The Genre Of Your Life

Who doesn’t love a good movie? We love it because we know it’s not real. Even when we kind of think it’s real, we know it’s not really real. I love movies based on true stories. The stories they’re based on are ones that seem to be tragic at some point, but then it resolves to something grand in the end, and you get to see how all of the parts fit together.

If you were in a movie right now, what genre would it be? Would the kids crying and screaming on the way out the door be a comedy or a tragedy? Would your husband looking on as you make dinner be a romance or a comedy? Change the genre of what’s happening in your life and see how your perspective changes. It’s only your thoughts that make it that way, anyway, so choose it the way you want to. This helps your brain to see that what you’re thinking about your life is what’s creating the feel of it. It’s not necessarily real that you’re in a tragedy; it could just as well be a comedy, or a romance.

Shoveling the Iceberg

We have had a lot of snow lately, and haven’t exactly kept up on shoveling our driveway. The car can still get over it, so it’s fine, right? A couple of days ago, though, the pile of snow/ice at the end of our driveway got high enough that it was scraping the bottom of the car. It needed to go. A couple of days later it warmed up to above freezing and snow was melting quickly. I decided it was time to tackle the iceberg at the end of our driveway.

It was really thick where the driveway met the road, so I got out a hole digging shovel instead of just the snow shovel. (I know it probably has a name, but you know what I mean, right?)  I was working hard at the ice at the end of the driveway, when a man (we’ll say a grandpa) walks by on the other side of the street. I stand up and say ‘hi’. He smiles and kind of shakes his head, “You’re doing a man’s job.” He had an accent so it took me a minute to figure out what he said and he had already passed. I wondered what he meant by that. Was he saying, “Shame on you for doing a man’s job.” or “Shame on your husband for not doing his job.”? I like to think he’s a lot like me and just couldn’t think of something to say, so he spurted out something awkward, because he really wanted to say, “Wow! You’re so strong to be able to do that! I wish I was that strong!” haha

It did bring up some questions in my mind, though. I’ll admit, I have grappled with some of those feelings of “Why am I doing this? This is a man’s job.” I think we tend to get some of those gender roles from how we watched our parents. My dad can fix pretty much anything, and likes to fix things himself. When I got married, I was surprised to learn that not all men are like that.

While I was shoveling, though, I thought, “Maybe he meant that someone stronger should be doing this. Why not me? Obviously I’m strong enough. I want it gone. And most importantly, I’m available and willing.” My husband was at work, and I definitely would have asked him for help if he had been home, because not surprisingly, he’s a lot stronger than me. He can shovel about 3 times faster than I can. It would have been easier for me if he had done it or helped, but he wasn’t able to at that time, so I did it. I got it cleared away.

This makes me think about when we’re struggling in relationships. So often we want the other person to change. “If they’d just stop being so annoying, then I wouldn’t have to feel so annoyed.” or “If they would stop being so grumpy and depressed, then I wouldn’t have to feel so grumpy and depressed.” Why wait for them to change, though? For one thing, they probably won’t. For another thing, I’m the one who doesn’t want to feel annoyed, or grumpy, or depressed. Most importantly, I’m able to redirect my thoughts so that I can feel the way I want to. Maybe it would be easier if people just changed to be the way we think they should be. Just like it would have been easier for me if someone else had cleared the ice from the end of our driveway. But we can’t control what other people do, so “Why not me?” Why don’t I figure out how to change my thoughts so that I can feel the way I want to? It’s not easy. And sometimes it feels like chipping away at an iceberg. But it’s totally worth it.

Comment and let me know when you were able to change your thoughts and feel good, rather than wait for someone else to change their behaviour.

Thursday Thought: What if _______ hadn’t been brave?

I keep getting these feelings of inadequacy when I think of becoming a coach. The other night, I was reading in Brene Brown’s book, Rising Strong. She talks about someone sending her an email trying to shame her. She said, “…I sat there staring at this email and fighting off the pain of feeling like an exposed impostor…” She had already written several books, has a PhD, and is a Licensed Master Social Worker. People pay her to come speak to their companies and organizations. Yet, she still fell prey to feeling like she’s not enough.

