Am I a Good Parent?

Have you ever asked yourself….am I a good parent?

I think we would be hard pressed to find a parent who doesn’t from time to time question their parenting abilities.

It is a question most if not all parents WANT an answer to.

Parenting is not something you get a lot of feedback on. In our culture, many parents, appear annoyed or peeved by other people correcting their children, let alone commenting on their parenting.

Even if the feedback is coming from the MOST innocuous source it tends not to be well received. I have had grandparents share with me they want to give some feedback to their child about their grandchild and parenting, but fear being lashed out at or their child getting mad at them for voicing their concerns. It seems, as parents, there is no one we really feel comfortable with giving us constructive feedback on our role as mom or dad. Which is understandable. It is easy to be hypersensitive about our parenting. There is nothing more personal and meaningful.

Yet the lack of feedback we get as parents make it hard to know if we are on the right track with raising our children.

Maybe just maybe we will never know if we are doing a good job as parent until our children are grown. Maybe the best indicator of how well we did as parents is how our adult children FEEL about us. And at that point we are done in the functional sense of being a parent.

The culture of parenting has certainly changed with the passing of generations who assume the role.

The sad truth is in our society parenting has become very competitive in nature. Something about having kids seems to bring out this competitive streak. Wisdom long-held that having children made you a better person. Yet it seems in recent times in many ways parenting has made us worse people due to the competitive nature in which our society now raises children. Instead of a communal endeavour where we focus on what is best for ALL the children in our community, the culture has shifted to where many parents focus on how to give their kid the edge over other children in the community. We don’t want a level playing field but we aim for our child to have a leg up on other children.

No longer does it take a village to raise a child.

We even see such competition play out in families. Siblings who are competitive with each other’s children–competing over whose child walks first, reads first, gets better grades, is better at sports, reading two grade levels ahead, etc. It is disheartening when such competition exists in the family unit.

The way we as a society view the role of a parent has changed. The expectation has changed dramatically from a couple of generations ago. Maybe the shift started with the famous Dr. Spock and his book on child rearing practices–treating the child as an “individual.”

In the day and age, we parent not just competitively but in a very child centric way. The family oftentimes is centered around the children and their schedule.

Even social media has changed the way we as a culture parent–we see the highlight reel of everyone else’s parenting–well, at least we see the good—- most people do not seem to share the bad and the ugly (although I would definitely “love” a status of, “My kid won’t listen for shit today and is acting like a total spoiled brat.” It would be so refreshing. Who doesn’t love people who keep it REAL?!)

But rarely do people post about their child’s setbacks or struggles (“My son was sent to the principal’s office today for the 5th time this month”–yet to see that one up on Facebook).

Instead it would appear, social media is a way as parents we get to compete with our “friends” to see who is doing the BEST job as a parent–posting picture after picture of our child–gauging our parenting success in likes, loves, shares, retweets, reposts.

Our kids even ask, “Mom, are you going to post this on Facebook?” It is like we have them programed to strike a pose and get those likes.

Personally, I love seeing pictures of all my friends’ children. I am a compulsive “liker.”

Yet while social media has its benefits, it is also it is a great way to get hurt and offended. Such as when you post a picture of your kid eating leftover Halloween candy for breakfast and your “friend” comments they would never feed their kid candy for breakfast. Good for you SUSAN.

We open ourselves (and our children) up to comments when we post about them on social media.

As parents we post pictures of our children winning awards, getting trophies, getting on the honor roll.

No longer are such accolades just shared with close family and friends like they were a mere generation ago.

It is a different time now that we are raising children in. The values we hold have changed. Parents want their children to ACHIEVE and get recognition from a very young age.

Many want their child to be a star. A top student. A great athlete. Special. Superb musician. Voracious reader. Anything but ordinary.

Largely this is a reflection of our increasingly cut-throat society. We live in a fast paced, ultra competitive world. We want our children to be successful and from a young age we are training them to compete in an intensely competitive, globalized world.

