Being Vulnerable

Why is it easier to be vulnerable with strangers than the people we know? Why do we fear being judged by people even when we are adults? What if we stood up in courage and did what we wanted and what we felt drawn to do even if we were afraid of what other people might think?

Years ago, I did many leadership trainings and now I am reminded of one thing they taught us. Everyone is just trying to look good for everyone else. Meaning you are trying to look good for me and I am trying to look good for you. Maybe we can just drop all the trying and instead just be ourselves. Imagine the freedom to do what we want and not fear being judged?

What do you want to do in freedom? It could be a million things. For me it is writing. I want to write and to inspire people to live the best life they can live for themselves and their families. I want to keep myself accountable and make up games and strategies and tricks for when life gets me down and share them with you guys. But what will you think? What will my community think of me pouring out my heart? Will they judge me? Will they laugh at me? Will they…?

Who cares should be the answer! I have been on this planet too long to get stopped by worrying about other people and what they think. Like I learned, it is better to just be your true authentic self and lead the life you want to live and let other people just be other people.

So here I am, going out on a limb and putting myself, my thoughts, my life and my hopes out there. Where are you ready to get out there in life yourself? Where are you going to be strong and go after your dream?

And who in your life needs your support in going after their dream? Not advice but support. Simply listening and being there for them. Offering advice only when asked for and instead offering love, understanding and solace as a constant.

We can all only pray to be that person for others in our lives. To build a network of trusted friends and mentors to whatever level we each feel comfortable. But in the end, a true friendship is beyond our Instagram and Facebook reel of our perfect lives. Don’t you want to know what is actually going on in your closest people’s lives? Doesn’t it make you feel good to be there for them, and even sometimes relief to hear that other people, like you, are going through things and dealing with life the best they can?

Let’s come together and bring our vulnerability. Let’s come together and laugh and maybe cry together. Let’s bring our dreams together and make things happen on this planet like the forces we are.

 

Planning vs Worrying

Are you a planner? Do you keep your family’s schedule organized and help juggle all the activities and responsibilities? I am obsessed with planning and feel like it totally helps me to live a happy and balanced life (more details on that to come in another post soon.) But on the flip side, I can also find myself worrying about things like my son’s ear infections or traveling alone to Chicago or really anything having to do with the safety and health of my boys…. So, when I stumbled across an article about the difference between planning and worrying I was intrigued.

It started off by saying we have evolved from the hunter gatherer life and we are programmed to be on the lookout for dangerous or compromising situations. (My husband would love that as he is always bringing it back to our human roots tied to the land and our instincts.) This innate sleuthing thus enabled and enables us to survive. Our parents trained us and now we even do it to our kids.

“We are all the products of men and women who evolved to be wary. There is nothing remarkable about this. We plan our days and our years. From the time we are children, we are told to watch out for strangers, for speeding cars, and for being caught outside in bad weather. We are instructed to eat and sleep properly and take care of ourselves. Doing the right thing becomes automatic-most of the time. We do not worry about these matters. We plan for them. We schedule them. But even as children, and forever after, we also worry about things. What distinguishes those problems we plan for from those we worry about?” 1

We can plan for all sorts of things- like what we will make for dinner this week, what to do for the next girls night out, how to make the upcoming birthday/holiday/party special, saving for retirement, etc. We can plan for big and little things just as we can worry about big and little things. Whether they are important (like the health of our parents or saving for college) or fleeting (like did I remember to start the dishwasher before I left the house or is my friend upset I had to reschedule our lunch), anything you worry about can be consuming and draining.

Here is what Fredric Neuman M.D. says distinguishes the problems we plan for versus those we worry about: “We plan every day for all those things we need to accomplish during the day. We worry about those things that are very difficult or impossible to plan for.”

In other words, we plan for things we can control, and we worry about things that we cannot control or that we can control but may be short on time for like saving money to retire once you are very close to retirement.

