Dr. Payton

For some reason I listened to Phil Collins singing "You'll Be in My Heart" from the Tarzan movie.  After I listened to it I realized that I was singing to myself "I'll be in your heart." It seemed like a big difference and I wondered why I was doing this.  I will often follow my brain when it changes things or a memory pops up or an emotion seems to appear out of nowhere.  Since our brain's seem to be organized to give us information when we need it vs. when we demand it or want reassurance that we know something before we actually need to recall it [like for a test], I wonder if my brain is telling me something that could be important even if I don't recall requesting any information.  

So, what does it mean that I change the song from "you'll be in my heart" to "I'll be in your heart?"  Well, it reminds me of feeling responsible for someone in that I am somehow putting myself into the heart of another presumably to be able to watch over them and care for them.  Of course, it is up to the other person to decide who will be in their heart and not up to me.  This means that it would be better for me to be supportive of them and encourage them instead of taking over for them.  

After all, even with good intentions, if I take over for someone then I am saying that I don't believe they can handle a situation and that seems like I am insulting them. Even if they will have difficulty handling a situation and they feel that they need help, it is up to them to request it and then up to me to still encourage and support them before I take over for them. Taking over for someone does not seem like a good thing to do, even if it seems to be requested by the person. Really caring about someone [being empathic?] does not seem to involve taking over. What do you think?



Recently a number of my patients wondered if they were being too nice to some of their friends or family members. So what is too nice?  For that matter, what is nice? In exploring this further, it seems that being too nice is often connected to doing things for others that is really their responsibility to do. There are usually easy explanations for why the other person needs someone to do things for them. Life has been hard for them or they can't seem to be able to make healthy changes in their lives or they were nice to you in the past or they expect it and it is very hard to not do it for them.  They would get very upset if you stopped.  So the solution seems to be to keep doing things for them until they decide to do it for themselves.  Surely they will see that it is not fair for you to have to do these things for them over and over.  Of course they don't ever seem to see this unfairness.  Why is this?

As I have previously blogged, once a pattern of behavior is established, the brain works to maintain it unless we give our brains very clear messages that we wish to change it.  So when we keep doing for others it makes them dependent on us to keep it up.  This dependence might be more understandable when you realize that doing for others is like telling those others that you don't feel that they can manage for themselves. So then they don't manage.  Now it may not seem as simple as that and yet I think it is.  If we would like others to take responsibility for themselves and manage their lives then we should stop telling them they can't manage by managing for them.  Easier said then done but when we choose to stop managing for other people we will feel a weight lifted from us and have a more satisfying and positive relationship with that person [after they react to you not managing for them].  Give it a try.




I heard an interview on National Public Radio that aired March 11, 2016 [] with Francois Clemmons.  Clemmons had been on "Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood" for many years and he was the first African American to have a recurring role on a children's TV show.  He shared that one day after hearing Mr. Roger's say something that he said at the end of each of his TV shows, "You make every day a special day just by being you, and I like you just the way you are;"  Mr. Clemmons asked Mr. Roger's if he was saying that to him.  Mr. Rogers’ replied "I've been saying that to you for years, today was the first day that you heard me." I was moved to tears hearing this as I realized that Mr. Roger's was able to say something that he believed and wanted to share, over and over again, hoping that he would be heard.  Mr. Roger's kept being himself and I believe knew that being heard by others was up to them and not up to him.  His job was to be himself and express what he believed without judging others...even if they took a long time to hear him.

So, how does this relate to the rest of us?  Well, I believe that we all have the same job as Mr. Rogers’ if we want to live happy and fulfilling lives.  To live every day true to ourselves and choosing to like others "Just the way they are;" we might then feel a connection to others and be happier with our own lives. These other people might even choose to hear us and feel our caring and then care more about themselves. Apparently being liked just the way we are makes it easier for each of us to accept ourselves and then choose to make healthy changes in the way we live our lives.  So, according to Mr. Roger's, it is important for all of us to like ourselves and others just the way we and they are.

And I thought "Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood" was only for kids.



One of my patients told me a story that exists on the internet in a number of different versions of basically the same story.  The story revolves around a family going out to eat and the waitperson takes their orders and comes to the youngest child who says, "I'd like a hotdog and a coke."  Her parents then tell the waitperson that she is having chicken, broccoli and milk.  The waitperson then turns to the child and asks what she would like on her hotdog.  After the waitperson leaves to place their orders, the child looks at her parents and says, "She thinks that I am real." 

My first reaction was to feel sad that the child felt that since her parents did not allow her to make choices in her life, she felt like her thoughts, wishes, feelings didn't matter.  I wonder if this is what it feels like being bullied, only it will be harder for her to tell her parent's about it. So, does being bullied make us feel that we are not real, not worth anything, or that we don't matter?  Do we have to be listened to and then be encouraged to make decisions for ourselves, to feel that we are real and worthwhile?  Is it that simple?  

I have previously blogged about how children who are bullied are more likely to become depressed and to commit suicide as adolescents; ["Being bullied as a child and self-harm behavior as an adolescent".]  So it is clear that bullying is traumatic for those who are bullied. It is therefore very important to identify those who are being bullied and get help for them. It is also important to be aware of what constitutes bullying so we can confront it wherever we encounter it, even in ourselves. We must all be so careful to treat everyone that we meet as if they are real.

What do you think?




I have previously blogged about this quote from de Saint-Exupẻry's The Little Prince.  The full quote is, "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye."  In the book, this quote is spoken by the fox and to the Little Prince after the fox has taught the Little Prince to tame the fox so that they are now friends.  The fox helps the Little Prince to understand that the Little Prince's rose that is back on the planet where the Little Prince lives is special because of their friendship [Even though the rose can be very irritating and demanding.]  This allows the Little Prince to see the rose with his heart and thus he is able to see his rose even when he is looking at hundreds of identical roses. 

So, what does any of this mean?  Does it mean that we need to be aware of ourselves and accepting of ourselves so that we know what is important and see with this awareness [our heart?].  Maybe seeing with the heart means seeing others [and ourselves] without judging or stereotyping or reacting based on our insecurities or giving advice or ...?  Is it true that if we choose to see ourselves more clearly and are then accepting of ourselves that we are less likely to judge or stereotype others?  So often what troubles us about others is really something about ourselves.  Thus, being self-aware has its advantages.  As Carl Jung is credited with saying, "Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves."  That certainly would dampen down our tendencies to be critical of others.  

What do you think?

Page 1 ... 3 4 5 6 7 ... 27 Next 5 Entries »