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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Learning How To Be A Grown Up. Finally.

They don't teach college courses on this, but they ought to.
Matter of fact, it should be a prerequisite for any high school grad -taking a class on how to be a grown up- don't you think?

Sure, we're taught how to balance a check book and write a resume, basic job application skills, etc. (okay, maybe we're not) but one thing we are never educated on is how to emotionally be an adult.  What does that even mean?

"Oh, GROW UP."
What does that mean to you?
Act mature.  Stop yer whinin'. Cancel the pity party, no one's coming. Get off your butt and DO something.

But what it mainly means -what I'm FINALLY figuring out is that acting like a grown up all boils down to one thing:


It's embarrassingly simple, but can you believe that this little revelation whacked me upside the head recently with all its sense-making?  It did!   34 years old, a business owner, married nearly 10 years and with a third child on the way.  (Shaking my head.)

Recently I've been going through my past, trying to make sense of why I have tendencies towards certain behaviors, attempting to get at the root of issues so I don't continue unhealthy patterns or copy unhealthy modeled behavior.  It's easy to fall into what you know -and when what you know is ruining your personal life, it's time to get out the sledgehammer and bring that house down.

What I've found is:
It's valuable to understand your past, but most importantly take control of your present and future.
And the way you do this is to start each day with this one phrase:


What you are in control of -your thoughts, actions, motivations- are owned.  By YOU.  No one else.  Thank goodness that most of us are not in hostage situations where we are not in control of our own choices, right?  But we live that way -as if we're hostages to our circumstances, our emotions, our behavior.

You are in control of everything from your to-do list, to what you eat, how you spend every moment in between --we're always making choices and the power comes in being conscious of that.  Everything is a choice, and we make those choices.

And that's what being a grown up is -being responsible for ourselves.  When we blame others, play the victim, never own our mistakes or our choices -yes, we remove ourselves from culpability, but we also treat ourselves as POWERLESS, and that's one hell of a lie, people.

It has been so empowering waking up each morning and saying, "I take responsibility for today."  I'm not taking responsibility for the world going right, or solving the problem of hunger or war, but I am saying that, today, in every moment, I have the power to choose.  And I get to own my choices -good or bad.  There's no one else to blame for my actions or words.  I have the power to choose. Knowing this, thinking this throughout the day, has been more life changing than anything else I've experienced.

I used to be afraid of being powerless to certain impulses.  Drinking, eating, anger, making poor decisions, etc.  But putting myself in the drivers seat and knowing I get to make my own choices, no longer hanging on to the "oh shit" handle in the back of the car and hoping my decisions wouldn't wreck my life or others --it's been the most empowering thing ever.  "I'm driving the car, asshole.  And this is where we're going."

Now?  I really like being a grown up.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Who's The Boss of Where You Live? (And Crazytown is Super Expensive)

In a recent conversation, my sister brought up a good point.
(She often does.)
When it comes down to it, you have to realize that (in most people's cases) your spouse doesn't wake up in the morning thinking, "how can I hurt my wife/husband today?"
You -at the very foundation of your relationship- love each other.  You may have squashed feelings about something, but usually spouses don't declare war on each other -and if they do -seriously: grow up.  The "you hurt me, I hurt you" thing is a stupid cycle -easy to fall into, hard to be "big" about and get out of, but that's where love comes in.  We've been through lots of immaturity, lots of selfishness -and I think that's where it all resides, the harmful conflict.  Selfishness.  At least that's my main thorn.  And pride.

I really, really, really like being right.  Even if it's only in a small portion of my argument -hey, there was truth in at least that part, right?  I happen to be married to someone who firmly believes in facts as opposed to feelings (he's a guy, so there you have it.)  That makes it challenging for a feelings-based thinker to "win" a debate (of which there are a ridiculous amount at this here house.)  As a result, he's helped me to be a more rational debater, thinking more critically about what I believe and why I believe it.  Still, there are times when I feel strongly about something, cannot articulate or locate the facts to back it up and I feel like a crazy person trying to defend my feelings or opinion.  Entering CRAZYTOWN, the place where irrationality rules and you wish you could stuff the other person's face full of green jello and post the photo all over social media.  See?  Crazytown.