He continues, “To put it another way, we can plan for something important and not worry, if it seems to us we are in control. We worry about things we cannot control. So, we worry if a biopsy will come back showing an abnormal growth, we worry about our children using drugs, we worry about not having enough money to pay the mortgage, we may worry about a spouse being unfaithful. These matters seem to be out of our control. They defy our ability to plan for them. Worry is, therefore, an inevitable consequence of the inability to plan successfully. It is as if we our searching our minds for a plan to confront these problems and cannot find one. If we could find one, we would not worry!”1

So as a planner what can I do to stop worrying? Most people say just let it be, or worrying won’t help, or even less helpful some people say just stop worrying about that- as if it’s the easy! But the aha moment for me from this article is that worrying can’t be stopped on its own, you need to plan for your worry and get beyond the “what if….?” To discover the “then what?….”

“The antidote to worry is action. Chronic worriers are simply people who are not good at making plans.”1

I took a little offense to that when I read it since I consider myself a serious planner! But I can look beyond that to see where in worrying about certain areas I never got past that potential problem to get to the part where I make a plan for it.

Actually, I was just in this circumstance last Wednesday. Both of my sons had a cold, one even got an ear infection. My throat began to feel a bit scratchy and my left ear started to hurt a little bit. Normally that wouldn’t be too big of a problem (especially now that my son got tubes for his ears and he didn’t have to get antibiotics, again.) The problem was that I was about to leave for a solo trip to Chicago to visit my 92-year-old grandma and see family and friends and I didn’t want to be sick for it or have a problem flying with a sore ear.

I was worrying and worrying. What if I am coughing and sick and can’t enjoy my trip? What if I bring germs to my grandma or am too sick to see her? What if my eardrum ruptures on the flight? This went on for a while and persisted as I was already in a nervous state as I rarely leave my kids and husband! Then I did what the article talks about, I went from the “What If” to the “Then What…”

I thought ok what’s the worst scenario here, I feel sick and I can’t go visit my grandma. Well then I’ll be alone and can just stay in a hotel. What if my ear ruptures or hurts? Then I will go to the doctor and get past it! Worse case I hurt a little and miss out, not a big deal. So, I let it go with a plan in mind. I went to Chicago; my ear was fine, and I never got the cold. I got to visit my grandma, my family, and old friends. I seriously had the best trip ever and it is pretty hilarious that I even spent one minute worrying about it! But experiences like this help me to do better in the future. And now that I am equipped with the other tips from this article I hope to plan away all my worries in the future!

To wrap it up here is Neuman’s general strategy for dealing with worry:

“No matter how out of control a situation may seem to be, worrying about it can be dispelled by developing a plan of action. The trick, then, for the affected person-or his/her therapist-is to try to find some plan for dealing with that situation. Sometimes a simple exploration of the problem immediately suggests a reassuring response. I worried one time that my daughter would miss a connecting flight. She pointed out to me that the airlines have a way of dealing with that situation. “They will just put me on the next flight,” she told me.” 1

It is funny that I stumbled upon this technique just earlier this week all on my own and I look forward to applying it to any situations in the future where I would normally find myself worrying!

 

1. Neuman M.D., Fredric. “Planning vs. Worrying. The treatment of a worry.” Psychology Today. 04 Dec. 2016, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fighting-fear/201612/planning-vs-worrying. Accessed 04 June 2018.

The Whole World is a Playground

While I was dropping my son off at school this morning, I snapped this pic of the playground. I was struck by the energy and exuberance all around me and how all the kids turned the playground into whatever they wanted it to be. Enthralled in the moment, they run, they sing, they dance, they play, they draw, they chase. They are free.

The playground isn’t just a playground. It is a basketball arena, a stage, a canvas. They are joyful and jubilant.

As we go into the weekend, I want to take this attitude with me. I want to create moments of bliss with my family and turn wherever I am into something inspiring. I want to play and experience freedom and flow, if even just for a little.

What will you do this weekend to find even just one of these moments?

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