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7 posts from December 2010

December 30, 2010

Letting Go Of The Rage--Parenting With Calm

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By Kim C. Flodin
This blog post was written for the Soho Parenting Blog http:www.sohoparenting.com/blog

Kim Flodin has been part of the Soho Parenting community 20 years, is a writer and mother of two daughters. Her work has been featured in Newsweek and New York Times, among other publications, and you can read more from her on her blog – http://blogsgotnotitle.blogspot.com/.

After a lifetime of even-temperedness, becoming a parent struck a chord that released both a passionate, besides-myself love, as well as an intense anger when things got tough.  My rage kicked off in my first-born’s toddler years; it intensified during my daughters’ teen years, especially my second child’s adolescence, which has been stormy.  If she yelled, I yelled louder.  If she got snarky, I replied in kind.  If she threw something, I threw two things.  It wasn’t pretty.
With my elder girl wrapping up her teen years and my “baby” half-way through them, I can report that things have been better, a lot better.  For months now.  And not by magic.  To help turn the tide, I had to learn that:
* I needed help.  Last year, my husband and I enrolled in a six-week, one-on-one immersion in counseling specifically to learn new skills and new ways of doing things, all the while going to half a year of monthly parenting coaching sessions.  I kept (and keep) up my individual therapy.  I mean, really, I can be taught.

Continue reading "Letting Go Of The Rage--Parenting With Calm" »

December 27, 2010

How To Stand Up For Yourself Without Falling Apart

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Below is a post from my new blog http://lmerlobooth.typepad.com/straight_talk_4_women/ Enjoy!

One of my blog readers wrote in to say that she’d like to stand up for herself at work but was fearful that if she did she would be too emotional if she stood up to them.  She’d been able to maintain her composure to date by ignoring her co-workers comments even though she felt degraded on the inside.  How could she learn to stand up without becoming tearful or emotional in the process?

This is a great question and one that many women struggle with.  The reality is that when we first begin to stand up for ourselves it can be a scary process.  The best way to limit the chance of becoming emotional in our response to mistreatment is by starting small keeping our replies short and to the point. Do not start by taking on the most difficult issues first.

Keeping our replies short and to the point will be easier to do for those who are good at thinking quickly.  For those who are not so good with thinking on their feet, take time to think about the usual ways your co-workers mistreat you.  Once you are out of their presence come up with a list of replies you could’ve made but were too afraid to say in the moment.  Sample replies include:
•    “Wow, that was mean.”
•    “Your mean-spiritedness is shocking at times.”
•    “I’m tired of your insults. When you’re ready to be civil let me know.”
•    “I’m fine with talking about my work when you can do so calmly and without putting me down.”

Continue reading "How To Stand Up For Yourself Without Falling Apart" »

December 22, 2010

Can People Really Change?

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Throughout the years, I’ve seen countless couples on the brink of divorce.  Often, one partner’s behaviors have been really toxic to live with, while the other partner has tried to manage them in a way that won’t escalate things.  The managing partner often does so because s/he doesn’t believe it’s possible for their partner to change.  They believe that their partner’s behavior is a result of hard wiring that can’t be altered.

So what is the truth about change?  Is it possible for someone to truly change?  If change were possible, wouldn’t it take years to happen?  The short answer is: absolutely -- change is possible… and I mean BIG, life-altering (and relationship-altering) change.  And…no, this kind of change does not need to take a lifetime to happen.  In some cases it can happen in an instant.

I can already hear the doubters: “If change can happen in an instant, how come I’ve never seen it?”  “Change that happens that quickly isn’t true change and never lasts.”  There are endless beliefs out there when it comes to change and several of them are true.  It’s true, for example, that some people may never change.  It’s also true that some people will take several years to change.  And, yes, there are those who will change, only to later return to their old ways.  However, the answer to the fundamental question about change is: yes, it’s possible and yes, it’s sustainable over a lifetime.  

