Category Archives: Life in General

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?
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!

A $1 Here and a $1 There

Christmas Charity

A few months ago, I realized something. Many stores I was going to would ask me to donate a dollar for one charity or another.

Costco asked me to donate to Riley Hospital, Walgreens would ask for a dollar for the American Cancer Society, and now I must confess that I even enjoy a Taco Bell burrito every once in a while (apologies to Dr. Lisa ;) because it was there that I realized something about a simple dollar for charity.

After I ordered at the drive thru the attendant asked for a $1 donation to support local programs to keep High School students in school and graduating.  His spiel was very hurried and I didn’t even understand what he said. I think that’s why I took notice. Two things happened simultaneously.
Taco Bell Supporting Your Community

  1. I realized that my automatic response to the requests for charity from corporate sources had too often become: “Not today, thank you.”
  2. I also realized that I had a habit of not really listening to what my donations were being requested for.

I asked him to repeat what he said, simply curious about why they were collecting dollar donations when he didn’t end the spiel with “hospital” or “foundation”. I decided supporting teens in any community was a very great cause and said: “Ok, yes.”

The speaker sort of paused and asked “Really?”

This took me by surprise again. “Yes.” I said.

“Well, thank you very much!” he enthused.

At the window I received a coupon for a free taco and genuine gratitude for the donation. Another two realizations happened for me.

  1. The response of almost disbelief resounded with me on my way home. Perhaps I was the first person of the day to donate to the cause. Perhaps, it just didn’t happen very much at all.
  2. I wondered at the coupon for the free taco. What kind of future are we cultivating where companies are finding it necessary to create incentives for patrons to donate to the betterment of our community?

The entire situation was very thought provoking as you can see. I kept the coupon in my bible to remind me of that day always. Since then I have made a conscious effort to give charity, and even if I do this two or three times a week it is only ever amounts to $10-$15 a month.

I felt very blessed that day to simply have the dollar to give.  And I understood this could be why Acts 20:35 mentions: “… we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

It does feel good to give.

The origin of the word charity means “Christian love of one’s fellow man”.  Is it any wonder that during the Christmas season we will have many more stores asking us for our dollars for charities? The salvation army bell ringers will be at the entrance to every mall and the food drives will be soliciting donations for the many families in need of wholesome holiday meals this Christmas.

This could be the year we all decide to give a little more. Maybe we won’t wait for someone to ask us for our canned goods, but we could go a little out of our way to find a donation box.  Maybe it will be the first year we sign up to buy a Christmas present for an Angel Tree child. Or maybe we’ll remember to drop some money in a Salvation Army bucket on the next trip to the supermarket (even if it is just the pennies and nickels and dimes we’ve been meaning to clean out of our vehicle’s extra cup holder).

Charity is love, and we all know how much the world could use a little more of that all year long. May God bless you so much that you have more than plenty of extra dollars to be the blessing for others this Christmas.

Written with love by,
Amber, the girl who edits your Excell for Life newsletter (Dec 9, 2013)

Drafts, Drafts Everywhere?

And Not a Single Published Post

blogging writingI have 36 draft posts saved in my blog right now. (Plus a handful of local MS Word files with random names like “stuff they put in our food” and “the virtual assistant ‘to do’ list”.) Some drafts contain only a few words while others contain paragraph after paragraph of good information that I have picked up over the past year and yet never got around to editing or just pressing that increasingly elusive “publish” button.

Why would any blogger have so many unpublished posts!? I have a lot of reasons. The first is this: I am not actually a blogger. I am a writer who poses as a blogger. It’s almost been a year since I’ve posted to my blog, but I write everyday. I write for all kinds of reasons: business, a little fiction for fun, and sometimes it’s just non-sense in a journal. No matter what ends up on the page, it’s the act of writing that love.

Bloggers vs. Writers

Bloggers write about their passion, while a writer’s passion is simply to write. One can be a great blogger without being a great writer (and vice versa), but writers can learn a lot from bloggers.

The Writer’s Excuse The Blogger’s M. O.
“I just couldn’t find the time.” “I am not writing a novel here. I do have time to write one solid paragraph to keep my blog ‘content fresh’.”
“I have writer’s block.” Just one paragraph about the relevant stuff I am doing / learning / or hearing from other people. . .
It’s amazing the angles that some bloggers are able to come at a topic while keeping their content relevant!
“I’m too tired.” “Procrastination and the heavy cloud of unfinished business are more exhausting than just doing it.”
“I don’t know if it’s worth it.” “I never waste my subscriber’s time; I make sure it’s worth it.”
“I don’t even know if it would matter if I skipped this time.” “People notice when I skip, in fact they ask me about it. That’s just another reason to keep on!”

Why do I love writing?
As work, life experiences, and other people provide a constant stream of “input”; I feel like if I can just describe them with the right combination of words, then I can understand them better.

It really has been nearly a year now since I have posted on my blog. As I was typing out this “hello again” post, I was fully intent upon being quite critical about my poor blogging performance and apologizing for being gone etc.

While I am sorry about the extended hiatus, I think it’s better if I skip the self-critical part. I work better focusing on encouragement. :)

Why do I choose to pick up blogging again?
As my Facebook statuses and emails to everyone have been getting longer and longer lately. I have no choice but to get back to blogging again. It is a small but important outlet for one of my greatest passions: writing.

~ Till next week.

A Span of 7 Years

Every seven years we become a completely different person.” – A coworker told me this once. Do you think she was right? Of course, she didn’t mean that we change instantly.

The first thing I thought when I hear that was: “Couldn’t the same can be said about five, four… or even three years?” The answer to that is: “Probably.”

Today, for one reason or another, I got to thinking about who I was seven years ago vs. who I am today and I must admit it was a little disconcerting. When we hear/read that statement, we can’t help but to think back on how our lives looked seven years ago. And of course, we instantly begin to compare a large number of life’s differences between now and then.

So why seven years? Does this give any merit to the “seven year itch” myth? – I’ll say no to that, but concede to the fact that seven years is a long time considering how short life really is.

It’s time to consider the past seven years and answer the following 5 questions for yourself.

1. Where were you 7 years ago?

Remember the Autumn of 2004. Do you remember the details? Where were you living? Where did you work? What cell phone were you using? Can you even remember your phone number? What email address where you checking every day? Did you have a pet? Did you know your closest friend? Where you on speaking terms with your parents/kids? Were you financially secure?

The older I get the more I realize how little I know. – original author unknown

2. What’s different?

Seven years ago, I would have been 21, still very naive, probably more shallow, and I remember being a lot more fearless. I always thought I would do something big and make some huge difference in the world. But here and now, I am completely content with my currently small place on our tiny little planet Earth. I think I would like to have the courage back, but then again it’s the fearless people who have a lot less to lose. So… that’s probably not true.

3. What remains the same?

The thing that remains the same for me is that I am still a total geek. I love being a geek, hope I always gravitate toward new technology and have something to learn and challenge me.

4. Would you go back and do it all over again?

There are some people who live in the past as if it where the present. Some people would pay big money to go back and relive certain spans of their lives like high school and college years, when others are more like me and wouldn’t want to go back. Frankly, you couldn’t pay me enough to relive those years.

Well, maybe that’s an overstatement. :)

5. Would you change anything?

What I mean is, I wouldn’t want to experience it all again because I know that I would not be able to change a single thing. I prefer living with the good memories and dodge the thought of accidentally making a single change that might change who and where I am right now.

Here’s the important question: Who will you be seven years from now?