What Matters Mondays – Mar 21, 2016

March 21st, 2016 by admin Leave a Comment

True Friendships are not supposed to be hard.

True Friendships are not supposed to leave you feeling unloved and unworthy.

True Friendships are not supposed to make you question whether you are good enough.

True Friendships are not supposed to make you sad!

 

Let me tell you something…every time I work with youth, I hear the same comments:

My friend was mean to me today. I don’t know why.

My friend talks to me at school in front of certain friends and ignores me in front of others.

My friend made fun of me today in class in front of other people.

Today my friend ignored me.

My friend was whispering and laughing and when I came closer she stopped.

My friend said aloud, “I wish I had friends in this class.” I thought I was her friend.

I have to change who I am to hang out with this group of friends.

 

TRUE Friends do NOT intentionally make you sad, ignore you, or make you question your self worth! These people are NOT your friends.

 

Friends should make you feel uplifted, connected and leave you with a huge sense of gratitude. I can think of one friend I have and after we spend time together I always walk away with a huge smile on my face thinking about how lucky I am to have her in my life. I have other friends who make me laugh until I cry, but the humor is never mean and directed at me or others. I have a friend who texts just to check in on ordinary days just so that I feel connected and know that I matter. I have friends that “get” me and know what makes me smile and also what might hurt my feelings.

 

But to the youth I always say…I know what that’s like. When I was younger I had those friends too. The ones who made me feel more disconnected and alone than worthy and loved. I wish I knew then what I know now. If I could go back and talk to my younger self I would say, “Don’t work so hard. True friendships make you feel whole and happy. Listen to your heart. It knows who the real friends are. It’s already telling you. Listen to it.”

 

In order to have true friendships, you have to ask yourself a really important question…

What boundaries have I set with my friends? What is okay and what is not okay?

 

I’ll tell you for myself…

What’s Okay                                                

Laughing with me at jokes and things we both find funny

Keeping my stories safe in the vault

Making occasional mistakes as long as you come back and apologize and own them.

Having the courage to tell me when I did something that hurt or offended you.

Being imperfect and owning that.

Finding time to spend with me, but having other friends too.

 

What’s NOT Okay

Laughing at me in a hurtful way

Thinking my stories are yours to share with others

Ditching me for other friends and a “better” offer

Making fun of me

Ignoring me

Excluding me

 

When I have friends who spend more time doing things on the NOT okay list, I have to sit and ask myself, “Have I made my boundaries clear?”

If the answer is YES…and they still do it…they are not my peeps. That’s it. I don’t feel hate or anger; they just aren’t people I want to spend time with. I need people in my life who love me exactly as I am. People who value me. People who want to spend time with me.

If the answer is NO…I have to be courageous enough to tell them. Once they know, if they begin to honor the boundaries then it’s a true friendship.

 

We need to help our youth create boundaries with friendships. And we also have to remember that our kids are learning from us. Do you have a clear set of boundaries?

 

What is okay for you and not okay for you in a friendship? What do you do when a friend is constantly doing things on the NOT okay list?

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What Matters Mondays – Mar 14, 2016

March 15th, 2016 by admin Leave a Comment

Do you believe that people are doing the best they can? Brené Brown posed this exact question in her research and here is what she found…

People who answered NO to this question often struggled with perfectionism. They used themselves as the example, “I’m not always doing my best so why should I assume others are?”

People who answered YES to this question were people who were identified as wholehearted – people who are willing to be vulnerable and who believe in their self worth.

But Brené Brown’s husband gave the most beautiful response to this question, “I don’t know. I really don’t. All I know is that my life is better when I assume people are doing their best. It keeps me out of judgment and let’s me focus on what is, and not what should or could be.” (Rising Strong pg.111-113)

I started to really pay attention to when judgment snuck into my mind, and I put this thinking to the test. And I have to tell you…I think her husband was absolutely right.

I don’t want to be judgmental. I want to be authentic and real. When I move into judgment, I move further away from who I want to be.

