I’m always amazed at the amount of time we devote to criticizing ourselves. It seems to me we give this cranial activity way too much power. Our areas for self-criticisms are usually quite predictable—the ways we have somehow failed to be perfect in social interaction, parenting, work and public image.
Why is it so important to us that we present this perfect person? Certainly, some things are worth striving for, and the journey toward achieving a great outcome can bring out the best we can be. There is much merit in doing things right and holding ourselves accountable. But “perfect” is a hard and often impossible expectation. It always leads to dissatisfaction in self. And expectations don’t end with ourselves… they expand to include others. We are often harsh to those we should be nurturing the most, expecting them to be perfect. But the perfection we demand is not “their” perfect, it’s “our” perfect. Continue reading
Last year, we introduced a new column called Teen Voices written by Hannah Adamson. The idea behind it was to help parents (and other adults) gain a glimpse into the world through a teen’s eyes. Although with tears of sadness, we now wish a joyous farewell to Hannah as she moves on to attend George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. In her words, “I’m in the honors college and planning to double major in Conflict Analysis and Resolution, and Global Affairs. I’m very excited. I loved writing for Natural Awakenings and hope I have contributed to a teen’s world.” Continue reading
Have you ever noticed how spending time worrying works? We start with a bit of fear, a possibility of an outcome that is never good (hence the word worrying). Negative thoughts creep in and dominate our thinking. We then create a path of new worry, layering unrelated worry on top of the original worry. Not everyone worries this way, but I have been there, and I know plenty of people that spend time enjoying the process of worrying. Sounds a bit crazy, this worrying thing. However, before you know it, we have created and projected the outcome of everything that could go wrong and will go wrong. Suddenly, we are trapped in our own creation of thinking worry. Naturally we need someone to share our worry with and seek them out. OMG! Now we have a worry network! Continue reading
I struggled my whole life with feeling less than. I covered it with phony, always thinking I should be someone else. I never really had a direction, so being left to my own thinking I was lost before I was a teen. I was chosen last in the playground, I never made teams. I sat on the bench and never played. No one paid attention to me.
When we stop and ask our kids how does sitting feel and they tell you “It’s okay, I don’t mind,” I would think about that. I doubt that it’s okay. We all need recognition. We all need someone to tell us we matter. Continue reading
Inspiration! The process of being mentally stimulated to do something, especially to do something creative. Finding something everyday can be challenging, so let’s make it simple—look for opportunities to be kind.
As the saying goes, “just do it.” Reach down into your heart, take a risk, break the norm of watching and just do it. Take some action, no matter how small, to make someone’s day a little bit brighter and make someone smile. Continue reading
Sitting at my desk, waiting for yet another snow storm to blanket the area, I’m letting my mind wander as it always does when faced with a blank sheet of paper. Suddenly the question drifts up from my deep inner brain: Just who is St. Valentine anyway?
St. Valentine is an interesting character, mostly because we don’t know much about him. Accounts differ and legends abound, but reliable information is on the short side. We do know he is the patron saint of lovers, epileptics and beekeepers. We also know that a lovers’ festival bearing his name dates back to the 14th century. And anyone who can achieve that type of recognition over seven centuries is okay in my book. Continue reading
We received a lot of positive feedback on the Publishers Letter in November, so I thought I would just do a little continuation with a few personal comments.
Honesty is so important. It is the link to integrity, friendship, relationships and self. It is not always easy and is sometimes a challenge, but like all of life, if we pay attention, understand we are human, stay open and be willing to admit our shortcomings, the rewards are priceless.
Interpersonal relationships. Building this skill pays back in life, in business, in parenting, in everything human. We should be teaching it in our schools, from day one to college graduation. Perfecting it is priceless. Continue reading
If “Life’s Lessons” is not a book, it should be. For me, each birthday adds another year to my senior citizen collection. As I look forward to my next celebration in a few months, thoughts on life come into my mind. Here are a few of the “Life’s Lessons” I’ve received, not in any particular order. Continue reading
October represents change to me. The colors of fall are infectious as I watch the dramatic changing of leaves. Pumpkin patches glow in the fields, and apple trees sparkle as they wait to be picked. Sunsets become works of art. A new and invigorating energy seems to grip the air. Everything about fall and the change of seasons brings a new fresh energy to my life.
It is fascinating to watch how nature deals with change so effortlessly. If only it were the same for us. Nature moves without a push back—it simply adjusts and makes the necessary next move. I am amazed at the order of the universe—how complexity and simplicity work together to deliver exactly what is needed for the planet. Continue reading
Quite often change is brought about by pain. Our minds supply us with all the justification we need to stay stuck. I know from personal experience how hard change can be. Even good change can be hard to see as good. Thinking of the future can be so scary that hope is hard to find. Often our thinking generates only the bleak side of endless possibilities. So we push back, consciously or subconsciously, to resist change. We dig in our heels to protect our lives as they are. Even in extreme circumstances such as domestic violence, dysfunctional relationships, drugs and alcoholic abuse, we often will protect what is “normal” in our world and resist change. We also protect the thinking that created our life’s situations. What a paradox—the mind battle of wanting change and resisting at the same time. In our heart of hearts, we know what to do. We hope for change, yet are frozen. We think we are unable to change. How could we know it was our thinking that was wrong? Continue reading
Recently, I spent a few days in Sweden. What an amazing trip. The views were stunning and the city of Stockholm majestic, but it was the people and the human interactions that knocked me over. Not only the experience there, but how the effects of spending a short amount of time with a small group of exceptionally nice people have impacted me.
Recently, we introduced a new column, written by teenagers, called Teen Voices. The idea behind it is to help parents (and other adults) get a glimpse of the world through a teen’s eyes. In raising my own four children, I found striving to better understand their world through their eyes was one of the most powerful tools I could use. This simple approach does help build a foundation of trust; however, building trust with a teenager is a day-to-day business. Some days, you are best friends. The next day, one of us is from another planet. As in most things, it is a process. Listening (when my 15-year-old talks to me) is more important than speaking. No Einstein moment here. The goal is to learn something, not tell something, and keeping that in focus is paramount to building trust. But let’s step back to the beginning, long before the teen years.