Tag Archives: acceptance

Futility Defined

Photo by Katie Moum on Unsplash

We’ve been here before. This time will end like the last time and the time before that.  Since our country was founded, we have fought futile culture wars that delay but never stop the inevitable changes to our society.  

“Pray, do not forget the ladies”, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband, John, as he sat at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.  Abigail wanted women to have property and voting rights.  John and the other men ignored her plea as they drafted the Constitution.  Women got the vote in 1920 but continue the struggle for equality. 

About half the delegates at the Constitutional Convention owned slaves.  They threatened to torpedo the entire project unless they were allowed to keep their “peculiar institution”.   Slavery ended with the Civil War but was followed by decades of domestic terrorism as white supremacists tried to reverse the laws granting equality to former slaves.   Racial inequality is still the most divisive topic we face as a nation and domestic terrorism attacks continue, most recently in Buffalo, N.Y.

We’re a nation of immigrants yet after the U.S. expanded from sea to shining sea, immigration suddenly became a threat.  Earlier immigrants, who now saw themselves as red-blooded Americans, tried to block later waves of immigrants.  They argued that the new guys would undermine American jobs and wages and our culture, ignoring their own successful assimilation.  

The latest culture war is the same stale mix of fear and hysteria.  In the 2020 census Americans could choose more than one ethnicity; many did so.  That change highlighted the fact that the percentage of white Americans is declining.   

Hoping to reverse demographic trends, white supremacists are joining the anti-abortion crowd.  The latest laws would ban abortions even when it would save the mother’s life or when the females (including VERY young girls) have been violated by rape or incest.  Other forms of birth control are also being banned.

None of the anti-abortionists have ever suggested that male persons should learn to use condoms, get a vasectomy, not rape children, and respect a woman when she says “no”.  They never will because that’s not the point of these laws.  These laws are intended to oppress all women while simultaneously forcing more white women to have babies. 

Closely aligned with the anti-abortion crowd are the Protestants demanding “religious freedom” laws which allow them to discriminate against people who are of other faiths, female, LGBTQ, or living any lifestyle which offends these self-appointed protectors of “Christian America”.  It’s also the most recent effort to entrench Protestantism as a state religion based on hysterical fear of Islam, replacing hysterical fear of Catholicism.  It won’t stop church pews continuing to empty. 

The most short-sighted culture warriors are the anti-immigrants. They are taking an enormous gamble that they’ll never end up old and sick.  Medicare already eats up a huge chunk of the federal budget and America’s working age population is shrinking.  Without immigrants to fill jobs and pay taxes, there won’t be enough money to fund Medicare in its current generous form.  

Culture wars ruin lives. Targeted people are terrorized with death threats (women are also threatened with rape).  People die violently.  But in the end, this war will end like all the previous culture wars.  

It’s time for the culture warriors to go through the seven stages of grief and learn to accept the things they cannot change.

  About Norma Shirk

My company, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, helps employers (with up to 50 employees) to create human resources policies and employee benefit programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to help small companies grow by creating the necessary back office administrative structure while avoiding the dead weight of a bureaucracy.  To read my musings on the wacky world of human resources, see the HR Compliance Jungle (www.hrcompliancejungle.com) which alternates on Wednesday mornings with my history blog, History By Norma, (available at http://www.normashirk.com). To read my musings on a variety of topics, see my posts on Her Savvy (www.hersavvy.com).

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Better Late Than Never???

People say that. I don’t know if it’s really true, but, hopefully, it’s a good way of making an apology for my tardiness – once again. For many, MANY years, I was ALWAYS late. My family planned around it. They got to where they told me to be ready a half hour before I actually needed to be just so I MIGHT be ready on time. Then, in about 2000, maybe 2001, I can’t remember, I did a 180. Now, it’s like, even when I think I will be late to work or to an appointment, I somehow manage to arrive early, or on time at the latest. Amazing! It amazes me regularly.

This leads me to the point that, when I was Managing Editor of HerSavvy, I was relentless about getting the blogs out on time. Now that I have committed to writing a blog once a month, for some reason, I can’t seem to get on schedule. My apologies go to you, our readers, and my humblest apologies to my blog-mates, Barbara, Susan, Norma, and Renée.

