There are times when the voices in my head can be really helpful! Recently I had a little situation where I decided to consult my inner wisdom or what I like to call, “My Girlfriend Voice or MGV for short” for a little advice.
Last Sunday, a friend hurt my feelings. There was no doubt that I was hurt but I couldn’t decide if I should I put a little space in between us or try to address the situation while the feelings were still fresh.
ME: My gut tells me to talk to my friend but I am worried that I may make the situation worse because my emotions may cloud my objectivity. I made a vow to myself to keep all of my relationships healthy so I feel the need to speak up. It’s confusing!
MGV: I am giving you the green light to talk now. Talk from the heart. Remember to use “I statements” and focus on how you feel. Breathe and make eye contact.
ME: (OK, here I go!) To my friend: “Tonight I was upset. When you did “X”, it made me feel “Y”. I know it is not your intention to hurt my feelings but I felt it was important to let you know while it was still fresh in our minds.”
ME: A yellow flag is flashing in my brain. Does your silence mean you didn’t hear me? Please, we are sitting eighteen inches apart. I pause. Ok, I’ll keep this simple and focused. I wonder if I should I reiterate what I just said?
MGV: AHEM. Slow down and proceed with caution. You may feel a little defensive and repeating yourself is not only unnecessary, it is really annoying. Relax. You have opened a dialogue. Sit tight. Take a breath. Stop pursing your lips.
ME: I don’t say this out loud but I don’t play poker for a good reason! OH? Did you just say OH? WTF? I was brilliantly articulate while emotionally charged. Sometimes it is not easy being me!!!
MGV: HOLY SMOKES. Take a breath. While your heart rate accelerates, you may lose sight of the importance of this moment. You have two choices:
- You can respond in a kind, compassionate manner. The past cannot be erased but perhaps you will help shape future behavior?
- You can react and do what you have countless times before, you can ARGULATE. (One of my favorite sources for information, Urban Dictionary, defines argulate as to argumentatively provide a hard-headed and ignorant fool the wisdom of your point of view; that which is undoubtedly right in every which way.)
ME: RESPOND OR REACT? Sounds familiar! I do try to follow my own advice but sometimes it is easier to do as I say and not as I do.
I turn to YOU and say lovingly, ...
This week I’ve been struggling to find the right words. My mind is a flurry of activity yet I don’t feel the usual melody in my story. What the hell?
Boom, it is 1am and the lights go on in my brain.
This topic is complex but when I drill down to the absolute core of what is important, it’s really rather simple. I’ll forego the need for a flowery explanation and witty prose of the backstory and share with you the facts. Just the facts, Ma’am, just the facts.
So what is my mystery topic? RELATIONSHIPS. I am talking about my blueprint for healthy relationships; the relationships between friends, family and lovers.
There are times when a relationship requires WORK. Not effort, but work. I am not talking about hitting a rough patch or feeling distant but rather you feel like you are running up hill, walking on egg shells or giving more than you receive. RED FLAG but I’ll continue this thought later.
So now that I have reached the divine and wise (ass) age of 50, what say I is the key? What is necessary in order to experience a mutually satisfying relationship? To help you remember, I’ve created a simple mnemonic; FUN!
The (F) FOUNDATION:
- I must understand who I am.
- I must love the person I am.
- I must be responsible for my actions, toward myself and others.
The (U) UNDERSTANDING:
- You enhance my life BUT I don’t need you to feel complete.
- We communicate honestly and respectfully, regardless of the subject matter.
- Our relationship is a priority NOT a contingency or a convenience.
The (N) NON-NEGOTIABLES:
- We each believe we are capable of loving another person and we deserve to be loved ourselves.
- We each own our own #$#@%. No blame or excuses!
- We explicitly agree that I am responsible for MY life and you for YOUR life.
- We relinquish the need to control what is out of our power and place to manage.
- We chose to live with an open and generous heart.
