How to defuse the tension of family holidays

The holidays are upon us. Raise your hand if you or your family feel any tension around the holidays.

My husband says that the way to a happy marriage is not having any expectations. I say, the reason he’s so happy isn’t because he doesn’t have expectations, but because I’m just everything he ever expected. 😉

Kidding aside, though, there IS some truth to our expectations causing us some grief. One of the biggest reasons holidays can bring up tension is because we think people (including ourselves) should act and feel certain ways.

Have you ever heard yourself say, “It’s Christmas, everyone should be happy.” “It’s Thanksgiving, we should all want to be together.” “It’s Halloween, we should all have fun!” Is that really true?

Is everyone happy on Christmas? Does everyone get together, or WANT to get together on Thanksgiving? Should everyone have fun on Halloween?

All of these thoughts put a lot of pressure on ourselves and others to feel or do something that we may not feel or really want to do.

Let’s take Thanksgiving. What if everyone doesn’t WANT to get together this year? How do you think you’d feel if everyone DID want to get together? Is it connected? Love? Security?

Why do you think you’d feel those things? Sometimes we think we automatically feel connected to someone because they’re spending time with us. But have you ever spent time with someone and not felt connected?

The feeling of connection comes from our thoughts like, “We want to be together.” “I love them.” “They love me.” “We agree.” “We’re so much alike.” The other person doesn’t have to be thinking them, for you to. You can feel connected without the other person feeling connected.

Did you know these thoughts are true whether you’re together or not together? In fact, sometimes they’re even easier to believe when you’re not together.

If you’re starting to feel tension about other people’s choices or feelings around the holidays, take a step back and ask yourself how you think you’d feel if they behaved or felt the way you want them to. What would you believe? Then skip the part where you try to get them to do or feel the way you want them to, and believe the thoughts despite what they do or feel.

Choose to love them even if they’re unhappy, or don’t want to come to dinner. It’s always an option.

P.S. Want some help with a difficult relationship? I would love to help you get some relief and start to show up and feel the way you really want to. Sign up for a FREE 45-minute Consultation. I will give you personalized help for your situation.

Thursday Thought: Maybe Happiness Isn’t the Goal

There’s this song that has always made me feel a little uneasy. It says, “Choose the right way, and be happy, I must always choose the right.” As I type this, I realize there are many ways to interpret that thought. But this is an example of what I was talking about on Monday when I said that one thought does not fit everyone.

The way my brain interprets this song is that if you do what is “right”, you will feel happy. This is a dangerous thought for a lot of us, because then if we don’t feel happy, we tell ourselves we must be doing something wrong.

The problem is that happiness doesn’t come from our actions. Happiness comes from our thoughts. You can do everything “right” and still feel unhappy because of your thoughts about it.

What if happiness isn’t the goal? What if we stopped using how happy we are as an indicator of how moral we are, or how well we’re doing at life? What if the goal were actually to feel all ranges of emotion….happy, sad, anxious, depressed, loving, dislike, emotional, excited? What if you’re doing it “right” when you feel all of these things?

P.S. If you like these posts and are interested in getting some more personal help with your struggles or seeing your amazingness. I’d love for you to sign-up for a free coaching session. You don’t have to come prepared or have anything necessarily to say. I will ask you questions and guide you the whole time. I’d love to meet you!

Thursday Thought: I won’t always feel this way

When you have a cold, it’s pretty uncomfortable, but when you know it’s a cold, and nothing more serious, you know it will pass in 5-7 days. Just knowing that it won’t be forever, kind of deflates it, and makes it more bearable.

When I’m having a strong emotion, or a lot of overwhelming emotions, I like to remind myself, “If I don’t resist this, it will pass. I won’t always feel this way.” When we resist feeling the emotions, they get stronger. When we tighten up against them, or push them under the surface, they grow. But when we relax into it, notice how it feels in our bodies, relax our shoulders and breathe into it, it doesn’t last that long.

Even if we resist it, at some point it blows out, or bubbles over. We won’t feel this way forever. For better or worse, our feelings are ever changing.

P.S. If you like these posts and are interested in getting some more personal help. I’d love for you to sign-up for a free coaching session. You don’t have to come prepared or have anything necessarily to say. I will ask you questions and guide you the whole time. I’d love to meet you!

Make It a Good Day…Or Don’t

When I was in University, I had a boyfriend that instead of saying, “Have a good day!” would say, “Make it a good day!” I understood he was trying to say something like, “Good days don’t just happen, you make them happen.” Which, of course, is a concept that I really believe. However, whenever he would say this, I would think to myself, in a snarky voice, “YOU make it a good day yourself!”

