The pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for all ages.
Not only are the tips included above empowering to youth, they are empowering to parents as well.
Furthermore, it can be advice for anyone juggling a life that has switched to so many daily functions taking place from home.
Let’s add a few more examples.
• It all starts with being in tune to our children and youth. If we see our youth struggling, sit down and have a conversation with them about their life. Listen with your heart and validate their experiences.
• Rather than telling your youth what to do to address their struggles, work together to come up with solutions. This is a life skill that will last them long past the pandemic’s end.
• Keep the lines of communication open. Help them evaluate how their solutions are working and give them the emotional space to make mistakes. This is a time period that everyone has had to learn to adjust. Some solutions work. Other solutions flop. And that is okay. Providing unconditional love and support allows youth to know it is alright to make a mistake. It also teaches a viewpoint that encourages learning from our mistakes. These are often the best life lessons.
• Telling our youth that their routine and structure is important is far less effective than living a life that models the same. Youth pay attention to everything and the old adage, “Do as I say not as I do.”, does not fly with them. Our words need to match our actions.
• Communicate your own struggles and how you are working through them. This allows our youth to see that they are not alone.
• Celebrate their successes. We all need positive reinforcement and it goes farther than ever these days.
• Tell your youth (and children) that you love them and are proud of them. Self-doubt is rampant among everyone these days. Don’t assume they know it. Even if you are not in the practice of saying it, now is your opportunity to grow as a parent. Your discomfort in speaking it is an investment in your youth’s sense of self-worth.
• Practice gratitude with them. Begin a habit of sharing something you each are thankful for each day. Don’t repeat the same one. This improves thinking skills and helps challenge negativity. The more it is practiced, the more things we can identify. This promotes wellbeing and improves overall quality of life.
May we love our youth and lead them by our example today. ❤️
Last week, the day before Thanksgiving, I went to our large retail hardware store. When I was in the checkout line, I witnessed a young teenage girl in tears and the adult manager comforting her. She told the girl, “Take a break, go to the bathroom and gather yourself. Remember, people that act like that are usually unhappy with themselves or with something in their own life. Don’t take it personal.”
I was instantly moved to compassion for this young lady. And because I have an innate curiosity, I couldn’t help but inquire. “Is everything okay? Was a customer unkind to her?”
I entered into a conversation with my checkout clerk and this manager. Mostly I just listened. It was as if my questions unleashed a flood within them both.
They went on to share a number of different experiences:
• We get yelled at.
• We get called names and sworn at.
• We have people get right in our face and want to fight us.
• We’ve been spit on.
• We have parents engage in this kind of behavior in front of their children (of all ages).
As if all of this was not enough, they went on to add, “This is a daily experience for us.” A DAILY EXPERIENCE!
I felt their emotion in my heart that night and I feel it just as strongly this morning as I write this.
Just by listening, I was able to validate their experience. I can not honestly imagine enduring that kind of treatment on a daily basis.
I can’t tell you how much this grieves my heart. Does it bother you? I hope it does. I really do. Because our words and actions have an impact on others.
Have you witnessed situations like this?
Have you been on the receiving end of such actions?
Have you been the person to treat others in this manner?
I grew up watching television shows like, “Little House on the Prairie” and “The Waltons”. Both shows took place in eras gone by.
Every episode held messages of love and kindness, helping our neighbors, doing what is right, honesty, integrity…
These shows made a positive impact on my life. I still watch reruns and feel a sense of nostalgia every time.
I can tell you that the experience I had last week is the most polar opposite than those depicted on a weekly basis on those beloved shows.
I can also tell you that I LONG for a return of love and kindness.
I suppose I am writing this more from the need to soothe myself. Because my heart literally hurts when I think of that young high schooler (who by the way was only in her second or third week of training).
I want to ask us all (and I say us all because I am not perfect and will never pretend to be), to return to the Golden Rule.
“Treat others the way you want to be treated.”
And may we remember the teaching, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Oh if we could just return to functioning in this way. What a different world we would live in.
I know the current culture around the world has created hardships that no one is immune to. But love heals, not hate. Kindness soothes where anger enflames.
I implore us all to think before we speak or act. The old adage, “Sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words will never hurt me.”, could not be further from the truth.
So I ask us today to consider:
Oh that we would all choose love. Won’t you choose a simple thank you, a smile, a kind word or simple gesture? And may we remember that we never know what another is going through.
