“You are important to me!”

By Tabasom Eblaghie
Registered Clinical Counsellor

I recently had a call from a girlfriend who shared the wonderful news of her pregnancy with me, and her joy of welcoming her third child, who would be a boy. It was so thrilling to share her excitement, and I was deeply touched when she said, “I’ve been wanting to tell you myself, because I’d be heartbroken if you found out from someone else, and would have thought that you weren’t important enough for me to share the news myself.” I assured her that no matter where I would have heard the news from, it would still have brought much happiness but felt grateful that she cared so much.

That line stuck with me and over the next week, as I listened and met with all the wonderful clients who are so courageous to share their lives, challenges, and success stories with me, I realized that so many felt the crushing weight of sadness because they felt they weren’t important enough. They don’t matter.

What does that look like? The mother whose children didn’t visit or call, the wife whose husband wouldn’t listen to her suggestions or accept her influence in their marriage, the husband whose step-children ignored and belittled his opinions, the daughter whose parents seemingly favoured her sibling and looked down on her choices…and the list goes on and on.

Most of us don’t intentionally set out to hurt the people in our lives. We all lead busy lives, and the days come and go so fast, it makes our heads spin. However, our actions are the proof of how important someone is to us, which really says “You matter to me”, which ultimately means “I love and respect you”. If I feel insignificant or irrelevant to someone, that is a clear indication that this individual does not respect or love me. The feeling of being unloved causes one to withdraw, and silence may take the place of conversations so easy at the beginning of a relationship.

Saying the words “I love you” but leaving a person feeling like they don’t matter, or are unimportant to you, creates dissonance and instability in a relationship. Love must come with loving actions, and caring gestures.

Here are a few ways of making the people in your life feel important:

1) Speak their love language. We must show love in the manner that our family and friends want to receive love, not in how we feel love. Here is a previous article on the five ways we show our love: “The Five Love Languages”

2) Learn to listen. Listening is a skill and must be practiced and learnt. Active listening requires our full attention to understand how our loved ones think and feel. “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply” (Stephen Covey). “Listen to understand” rather than “listen to reply”. We can make our friends feel important by listening to them as though they were strong rather than by jumping in to solve or playing the expert of their lives.

3) We must be present. If you’re out for lunch with a friend, put the cell phone away and be fully engaged! If we multi-task and check our messages or go on-line when spending time with our loved ones, this signals they’re not important enough to receive our full attention. “Wherever you are, be all there” (Jim Elliot).

4) We must share our lives, time and resources. We can make our loved ones feel important by being there and sharing our thoughts and talents with them. “Nothing is too much trouble when one loves, and there is always time” said ‘Abdu’l-Baha in 1912.

5) Ask questions and follow up. What’s going on in their lives? What are their challenges or successes? If they just came back from a trip, how did it go? What did they learn at the Convention they just attended? How did the job interview go? When loved ones share their lives with us, and we forget to follow up, it may signal lack of caring and concern on our part.

6) Be punctual. Nothing is more frustrating to those individuals who are on time to be friends with those who are always late. By being late, you may give the message that your time is more important than your friend’s time, which may create resentment long term. Plan to be there a half hour prior to the set time and hopefully you’ll get there on time!

These are just a few examples, and may not apply for everyone we know, but perhaps at least one of them could be incorporated into a relationship.

Now there is also something to be said for the flip side of the issue, which occurs when Hyper-Sensitivity or Anger visit us, with their unrealistic expectations of our friends and family. Hyper-Sensitivity and Anger convince us that we are less-than and unimportant, and bring Resentment into the relationship. If it feels like you don’t matter, or getting differential treatment, maintain open lines of communication and check to make sure this is the case. Making assumptions based on negative thoughts can destroy relationships, and may not be true. Check in with loved ones and share your concern prior to walking away from the relationship.

“You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.”Thich Nhat Hanh. Moving towards Forgiveness is the most loving gesture, and frees us from the icy clutches of Anger and Resentment.

By making those around us feel important, we ultimately draw them closer to us, and develop long and meaningful relationships, which can enrich our lives.

How do you make the people in your life feel important?

Please call Tabasom at (604) 889-3635 if you’d like to book a private session.