So if some people never change, others change only for a period of time and still others change painstakingly slowly, what’s the difference among these people?  The bottom line is that change is a choice.  On any given day, one person will make the choice while another will not.  Key factors that differentiate them include:
1.    There is an internal shift or ‘aha’ moment.  Most of my clients who have made life-altering changes did so when they understood on a soul level what their behavior was costing not only themselves, but their partners and children as well.  They felt the pain of their actions in an entirely different way than ever before and this clarity gave them the motivation to stop the damage. They simply didn’t want to be that person anymore.  This wake up call or aha moment can take many forms.  Examples include: realizing that their rage was damaging their children, receiving a cancer diagnosis and realizing their constant over-accommodating put their life at risk or having a partner leave them because of their behavior.
2.    A determined, deliberate and unequivocal choice is made to change.  Too many people would like to change, want to change or hope to change, however, few decide to change at all costs.  When the ‘aha’ moment hits, there is a deliberate shift in attitude, motivation and determination.  The change becomes a “must” not a “should.”  The person is willing to do whatever it takes to make the shift happen and stick.
3.    They seek the help they need.  Some people have been struggling with mental health issues for years that have stood in the way of real change happening.  Those who decide to change will get the help they need, even if it means going to AA meetings, seeing a psychiatrist to discuss possible medication options or getting individual therapy.  In essence, they stop making up excuses for why they don’t get help and they step up and do whatever it takes to make the change happen. 
4.    They take full responsibility for their behavior.  Those who change know that they do what they do because they choose to.  They don’t put the blame for their behavior on their partner or children, etc.  Taking 100% responsibility for their own actions allows them to have 100% control of their behaviors.  They set limits with their partners—they don’t blame them.

Change is possible when we choose to be humble enough to see the places we are off and are committed enough to change them.  When we refuse to see our own fault lines, blame those around us for how we act or don’t listen to critical feedback, we keep ourselves stuck.  Don’t wait until the world starts crashing down on you before you change.  Listen to the world’s feedback and perhaps you, too, will have your “aha’ moment.

Challenge: Know that change is possible for you and others.  Make your decisions based on this knowledge, rather than throwing in the towel without any effort to create the change you’re looking for. 


December 16, 2010

Life-Changing Mentoring (Part II)

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My previous post talked about five tips for becoming a life-changing mentor.  Below is the second half of the list.  Enjoy:
1.    Be open to the learning.  If you think you know it all, realize that you have so much further to go.  My supervisor once said that she loved master level clinicians so much more than bachelor level ones.  Her reason was because bachelor level clinicians thought they knew everything, whereas master level clinicians knew they had so much more to learn.  As mentors and leaders, there’s always more to learn.  Every time I think I have it down, something happens to put me back in my place and show me I have more to learn.  Embrace learning as an ongoing process that has endless roads and no end in the destination.
2.    Plug in accountability checks.  To be a great mentor we need to put in a system of checks and balances.  Meet with your mentee monthly or more to discuss how the mentoring is going and what would be more helpful.  Don’t tell them how they’re doing—ask how you’re doing.  Be open to their feedback, suggestions and requests.  There is nothing like learning from our students how to better teach—be daring enough to be curious. 

Continue reading "Life-Changing Mentoring (Part II)" »

December 14, 2010

Life-Changing Mentoring (Part I)

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Over the years I’ve had many jobs, colleagues and bosses.  I’ve worked with people who taught me job-related information, supervisors who oversaw my work and advisors who pointed me in a certain direction.  Over the years, however, I’ve had very few mentors; I’ve had even fewer great mentors.  In fact, I’ve had only one life-changing mentor.  It is my goal to become a life-changing mentor.

Life-changing mentoring is exactly what it implies—it is a deeper level of mentoring that, when done right, can truly change lives.  I am personally trying to learn the art of being a great mentor and realize I have far to go along this journey.  Life-altering mentoring goes beyond teaching employees how to just do their jobs.  It teaches mentees how to change their way of being in the world and to subsequently change how others are in the world as well.  Life-changing mentors create a ripple effect of change throughout entire companies, communities and sometimes even the world.

Below is a list of tips for becoming a life-altering mentor.  This list has been compiled largely as a result of my personal experiences over the years.  I’m sure there are many things missing, however these are the core principles I see.
1.    Be generous with your time.  Too many mentors behave as though their time is so much more important than others’.  This is a mistake.  Take the time to teach.  Encourage your mentees to ask questions and do NOT respond by saying, “I have just a minute, so make it fast” whenever they ask for help.  Be generous with your time.
2.    Be ultra-patient and forgiving.  My colleague Dawn is teaching me the importance of this tip as we walk through a new business adventure together.  My desire to push through some things at warp speed can come across as impatient and controlling; obviously not fun to be around.  When you have more experience than someone else in a certain area, you need to be aware of how you’re responding to their questions, mistakes, etc.---through their eyes.  On any given day or project, the tables could be turned and they will know more than you in some area.  Mentor others as you would like them to mentor you.  Breathe and remember to BE PATIENT.
3.    Listen with a new ear—one of curiosity rather than critique.  A great mentor teaches others how to think for themselves rather then always telling them what to do or how to fix something.  A great mentor also listens to the feedback of their mentees—even when the feedback is about them.  In fact, they listen especially when the feedback is about them.  Life-changing mentors take in negative feedback about them, hear it and make changes as a result.  Be courageous enough to look at your flaws and learn from them.  Listen, listen and listen some more.

