Posts Tagged With: accepting compliments

Day 2291: Unbelievable

It’s unbelievable that I’ve never written an “unbelievable” post before, especially during these unbelievable times.

Would you believe me if I shared what inspired today’s unbelievable post?


That unbelievable scale was on my office white board to greet me on my return back to work yesterday after an unbelievable week in Los Angeles.

It’s unbelievable to me that there are so many new friends out there for me to meet. Here’s an email exchange I had with my new friend Don (featured in this unbelievable blog post from two days ago):


It was great meeting you last evening at Dynasty! I hope you had a great and safe journey home!

Here is a link to download your set from The Tomorrow Show.

Let me know when you have it downloaded properly and that t works for you, as I’ll have to clear that space on my Box Drive.

I’m excited to start reading your blog too. You gave me a lot of good stuff to think about yesterday!

All the best,


Thank you so much for sending this and for your kindness and welcoming good nature yesterday. I am home safe and sound if somewhat psychotically overtired.  I believe I did download the video properly  so feel free to delete it.  And here is my blog post for today with a proper photo of you:
All the best,



I’m glad you made it home safely, albeit filled with psychotic fatigue! I’m honored I made your blog!

FYI Adrian and the other folks also remarked that you were an awesome lady so feel free to be flattered (but don’t let it go to your head)!

All the bestest foreverest and stay in touch!



These days I’m letting compliments go to my head and I would advise you to do the same, my awesome new friend.

All the best,


Well, you are a professional so that’s sound advice!


I wonder if Don, if he does read this blog, will find it unbelievable that I shared our email exchange. I’m doing so because I find it unbelievable that people worry about compliments going to people’s heads (including their own). I will repeat that unbelievable advice for you, here and now: please let compliments go to your head. It’s unbelievable to me that believing compliments could harm our heads in any way.

Let’s see if there’s anything unbelievable in the  new photos I am sharing with you today.








That unbelievable list of topics was written by an unbelievable social work intern named Nat who facilitated my Thursday evening therapy group while I was away.  Nat is an intern with unbelievable therapy skills and also an unbelievable song-writer and musician.  I asked Nat if he would co-write an unbelievable song with me titled “Nobody’s Perfect,” which we are going to rehearse and perform at next month’s open mic.  Unbelievable!

Here‘s “Unbelievable” by EMF:


Here’s “Unbelievable” by Owl City featuring Hanson:


It’s unbelievable that I can’t figure out which Hanson is featured in that second song.

Many people are finding it unbelievable that Luke Perry died yesterday at age 52.What’s unbelievable to you, here and now?

If you find it unbelievable that I am grateful, day after day, to all those who help me write these unbelievable blog posts and  grateful to those who read them (including you), believe it, baby!


Categories: gratitude, group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 1627: Love, Validation

As I was reading the news online this morning, I felt many painful emotions. Then, I saw this headline:

Two-Headed Porpoise Just Wants Love, Validation

And I thought, “That two-headed porpoise is just like us.”

I just want love, validation for these photos I took recently.










Did you notice any love or validation in those pictures?

I looked for love, validation on YouTube and found this

and this:

I wonder: will there be any love, validation in the comments for this post?

Love, validation, and thanks to all who helped me create today’s blog and — of course! — to YOU.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 1204: Yipes!


is something people say when they’re

  • surprised,
  • scared, or
  • amazed.

Every day, I have reasons to say


because life can be surprising, scary, and amazing.

Yesterday, I was surprised, scared, and amazed because

  • I spent a beautiful Sunday discussing membership with other group therapists and didn’t resent being indoors,
  • several people mentioned that somebody they cared about had recently died unexpectedly, and
  • I got a lot of praise for my contributions to the success of the day.

What makes you say “Yipes!”? How about the photos I took yesterday?






Yipes!  I didn’t know that Yipes! was an American rock band from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

You can find Yipes! singing “Blink of an Eye” here on YouTube, with several Yipes!-inducing lyrics including:

Where does the time go?