I am so grateful that when she was contemplating what to do in her life, that she was brave. I’m grateful when she fell, that she got back up. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have the great work she has done and is doing. It has helped so many people, including me. I feel the same appreciation for every person that has influenced me, even my parents. They aren’t perfect, but they keep going, keep trying.

Maybe I won’t end up becoming a life coach, but it won’t be because I got scared and decided not to try. When I feel nervous, or scared, or am faced with someone telling me, “Who do you think you are?” I will think this thought, “What if Brene Brown wasn’t brave, and gave up when she got scared? What if she gave into those thoughts of ‘Who am I?'” There are numberless people who have influenced me that I could insert their name into that line. So, I will be brave. I will follow the voice inside, even when others might question whether I’m good enough.

Who’s name would you put in this thought? Comment and let me know.

Doing More

I’m reading Brene Brown’s book Rising Strong. I highly recommend it. In the chapter Easy Mark, she’s talking about her reckoning with her struggle of being privileged and being uncomfortable connecting with others in real need. She says, “My rumbles with shame, judgment, privilege, connection, need, fear, and self-worth taught me that it wasn’t the pain or the hurt that made me look away. It was my own need…Helping and giving are comfortable for me. I wanted to solve this issue by doing more of what I already do. When I look back at this rising strong example now, I think about how often we all try to solve problems by doing more of what’s not working–just doing it harder, grinding it out longer. We’ll do anything to avoid the lowest of the low–self-examination.”

What’s the difference between perseverance and avoiding self-examination?

I haven’t exactly figured this one out, yet. Comment and let me know if you have!

Being Your Own Cheerleader

I don’t know if you’ve had this thought, but I definitely have had it a lot. “I just wish someone would believe in me.” I’ve always looked to authority to believe in me, but I’ve often been disappointed. Now I’m learning how to be my own cheerleader and believe in myself.

I started piano lessons…again…last September. The other day I was practicing one of my songs that I had been playing for a couple of weeks. At my last lesson, I almost wanted to just tell my piano teacher I was done with it because frankly, I was tired of playing it and feeling like I just wasn’t getting it. I decided to trust my teacher, though, and took it on another week. I am glad I did, because I played it really well. I played it the way I wanted to. I may not be able to play it like that for my lesson, but I was so proud of myself that I kept with it. When I finished, I blurted out, “Good job, Betsy! You played that so well!” My son laughed and asked, “Why did you say that, Mom?” I told him that I was really proud of myself and no one else was saying it, so I decided to tell myself. He said, “We’ll tell you. Good job, Mom!” I hope he’ll feel free to tell himself a good job when he’s proud of something he’s done, too. It felt good to be free to tell myself I did a good job sticking with something when I sincerely felt I had.

What are you wishing someone would say to you?

The TROUBLE with Trouble

Do you have those games that you or your kids “think” they love to play, but ALWAYS end up in a fight and someone storming off? My sister used to call Phase 10 “the contention game”.

Someone gave my kids the game Trouble for Christmas. They were so excited, but inside I cringed. Trouble is one of THOSE games that has seriously caused trouble in the past.

Rewind to a couple of weeks earlier when I had listened to Hank Smith on VidAngel’s Dry Comedy. He told a story about his sister and golfing, which you can read here. The lesson I got from it is that when you don’t help others do their best, you can’t be your best either. I decided to see if I could make this play out with the game Trouble.

I would tell the boys when I saw a good move for them to make, even if it was bad for my chances of winning. I would say to them, “You do your best, and help everyone else do their best.” It was amazing. Now it’s such a fun game to play. No one gets upset when they get put back to start over and over and over again. To be honest, it wasn’t just the kids that got mad or annoyed in the past. I tend to be competitive when it comes to games. So whenever I was tempted to not say something that I saw would be a good move for them, but not good for me I would repeat my own mantra, “You do your best, and help everyone else do their best.” I enjoyed it so much better. Winning totally has a lot to do with chance, and let’s be real, it’s ONLY a board game. But I know there are those of you out there that hear me! We don’t have the angry/annoyed problem over this game anymore. It’s a good game. It’s not players just “being nice”. Everyone is really playing their best, and it’s a good competition (as far as board games go), and everyone has fun.

This is such a great lesson in life. And brings up the very famous quote from Marianne Williamson again:

“Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.”

When have you helped someone do their best when it seemed counter-intuitive?

Until later…