Sometimes you just need to hear it….

I was feeling resentful and under-appreciated.  My husband went out of town and I felt stuck in the daily grind of dishes, laundry, cooking, driving and homework.  Even the holidays just looked like more chores on my to-do list.  I was busy but bored.  Normally I can coach myself out these moods, take some time to myself, go to yoga, etc.  This time I wasn’t snapping out of my bitterness.  I really needed to feel appreciated, valued and considered but I was stuck in my self-righteous anger and I didn’t like it.

I believe that no one can make you feel anything without you believing it first.  If you tell me I’m mean and selfish, it doesn’t affect me because I don’t have that belief about myself.  If I roll out of bed and drive to CVS, sick and feeling awful with my head pounding and nose running, and I see you there and you tell me how great I look, I will not believe you.  If I want to feel appreciated, I have to appreciate me first, in order to receive a compliment from anyone else.  So as dorky as I felt doing it, I wrote myself a thank you note:

Wonderful You,

needing to feel appreciatedI just want to take a minute to thank you for all you have done and continue to do to make our household run smoothly. You do such a great job of raising our children, cooking for our family, keeping them in clean clothes that fit, and maintaining a beautiful home, it’s easy to take you for granted. You manage to stay in good spirits while you juggle all the demands of our family. You encourage your children and husband to pursue their interests, joys, friendships and activities and are happy to “hold down the fort” and help facilitate, plan, drive and arrange financing to make these dreams possible. You always prioritize their needs, remembering their schedules, being on time, purchasing the right shoes, birthday presents, permission slips and all the details of life. You do this because your family’s happiness makes you so happy. Sometimes taking care of your family is a thankless job, but I want you to know that I appreciate and recognize your hard work, thoughtfulness and consistent care. You are a gem of a wife and mother and I am truly proud to walk in your shoes every day. I hope next time you look in the mirror, you recognize what a powerful force for good you truly are and how blessed your family is to have you in their lives.

With gratitude & love,

Me

It took a few drafts to get into the genuine feeling of gratitude (that self-righteous anger held on tight!).  But once I wrote it AND felt it, the rest of the day I felt only love and gratitude.  It was like I had filled up my appreciation tank and didn’t need any external validation. But what happens when you are walking around, vibrating in self-appreciation?  Other people feel it too, and about 5 hours later my husband walked in with a dozen roses AND the two items I asked him to pick up at Costco!

Don’t sit around and wait for someone to give you the feeling you want to feel.  Give it to yourself first. Write a letter telling yourself how proud you are of you, how you deserve a break for all your hard work, how caring and generous you are, how much you admire your patience and self respect.  Then watch and see how your family and your world start to respond to you differently.

How to Help Your Friends & Loved Ones (without losing yourself)

I’m sure you’ve all experienced “help” from your loved ones. Well meaning advice that starts with “What you need to do is……” or the pleading words from parents, “Honey, I’m worried about you….”

Working TogetherIt can be really hard to watch our child, our friend or a loved one suffering unnecessarily. Often, we can see things they can’t see but when we try to offer a new perspective, we get shut down. “If you just changed your attitude, your job wouldn’t be so bad.” “Just because your friend didn’t text you back doesn’t mean she hates you.” There are three ways people “help” that just don’t work.

  1. “Let me tell you what to do.” If you’ll just step aside, I can take over and do a much better job at managing your life than you are. This may be true but it’s not your lesson to learn and this type of “help” leaves both parties feeling frustrated and ignored.
  2. “I feel bad for you.” I’ll jump into suffering with you in hopes it will eliminate and relieve your burden. I will feel sad & scared in solidarity with you so at least you aren’t alone.   As well meaning as this is, this version leaves both parties feeling crappy and unable to see solutions.
  3. I’m worried about you so if you could worry too, I’ll feel better. This version of “helping” is common for parents to do to kids but it’s really about helping “the worrier” feeling more comfortable. Asking someone else to change their behavior so you can feel better, ignores the real problem and real solution.

Learning to help your friends and loved ones in a way that TRULY helps is an art form. If you’ve got “The Helping Tic” like I do, seeing people struggle causes you physical pain and mental anguish. The desire to help others is a good and important trait so learning to do it in a way that helps you BOTH feel better is SO important!

This “How to Help” workshop is right for you if ……

  • Your friends confide in you about their problems.
  • You find yourself thinking more about other people’s problems than your own.
  • You find yourself avoiding certain people because strong emotions come up when you are with them.
  • You hear yourself telling others “What you need to do is…..” or saying “Why doesn’t she just _____________ and then her life will be fine.”
  • Watching your loved ones or friends repeat the same mistakes really bugs you.
  • You worry more than you like and wish you knew how to stop.
  • Your children come to you with their problems and you’d like to help them feel better, without “fixing” it for them.
  • You can’t stand watching your children struggle.