As a counselor, I see a common measure of how good parents feel about how they are doing being measured by what their kids are accomplishing.


High honor roll=I am doing a great job as a parent

National Merit Scholar=I am doing a great job as a parent

Making the Varsity team freshmen year=I am doing a great job as a parent

Getting into first choice college=I am doing a great job as a parent

We look at our kids’ accomplishments as a reflection of AND on us. It validates us that we are doing a great job and raising our children right. Yet this is not universal seal of approval on good, effective parenting. (Also, if we look at our kids’ accomplishment as reflection of AND on us, do we not also have to do the same with their struggles and failures? This pendulum has to swing both ways, right?)

Our kids are NOT extensions of us. They are individuals with minds of their own, interests of their own, and personalities of their own. We should not try to control our children or mold them into what WE want them to be. If we do this, we are essentially putting on our children our own baggage, our own hopes, our own fears, our own dreams. That is when we begin to blur boundaries. This is when we become enmeshed.

More importantly our ultimate goal as parents is to raise people who can function independently and think for themselves. A large part of becoming an adult is DIFFERENTIATING from your parents. We all remember when broke free from our OWN parents.

The competitive, all-consuming, child centric nature of parenting comes with so many detriments to our children’s mental health. It leads children to struggle with self-worth, anxiety, depression, self-efficacy, and a myriad of mental health issues. I see it every day as someone who works in mental health.

As a counselor, I have had teens share with me how frustrating it is how everything they do is repeated by their parents to their friends or family. Often on social media. From their perspective this is strictly for the purpose of bragging rights. “My mom has to brag about my GPA. Or if we won the game. Or post what colleges I am applying to. It is so annoying!” End quote. I don’t blame the kid for feeling this way as it turns the pressure on high.

I think if we are honest with ourselves we can see this current parenting culture puts a lot of undue pressure on children.

As a parent, you try your best. There is no perfect parent. Children do not need perfect parents they need happy, stable parents.

We also do not need perfect children. If we want our children to be happy, we need them to empower them to feel free to be happy on their own terms.

I share below with you a wonderful TED talk on how to raise SUCCESSFUL kids without over-parenting. Our children deserve the freedom to explore who they are not, make mistakes, and realize they can fall AND get up ON their OWN.


To schedule a counseling session with me (AND if you are a reader who lives in New Jersey):

Anew Counseling Services LLC

617 Oradell Avenue, Suite 3, Oradell, New Jersey, 07649

(551) 795-3822


Forgiveness is Not Reconciliation


Let’s say you have been WRONGED.

By your close friend, coworker, child, parent, spouse, or WHOEVER this person may be.

You had trusted them.

You counted on them.

They let you down.

They hurt you.

Now the pain flows through your body..

You didn’t deserve this.  It wasn’t your fault.

Anger, resentment, bitterness floods your mind, body, and emotions.

Now I ask…



Forgiveness…it is something that many of us struggle with.

It is a topic many have strong opinions on.

I believe there to be many false beliefs about what forgiveness IS and IS NOT.


One common misconception is people equate forgiveness with reconciliation.

Another fallacy is people think they need an apology in order to forgive.

Other people feel they cannot forgive because they cannot forget the wrongdoing.

Some of us do not want to forgive because we do not want to let the offender off the hook.


Forgiveness is often misunderstood.

We hold the mistaken assumption that forgiving someone requires that we make up with whoever it is that hurt us. This is not forgiveness.

That is reconciliation.

You can forgive someone and not reconcile with them.


Too often we carry into our adult life the simplistic understanding of forgiveness from childhood. When we are children, we think if we forgave someone we automatically were “friends” with them again. Forgiveness meant no more “bad feelings” and the person was welcome back into our life exactly the way it was before.

Forgiveness is not that simple. It is not that black and white.

We can forgive someone and not want them back in our life. Or forgive them and not want them back in our life in the same capacity.