Yipes! Where does the time go?  It’s time for me to end today’s post.

Yipes!  I almost forgot to thank Yipes, group therapists, and you — of course! — for visiting, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Day 1158: Help is on the way

Here’s a sign I encountered yesterday at Boston’s Tufts Medical Center, when I was on the way to see my helpful cardiologist, Dr. Deeb Salem.


Even though that light wasn’t flashing,  help was on the way for me, including this opinion from Dr. Salem:

I think you’re doing really well.

While that and other help from Dr. Salem was on its way, I didn’t take any photos of him, which cannot be helped. If you want to go out of your way to see pictures of Dr. Salem, there’s help in some previous posts (including here, here, and here).

Earlier in the day,  during my therapy group, help was on the way for several participants who have trouble accepting good news and compliments.  People helped each other get beyond barriers to taking in the positive. As always, it was helpful to flash reminders to each other that negatives stick more easily than positives, as we go on our way.

If you want to see more photos from yesterday, help is on the way!

Did this flashing post give you any help on the way?

Helpful thanks — to Dr. Salem, to people who heal in groups, and to you (of course!) — are on the way, here and now.



Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

Day 1102: Surprising

Yesterday, it was surprising to me that somebody described me as “surprising” during a group therapy exercise.


I’ve been surprising people with group therapy exercises for a surprising number of years.  Because yesterday’s group therapy exercise  was new to all  the participants, they found it surprising how useful and moving it was.

I shall now explain, in surprising detail, yesterday’s group therapy exercise:

  1. People wrote down, on a single sheet sheet of paper, negative and unhelpful beliefs about themselves, which they’ve been carrying around for a surprising long time.  (See here for a definition of “labeling” — a  surprisingly common and toxic cognitive distortion.)
  2.  It was surprising to me how many of us wrote down the words “weird” and “stupid” for this part of the exercise.
  3. People shared their negative self-talk with others in the group, who found it surprising how harshly the other members judged themselves.
  4. The group participants ripped up and threw away, in the trash, their negative descriptions, surprising themselves with how great that felt.
  5. Without any instruction from me, surprising and strong applause greeted every trashing of old, negative self-talk.
  6. It was probably surprising to the participants when I next instructed them to write down positive descriptions of themselves and/or others in the group.
  7. It’s not surprising to me that people find it much easier to write down positive descriptions of other people than to write down positive descriptions of themselves.
  8. It was surprising to every group member how many positive things others wrote about them.

I hope it’s not surprising that I will gladly clarify any aspect of that exercise, if you wish.

Here are some surprising images I captured after yesterday morning’s surprising group therapy session:



Which of those are most surprising to you?

Here’s my final thought about “surprising”: It’s not surprising to me that surprising and wonderful changes can occur when people are surprised by more positive images of themselves.

Surprising thanks to all the surprising people, cats, and dogs that helped me create today’s surprising post and special thanks to you — surprise! — for reading it.


Categories: group psychotherapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

Day 1069: Your name here

Have you ever experienced people using your name as an adjective or a noun, implying they see you a certain way ?

Me neither, until yesterday, when it happened TWICE.

The first time was when one of my therapy patients said this about a relative of hers:

I think she needs an Ann in her life.

The second time was when my friend Carol said this, when I told her I was trying out for “The Voice” in February:

That’s a very Ann thing to do.

How can I know, for sure, what either of those people meant, using my name like that?

Googling “Ann” probably won’t help me, but I shall try that anyway (since, to me,  that seems like a very Ann thing to do).

Here is Ann’s first result of googling “Ann definition”:

The name Anne is a Hebrew baby name. In Hebrew the meaning of the name Anne is: Favour or grace. Prayer. God has favoured me.

That’s not how I spell my name, though.  Perhaps people whose name is spelled AnnE are graceful and favoured by God. Here‘s another way Google defines “Ann”:

Word Origin and History for Ann
fem. proper name, alternative form of Anna, from Latin Anna, from Greek, from Hebrew Hannah (see Hannah ). In U.S. black slang, “white woman,” also “a black woman who is considered to be acting ‘too white;’ ” also Miss Ann. She is the spouse of Mr. Charlie.