This workshop was inspired by some of the girls in my summer camp who felt burdened by some of the secrets they had been asked to carry by friends who were in a really bad place. Please share this invitation with your daughters age 13 and up and bring them along if they are interested.

Mom’s Mini-Retreat (teenage girls welcome, too.)  Sunday, November 23rd 12pm-3:00pm near Walnut Creek.  $35.00 each, includes lunch, drinks and an interactive workshop. Space is Limited, Sign Up Today. 

If you are interested in the topic but can’t make the live retreat, click here and let me know.   If I get enough interest, I’ll create a webinar version.


How many are coming?



Why is it so hard to talk to kids about sex?

So many parents WANT to talk to their kids about puberty, sexuality, love and intimacy. We want our kids to come to us with problems, concerns, and questions and to respond to them honestly about such an important topic. So why is it so hard?

It’s hard because it is REALLY important. It’s hard because we don’t want to screw it up. It’s hard because we don’t have the words to say what we really want to say. Talking to pre-teens about sex requires authenticity. It calls us to be our higher selves. We have to admit we don’t know everything and we can’t protect our child from everything. It’s switching from being the all-knowing-parent-in-charge to the cheerleading-mentor-sideline-coach. It’s admitting ignorance and embarrassment. It’s feeling awkward and vulnerable. It’s feeling the shame of your past mistakes. It’s realizing we, too, are susceptible to the messages the media sends around not being good enough. It’s being open to whatever your kid wants to ask. It’s hearing about the inappropriate video your innocent child saw on the Internet. It’s opening up discussions on other topics like abortion, rape, oral sex, and sexual abuse that send you right back into hiding. It’s scary and so we run from it.

Talking about sex with your child is a big deal and it’s easy to get caught up in the fear, worry, and loss of innocence.

But there is a good part.

When puberty starts, this is our chance to communicate to our children how special they really are. That their bodies can do amazing & magical things and are worthy of being respected. That developing the ability to MAKE HUMAN BEINGS is pretty darn AWESOME!That our kids are powerful and magical and creative and that it all comes from being able to LOVE in a deep and intimate way.That everyone all over the globe has the same magical power.It’s about realizing that we are just as important and wonderful as our parents, that annoying kid in math class, the soccer coach, the homeless man and the President.

When parents and kids talk openly and authentically about sex, it creates a significant bond. When we giggle together, get embarrassed together, feel awkward yet honest together, we feel connected on a deeper level. For kids, it’s about seeing your parent in a new light: a friend, an ally, vulnerable and perfectly imperfect. It forms a bond of friendship that will last a lifetime. For the parent, it’s about letting your child be who they are meant to be. It’s allowing them to grow, to trust and honor them in a whole new way.

Talking to your kids about sex is hard, but we have made it easy. Purchase our Time for The Talk online program to watch with your 9-13 year old today and create a bond that will last a lifetime.

On sale until Tuesday, July 1st

Life Lessons from Facebook

Summer is here and it’s time to give your kids room to explore their individual passions and follow their bliss. But what if all they want to do is play video games? Or it’s day two of vacation and they are already bored and missing their friends?

If your kids passions are inconvenient or unclear, try tuning into your own. Children learn by imitation so one of the best ways to teach your kids to be happy, successful and passionate is to focus on your own life.

No one can tell you what your calling is or who you are meant to be, but you can learn to listen to the whispers the Universe is sending you! Knowing we are here for a reason helps us feel connected to something bigger than ourselves, helps us feel excited and purposeful about our lives, and therefore, is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children.

Before we can teach our kids how to listen, we have to trust it for ourselves. So often we think, “Competitive sports changed my life for the better and taught me so much, so my kids should be in competitive sports.” Or “My success came easily because I learned how to study, get straight A’s, and had lots of friends so I can’t imagine how my child will be successful with her negative attitude towards school.” When we assume our child’s path is the same as ours, it blocks us from seeing them clearly. We end up arguing with them, their teachers, peers, coaches, wishing their personalities were different, instead of remembering we are all perfect as we are.