Forgiving is NOT weakness. It takes incredible strength to let go of an injustice and allow yourself to move on.

When you forgive, it does not mean forgetting or pretending something didn’t happen.

Forgiveness is not condoning or excusing bad behavior.

Most importantly, forgiveness is NOT reconciling. 

We can forgive an offender without reestablishing the relationship.

There are people in my life I have forgiven but who are NOT a part of my life. There are people I have forgiven who ARE a part of my life but not necessarily in the same magnitude as before. Forgiveness and subsequent reconciliation are quite circumstantial. The future of the relationship depends on many moving parts. All the same, forgiveness is ALWAYS for us–it is letting go of the anger, hurt, and negative emotions that follows from being wronged or betrayed.

Resentment hurts you more than those you resent. Why would you want to give someone who wronged you that type of power over you?


Holding onto resentment is a very isolating space to put yourself in. While you are focusing on the past, everyone else in the situation is moving on with their lives.

Holding onto anger and bitterness can cause problems of their own accord–for you, not the offender.

Being able to forgive is a crucial part of healing.

When you forgive, you process and work through the hurt so you do not need to carry around the pain.

Holding onto pain, anger, and hurt only causes you heartache. It does not cause pain for the person who hurt you.

Reconciliation is an interpersonal process—-you have a dialogue with the offender about what happened, discuss your perspectives, explore the feelings of hurt, listen for remorse, and start the process or reestablishing trust.


Reconciliation is a collaborative process. It involves the offending party admitting they did something wrong or harmful to you, showing remorse for what was done, taking ownership of the behavior, and seeking forgiveness. You cannot reconcile with someone who cannot participate in this process.

REMEMBER: Reconciliation is not possible if YOU are NOT willing to forgive AND the other person does NOT show remorse nor want to right their wrong.


As you can see forgiveness and reconciliation are related but different processes.

Forgiveness does not require the offender to do ANYTHING.

REMEMEBER: You cannot forgive someone until you process the pain caused to you. You cannot forgive until you ACCEPT and are at peace with what happened.

Forgiveness is a freeing feeling.

I forgive because I want to be forgiven. I forgive because I do not want to carry the weight of someone else’s wrongs throughout my life. Anger and resentment are too heavy of a burden to bear.

We can forgive people who we don’t see anymore. We can forgive someone who feels zero remorse and will never apologize. We can even forgive someone who is dead.

Forgiveness does not require apologies. Or the other person to be involved.

Reconciliation requires the offender to participate. Forgiveness does not.

It is easier to forgive when someone apologizes and takes responsibility for their actions. However, many people are incapable of apologizing (whether due to reasons such as pride or a pervasive personality disorder or fear of being vulnerable). What we need to realize is we do not need the offender to apologize or take responsiblity to forgive.

Now in reconciling this is a different case. It will be hard, if not impossible, to rebuild a relationship with someone who does not take responsibility for their actions and cannot apologize for doing wrong.  You may not be able to reconcile with someone if this is the case. This is also out of your control.

But you can forgive them.

Forgiveness is in your control. It requires nothing from the person who hurt you.

Forgiveness doesn’t equal reconciliation.

For our own mental well-being, we should forgive those who transgress against us. It doesn’t necessarily mean we should welcome them back into our life.

Forgiveness is NOT letting the offender off the hook. Forgiving is unhooking us from the offender and their offenses.

Reconciliation is when you take a damaged relationship and begin the process of healing it. If done right, the relationship can be stronger than ever.

One person can forgive yet it takes two people to reconcile.

REMEMBER: Forgiveness is on me. Reconciliation is on us.

Too often we hold off on granting forgiveness until the other person apologize. Or changes. Or recognizes what they did wrong.

But people only change if they want to. You cannot force people to have empathy or feel compassion. Or respect you. Or admit they were wrong or apologize. Only they have the power to change their perspective. Often, this is not going to happen.

