Friday, June 12, 2009

Trust Yourself

Former Yale University chaplain Dr. Jerry Streets is an expert in helping understand the dynamics of a crisis and what you need to survive and thrive.

The crisis triggers that lead to losing faith in yourself and your decision-making are everywhere. In these uncertain times, people are facing the loss of a job, their home, hard-earned retirement savings or a sense of loss by the betrayal of those we’ve trusted who are close to you, or by those who we thought would protect our interests. In some instances the sense of loss of security can be caused by a world event. These can all result in our difficulty to shake off a sense of vulnerability.

In order to overcome these challenges and thrive, you have to recognize that you have to first take care of yourself and trust yourself.

A critical step in taking care of ourselves is how we think. Most of us understand the importance of taking care of our physical well-being but don’t have a mental health plan for ourselves. However, the ability to be able to think in healthy terms is what allows us to move forward and to trust our decision-making about relationships or life decisions in general.

An internationally recognized counselor, Dr. Streets has led and participated in delegations to teach how to help those who have been traumatized around the world cope with loss. He shares his skills, insights and strategies on self-care - heIping audiences understand the dynamics of their challenge and how to work through it to feel better again.

10 comments:

  1. Dr. Jerry Streets Tips on Taking Care and Trusting Yourself


    1. We are not alone. We are more normal than we think. We are entitled to whatever we think or feel (whether or not we consider our thoughts and feelings normal). The key is what we do with our thoughts and feelings. Just as we are not alone with our thoughts and feelings, there are other people who are willing to help us if we would let them know what we need or share with them what we are struggling with or striving for.
    2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Gather the perspective about your situation form people you trust, keep your confidence and will tell you the truth about how they see your circumstance.
    3. Model someone whose ways of handling stress inspires you.
    4. It took work to get to where you are now emotionally, physically and spiritually; it also takes work to stay where you are in these areas and it will take work to change any aspect of your life that you want to change.
    5. Some changes are hard to make but, we pay a price emotionally, physically and spiritually to either remain where we are now or to change.
    6. Remain open to surprises and have a willingness to adapt to the changes that may occur that you did not anticipate or have control over making happen.
    7. Take small steps everyday toward your goals.
    8. Ask yourself what is the one thing I can do now, no matter how small or large, to take better care of myself?
    9. There is a difference between selfishness and self-interests. Do not shy away from feeling and thinking better about yourself. And it is ok to want and to take time to be alone.
    10. We have to forgive people who harmed us in some way and turn our anger toward other people or what has happened to us into a love that empowers us. This does not mean that we should not feel angry but to acknowledge and transform it into emotional energy that will help and not harm us.
    11. The past may influence the present but it does not determine the future. What we do and think today can influence our quality of life now and tomorrow.
    12. How free do we want to be? Only we can determine and control our quality of life. If we make toxic choices and choose to be around poisonous people then we will be harmed by those decisions and associations.
    13. Trust yourself and your instincts and believe you will succeed. Remember that you have multiple capacities, strengths and skills.
    14. Self-care is not an indulgence or luxury-make others respect your needs by your attending to them yourself.
    15. Feelings and emotions will come and go-you do not always have to act on them, just let them be.
    16. Develop a prayer and/or meditation lifestyle.
    17. Encourage others no matter how difficult things right now might be for you.
    18. Look for the opportunity in difficult times to gain new skills, insights, strengths and a broader vision of what your life can be.
    19. Don’t forget in the present what you have learned from experience that has helped you to overcome obstacles in the past.
    20. You can only be responsible for what you have control over.

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  2. We know that public figures are human beings but, they lose our trust in them when they lie, steal from or cheat others. We instinctively ask ourselves when we meet a person for the first time or listen to them speak: can I trust them? Although our answer is somewhat subjective we look to public figures to reassure us by their behavior and what they say that they are worthy of our trust. Their words and actions paint a picture in our mind of who they are and whether or not we feel we can trust them more than how they may look or by the style of clothes they wear or even their record of success.

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  3. The Death of a Child and Public Grief
    Death is life’s final common denominator. It brings us together if only for a brief moment so that we may grieve our sense of loss and to deal with our own mortality. Our identification with death and collective grief is the drama being demonstrated by the global reaction to Michael Jackson’s death. He will always be celebrated as one who defined pop culture in a signature way. He drew his fans to him more by his talents than his idiosyncrasies. But most importantly, we can esaily overlook, because of his celebrity and our public grief, what it means for parents to lose a child, for children to say goodbye to a parent and siblings to lose their brother.


    There are millions of parents who have lost their children to death. Regardless of what is being said about Michael Jackson and what will be his legacy, his death is a grief unimaginable by his parents, children and siblings. We can empathize with them and guess what they might be feeling and thinking as they mourn the death of their son, father and brother.


    No parent expects their child or any of their children to die before them. Each child is a symbol of hope, potential, continuity and the future. As long as we and our parents are alive and no matter how old we are or complicated or successful our life becomes, our parents remain our biggest fans and hold dreams for us that only their love for us can imagine. They aspire for us even when we are unable to see ourselves as being better people or having a more fulfilling life. Michael’s children and children everywhere who have lost a parent need no less than this kind of support as they grow into adulthood.


