Have you ever asked yourself WHY?

Have you ever asked yourself WHY?

By Beth Bloom, MS, LPC, C-DBT

Why didn’t I do this? Why didn’t I do that? 

We have all done this…ask why questions. 

Have you ever told yourself you should have done something differently, should have known better? 

We have all done that as well.  

Here are some follow-up questions to consider. 

Have you ever been able to answer why? 

Has saying I should have done things differently made things better? 

Lots of questions, I know, but sometimes there are no answers when we speak to ourselves this way.

Language is important—this is another message that is commonly heard. Make sure that you say what you mean, share your feelings, and communicate effectively. 

I believe that all of it is true, but ask yourself: How are we communicating with ourselves? 

When we use negative language, we make ourselves feel negative, and we all have enough stress already.

Asking why leads to the thought process that you did something wrong and feel guilty, which never feels good. 

Saying you should have done something may elicit a negative feeling, such as shame. 

Instead—ask yourself different questions like: 

What did I want to happen? 

What were the barriers to getting what I want?

How could I have done things differently?

These are better questions than merely asking why. This is because those types of questions allow you to express your hopes, dreams, and fears in a way that does not lead to shame or guilt. 

For example, if I say to you: Why didn’t you call me? You will likely feel guilty feelings for not having done so. 

However, if I say, “I wish you would have called me because I missed you.” It is a totally different message—a much more positive message. 

Saying you should have known better feels very punitive, unlike when someone says I wish things would have turned out differently. 

Albert Ellis, the founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, spent a lot of time talking about how we may have irrational thoughts, such as we must behave a certain way. The three statements most associated with this theory and Dr. Ellis are: “I must do well. You must treat me well. And the world must be easy.” 

He coined the term “musterbation” which refers to people believing that they MUST live by a set of absolute and unrealistic demands that they place on themselves, others, and the world. When engaging in this cognitive distortion, people try to motivate themselves and push themselves into shape, emotionally and physically, by using “should,” “shouldn’t,” “have to,” “ought to,” and “musts” These words are a set-up for negative self-judgment and feelings of guilt.

Dr. Ellis would say: Who is telling you that you should, that you must? He would then say be quiet and stop should-ing yourself! 

Think about saying things differently to ourselves and others. Give some thought to what you really mean when you say why or should. You will be surprised if you increase your awareness of the negative language you use on a regular basis and how you can increase positive feelings just by changing a few words. 

Instead of saying I should be kinder to myself, say I believe in myself. It just feels better!

Learn More about Beth

Struggling with ADHD in Classroom

Struggling with ADHD in Classroom

When I was in second grade, I was held back and forced to repeat the grade because I was “too immature.” 

Did you know that was even a thing? 

It was, apparently. It was in answer to my undiagnosed ADHD. I was diagnosed the following year, but the damage had already been done. 

Does that seem like a good reason to hold a child back? Now, as an adult, college professor, and parent of a child both on the spectrum and with ADHD and ODD, I  sure don’t think so. But this was a parochial school in the 80s…

Well, this made seven-year-old Jen feel dumb—really dumb, and I felt that way for a very, very long time as a result. It took me many years to overcome all the ticks and insecurities I had developed as a result—long into adulthood. Still, to this day, I find myself saying something that I know stems from those early feelings of inadequacy. 

Now, you are asking yourself. Did she have bad grades? Nope. I started reading early. I was probably a grade or two above my grade reading-wise. I wasn’t outstanding at math, but I wasn’t below average—no red flags besides my lack of focus and inability to sit still. Weird reasons to hold a child back, I know, but like I said… a parochial school in the 80s. 

The worst thing about it was no one asked me what I wanted. Because if they had, I would have told them I was bored. I knew how to read, and the lessons didn’t interest me. Maybe that was why I lacked focus.

I also would have told them that after lunch, I felt like bouncy balls were slamming around my body, and I couldn’t sit still. (Fun Fact: Food coloring greatly affects people with ADHD, especially Red #4). That would explain my constant shifting in my seat. 

Oh, and I was chatty. I talked a lot. I mean, a lot, a lot. But I had a ton of stuff going on in my head at all times, so of course, I wanted to talk about it; who wouldn’t? All you ADD and ADHD silent suffers know what I’m talking about! 