I have realized sometimes people are just evil and mean-spirited. And there is nothing I can do about it.

Forgiveness is an inward process for my own well-being. Reconciliation is an outward process which requires all parties to want to reconcile.

Forgiveness also helps us grow in compassion. If we are at peace with ourselves, we do not feel the need to spew venom at others or hurt other people.

Recognizing the pain and unhappiness in the people who hurt us helps us to grant forgiveness.

A strategy I give clients to ease the pain of the past is to reflect on what must have been going on from the offender’s perspective to wrong you. Happy, well-balanced people do not intentionally hurt others.

Trying to be empathetic and recognize the deep rage, fear, and unhappiness that drives others to hurt people can loosen the grip of negative emotions holding you back.

Granting forgiveness will take the weight of pain and hurt off your shoulders. It is psychologically preferable to holding a grudge because bitterness works as a mental poison to you.

You do not need to stay chained to them. Forgiveness frees you and allows you to move on.

If someone is causing you unhappiness seriously ask yourself: Does this person respect me? Do they feel empathy and compassion (for me or ANYONE for that matter)? Is this person capable of REALISTICALLY seeing themselves? Of realistically seeing others? Sadly, the answer may be no.

When we forgive, we unburden ourselves from the hold of resentment, grudges, and seeking revenge. We do this for ourselves NOT for the other person.

We do not have to like the wrongdoer or ever see them again.

Forgiveness is to free the person who hurt us from our mind, heart, and soul.

We do not allow them to take up space anymore in our life–physically or mentally.

You have been mistreated and you DESERVE peace of mind.

Forgiveness is vital to moving on. It is ALWAYS your choice…yours alone.


Have you been hurt by someone you love? Have you forgiven them?

To schedule a counseling session with me (AND if you are a reader who lives in New Jersey):

Theodorou therapy llc

590 Franklin Ave., Suite 2, Nutley,  NJ 07110


What Death Teaches Us About Life


Death…it is a topic most of us do not like to talk about much less think about.

Unless we are quite old or in very bad health, death is something that is probably NOT on the forefront of our mind.

In fact, if anything we may feel that we still have PLENTY of time ahead of us.

Plenty of time to….travel

Plenty of time to….get serious about our health

Plenty of time to….fall in love

Plenty of time to…..have children

Plenty of time to…..pursue our dreams

Plenty of time to….mend fences

Plenty of time to…get our finances in order

Plenty of time to…..change careers

Plenty of time to…..????

Fill in the blank. What is it that YOU feel you still have plenty of time to do?


Maybe you are reading this and you do not know what to fill in your blank with. Many of us never pay mind to the fact that every day that passes, we are all one day closer to death.

It is a morbid truth. A morbid truth many of us avoid thinking about.

In my life death is a topic that is ever-present as my husband is a funeral director. Death is a part of his daily life.

As a therapist, I have also worked with clients through the stages of grief that the death of a loved one brings about.

For these somewhat unique reasons I have very much been influenced by truths about life and death.

Death is something that can shake us to our core.

It can cause an existential crisis–leading us to question EVERYTHING about our life.

Death is something many of us struggle with facing–whether it is our own eventual passing or the passing of a love one.

However, life and death are a package deal. Once we are born, we ALL will inevitably meet the same ending. Everyone we love and care for will eventual pass away.

We too shall pass.

Throughout our lives, there are lessons to be learned from ALL our life experiences. Death of my loved ones has taught me much. It made me realize I do not have all the time in the world.  Some days I wake up and I cannot believe how quickly life is flying by. Some days I can’t believe how many years I have already lived.


Knowing we all will eventually die should be a gentle reminder that while there is plenty of time, there is not unlimited time.


Death is the reminder that our time here on Earth is so brief in the grand scheme of things. If Earth is billions of years old and we all get on average about 80 years on the planet, we are all here oh so briefly…

Death is so final. So permanent. So life changing.

