A group of independent counselors serving Kingwood and Houston
Specializing in Gottman MethodTM Couples and Marriage Counseling

Archive for the ‘Inspiration/New Age’ Category

Paying It Forward

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

On Thanksgiving morning my family and I enjoyed a walk with our dogs before getting down to the serious business of cooking and football watching.

As we returned to our street my husband found a dollar bill in front of our house.  My sister called out that she saw another . . . and another . . .  and another.  Of course then we all began looking and $17 dollars later we wondered what was going on, thinking a child must have lost their money.  Checking with the neighbors and not finding the rightful owner, this was turning into a mystery on our quiet cul-de-sac, but I set aside the cash to deal with other pressing Turkey Day activities.

Black Friday rolled around and my sister, friend and I made our annual pilgrimage to the mall.  After a few hours of battling the crowd we headed to our favorite watering hole for bite to eat and a cocktail.  Without a reservation we had to sit at the bar, but we didn’t mind since visiting this establishment has become part of our annual tradition.  After the second bite into our burgers the bartender said she needed to slide us down a few seats to make room for another party.  Her abruptness in moving our food out from under us caught us off guard and we were a bit irritated, and had no choice but to comply.

The new party saddled up to the bar and placed their orders while we noshed and sipped, recovering quickly from our game of musical chairs.  When the bartender placed the check in front of us the man in the party that displaced us called out that he appreciated what we did and was picking up our tab.  Instantly we felt guilty for the irritation we felt and found ourselves giving thanks to him for his generosity.  After chatting with him for a few minutes it was clear that money was not an issue for him and he simply asked us to do something nice for someone in return.

Paying it forward is an age old concept of the beneficiary of a good deed paying it back to someone other than the original benefactor.

Several years ago Oprah had a Pay It Forward challenge where she gave audience members $1000 and a camcorder to capture them doing good deeds.  The stories that came out of those acts of generosity were incredibly touching.   Catherine Ryan Hyde wrote a novel that was turned in to the “feel good” movie Pay It Forward, starring Haley Joel Osment and Kevin Spacey.  Spacey, a teacher of 11 year old Osment, instructs the class to come up with an idea that would change the world.  Osment’s character comes up with the idea that for every good deed bestowed upon you, do three good deeds for someone else that they could not accomplish  themselves.

Indeed that sort of generosity would change the world.

By having money serendipitously thrown at me in all directions on this holiday of Thanks and Giving, I now am charged with how to pay it forward.  My son and I have already begun giving the one dollar bills away.  By carefully placing them in locations where people are sure to find them (napkin dispensers at restaurants, toilet paper rolls in restrooms etc), we are having great fun imagining the surprise on people’s faces when they discover their bounty.  Because of the gratefulness and generosity of the stranger at the bar, we are now looking for opportunities to be grateful and generous.  What a perfect start to the holiday season.

So why do I bring up this tale of gratefulness and generosity on a blog about mental well-being and healthy relationships?  Simply put, these are some of the basic ingredients for emotional balance and happiness.  Studies done of the expression of gratitude on a routine basis have shown that focusing on the positive things in life correlates with a higher level of psychological and physical well-being.

In Gottman Couple’s Therapy™ we teach couples the importance of giving appreciation, rather than allowing resentment and contempt to build in a relationship.  Being appreciative for what we have, rather than focusing on what we don’t have, can go a long way in charging your emotional battery in any relationship.

Acts of kindness help us to feel more connected to others and a feeling of connection is important for our happiness.  By being generous we are more aware of the good in our lives and we develop compassion for others.  Being generous can make one feel better about oneself (unless they have an ulterior motive to gain something in return) and raise their self-esteem.  No matter how you slice it or dice it, generosity and gratitude lead to improved well-being.

So if you are out and about this weekend and happen to find some money, consider that it may not be lost but a gift to be paid forward.  And when you do, see how it affects your mood and well-being.


Mary Beth George, MEd, LPC, RD/LD

Self-Esteem Boosters for Kids and Teens

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Positive affirmations are simple little sayings we can tell ourselves to build self-esteem.  They are positive statements about our traits, abilities and qualities.  Recognizing our value on this planet and having a strong sense of who we are helps to develop a positive “can do” attitude.

Most of us develop the bad habit of beating ourselves up over our mistakes and failures.  And we tend to listen to the teacher, coach or parent who belittles and criticizes us.  Often before we reach adulthood our self-esteem can be quite damaged and we find that all of our doubts and feelings of inferiority cast a dark spell on our confidence and identity.

The ideal time to begin affirmations is in childhood and the teen years.   Children need to be taught to be kind and loving towards themselves.  Adolescents are especially vulnerable to negativity and criticism because they are forming their identity.  Teaching them to do affirmations can help them better weather the storm of this confusing time.

Affirmations should be short and to the point, easily remembered and in the present tense.  Affirmations should start with “I am” and end with what you want to have in your life I am healthy.  I am creative and have a never ending supply of ideas.  I am capable of great things.  While these statements may sound vain, it is actually healthy to talk to yourself in this manner.  We tend to bring about in our life what we think about, so it’s best to set the stage for positive scenarios rather than negative ones.

Teens spend a lot of time in front of the mirror, either admiring themselves  or looking for  flaws.  This is the perfect setting for having them read and repeat affirmations.  I have come up with a way to help my pre-teen repeat affirmations.  I wrote out 30 affirmation cards, each with 3 different sayings.  Some reflected on physical or intellectual abilities, some were spiritual in nature and some IMG_0499were just plain fun.  I placed them on a memo holder and put it on the bathroom counter, surely to be found next time he was looking for a zit or admiring his smile.  Sticky notes would also work well but I like the reusable nature of the cards.

Once you have finished your affirmation cards for your child repeat the following:  I am a good parent.  I am boosting my child’s self-esteem.  I am loving.


Mary Beth George, MEd, LPC, RD/LD

Couples Counseling and Psychotherapy Associates provides service to Kingwood, Humble, Atascocita, Porter, Fall Creek, Summerwood, North Houston and surrounding areas.

Couples Counseling & Psychotherapy Associates

2330 Timber Shadows Drive
Suite 106
Kingwood, Texas 77339
Ph: 281-812-7529


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