    A parent’s sense of the future is distorted and hope is diminished by the loss of their child. Adjusting to the new reality caused by a child's death is for the suvivors a life long journey of dealing with a myriad of feelings, the process of bereavement and healing from such a loss. This is a common road we travel when we face mourning the loss of a loved one particularly when they were our son, daughter or grandchild.


    Michael’s contributions as an artist and entertainer will be noted and debated for years to come. However, a sense of peace for his parents, children and other family members as they cope with having lost him will come over time as they remember him most as their son, father and brother. In the long run these are the kinds of memories of our loved ones who have died that sustain and encourage us who live on more than their record of achievements or popularity.

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  4. We all want to be MICHAEL.

    We all want to be rich, famous,male ,female, powerful, white, black,yellow.

    We all want to (or at least did) wanted an afro, a jerry curl,good hair,long hair, straight hair, good looks, thin body.

    We all want to dance like the best, to live like the best, to travel the world.

    We all want to understand the mystery of life, the mystery of death, the mystery of race, the mystery of color.

    We all want to be fathers and mothers.

    We all want to be young forever.

    We all want to be free.

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  5. You Are Invited!
    I am interested in learning more about how we as human beings cope with feeling less self-confident and less able to trust ourselves if and when something happens to us that causes us to feel this way, no matter how long or short this feeling may last. Please share with me your experience of how you cope with and perhaps overcome feeling less self-confident and less able to trust yourself as a result of an experience that provoked these feelings.

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  6. Crisis in Haiti
    The Haitian earthquake is both tragic and terrible and the physical, emotional and spiritual trauma suffered by the Haitian people is immediate. They are enduring unimaginable suffering, loss and hardship. Some will endure long-term emotional and physical consequences from this calamity. Medical, emotional and spiritual care for those affected in Haiti is required now. This care includes measures to establish order from chaos. The areas of devastation need to be secured and its people protected so that they can feel and be safe. Prayer services and spiritual counseling are also needed as the rescue efforts continue.



    The most vulnerable are those needing medical attention, children, women, the elderly and infirm. They must also receive immediate protection from predators and exploitation. This is needed to minimize their being victims of nature and their circumstance. I know from working with those who have been traumatized that feeling victimize exacerbates their being spiritually and emotionally devastated. It contributes to depression and their having less capacity to act on their own and the behalf of others.



    I have experienced and observed that people are able to demonstrate an amazing capacity for resilience and hope in some of the worst and most deprived circumstances. Those who seek to assist in the healing and recovery of Haiti's people should do so with a respect for and understanding of the Haitian culture. Able bodied Haitian citizens should participate in their country’s recovery and restoration efforts and be included in the work of all the rescue and relief programs. Their involvement is a crucial action that contributes to their healing.

    ReplyDelete
  7. President Nelson Mandela
    People around f the world are mourning the loss and celebrating the life of President Nelson “Madiba" Mandela and this is what we should do. He, members of his family and the country of South Africa will be remembered during the coming week in memorial services held throughout the world. Prayers and other words will encourage us all to work for the equality of all people and peace in our home communities and around the world in honor of the life and legacy of President Mandela.
    It is easier for some, like they did Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to embrace him in death than it is to remember that in his life he challenged us all to confront our hatred of one another and to free our minds of prejudice and dismantle the social, economic and political systems of oppression that apartheid represented and which continues in other forms today in many different places around the world. The increasing gap between the rich and the poor, disparities in health care based upon income, ethnicity, sex and where one lives; and unequal education and employment opportunities are just some of the conditions which President Mandela strove to eradicate in his own country. His example along with others there in South Africa can inspire us to assume a similar responsibility for advancing social justice and change wherever we find the need to be such a voice.
    My family and I were privileged to attend the joint session of the US Congress in June of 1990. It was thrilling for us to see and hear Mr. Mandela address that body. I visited South Africa for the first time as a Fulbright Scholar in 2008. I had the opportunity during that time and on subsequent visits to spend time with his grandson and comrades who worked closely with Mr. Mandela. They all spoke of his integrity and humility that remained constant throughout his life. Many will speak with emphasis about Mandela’s values and practice of love, forgiveness and reconciliation but without accepting the claim these attributes make upon all of us. This way of remembering him can sanitize our memory of him and distance ourselves from the moral imperatives upon us to make the conditions of our living together more just, equal and peaceful. Remembering Nelson Mandela is an act of gratitude and hope that as he now “belongs to the ages” we belong to one another and to this time to do whatever we can to nonviolently promote human flourishing.