It’s true that I AM a white woman, but that’s not a particularly helpful definition, either.

If I could consult with my patient or with Carol as I’m writing this blog post, I could use the helpful skill of reality testing (see here for that and other antidotes for automatic and unhelpful thoughts). In other words, I could ask them what they meant.  However, that’s not possible. Therefore,  it’s up to me to decide what “Ann” might mean, when used as an adjective or noun.

I am deciding this, at 6:19 AM, Boston USA time:

 Ann — when  used as a noun or an adjective — is a compliment, not an insult.

I hope you can decide the same, now, about your name. Why? Because this Ann believes that’s a helpful thing for everyone to do, no matter what.

Ann is now going to check photos she took yesterday, to see if any of them are more Ann than others.




I think all those photos are equally Ann.

What do you think about that or anything else in this Ann post?

Finally, it’s very Ann to be extremely grateful that you visited here today, no matter what your name.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 36 Comments

Day 1040: Too good to be true

Have you ever thought that something was too good to be true?  Was it too good?  And was it true?

Why do we think that something can be too good to be true?  Don’t we truly deserve good things to happen to us, as often as possible?

Here’s something true.   I’ve never, ever had this thought:

That’s too bad to be true.

Why is that true, good people?

If something seems too good to be true, people often have distorted thoughts about it, including:

  • I don’t deserve this.
  • This is going to be taken away.
  • I better not talk about this.
  • Something terrible is going to happen.

Is that true for you, good readers?

Yesterday, I remarked that I was having a day that was too good to be true, because:

  1. I found out that a good and true therapist is going to be hired by the hospital to work with me.
  2. I saw reviews for my presentation at the hospital from a week ago that were so good that I wondered if they were true.
  3. The temperature was a too-good-to-be-true-for-Boston-in-November 74 degrees.
  4. My Thursday evening therapy group made me write “Ann is the best ever” on the white board. I wouldn’t believe that was true unless I had this good proof:


It’s true that a good member of the group last night also brought up AFOG (which stands  for “Another Fucking Opportunity for Growth”). It’s too good to be true that I started this daily blog almost three years ago to help me write a book titled “AFOG.” If you don’t think that’s true, please read my good enough “About” page.

Have I truly written a book with the good title “AFOG”?  No, because blogging every day since January 1, 2013 has been too good to be true for me.

Let’s see if I have any other photos from yesterday that are too good to be true.


IMG_6549 IMG_6553 IMG_6555  IMG_6558IMG_6559 IMG_6562IMG_6565 IMG_6566  IMG_6573 IMG_6569IMG_6574IMG_6576IMG_6583IMG_6580IMG_6581IMG_6582

I wonder if I can find some too-good-to-be-true music for this post.

It’s true that a good and superstitious person told me, yesterday, that I should throw salt over my left shoulder because of my too-good-to-be-true day. Here‘s too-good-to-be-true Stevie Wonder:

It’s too good to be true that my last photo matches that music, so well.

True thanks to all the good people who helped me write this post and to you — of course! — for being so true, to me.

Categories: blogging, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Day 1013: Compliments

It’s a compliment to the power of compliments that I’ve already blogged about compliments twice before, in Day 191: Compliments and Day 795:  How to Accept Compliments.

It’s a compliment to the Smothers Brothers that I was inspired to create another post about compliments today.

If you pay me the compliment of watching a video I’ve chosen for you, you’ll find that Smothers Brothers performance of “Boil That Cabbage Down”  at Boston’s Symphony Hall contains much about compliments.

I shall now pay a compliment to Tommy Smothers, who has a lot to say about  family compliments: I am proud we both share the birthday of February 2 (a date that pays a compliment to groundhogs in the USA).

