Wednesday, July 7, 2010

For Girls Week 2


Hand in hand with understanding is the offering of respect. Respect gets a bad rap sometimes because it feels like you are taking the subservient role instead of getting your point across. It is undoubtedly hard to give respect when you don’t feel you are getting it. This is true. Go back to the idea of who you are though. Are you a person who treats everyone at their level or are you bigger and better than that? This is about you acting in reflection to who you really are and want to be. Acting respectfully with your friends is a given, respectfully with your boyfriends-no doubt, and respectfully with your parents-well it’s worth a shot. Try these simple acts of respect and see what a difference they make!

Listen completely before interrupting or jumping to conclusions. Listening doesn’t mean you have to agree but it does mean you have to take turns. You also may be setting the example of how this new relationship works.

No one likes a drama queen so admit when you are wrong or overreact. It builds on their trust that you have the ability to be rational.

Finally, regularly and consistently remember simple manners matter. Say your pleases and thank yous, it reminds them what a nice pleasant person you are.

Nothing Shows Respect Better than the Willingness to Communicate:

One of the crazy making things that especially moms are known to say is “You just don’t talk to me anymore. I just want to know what is going on with you.” It is one of those statements that sometimes make us cringe and sometimes make us lash out. After all, if we could sit down and explain our thoughts and fears, our hopes and dreams, then we would be perfectly on top of our game and well, who is? Our worlds are often times so full and so chaotic that we wish someone could sit us down to explain what was happening and offer some direction. The good news is that it doesn’t take much to make parents happy. Taking a couple of minutes to talk about the small stuff everyday keeps a strong connection. That strong connection keeps your parents’ fears and grief levels down to remember that they are not actually losing you and therefore they are less likely to react from that emotional place when you ask to extend a curfew or have a mini adventure. It is a win-win for you both so totally worth the effort. It also does you a favor by allowing you to have them filled in on the whos and the whats of things in case you have a meltdown and need that supportive shoulder to cry on.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

For All The Girls Dealing With Moms

At one point in every girl’s life, she will look at her friends and ask “Have my parents gone crazy?” Your friends will laugh and roll their eyes because they know, they have. It is a strange occurrence, a kind of push-pull that makes getting along with your parents nearly impossible. They spend the majority of your life filling you up with ideas that you are bright, beautiful, and capable of achieving your dreams then turn around and panic every time you want to take the car. What is going on? How can you handle the stress of your parents on top of creating your own amazing life?

First, let’s look at what is happening for your parents. They really are going a little crazy but let’s understand why. Your parents have poured everything about themselves into raising you. You have been their life and their main purpose for everything that they do. Your independence triggers the letting go process for them. While you start to let go with some fear and much excitement, they start to let go and grieve the change in their jobs aka purpose of being. Every time you move forward is a small loss they must adjust to. On top of the emotional rollercoaster of preparing for you to leave, they have fears and insecurities just like you. They begin to question whether they have done everything they could have done to prepare you for the big world and just in case they haven’t, make a point to cram it all in. Underneath the crazy, they really do want you to take risks and have your life.
It all makes sense. Now you know, it’s them not you. As they say, “knowledge is power”, and as Spidey’s Uncle Ben reminds us, “with great power comes great responsibility”. Let’s break down your responsibility in this adult to almost adult relationship. You have the opportunity to create this relationship in the same way you are creating the rest of your life-with total fabulocity! There are four simple things you can do to curtail the crazy and gain your freedom. We are going to look at one a week!

Let’s start with offering plenty of understanding.

Knowing that they are freaking out is a big key to how you are going to choose to respond in different situations. When they are having a bit of a parental fit, and your mind is going to the idea that they don’t understand or trust you, you will most likely throw a fit back. I am not even going to go into the irony about how difficult it is to be understood or taken seriously while you are acting like a two year old yourself. However, if you imagine the same parental fit, and your mind goes to the possibility that they are scared and having a hard time letting go, there is an increased chance that you will act with compassion (a very adult quality) and give them a chance to be heard. Understanding simply means that you are choosing to understand that your parents are not obstacles to overcome but instead human beings that just love you a bit too much for what you had in mind in the moment. Understanding also demands that you remind yourself that it is not all about you. This is a relationship; you get what you put into it.

Monday, May 3, 2010

unethical or criminal?

Another girl killed herself because of online bullying. Did you hear me say another? People magazine covered the story of Phoebe Prince, the news covered the story, experts came and spoke to the public about the phenomenon of online bullying, but she is still dead. Interestingly, all the stories mentioned that the bullies were actually nice kids, popular kids, and good kids from nice families. Nobody agreed whether they should be charged for a crime. While everyone agrees that bullying is a serious unethical act, is it a crime?

