Saturday morning, I opened my email to discover that I had been awarded a Kreative (yes, that’s with a “K” folks) blogging award. The rules for this award specify I have to list seven things I like and nominate seven other blogs for the award.
While I am thrilled to get recognition for anything, this sounded a bit like the “send five dollars to the top address on this list and then you’ll receive two thousand dollars next week” chain letters of my youth.
Nonetheless the very notion that as I sit here typing when I should be chipping away at the great pile of paperwork on my desk, some total stranger likes my writing enough to award me the big KB feels great.
An enduring joy of adulthood is being able to disobey. So as this is a mental health blog, and I’m still very much in touch with my inner adolescent who sneers at rules, instead of posting seven things I like I’m going to write about three relationship practices that promote mental health.
Never mind the golden rule: treat people the way they want to be treated. This truism has taken me an extraordinarily long time to learn, possibly because I’m just a little bit slower than the average bear. For example, over the summer we visited an extended family member who is a self-confessed “control freak.” I used to knock myself out trying to be the helpful kind of guest I like having: I would insist on cooking, cleaning and generally trying to be low-maintenance. This in turn would stress out the person hosting us, who just wanted to be in charge in their own space. Imagine how silly I felt when I realized that my sitting on the beach and reading Great Expectations was more relaxing for us both. Duh!
Love is a verb, not a noun. I stink at grammar. If it weren’t for a brief pre-pubescent love of Mad Libs I couldn’t tell an adjective from an adverb if it bit me. But this much I know: love is most keenly felt in action, in behavior, in tone of voice, quality of touch, and not in theory. The people we love need proof every single day. Our memory is short and our pre-existing emotional injuries are many.
Deep down, we all yearn to be seen, heard and known. My children thirst for stories about their babyhood. Jonah loves to hear about how as a premature, medically fragile newborn he kicked open the door of the incubator not once but twice. Benjamin loves to hear about how he mistook his reflection in the mirror of a store for his identical twin brother. Telling stories of their past shows my children I am paying attention; that they matter to me. In successful relationships we are story keepers for our loved ones.
Now in terms of nominating seven blogs…well, that isn’t happening either. As it is, the requirements of life seriously interfere with my compulsive book reading habit; much less am I finding time to keep up with a bunch of blogs. There are exactly two blogs that I follow, both happen to be mental health-related.
http://healmyptsd.com/ A blog chock-a-block full of news, interviews, therapeutic approaches and resources for folks with PTSD written by an NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) practitioner who is both a healer and PTSD survivor.
http://dankirkland.wordpress.com/ A reflective blog written by a fellow therapist who is such a great writer I’m a little jealous of him.