Speaking of family compliments, I know a  very effective exercise that helps families give compliments to each other. Here’s how it works:

  1. The family gathers in a room, with a writing implement and some nice paper.
  2. One member of the family leaves the room.
  3. The rest of the family members come up with compliments about the person who is not there. (These must be authentic, unqualified and non-left-handed compliments.)
  4. One of the family members writes down the compliments.
  5. When the person who left the room returns, that person is given the list of compliments from the rest of the family.
  6. Repeat Steps 2 through 5, for each family member.

I am going to pay a compliment to my old friend, Joe: I really appreciate him for telling me about this family exercise, decades ago.

Here’s a photo of some of the compliments I got from my family (including my sister Ellen, my late mother, my late father, and my ex-husband) when we did that family exercise:


It’s a compliment to my family members how I’ve saved and cherished that list for so many years.

Here are some more complimentary thoughts from me about compliments:

  • I’ve witnessed many people in group and individual therapy struggle to accept compliments that are sincerely given.
  • Receiving a compliment that does not fit your perception of yourself can feel painful at times.
  • I like to give people compliments, authentically and freely.
  • I believe that learning to accept compliments can be powerfully healing.

I wonder if I’ll get any compliments about these photos I took yesterday.

IMG_5768 IMG_5769 IMG_5772

All my photos are taking forever to load in WordPress today. Since I have paid WordPress the compliment of buying additional storage space and I have paid my readers the compliment of spending hours in the service of helping my photos load more quickly, I hope this is temporary.  Otherwise, I may have to pay some left-handed compliments to WordPress over this long weekend.

I shall now pay myself the compliment of sharing my first ever tweet with hashtags, which I created on Twitter while I was waiting for my photos to load here:

I love being in the moment, especially when that moment is a Friday night of a long weekend.

I shall now pay a compliment to my cat Oscar and my boyfriend Michael by including this photo from August, two years ago (which I hope pays us all the compliment of loading easily).


Feel free to include any right-handed or left-handed compliments in a comment, below.

Complimentary thanks to my family, to Michael/Mike the boyfriend, to Joe the friend, to Oscar the cat, to the Brothers Smothers, to WordPress, to Twitter, to people who do their best to give and receive compliments, and  to you — of course! — for paying me the compliment of visiting here, today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Day 795: How to Accept Compliments

Dear Readers,

If you’re like me (and many other people I know), you might have some trouble accepting compliments and other types of positive feedback. 

Here’s a 4-step process I invite you to try, starting today!

  1. When the compliment comes your way, do your best to take it in. 
  2. Allow for the possibility that it is true, no matter what the source or the situation. 
  3. Let go of everything that gets in the way of believing it. 
  4. Say “thank you.”

Okay! Now, let’s practice.


Listen to this song, believing that the words are meant for you.

If you can’t see or hear “You Are So Beautiful,” above, I invite you to practice with that song on YouTube (or elsewhere). Or, you can compliment this post by suggesting other ways of practicing, in a comment below. 

Let’s see if I have any recent photos that might help us do better accepting compliments. 


No matter what you think of those photos,  here’s another chance for you to practice accepting compliments:

I value all your reactions to this post, very much. 

Thanks and compliments to all who do their best accepting compliments and to you — of course! — for paying me the compliment of visiting here, today. 

Categories: inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , | 51 Comments

Day 666: Jazz

Anybody who reads my blog probably knows that




I’ve loved jazz since the first time I heard Count Basie play on a TV show, when I was very young. (I can’t find that appearance on YouTube, but I found some other Count Basie TV appearances from the 1960’s, here, here, and here.)

When I was in high school, I spent two summers studying jazz piano at Berklee School of Music (now Berklee College of Music).

Not to be judgmental, but I really wasn’t that great at playing jazz piano. Believe me, I’m not being falsely modest here. I’ve simply never had

  • the courage,
  • the technique,
  • the “chops” (as jazz players say)
  • the patience,
  • the stick-to-it-ness,
  • the talent, or
  • the natural ability

…. to improvise on any musical instrument. And improvisation is what makes jazz jazz.

