Advice for My Children

Dear Child,

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A Letter to My Children

You are perfect just as you are. Remember that it’s never too late to unbecome who the world thought you were supposed to be.

There are times when you might forget your own worth. You might twist yourself in a pretzel to make someone else happy, but make yourself miserable. Just be yourself.

It is possible to be brave and scared at the same time. Don’t let fear to stop you from doing the things that bring you happiness.

Seek joy! Be enthusiastic even when others aren’t. Laugh so hard your belly hurts. Surround yourself with people who lift you up. Find sparks of happiness in tiny, ordinary moments.

The only certain thing in life is that one day you will be faced with uncertainty. You can’t control what happens to you, but you do have power over how you react to it. Write your own story.

Sometimes, hurt people hurt people. When someone tries to dim your light, remember that it takes courage to keep shining bright.

It’s ok to cry. If you don’t let the sad out, sad can turn into mad. Whether you are a boy or a girl, everyone feels sad sometimes.

Show up for your loved ones when they are suffering. Sit alongside them without needing to fix them. Simple isn’t always easy.

There will be times when you will have to protect your heart. It is possible to be a kind person and still say ‘no.’

Choose people who choose you. Surround yourself with those who see your gifts. Seek out people who already believe in you. Don’t waste time proving yourself. You might not be for everyone. And that’s ok.

Learn to give compliments from the heart. And most importantly, learn to accept compliments with grace.

The way you speak to people matters. Always speak with kindness in your heart. You just never know what they are struggling to overcome.

Don’t make yourself small in order to fit the places you’ve outgrown. It’s ok to dream big, spread your wings, and fly!

Everyone is capable of creativity. Your work will always be bad before its good. Make lots of it. Share your gifts with the world. Keep creating. Keep sharing. Keep getting better.

Done is better than perfect. Perfect is impossible. Shoot for your best, instead.

At times, you might get knocked down. Keep getting up. If you’re tired, allow yourself to rest. Keep trying. The only way to bounce forward, is to never fully give up.

Listen to others with an open heart, and don’t be afraid to speak up for what you believe in.

Every so often, ask yourself: Am I proud of the way I make people feel?

Clap for friends and strangers even when you envy their success. Their victories don’t equal your failure.

Take care of your body. Feed it healthy foods. Move it, every day.

Take care of your mind. Feed it healthy thoughts. Give it the gift of stillness, every day.

Pick yourself. Don’t wait for permission to change the world. Express yourself. Find your voice. Don’t wait. Start now.

Walk through the world trusting the compass in your hand and following the whispers of curiosity on your heart. You might be unsure of your destination right now, have faith that it’ll all make sense in the end.

Love, Mom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rebrand

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The Rebrand

Just recently, I experienced a setback that will change what was and force me to adapt. Nothing permanent or terrible, but a setback, nonetheless.

The thing is, we are all faced with daily obstacles, whether they are significant, life-altering or seemingly minor.

How we react to setbacks, reveals our character.

In the past, I haven’t always responded favourably to the challenge of a curveball. I’m a girl who loves certainty, after all. Unexpected challenges can be tricky for a lot of people, myself included.

After the disbelief and shock of a setback have worn off, reality sets in. Like a cat clinging to a door frame to avoid taking a bath, I will pretty much do whatever I can to elude the repercussions and discomfort of a setback. Sure enough, I soon felt myself slipping into old habits.

Here are my favourite 4 ways to avoid difficult realities:

  1. I will manufacture certainty by over-organizing everything in my life. My friends have nick-named me the M-organizer…because it’s what I do. It’s my favourite coping mechanism. As I write this, I realize that I am SO guilty of doing this! I actually chose this week to take on the KonMarie Method for organizing your home and, against best-Kon-Marie-practice, delved right into the most challenging and exhausting section: paper. Super.
  2. I lament what might have been and live there far too long. Yup! Mentally, I found myself checking off all of the things that I’d be losing out on or missing as a result, despite my better judgement. Terrific.
  3. I catastrophize the future and wallow there for a bit. My brain starts doing overtime and over-projecting the new reality. Very helpful.
  4. Then…enter resentfulness. Instead of leading with compassion, empathy, kindness, and love (as I aim to show up most of the time), my deficiency-perspective allows fear and resentfulness to creep into my interactions. UGH!

 So, as you might have guessed, this 4-step-approach doesn’t work out so well. Not only do I usually wind up feeling lousy, but so do the people around me, through association.

Consequently, this week, acknowledging my tendency for certainty-seeking and manufacturing, I found myself searching for a different tactic. I talked to some people, did some journaling, and meditated on it for a bit. I was reminded of something Dr. Maya Angelou once said: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

What I wanted was to change my attitude. How on Earth does one convincingly, authentically shift one’s perspective? The willingness to change one’s approach and outlook is important, but it takes more than simply telling yourself to change to do so with authenticity.

That’s when it struck me. Perhaps, it might be more helpful to think of it as a rebrand. It’s about telling yourself a different story. It’s about teasing out and focusing on the positives associated with a change in situation versus dwelling on the losses. Rebranding doesn’t usually alter the product for sale, it changes the story about it so that it becomes more desirable. A shift in perspective that tells a different story…that’s what I needed.  Not one of loss, grief and resentful resistance, but one of strength, courage, and willful benevolence.

And so, I have begun to craft a new story. How about you?