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Words Do Matter, Nurture Your Relationships

Remember the old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me?”  Well, unfortunately this is not true.  Words can definitely harm us and create damage in our relationships. Some of our fiercest battles are using words as weapons.  As summer comes to an end, try to reflect on how you use words in your relationships.  Ask yourself, “Is what I am about to say going to bring us together or drive us apart?”  Do your words meet 3 important criteria: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it helpful? Psychiatrist William Glasser gives us some helpful hints in some of his writing on Choice Theory.  He describes that there are “7 Deadly Habits that Destroy Relationships.”  These “Deadly Habits”  include: Criticizing, Blaming, Complaining, Nagging, Threatening, Punishing and Bribing/Rewarding to control.  Do any of these sound familiar?  Pay attention to your words this week and see if they would fall into any of these 7 categories.  Dr. Glasser goes on to describe “7 Habits that Nurture Relationships.” These nurturing habits include: Supporting, Encouraging, Listening, Accepting, Trusting, Respecting and Negotiating Differences. Challenge yourself to go out and use these nurturing habits daily and watch carefully for the deadly ones!  What difference do you think this adjustment could make in your relationships?  Choose your words wisely.

 

–Shelley T. Kraft, MA, LPA

August 2013

Inspiration from the Beach

This past week I happened upon a huge collection seashells while walking on the beach.  It reminded me how the beach, the ocean and seashells can be used for metaphors in life.  There is a beautiful book written by Anne Morrow Lindbergh called Gift From the Sea.  I have borrowed a few of her words today.  I hope that you may find some gift in these words as well.  I also borrowed from author Julie Baker & her book on leadership skills for women called A Pebble in the Pond.

“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach — waiting for a gift from the sea.” (Lindberg)

Oyster Shell–An oyster shell can symbolize a strong long-lasting relationship, “it suggests the struggle of life itself. The oyster has fought to have that place on the rock to which it has fitted itself perfectly and to which it clings tenaciously.…I am fond of the oyster shell. It is humble and awkward and ugly.  It is slate-colored and unsymmetrical.  Its form is not primarily beautiful but functional.” (Lindberg)  May you be as tenacious as the oysters.  When the winds and storms of life blow around you and perhaps even knock you down, may you use this tenacity to stand firm and weather the storm.

Clam Shell–symbolism-life receiving and giving.  Finding such treasures as these clam shells, so beautiful from the deep ocean, reminds us of how important it is for us to find what is “life giving” to us.  For many people it is their faith or spiritual beliefs that are crucial to their everyday well-being.  May you find what is life giving to you and may it help sustain you, even through life’s storms–much like the the storms that washed these shells to shore this past week.

Pebbles, rocks–there is lots of symbolism in rocks and pebbles.  My favorite is from a book called A Pebble in the Pond.  The author uses the imagery of the ripple effect that comes after throwing a pebble in the pond.  “Our deeds are like a stone cast into the pool of time.  Though they themselves disappear, their ripples extend to eternity.”  We are each like a pebble that has many ripples. May you be ever mindful of how you want your ripples to impact others.

Shelley T. Kraft, MA, LPA

July 2013

Welcome to Our New TPC Blog

As I thought about posting for a blog at our center I wondered what the reader might want to know about us. Most folks who have been in counseling can tell you about that rich experience. But many of you may not know about the intentional nature of our work community.

Our organizational structure at Triangle Pastoral Counseling reflects our commitment to being an intentional community. Although we have a Center Director who performs vital functions, it is the staff as a whole that makes executive decisions. Although our board, like that of other non-profits, holds the ultimate fiduciary responsibility for the organization, in practice staff and board work closely together, sharing leadership functions. Board and staff members serve together on board/staff teams that address ongoing center needs. Each year we hold a board/staff retreat to review the previous year and plan for the future, and to strengthen relationships between board and staff. Staff members are routinely expected to invest themselves not only in their clinical practices, but also in the ongoing life and health of the organization. Staff business meetings are led by a facilitator. Facilitators serve three month terms. All staff are encouraged to take a turn as the facilitator, whether they are experienced in this role or new to it. Staff members new to the role have the opportunity for orientation and mentoring by an experienced facilitator. The staff as a whole regularly reviews the annual budget and engages in the process of major financial and hiring decisions. We invite and expect staff to use their skills and talents not only for their individual success, but also for the benefit of the enterprise as a whole. This ongoing invitation and expectation reflects core spiritual values :

  1. A communitarian spirit that values cooperation above competition, that believes in the broadest possible sharing of leadership functions and that expects the members of the community to be responsible to one another
  2. A commitment to continual learning that requires humility about one’s already acquired knowledge and skills, acceptance of being always in-process as human beings and love of shared learning experiences
  3. An attitude of mutual expectancy that seeks to discover and foster in one another our diverse gifts in the context of our life and work together

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