If only THEY'D be different, would you be happy?
Angie & Maddie (Sept 2017)
Have you ever found yourself saying, “If only he or she would do this or say that, I’d be so much happier! Why can’t they just be nice and less dramatic? Why can’t they just take care of themselves, get a job, stop smoking, doing drugs, being so lazy, help more, show me more attention… Why, why, oh why?!”
These are very seductive thoughts, and yes, we all do it. It’s so darn easy to think people or situations are to blame for how we feel. It is so tempting to think that if THEY would only change, we could THEN be happy.
In the meantime, we stay busy, working our jobs and careers, cleaning our houses, tending to the kids’ and the spouse’s needs, cooking as best we can, depending on how much time and desire we have…and if we’re really focused, we may take some much-needed time for ourselves to relax.
So how do you relax? If you’re like a lot of women I talk to, you may have one too many glasses of Chardonnay in the evening, escape into Shameless episodes or some other Netflix original, over-indulge in cookies and cakes to “sweeten” up your life, or lose yourself in Facebook.
Let go of guilt—you’ve been coping as best you can
If this is how you’ve been coping with the daily stresses of the human experience that is totally OK! I’m certainly not here to guilt you. Personally, I also will get lost in some entertaining series like Shameless, Ozark or American Horror Story. I will turn to food to comfort me because it’s an old habit.
I’m definitely not perfect and nor will I ever pretend to be.
One thing you can count on with me is that I will tell you the truth about what’s going on with me. I’m not your guru, and I won’t put myself on a self-righteous pedestal.
I’ve done that before, especially with my children. When I first got into personal growth and looked within for answers and healing (I was 27 years old--about 21 years ago), I wanted everyone to jump on the bandwagon with me.
When I noticed my kids or significant other “messing up,” not taking responsibility for their choices, I would sometimes make a “V” shape with my fingers, placing them on my forehead. Similar to making an
“L” shape and indicating someone is a Loser, the V implied they were showing up as a Victim.
Of course this had the opposite effect of helping them to change or grow. It made them angry, understandably so, and it created distance between us. Fortunately, I didn’t continue doing that very long because I realized how arrogant AND ineffective it was.
If we want others to change, it’s important to first focus on ourselves, getting right with our thinking and feeling nature, and then not be heavy- handed and self-righteous when urging others to do the same.
Change starts from within and ONLY then can it ripple out to those we love where we have deep impact.
My and Maddie’s Story
My daughter, Maddie (21), has cystic fibrosis, a genetic illness that severely affects the lungs and digestion, and CF-induced diabetes. She has made choices with her food and self-care over the years that have made her condition worse.
She’s got a rebel inside that convinces her that if she takes my advice, she’ll be proving me right and her wrong. So she resists much of what I preach regarding nutrition and wellness.
She’s been on antibiotics since she was a child. Since she began going into the hospital at age 15, she’s been on some very potent, good- bacteria destroying antibiotics administered through IV’s.
It’s now to the point that this protocol has wreaked havoc on her gut, and the gut’s health determines about 85% of the immune system’s effectiveness. So on Saturday, I had a heart-to-heart with her.
I didn’t approach her with an attitude of blame or long lectures. I simply educated her on what I’ve learned, that traditionally-trained doctors focus on writing prescriptions and doing surgery.
Their focus is NOT on her health, and nor will it ever be. So it is going to be up to her to take an active role in her health and begin seriously looking at her food and drink choices.
I made ME vulnerable and that made all the difference
I’ve had many similar conversations with her over the last 10 years. What made this time different? My heart felt heavy and fearful for my daughter’s health, seeing her decline and wondering if her body
will be able to bounce back.
She just spent a week in the hospital in early October, and here she is again, sick for the last two weeks. Her last pulmonary function test was only 44%, and so this doesn’t give her much wiggle room to bounce back if she gets sick.
So I expressed many pent-up feelings I had by crying in front of her, being vulnerable. I told her much I loved her and that she deserves so much more than she allows in her life.
I apologized for all the times I’d been critical of her habits and how I believe in her strength. I see a happy future ahead of her, but in order for that to happen, she is going to have to make some REAL changes with her food and drink.
I told her how scared I was to make changes, to stop eating processed chips and nachos when I feel agitated, to stay with my feelings rather than run from them, when I feel anxious.
I talked about how I also felt rejected by my dad and that I had this need to gain his approval. She admitted how it feels safer to stay sick because then her dad will give her attention. I told her this made sense, but that I believed he would still do that even if she were healthy.
The result? Maddie feels scared, but she’s ready to change. We are going to do this together. I am going to lead the way by changing myself first, eating cleaner than I am comfortable with, dealing with what I
feel, and thus be that much kinder to myself.
I believed before that if Maddie were healthy, I would be happy and could relax and trust the process of life. But that isn’t true. Something else would happen that would cause me anxiety, until I got quiet, felt
my feelings, and breathed into them.
If any of this resonates with you, and you are ready to look within and find your courage, passion and strength, consider a workshop I have coming up on 12/14.
It’s called Frontier to Your Freedom, in which we will use emotional freedom technique (EFT or tapping) to help you feel your feelings, take responsibility for them, and move beyond the pain to your Joyful Self.
Register here for Thursday evening’s class (December 14th) from 6-8pm.
P.S.: If you want to feel lovable, worthy, supported, and create your best life experience, come Thursday night to the Frontier to Freedom class.