What do you want?

What Do You Want?  A tropical vacation?  A night out on the town?  A new house?  To lose weight?  Flowers from your sweetheart?  $$$?

What do your kids want?  A new toy?  To play with their friend?  A day at the beach?  A puppy?  To play video games all day?  A cell phone?

There is a part inside us all that knows what is best for us.  I call this our inner wisdom.  Learning to understand how this inner wisdom communicates will save us a lot anguish.  Sometimes it’s through the body (My excema flares up when I even think about an old boss). Sometimes it’s through our memory (My inability to remember numbers is my inner wisdom’s way of saying, ‘don’t be an accountant’).  And sometimes it’s through our desires.

Ask yourself, “What do I want?” Then ask yourself, “What is the feeling I imagine this would give me?” When you figure out what the feeling is you long for, you can find many ways to satisfy this yearning? My daughter kept saying she wanted to go back to Hawaii.  She was four years old when she went so I was curious, “What do you remember about Hawaii?” She said she remembered eating donuts every morning.  When I asked her how do imagine you would feel to be in Hawaii again, she sighed a big sigh and said, “relaxed”.  This is her inner wisdom saying first grade is too stressful and she needs a break.  So I gave her a mental health day from school and had her play in the hot tub instead of doing homework.

Everyone is different and I have no idea what your desires are trying to tell you.  Here are some possible ones for adults that might spark your own insights:

  • Tropical vacation = I need psychological and phyiscal rest.
  • To lose weight = I need to feel like me (athletic, attractive, in control).
  • A night on the town = I need to feel carefree, important, socially connected, a break from responsibility.
  • A gift from sweetheart = I need to feel cared for, appreciated, valued.
  • A new house, kitchen, etc.= I want my outer world to reflect my inner world whether it is new, clean, different, modern, good for entertaining, etc.
  • To win the lottery = Freedom from money worries.

Once you realize the feeling you are after, you can think of many ways to get it.  Take a day off, reconnect with a hobby you used to enjoy, clean out a closet, invite friends over, buy yourself flowers, put music on and dance while you clean, go to yoga class, get a massage, or hire a life coach.

Kids are a little easier to read, here are some common ones for them that may or may not ring true for your kiddo:

  • Wanting to play video games for hours can be wanting an escape. Introverts, especially, will escape to this world to feel rested and renergized.
  • Yearning for a new toy can mean I’m ready for new stimulation and excitement.
  • Wanting playdates can be a yearning for more social connections, fun, and, for extroverts, an important part of learning.
  • Babies, puppies, and other cute cuddlies are a yearning for that loving, peaceful feeling. Pull out baby photos and home movies of your child and cuddle them on the couch, unless you have an endless supply of puppies and babies.
  • Wanting a cell phone can be a kids way of saying ‘I want to fit in with my peer group and feel connected to them’.
  • Repeating “I’m hungry” or “I’m bored” all day long, could be true, but it can also be a yearning for attention, excitement, social stimulation, or a change of pace.

Recognizing what kids are REALLY yearning for will save you money, time and frustration when you give them ‘the thing’ and they still aren’t happy.  By asking your kids what feeling they imagine this item will give them, you are helping them connect with their own inner wisdom.  When you can help your kids feel heard and felt, then you are giving them what they REALLY need to be happy.  Learn to listen to your own desires and follow the feelings you are after.  This will lead you towards true happiness for yourself.  And if you decide it’s time to plan a tropical vacation, my daughter and I would be happy to tag along.

 

Want to give life coaching a try? Schedule a free discovery call at www.LifeCoachingforParents.com/work-with-me

The false joy hangover

You worked hard all day, doing things for everybody else.  The kids are finally asleep. Your emails, dishes, laundry and paperwork are as done as they are going to be tonight.  You finally sit down to take a little time for yourself and you settle in with your favorite chocolate chip ice cream and some R & R.  The next morning you feel like crap because you know you the entire container of ice cream is now sitting comfortably around your midsection.  This is what I call the false-joy hangover.