Facing it sounds terrifying. Watching someone you love face it is heart breaking.

The reality is my experiences with death and the dying have shaped my life. My priorities have shifted. My idea of what makes a meaningful life has evolved.

Death has a way of recalibrating our values, goals, and views on relationships.

My relationships have changed. I know who my tribe is and I let them know as often as I can how much I appreciate them. I aim to say I love you as often I can to all of my loved ones. I offer encouragement. I provide a shoulder to lean on to those I care about. I try to be generous and thoughtful. Often the time I take off from work is to visit those I love who are scattered across the country.

The realization of how short life is has made me stop spending time with people who don’t value me. No longer do I give my time to just anyone. I don’t feel the need to engage in petty arguments with petty people. I avoid people whose favorite pastime is gossiping. People who are self-centered are no longer part of my inner circle. I will exit stage left from people who show they don’t care. No fuss, no drama, just a quiet retreat.

Of course, I am human and do from time to time waste my time on the trivial. I get sucked into the petty. I sweat the small stuff. I get caught up in nonsense. It is usually shortly after the fact that I realize my time could have been better spent.

Death makes us realize how much of our time is spent on things that don’t even matter.

Death changes people. I believe in the power of people to evolve and grow. Death can be the catalyst for growth.

Death has taught me about the importance of forgiveness. If someone hurts me, comes back into my life with remorse, my heart would welcome almost anyone back.

Compassion is one of the things death has taught me about life.


The fact that life is short has contributed to me choosing a career that is about more than just earning a paycheck. Over our lifetime, we spend many of our days at work and I want my career to be about more than just making the most amount of money possible. My time is limited and I want to try to derive meaning from how I earn a living.

I do not want the thousands of hours a year spent at work just to be about dollars and figures.

Death and the realization of how limited our time is has shaped my perspective.


What can death teach us all?

  1. It has this way of showing us the meaning of life and how foolish it is to spend our time sweating the small stuff. Ask yourself, Does this REALLY matter in the grand scheme of things? If it doesn’t let it go.
  2. Life is uncertain. We never know what tomorrow will bring. Enjoy each day. Don’t let a bad day feel like a bad life.
  3. Give second chances. To people who deserve it. Don’t give second chances to people who do not. Your time is precious and it is the one things NONE of us can get back.death 5
  4. The present moment. Cherish it. It is all we have.death3
  5. Life is precious and short. Don’t wait.
  6. Death reminds us of our own humanity and can teach humility. Stay humble.
  7. Death is a game changer. I often ask clients who are struggling the following types of questions:  What would you do if you only had weeks to live? Who would you want to spend your time with? Where would you like to go? What would you spend your last weeks doing? What would your IDEAL life look like?


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To schedule a counseling session with me (AND if you are a reader in New Jersey):




The Psychology of Envy


Do you find it hard to be happy for the success of others?

Do you gossip about people?

Do you feel extremely competitive with others?

Do you find yourself becoming more and more judgmental of other people?

Do you find yourself comparing yourself to other people on the daily?

Do you find yourself undermining other people’s relationships?

Do you feel happy when you see someone fail?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may be struggling with the emotion of envy.

Envy is one of the seven deadly sins and it can be very destructive to your life and your relationships.

Bertrand Russell said, “Beggars do not envy millionaires, though of course they will envy other beggars who are more successful.”

We tend to direct our envy at the people who orbit our social stratosphere–friends, family members, neighbors, colleagues. The reason for this is these are the people we frequently interact with. These are the people we can “realistically” use as a measuring stick to gauge ourselves against.

Most of us would not compare ourselves to Bill Gates but we may use our friend or coworker as a way to gauge our success because we feel we are on a similar playing field.

We cannot experience envy if we are not comparing ourselves to others.

Envy is an emotion we feel when we engage in the social comparison game. Whoever you are envying you believe you are in competition with–yet there are no winners to be had in this game. People who struggle with envy tend to be people who frequently compare themselves to others.

