Archive | March, 2013

Change a Tire, Change a Heart

30 Mar

Isn’t the universe a funny thing? Sometimes I wonder why I even try to be in charge of my own life.

I met someone recently and over the past month we’ve been sharing with each other the ins and outs of who we are. It was just a few weeks ago when I shared something with him that I share with almost everyone I know. I hate doing “man stuff.” I was referring to the times when I am forced to deal with things that require tools and testosterone. Mostly car troubles, things in the house that need fixing, mastering the pool equipment to keep my pool clean and other things of that nature. So I said to him, “I hate doing man stuff.” As soon as I said it I felt whiney and was sure I should hand over my “equality for women” card. This made me nervous, so I did what I always do when I get nervous, I kept talking… a lot. Thank goodness I did, because I finally said something I needed to hear. It came out of my own mouth. It was my truth. This is what I said. “I hate doing man stuff. It’s so frustrating and I usually end up crying. I mean, I can do these things myself or certainly be resourceful enough to get them done. I just hate doing the “man stuff” because it is a reminder that I am alone.” (Insert Aha! Moment)

Well how about that? It turns out it wasn’t so much the “man stuff” that got me so upset after all. It was that undeniable awareness that I am alone. There is no partner around to do the “man stuff.” There is no other adult in my house to help me navigate the up and down days of my life. It is just me.

So I heard my truth come out and I have to say I was a bit surprised. I am strong. I am independent. I can do a lot of things. These are truths I speak more often. I am familiar with them. This new one was unfamiliar and I wasn’t sure I liked it.

Recently, I shared something with my children and every client I’ve seen in the last two weeks. I talked with them about courage and what it means to have courage. I told them it seems that people these days align courage with acts of heroism. I told them that I believed that courage means being able to speak from the heart, to speak your truth. I said very clearly to each of them, “The bravest and most courageous thing you can do is to ask for what you need.”

Fast forward to this morning. I woke up with a full agenda for the day and a flat tire. Crap! Man stuff! With a heavy sigh I began to problem solve. My first step was sending a text to that same person. I figured this was a good move since I’d already proclaimed my hatred for “man stuff” to him. This would not shock him and he’d be able to tell me what to do.

He replied with a text followed by a phone call. Would you believe he had the nerve to offer to drive across town just to take off the flat tire and put the spare on? I began to think…He must not know I’m strong. He must not know I’m independent and that I can do all kinds of things. Whether he sensed my hesitation or not, he suggested I think about it and said he’d call me right back. And that is when it hit me. Damn you universe! I hear you loud and clear. It’s time for me to take my own advice. It’s time for me to own a new truth that I have so adamantly tried to push on to everyone else. I really didn’t think “I need help” fell in line with “I am strong, I am independent, I can do all kinds of things.” Well it doesn’t, unless you have courage. The courageous ones know that getting your needs met doesn’t make you weak or dependent.

He called back with his offer still standing. I accepted. I also told him how extremely difficult it was for me to ask for and accept help. He said he understood and was on his way. He arrived, he changed my tire and he forever changed my heart. He was the teacher I needed in the moment I needed him. He gave help without judgment and thought no less of me. It turns out that I can do all kinds of things including having the courage to ask for what I need. Thank you universe and thank you James.

You Teach People How To Treat You

19 Mar

As you read the title of this blog, I don’t want you to think that starting now you should begin teaching people about how you want to be treated. The title is meant to inform you, that this is already happening. When you understand that you teach people how to treat you, you can begin to determine your own accountability in relationships, you can stop pointing the finger and you can recognize your role in what went wrong.

When a relationship is in trouble and/or falls apart, both parties can easily agree that something went wrong, but they find it much more difficult to agree on who is to blame for the relationship’s demise. I am not suggesting to you that finding the culprit be your end goal, but if you are going to take the time to look at the two parties involved, you might as well ask yourself if you have done your part by teaching your partner how to treat you.

Some people are famous for keeping the peace. They say things like, “Whatever you say, Dear” and “No, really, I’m fine.” The reality is these peacekeepers are not feeling very peaceful on the inside. As they stay tight lipped to avoid conflict and drama, a storm begins to brew. The resentment builds, the anger increases and before you know it they say something ludicrous like “He never listens to me or considers my feelings” and “She doesn’t even know when I’m upset.” Hmmm… I wonder why.

Boundaries. They are not recognizable to others when we don’t enforce them. In fact, they become invisible and unknowingly trampled upon.

Feelings. They are not understood by others when we don’t communicate them. In fact, they become lost even within ourselves.

Thoughts. They are not valued by others when we do not share them. In fact, they disappear and are replaced by the thoughts of others.

Expectations. They are not appreciated by others when we do not express them. In fact, they slip away and often leave us feeling disappointed by others.

While it can be scary to set boundaries, I assure you, the boundaries you set will serve their purpose in bringing some people closer and pushing away the ones that needed to be pushed. When your boundaries are clear, people will know how to be in a relationship with you.

I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, we leave in a world of “doing” where only behaviors can be seen. Unfortunately, behaviors live in the land of judgment and in the land of what is right and wrong. Most people are not trained to see the thoughts, feelings, and expectations behind the behaviors. There is a function to every move we make. There is a feeling behind every behavior. I guess it’s an option to leave it up to your partner to try to guess the function of your behavior, why you might be stomping around the house mumbling under your breath, or why you quietly cry yourself to sleep at night, but I wouldn’t recommend it. In fact, I’d say it’s unfair. Chances are, they’ll guess wrong, that will likely stir up another feeling inside you that you aren’t willing to share and then the cycle continues. It sounds exhausting to me. For those of you living this way, I bet you’d agree that it drains you on a daily basis.

I wonder what it would be like to find your voice. What would it mean to share your thoughts, feelings and expectations? What might happen if you established and enforced some personal boundaries? Wait… I know this one. You would be teaching people how to treat you.