Celebrating My Birthday During COVID-19

Happy Birthday

Summer has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest. We are going to have sunny skies this entire week and I can’t wait.

I’ve been talking about realizing who you are this month in my emails, blog posts and on Facebook.  I am going to continue to talk about identity today and about the concept of emotional adulthood.

Emotional adulthood is when we accept 100% responsibility for how we think, feel and the results we see in our lives. When something happens that we don’t like, we don’t look around for someone or something else to blame it on.

Oddly enough, emotional adulthood is not something we are taught as children.
In fact, we are taught the exact opposite. We are taught that other people or events can and do cause us to feel happy or sad.  We learned that others “are responsible” for the feelings and emotions we experience.

I’ve spent a few years learning to accept responsibility for my own thoughts, feelings, actions, and the results that I see in my life. I have learned that it is a LOT easier to say we want to be an emotional adult than it is to actually be an emotional adult.

Let me give you an example. Yesterday was my birthday. I planned a quiet, relaxing day. The morning went great, I had friends and family call and sing happy birthday to me, we had a great lunch. Then in the afternoon it got quiet and I wanted to know where my family was, I wanted more people pay attention to me. I thought some of my girls should be doing something more to make me feel special on my birthday. I felt sorry for myself because everyone else’s family celebrates their birthdays in (what I imagined to be) some special way.

Thinking that others are to blame for our feelings stops us from recognizing and living with our own emotions. Being comfortable with feeling ALL of our emotions lets us enjoy our life in a real way rather than an imaginary world where we think that everyone else has things better than we do.

Now that I am another year older and wiser, I can see how being an emotional adult makes me more in control of my own life. That seems like a much better way to live, what do you think?

Perhaps You Are Stronger Than You Think?

Being "strong".

When I think of being “strong”, I tend to think of physical strength, the kind you get from working out. This morning when I was putting on my “I am strong” socks, I started thinking of strength in a different way.

Sometimes our adult kids need our strength. The kind of quiet strength that lets them know that we are there, and everything is going to be OK. 

Last night I talked to my sister. She had two of her grand-babies in the car and she was driving them around and around the hospital. It was hot and she couldn’t play with them outside. They were about 45 minutes from home and her son and his wife were at the hospital emergency room. The son was sick, and his wife was able to stay with him until they determined what was wrong. My sister dropped everything to be there to support them however she was needed. They needed her to watch the two little ones.

This is the same sister who had a son that drove his tricycle off their deck many years earlier. He had a skull fracture and they were in the hospital. Our  mom (my mom is her mom) was there, standing behind her rubbing her shoulders and strengthening her while my sister took care of her injured little one.

As the parents of adult kids, our roles are different than they were when our kids were little, but they still need us. They need our strength and our reassurance that they can do whatever hard thing they need to.

We don’t always know where we get the strength, but we find it when it’s needed.

Do you believe that you are strong? Have you ever had a time when your grown-up kids needed your strength? Where did you find the strength?

Knowing that you are strong helps you be the mom your kids can count on when they need you.

This month (July) I am focusing on recognizing who we are. Knowing your identity can change your perspective on anything that life throws your way. We’ve all had a lot of things that we didn’t expect these last few months, but you are strong, and you can be strong for you and for those you love. 

If you want to know more about how to discover who you really are, I have a mini (two sessions) coaching package that focuses on helping you discover who you are and what you secretly want from your life – and then how to get it.  I have 3 spots left at the introductory offer of $99.

My program, Finding Faith, Family and Yourself in Your Empty Nest can help you find the strength that you didn’t know you had.

Making Mistakes – We All Do

Spilled Raspberries

Today I was outside in our garden picking raspberries. As I was reaching up under the berries I snapped off a vine that had about 20 unripe berries on it.  I made a mistake. It was frustrating and I wished that I had not done it. When the vine is snapped all the attached berries lose their nutrition and can’t survive. They don’t become edible berries.