When you compare yourself to another and come up short, you are likely to feel envious.


Envy is an emotion we all feel from time to time.

It is an emotion that unfolds in a predictable fashion. First, we must face a person with a superior achievement, quality, or possession. Second, we must want whatever this person possesses for ourselves, OR wish that the other person didn’t have it. Finally, we must be disturbed by the emotion we experience when we are in the company of this person.

These type of experiences are available to us on the daily.

Maybe we see a neighbor get a new luxury automobile and look at the ten-year old car sitting in our driveway with feelings of envy.

Maybe a friend gets a new promotion and makes more money then we will ever be able to make in our field and feelings of envy arise.

Maybe our sister travels frequently and often. We can’t afford it and don’t have the luxury of taking time off of work. We begin to feel envious of her.

Any of those scenarios may feel familiar to you.

Unfortunately, the emotion of envy runs rampant in our modern-day society.

With social media, we all get a peek into the lives of others (or at least of the facade they like to present to the world).

Envy is the pain we experience from being confronted by the advantages of others. It causes us to feel anger, disappointment, and resentment.

These emotions turn us against others–and ourselves. Envy truly is a green-eyed MONSTER.

If someone is envious of you, it is not a compliment. They likely hate your guts.

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Envy is a secretive emotion. Very rarely will you hear someone admit they are envious of someone. To neutralize feelings of envy, the envious person is likely to continually denigrate the target of their envy to anyone who will listen. This works to simultaneously diminish the target of their envy and elevate themselves in comparison.

Envying someone can become an obsession. An unhealthy obsession.

It is a cheap, easy way to give ourselves a boost to our self-esteem–by destroying the goodness we see in others.

It does not matter what the metric you may be using to compare–money, looks, youth, intellect.  You can always find someone worse off than you are IF you are looking for that.

But you will also find someone better than you if you are looking for it.

The reality is there is ALWAYS someone younger, in better shape, better looking, with a better career, more money, better behaved kids, or whatever it is you use as your measuring stick.

Envy is a short-sighted approach to life. We lose sight of the bigger picture.


For instance, we may envy our friend, who is a doctor–a person with a prestigious career, nice house, luxury car, who travels to exotic places…. BUT we do not envy what it took to get her there: the hundreds of thousands of dollars of student loan debt, the stress of her job, the debt from starting a practice, the cost of malpractice insurance, the years upon years of schooling and residency. We often look at the end result and not all the work or the numerous sacrifices that went into achieving it.

Oftentimes we envy people for things we don’t even WANT for ourselves if we were given the opportunity. Perhaps we are envious of the doctor yet we hate science and math. We would never want to go to medical school and study all the material that is required to BE a doctor. We wouldn’t want to have touch other people’s bodies or be around sick people. Thus we are envying someone who does something for a living we don’t even enjoy nor have a desire to do.

Personally, I could never envy a doctor because I would never want to do what is required to become a doctor.  I would not be willing to be a Bio or Chem major in college. I don’t enjoy the sciences OR math. Would never want to take the MCATS. Or go to medical school. Have to SEE blood. Touch body parts that have not seen the light of day in years. Or deal with insurance companies/HMOs. Or tell someone they are dying from an illness. The list can go on and on for all the things doctors deal with in their profession that I would not be want to do.

When you feel envious, you are often looking at an idealized version of someone else’s life. Not the reality of their day-to-day life.



What should you do if you find yourself struggling with the emotion of envy?

1)Use envy to motivate yourself. Look at whoever or whatever it is you are envious of. What do they have that you want? Use envy to help you figure out your goals, desires, and values. Do you feel envy when you see a friend’s never-ending travel pics on Instagram? Maybe you have an untapped desire to travel and see the world. Feeling envious when you see a friend in a bikini pic? Maybe it is time to look at your own diet and workout routine. It may be time to work on creating the physique of your dreams. If used appropriately, envy can be a compass guiding us towards things we want in our OWN life.

