Monthly Archives: February 2012

WHAT I DID TO DEAL WITH A DIFFICULT FAMILY SITUATION

This post is brought to you by my good friend Sara Miller. She and I share life experiences and we once did a crazy experiment together that taught us both a lesson. If you have questions for Sara let me know. Thanks Sara!

Last October, as I drove a small highway to a family event, I found myself getting nervous and anxious about the upcoming weekend with my family.  Instead of enjoying the beautiful fall foliage with its colorful presentation of burgundies, oranges, deep purples and reds, I was momentarily distracted by a conversation I had with my older sister earlier in the year.  The conversation started out with our normal pleasantries, but it ended with my sister yelling, screaming at me and then abruptly hanging up.  What was the trigger for the outburst?  I had no clue and was upset that once again our conversation had resolved to this.  What got us to this point? Why did we bicker? I often asked myself why she and I could not just agree to disagree.   So as I drove down the highway, I realized I was going spend an uncomfortable weekend in her company.   I found myself getting agitated and worrying about what I needed to do to make it thru the weekend.  I then remembered some of the steps my beloved mother would say and practice with our large extended family during the holidays.

  1. Give Up Hope:  I’m not saying we should not have hope that a family problem cannot be resolved.  You just need to be realistic about the situation; an existing family problem will not be resolved in 1 weekend.  Be prepared to accept everyone for where they are at now and not where you expect them to be. 
  2. Set a Secure Boundary for Yourself:  If you find that your discussion getting heated, you have to find a way to exit gracefully before the conversation evolves into the unwanted heated discussion.  This is easier said than done, so recognize the triggers, such as harsh and personal comments/argumentative behavior.  Then excuse yourself to make a call, to go to the restroom, the key is to recognize the triggers, and make a graceful exit for 15 minutes.  Those trips out the room for a moment actually work.
  3. Lose control:  One of my problems is that I’m a bit of a control freak.  Therefore, I had to realize I had no control of another person’s actions.  I had to remember any attempt to control another’s actions actually puts me under their control.  In situations like this, losing control allowed me to just sit back and relax.  I learned letting go of control meant freedom from the drama. 
  4. Become an observer:  That weekend I had to learn to just sit back and watch.  This step in the social science world is called participant observation.  I was amazed by the clarity this gave me.  I realized my silence and ambivalence gave others an opportunity to step and lead the family activities. I realized my take charge attitude was perceived by some as controlling and to others it was seen and accepted as a part of who I am.  I was happy to watch my younger brother step up and lead the family in activities, he took the role like a true family leader and it was a welcomed reprieve.  
  5. Debrief:  It is important to have someone to talk with.  Dysfunctional family behavior can lead to depression. So it is important to have someone you can discuss this with to let it all out.   Two days after the weekend event, my youngest brother called me.   He said he noticed that I was a ‘bit off’ that weekend and wondered what was bothering me.   However, he also noticed that my sister was more anxious than normal.  He wondered what had happened but, decided to be an observer.   He then realized that I had let go and decided to step up to guide the group activities.   Once he got the family interacting and enjoying each other, he then realized I was not upset and I was having a good time as well!  He and I laughed about the potential mishaps that were avoided by my new approach.

Take time to try these steps at your next family event.  Try it for the first hour of the event, and remember it does not mean you are defeated just that you are growing and learning.

 

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DO THE WORK

So you know exactly what you want out of life.  And you know exactly how to get it.  The only thing left is to do the work.  The big picture is important and you are expected to have a vision, but all the small steps and task make up the work that makes the big picture possible. When you work towards what you want it makes it real.  When you sit wishing and waiting you are just dreaming.  Dreams are for sleepers.  Wake up, live and do the work.

So maybe you don’t know exactly what you want, which means you have no idea how to get it. That’s ok too, because you can do the work that will help you discover what is missing in your life.  Search, pray, listen, watch, think, act, feel, and give until your passion is revealed.

The work is your research.  The work may mean getting up early or staying up late.  It may mean meeting people that you don’t think you will like.  What work needs to be done in order for you to be successful?  What work needs to be done in order for you to feel free?  What work needs to be done in order for you to feel like the person you intended to be?  You can do it.

Doing what it takes…Now That’s Presidential!


DON’T TAKE EVERYTHING SO SERIOUSLY

I bet you can find some humor in most life situations without even trying hard.  Laugh at the insult, the accident, the heart break or the mistake.  Laugh at yourself, laugh at others and allow them to laugh at you.  That way when the real serious times come you can handle them with ease.

There are times when you will have to be serious.  There are times when the sadness or the seriousness cannot be lightened.  Handle those accordingly but all other times laugh out loud.  Be playful, be happy and be fun.  It is really not that serious.  Be light and easy with life.  The world will not end if you laugh a little.  In fact it just might begin in a way that you have never experienced.

Give yourself permission to just take it easy.  Don’t be anxious, scared or serious.  It is ok to just let life happen while you are doing what you are supposed to.  Smile all the way through.  Tell life a joke and laugh together. Ha!

Laughing out loud…Now That’s Presidential!


BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD

Your word is everything.  Speak in truth at all times.  When you say you are going to do something, do it.  If you are unable to do it, be big enough to admit your mistake.  We all falter and what separate the good from the bad are a few words.

Say what you mean and mean what you say.  People are counting on you. People want to believe you.  How do you feel when you find out that someone has lied to you or made you feel alone?  It is not a good feeling and you should work to follow up your good intensions with some good actions.

There are times when your reputation precedes you.  Have you been impeccable with your word? Have you followed through with your intensions?  Keep your word to yourself, to your higher power and to the people around you.  Stand behind what you say. Be 100% true to your life, yourself and your word.

Saying what you mean and meaning what you say…Now That’s Presidential!


IT’S TIME TO TRIM ALL THE EXTRAS THAT WEIGH YOU DOWN.

Americans live a lifestyle of over-abundance, hoarding and excess.  How much do you really need to feel fulfilled?  How many women or men do you need in your life?  How many cars, purses, gym memberships, how many friends or how many animals?  How many TV shows do you need to watch? What do you really need to keep a smile on your face?

If your cup is full of dirty water you won’t have room for the clean water.  What extra things in your life take too much of your attention, money, time or energy?  Are you over eating, over sleeping, over sexing, over infatuated, over wishing, over learning, over spending or over playing?

Stop it right now.  Whether you do it cold turkey, or slowly one minute at a time, do it.  Get in a program: AA, weight watchers, boat camp, church, investment club, book club or start your own support group.  When you let go of the baggage that weighs you down you are light enough to float.

Trim, cut, sever, release all that gives you an excuse. You know that you are enough so show it. Get ready to soar. 

Feeling light…Now That’s Presidential!