Does this question sound familiar? It has been asked a lot lately in regards to certain activities that have taken place in the banking and business world. We saw what CEOs did and most of us demanded some kind of accountability or consequences for the lack of ethics in our economy. We are the victims of corporate bullying. The devastation we are experiencing stems from a group of people in powerful positions who chose self interest over the good of many. One could say that this is so high school.

We have become a Lord of the Flies Nation. We live by our instincts rather than our values. Our behaviors feed our emotions. When we live by our instinctual primitive self we feed our emotions of jealousy, greed, and fear. These emotions place us in a survival mentality, our higher selves shrink and we live in the lower instinct driven place. We lose empathy, compassion, and love. We become justified in our minds to our unethical acts. We become entitled. It becomes our right to post on social networking sites such as Formspring, where people can post anonymously, and Face Book things such as “You should just die” or “I would only date you if I could keep a bag over your head” (actual posts that I have personally seen).

I have asked girls why they allow the posting of negative things people say on their sites. The answer is always the same “It is better to know”. Girls are living on the defense semi believing the statements that are being posted. They are shut down by fear and insecurity making it difficult to live at a higher sense of self. When they see someone getting bullied, they do not make a stand but it is not because they are afraid, it is because it is normal. It is considered normal to be able to say and hear any degrading, hurtful, disgusting, sexualized comment that someone has on their mind. This is in addition to the rise in lying, cheating, promiscuity, and drinking being reported in high school students. This is a snapshot of our society.

The Dalai Lama defined being ethical as refraining from doing harm while being moral is to put good into the world. Our nation is in the midst of an ethical crisis. If we do not seem able to refrain from doing harm how can we put love into the world and change the standards of acceptable behavior? Parents are responsible for the moral upbringing of their children. This means purposefully teaching your children to intentionally put love into the world. This is our job as individuals and our job as parents and we need to take it very seriously.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Fear is scary

Someone asked the Dalai Lama how he dealt with fear to which he replied "I invite it in." Well, I don't usually invite strangers into my house so I thought it would be great to make it more familiar.

Fear is an emotion. It is pretty straight forward. Fear is a warning signal that goes through the brain to let the system know that you are about to experience a change in the current state of being.

Think about being in a bubble. You are standing in the center of the bubble and everything around you is safe. When something on the outside approaches the bubble an alarm goes off. "DANGER! Do Not Pop the bubble!" When we hear that alarm and look up at a dangerous threat to our safety we now have the information we need to move our bubble. BUT when we are inside looking out at something we want, we step forward to get it and guess what? The alarm goes off again! Our decision becomes to step accross the alarm to make something happen or step back into the center.

For this reason, hope can feel like fear. The funny thing about fear is that it is only an alarm. It does not have any messages or truths to offer you. It does not predict the future so it cannot tell you that you will fail. It cannot tell you that you are the one person on this planet that is neither good enough or never gets what you want. Those messages come from other places. Old places. Fear is just fear.

When we can recognize fear as fear, then we can fight it. How? Well, this becomes the work. We weild the weapons of perserverance, discipline, and determination. These are the tools that move us from inside to out of comfort zones. These are things that bring success. We strengthen those muscles every time that we face our fear and move toward what we want. Sometimes we will choose to honor ourselves and know that facing the fear is enough for a start and go back and build up the determination and perserverance to move later. That is ok too.

Underneath it all, to face fear is to trust in who we are at a level we didn't know we were capable of.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Inside Outside Upside Down

I was very sad when I heard that Brittany Murphy died. She was very beautiful and very talented. As I watched Clueless in her honor, I began to connect her journey through the film industry to the girls making their journeys through our society.

Both the high school society and the film industry hold similar values. Both value appearances over authenticity and both create an amazing expectation of perfection or flawlessness. Image is everything.

When we have the expectation of flawlessness we develop a crazy split of who we are versus who we think we are supposed to be. We begin to perceive our true selves as full of the flaws we are trying to avoid. So we create another self that is more acceptable to the standard image. We change our appearances as well as our friends. We begin networking instead of forming intimate relationships. The people in your party bus at senior ball can make or break you. The opinions of others carries more weight than the deep intuition of self. We become limited and disown everything we were created to be. It is a rutheless time whose messages carry into adulthood.

These next few weeks in group we are taking a very honest look at our core selves and all the mixed up messages that get in our way. At our core selves we are powerful as well as beautiful and even more than that we are strong. To even get there is difficult. It is a very painful, very scary, to go back to the place full of flaws and sort through the crazy mixed up messages that says we are not ok.

If only we could transcend without the need for perfection. If we could embrace our flaws and use our individuality for shared strength instead of competition we would have so much more freedom. We would know our strengths and our power and then we could change the world.