2)Practice self-compassion. Whatever you feel, don’t be so hard on yourself. Envy tends to arise in someone with a critical spirit–towards others AND themselves. Don’t fight against whatever it is you are feeling but try to engage in these emotions in a positive way. Envy leads to poor decision-making. All emotions, including the uncomfortable ones, are teaching us something about ourselves. We tend to be hard on ourselves for feeling the normal range of human emotions. It is okay to feel envious. However, it is not healthy to act out on these feelings towards others.

3)Start a gratitude practice. Often I have clients start a daily gratitude journal. Envy is counting other people’s blessings instead of being appreciative of our own.  Gratitude helps us focus on all the positive things in our life. Practicing gratitude helps people to be more satisfied with their own life and less focused on others.

4)Reflect on what you feel is missing in your life. If you are feeling envious towards your friend, what is it you feel is missing from your own life? Envy tends to arise from having low-self esteem and feeling unfulfilled. Spend some time reflecting on your goals, desires, and dreams. Is there something in your life that is making you feel dissatisfied? Make a realistic game plan to work towards achieving all that you want out of your life. If you are busy working towards your own goals, you won’t have much time to spend feeling envious of others.


5)Understand your own capabilities. If you are jealous of a singer or athlete, ask yourself if you have the capabilities to achieve what they achieved on that level. I cannot be envious of someone who sings or is an incredible athlete because I am not capable of either.  I am a 100% okay with that because I accept those are gifts I do not have. I find it is more productive to focus on the strengths I do have and build on those. We all have different aptitudes and potentialities.

6)Ask yourself if you really want what someone else has. Are you envious of someone who makes big bucks working in the financial sector but you are risk averse and HATE numbers? This go back to looking at the reality of the life of someone you are envious of. Are you a working mom who when you son gets sick starts to wish you were a stay-at-home mom? Yet when you were on maternity leave you were dying to get back to work because you missed it? We fall into feelings of envy when we forget about the compromises involved in our choices. The compromise we ALL have made in our choices.

Perhaps you have days you wish you could be home with your kids but you enjoy the professional fulfillment of your career and being independent is an important value to you-financial and otherwise. You wouldn’t be happy being financially dependent on someone else or without the ability to use your education and skills. Your kids are also already in school so you wouldn’t be home with them most of the day anyway.

Therefore your envy of a stay at home mom is not what you really want if you were to weigh the pros and cons. You are solely focused on the benefits and not the big picture of what that choice means giving up. This is a common dilemma I hear from women especially as it relates to balancing one’s career with being a parent. Don’t fall victim to the grass is always greener syndrome.

7)Be cognizant of the negativity envy brings to your life. Envy damages and destroys relationships. It creates unhealthy competition. It leads to negative feelings about yourself AND others.

Envious people think life is a zero sum game. They view another person’s win as their own loss. This comes from a scarcity mindset.

Indulging feelings of envy is a road to unhappiness. Have you ever met an envious person who did not seem miserable? Unlikely.

Feelings of envy are likely to lessen as you mature and as you learn to be realistic of your potentialities and accept your limitations.

Try not to worry about what others have.

At the end of the day, we all have our OWN race to run. Comparing yourself to others is a race your will NEVER will and all it will do is SLOW you down on your way to achieving your goals.

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Why You Need Boundaries to Live a Happy Life


Have you been feeling exhausted lately?
Stressed out?
Completely drained?

Ever feel under appreciated, unseen, and unsupported?

If you do, it may be that you need to learn how to set some boundaries in your life and relationships.

Our relationships need boundaries.

Healthy self-esteem=good boundaries=happy life 

The more you love and respect yourself, the more you can love and respect others.

In this day and age, we are living in an increasingly boundary LESS society.

