Thursday, April 28, 2011

What's up with the last minute cancelations?

I talk about life lessons or contracts every once in a while in this blog. I love this subject because it’s one that constantly comes up for me and I’m sure everyone I know. Once you’ve identified a life lesson, it becomes easier to realize when it’s there smacking you right in the face.

Boundaries … it will always be

I’ve shared that my huge life lesson is setting boundaries. This lesson used to manifest itself in the form of me not being able to say no to a request "no" matter how outrageous it was. Now, that I have mastered that ability, I find that my boundary lesson has changed. It now comes in the form of me not accepting how someone is treating me.

I used to have a friend that would constantly cancel on me. We’d set up plans to do something together and an hour or so before we were to get together, she would cancel. I never realized that was a form of boundary setting that I had yet to learn. It was an opportunity for me to quit making plans with her, yet I never did.

Lately, I’ve realized that I’ve attracted the same situation back into my life. Life lessons are like that. They will keep coming back giving you the opportunity to learn them. I was very proud of myself for recognizing the trend early this time. It just doesn’t feel good when someone feels like they can cancel on you last minute. I don’t know what the message in that is, but to me it’s implying that my time is not as valuable as theirs.

I’ll never cancel on someone just because

I’ve shared that I’ve switched from an electronic calendar to a paper one. May I add that I love it! I am constantly organized and know what’s coming up for me. I keep it at home so that I’m not burdened with the “calendar” everywhere I go. It always me a little more breathing room when committing or not to an event.

When I do commit to something though, it’s there. I will only cancel when it’s a desperate situation such as an illness otherwise, I am there. Canceling because I’m tired or because I just don’t feel like it or because I’d rather do something else is not who I am. I do have a friend who feels comfortable canceling for those reasons. That is definitely her choice in life. My choice to deal with that is to not make any plans with her. I’m just not into feeling bad anymore.

“Does it feel good?”

I’ve also shared in past posts that the one question I live by is, “Does it feel good?” If the answer is no, then that’s enough said. It just doesn’t feel good to be canceled on last minute so therefore the remedy is “don’t make plans with that person.” It doesn’t have to be a big drama deal, if we see each other socially or the kids want to play then that’s fine, but a plan that’s made ahead of time is obviously a no-no.

Your thoughts … I’d love to hear them

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Hopefully a little closer to mastering the boundary lesson! I mean how many more ways can it possibly show up?


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Choices ...

My youngest son will start mostly every sentence with, “He made me do it.” My response is always, “No one can make you do anything, you make your own choices and when you do, the consequences are based on your choices.”

Granted, he’s only six years old and that concept may be a little too much for him right now. It’s easier for him to say that it is someone else’s fault anytime he’s in trouble rather than owning up to it himself.

Peer pressure?

I’ve thought about how as adults we either take responsibility for our actions or not. Is it always someone else’s fault? Really? My reply to that is anything that happens to you is a result of your choices and only your choices.

I had a friend that would peer pressure me into things I really didn’t want to do. Even as an adult, I felt like I couldn’t say “no” to the stupid thing she wanted to do next. I wouldn’t say they were terrible things, just things I really didn’t want to do. That’s when I still hadn’t figured out that I have problems saying "no" and setting boundaries.

I find that I’ve come a long way from those days. I have trained myself to think before I reply. I usually never give an answer right away. I sleep on it and then decide how I feel. I find that my decisions are a lot more balanced and peaceful that way.

The choice of a meal plan

I’ve recently put together a weekly meal plan for our family. I got the idea from a fantastic book called, “Simplicity Parenting” by Kim John Payne. Truly, it has taken the stress out of grocery shopping and figuring out meals for us. The kids have come to love fish Wednesdays just as much as staek Mondays.

It has brought predictability into our house that is truly harmonizing. Due to my meal plan, I’ve found that I am less inclined to go out to dinner during the middle of the week anymore. I used to go out with just my friends every once in a while and now I find that my choice is to not do that or set that up. It is my choice to have as many family dinners as I can. I truly love that time with my family.

Our kids take turn saying a blessing every night. I feel it allows us all to exhale and enjoy the next 45 minutes to an hour of dinner time together. We’re not as rushed and hectic anymore. Our conversations are a lot deeper than we could have imagined as well.

Our kids will tell us about their day at school and we might share how our day went. Last night, my son was asking about nuns and somehow we ended up talking about Mother Teresa and how wonderful a human being she was.

What a great experience we’ve had!

I feel that thinking about the choices we make allows us so much more depth in our lives. The choice of a meal plan and having dinner at 6:30 pm every night as a family has brought a richness to our family life that is amazing.

Our free nights are Fridays and Saturdays. That allows us the opportunity to order pizza or go out to dinner if that’s what we feel like doing. The nights when my husband is out of town, we still continue our trend and it allows the kids and I to maintain some of our balance with an unbalanced

What a great choice that was for our family!

Your thoughts … I’d love to hear them

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Thinking before acting!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Smothering my boy with love

Our boys have totally been reacting to spring. Like little bees, they’ve been buzzing and flitting everywhere. In the process, they have been driving us crazy. My one friend said, “It’s like the seed that’s trying to sprout out of the ground. It has all this energy in it that’s making it buzz and fidget, trying to make its way out of the ground.” That image of my boys having all this energy really put it in perspective for me.

That’s not to say we’ve been coping with all this extra energy calmly and peacefully. We’ve been especially frustrated with our oldest son, Louie, who just turned eight. I felt that my whole day was spent telling him to stop doing that annoying thing he was doing. The hardest thing to deal with was his lack of respect for me and my mother in addition to that extra dose of defiance he was displaying.

Meditating on the cause

I started reading a book by Henning Kohler called, “Working with Nervous, Anxious and Depressed Children.” Louie’s teacher recommended it as an excellent read for any parent of a child in the lower grades. He said, “Get past the title and read it for the content.” We are actually reading it as a second grade parent body and will be discussing it in a month.

It’s not the simplest of books to read, but the first few pages talk about every child having a guardian angel who helps them. He continues to say that we can ask their guardian angel to help us figure out what’s going on with our child prior going to sleep. I decided to meditate on Louie a few nights ago to try to figure out what was going on with all the extra emotion he was having and causing.

I woke up at three am and had my epiphany. The answer was that he felt that he wasn’t getting enough attention and consequently didn’t feel loved. Therefore, all his acting out was a form of getting attention. I thought about that without getting defensive. I know that my husband and I give him so much attention and love. That wasn’t the point though; the point was that he was feeling like that wasn’t enough.

Smothering him with love

I told my husband what I thought in the morning and he said that he could see that. We called Louie and his brother into our room and gave them the biggest bear hug and smothered them with love. We took our time in making him feel that we really, really loved and cared about him. We’ve also made an extra effort to show him that love continuously throughout the day. The amazing thing is that it worked. He’s mellowed out completely and the disrespect is gone.

Today, I happened to be hearing a lecture on CD by Kim John Payne called, “The
Compassionate Response” and it was basically saying the same thing. At times, when our kids defy us, we tend to rise up to the occasion rather than assuming that something is truly bothering them whether it is warranted in our mind or not. We treat both our kids the same, it’s just that for some reason, Louie needed an extra boost. Giving it to him has allowed that wonderful being he is to shine through again.

Your thoughts … I’d love to hear them

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Can’t wait to give my boy his bear hug when I see him!