The Hats We Wear

by gloria on April 7, 2021

Unlike our ancestors of the early 1900’s, fashion rules of today do not dictate that we wear hats. Occasionally we will notice a group of women from the Red Hat Society having a meal together, or see someone wear a hat on Easter Sunday, or try to find the smiling face of a teenager whose cap is pulled down too tight. Novelist Margaret Atwood said, “I myself have twelve hats, and each represents a different personality.”

Hats have a metaphorical significance and come in all shapes and sizes. Consider some of these figurative hats–there are our work hats, our family hats, the hat we wear when we volunteer, or the hat we wear when we vacation, or work in our flower garden. Each hat is adorned with a particular set of skills and responsibilities. Often our strengths and talents for wearing each hat are the same. Our organizational skills can be used whether we are working on a job project, juggling the family’s schedule, or planning a fund-raising event. Teambuilding skills can be an excellent way to help families work out ways to take care of household chores. Strangely enough, hats may call for unique characteristics and qualities. For example our co-workers may become alienated if we wear our parent hat rather than our work hat.

Our duplicitous and integrated world makes it crucial to identify each hat we wear. We are so adept at multitasking we must also differentiate each hats’ unique qualities. There is an art to knowing which hat to wear, because trying to wear more than one hat at a time is confusing. In my role as a therapist I not only draw on my theoretical knowledge and training in family systems, but also on the experiences of my life’s journey.Many HatsThe difficulty comes when we try to wear more than one hat at a time, or forget to change from our work hat to our family hat. Sometimes I will say to a client, “I am going to take off my therapist hat, and speak from my vantage point of wearing my parent hat.” This is my way of distinguishing between theory and anecdotal knowledge. At other times I forget to take off my therapy hat, and put my family hat on at the same time. In my “well-meaningness” I become overly helpful. I try to be therapist to my family resulting in family members feeling mistrusted and/or criticized. Children in my practice tell me “I wish my Dad would just be a Dad rather than a businessman,” or “I wish my Mom would just listen and not always be the teacher.” Likewise, employees tire of a co-worker that brings all their personal problems to the workplace.

In her book Victoria: The Romance of Hats, Jeanie Larmont writes, “A hat alters the image we have of ourselves and the image others see as well. For the hours we wear it, it brings out a different dimension of our personality.” Think for a moment about the symbolic hats that you wear each day. Give each hat a name and an associated role. What expertise, experience, and talents are needed to keep each hat situated on your head? Identify circumstances that call for a transference of skills. Also, identify the hat that is only worn for special occasions. Do you need to make changes in the hats you wear?

Join me as I work to become mindful of the hat I am wearing and only wearing one hat at a time.


Relationship Resolutions

by gloria on January 2, 2020

I hope that 2020 is off to a great start for you, your friends, and your family. The New Year is one of my favorite times of year because it is a time of new beginnings. Whether committing to healthier living or changing a bad habit, January is a great time in our lives for new and fresh starts.

We all live in relationship with one another. What a great time to assess your relationships. If you are married, this is a great time to think about your relationship with your spouse. If you are a parent, consider improving your relationship with your children. Perhaps a relationship with a friend needs some tender loving care.

I hope that these Relationship Resolutions will help you take stock and nurture and enhance all your relationships.

  • Talk to each other
    Check out assumptions. Commit to work on issues that create conflict.
  • Listen to your friends and family
    Listen deeply, honestly, and without judgment.
  • Tell the people whom you love what you need
    It is a myth that we can read the minds of our loved ones.
  • Forgive, forgive, forgive
    Let go of grudges and past hurts. Commit to stop hurting one another.
  • Say thank you and give compliments generously
    Do a favor for someone. Give and receive compliments graciously.
  • Lighten up, laugh, smile
    Don’t take life so seriously. Give grace to yourself and your relationships.
  • Do something special for no reason at all
    Send flowers, a card, pay for lunch, etc.
  • Develop rituals with friends and family
    Be intentional about celebrating rituals together.
  • Respect yourself and all your relationships
    Be kind in your dealings with each other.

Gloria Martin


FALL: A Time of Transition

September 6, 2019

I believe that the beginning of fall is marked by a holiday rather than a date on the calendar because growing up in the South taught me that white shoes were not to be worn after Labor Day. We live in a society that dictates activity cycles beginning in September and ending in May. Are […]

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Talkers and Thinkers

March 16, 2018

Do you talk to think, or do you think to talk? People who talk to think are external processors, while people who think to talk are internal processors. I believe that the way we process information greatly affects our interaction with one another. Understanding this dynamic of internal processing and external processing can be beneficial […]

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Rules of Life

December 1, 2017

Last Friday I had the unique opportunity and pleasure to hear Betty Alice Erickson speak at the monthly meeting of the Dallas Association for Marriage & Family Therapy meeting. Betty is Milton Ericson’s daughter, lives in Dallas and has a private practice here. It was so inspiring to hear phrases like “Daddy said” or “Daddy […]

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Stories of the Season

October 28, 2017

We all have our favorite holiday activities. One of mine is watching holiday movies. Though I have seen my favorites so many times I can recite many of the lines by memory, I seem to find a new meaning or laugh each time I watch. Charles Dickens’s character, Ebenezer Scrooge, reminds us that giving gifts […]

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“Ah-Ha” Moments: The Juice of Life

March 29, 2011

You have experienced them. Those times when you realize, “I get it,” “oh, that’s it,” “I finally understand.”Ah-ha moments are serendipitous and surprise us when we least expect it. They may come after reading something for the tenth time or when we hear an old concept framed in a new way. Recently, an ah-ha occurred for […]

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How Do I Love You, Let Me Count the Ways

February 2, 2011

February–the month of love and valentines. Some of my younger friends think Valentine’s Day was created by Hallmark. Others love the tradition of St. Valentine and a special day to tell someone dear “I love and appreciate you.”  I want to remind you of the importance of affirmation. Early in our marriage, my husband and […]

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Relationship Resolutions

January 9, 2011

I hope that 2011 is off to a great start for you, your friends, and your family. The New Year is one of my favorite times of year because it is a time of new beginnings. Whether committing to healthier living or changing a bad habit, January is a great time in our lives for […]

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