Not 5 minutes later, I sat my raspberry bowl on a brick and climbed over a short fence to do some weeding. As I was climbing back over the fence, I stepped on the bowl of raspberries and crushed some and scattered the rest.  Another mistake that caused me to lose some of my fruit.

It used to be that I would be angry and frustrated with myself when I made mistakes, I would berate and scold myself for being clumsy. I rarely do that anymore.  It used to be that if I made a mistake, I thought I had to hide it. I thought people would think less of me if they knew I made mistakes.  I thought I had to be perfect all the time, superhuman.

For two years, I worked with a coach to learn to coach myself. I learned that mistakes are just being human, and now I am often the first to to point out my mistakes.  Today when I snapped the raspberry vine I felt sad for all those lost raspberries, but I wasn’t mad at myself.  I noticed how brittle the vines were and decided to be more careful with them in the future.  That was it – no drama about how I should have known not to snap that vine. Nothing else.

My reaction when I stepped in the raspberry bowl and scattered all the raspberries was again, that I was having a very human day and that clumsy is a human characteristic. Again I didn’t get mad or frustrated, even though I didn’t like having crushed raspberries on my shoes. I recognize the mistake, learn from it and moved on. It’s as simple as that.

I am so grateful that I’ve learned that I can make mistakes and that I am human. My 9 year old grandson lives with his mom at our house. He is very sensitive about making mistakes. He apologizes a lot and is ashamed and embarrassed every time he makes a mistake.  Every time he apologies for breaking, losing or destroying something at my house, he rushes to apologize with tears in his eyes. I am so glad that I can teach him what I’ve learned about making mistakes:

  • We all make them
  • Mistakes are a characteristic of being human
  • Apologize when necessary, but learn from it and move on 
  • Don’t agonize over the mistake or revisit it repeatedly

I am very grateful that I am able to share what I have learned with my grandson. I hope it’s a lesson that he learns as a child so he doesn’t have to suffer from thinking that he can’t ever make mistakes, that he has to hide them.

I wish I had learned this lesson when I was 9!

Thoughts Are Like Weeds

Big Weeds

Last weekend we went for a drive. I live in the Pacific Northwest where it is beautiful year round. As we drove down the freeway on our way home I noticed a nursery that had closed about two years ago. It was a beautiful nursery, really big, big selection of trees, a wide variety of beautiful flowers and unique vegetable starts.  I loved to shop there and was sad when it closed. As we drove past it I noticed that everything was overgrown. Even the road leading to the nursery was barricaded by the trees and shrubs that had once lined the path in. Everything looked abandoned and unkempt.  

Every day I choose to go out into my garden and pull a few weeds. There are a lot of them and they seem to spring up from nowhere. They seem to grow right back after I pull them. They come up even when I mulch them. Weeds are just a fact of life when you have a garden.  Today I pulled about a hundred of the little invaders. One of them was particularly stubborn, with huge, deep roots. It took a shovel and lots of effort to pull it out.  I know that if I don’t pull weeds all the time, they will take over my garden. Just like the beautiful nursery that had become overgrown. It will be a lot harder to get rid of the weeds if I don’t pull them regularly.

When I am out in the garden I can’t help but notice there are many lessons that I can apply to my life.  

All of us have thoughts that are like weeds, they get out of control if left alone (think of a thought spiral), they pop up where they shouldn’t be, some have really, really deep roots – and they are hard to get rid of.  

I spend 10-15 minutes every day doing my own self-coaching I take a look at my thoughts, writing them down and keeping the thoughts that work for me, just like I keep the flowers, veggies and fruit in my garden.  I look at the thoughts that are causing me trouble. I recognize them by how I feel when I think them. They are the ones that keep me stuck, cause me pain or make me want to control everyone around me. I regularly work on pulling them out.  Some are so easy to get rid of and some have huge deep roots. These take more time and effort to get rid of.  The thing is, that just like weeds in the garden, they come back if you don’t stay on top of them.

It was so interesting to see the abandoned overgrown nursery on the freeway last weekend.  I wonder if that is how my thoughts would be if I just ignored them…