How to Empower Others – A Day in the Life of a Therapist

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open book where two pages shape a heart, symbolizing how to empower othersHow to empower others? People often ask my husband what it’s like to live with and be married to a therapist. His typical response is “we talk a lot.” I used to get pretty touchy about it. Always afraid that people would think I’m analyzing them. It makes some people really uncomfortable. The truth is, I am analyzing most of the time. I have come to accept that this is part of being in a relationship with me. What people come to learn is that while I am analyzing, I’m rarely judging. That being said, most experiences turn into scientific observations, teaching opportunities or thoughtful philosophical dialogue.

How to Empower Others You Love

This week, we went to a local resort restaurant for dinner and sunset, with a side of scientific observation. (Apologies to those of you still buried in snow). It was a lovely evening, and we had a table by the water. Our tiny human loves this particular locale because she can play in the sand while we hang. We love it too because we can relax and parent at 50% while she entertains herself instead of asking for a device to watch videos.

Tiny Human Playing in the Sand

We take turns checking out her sand projects. I work on my headstand in between appetizers and entrees. Its a classic scene for our family.

She Found Some Ants …

Just after dinner, she found some ants. She decided they were her pets. She tried feeding them grass and sticks. They were not amused.

The hubby handed her a french fry and encouraged her to be patient.

It totally worked. Within minutes she had an ant farm on her hands.

Except, they were fire ants.

We Warned Her. Boy Did We Warn Her.

I explained that fire ants not only bite but leave a toxin or poison in her skin.

Her dad informed her that if you disturb any creature, especially while it’s eating, its risky business.

One Red Ant Bite Later …

One red ant bite later we had an angry and frightened toddler on our hands.

She was proclaiming “I will never go there ever again!” She didn’t want to go near her toys out of fear she would be bitten again.

Of course, I am ‘that mom’ who has one of everything in my purse. I applied a special ointment to her wound. I accompanied her to clean up her toys, reassuring her she was a safe distance from the ants.

We belted out her favorite Meghan Trainor and Moana songs in the car to distract her from her pain.


How to Empower Others: Why Do Things Happen and What We Can Learn From Them

We chatted as we put her to bed. I analyzed the whole thing of course. Musing at human nature.

When she asked why she was bitten, I explained that she took a risk. Despite being warned of the danger, she made a conscious choice, and it led to a painful outcome.

[bctt tweet="Allow your child to take a risk to learn."]

Yup, I said it just like that, lol.

And We as Parents Allowed Her to Take the Risk.

Sure, we could’ve stopped the whole thing in its tracks and avoided this pain. But she is a strong-willed and independent child who is invested in learning her way. She and I are quite similar in that aspect.

I watch similar dynamics in my work every day.

  • Parents distressed about their adult children not heeding their advice.
  • Spouses personally affronted because their partner won’t listen to them.
  • Client’s who beat themselves up for not listening to sage wisdom.

All completely normal.

We Learn Best by Doing.

But there is always risk.

There is little value in regretting our choices.

We move through life making decisions, all with some level of risk. We learn from our choices and incorporate that learning into our next set of options.

Our daughter will be far more mindful of bugs now.

Sure, she has some lingering fear. We will help her process her fear and teach her more about dangerous insects. But she learned, which is invaluable. And we let go and allowed her to learn – at the personal risk of feeling our fear.

Will you do the same with your children, partner, family members, and co-workers?

Can you release control, encourage empowerment and learning? Oh, and manage your own anxiety. Some of the most meaningful lessons in life are the ones learned the hardest.

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