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Life is about Relationships. Every organization is comprised of people in relationships, first with themselves, then with the environment they exist in.

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~ She is NOT Me ~ Parenting my Teenager ~ Healthy Self-Esteem

She is NOT Me! ~ It’s true I had a youth full of trials and challenges similar to those which my daughter is facing now, but She is NOT Me and I am not Her. Her stories and dramas appear and sound as if they share the same structure as those in my past. I remember my personal struggles; my changing body; social awkwardness; parental disdain; infatuation with the opposite sex; my emotional HIGHS and lows.

Now I understand the dynamics of it all, but then, not so much. Yes sex-ed was taught in school. I was told about the importance of healthy self-esteem. My parents said, “Someday you will understand”.  I knew my hormones changed with my cycle and on and on, but I didn’t really get it not until now.  Even now I don’t truly get it, because it’s not mine to get anymore! It’s hers and She is NOT Me.

I remember thinking, “Nobody understands,” and feeling isolated in my own world full of torment, torment I often believed was inflicted on me and I felt powerless. The criticism at that time was frequent. Peers, teachers, siblings, family and even society all seemed to have something negative to point out about my process. I was told it would get better, that someday I would look back and remember those days as precious times. It didn’t make sense. If they were so precious then why wasn’t that my experience going through them?

The fact is life is immensely different then when I was growing up. Social pressures have changed. Our children are experiencing technology that I couldn’t have even begun to imagine at their age – texting, facebook, skype, who would have thought?  The concept of sex, well, that’s an entire article all on its own. My point is this, my children are unique and trying their best to make their way in a very crazy world. The last thing they need is my righteous attitude, dogmatic opinions and pressures.

I am consciously working to not inhibit my daughters esteem.  I am listening more and having fewer opinions, because I remember how it felt to always “be told things” rather than simply being respected and listened to. I ask more questions and say things such as, “Wow, that sounds very challenging! If you could counsel “them” in being better communicators, or behaving differently, what would you say and why?”, then I listen and often agree.

I once heard a quote, “It’s more important to teach our kids how to think then what to think.” I really believe this. I also believe in the importance of allowing my daughter to “feel freely”! Who am I to tell her to stop crying or that she should not feel that way? Who am I to be the cause for her doubting herself and question her personal life experience? I am NOT her.

She is NOT me. My experiences and injuries, emotionally, physically, mentally are mine, not hers. True I do my best to prevent her from experiencing pain, but I know she will hurt. It’s absolutely normal.

As I proceed in being her parent I will do so with the full intention of allowing her to experience life more freely. I will do my best to not impose my past on her present. I will also be careful to not direct her toward a life I wish I had had.

My daughter is a teenager now who knows the basics of right from wrong. As she moves through these next few years I must allow her more freedom to choose her own way and form her own character. I am NOT Her therefore I cannot save her from herself. I can gently guide her and be here as I always have to help her up when she falls. She like me will live and learn and one day will look back on her childhood. My hope is that she will say, “My childhood was amazing.”

 

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Once Upon a Story

Once Upon a Story 

We love stories, don’t we? We love to tell stories and hear stories.  Some of our favorite stories come from our personal experiences, experiences which have impacted us so much so that we continue sharing the stories over and over with various people along the way.

Story telling is a very healthy way of sharing information; it can be a very unhealthy way of sharing information too.  Everyone’s life is like a book in progress. Our pages are filled with chapters containing all our personal memories, dreams, fantasies and even stories we’ve heard along the way.

Let’s consider the unhealthy nature of storytelling. I believe storytelling can be toxic sometimes, toxic for the person sharing and sometimes for those whom hold audience. When an individual finds themselves repeating their story and even other people’s stories, I think it’s beneficial for them to consider what their intention for sharing is.

For instance, if I share a story based on the need to substantiate the fact that I have been a victim in my life, then telling the story, only validates and perpetuates my life experience of being a victim. If I am holding onto and sharing my “victim story” because I believe it is still the case, then I will continue experiencing being a victim in my life, resulting in feelings that are less then healthy or happy.

Whatever I experience in my life at any given time is often the result of what I believe my truth to be. If I am consistently feeling unhappy or emotionally unhealthy, then, I often find it’s time to evaluate my beliefs and tell a different story or the same story in a healthier way.

People whom exercise telling stories to validate negative feelings and experiences, often times do so out of habit. They may not even realize how their negative habit fosters their less desirable emotional experiences and often contributes to the undesirable experiences of others too.  I believe many people have a tendency to enroll in their personal drama or the drama of others because it validates their belief and need to not be happy.

It doesn’t really make sense that someone chooses to be unhappy does it? As far as I have experienced, most people are on a quest to be happier and healthier! I have learned to pay attention to the topic and content of the conversations/stories I share and have recognized that on occasion my sharing is not as healthy as I would like it to be. This awareness has benefitted me and has helped me learn the value of speaking less and listening more while exercising better discretion when choosing my words.

I am intrigued and humored by what I have learned by observing my own less than perfect storytelling habits! In my second book I am sharing many of my “stories”, as I share am aware of negative story telling effects and positive storytelling value. I’m sharing stories, not to perpetuate my drama, rather to help people gain clarity on their own, by being able to identify with my process of becoming free, free of the negative aspects of perpetuating stories that do not serve in a healthy, happy way.

Becoming conscious of my tendency, on occasion, to share in unhealthy ways has helped me become proactive in my story telling approach and am now exercising healthier storytelling habits! My character is under construction, one awareness; one different choice; one moment at a time.

As we continue on, co-creating the story of our lives and contributing to the chapters that others are creating too, let’s begin sharing and creating the story of our deepest wishes and dreams come true! …. Just for the Health of It!