Back to that RED FLAG warning…. The first thing to examine is your role in the relationship. Are you grounded and open? Realistic? Codependent? This step is so often overlooked as blame, anger, resentment and other powerful emotions fuel unproductive exchanges.
Look in the mirror. You are the first step.
If it still isn’t working, you have a decision to make.
FUN = My personal blueprint. What’s your blueprint?
From the heart,
(Graphic courtesy of sodahead.com)
I am having a hard time understanding why bad things happen to good people. A friend of mine, I’ll call her S., had cancer four years ago but luckily they caught it early and she survived. At that time, she was in the middle of the adoption process. Not only did she survive the rigors of surgery and chemotherapy, she was the happiest bald headed woman I ever met. Her faith, family, friends and positive attitude prevailed over all doubt.
A few weeks ago S. told me that it was very likely that she had a different type of cancer, although discovered early, it is on her liver. What really makes me furious with the Universe is that she just completed the adoption process for two little boys. And if I could be any madder, had S. not challenged her doctor for further testing after a questionable lab result, the cancer would have progressed undetected.
So if we are exactly where we need to be, what could possibly be the benefit of battling yet another cancer?
With this situation on my mind, I am hypersensitive to people who do not appreciate all that they have in their lives. For instance, I heard a story about a woman who received a promotion and bonus but was complaining that the promotion should have been up two levels instead of one. OMG. Once you start wishing things were different, it tells me that you have not paused to appreciate where you are and what you have received.
Are you waiting for something or someone before you consider yourself happy or complete? Hello, this is your wake up call. You cannot wait to live your life for any reason. I guess if you are OK settling for less than fine but come on, put on your big girl panties and live out loud.
I too wish for things to be different.
- I wish for my friends and family to be free of suffering.
- I wish that I be given guidance to make good decisions.
- I wish that we all learn to love who we are as unique individuals.
The rest is up to you.
I have a box that I slip my notes and prayers into that I call my “God box”. I love the process of writing something down (makes it real) and then turning it over to the Universe (lifts it from my heart and mind). I recently pulled out a few slips of paper to see what they said. One was wishing a friend find a way to move to California. Update: she did 13 months later. Another note was I wanted help finding a job where I was able to work in a respectful and creative environment. Update: I did one month later.
There is power in prayer so I ask that you join me in praying that S. receives the best possible care and outcome.
Finally, I want S. to know that she is the most courageous person I know and her example of moving forward with a positive attitude inspires me. I am so fortunate to have her in my life.
From the (somewhat broken) heart,
For most of my adult life I did not want anyone to know that things weren’t rosy behind the white picket fence. I thought if I admitted my struggle, it was a negative reflection on my character. It meant I was weak, incompetent, lazy, and maybe even stupid. Pretty harsh words, huh?
I was acting a part. I was the perfect wife, mother, friend and professional. What I didn’t know was that if you play the same role for years, you begin to forget who you are. You drift further and further away from your true self and become a character from your imaginary life; just going through the motions.
Avoiding those feelings or then deciding not to seek help meant that I could tune out what I didn’t like——-shut off the critical voice. I didn’t have to hear how horrible I was, however, there was a big price to pay. There were days that I would BLOW without provocation. More often I would cry in the bathroom or in the car – that is where I could touch up my makeup so no one knew I had been upset. Put on a pretty face and carry on!
Last week I touched base with a friend who seemed different but I couldn’t put my finger on it. They asked me for advice on how I remain positive despite the many things I have on my plate. I truly am happy despite living in one of the most stressful times of my life. My secret? Once I started to admit I wasn’t “FINE” every time some asked me, I started to feel much better. It sounds simple because it is.
Now I don’t go on and on, in intimate detail every time someone chirps, “Hi, How are you today?” I am not obligated to say FINE. I’d rather to say something I am happy or grateful for. It shifts my thinking over to the positive side.