I have a confession to make. I live in America and it absolutely grieves my heart to see such division among us. My heart literally aches. 💔
Right now all that I see is a huge divide among us. It is an Us vs Them mentality. It doesn’t matter what side anyone is on. It is literally Us vs Them.
I also see a nation hurting. It makes me think of something Joyce Meyer talks about often in her books, “Hurting people, hurt people.”
Because of the work that I do as a mental health counselor, I see so much hurting from so many root sources: trauma, abuse, mental health, addictions, health problems, broken relationships/families, and so much more.
These are heartbreaking stories and they are the very real lives of our dear clients.
I ALWAYS say, “It is an honor and a privilege to walk along beside someone on their journey of healing, growth, and recovery.” And I mean that with all sincerity from deep in my soul.
Why would I share this? Because I’m meeting someone where they are at. I am focused on the very real state of their heart and mind and life. I am moved to compassion every.single.time. ❤️ I know what it is like to hurt after all. We all do.
And it occurs to me now. How do we heal the heart of our nation? We do so by no longer looking at Us vs Them. We look past Red vs Blue. We do this by looking at the humanity within all of us.
We all experience hurts. We all laugh. We all experience love. We all experience loss. We all are part of a family, even if it is a family of our own choosing.
I can’t help but believe that if we all begin to look into the eyes and the soul of the person before us, we could see beyond what is the primary thing on everyone’s minds these days.
If we look at each individual as the people that we all are, we might see someone whose heart aches over a family member whose is battling addiction. We might find common ground as two people who have lost a beloved person so dear that both our hearts are breaking. Perhaps there are two folks who are both stepping out to start a new phase in their careers. Maybe there are two new parents celebrating the birth of their precious child.
Oh dear ones, these are our common experiences. These are our connections. This is my heart connecting with your heart because we share a common joy or sorrow or nervousness or excitement.
A common component of recovery in a Twelve Step program is service. Ultimately why this is a vital part of recovery is because it gets us outside of ourselves. Instead of me, me, me, it switches our focus outward toward what we can do for others. There is a beautiful miracle that takes place in that person’s soul. It makes one feel good! It makes a person feel a part of something bigger than oneself.
The quote below comes to my mind.
“Be the change you want to see in the world 🌎.”
And we can do just that by beginning to connect our hearts again. May we begin to look at how we can love each other again. Simple acts. Kind acts. Random acts. These can heal the anger, the hatred, the divide.
I hear so many say, “I am so tired of this!” I don’t even have to qualify or quantify that statement.
So let’s get tired together today and every day moving forward!
I am going to offer up a challenge. May every person who reads these words, find one way to be kind to someone today. Do it. And do it again the next day. And the next.
See what happens within your heart.
I will do this. And I vow every day to share a brief blog about what I did and how I feel about it.
Won’t you join me? We can heal our divided nation and our world by connecting one heart to another. Over and over again. I TRULY BELIEVE THIS.
Site Source: Mental Health Resources, Inc. via LinkedIn : Art by Mellow Doodles
I came across this amazing cartoon representation depicting examples of what we can and can not control. And I just LOVE it! (I’m such a big kid at heart!)
When life spins out of control as in some of these examples:
The tragic loss of a loved one.
A dire medical diagnosis.
Sudden job loss.
End of a relationship or divorce.
A global pandemic.
We can feel powerless.
In addition, lesser stresses piled up or even positive life changes can create a spiral effect as well.
So often we talk about coping skills and this is important. However, on the other hand, we fail to address the surrender of personal power.
For example, surrendering personal power can become an automatic response to circumstances beyond our control. Furthermore, it commonly goes without notice.
If I were the Fairy Godmother in the Cinderella story of life, I would wave my wand and give everyone a dose of personal power.
Personal power rises up within our spirit when we say:
“Enough is enough. I want my life back.”
“I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. This battle of… (fill in the blank… cancer, alcoholism, addiction, abuse, toxic work environment, etc) is not the end of my story! I am fighting mad and fighting back!”
“Pandemic or not, I have given up enough… I am going to adjust. I’ll keep what is working but ditch the rest! This is MY LIFE and I am the author.”
“So and so said I will never amount to anything, well you know what? I’ll show them! I’ll show myself.”
Do you sense a fighting spirit in these kinds of statements? Our inner narratives are our compass. Most importantly, it points is in the direction our life will go.
We can fan the flames of our spirited, spunky inner narratives of strength. And we do this, by doing the things we have control over. As a result, our spunky statements of strength grow in authority.