Learn to listen to the whispers in your own life by doing these two exercises:

1- Start a list of “What I Want/What I don’t Want” and add to it every day. Go on FACEBOOK and notice any posts where you get jealous or annoyed. “I just passed the bar exam!” “Ran 10 miles today!” “Our view of Kailua Beach”. Jealousy isn’t bad, it’s just a sign that you are meant to have that, too. Anything you feel a physical or emotional response to, add it to your “What I want/What I don’t want” list. Whether it’s a vacation, a new job, or going back to school, your higher self knows what’s next for you and it’s always better to pay attention to the whispers instead of waiting for the Universe to knock you upside the head. For example: Shelly was annoyed by her friends tri-athalon posts and everytime they started talking about it, she rolled her eyes and walked away. Once she realized her gag-reflex was a sign from her higher self, she started playing tennis once a week, something she loved doing before her kids were born, and taking more bike rides with her kids. Now she is happy for her friends that they are doing what they love, because she is doing more of what she loves.

2- Look back into your childhood and make a list of your favorite movies, books, TV shows, school subjects, activities, trips, experiences, friends, games to play. Look for the common threads! For example: My favorite things to play were real life games (store, house, school, bank, etc.) and board games (The Game of Life).  My favorite books were Ginnie’s Babysitting Business, The Popularity Plan, and, of course, the Judy Blume collection. The TV shows I liked were Growing Pains and Family Ties (no Star Trek or Crossfire for me!) and when I was 13 I wanted to be “Dear Abby” and write an advice column. If I had known life coaching was a profession, for sure I would have found it sooner. All the signs were there.

Just like me, your kids might invent their own career, or the work they are best suited for, hasn’t been invented yet. To best help them, focus on the big picture and what lights you up, then talk about it out loud.  Recognize the signs the Universe is sending to help you listen to your higher self and theirs. Your kids may not listen to every word you say, but for sure they are watching every move you make!

Want to feel more connected with your purpose? Want to feel fully alive as you help your kids find passion and confidence? Join me for my three week telecourse: Cultivating Passion and Confidence. Sign up by Tuesday, June 17th and get a free life coaching session with me!

How to enjoy your life

I just returned from the best vacation ever. The reason it was so fabulous is because I’ve learned to mind my own business. Five years ago, I would not have been able to enjoy it as much because I was addicted to worry:
“I hope no one misses their flight.”
“I hope no one gets sick before the trip”
“I know I’m forgetting something.”
“What if our luggage gets lost?”
“What if people don’t like the house I chose for us to rent?”
“There is no A/C, everyone is going to be hot and be mad at me.”
“I should help out with my little nephews more.”
“I didn’t do enough of the cooking/kitchen clean up. Is everyone mad at me?”
“I can’t be happy if the kids aren’t happy.”
“What if someone drowns? Get’s stung by a jelly fish? Attacked by a shark?”
“I should have planned it during better weather, I feel bad that it’s so windy/rainy/cold/hot/humid”
“Do they like the food I cooked?”
“Are my parents disgusted by my children’s lack of manners? Are my kids being annoying?
“Am I paying my fair share?”
“Are people bored? Should I make more plans? What if they don’t like the plans I made? Are they just going along to be nice but secretly they are annoyed with me?

EXHAUSTING

Worry and guilt are all-consuming distractions. They feel important and productive, responsible and thoughtful, but they are not. Worry and guilt are decoys. They steal our attention so that we don’t notice how amazing and beautiful and fortunate we are. On this vacation, my thoughts went something like this:
“Wow, this is the most gorgeous place on Earth.”
“How did I get so lucky.”
“The kids are having so much fun.”
“It’s fascinating how happy I can be even when others aren’t.”
“I love it here.”

Even when “bad” things happened, I didn’t take on responsibility for things that weren’t mine. My Mom fainted on a hike after I pushed her to keep going, even though she wanted to go back down. The old me would have felt horribly guilty the rest of the week, the new me says, “Oops, sorry Mom, guess I should have listened to you, next time, I’ll know better.”

We scraped the rental car, we got lost driving at night, kids got hurt and sunburned, we wasted money, we left a bag on the airplane, THINGS HAPPENED.
But life becomes wonderful when you stay in your own business.

The weather, sharks, jellyfish, drownings, faintings, plane crashes, lost luggage, car accidents, I file all these under “God’s business”

Are my family members hot, cold, annoyed, pleased, happy, sad, frustrated, hungry, bored? I file these under “Their business.”

“My business” is how I feel, what I think, and the actions I take. When I feel worry and guilt rising up, I ask myself, “What here is my business?” and “What action can I take?” I apologize, contribute more, turn on a ceiling fan, put on more sunscreen and then let everything else go. If there is no clear action to take, the worry is unproductive, wasteful, and I blow it off.
I use worry as a springboard to gratitude. I allow in the goodness. I accept the awesome and appreciate the beauty. I feel the joy.

And it’s amazing how good, good can be.