Old man and son

“Therapeutics Letters”

By Tabasom Eblaghie
Registered Clinical Counsellor

Oh, the power of weaving together
Individual vowels and consonants
A golden thread used to stitch one letter to another
To create healing words and uplifting verses.

May we exercise our free will to create
Soothing thoughts that blow away regret
Calming lyrics of love to heal shame
And songs of gratitude, removing anxiety’s hold.

May we master the art of respecting the words
That tumble out of our hurts and joys
To weigh and measure before breathing them
Into a space, never to be retrieved again.

May we witness the wind’s endeavours as it strains
To catch the words exiting our mouths, spreading them far
May they colour the world beautiful, in hues of acceptance,
Dignity, integrity, courtesy and graciousness.

Blossoms

“You are love”

By Tabasom Eblaghie
Registered Clinical Counsellor

If the soft spring rain could speak
It would affirm its kindness and loving intention
Of washing away pain, sorrow and hurt
And purging our lives from the dust of pain

Be as the rain

If this gentle summer wind could speak
It would declare its love for you and I
As it softly wraps itself like a blanket
Of safety, around our bodies and souls

Be as the wind

If these majestic trees could speak
They would whisper of their concern for each of us
Purifying the earth with their healing energy
Breathing life and love, modestly, gracefully, silently

Be as the forest

If this blue, wintery sky could speak
It would tenderly assure us of its continued presence
On stormy days, deceivingly dark but
Returning again, gleaming with its vast beauty

Be as the sky

If this ancient sun could speak
It would pledge its profound loyalty
To beam down upon us, with its warm radiance
Never expecting anything in return

Be as the sun

We are all one, intimately connected, inseparable
We can light the flame of love, one heart at a time
For our loved ones, for our children, for the future
Tiny little blazes of love, asking for nothing in return

You are light. You are love.

Sunkissed

7 Habits of ‘Great Cheerleaders’ – a loving message for family members

By Tabasom Eblaghie
Registered Clinical Counsellor

Have you noticed how wonderful we are at cheering a couple during the dating phase? Hollywood movies usually end with one person catching a taxi at the last minute to declare their love for their beloved, who is always just about to board a plane/bus/train. Traffic lights and rules are disobeyed, and there are sighs and “awwwwws” as family and friends all come together to make sure that the two individuals reach each other, and live happily ever after.

Fast forward to a few months or years after the wedding…how many of these family members and friends still play a positive role in a couple’s life?

How good are we as a society in cheerleading the new entity that has arisen as a result of this couple’s love, the “marriage” itself?

Our marriages take time and patience to grow, and definitely need support from those around us.

The Oxford dictionary defines “cheerleader” as an enthusiastic and vocal supporter of someone or something.

If you are the parent of a married couple, or have a brother and sister who is married, and want to focus on being a source of support for their marriage, here are 7 habits you could incorporate into your life to become a Great Cheerleader:

1) During family visits, Great Cheerleaders often speak and make eye contact with both individuals

Often conversations are held where the stories are directed to one person only, leaving the other partner isolated and feeling left out. Try and include both parties by making eye contact, saying the person’s name, asking questions of both individuals and drawing them into the conversation.

2) Great Cheerleaders avoid sarcasm, and hostile humour

For some individuals, this was how they communicated in their families of origin, but I’ve had many men tell me how hurt they are when in-laws make fun of how they look/dress/talk/financial situation, or women tell me about how they avoid their in-laws because of the jokes that arise because of their weight/ work or home life/child rearing choices. Jokes should never be used to make the other person feel inferior, or to point out their deficiency, whether true or not.

3) Great Cheerleaders offer their thoughts and helpful advice only when asked, rather than taking an expert position on every single thing that goes on in a couple’s life

They remember to allow the couple to make their own life choices without reprimanding them or using anger, guilt or the silent treatment to control them.

4) Great Cheerleaders avoid bad-mouthing one partner to the other in their absence

They focus on building up the absentee partner, and praising what each is doing right. They know that their opinion is important to the development of a healthy marriage, and foster stronger family units with kind words, and loving thoughts. They focus on making unity, rather than bringing in doubt and discord.

5) Great Cheerleaders avoid taking sides during a couple’s difficult moments

They remain neutral and don’t use negative emotions to control the situation. They encourage the couple to work things out between the two of them, given that there is no indication of danger or abuse for either party. Should abuse exist, nothing should be kept a secret and professional help must be sought.