Legitimately, though, I was consumed for a couple of days filling out some very detailed paperwork for our mom, which also involved tracking down documents which had been stashed away for a very, very long time. Even though I had reminders set, the next thing I knew, it was Wednesday. Rats!!! What happened to Tuesday? Long gone. And I had planned an article inspired by Norma’s article from last week.

I do have a problem. I admit it. There are plenty of things I want to accomplish in this life, daily and for future success. Yet, I fall short. Fear of failing? Maybe. Some say we tend toward this due to fear of success. That seems crazy to me. I read Barbara’s article again, On Being Human, and I realize that I am taking for granted the intensely packed life I somehow keep up with. I manage to hold several jobs and work on my songwriting as well. I am hopeful that, as Barbara wrote; I am “Learning to accept myself as I am, to value myself for who I am and to grant myself the compassion I give to others.”

I am a work in progress. That’s for sure. I’ll write that article for next month and I’ll get it in on time. I promise.

About Jan Schim

Jan is a singer, a songwriter, a licensed body worker specializing in CranioSacral Therapy, and a teacher. She is an advocate for the ethical treatment of ALL animals and a volunteer with several animal advocacy organizations. She is also a staunch believer in the need to promote environmental responsibility.

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On Being Human


This week I did something I’ve never done in my professional life…I missed a deadline. In fact, I missed my deadline for publishing this post! I don’t know how or why, and I’m pretty embarrassed about it. I consider myself a responsible, mature professional who is able to manage time well. But somehow, it happened.

As you can see, I’m beating myself up pretty badly about this. And I can’t help but wonder why. Why are we so hard on ourselves when we behave in a perfectly normal, natural, understandable manner? Is it perfection we expect? Are we afraid of letting people down, of being a disappointment?

Last week I spent much of my time preparing my home for the holiday of Passover. This requires cleaning my food pantry and clearing it of any food items containing flour and other foods forbidden during the weeklong holiday. In our household it means moving things from one place to anther, swapping out my everyday dishes for those reserved for this holiday, along with flatware. I also shopped, cleaned house and prepared food for the seder, festive meal, we hosted for 18 people at our house on Friday night. And, my adult daughter arrived to spend the weekend with us. In short, I DID A LOT OF STUFF! At various moments I reminded myself that I also had to write this post, but obviously, that didn’t stick. I can’t imagine why not! Ha!

Obviously I am someone who can accomplish and juggle many tasks. I pride myself on that fact and consider it one of my strengths. Heck, I raised three kids, went to grad school, worked full time, started two businesses and held volunteer leadership positions. I’ve set a pretty high bar for myself and usually can meet it. So is that why I can’t seem to shake the shame that I feel? Or is it something deeper?

I have a theory. I think my overblown shame and embarrassment stem from my underlying insecurity. It’s a feeling that, no matter how much I accomplish, I am not good enough. So when I fall short of my own expectations, it’s as if my suspicions about myself are right, and I am exposed. The world can now see me for what I really am: inadequate and incompetent.

My insecurities have their origin in my childhood, of course. I’ve had enough therapy to know from whence it came. The question is how do I move past this? It’s a difficult task. There are no easy answers or shortcuts. What I know is that this is part of my life’s journey. Learning to accept myself as I am, to value myself for who I am and to grant myself the compassion I give to others.

The lesson of Passover is to understand our past, and to remind ourselves of our journey from slavery to freedom. This year, I want to free myself from the bonds of insecurity and self-doubt. I want to remember the lessons of my childhood so that I can make new, better, kinder choices. One of the blessings in the seder services says, “This year we are slaves, next year may we all be free.” We are all slaves to something. What does it take for us to be free?

About Barbara Dab

Barbara Dab is a small business owner, journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant.  She is the proud owner of Nashville Pilates Company, a boutique Pilates studio in Nashville’s Wedgewood/Houston neighborhood.  Check it out at  www.nashvillepilatescompany.com.  She is also the creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation.  The Peretz Project, named for her late father-in-law who was a Holocaust survivor, is collecting testimony from children of survivors.  Visit http://www.theperetzproject.com.  If you are, or someone you know is, the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and you would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.

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The Other Side of the Couch – A Storm Passes  


A friend and I were recently eating lunch at a popular Nashville restaurant.

We often sit toward the back of the restaurant, and this is also the area that many of the families with young children choose.  As we sat down and were served our meal, a little girl, perhaps four or five, dissolved into loud sobs.  Her distress intensified, as did the sound of her crying.