    ReplyDelete
  8. President Nelson Mandela
    People around f the world are mourning the loss and celebrating the life of President Nelson “Madiba" Mandela and this is what we should do. He, members of his family and the country of South Africa will be remembered during the coming week in memorial services held throughout the world. Prayers and other words will encourage us all to work for the equality of all people and peace in our home communities and around the world in honor of the life and legacy of President Mandela.
    It is easier for some, like they did Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to embrace him in death than it is to remember that in his life he challenged us all to confront our hatred of one another and to free our minds of prejudice and dismantle the social, economic and political systems of oppression that apartheid represented and which continues in other forms today in many different places around the world. The increasing gap between the rich and the poor, disparities in health care based upon income, ethnicity, sex and where one lives; and unequal education and employment opportunities are just some of the conditions which President Mandela strove to eradicate in his own country. His example along with others there in South Africa can inspire us to assume a similar responsibility for advancing social justice and change wherever we find the need to be such a voice.
    My family and I were privileged to attend the joint session of the US Congress in June of 1990. It was thrilling for us to see and hear Mr. Mandela address that body. I visited South Africa for the first time as a Fulbright Scholar in 2008. I had the opportunity during that time and on subsequent visits to spend time with his grandson and comrades who worked closely with Mr. Mandela. They all spoke of his integrity and humility that remained constant throughout his life. Many will speak with emphasis about Mandela’s values and practice of love, forgiveness and reconciliation but without accepting the claim these attributes make upon all of us. This way of remembering him can sanitize our memory of him and distance ourselves from the moral imperatives upon us to make the conditions of our living together more just, equal and peaceful. Remembering Nelson Mandela is an act of gratitude and hope that as he now “belongs to the ages” we belong to one another and to this time to do whatever we can to nonviolently promote human flourishing.

    ReplyDelete
  9. President Nelson Mandela
    People around f the world are mourning the loss and celebrating the life of President Nelson “Madiba" Mandela and this is what we should do. He, members of his family and the country of South Africa will be remembered during the coming week in memorial services held throughout the world. Prayers and other words will encourage us all to work for the equality of all people and peace in our home communities and around the world in honor of the life and legacy of President Mandela.
    It is easier for some, like they did Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to embrace him in death than it is to remember that in his life he challenged us all to confront our hatred of one another and to free our minds of prejudice and dismantle the social, economic and political systems of oppression that apartheid represented and which continues in other forms today in many different places around the world. The increasing gap between the rich and the poor, disparities in health care based upon income, ethnicity, sex and where one lives; and unequal education and employment opportunities are just some of the conditions which President Mandela strove to eradicate in his own country. His example along with others there in South Africa can inspire us to assume a similar responsibility for advancing social justice and change wherever we find the need to be such a voice.
    My family and I were privileged to attend the joint session of the US Congress in June of 1990. It was thrilling for us to see and hear Mr. Mandela address that body. I visited South Africa for the first time as a Fulbright Scholar in 2008. I had the opportunity during that time and on subsequent visits to spend time with his grandson and comrades who worked closely with Mr. Mandela. They all spoke of his integrity and humility that remained constant throughout his life. Many will speak with emphasis about Mandela’s values and practice of love, forgiveness and reconciliation but without accepting the claim these attributes make upon all of us. This way of remembering him can sanitize our memory of him and distance ourselves from the moral imperatives upon us to make the conditions of our living together more just, equal and peaceful. Remembering Nelson Mandela is an act of gratitude and hope that as he now “belongs to the ages” we belong to one another and to this time to do whatever we can to nonviolently promote human flourishing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. President Nelson Mandela
    People around f the world are mourning the loss and celebrating the life of President Nelson “Madiba" Mandela and this is what we should do. He, members of his family and the country of South Africa will be remembered during the coming week in memorial services held throughout the world. Prayers and other words will encourage us all to work for the equality of all people and peace in our home communities and around the world in honor of the life and legacy of President Mandela.
    It is easier for some, like they did Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to embrace him in death than it is to remember that in his life he challenged us all to confront our hatred of one another and to free our minds of prejudice and dismantle the social, economic and political systems of oppression that apartheid represented and which continues in other forms today in many different places around the world. The increasing gap between the rich and the poor, disparities in health care based upon income, ethnicity, sex and where one lives; and unequal education and employment opportunities are just some of the conditions which President Mandela strove to eradicate in his own country. His example along with others there in South Africa can inspire us to assume a similar responsibility for advancing social justice and change wherever we find the need to be such a voice.
    My family and I were privileged to attend the joint session of the US Congress in June of 1990. It was thrilling for us to see and hear Mr. Mandela address that body. I visited South Africa for the first time as a Fulbright Scholar in 2008. I had the opportunity during that time and on subsequent visits to spend time with his grandson and comrades who worked closely with Mr. Mandela. They all spoke of his integrity and humility that remained constant throughout his life. Many will speak with emphasis about Mandela’s values and practice of love, forgiveness and reconciliation but without accepting the claim these attributes make upon all of us. This way of remembering him can sanitize our memory of him and distance ourselves from the moral imperatives upon us to make the conditions of our living together more just, equal and peaceful. Remembering Nelson Mandela is an act of gratitude and hope that as he now “belongs to the ages” we belong to one another and to this time to do whatever we can to nonviolently promote human flourishing.

    ReplyDelete