6) Great Cheerleaders maintain healthy boundaries

Your love and care in bringing up your son and daughter, or your influence as a brother or sister, will always be appreciated. However, now is the time to let go of the position of “I-know-best”, and allow the couple to take care of each other, and choose how they want to live their lives.

7) Great Cheerleaders call and connect with both individuals

They make regular phone calls to both individuals, checking in and conveying their love. Great Cheerleaders include both parties in texts, messages and emails rather than leaving one party out of what’s going on.

In a future article, we will focus on the habits of friends as Great Cheerleaders.

By integrating the above habits into your own life as a parent or sibling, you assist and support your family member develop & grow their marriage and family life, free from the pressures of unkind words and gestures.

Love

“Today”

By Tabasom Eblaghie
Registered Clinical Counsellor

Today is the oldest I have ever been
And the youngest I will ever be
I will move ahead with these words of promise
An agreement to move towards the best version of me

I promise to be gentle with my younger self
And to leave the past in the past
Decisions made and paths taken are forgiven
I did the best I could with what I knew back then

I promise to be kind to my older self
To make small choices today, tiny little steps
To lead to a healthier, wiser version of me
I am each choice I make, and I will choose well

I promise my soul to live an authentic life
Not one filled with apologies, excuses and anxieties
Nor one led by seeking the approval of Perfectionism and others
But rather one led by pursuing the approval of my Creator

I promise my heart to move towards Love
Towards the crossroads where Justice meets Kindness
Where logic of a wise mind can agree with the radiance of a loving heart
Not just for others, but to protect my most noble self

I will gaze upwards with my feet firmly grounded
In the knowledge of who I am and what I stand for
Today is the oldest I have ever been
And the youngest I will ever be.

If not today, then when?

******

To make an appointment with Tabasom, please email tabasom@generatehope.caSnowy Day

“When Anxiety Visits”

By Tabasom Eblaghie
Registered Clinical Counsellor

When Anxiety visits, as it sometimes does
Focus your thoughts on the grateful moments of life
The little, flashing seconds that are quietly taken for granted.

I am grateful for the blue in the sky
The light beam through your hair
The whisper of the wind softly telling stories of people past.

I am thankful for the smile in a stranger’s eyes
The taste of joy in a shared laugh
The excitement of newly discovered sights.

I am grateful for noisy meals with family and friends
For broken plates and large bowls brimming to the top
With delicious soup, made with passion by loving hands.

I dream of cold nights with a good book by my side
The taste of hot coffee biting my tongue after a walk in the rain
The honeyed smell of jasmines on a warm summer’s nights.

I find contentment in the warm embrace of flannel pajamas
Gulp in the smell of freshly cut grass
And the perfume of rain as it hits the dusty, empty lane.

I find peace in the loud crunching of autumn leaves beneath my feet
The nip of cold air on my nose and cheeks
The magical sight of a sun-kissed, cheerful cloud in the distant horizon.

When Anxiety visits, as it sometimes does
Focus your thoughts on the little moments in life
The passing joys that are beseeching to be noticed, loved and remembered.

Gratitude and Anxiety, much like fire and water
Cannot co-exist, cannot dwell together
Treading the path of thankfulness allows us to let go of Anxiety’s hand.

*****
If you’ve been experiencing Anxiety’s visits, please call Tabasom at 604.889.3635 and book a private session today.

Fields of Gold

“When you no longer can…”

By Tabasom Eblaghie
Registered Clinical Counsellor

When you can no longer reach out and hug those once loved,
Or look them in their eyes and kiss their sweet cheeks,
Comfort your heart and say to yourself,
While I could, I did.

When you find yourself walking instead of running,
Swaying instead of spinning round and round,
Remember and re-remember that,
While you could, you did.

When reality visits with daily reminders
Of what once was, and what is now lost,
Allow love in and gently speak the words,
While I could do, I did.

When time has had its way,
And ravaged the youth that once was effortlessly ours,
Let us enjoy the things that still remain and repeat again and again,
While I still can, I WILL.

Old man and son

A Love Note From Forgiveness

By Tabasom Eblaghie
Registered Clinical Counsellor

My name is Forgiveness

I walk with you during times of pain, sadness and hurt.

I am often ignored in a world where dominance is key, where being right is more important than being loved.