Consequently, the more this happens, the less room we rent in our minds for:
doubts, fears, insecurities, what if this, what if that…
These things suck the life out of us.
I am convinced that too often we give up entirely too much of our personal power. And the result? A “settled for” life.
But that does NOT have to be the case.
By Daily Doing
Every single day when we wake up with the very gift of life we can CHOOSE to claim and own our personal power. Our current circumstances do not define us.
Most importantly, what does define us is what we choose to do with the set of circumstances we are given.
To fan the flames of your personal power, repeat aloud after me:
“I know my truth.”
“I own my choices and today I only choose to focus on what I can control.”
“Every time I do what is in my control and leave behind what I can’t, I reclaim my personal power.”
“This IS MY LIFE. No one else is the author of my story.”
I understand what it is like to feel hopeless, powerless, helpless, and lost. There was a time I would have said, “Phfff… This is nonsense.”
However, that was until I began to put these very things into action.
It takes hard work and dedication to engage in the healing process. The smallest bricks placed one next to the other, begin to build a strong foundation.
And this foundation of personal power? It is the very foundation from which a new life can be rebuilt.
Oh, what can rise up within us when this is the place that we function from!
How does this look in practice?
Here are some examples from my life:
1. I start every day with quiet time (prayer and devotions help me fix my eyes Above and unleashes Spiritfilled Power)
2. I drink my two glasses of Lemon water before I drink any Diet Dew (this helps me build a new habit of drinking water while cutting back on soda)
3. I always make my bed and make sure my house is tidy when I leave for the office (this fills me with comfort to know that when I return I will do so to my “nesting place”, my home).
4. I set my mind for the day; I choose faith and gratitude (this builds inner resilience as the years go by).
5. I tickle my funny bone by looking for ways to laugh, often at myself (this helps me take myself and my life less seriously)
There is ALWAYS something to chuckle about. The more we look, the more we find it.
In conclusion, when we keep doing over and over, the sense of personal power returns.
The more we continue with this, the stronger the flames of personal power grow. This is the sweet spot dear ones.
What are you willing to do to reclaim your power today? Choose “that thing” and do it. Then hit the “repeat button”.
Blessings dear ones 🍁
I’d love to hear from you! What things are you doing to regain personal power in your life? Let me know and I will share your thoughts in upcoming posts!
Thank you to those that are reaching out in response to recent posts. Keep sending me those emails (link below) and I will blog in response dear ones. I want you to know that I hear you and understand your pain.
I am hearing the intense loneliness and isolation.
I am hearing of lost time with dear loved ones.
I am hearing how much it has changed things within you.
I am hearing of lost opportunities and lost wages.
Insert hug here:
As a collective whole, we can build one another up. This is not the time for any one of us to turn a blind eye to those that are hurting and struggling.
It is important for us to reach out to those that are hurting and struggling. Finding ways to let our dear ones know that they are loved has never been more important. ❤️ May you reach out to someone you care about today.
TAKING ACTION ON WHAT IS IN OUR CONTROL: RECLAIMING PERSONAL POWER
So much is out of our control right now. But dear reader, one first step that we can take during this pandemic is to examine what IS in our control.
What difference will that make one might ask.
Let’s start with a very simple example.
If the heavy weight of the world has drained all motivation to take care of our daily needs, we can do something about that.
We may not feel like showering or doing the dishes. We may not feel like picking up the house or doing the laundry. We may not feel like doing the everyday things that we usually do.
Here is a reality however. When we fail to take care of self and home, it robs us of a sense of dignity and self-respect.
This is not the time to give up our personal power in any way.
It is incredibly important to understand that we DO HAVE PERSONAL POWER. Even with the simple act of caring for self and home, it can ignite a sense of empowerment.
Far too often we look at all that seems wrong in our lives and buy into a belief that we can do nothing about it. We believe that all the BIG things must change to feel better, for life to get better.
I have lived through moments of deep despair. I can tell you I did not begin to feel better about myself or my life by BIG things changing for me. Rather, I had to begin with reclaiming the every day mundane things. If I wanted things to BE different, I had to start DOING differently.
I remember feeling empowered by each and every thing that I reclaimed.
I may not have felt motivated at the time but it did not matter. I did it anyway.
I may not have felt like it mattered at the time. But I did it anyway.
Doing the little things helped rebuild my self-esteem.
Doing the little things helped me regain the control I felt I lost in other areas of my life.
Doing the little things helped me regain momentum that had all but stopped.
The only actions that made a positive difference then were healthy actions. Nothing changed when nothing was done. Everything changed when I started with the little things and rebuilt from that point.