Boundaries, or personal boundaries, can be understood as an invisible shield or fence around you. It’s a line you set for yourself and others that separates you from others and their influence.  Boundaries fulfill an important role in relationships. They are the emotional, physical, and mental limits we set with others that determine what we will, and will not, accept.

We are all separate people but we are also interconnected. Boundaries are the space between.

A lot of issues that arise in counseling, relate to boundary issues in a client’s life.

People who lack healthy boundaries are often unhappy. They are more likely to be emotional needy, get taken advantage of, and get treated with disrespect. Boundaries mean not letting people into your life to behave badly.


Good fences make good neighbors.

Boundaries go both ways-you need to extend the same respect to the boundaries of others.

Boundaries give us a framework on how to act. They give us a warning when they are being violated. If someone steps over our boundary, we know it, we feel it, we have a visceral reaction.

Our emotions and thoughts are a compass guiding us–who we want to spend more time with and who we want to stay away from.

We all have the right and responsibility to set limits and create boundaries that work for us. It is up to you to enforce your boundaries.

You need to value yourself because when we value something we protect it.


What are some signs you have poor boundaries?

~Your relationships tend to be difficult

~You always feel a little bit annoyed

~You think others don’t show you respect

~Your relationships tend to be dramatic

~You hate to let people down

~You feel other people let you down

~You may be passive aggressive

~You have trouble making your own decisions

~You fear being abandoned or rejected

~You are tired all the time

~You have trouble saying no

~You are easily guilted into things

~You coerce others into doing things

~You struggle with anxiety

~You often feel like a victim (especially to situations that you feel are out of your control)


Boundaries are a form of self-care. They don’t steal your happiness, they protect it.

Healthy people have boundaries.
Boundaries are different for everyone—we are all comfortable with different levels of closeness in our relationships.

Boundaries are largely subjective. What I may be comfortable with you, you may be uncomfortable. Neither of us is right or wrong-just different.

If you set a boundary with someone and they do NOT respect it, they are showing you they care more about their own ego gratification than they do about you and the relationship. If this is the case, while it will be painful to find out, it will lead to greener pastures.

There are two possible outcomes when you set boundaries with people:
~a BETTER, healthier relationship (for both sides)


~you find out the person doesn’t care about the relationship enough to respect the boundaries set forth and the relationship disintegrates (if this is the case you usually feel liberated in the end because you are taking care of yourself)

Ultimately, either outcome, is win-win for you.  Boundaries strengthen understanding and connection between both parties. Healthy boundaries are the cornerstone of happy relationships.

Boundaries are fluid and change as we change.

As someone who is naturally a pretty open book, I have learned over the years to be more private. Perhaps this is a natural progression of maturing. On the flip side, you may be someone who is more reserved, who is working on becoming more open with others.

Boundaries are a two-way street.

Just as we want to ensure people respect our boundaries, it is equally important for us to respect OTHER people’s boundaries.

If you struggle with respecting the boundaries set forth by others, causing conflict in your relationships, it would be helpful to take some time to reflect on why.

Unless there’s an emergency, the one screaming is usually the problem.

There are extenuating circumstances when there’s an emergency or crisis. Or if you are dealing with an extremely toxic person. But if you find yourself flipping out on people, blaming or resenting others for your feelings, the first place to look is in the mirror. You and your boundaries are probably the problem.

If I feel strong in my boundaries and you feel strong in yours, we can meet and connect in a healthy way.


It’s important for our mental well-being to have personal boundaries. They lay the groundwork for how we approach relationships. Our boundaries help us live according to our values.

Clearly established boundaries help us to take care of ourselves emotionally, physically and spiritually. Our boundaries help us to become less concerned about how we are viewed by others and more satisfied with the perceptions we hold of ourselves.



If you enjoyed this article and are interested in seeking counseling with me:

Erin Doyle Theodorou, M.Ed, LPC, NCC


590 Franklin Ave.

Suite 2

Nutley, NJ 07110