So, I was held back. Nothing changed, surprise, surprise. Even worse, it was second grade. All of you Catholic school alumni know what that means…Holy Communion. If you don’t know what that means, let’s just say that I had a lot of free time. Since I had already received Holy Communion the year before, I didn’t have to take part in the endless practices every second-grade Catholic school student has to sit through, but I had to go, and (get this) I had to sit in the back of the church and quietly watch. 

Now, how crazy does that sound? This 8-year-old outcast with no friends because I was older than everyone else felt extremely dumb and inadequate and was a raging ball of hyperactivity because, of course, practices were right after lunch. I was bored due to having to sit quietly and still while my classmates practiced walking up and down the aisle and listening to the priest talk endlessly about a sacrament I had already received and knew all about. 

How am I not more damaged psychologically damaged than I am? (Wait a moment. I’m going to give myself a hug and speak a few positive affirmations—Ok, I’m back.) Let’s just say things got worse before they got better. 

Do you remember the super quiet straight lines you had to keep walking around school back in the day? Yeah, well, I wasn’t very good at those either, especially on the way back from Holy Communion practice. I had so much to get out; I had just sat still and quiet for an hour, Red #4 was coursing through my veins, and I had to get it out. So I talked. I was compelled to talk. I had to move something, or I would explode. 

One day, walking back from practice, I was chatting with a girl in line, and I got caught. The teacher, Sister Christine, I’ll never forget her face. It is still burnt into my mind, grabbed me by the pigtail and yanked me out of line and pinned me to the chalkboard, and growled in my face. It was terrifying, and it scarred me for life. 

A month or two later, a doctor diagnosed me with ADHD, and I was put on a special diet and given some support in handling my symptoms, but the damage was already done. 

Over the years, I have sought out techniques and coping mechanisms to help me control my symptoms. Are they perfect? No. But they got me where I am today without medication. 

Now, wait, I am not slamming Adderall or whatever medicine you or your loved one is on. I love Adderall. My son would not be able to get through school without it. But my parents never gave me the option, and I didn’t realize it was an option until I was an adult, and by then, I already knew how to deal with it, so I don’t feel the need now. However, if I ever did, I would be calling my doctor. But medicine alone doesn’t work either. I have taught my son, students, and anyone that will listen to my techniques because I believe in them and know they work. They got me through my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and Dean’s list a few times as well. They also got me through twenty years of teaching writing in college. 

For the sake of brevity, I will share one with you now and the rest at my upcoming workshop, Classroom Yoga & Meditation For Education, on Tuesday, March 7th, from 6:30-8p. You can attend in person or virtually. I hope to see you there. 

My tip—Lists. Tons and tons of lists. I get distracted easily and often forget things I shouldn’t, which makes me feel bad about myself, so I write it down, so I can’t forget, stopping that bad feeling in its tracks. 

Now how detailed are these lists, you ask? Very. And Specific. Here’s an example, I have a whiteboard on the fridge where we keep the grocery list. When it is time to go to the store, I take a picture of the list. Then, using the editing function, I can cross out items as I shop. How does this help? I feel satisfied that I accomplished a task because the list and the crossing out keep my attention focused. 

Why not a paper list, you ask? Well, simply said, I’d lose it. I have lost so many lists in my life. I think I put it in a pocket, but I get distracted and forget, leave it somewhere, then I get to the market and have to shop blind—which never goes well. I’m less likely to lose my phone. Have I lost it? OH, daily, but I always find it! 

Having ADHD makes you very forgetful because your brain is moving so quickly; the thought is usually gone by the time you process it, which makes retention tough. But you learn ways to cope—like making lists.

A special thank you to my parents. They fought for me. My mom did endless research on natural methods to help me manage my symptoms. She discovered the Feingold diet, which was annoying because I had to give up Kool-aid, Cheetos, and Skittles, but I was so much calmer. The bouncy balls slowed and gave me the space to discover other skills to help me hold hands with my ADHD rather than be bullied by it. Thank you to both of my parents for always telling me my dreams were possible. There was a clear message in my household—I was going to college. Neither of my parents were told this when they were young and didn’t have the opportunity, so they were determined that I would go. It was never in doubt. Without knowing it, they were chipping away at my feelings of inadequacy that the dreadful two consecutive years of second grade had caused. Oh, and a nun or teacher never laid a hand on me again after that.