We need joy in our lives and your essential self knows it.  But in this productive, hardworking, don’t you dare take time for yourself culture, it is rare to find a parent who admits to regularly taking time out to do something they truly enjoy.  When I ask my clients what they do that feels like play, they hardly understand the question.  “I can’t take time for that” or “I wouldn’t have any idea what to do with myself” or “that would be selfish”.  It’s fear that keeps them from seeking and making time for joy.

In the meantime your essential self is looking out for you and sneaking joy in as best it can.  Over-eating, over-drinking, over-spending, or over-indulging leads us into false joy.  False joy leaves you with a hangover of guilt or regret.  It can give you buyer’s remorse or a compulsion to keep a secret.

Mary works full time and is the Mom of two young kids.  She is tired from burning the candle at both ends and finally manages to take a day for herself.  She give herself a shopping spree at her favorite store.  She has a great time buying beautiful clothes but by nightime, starts to feel guilty about the money she spent.  She ends up hiding some of her purchases in her car so her husband won’t find out.

Mary felt a ‘high’, followed by a crash.  This false joy hangover leads to a lot of negative self talk (“why can’t I do better?”  “I should be able to control myself”) which then leads to feeling crappy, which makes us yearn for more joy, which we don’t have, so we seek it however we can and the false-joy hangover ensues.  When people try to eliminate their false joy, without first bringing in more authentic joy, their success doesn’t last but the negative self talk sure does.

Authentic joy fills you up and expands to everyone you encounter.  It fills your cup up so much that it overflows and creates a positive effect.  Go slowly at first. Take your time.  Some Moms are scared they might jump on an airplane and never come back.  I think, just asking the question, helps our essential self feel heard.  Notice when you lose track of time, feel connected to the present moment, or a memory brings tears to your eyes.  Slowly bring in more of those kinds of joy filled activities and your craving for false joy will subside.  Ask yourself, “What do I want right now?”.  It may be to do exactly what you are doing.  Wh knew those nasty hangovers may actually be trying to help us?

 

Want to give life coaching a try? Schedule a free discovery call at www.LifeCoachingforParents.com/work-with-me

My 40th Birthday

Boy did I stress out about turning 40 this month!  Not because of getting older, but because I couldn’t decide what to do for my birthday!  Because it was “the big 4-0”, I felt a lot of pressure to do something big.  I had all these voices in my head saying “You should have a big party to celebrate with all your friends” or “You should do something big, different, exciting, etc.”.  These messages were coming from my ‘social self’.  The social self is the part of me that is defined by my parents, my culture, my language, peers, media, etc.  Developing ones social self is very important and a large part of our work as parents, is teaching these cultural norms to our kids. “We don’t hit when we are angry”, “we don’t throw food on the floor”, etc.  A crucial part of our child’s emotional well being is to feel accepted and respected by his or her culture.

An equally important part of our well being is to listen to and respect our ‘essential self’.  This is the part of us that would have been us no matter who our parents were, what language we spoke or what country we were born into.  This is the part of you, that is essentially YOU.  The essential self is easy to spot in children and how different one can be from one another.  Some kids prefer dancing, art, building, running, some love attention while others shy away.  When we enter the “tween” years, the social self grows stronger.  Do remember wearing matching clothes?  Only wanting to eat the same foods as everyone else?  Camoflauing is the word we use to describe the way many kids want to avoid their essential self and identify more with their social self.

I had a strong social self until my mid-twenties when I gave myself permission to reconnect with my essential self.  Many of my decisions, these days, are based on what I feel is most aligned with my essential self.  Which is why it surprised me so much when this 40th birthday rolled around and suddenly I felt really torn about how to celebrate.  Once I realized that I was in a battle between my social and essential self, it became clear what to do.  Many of my life coaching clients struggle because they have listened too much to their social selves and feel disconnected from their life’s purpose.  Your essential self always has your best interest at heart and learning how to listen to it, is a wonderful journey that reconnects you to your ‘right life’.

So, I ended up having a fabulous 40th birthday.  I spent the day, all by myself, at a wonderful spa.  Then the next day, I met a group of friends out for some good food, drink, and wonderful conversations.  No big party, no big adventures, no cake (my essential self will take fish tacos over cake any day!).  But my essential self felt very loved from family and friends, but more importantly, from myself.

 

Want to give life coaching a try? Schedule a free discovery call at www.LifeCoachingforParents.com/work-with-me