I recently spoke to a wise lady about the lessons that I am supposed to be learning. Sharon Lynn Wyeth created the science of Neimology. As we were discussing these lessons, I realized that these are lessons that a lot of us need to be learning. I want to share with you because I think we can all benefit from this.
Lesson number one is commitments.
As we discussed commitments, so many good points came out of this conversation. We make a lot of commitments. Setting our alarm at 7 am is a commitment. Saying I’m going to go walk two miles is a commitment. Telling Max, I will pick him up at 4:00 is a commitment. Think about what you say all day and the expectations we set up for ourselves. We tend to make too many commitments.
What can we do about this? We can think about what we say all day. When we say, “See you soon,” do we mean it? When you set an appointment with someone make sure you have the time and desire to do this. Keeping our commitments builds our trust in ourselves and builds other people’s trust in us. I probably tend to over commit. I’ll give you an example. My friend advised me when Lillie went to kindergarten (my youngest child), that I needed to set up a couch date with myself. Lillie is headed to fourth grade this year and I have yet to make myself a couch date. I think about all the stuff that I need to get done and I don’t allow myself to have a relaxing day. That is over committing at it’s finest.
Lesson number two is to look underneath at a deeper level.
Whether it’s Covid, politics, vaccines, friends, family, what is really going on? I’m not assuming anything. I’m not taking someone’s word for it. Do your own research and make your own decisions. Don’t just jump to assumptions if your friend is acting “off.” What is really going on with your friend? What is going on with your child or spouse? Get down and dirty and learn. Learn more about your friend and connect. For women in particular, we need connections. We were not meant to be alone. Women used to gather the berries together with other women. They used to do the laundry together with other women. They parented their children in an actual village. We aren’t supposed to be alone. Forming deep connections is what will increase our happiness and decrease our feelings of being overwhelmed and frustrated.
Lesson number three is to be in charge of yourself.
This may sound simple, but it actually isn’t. You see, someone like me will let others take charge in order to keep the peace. I like peace. I choose my battles. Is this worth needing to take charge of? Have you ever said, “Whatever you think?” Or, “Whatever you want?” That is totally and completely giving away your power. Ask yourself what you want. Ask yourself what you think. Stay true to your values and beliefs. Stay true to yourself. Know what you want and go after it. Being in charge of yourself means not letting someone else take you on a path that you don’t want to go on.
Lesson number four is to find your balance and value.
I found myself counting at the end of every day what I got accomplished. Even if I got a, b, c, d, and e finished, I was wonderful why I didn’t get to x, y and z. I was setting myself up to feel disappointed in myself every night. I was finding my value in whatever I was doing each day. I felt like I always had to be doing something. I would drop my children off at school and tell myself, “Ready, set, go!” Let’s go get this list done. We all know that there is always a list. We don’t always have to work on the list. I know that there are deadlines. I’m working on one right now as I type this. When you aren’t trying to meet a deadline, put the list away. Ask yourself what you want to do?
When I have succeeded in putting the list down, I want to tell you some of the things that I have chosen to do with my time. I love to put on reality tv and watch it with no interruptions. My favorites are The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Vanderpump Rules. I love to take out a book and read cuddled up on my couch. Taking ten minutes to meditate makes such a difference. I am always amazed that ten minutes can make me feel so relaxed. One of my very favorite things to do is to go get my nails done. I love making appointments like that for myself. That is definitely one of the ways that I take care of myself. Nice nails make me feel so happy. I actually went today with my girls, and we all got our nails done. I love that special time with them.
I started to realize that my worth wasn’t tied up to what I was accomplishing. I know there are husbands out there who may ask what the wife did all day. If you are one of those husbands, I would watch the judgey tone when you say that. My fabulous husband knows how hard I am on myself. My husband asks me about my day because he is interested. We like to tell each other about our days. He doesn’t however ask me what I got accomplished. He doesn’t care if he comes home to dishes in the sink. He doesn’t care if he comes home to laundry overflowing. He doesn’t care if the house is a mess. He doesn’t care if there is no dinner on the table. I want the laundry, dishes and cleaning to be caught up. I want to have dinner on the table for him every night. It doesn’t always happen, and he is totally okay with that. He wants me to take care of myself. The fact that he doesn’t judge what I accomplish in a day has been so helpful to me. The fact that my worth is not tied to my accomplishments for him has been so helpful. The fact that he wants me to slow down and encourages it has been so helpful to me. I really truly picked the perfect man for me. I picked someone to calm me down. I picked someone to slow me down. I picked someone to save me from myself. How many babies would I have had if Seth didn’t stop me? How many dogs and cats would I have if Seth didn’t stop me? Do you see the pattern? He knows his limits and he’s good at saying no. He’s also good at telling me to, “Go sit down.” He has been key in my figuring out that my worth is not tied to what I do all day.