Thank you for listening to me babble about my experiences. I hope they made you feel validated. Because I know there are many of us licking the wounds of our childhood over issues like this. Growing up is hard, and we should be thankful we all made it out alive. 

The Drama Triangle

The Drama Triangle

By: Francine Zickl, MA, CADC

Do you ever feel like you’re a Victim in life? Do you find yourself blaming others for your troubles? Have you been feeling helpless and even hopeless about your life? 


Do you find that you’re always the one trying to help someone else out, and your responsibilities take a back seat? Are you always taking family and /or friends to their appointments but miss your own? Are you a Rescuer?


Are you overly critical and rigid in your thinking and driven by anger? Do you bully others into agreeing to your demands? Are you a Persecutor?

If you answered yes to some or all of these, you have or are a part of the drama triangle. People usually rotate through all of them, but we gravitate to one in particular. 


The Drama Triangle is an ineffective response to conflict. People will continue moving around the Drama Triangle until they get the help needed to move into a healthier one—from a place of pain to one of healthy communication.

The Victim often feels oppressed and hopeless. They look for a rescuer because they don’t have to take responsibility. After all, they are constantly being rescued. 

The Rescuer feels the need to provide support and feels guilty if they aren’t helping people. They get their good feelings from hearing other people’s positive reactions to their behaviors. It makes them feel good. In the home, it’s about caring for others and getting praise for doing things instead of who they are. 

The Prosecutor is rigid and bossy. They are quick to anger and quickly fly into a rage. They think it is normal anger; however, anger is fear. Instead of dealing with their fear, they use anger as an outlet. The prosecutor uses black-and-white thinking, all or nothing—-no gray areas. 

What do you need to do? The simple answer is learning emotional regulation–noticing your emotions and learning how to deal with them appropriately.  

The first step in this process is the awareness that you want to change your life and stop the cycle. 

Victims must seek positive change and learn to take responsibility for their actions. You need to be aware that you don’t want to be helpless anymore. Rather than jumping to blame, ask yourself: How can I get what I want healthily—by not blaming others? 

Rescuers need to start saying no. Remember to take care of yourself first. Self-care is a great way to do this. You must fulfill your needs first before you can give back to others. 

Prosecutors should seek anger management skills to help them cope with their fears. It is important to evaluate how you are feeling and become self-aware.  

We learn these roles through our family. Think back to your childhood. Did your parents yell a lot? Or did you have younger siblings and were expected to care for them? Or were you the baby of the family and got away with everything? 

Our first relationships are so vital because we mimic what we see. Seeing a parent angry and yelling teaches a child to deal with emotions similarly. These are ingrained messages that you take with you. Once you leave, you need to learn how to change these dynamics so that you don’t continue to blame, rescue, or bully. You need to break the cycle. 

Remember, resentment is all about communication. Holding resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. By learning proper communication, you can rid yourself of resentment and passive-aggressive and aggressive behaviors. 

Never talk to someone in a rage. They are only seeing red, so come back to it afterward. Never talk about it at home—-it’s too familiar. Take a walk or go to a diner. 

Don’t get stuck in the trap of comfort in discomfort. You are used to this feeling, so you will attract people that will continue to make you feel this way—whether you like it or not. 

This may all sound simple; however, change is scary. Being a part of the triangle is something we know—we know what will happen. People don’t like change, so it is scary to seek it. 

However, you can start making positive changes in your life and go from having poor boundaries to clear boundaries. 

If you want a good read about this topic, try Reinventing Your Life: The Breakthrough Program to End Negative Behavior and Feel Great Again by Jeffrey Young. 

Learn more about Francine



Treat Yourself! You are worth it!

Treat Yourself! You are worth it!

“You are so stupid, why did you say that!” 

I have talked to myself like this for as long as I can remember. Even aloud. No lie. 

Just last week, I dropped a glass. It slipped right out of my hand and shattered on the floor. 

“(Insert expletive), Jen! You are useless. What is wrong with you,” slipped out of my mouth without effort, followed by a few more hateful things.

My husband heard it and came and helped me clean it up. He didn’t say a word. He didn’t blame me or chastise me because he knew I had had enough of my own negative self-talk that he didn’t need or want to join in. It was an accident, after all.

 This got me thinking…

Why do I do this? Why do I hate on myself like that? Doesn’t society do that enough already?

 So I’m going to make it my goal to stop–it’s my Valentine’s goal. I am going to be my own Valentine. 

