Category Archives: Learning By Example

Talking to Our Kids About Feelings

Feelings. Is it important to talk to our kids about how to deal with their feelings? Many see it as an innate skill. It’s not something most parents think about. We are too busy making sure they brush their teeth properly and get to bed at a decent hour and get their homework done every night.

Why is it so important to discuss dealing with feelings with our kids?
The truth is we don’t even think about how we deal with our own feelings. We just do it and assume our kids will know how to do it naturally. But that isn’t always the case. This may be why we see so many of the future generations acting out their feelings by bullying and drama… because they don’t know how else to deal with them.

The Simple Truth:
#1: All of us are always having feelings.
#2: If we don’t deal with our feelings, we are doomed to repeatedly feel them until we consciously resolve them.

Good Feelings

Good feelings are easy to “resolve” so-to-speak because we naturally and fully want to accept them and experience them to our brain’s satisfactory completion.

During “good” experiences, our minds naturally say: “Yes, it happened. Yes, I am happy it. So I accept it and can move on.”

Bad Feelings

It’s the “bad” feelings we suppress and when we do this, our minds deny our brain the necessary resolution of the experience.

During a “bad” experience, our minds often try to process the information differently. “I don’t want to feel (insert feeling: scared, sad, bad) so I am going to pretend this isn’t/didn’t/or can never happen.” Avoidance of the feelings verses allowance and acceptance of the feelings your brain is trying to associate with the bad experience resolves nothing.

Suppressed feelings keep coming back to haunt you until you allow yourself to feel them.
Do you ever notice how a bad memory (perhaps of something that 1embarrassed you or 2scared you or even 3made you feel very angry because an injustice was done to someone you care very much about) can sometimes pop up in your mind at an odd or inconvenient time?
Emotion
You simply cringe and tell yourself: “Don’t think about it.” or even catch yourself saying something out loud like “I can’t believe you said that!” or “No!” – Chances are if you do this, someone is going to come into the room and say “Who are you talking to?” ;) It happens to everyone.

These are memories that have unresolved feelings associated with them that have not been dealt with. They have been suppressed because for some reason or another many of us have taught ourselves that it is better to “brush it off” and pretend it never happened.

But it did happen and when those memories come back to us, it is like our subconscious mind is bringing it back to our attention to remind us we need to deal with the feelings that happened during that experience.

In the book: “Organizing for Life” and it is very interesting that the author states that depression is your mind or body’s attempt not to feel. This is why suppressing your feelings is very bad for you, you can end up training your brain to stop feeling the way it needs to.

What We’ve Been Teaching Our Kids Might Not Be Working!

I have a 12 year old and I didn’t realize that many many kids (and even at very young ages) are taught by society (including us parents) and self to keep many of their feelings in check and conceal them as best as possible. People who do this well are even revered and thought of a “cool” and strong in our society. So we do know that to thrive in our world, we do need to do this sort of stifling and controlling emotions in the moment of the experience up to a point.

We say things like: “brush it off” and “shake it off” and even “let it go” has come to mean the same thing. It has become another way of saying “Don’t think about it. / Don’t deal with it.”

How to Teach Someone How to Deal with Emotions / Feelings

This is more difficult than you might think. First, we must know and deal with our own feelings well.

We must somehow teach our children that yes, controlling your emotions and “keeping your dignity” is very important. Learning to press on in the face of adversity is sometimes very courageous and can take them very far. We must also teach them to learn to deal with their feelings in the right time too.

To Deal: Feel, then Heal

Allow yourself to feel the disappointment, embarrassment, fear, sadness, and even anger when the time is right and your mind will probably not let you forget to do so. The very next time you are doing your homework (or are in the middle of doing whatever it is you might be doing) and a not-so-great memory pops back up in your mind. You must take a moment and allow yourself to feel the feelings that were suppressed during the experience. It’s not like you need hours to let yourself fully feel an emotion. It only takes a minute or two for the most part.

What Self Talk Might Look Like When Dealing With Your Feelings

Ok, so you’ve decided or been mentally reminded that now is a good time to allow yourself to really feel the feeling. It can go something like this:

“Ok, yes, that happened.” Feel it. “Yes, that kinda sucked.” Or “Yeah, that kinda stunk.” (If you are a parent who doesn’t like that word. Make sure you feel it completely like your brain needs for you to.

And then you can “let it go” and get your mind back on task.

Keep your discussion with your kids short.
Remember that kids have short attention spans. When discussing major, important issues like this: do your very best not to ramble or digress!

This is not a cure all for dealing with tragedy and may not help everyone all the time. But from one parent to another, I wanted to go ahead and write this all out in case you might have been teaching your kids to “sweep it all under the rug”. Remember, there is only so much room under the rug. We have to deep clean sometimes.

I wouldn’t even have thought it to be an important topic until I talked to my daughter about how she deals with middle school stress and all that wonderfullness. :)

We need to remember (even for ourselves) that bad feelings aren’t ever really bad, they are a part of a well rounded life and if we never had bad feelings then we’d never have good feelings either. There would be no distinction. It’s like if we never had Winter, would Summer all the time really be that great? We would have no idea.

