compassion empathy grief listening social skills stress tension Jan 11, 2022

One of the challenges of writing a newsletter is that there’s so much that can be said on every topic. And it’s hard to choose what to focus on. 

Grief is no different. Writing about grief in a one page newsletter is almost as ludicrous as … writing about anxiety or marriage in one page! It doesn’t do it justice. At all. 

But it would be awkward to leave the rest of the newsletter blank. So let’s focus on one particular point about grief: 

Grief and loss are a part of life for anyone who ever loved.  In fact, we are at greater risk for grief, the more we love.

The only way to protect yourself from grief, or any loss is to live in a vacuum.

We grieve as a community, we grieve as a family, and we grieve as an individual.

We can experience Grief from death, any sort of loss, a life change (even a happy event), heartbreak, a diagnosis, a violent crime, freak acts of nature, a loss of an opportunity, when innocence is stolen, when we feel violated, when a child chooses to live a different path, realizations that the world was not how we once knew it, and certainly, from effects of freaky viruses.

Grief is not a problem to be solved. It can’t be fixed. It isn’t an illness that can be cured. We may never feel the same after we grieve a particular loss. And that is OK.  

We need to understand that living with grief is not about moving on. It’s about moving forward.  Watch an excellent, well-known TED TALK here for more on this. 

People are so uncomfortable around grief. When we are faced with others’ grief, our instinct is to comfort the one who’s grieving, to try and make the grief go away.  That makes sense- we don’t like to see the people around us in pain.

But, after speaking to many people who have grieved, ironically, they say that there is something deeply uncomfortable about others trying to comfort them. 

As support systems for others, we need to allow their pain to be seen. We need to allow their loss to be heard. We need to learn to sit in silence and co-exist with their painful experience of grief. And having true empathy would mean that their pain, is your pain too. Yes, pain is uncomfortable. That is OK.

Speaking, communicating, discussing the hows and the whys of how any loss happened, is distracting. And it can be hurtful and invalidating to those who are experiencing grief. 

I think it’s safe to say that most of us have experienced grief on a macro or micro level. The world as we know it has changed many times just in the last few weeks, months and years.

Each person’s response to grief is as unique as their fingerprint. But one thing is universal: we want our pain to be felt, our loss to be witnessed. We want to share our pain with people who will be fully present without anyone pointing out the silver lining.  It is not the time nor the place to be positive, or focus on what could have been worse. Again, that’s invalidating. And disrespectful to the emotions of grief. And love.

This doesn’t mean that life will never get better. And this doesn’t mean that intense grief will stay stuck in our hearts forever. Because hopefully, it won’t.

It just means that we need to stop in the face of loss and say “Wow. This hurts.”




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Welcome to our very first newsletter! For those who know me, I’m sure you are not surprised that I created a course about Social Skills. I mean, my social skills are just so appropriate. Right?! 


For those of you who do not know me (yet), you will learn that few things excite me more than an open and honest conversation about real life.  Life is about connecting to the people around us, and there’s no better way to connect than being open and honest about real life issues. Any time. Any place.


Inappropriate. According to some!


So I’m inviting you to my new and exciting newsletter called Socially Appropriate-ish  because, I really think I am Socially Appropriate- ish. Honestly, my initial name for this newsletter was “Socially Inappropriate.” I thought that was best. I was excited about it until my kids were like — “ummm, you‘re joking, right?” So I quickly came up with another name and pretended that I was joking all along… which, I was not😳.


Being in the field of Marriage and Family Therapy for the last 18+  years and working in various environments (which you will read about) has enhanced my  Socially Appropriate-ish skills even more. Therapists are simply forced into awkward and complex situations daily. To be clear, I love what I do! And— I don’t mind awkward. So, this newsletter will include a dose of some of that awkwardness. 


This newsletter will include the following topics:


Relationship Issues, Social Skills, Emotion Management,   Anxiety (that’s a biggie today), Bullying, Shame, Trauma, Attachment Theory, Crazy Kids, Crazy Parents (that should be a diagnosis IMHO!), Abuse (never funny), First Year of Marriage (sometimes funny), Different Models of Therapy,  Empathy, Triggers, Developing Confidence, The Emotional vs Logical Brain, Differences between Men and Women (always funny), OCD, Emotional Acceptance … And much more!


So, if you want to stay on my email list, no need to do anything at this point except to wait for my next newsletter. Which I would like to say will be weekly - though I have a fear of committing. So let’s say weekly-ish! And if you’d like to unsubscribe, by all means, hit the unsubscribe button below 👇🏻.   I’m mature, so I won’t take it personally. Even I find “unsubscribing” to unwanted emails therapeutic.  It’s an amazing way to relieve some pent up frustrations. No?


Oh! About that. There’s a lot more coming about other healthy ways to take out frustration in later emails. Not for the unsubscribers. 


Also, I’ve been directed by marketing experts to give a freebie out with this first newsletter to keep the audience engaged. (Easy for them to say!)  So, here goes the freebie: for the next 24 hours, please reach out with any appropriate question you think I can help with. And I will get back to you (but remember my fear of commitment, so I’m not saying when).


Have any quick questions or concerns? Is your child a perfectionist? Not sure if you should take your child’s anxiety seriously and go for professional help? Is your son/daughter/spouse afraid of the robbers/fires/clowns? Is your dating child having a hard time coming up with conversation on dates? Curious how to help a child build confidence? Do family members (read: you) have low frustration tolerance? Worried about your marriage because you feel disconnected from your spouse? Are you thinking about your childhood lately and wondering if it’s time to process something? Having a hard time with your parents? 


Reach out! Hopefully, I can help or at least point you in the right direction. But please note that, I’m only committing (eek) to writing you a short text or voice note :) 


Simply choose one of 2 ways to reach out: (and don’t forget to add your name) 

1.) Whatsapp me @ 646.688.4021 (confidential business number) or 

2.) Go onto my website www.ShifiLieberman.com/contact and send me an email. 


I really want to hear from you.  Feel free to reply to this email with any questions, comments or criticisms. (I know what you want to tell me Mom— you think writing about Socially Appropriate-ish content is inappropriate. I know! You can book a session with me to talk this through! 🤣😘) 


Speaking of subscribing, please feel free to forward this email to your friends and family so they can also become more Socially Appropriate-ish! www.ShifiLieberman.com/newsletter


With lots of excitement!