Continue reading "Life-Changing Mentoring (Part I)" »

December 09, 2010

Surviving The Pain Of Divorce (Part II)

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Below is the second part of the post from my new blog http://lmerlobooth.typepad.com/straight_talk_4_women/ Enjoy!

My previous post listed four tips for surviving divorce, however I had a hard time ending the list there.   Therefore, below are the remaining five tips to help you get through the pain of divorce.  I hope these help.  If you know of someone who is going through a divorce, feel free to send this list as a resource to help him/her get through this difficult time.
1.    Develop new interests, hobbies and outlets.  Now that you’ve lost a key person in your life, it’s time to expand your world.  Take some time to meet other people by joining a club, a class or a workshop.  Think of a hobby you always wanted to try (e.g. photography, cooking, hiking) and sign up.  Bring a friend if you can.  If not, go and perhaps you’ll find a friend. 
2.    Learn from the past so you don’t repeat it.  There’s no better time to explore your relationship patterns than after a break-up.  Look back at this relationship with an objective lens.  Are there any patterns that you notice in your relationships as a whole?  Did you like how you were in this relationship?  If not, why?  What is the one area you need to change in terms of how you are in your romantic relationships?  What would be the first step to you changing that?  Do not focus on the other person—keep your eyes on you.
3.    Take full responsibility.  It’s way too easy to place the blame for the break-up, your unhappiness, your children’s difficulties, etc. on your partner.  Don’t fall into this trap.  Take control of your life -- 100%.  If you’re unhappy, do what you need to address this and find the joy again.  If you’re isolated, get out and meet new people.  If your children are struggling, help them work through their feelings without bad-mouthing their other parent.  Do what you need to do to get your life back on track and refuse to allow the divorce or break-up to take away any more of your life than it has already.

Continue reading "Surviving The Pain Of Divorce (Part II)" »

December 07, 2010

Surviving Divorce (Part I)

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There are many people going through the pain of divorce and breakup in our society today.  Some have asked for the breakups, while others were blindsided by it.  Most, however, struggle with the fallout of being alone.

Below are the first five of 10 tips for getting through the pain of breakup or divorce:
1.    Know that the way you are feeling now will change.  In fact, your feelings can change by the day or even hour.  Some people are relieved, while others are distraught.  Often though, break-ups are incredibly difficult and are often characterized by loneliness, despair, depression and even hopelessness.  People worry they will be alone forever, they’ll never stop feeling lonely, there’s something wrong with them, etc.  These feelings will -- and do -- go away as you begin to adjust to being on your own.  Enroll in a divorce-support group to help you get through this difficult time.  If you find your feelings are just as intense several months out, then consider meeting with a professional to rule out depression and to help support you. 
2.    Practice extreme self-care.  Now is not the time to be taking care of everyone around you.  You need to do things you like to do, be with people who fuel you --  not zap you -- and pamper yourself.  Don’t medicate your feelings with food, alcohol, drugs or sex.  Instead, face your feelings and comfort yourself in healthy ways (i.e. with friends, movies, journaling, massages).
3.    Do not try to prove you are attractive, worthy, sexy, a good catch, etc. to yourself or to anyone else.  Many people think something must be wrong with them if their relationship didn’t work out (this is especially true if their partner initiated the breakup).  They then go out and find someone to hook up with so they can prove to themselves that they still have “it.”  Do not do this.  Know you still have it and get comfortable being alone before you desperately try to cling to someone else in an attempt to feel okay. 
4.    Get comfortable with yourself.  Take this time to get to know your self again.  Women, especially, lose themselves along the way in relationships.  Now is the time to get clarity about who you are and how you want to be in this world.  Get comfortable with being by yourself.  Be determined to learn to like your self, regardless of who you’re with or not with.  When you like who you are without someone, you will be better able to be that same person with someone.
5.    Surround yourself with healthy support.  Protect yourself.  Hang out with people who are a good influence.  Don’t hang out with girlfriends who are drinking to forget their pain, hooking up with any man they find to explore their sexuality or who are encouraging you to do the same.  Stay true to yourself and surround yourself with like-minded individuals.

Regardless of whether you’re relieved, distraught or in-between the two, remember to focus your time and attention on yourself following a break-up.  Don’t try to run into another relationship to soothe your pain—it will only cause more down the line.  Take your time to heal, get comfortable with yourself and enjoy old friends.  Gather the support you need and make sure it is healthy support.  Be okay with being alone and know that, contrary to the message in movies, you do not need someone else to complete you.

CHALLENGE: Give yourself time and space to heal and re-group.  Connect with old friends, journal, enjoy your children, be forgiving of yourself and trust that you will get through this.  Practice extreme self-care and do so guilt-free.  Good luck! 

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