I am frequently mistaken for weakness, or a friend chosen by the small and the frail.

My greatest enemy is Resentment, who enters your life as a defender against hurtful actions and words.

Resentment whispers its reasons for staying strong and alive in your life, and cunningly smiles at me as it watches you dismiss me time and time again.

It artfully enters to protect and offers its shelter from a hurtful world.

But this shelter comes at a price.

It becomes a prison of hate, idle fancies and vain imaginations that border on little truth.

Its iron grip becomes stronger with the telling and re-telling of the hurt.

Freedom.

I hold the key to your emancipation, and am a mighty force to be reckoned with.

My goal for you is liberty and independence from the iron fist of Resentment, and the isolation it inevitably brings into your life.

Enter my land. Hold my hand and you will feel my power and strength course through your veins, your life, your soul.

You will find me standing mighty with my friends Compassion, Patience and Kindness. Find solace in us.

We will fill your heart with Love, and arm you with Bravery and Courage.

We will teach you to look towards the Creator, who knows, trains and provides for all.

We will teach you to let go and move forward with a graceful step, and a radiant heart.

Come with us.

Today. What are you waiting for?

Bird in Flight 2

In Moments of Pain

By Tabasom Eblaghie
Registered Clinical Counsellor

When the days seem bleak and dark,
The minutes ticking ever so slowly,
Remind yourself again and again,
It’s just for now. It’s not forever.

When the nights are filled with loneliness,
And the silence of solitude fills your heart and soul,
Just bring to mind that things always change,
It’s just for now. It’s not forever.

When your soul aches with pain,
From separation, hurt and betrayal,
Hold your precious heart in hand and say,
It’s just for now. It’s not forever.

Pain will come but pain does leave,
Nothing is permanent,
Nothing is ever-lasting,
It’s just for now. It’s not forever.

This too shall pass,
Minute by minute, day by day,
Contentment will come and your wounds will heal,
It’s just for now. It’s not forever.

Have hope, for you are not alone.
You are loved, protected and guided,
Suffering turns into stories of growth and strength,
It’s just for now. It’s not forever.

Akka Turkish Bazaar

A Love Letter from “Marriage”

By Tabasom Eblaghie

My name is “Marriage”. I was born the day your son or daughter, brother or sister, grandchild or best friend found the love of their life, and joined them on an eternal journey.

At first I was fragile.

Like a newly budding plant, I needed to be loved, cherished and nurtured.

My parched lips were drenched by the waters of your calm and kindly tongue.

I was set aglow with the light of your love.

I grew by your silence and non-judgmental attitude.

With gratitude in my heart and roots firmly grounded, I thank you now. For all the things you did. And didn’t do.

I thank you for knowing that I, Marriage, newly born, needed cheerleaders and supporters in order to thrive, grow and gain in strength.

I thank you for not interfering. You knew that life’s issues and challenges come and go, and you trusted my parents to deal with them all.

I thank you for never assuming you knew better. You had faith in my parents, and through your faith in them, their capacity to resolve and unravel life’s mysteries flourished.

I thank you for never using hostile humour and sarcasm towards my parents. For knowing that words cut deep and that your unkind words cut the very foundation I stand upon. Your jokes were kind, never ostracizing a single soul.

I thank you for not criticizing. For not criticizing my mother’s weight, job and habits, or my father’s wardrobe, education and attempts to please you. Your encouragement made my branches stronger, stretching towards the sun. With no reserve.

I thank you for not feigning friendship for your own personal gain. For knowing when to step back and allow my parents to work things through together, rather than forming a wedge between them. Or casting doubt on their character.

I thank you for including both of my parents in your conversations. For not excluding your son/daughter/sister/brother-in-law from your life’s events, stories and comments. For looking them in the eye, and loving them with your words, your tone of voice, and your smile.

I thank you for not backbiting behind one of my parents in their absence. The echo of your thoughts last for years to come. Your wisdom in knowing they leave deep cuts in my trunk, killing me slowly, is acknowledged and deeply honoured.

Because of you, I am strong. I grew in an environment where hostility was not allowed, and my roots surged forward into the earth.

Because of you, the children that followed my steps, were given an example of what it was like to truly love. In a comfortable environment.

Because of you, the house is filled with laughter. Safety abounds.

I bow down to you.

Pink tree