What happened next was amazing.

The child’s father, seated to her right, calmly pulled her chair closer to his, reached out, and gathered her into his arms, holding her close against his shoulder – and he just held her and let her cry.  He didn’t talk; he didn’t explain or tell her what to do; he didn’t tell her to pull herself together – he just held her and let her cry.

Within a couple of minutes the sobs began to diminish.  The child sat up, took some breaths, and soon got back to her own chair and her own meal.

The storm had passed.

We never really knew what precipitated her distress.  It could have been anything – hurt feelings, not liking her lunch, competing with her sister, wanting attention – we didn’t know.  What we did know, however, was that this father knew that if he let his daughter feel what she was feeling, without interfering or explaining or trying to change things, she would work it through.  And she did.

Children are so in touch with their feelings and their bodies – they know that they need to express the emotions that arise in them.   Our job is often to stay out of their way as they do so.  A child who has experienced a challenging moment has feelings arise and allows those feelings to move.  Loving presence is often the best thing we can offer.

What if the child were acting out – throwing things or harming self or others?  In that case, clear boundaries must be set, but loving presence as the child works through the experience is still needed.

I appreciated this father’s skill.  His daughter is being given a gift that will last a lifetime.  Would that all children could have that opportunity.

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP

Communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, proud native Nashvillian – in private practice for 30+ years. I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts. Contact me at http://www.susanhammondswhite.com .

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The Other Side of the Couch – She Sits in My Office

Acceptance 2

She sits in my office, a woman in her 20s, carefully yet casually dressed, clearly anxious.  This is our first visit, and I don’t yet know what brings her to me.  A counseling session opens with informed consent, so we speak of confidentiality, of any exceptions to that sacred boundary (any situation in which harm to self, to others, and/or to minor children or elderly requires breaking confidentiality).  Then we come to the question – What brings you here today?

She tears up, and her words begin to pour out as she struggles with her answer.  “I am attracted to women.  I have fought this and fought this, and not wanted it, and tried to be different, but it is no use.  I have no response to men.  I have dated men, and I have known kind, good men.  I grew up with kind parents.  I had a good home.  I am a Christian, and I grew up in a loving church.  At least I thought I did.  But my church is against homosexuality, and sees it as a sin.  I am torn apart inside.  I don’t want to be a lesbian.  I don’t want to live my life outside society’s acceptance.  Can you help me?  Can you help me change how I feel inside about being attracted to women?”

My heart sinks as I hear this question, because I know that the answer is not what she will want to hear.  Reputable therapists don’t offer what used to be called “conversion therapy” to supposedly help someone redirect their attraction template.   This so-called therapy is actually illegal in four states and is considered unethical by the mental health professions.

This client and I have a long road ahead together, if she decides to follow through with counseling.  Helping a person come to terms with their own sexual orientation, when it is different from what is considered the norm, is a challenge.  Many same-sex oriented individuals have struggled for years before they seek any kind of help and have absorbed the many homophobic messages that surround these issues.

The educational process will involve looking at the biology of attraction, at the internalized messages that complicate self-acceptance, at the kind of relationship the client wants (often a stable, adult, long-term relationship sanctioned by both the state and his/her faith background).  It will also involve looking at what it means to live one’s life as a gay/lesbian person in one’s family, community, profession, church.  It will involve helping this client differentiate between such Biblical issues as temple prostitution and sexual slavery, clearly opposed by the Old Testament, and the experience of monogamous, same-sex unions, which were not even thought of in that culture and time.  It will involve the question of children – whether and how to become a parent.  Most of all, it will involve learning self-acceptance and self-compassion.

The United States has experienced a remarkable shift in attitude over the last two decades, culminating in the recent decision by the Supreme Court affirming the right to marriage for same-sex couples.  This does not mean, however, that the acceptance for same-sex couples is easy, especially in the context of some faith-based institutions.

My hope for this client is that I will be able to walk with her through her fears, through giving up the dream of a “regular” life, to the point of being able to lovingly accept her own being.

My hope for our country is that we will all be able to walk through our fears, recognize that difference is not dangerous, and reach the point of being able to lovingly accept our fellow citizens in all their infinite variety.

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP:

Susan is a communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, and proud native Nashvillian. She has been in private practice for over 30 years. As she says, “I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts.”  Contact Susan at http://www.susanhammondswhite.com

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