How to Have a GOOD Day (in 4 Steps)

Take just 2 minutes right now to give yourself back the power to choose whether your day is good or bad. If the day starts poorly or even just average, you can fall back on this 4 step process. (You’ll never need more than two minutes to do it… except the first time it may take 3 or 4.)

Step # 1. Turn off auto-pilot. That’s how you’re allowing more and more of life to pass you by. Young beautiful girl driver in glasses with a wheel

Step # 2. Take a look at whatever time you have left in your day (don’t even look at tomorrow, you’ll get to that tomorrow) and see its full potential. Choose the potential you are fully capable of filling with good communication and action. (You do not get to depend on luck although that pleasantly happens too.)

Step # 3. Recognize that each minute in your day there is action (toward or away from your full potential) happening. Even if you are totally still and “not doing anything”, that in itself is a choice and an action toward end result.

Step # 4. Realize step number 3, and then begin using your minutes the way you’ve always wanted to (the way you know you can). They will grow into well spent hours, and then well spent days, etc.

Live on purpose. Work on purpose. Spend time with loved ones on purpose. Walk to wherever it is you are going on purpose. Eat on purpose.

Whatever important thing it is that you have allowed to happen in your life through auto-pilot: realize it and put it back on manual.

Look back on your day, only at the end of your day. And appreciate every small step on your journey.

As creator of your business and success remember that YOU are your greatest asset!

Pigtail Style

pigtailsYesterday my 10 year old (Haylee) informed me that she absolutely must wear pigtails to school today.

I couldn’t remember the last time she actually wore this particular hairstyle.

‘Why?’ was the next obvious question I had to ask.

“Because there was this girl being bullied in high school about her hair being put up in pigtails! Some mean girl told her that only losers and babies wore pigtails and that she was both. Well, that girl wore her pigtails to school every day after that and the mean girl kept picking on her! She never changed her hair style for the mean girl though, and then other girls caught on to what was going on and started wearing their hair in pigtails, and well now every girl in my school including teachers who has long enough hair is going to be wearing their hair in pigtails to support this girl and her right to wear her pigtails!… ”

My daughter’s story (as always) was very detailed and passionate about this cause.

pigtailsThe cause isn’t about pigtails of course.The cause is about girls supporting other girls and the courage to be who they are, to wear their hair the way they feel like wearing it, and to not back down when someone tells them that they are a loser.

I wore my hair up pigtail style today too.

Click here to read (the original pigtail girl) Maisie Kate Miller’s story in the Washington Post Blog.

 

@BarackObama @MittRomney @GovGaryJohnson on Twitter

I wrote about the politicos and their successful (or not-so-successful) use of Facebook in: Smolitics: Politicians on Facebook. It’s time to take a look at some Twitter stats and see who is more popular on Twitter!

Smolitics: a person or idea’s popularity/performance/ or general acceptance on social media.

Twitter Smolitics for the Three Most Popular Presidential and Vice-Presidential Candidates of 2012
Note: There is a 16 day lapse between the first and second dates collected because I collected these stats at 4:30pm EST on both dates.
There is almost an 18 ½ day time lapse between the second and third day collected because I collect the data just before 7:30 AM EST on Tuesday Oct. 23.
Dates Collected -> 9/18/2012 10/4/2012 10/23/2012
- Democratic Candidates -
Barack Obama 19,883,416 20,524,381 21,249,142
Joe Biden 154,878 178,115 285,650
- Republican Candidates -
Mitt Romney 1,137,759 1,275,938 1,556,597
Paul Ryan 260,009 271,829 308,420
- Libertarian Candidates -
Gary Johnson 57,463 70,617 94,041
Jim Gray 219 233 258

The following bar graph shows the increase in the number of followers for each candidate on the dates specified.

(Some browsers and smaller screens tend to make this image hazy. For a clearer view, try clicking on the image to view it separately.)

Obama’s large stats make this graph incredibly difficult to depict completely accurately with a small bar graph. Here is a closer look at the other candidates and how they compare to each other.

So, you have to ask: “Why does Judge Jim Gray only have 258 followers on twitter?”
– The first and obvious reason is that the last tweet he sent was July 31st, and before that was May. He seemed to get into the Twitter thing on March 4th! But his zeal for it apparently waned and he decided against hiring a Social Media expert to utilize this for him.

A social media expert can make or break your social media marketing strategy. For instance, what if he hired a very ambitious person to run his twitter campaign and they tweeted something for him like:

“I support the legalization of #marijuana.” While making it absolutely clear on his twitter profile that he is a Vice Presidential candidate for the #election2012.

I have to smile at that idea, because it could possibly help his popularity or just as easily hurt his campaign. Can you hear the right wing screaming tweets then? “He only wants to lead our country to drugs and and immorality!!” – add in a misspelled word or two.