I also know something about myself. My best looks different on any given day. On a day when I am feeling good, energetic, happy…my best looks pretty impressive. On a day when I am struggling with an illness, feelings of inadequacy, energy levels, being in alignment with my values…my best looks much different. BUT IT’S STILL MY BEST on that day!

I am NOT perfect, I am human. I have good days. I have challenging days. But I can tell you that I am always doing the best that I can. My best on a good day is pretty awesome. My best on a difficult day…is pretty awesome too!

We need to stop this idea that unless you are rocking the stage, you are not doing your best. We need to soften our eyes and find the compassion to say, “That might be your best today and that is enough.” We need to be kinder to ourselves on those challenging days and realize, “This is my best today.”

Here’s my analogy. I like to workout. I go to Orange Theory several times a week. Some days, I feel like a million bucks on that treadmill and in that weight room. On other days, just getting to the gym is my best. We have to allow ourselves to recognize that our best is different every single day. Don’t be hard on yourself. Love yourself enough to say, “This is my best today. And that’s enough.”

Do you believe people are doing the best they can? Do you believe you are doing the best you can? I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts.

At the end of the day, I agree that holding this belief makes me a better person. I am much more compassionate and understanding to those around me and to myself. This is who I want to be!

 

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What Matters Mondays – Mar 7, 2016

March 7th, 2016 by admin Leave a Comment

When I am in struggle, having a tough day, a disagreement with someone in my life…I know what I need and I know what I want and they aren’t always the same. In fact, rarely are they the same. A few weeks ago, I had my feelings hurt by a friend. I knew it had happened as soon as it happened because I know what my body does when I go into shame/feelings of unworthiness and hurt. My throat gets tight, my stomach feels off, I feel like I’m going to cry and most importantly, I want to run away and hide. Never talk to her again kind of thing.

Well here’s where it’s important to give yourself what it needs not necessarily what it wants.

I’ll start with what I want. My reaction when I’ve had my feelings hurt is to instantly begin building my case, self protect and tell myself what I want to hear (the partial truths that I have already crafted in my head). In these moments, my first instinct is to find a friend that I can call who will take my side and agree with me. But the truth is, after that conversation, rarely will I feel better. Maybe momentarily, but the reality is…the problem is still there. This is a case of wrong person, at the wrong time for the wrong situation. When I am in struggle I need to think about who I can call that will be there for me in a different way.

This brings me to what I need. When I am feeling backed into a corner, upset by a conversation with a friend…I need to think carefully about whom to call. I know the importance of not keeping struggle to myself; I know that I need to reach out and speak this shame aloud so that it will fizzle, but I need the right person. I need the friend who:

  1. Understands empathy – feels with me, not for me
  2. Can stay out of judgment
  3. Can take my perspective and understand what emotion I am truly feeling
  4. Does not need to fix it for me
  5. Can say the hard things to me
  6. Can call me on the BS stories I am crafting in order to be right
  7. Can ask me to share what is fact and what I am making up to self-protect
  8. Will love me regardless of whether I’m right or wrong

Here’s the thing. Some people in our lives that care deeply about us cannot watch us in struggle. It’s too hard for them. They love us too much to see us hurting and so they do what they can to help make the discomfort go away. They agree with us, they try to fix it, they feel bad for us, they tell us what we want to hear instead of what we need to hear. These are not bad people….these people love us dearly, but they are not the people to call when we are in struggle. PERIOD.

After my disagreement with my friend, I got curious. What was going on? Why was I feeling like this? What was true about the situation? What was I making up about the situation in order to protect myself? Who was the best person to call?

The following day I sat at coffee with just the friend. Someone who made me own my part, someone who asked me enough questions until I had my own AHA moment, someone who saw me as capable of solving this myself, and someone who loved me more for sharing my story and trusting her enough to help me own it.

When you are in struggle, who do you call?

Next time something comes up for you, pay attention. Are you looking to win your case or are you brave enough to look at the facts and stay in your authenticity?

My old self would have moved away. Not spoken to that person for a while. But that’s not who I am. I value connection and so I have to be willing to get curious and rumble with the tough stuff with the right person in each situation.

To watch a great video on empathy vs. sympathy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw

 

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