Once I began to move in a forward direction, I began to DO more of the things that I would feel good about. It created a positive feedback loop.
So often life throws us curve balls. The pandemic certainly is one LARGE curveball in the game of life. I truly understand dear ones. I have been there. But I didn’t remain there and the same can hold true for you.
What can you do? Here are but just a few simple examples:
If you have stopped caring for yourself, shower, dress in clothes you feel good in, shave, style your hair, do your makeup or do your nails, etc. This promotes self-esteem and self-respect. I always feel better about myself when my nails are done and I wear heals to the office. Take care of yourself for YOU! YOU are worth it!
If you have let your house go, tackle one task a day: make your bed, pick up your clothes, do your laundry, do your dishes. How we care for our surroundings often indicates the condition of our hearts and minds. These days I have become a “nester” (my kids tease me about this). But I ALWAYS make sure any of my personal or professional spaces are arranged to promote comfort and coziness. It is an absolute must for me.
If you aren’t able to see your family and dear ones; if loneliness and isolation have set in, make it a point to Skype or FaceTime on a regular basis. Somehow I feel closer to my dear ones when I can SEE them versus just talking.
Find new ways of creating connections. Do you have a dear one in the military? Do you have a loved one in a nursing home? Start writing to them on a regular basis. Getting outside ourselves and giving love to another through cards and letters is a great way of bridging the loneliness gap so many are feeling.
These are just a few examples. May we examine the simple in our lives, the things we have surrendered control of and reclaim them! Start with ONE thing. Do it today. Then choose another thing tomorrow.
Create your own social experiment and examine how you feel in one week, two weeks, in a month. A body in motion will stay in motion dear ones.
May we all choose action today. Remember dear reader, we are all in this together.
Have you ever let pride get in the way of achieving your goals?
Do you try to do on your own what would be better achieved as a team?
Is it hard to be honest with yourself about questions like these?
What holds you back from enlisting the help of others on your team?
This week I asked myself the very same questions. It went something like this…
I have been attempting to learn about information marketing and the technology that goes along with it. For two weeks I have been looking like this:
I did some soul searching to examine my “stuck status” and this is what I discovered.
I have an amazing collegue that I LOVE working with. Her intelligence and depth of knowledge about literally everything, amazes me and is such an asset to our team. But if I am honest, at times I am jealous about the ease with which she understands the kinds of things I struggle to learn. I kept telling myself I needed to “go this alone” because I wanted to prove to myself I could do it. And perhaps feel a bit better about myself?
But I recognized I wasn’t getting where I wanted to on my own. I usually LOVE learning but I was NOT enjoying learning this.
Doing this honest soul searching, I discovered that I was letting my pride and comparison complex get in the way of my learning.
And my lack of learning was getting in the way of making progress on my professional goals.
Because my current life motto, “This is no longer acceptable to me.”, I knew I had a choice to make. Continue to struggle alone OR swallow my pride and ask my collegue to join me.
I chose the latter and what started as an individual project is now a team effort. The team effort in one day produced more results than two weeks of going it alone. WOW!
Do you want to “unstick your stuck status”?
Start with taking an honest look at what mental barriers are holding you back from achieving forward momentum on your goals.
Admit the true source of what is blocking you in order to unlock new alternatives.
Examine the potential outcomes of these new alternatives.
If you desire a different outcome, choose the alternate path of progress.
If I had not been honest with myself I would not have admitted that pride and comparisons were getting in my way. I would have:
Remained in stuck status:
Rather than achieve progress:
Absolutely the right choice. 😊
I am feeling a great deal of discomfort these days. I am allowing myself to be most vulnerable.
But somehow I am okay with this. I hope that being real and raw with you dear reader, some of the barriers that prevent deeper and more fulfilling human connections may be broken. I see a world around us that is starving for this. ❤️
If we can find common ground in our humanness, we can come together in love and support of one another.
What are some mental barriers you are struggling with? Sign up with your email and send me your comments, questions, concerns. I will devote some upcoming blog posts to address things that are heavy on your heart.
Looking forward to hearing from you. Blessings dear ones ❤️
Can you think of a moment of recent discouragement? How did you handle it? What helped?
Yesterday I had one of those moments to kick start my Monday morning. The discouragement I felt about one particular area seemed to permeate into other aspects of my life. The excitement that I was feeling about certain dreams and goals completely vanished and in its wake, self-doubt and major questioning remained.