– Yes, his campaign would have to be handled in a very serious manner. :)

QUESTION: Will social media popularity predict our elected officials?
– Even though many would probably say yes to this, the answer is still: probably not. However, it is important to know the three big reasons why it’s not a good assumption to say that the one who has more Twitter followers will win… (at least, not yet):

  1. Not everyone who will be voting (e.g. many senior citizens), has a Twitter account.
  2. Lots of people too young to vote can (and do) follow candidates on Twitter.
  3. And finally: All social media is GLOBAL. People all over the world are following Twitter, Facebook and YouTube campaigns of the future leaders of other countries.

IT IS ALSO IMPORTANT TO NOTE:
More people of all ages are installing Twitter apps all the time and those young, passionate citizens are turning 18 – the first 2 gaps are closing.

Which candidate is aggressively using Twitter and “Promoted tweets” the most right now?
It looks like @GovGaryJohnson:

Promoted Tweets Gov Gary Johnson

A search on the hash tag #President and produced this promoted tweet by @GovGaryJohnson. (Click for larger view.)

Promoted Tweets 2 Gov Gary Johnson

A search on the hash tag #election2012 and produced this promoted tweet by @GovGaryJohnson. (Click for larger view.)

Success-Driven Inner Dialogue

mind processes Fact: You are talking to yourself… all the time.
During these silent, internal conversations you tell yourself to do something, ask yourself why you did something, or ask hypothetical questions like: “Did that cheesy commercial have anything to do with insurance?”

Question: Does what you are saying to yourself matter?
According to a section in “The Now Habit at Work” by Neil Fiore, Ph.D. what you say and how you say it matters very much. The book includes an interesting look at inner dialogue and how it can very easily lead to procrastination.
How? – By causing either a “stress” or “depress” response toward the idea of working any given task or project.

Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. – William James

Procrastination Begins by ‘Depressing Motivation’

Using “I should to begin a self-statement is an attempt to motivate yourself to do something to make your situation better. Instead, it actually just establishes that your current situation is not OK because you ‘should’ be doing something else. Processing a lack of well-being has a tendency to depress motivation.

Using “should do” infers a lack of self-confidence or a lack of necessity. It can also imply that the statement is optional. (E.G. ‘We should all be nice to other people.’ – And we all know this is completely unrealistic and becomes mute after a bad day in nightmare traffic when that idiot in the stinky car cuts you off!) :)

Statements beginning with “I will…” or “I plan to…” or “I will enjoy the benefits of doing…” support confidence and do not hinder your current state of well-being.

To change habitual, inner dialogue:
Try choosing alternative statements with what comes most naturally and committing to practice as often as you can remember to or write them down.

Procrastination Begins By ‘Activating Stress’ From Self Talk

Using “I have to” as the precursor for a self-statement attempts to motivate with pressure, but really just successfully activates a stress response.

As a human being it is natural for us to want to avoid stress. In this modern society, we have pressure coming at us from all directions. Thus it is an act of self-preservation to use an escape key like procrastination to avoid tasks that have already been associated with stress. Unfortunately, procrastination is no real escape at all is it.

I admit, I start thoughts with this stress activating forerunner all the time…

  • I have to remember to…!
  • I have to figure out a faster way to do this…next time!
  • I have to do better on…!

Dr. Fiore recommends replacing “I have to” with “I choose to”. Saying: “I choose to work on…” does not sound natural to myself, but it may to you. I would transition easily to use “I am going to” or even “I like to”. I would acclimate better saying something like, “I like to be as efficient as possible with my email responses to spent minimal time on non-income producing tasks.”

Like I said before, we have pressure coming at us from all directions and learning how we can learn to treat ourselves regardless of the outside influence is crucial for a balanced life. It is healthy to accept human limits and more fulfilling work with success rather than forever working toward it.

talk to yourself

Susan Who?

Remember Susan Boyle?
I know this is old news, but the message of it is timeless and it felt sort of “right” to post about it this week. :)

Back in 2009 her courage to follow her dream inspired millions.

If you don’t know who Susan Boyle is then take 5 minutes to watch: Susan Boyle – Britain’s Got Talent ’09.

Too many of us would have clammed up under the skepticism and undisguised ridicule she faced from the moment she walked out on that stage up until she started to sing her song “I dreamed a dream”.

Who would have believed that it was even possible that this 47 year old woman from some village somewhere had what it takes to be a star?And yet she did and she took the chance to prove that she could shine as brightly as any of them.

If you don’t agree that she was outstanding during her performance that’s OK. The point of it is that scads of others who watched her were changed a little after watching her – and there precious few who can say that they have been able to give that kind of genuine inspiration during their 15 minutes of fame.

So, what is your gift?

You know what it is. It is probably even definable in a single word like: William Shakespeare: story-telling, Albert Einstein: intelligence, and Martin Luther King Jr: leadership.

However, the gift/word itself had very little significance.

It was the mindfully strategic use of those gifts that actually changed the world.

If it wasn’t too late for Susan Boyle to show off her talent, then it certainly isn’t too late for you either.

“What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” – Robert H. Schuller