Destination addiction

Summer class discussion topic of the day:

‘Destination addiction’ is the idea that happiness/fulfillment/success is held in some chosen person/place/thing/job that is coming, versus what IS.

Learning how to sit and reflect on your current experiences with gratitude and be present with all that you have is what can reframe your perception that contentment and success is ONLY ahead of you. If you keep those feelings with you, they are always within reach!

It is time to see what is in front of you, express appreciation for it, and hold space for what is coming without obsessing over the outcome.

What’s happening in this moment in your life that is going well??

Sit with it, thank it, and go about your day!

Say you’re sorry

Today in class my group counseling students were doing a practice group session around the topic of ‘fear’.

Each student wrote down a few fears in their lives and added them to the pile.

Not surprisingly, the ‘fear of failure’ (stated in one way or another) kept coming up, so we paused and dissected this a bit more. With several students (who are also parents) noting their fear was often centered around fear of failing as a parent. (🙋🏼‍♀️hi, all of you fellow parents out there) The other students were able to see the connection to their own parents, or how they will parent if that is where their lives lead them.

As they went around sharing, it was my turn to offer feedback and this is what I shared…

”Wow. I really screwed that up. I’m so sorry that I did that. Next time I’ll do ———.”(I say this phrase a lot!)

What you give your loved ones when you apologize is the space and affirmation that they are worthy of an apology.

Think about how important this is for the children in your life to see. When you screw up—- acknowledge it, own it, and explain how you will change your behavior next time a similar situation presents itself.

Modeling this behavior is critical in building their emotional intelligence and fostering empathy.

When you are wrong, speak it out. Own it, and move along ❤️

It’s not the mental load. It’s you.

I hear this saying all the time.

The “mental load”, which describes the invisible (yet pretty obvious to those afflicted) burden that is often attributed to being in or running a household.

Truth be told, I have felt the annoyance, exhaustion and frustration of having to remember, plan and execute each facet of my family’s day. It exists. But that’s not the point. Lots of things exist, but it only continues if you allow it to continue.

So, instead of “making lists to better organize yourself” and “ sending your spouse/partner step by step instructions- so YOU can relax” I’m going to suggest something radical and although it appears as a list, you don’t have to write one yourself, I promise.

-SPEAK YOUR TRUTH.

-HAVE A REAL CONVERSATION WITH YOUR SPOUSE/PARTNER.

-STOP CONTROLLING THE PROCESS

-UNLOAD AND THEN LET IT GO

Simple? Maybe not-depending on your relationship.

You are not a mind-reader, and neither is your significant other. Stop acting like a victim whilst angrily unloading the clean dishes or stomping around with a laundry basket.

Using “when you _____, I feel ______” to articulate how you feel and express what you need.

Shut up before you comment on how the tasks or chores get done. You don’t want to be treated like the boss, so stop dictating every move.

Once you’ve shared your piece, you have to let it sit for a bit.

If you choose to acknowledge the “mental load”, but refuse to address it, all you are going to do is further divide your relationship, and foster bitterness and resentment.

So instead, maybe try these strategies.

I see you. I remember you.

Women do this identity shape-shifting thing when they become a mother.

They morph into a creature that provides all of the basic survival needs to keep a human alive.

Really think about that.

A HUMAN being from birth, through all of the major developmental stages, and if you are lucky, to adulthood.

But within all of the amazing capabilities, mothers don’t just forget who they are, they self-impose limits that are often only able to be challenged by their dearest friends.

How does it work?

We remember you. We remember that you like your coffee with a sprinkle of cinnamon. We remember that you prefer baths to showers. We remember that you know what to say to a rude hostess to get the free appetizers. We remember how damn smart you are and watched in awe as you slip from friend to sister to mother to exhausted, confused and questioning every decision you’ve ever made.

Remind the women in your life of the times you’ve shared, the little moments that can bring them back to who they were. Ask them what they see for themselves (as a person who has interests outside of their children).

Check on them.

Remind them that they are special.

They need to hear it.

They are still in there.

Be patient, and set the intention to connect with them to help them revisit that past-self often.

Odds are they miss that part of themselves too.

Because you can miss things deeply even when you feel so damn grateful for what you have now.

Healing

Pain. Trauma. Rough experiences in life; it sticks with you.

Today is my youngest son’s birthday. He’s 5. He is lively, mischievous and affectionate. He will spend the day enjoying the gifts that his beloved family members have sent, and eating too many cupcakes. He’s living his best life.

Now the pain-bit.

I do not like birthdays.

I actually refused to celebrate my own until I had children. Seems like a weird thing, but I spent my growing up years with an absent dad who was so disconnected that he would only remember my birthday if my sister called him the morning of. It was the same for her, so no hard feelings.

But, it changed my perception of celebrating anything. It made me rigid and dismissive of the magic of birthdays. It was too painful to think about how easily forgotten I could be. So birthdays were just another day.

Then I became a mother.

The stories they tell you are true. The birthdays of my children are deeply special to me, and I find myself feeling overwhelmed with emotion, gratitude and spend the day recounting stories from their infant/toddler years. I love it.

So these sweet boys have helped heal this very fragile part of me, and I am so grateful for that.

Next time you feel triggered by something, consider the meaning behind the pain, and how you can adapt to the situation, and look at it all from a different lens.