Do you know that if you do nothing you are still of value? Do you know that you are not a machine that was meant to go plow forward on your to do’s all day? “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” is one of my favorite sayings. If you don’t slow down and take care of yourself then you are of no value to anyone including yourself. I think about how I drive my car and have to fill my tank. If I don’t fill my tank the car will die, and I won’t be able to drive it. We have to fill our tanks and we need to find balance in our lives. Seth will tell you that I still do too much in a day. He will also tell you that I have come a long way. Baby steps are good. Any progress forward is good. Please go put your feet up and take a break. I’m begging you to take care of yourself. I see how hard you work. I’m talking to you.
Lesson Number five is to learn how to take care of myself.
This sounds similar to the last lesson, but it is not. The last lesson was in regards to balance and value. Finding balance in my days. Finding worth that isn’t tied to what I accomplish. This lesson is very different. Learning how to take care of ourselves is something some people are really good at. I used to be amazed that my friend could go jog for hours and leave her children home. I wondered how she was able to do that? I get it now. At the time I was perplexed. She was taking care of herself. I also noticed that she was making a lot of friend plans. Take note of what you are jealous of. I am jealous of everyone on vacation right now. That is an indicator to me to go plan a vacation.
Seth is really good at taking care of himself. I used to get annoyed by that. He was sitting and reading a book as I ran around with my head spinning. I used to be like, “How can you sit there and read when there is so much to do?” Now I know that I need to learn from this man of mine. He is able to sit down and meditate. He is able to sit down and read a book. If I’m jealous, put the dishes down and go read with him. Take his lead and learn from him instead of being annoyed with him. He is trying to teach me to take care of myself and I’m not listening. I hear you, Seth. I’m taking notes. I’m observing you. Just remind me to join you.
Lesson number six is safety first.
I tell my children that I choose my battles. This is something that I believe in strongly. Safety is not something that is negotiable. I teach them about the dangers of social media. I teach them about the dangers of kidnapping. I teach them to look both ways before they cross the street. I teach them not to talk to strangers. I teach them not to open the door to anyone. I teach them to stand up for themselves and to be able to say no. Seth was working on self defense with them last night. He has his black belt in Krav Maga (Israeli Martial Arts). While my son is big and tall, my daughters are small. I told my daughters it is going to be a long time before I let them sit in the front seat of the car. Don’t be afraid to say no to your kids. Don’t be afraid to teach your kids about safety. I have had many parents tell me that they don’t want to scare their kids. A little fear is not a bad thing.
Lesson number seven is to handle emotions.
There are two kinds of people. There are people who stuff their feelings and people who express their feelings. Kelly Hutcheson asks if you are a coke or calzone. The coke expresses and the calzone stuffs. I am definitely a coke and so is Lillie. We feel things very big and deeply. Teaching Lillie how to handle her emotions has had the added benefit of teaching me how to handle my emotions better.
Lillie and I have worked a lot on her coping skills. We both know that instead of fighting with each other and escalating that we need a time out. We have learned that when we are in an unresourceful state that things will go nowhere. We need to calm down before we can resolve anything.
Lillie and I have talked about counting to ten to help calm down. We have talked about grabbing a stone with a positive meaning to help us calm down. It was suggested to me to do jumping jacks to get my emotions out to help me calm down. To scream count those jumping jacks if I need to. Sometimes we need to get that energy from our emotions out. I remember screaming in my car by myself once, and I remember how much better I felt after that. Find what works for you. What helps you to calm down and handle yourself better? Don’t think twice to telling your children that you have to go to the bathroom to get away and get space from an argument. Space allows everyone to calm down. Mastering this is a huge way to have better relationships.
You have heard me talk about the power of the pause. Before I get upset there is a second of a pause that I can take. Take the pause. Pause and think about what you want to do next? Do you want to yell and make the situation worse, or do you want to calm down and have a rational conversation? It takes two seconds to make a decision on which way you want to go.
If you are a calzone who tends to stuff your feelings, I challenge you to start to express yourself. Start slowly and build up. Tell a loved one how you are feeling. You will feel so much better!
I hope that you took something away from these seven life lessons. I would love for you to share with us and let us know what you took away from this blog. You may have different lessons to learn than I do. We all have our own path in life. We also can all continue to learn and grow every day. I always say that the goal is to be the best version of you.
Laughing, Loving, Learning,
Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R
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