Why “Nickel Therapy, Ask a Psychologist?”
When I was a skinny (not in a good way–in a ‘frizzy head’s too big for my body sort of way) and weird seventh grader, shy to the point of panic–I read a sentence in the Ann Landers column which helped me a lot. (Though I was way too desperately trying to be cool to ever admit it.)
The young man who had the courage to write to Ann Landers (a hugely brave person in my eyes) was about my age. His question was about being embarrassed when he made mistakes. Well, I could certainly relate to that. My solution was to stay in hiding. Ann Landers had a better idea. Ann suggested that when this fella made a mistake or knocked something over or tripped, he turn to those around and say: “Boy, when I mess up, it’s really a beaut!”
I latched onto that sentence like a lifeline. Forget all the psychological theories and well meant platitudes about being myself. What I needed was to know–specifically and safely–what to say.
I decided to add the “Ask a Psychologist: Nickel Therapy” page thinking that there are other kids and people like me who appreciate the direct approach now and then. Another influence came from reading the “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” section in the Redbook magazines in the shop where my mother had her hair done. I liked that section because the writer was relating the problems of real people.
********************** Shocked at Poor Behavior in Omaha
Shocked in Omaha
One of my dearest friends recently lost her son in a terrible motorcycle accident. We all feel horrible and want to do anything we can to help her. But one thing troubles me and her other friends as well. We’ve talked about this a lot but don’t know how to take it. Or what we can do.
When we arrived at the funeral—there it was. She had her son’s motorcycle right up there next to the casket! What is wrong with someone who would do that? You’d think this mother would be the last person to encourage other young men to ride these dangerous machines!
Signed: Shocked in Omaha
Dear Shocked in Omaha:
Your friend just lost her son. Forgive anything she does. Please. Anything and everything. Please.
When there is a horrible and unexpected loss, we have a strong tendency to displace our overwhelming sadness and anxiety by focusing on another person’s behavior or even a long ago battle.
Let it go.