Why did I feel so uptight when he would say this to me? I had this idea that it was kind of like a judgement. I had the ability to make it a good day, and if I didn’t there was something wrong with me.

Have you ever felt that way? Like, “good people are happy, and I’m not happy, so I must not be good”. Or maybe it sounds like this, “Good moms are happy, and I’m not happy, so I must not be a good mom, or at least the best mom I could be for my kids.”

One day I said to my coach, “It’s just so exhausting trying to be happy all of the time.” She said to me, “What if you didn’t HAVE to be happy all of the time?” What? Why wouldn’t I want to be happy?

Well, it’s a skill. With any other skill, it takes practice and effort. Sometimes we may want to put our effort into being happy when we’re having lots of negative thoughts and need to look at them and change them. Sometimes we may want to put our effort into making dinner, or taking care of our kids, or working on another goal.

Of course, those things are easier when we’re happy, BUT if you had to always be happy to do those things, you’d be spending a lot of your time and effort on being happy, and may not have time and effort left over.

So…make it a good day….or don’t. It doesn’t make you better or worse whatever choice you make. You’re still a worthwhile and very loved and treasured daughter of God EVEN if you choose to feel grumpy, or worried, or scared, overwhelmed all day.

P.S. If you like these posts and are interested in getting some more personal help. I’d love for you to sign-up for a free coaching session. You don’t have to come prepared or have anything necessarily to say. I will ask you questions and guide you the whole time. I’d love to meet you!

Thursday Thought: Just breathe.

I’m thinking of you today.

You who feels like the world is moving too fast and life is too heavy.

You who feels like you can’t quite get your feet under you.

You who feels that life is passing you by without being able to enjoy it.

I say to you, “Just breathe.”

Take a deep breath, and know that it’s going to be okay.

It won’t feel like this forever.

Breathe through this hard time, and you will feel joy in the future.

But it’s okay to not feel joy right now.

You don’t need to feel a certain way, or be a certain way, or do a certain way right now.

Just breathe.


P.S. Want to see how coaching can help you? Sign-up for a free one-on-one coaching session with me.

Empathy Isn’t About Taking Away The Pain

I taught a class with a fellow coach and friend a little while ago about Empathy. We showed in The Model how empathy is an emotion. Thoughts that lead to empathy are: “I can understand why you would feel that way.” “I have felt that way before.”

It was very intriguing to me, in the class, when one woman gave us an example of something she found difficult. So many of us couldn’t help ourselves but to give her solutions without really understanding HER thoughts and feelings. We were trying to solve her problem with OUR thoughts and feelings.

We were nowhere near the position to be able to help her with her problem. We hadn’t gotten to empathy, yet.

We are empathetic when we listen, ask questions, and really hear THEIR thoughts and feelings, not imagine OUR thoughts and feelings in that situation. Once we REALLY get to empathy, our actions follow easily. Usually, the most helpful thing is to just listen. As humans, once we’ve talked our problems through, we usually have a pretty good idea of what our answer is.

Empathy is being with someone in their pain and struggle, it’s not taking it away.

P.S. The video on the link is an old video. I offer free 45 minute coaching sessions. They’re amazing and will have you seeing clearly what the problem is and what your solution is. Sign-up here if you’re ready to feel better.


Long Baths And Cold Water

The other day, my son was taking a bath….for a long time. I asked him if the water had gotten cold, and he said, “It was getting cold, but then I got out to go potty, and it warmed up while I was out of the water, because when I got back in it was warm again.”

I realized it was only the contrast of the cold outside of the water, that made the water feel warmer. It hadn’t changed temperatures in the 30 seconds he was out of the water.

It made me wonder, “Are people who have had greater sadness, more able to feel greater happiness because of the greater contrast?” “Are people who have been in greater turmoil able to feel greater peace because of the contrast?”

So often we think we want to feel positive emotion all of the time, but if we did, it wouldn’t really even feel that good because we have nothing to compare it to. Maybe the next time we’re feeling frustrated, sad, despair instead of wishing we felt good instead, we could remind ourselves that when we feel uncomfortable sometimes, the positive emotions will feel that much better because of the contrast.

If you feel like you’ve been in the dark feelings too long, and want some help feeling the contrasting positive emotions, let me help you in a one-on-one coaching session! Sign-up here.

