I didn’t even ask if she was sick. I mean, she looked fine on the surface.  She could walk and talk, though she said and did things that even I found strange by moments. Like that time she put my hands on her tummy and told me she had a baby inside. She said she was the Virgin Mary and she was going to give birth to the child of Jesus Christ. As strange as she sounded and behaved at times, my mother was not running a fever or having a drippy nose.   When I

HOW TO TELL BETWEEN SADNESS AND DEPRESSION

  I was sitting under a tree. It was early morning and the area was deserted at this time of day. It suited me just fine, this isolation, because I now felt safe enough to let tears run down my cheeks. I was feeling sad inside and this so-called sadness seemed to have swallowed my entire life. Touching a tree root with my left hand, I begged it to help me move forward, to give me energy, for I felt tired, wary, drained.   This tree where I hid from the world was located in a kids’ park of all places. To my left were swings with sky blue seats. In front of me were earth brown curvy slides. To my right was this kind of roped knitted dome where little ones exercised their climbing skills.   A little boy accompanied by an adult comes running into the park. He

HOW TO STRAY FROM ANXIETY TO LIVE FROM A PLACE OF WELL-BEING

  When Dixie* came to see me, her hands trembled a little as she talked about her husband’s anxiety. She shared how he apparently often sat in their apartment’s living room feeling overwhelmed, his eyes sort of absent, all because he seemed not to know what to do next. Dixie continued by saying she was getting fed up with her husband’s perceived inability to ‘get a grip’ over his life and she was now coming to see me to find ways for him to deal with his anxiety. What I asked her next became a game changer for her. I asked,   What about your anxiety?   Dixie’s mouth opened in a big O. I could tell she was trying to grasp what I was asking her because she said, shaking her head, “No, it’s not about me, it’s about him!”   Once again, I turned her attention back to

WHY NICE GIRLS RUN AWAY FROM THEIR TRUTH AND HOW TO OVERCOME IT

When Trendy* came to see me, she was sporting a fashionable haircut and wearing a hot designer tee and fancy shoes. She gave me a big hug, telling me loudly how grateful she was to be here. When she sat in front of me, she asked me with an even bigger smile and honey voice how I was. If it had not been for her arms crossing in front of her and her physical body positioning away from me as she said these words, one might have confused her for an empowered and dynamic woman. To me, I had just met another nice girl.   Through my talking with her, I found out Trendy was in an unsatisfying marriage, but she had not confronted her husband about it yet because ‘I do not want to hurt his feelings’ was her excuse. I also found out she was frustrated with her

HOW TO ELIMINATE A OO7 DOUBLE LIFE

When James* called upon me, he asked that we meet in an open restaurant downtown Vancouver. Asking him why there instead of my office, he laughed and said, ‘Because I need it this way.’    On the agreed upon date and time of rendez-vous, James sat down in front of me and immediately placed his hands under the table where I could Not see them. This gesture alone told me a lot about James, how easily he pretended to be emotionally open yet felt the want to hide once in front of me.   Through my talking with him, I found out James was one of nine children from a very large Catholic South American family. He grew up being an altar boy, going to Sunday school, and saying prayers. But something was Not working for him… In his teenage years, he realized he was gay and being gay is

HOW TO OVERCOME SHINY OBJECT SYNDROME

When Janie came to see me, she smiled an easy smile and quickly answered “I’m fine!” to the question ‘How are you?’ I watched her as she fidgeted onto her seat, obviously trying to find a comfortable position. She finally sat down after putting a nearby colourful cushion in front of her tummy. This gesture alone told me a lot about Janie, how she most likely was living her life hiding in the background while hanging on to shiny objects for dear life.   Through my talking with her, I found out she has spent years studying for a profession she says she is now hating. She said she felt tired and drained, her bosses apparently not caring about what happened to her or how she felt.     Have you ever been in a situation where you felt unseen and unheard?   After her work shift, Janie confessed she

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