Let’s All Straighten Each Other’s Crowns
Written by Madeline Vann, NCC, M.Ed. at White Cloud Therapeutic Services
One of my favorite memes on social media says something like, “Real princesses straighten each other’s crowns.” You probably know the one. It’s inspirational, and it’s a good reminder that this doesn’t have to be a competitive situation. Instead, we can and should be looking out for one another more.
I’ve been thinking about this because sometimes the conversation on social media and in other forums is, let’s face it, less than supportive. In fact, there’s a lot of blame throwing, quick temper, name calling, and negative competition lately.
We are all facing some difficulties, and we’ve all had to make some sacrifices and decisions that we didn’t anticipate in our 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Yet there is nothing to be gained by trying to have the last word on who is sacrificing the most right now, or who is to blame.
In counseling, we sometimes use an exercise that asks clients to visualize their emotion as an iceberg. The tip of the iceberg that is visible above water is only a small part of the entire iceberg. Likewise, the things we do in anger and stress and resentment are only a small part of what is going on. We might ask a client to draw an iceberg. Around the tip, they might write out some of the things they say and do when they are upset. And under the iceberg waterline, we ask the client to write everything that underlies those things.
For example, a client might write on the tip of the iceberg – “yelling at my children and my husband” “eating too much unhealthy food” “ unfollowing friends left and right on social media” “I just had a big fight with someone who has a totally ignorant opinion about X or Y” and under the iceberg, upon reflection, the same client might write “I am sad/stressed that I can’t work full time right now” “I am worried that my kids are falling behind” “I don’t feel my spouse appreciates what I do every day” “I resent my friends who have made different choices or seem to be less bothered by all this” “I am mad at myself for drinking more than I want to” and so on. Once we get to the stuff under the tip of the iceberg, we can really start to do the work to make a change.
You can do this exercise with kids, too, by the way. I would encourage you to do it for yourself, and for your children and teens. If you do it with the kids, don’t give in to the temptation to argue with what they say underlies their emotions. Just listen. It’s scary to look at what might be deep inside our heart and our thoughts right now. For many people, just dragging those things into the light is helpful. For others, it’s helpful to have a counselor to guide you through this process and figure out what to do next.
My hope is that once we are honest about what’s underneath, and start to address it, we will be better able to support one another and straighten each other’s crowns instead of tearing one another down.
So if you need a safe, confidential space to learn some new skills for regulating your emotions, managing stress, communicating with your partner, relying less on substances, getting comfortable with uncertainty and change, organizing your home-based schooling, or just venting, please call. Even a handful of therapy sessions could be what you need to reorient yourself and your family towards the life you really want.
We offer convenient teletherapy sessions, as well as in-person sessions, for individuals, couples, and families. White Cloud Therapeutic Services, LLC, at www.whitecloudtherapy.com or 757-503-7917. We take most types of insurance and offer a sliding scale for clients who are self-pay.
Article was written and sponsored by Resident in Counseling Madeline Vann, NCC, M.Ed. at White Cloud Therapeutic Services