In case you don’t know what improvisation is: in jazz, the musicians  play a tune the way it was written and then they take turns improvising — making up new music within the established chord structure of that song.

So jazz is a wonderful balance of

  • structure and play,
  • dependence and independence,
  • teamwork and individuality.

I never get tired of witnessing great improvisers. I’ve included a lot of them in my blog posts. If you improvise a search through my posts, right now, I’m sure you’ll find some, easily enough.

Actually, I’m going to be kinder than that, right now. Rather than sending you off on a wild-goose chase through my posts looking for examples of good improvisers, I shall take this opportunity to post a jazz tune I love, with two of my favorite improvisers — Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays:

Many times before, in this blogging journey of mine, I have considered posting a YouTube link to “Daulton Lee” (written by Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays, from the soundtrack of movie The Falcon and the Snowman). I’ve often wondered — in the past year and a half — how I could improvise sharing with you that wonderful  and (for me) mood-improving music, but it never seemed to fit any other topic, well enough. It’s not like I’ve written about Daultons or Lees or Falcons or Snowmen.

Snowmen. Hmmmm. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure I’ve shown photos of snowmen here in the past 22 months (but who’s counting?) since I started blogging.

Oh, well. I guess I can’t be on top of EVERY opportunity to do things I’d like to do.

There’s no time like the present, however! Today, the topic is jazz and I can pretty much post whatever I want!

I’m actually going to return to the past, just for a moment, as I explain to you another reason why I haven’t posted “Daulton Lee” before.  YouTube doesn’t have my favorite kind of jazz video for “Daulton Lee” — that is, a live version with good quality sound.  But the studio version of “Daulton Lee” is good enough, right now.

And I’ve now posted “Daulton Lee!” Another item to remove from my Blogging To-Do List. That’s always a relief.

I will share this with you, though, at this point. I’m not sure “Daulton Lee” is such a great example of jazz improvisation, as I defined it earlier in this post.

Let’s see if there’s another favorite tune I love, that I know I haven’t shared with you before.

I know!  I’ve never included, in any blog post, “Minuano” by the Pat Metheny group. Why?  Same reason as with “Daulton Lee.”  The title doesn’t naturally lend itself to any topic I might tackle here.

Is that YouTube video of the album version of “Minuano” a perfect example of jazz improvisation?  Probably not, but it’s a great nine minutes of music. And here’s a live version I love (even though it doesn’t include the full tune):

Wow!  I’ve really gotten a lot off my plate here today, regarding my favorite music.

Don’t you think it’s about time I explain why I’m writing about jazz today, of all days?

I’m still thinking about my presentation, two days ago, when I spoke about the Koplow Method of group therapy to an audience of other therapists.

As my presentation was ending on Sunday, several people said some kind and complimentary things about the way I do groups, including this:

I love the way you create this clear structure which allows people the safety to play.  It’s like … jazz.

Music to my ears!  I will forever be grateful to that person for improvising, in the moment, one of the best compliments ever.

Telling you that story also lets me segue into this classic YouTube video that my 16-year-old son, Aaron, and I happened to watch last night.

Note: That appearance of the Muppets on The Ed Sullivan Show in the 1960’s is all about somebody really, really, really  wanting to improvise, despite the judgment of others.

Now, how I shall improvise on my well-established blog structure, of showing you photos I’ve taken recently, usually near the end of the post?

Here are some photos I took yesterday, when I was improvising on a visual theme I had chosen for my walk away from work — “Green.”

IMG_1439 IMG_1440 IMG_1441 IMG_1442 IMG_1443 IMG_1444 IMG_1445IMG_1449IMG_1450

Pretty jazzy, huh?

Gotta run to work, where I get to improvise, as best I can.

Thanks to Pat Metheny, Lyle Mays, Jim Henson, and all the other creative masters who helped me write this post today. And — in yet another variation on a theme I’ve included in almost every post I’ve ever written  — thanks to all you jazzy people out there, for visiting here today!

Categories: inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

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