Donuts: A Lesson in What You Already Have

One of my very favorite things I learned during my counseling training came from my Filial Therapy class. Dr. Gary Landreth created “Rules of Thumb” for parents when beginning filial therapy. This first “Rule of Thumb” is to focus on the donut not the hole.  Simply put, don’t focus so much on what’s missing from your child that you forget to see what they have going for them.

While Dr. Landreth meant that rule for parents’ working with their children, I think it is applicable to anyone.

When we are sad, frustrated, angry, overwhelmed, etc., it is very easy for us to focus on what is missing in our lives. And while it is never bad to set goals or focus on accomplishing them, we can get too focused on what’s missing and forget to see the good.

People wouldn’t look at the donut and wonder why the pastry has a hole in it. During your pursuit of self-discovery and growth, don’t get so wrapped up in what’s missing that you forget to see what you have going for you. Cultivate a habit of gratitude and positivity.  Create a gratitude journal. When feeling overwhelmed, think about what has gone right that day. This is excellent practice in reframing your thoughts. Not only that, but it will also give you the motivation and drive to continue pursuing your goals.

References: Bratton, S., Landreth, G., Kellam, T., & Blackard, S. (2006). Child parent relationship therapy (CPRT) treatment manual: A 10-session filial therapy model for training parents. New York: Routledge.


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