But something continues to arise within me these days. I hear a new voice, my voice, saying this is no longer acceptable to me.
When I hear this new and challenging voice within, it does not mean that I dismiss how I am feeling. Quite the contrary. I acknowledge it and then push through it. I am proving to myself that I CAN “do that thing” even while feeling discouraged, down, and filled with doubt. It is okay to feel these things.
But the voice telling me, “This is no longer acceptable.” means that I will not allow these things to change my trajectory. It will no longer hold me down or hold me back.
And this my friends is SO empowering! The next time you feel discouraged about your path:
1. Acknowledge how you feel. This is important. It is the opposite of “stuffing” your feelings, which works against positive mental health and well-being. Acknowledging your feelings allows you the choice of what to do next.
2. Listen to your self-talk. Is it positive or negative? Choose a NEW NARRATIVE! You are the author of your life after all. Stick to the new narrative and let it drown out all the other negative messages that drag you down.
3. Choosing these two steps and applying them over and over throughout your day, day after day IS what can create change within your heart and life.
I am choosing to listen to the new narrative that says, “This is no longer acceptable to me.” It is making a difference. If I am going to listen to any narratives within, I choose the one that will keep me on the path I desire. This is the sweet spot my friends.
Join me tomorrow as I explore the role of community in our lives. Until next time,
For the past three plus years I have been posting “Daily Recovery Inspiration” posts on the Nicklaus Counseling Center, S.C.’s Facebook page. I started doing this as a way to encourage others on their healing, growth, and recovery journeys. What I ended up discovering is how often the prescheduled posts were just what I needed to hear or when I needed a chuckle. This is exactly what happened last week when this came on our Facebook page feed.
🐥🐥 I don’t have ducks… and I don’t have a row. But I have squirrels 🐿 and they’re everywhere! 🐿🐿🐿
Have you ever known that you want to do something, let’s say…
exercising, cutting back on sweets, drinking more water, cutting out pop (or soda depending on the vernacular of your choice 😊)… You can fill in your particular goal.
Lately I have been finding myself excited about so many things that I began struggling to focus. And as a result I look and sound just like Joey does so often in “Friends”. I can hear his voice in my head and mine sounds far too similar. 🤣
Let me share an example. When I sit down to write a blog post, two things show up on my screen.
Add title and
Should be simple right? But what has happened over the last number of days is that my thoughts actually get in my own way!
I begin thinking, “I should pick up where I left off on my last post. Or should I talk about adapting during Covid or…??? (insert any number of topics).
And then maybe it turns into, “I should go switch the laundry beforeI do anything else. Maybe it will come to me then…” I think you get the idea and I wonder how many can relate?
After a number of days in a row my frustration grew. Feeling such dissatisfaction was sapping my enthusiasm and my desire to write. And that was not acceptable any longer.
So I’d like to share a tip that can jump start your “Non-Start”.
1. Just start to do “that thing” that you want to do. Follow Nike’s brilliant advertisement call and “Just Do It”.
You might wonder what that looks like. It is getting back to the basics; applying a 🚦Stop Light to your thoughts, literally stop 🛑 and do. Nothing happens when nothing is done.
For me this morning, I literally just put fingers to keyboard and began to write what was coming to mind. By doing that, I started to let the words flow. Because I took action, the ideas began to flow. After going in a few different directions I found my focus and my thoughts came together. No amount of thinking it through the previous days got the creative juices going in my mind like this one simple first step. Just start… and the rest WILL follow.
Let’s take another simple example. I drink entirely too much Diet Mountain Dew. I’d like to change that. I also want to drink more water. I’d like to change that. So instead of just THINKING about it (which I have done mind you) I have just started to DO IT. It’s as simple as that.
My solution? I drink two glasses of water with Lime Doterra essential oil to start my day and I don’t allow myself to drink a Diet Dew unless I drink my water first. And then I repeat these two actions throughout the rest of the day.
By simplifying it down to new action, I feel good about taking this one step toward my goal, then another, then another…
Far too often we spend more time in our heads than we do in the real world. I am working on switching thoughts into action, over and over again.
The blessing of this cognitive shift is that the action fosters empowerment and leads to real change.
What have you been talking about doing for some time now? Pick one that you want to do and just start doing it.
When you do, pause and appreciate your action. Do not pay attention to the results at this point. They will come. But only if you keep doing it.
And for me? The squirrels have now scattered. 🐿 When they gather again, as they tend to for me, I will be reminded to “get out of my head” and just start doing.