Let me interrupt this thought with an important reminder. Before you start giving anyone advice, ask them if they WANT YOUR advice and if they do, speak only from YOUR OWN experience—that is your truth. If not, zip your lip.
Why did I choose to check my emotions? What was I avoiding besides the critical voice?
I thought my friends would judge me when they knew I was struggling. THEY DIDN’T.
I thought I would have to justify or defend my decisions. NOPE.
I thought they would abandon me to avoid the drama. NOT A CHANCE.
I thought I may intensify or attract more of what I wanted to get rid of. This is something to pay attention to. If you feel stuck and you are repeating yourself, there may be another issue at play. I am talking about letting the words flow through you—looking for a release and ultimately resolution. Solid and stuck versus fluid and liberating— can you see where I am going?
Acknowledging what you are feeling allows you...
What a night! Attending a dinner party on a school night seemed like such an illicit affair! Delicious food and even more delicious company! We sat at the dining room table and used the good china! I wouldn’t have cared if we had been served frozen waffles on paper plates. I am grateful for the opportunity to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
There was a spiritual kinship amongst the guests; five women who have reinvented themselves at least once if not twice in their lives. Women who shine because they possess the fine quality of being authentic; comfortable in the skin they embody.
At 7pm, a gong sound rang out and our “Hostess with the Mostess” let us in on a wonderful new practice. At the same time every day, the gong sound reminds her to stop and say a blessing for her friends. WOW—uber cool!
She learned of this practice while visiting a college friend and wanted to pass it along to us. This is the ultimate “hostess gift”. If you have read some of my previous blog posts, you know I proselytize the “power of the pause”!!! I absolutely love it this idea and thought I’d pass it along to you.
Let me share a few more notes from our gathering. We agreed that kindness never gets old. We discussed the importance of a “friendship network” and how confidence is the sexiest quality in a person.
Remember the phrase, “Be careful what you wish for!” I am a firm believer that the intentions you put out to the Universe will be answered but I was advised that the intentions I speak of may not be specific enough. Holy smokes, thank you. As a result, I made an appointment with the Universe today and restated my intentions in very specific terms! Phew.
I am reminded of a story where a blind man was granted one wish. You would imagine he would ask for his sight but his wish was as follows and I paraphrase, “I wish to be standing on the roof of my mansion, covered in gold, watching my many grandchildren play in the vast garden.” Was he greedy? Maybe but the moral of the story is to ask for exactly what you want. Just sayin!
Today I felt a renewed sense of creativity. Was it the result of the gathering? YES! The people you surround yourself with can lift you up or drain you. Be selective with your time.
You are your most valuable resource.
Thank you, ladies!
From the heart,
Photo credit: spiritsentient.com
Some things don’t change and in this case, it’s a good thing!
My friend Simone and I were sifting through a box of old photos and memorabilia this weekend. There in a wrinkled envelope, written on index cards, was a speech I wrote when I was eighteen years old. Of course, Simone couldn’t resist a reading it through it. Yes, reading it, in full character voice as well pointing out each one of my spelling errors! (Spell check hadn’t been invented yet—dare I date myself?)
In the speech, I shared my wishes for my classmates, friends and family.
–to find a career filled with passion while leaving time to play and rest (did you notice that CAREER was the first thing on the list? I was a product of the times—ready to take on a man’s world.)
–to practice patience, especially during the most trying times (overrated; nothing more to say. Next!)
-to understand the importance of a sense of humor (absolutely – how wonderful it is to laugh so hard you snort or squizzle)
–and finally, friendships are the key to living a long healthy life (AMEN! Enough said)
I have a hard time connecting to the person I embodied at eighteen but it is pretty cool to see I was already inspiring people to find happiness and live with passion! The words may have sounded foreign but they served as a compass for my life. I still follow this compass but now I call it, “My Girlfriend Voice”.
And by the way, this photo shows that some of my best times were in my robe and PJ’s. Some things never change! (me at 18 in red bandana)
From the heart,