That's when the shower becomes your ally, and you cry it out (and hide the jello mixes) and allow yourself the all-important, "MY FEELINGS *ARE* VALID!" rant.  And eventually -eventually- you make a choice.

1) (Stay in Crazytown.) "Imma gonna show that jerk how it feels to hurt like this..."

2) (Take a calm, scenic train to Sanity Central.)  "I love that person.  I know that they love me.  Yes, I believe what I believe and they disagree but that doesn't mean I'm less of a person or that I'm stupid, or that they are less of a person or stupid.  I have a right to my opinion and feelings, as do they, and I CHOOSE to approach them with love and move forward."

Some things you have to resolve -both come to an agreement about.  Maybe mediation is required.  And, I know, feeling like you've been banished to Crazytown is one of the worst feelings ever.  But you (okay, let's face it, I'm talking to myself here) are the only one who can keep yourself there.
Who has control over where you mentally live?  Nobody else but you.
Honestly.  Do not let yourself be taken prisoner to what you think someone else thinks.
Oh, really?  You're going to let their perception rule your self-worth?  Aw, HELL NO.
Too often we give others undue power over ourselves -for various reasons, none of them good.  It is our job to hold on to ourselves, to know ourselves, and to treat ourselves with respect -and then, in turn, treat others (especially those we love) with the same respect.

I know that when I feel the most vulnerable, unsure, defeated and lost is also when I treat others the worst.  I reflect on them how I feel about myself.  And it's pretty ugly.
Critical, annoyed, insensitive, impatient, frustrated -and it's all based on my self-perception.  The power to get out of that is when I'm able to identify a funk and say, "Woah, woah, hang on.  What am I feeling insecure or fearful about?  Why am I feeling worthless right now -what is the root?"  When I'm able to address that (and I'm still learning on being successful at this -it's a constant process) I can stop my negative behavior and attitudes towards others in their tracks.  (And therefore avoid most debates that lead me to Crazytown or words and actions that make me go to bed with regrets.)  I can't tell you how many nights I've gone to bed wanting to hold my kids and spouse and apologize for being upset and wacky -and I'm thankful it's becoming less and less of an occurrence.

In conclusion, I've found that most of my relationship and life issues stem from self-perception and only things that I can control.  When I feel out of control, it spills all over my family.  When I feel confident and at peace, that radiants through each interaction with them.  It's a general principle that covers most (not all) situations and it's been a big focus for me lately.  Get my heart and head together, be confident in and at peace with myself, and focus on living in love with my family.

And, by the way, Crazytown is expensive.  You don't want to live there, trust me.  It costs more than you ever imagined and it's totally not worth it.

For a simply FABULOUS,  MUST WATCH short video that will truly set your brain and heart on fire that goes right along with this post -please do yourself a HUGE favor and watch this Soul Biography by Nic Askew featuring Rick Sapio.
I want to be the rider, not the horse.  I'm making a choice.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Crazy Family Portraits, 2014

It's high time we did some updated family photos, wouldn't you say?  Today's the official Family Day of the week and Brian acquiesced (and eventually Wilder) to doing one of our "hop on the couch with the wireless remote on the camera" family sessions.  Everyone takes turn pressing the button and what we get is what we get! 
I kinda love our Cowgirl Princess ;)

35 weeks pregnant and this little person is definitely going through a growth spurt.  Within the past week I have gotten SIGNIFICANTLY rounder (all over.)  Then again, maybe it's the ice cream.
But seriously.  Yesterday I could not for the life of me get comfortable. Streeeeetch!  I felt my stomach going through growing pains.  Only 3-5 more weeks to go.
(I hate waiting.  It's the hardest part, the last few weeks.)

YAY!  This is the winner for Family Photo 2014 (pre-baby.)

And Waverley let me take a few before we put everything away.


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