I will love myself like I love my children and husband. I would never speak to them the way I speak to myself, so I’m only going to speak to myself like I speak to my children. If you don’t have children, speak to yourself as you would speak to 5-year-old you. 

Why don’t you do it with me? Let’s make this our Valentine’s present to ourselves. 

Let’s try it together. Repeat with me:

I am amazing! 

I am beautiful! 

I am worthy of love! 

I love myself! 

I am enough!

Keep going. Add more. Go crazy! 

As Donna Meagle and Tom Haverford from Parks and Recreation would say, “Treat Yo’self!” You deserve it! Buy yourself something special and give yourself permission to be happy because you are enough!!!


Visualize Your Future

Visualize Your Future

By Alyssa Martin, Intuitive Life Coach with a unique perspective, A Usui Reiki Master, Teen Self-Empowerment and Vocal Coach, and a Certified Louise Hay Program Facilitator.

In 1978, I saw a commercial for the Play-Doh Barber Shop set. The Play-Doh would squish through little holes in the dolls’ heads to create hair and beards of blue and red, and yellow that you could trim with scissors! I was seven years old and loved that ad. Over forty years later, I can still picture it…

Advertisers sure are smart. They know that we’ll want what we want when we see it. And when we see it, we begin to feel it. Images become a part of ourselves, and we internalize what we see into part of our experience.

“Everything you can imagine is real.” – Pablo Picasso

The good news is that we can take control and intentionally use our imagination to picture ideal life scenarios. What improvements would you like to see in your finances, love life, work-life balance, home improvements, state of mind, health, and spiritual wellness?

Intentional positive imagination, referred to as VISUALIZATION, is an effective practice for making significant improvements in our lives. Visualizing your needs and wants to be actualized requires spending time inwardly with yourself. The better you know yourself, the more confident you become, and the firmer your boundaries are of what you allow into your life. This is a great thing!

Visualization is also a form of meditation and can help you feel grounded and calm. What does it mean to feel grounded? When you are grounded, you feel safe and secure in your own skin and within your life. It means you feel stabilized in the present moment so that you can handle the ups and downs of life. You know challenges are opportunities in disguise.

“A vision that we believe in completely can change any situation into an opportunity for growth.” – Alexandra Collins Dickerman

I never did get the Play-Doh Barber Shop. I actually didn’t even seriously ask my parents for it. I didn’t feel worthy, and I didn’t want my parents to waste the money on what I felt might just be a frivolous toy. Nowadays, I’ve got a few more tools up my sleeve.

First, I’m willing to admit to what I need and want. Sometimes it’s scary, but I know I have my favorite tools of visualization and positive affirmation. I take the time to imagine the best possible outcome, then I allow life to bring me that or something even better.

Will you ask for what you need? For what you want? Ask yourself, “Is there something I want that I feel I’m not getting? How would I like my life to be different?” Remember, your desires do not have to be tangible things like a new car. It could be that you desire greater inner peace or more clarity about your life path.

Have you ever created a Vision Board? Vision Boards or Dream Boards are very popular because they work. They allow you to see your dream as a reality and keep your attention focused on your goals and intentions.

Creating a vision board engages more senses than simply writing down your goals. Working with images places your future vision into your subconscious, where you naturally start making decisions that lead to action. These actions can then produce the results you desire.

Do you want to create the future you want for yourself? Try Alyssa’s Vision Board Workshop. Learn More

Simple Sweetness of Life

Simple Sweetness of Life

By Susan Cohen, yoga instructor, massage therapist, foot reflexologist, natural foods cooking teacher & chef

The simple sweetness of life is a natural taste to desire. However, that sweetness doesn’t need to come from our diets. When our energy lowers around 2:30-3, resist grabbing a high-calorie, low-energy snack like cookies, potato chips, or “energy” bars or drinks that boost healthy choices but instead are full of added sugars.

Instead, get a natural energy boost from blueberries, almonds, or veggies. They get us back on track and keep our brains clear.

As Deepak Chopra wisely said, “We establish the body’s essential balance and energy to strengthen the mind/body connection.”

When you give the body what it needs, you’ll be open to, create and pursue the very best in life.

Do you want to know more simple ways to eliminate sugar from your diet? Join Susan for her sweet workshop:

Understanding and Eliminating Sugar Cravings: The 3-step process to end sugar cravings Learn More