Life is Just Creating With A Toddler

I feel like my brain is expanding more and more about how we create EVERYTHING in our lives. Most often we don’t get to choose the materials we create with. I’m imagining sitting in a the living room with a toddler. We’ve been given the same materials to create with. The toddler is mostly making a mess, and every now and then gets something simple that looks alright.

I’m next to the toddler trying to create what I “should”. Sometimes I look at the mess the toddler is making and kind of give up working on my creation. What’s the use? I can’t get the toddler under control, and her stuff is making my stuff not look the way it “should”.

Sometimes I scold the toddler about how bad of a job she’s doing. When people come to see what I’m creating, I try to hide the mess the toddler is making. I try to keep it short and not let them get too close to see all of the mess.

I think that I should be able to control the toddler. I think there shouldn’t be a mess. It should just be my creation.

Sometimes I look at the materials someone else was given and think, “If I had the materials they were given I could do a better job.”

Sometimes it looks like their toddler isn’t making any mess. Some people have really rambunctious toddlers and I judge them, thinking, “You should really keep your toddler under control, then you wouldn’t have such a big mess.” I think I could handle their toddler better than they are, or that I could do better than they are with the materials they have.

The materials we are given are our circumstances. The toddler is our primitive brain. We are our higher brain.

We spend SO much time just wishing we could have different materials, circumstances. We spend so much time wishing we didn’t have a toddler, primitive brain, to work with. We spend so much energy judging our mess, judging our neighbour’s mess.

How much better would we feel, how much more would we create, if we stopped focusing on the mess and focused on the creation in front of us? How much better would we feel if we stopped wishing we had different circumstances to work with and just got to creating with what we had? What if we stopped asking outside of us what we “should” create, and thought about what we WANT to create?

I have this strong belief that if we all just created what we could with what we had our lives would be amazing, and we would all enrich each other. But sometimes we’re just so focused on the mess, or we’re so afraid of what others will think of our creation, that we create small, or we don’t create what we love.

What do you want to create? Sign-up for a free mini-session with me, and I’ll give you a powerful tool to help you on your way.


How Allowing Negative Emotion Can Actually Help You-This Isn’t an April Fool’s Joke

What does it mean to accept that 50% of the time you will have negative emotion, and 50% of the time you will have positive emotion? Why is this so powerful?

Even after we learn how to do thought work, and create the way we want to feel in different situations, we will always have new situations that we’ve never been in, or new circumstances that we’ve never thought about how we want to think ahead of time. This means we will default to whatever thoughts come. This means that we’ll always have times when we don’t feel or behave the way we would have had we decided ahead of time how we wanted to think, feel, and behave.

When we have these times of negative emotion, or behaving in ways that isn’t our best, if we think thoughts like, “It shouldn’t have happened that way,” or “I shouldn’t have felt that way,” or “I should have been different,” we’re using a lot of our brain power and effort fighting something we can’t change. It feels helpful because we think if we fight against it, then it will change. But when do you feel motivated to change? We feel motivated to avoid pain, or to feel good. Which motivation breeds long-term change? Feeling good. What if you stopped trying to avoid pain? What if you stopped trying to motivate yourself by avoiding pain? What if your motivation was to feel good in the long-term, which means you may have to feel some pain right now?

I can help you override your innate desire to avoid pain, so that you can seek the long-term feeling good in the way you want. Sign-up for a free mini-session and I can give you something to use right now.

Have you heard the scraping in the wall?

We heard the scraping in the wall, and saw the pellets on the ground, so we set up some mousetraps in our basement. It has been a couple of weeks, and nothing. Then this morning, Xander yells, “Mom! We caught a mouse!” I could hardly walk into the room where he was. My heart was pounding. I felt frozen. I stood there for a good minute before I peaked around the corner at the trap to see the mouse. I seriously peaked and closed my eyes, so I had to look again. I looked so fast the next time that I had to look AGAIN! I couldn’t see the mouse, but I couldn’t quite tell what was going on with the trap, so I had to look closer. When I really examined it, I realized there was no mouse! Xander had just been mistaken. He was out of the room by now and I told him there was no mouse, and he said, “I saw a claw!” No, my dear, it was all made up in your mind, just like all of the fear I felt was made up from my thoughts.

I would say I was afraid of the mouse, but since there was no mouse, that’s not even possible! I was afraid THINKING about the mouse. My thoughts created all of the emotion.

What other thoughts are creating debilitating fear of things that aren’t even there?

Want me to help you find them? Sign-up for a free mini-session to get started on feeling more of the way you want to feel.