Sometimes People are Assholes

I think that we probably have a lot in common. I’m always trying to improve myself, to the point of sometimes missing out on the happiness already in my life. Do you do that? Anyway, I’m always on a quest to be a better person, but there is one area where I really struggle: I want to expose people who are fakes. It enrages me when people think someone is such a great person, and I have personal knowledge that they are, in fact, a jerk! I don’t know why I feel this way or how to stop it. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Hi honey, it does sound as if we have a lot in common–including beating ourselves up for not being perfect ūüėČ I do know exactly what you mean and have struggled with this as well. For years, I thought it was my super-power to see the best in people and encourage them to be their highest selves.

Newsflash, that’s not my super-power.

Over the years, I’ve realized that sometimes my idea of someone’s potential doesn’t line up with theirs. Shocking, I know. That’s okay. I mean, I spent way too many years trying to live up to others’ expectations of me. I don’t want to put that pressure onto other people.

No one is perfect. The best we can hope for is to do our best. To do, as Glennon Doyle advises, “the next right thing, one thing at a time.” People’s character will be exposed…it’s not our job to put anyone on blast. Trust me, there are many times I’ve not done the right thing, and I fear there might be a time in the future where I will not do the right thing. I can only hope that my transgressions will be met with compassion and forgiveness. So, I will try to pay it forward.

And finally…I hate to say it, but sometimes people are just assholes. Sometimes they aren’t but for whatever reason, we don’t click. And occasionally, gulp, they think WE are the asshole. Right? I know. But it happens. And when that is the case, it’s not our job to fix or expose them, to change, convince or befriend them. We can simply to wish them well and move on.

Isn’t that liberating? I hope so. Keep on keeping on, my friend. We are all works in progress.

xoxo

Done. Always better than Perfect.

I am a great starter, but not a very good finisher. Sometimes, I’ll have 5 or 6 half done projects going at once, but I can’t seem to finish any of them. I am sure there’s some hidden meaning behind this, but until I figure it out, do you have any advice on how to be a better “finisher”?

Hi honey, ME. TOO. Seriously. I will start extensive products when I am in a manic-ish state. If the mania subsides before I finish, they often remain undone indefinitely.

Now, you know, I’m an encourager, not an advice-giver, but I will pass on someone else’s advice that has helped me.

I’m a podcast junkie, and one of my favorites is “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.” A¬†tip she gives is using¬†“power hours.” You pick a task, set the timer for an hour, and work on it uninterrupted for that time period.

Perhaps you have built¬†these unfinished projects up in your mind to be overwhelmingly¬†daunting. You figure you’ll never have enough free time to finish them so they continue to bang around in your head taking up psychic energy but not getting any closer to finished. Is this familiar or am I projecting my own feelings onto you?

The idea of a power hour is that you can often get way more accomplished in a short period of time than you think. Believe me. Or better yet, try it yourself.

Don’t have an hour? Trust me you do. Put an¬†app¬†on your phone that monitors social media usage, and you’ll be shocked just how much time you waste scrolling through other people’s lives while your own flies by.

But, if you still don’t think you have an hour: Start smaller. Set a timer for a half hour, fifteen minutes even. The point is, if you eliminate distractions and attack something with your full attention, it will take much less time than you think.

BUT this means (at least for an hour or whatever time period you choose) stop looking up new projects on Pinterest, stop feeling discouraged seeing other people’s finished projects on FB,¬†and stop reading blog after blog about how to finish the projects you already started…after you read this one of course ūüėČ

And one more tip from Gretchen Rubin: Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Nothing is ever going to be perfect, but you know what it can be? Done. Out of your head. Off your plate.

I have lots of smart friends and would love to hear other people’s tips for finishing daunting projects. Do tell! And please write back and tell me what you thought of “power hours” and if you got your projects done!

 

 

Moms, Friends, and Mom Friends

In order for my husband to take a great job opportunity, we moved our little family to a new¬†community at the beginning of the school year. We feel it’s an idyllic place to raise a family, but unfortunately it’s about 100 miles away from our former home. We have two school-aged children and a toddler. My school-aged children have adapted well and are doing great in school. My husband is so happy at his new job. I should be overjoyed because all I’ve ever wanted is to be a stay-at-home mom–which I am now–but I’m feeling kind of lonely and isolated as I don’t have any friends here. I had friends in our old community, but most of them were friends I’d grown up with and people I worked with. How do you make “mom” friends and can they become “real” friends?

Hi honey! Congratulations, it sounds as if¬†you have lots of fun and exciting things going on in your life. However, it also sounds as if you’re in the middle of a lot of transitions physically as well as emotionally. Full disclosure: I went through a bit of an identity crisis when I became a stay-at-home mom, even though it was something I’d always wanted. And being a¬†stay-at-home mom of a toddler can be¬†lonely and isolating as they demand so much attention and depending on his/her age, sometimes they aren’t particularly portable.

The good thing about having school-aged children as well is that you’ve got an “in” to meet other moms. Are your kids involved in sports? Some of my best friends now are other moms¬†I met sitting next to night after night at the baseball field and/or in gymnastics classes.

It is¬†intimidating to enter any new situation. It can feel like everyone already has established groups of friends, and there’s no place for you. But I promise you, that’s probably self-doubt working overtime. Unless you are not a nice person–and you sound like a very nice person–people will want to be friends with you.

What about your kids? You probably gave them a similar kind of pep talk when they changed schools, right? Have they made friends? Do they want to have play dates? Again, some of my very best friends are my kids’ friends’ moms.

I’m an introvert too, and¬†here’s what I’ve found: It’s easier one-on-one. If you can find one person who is open and friendly and established in your new community, try to strike up a conversation. Find common ground. Most people love to talk about themselves. Most people love to talk about their children even more.

Having one good friend to talk to will help alleviate some of the loneliness and isolation you feel. Let me know how it goes!!

xoxo

 

Talk That Belongs in the Trash

By society’s standards, I’m a highly successful person. Great marriage, good career–I like my job where I am treated and compensated well– two lovely children, though they are still quite small, and my dream home. I’m happy and surrounded by good friends and a loving family. All that said: Why is it so much easier to listen to a few negative voices that want to tear me down versus the many many positive ones lifting me up?

You sound wonderful and charming, and I’m very¬†sorry that there are any voices¬†speaking negativity into your life.¬†Your life sounds¬†wonderful–enviable, even–and it’s my suspicion that the people who are speaking negatively to and/or about you probably wish that their¬†life was as happy as yours.

Think about it: Do you spew negativity onto the people in your life? Doubtful since you’re a happy person. I¬†feel you, sister. I do. I try to be positive and kind…to uplift those around me. And guess what? There are still people who talk shit¬†about me. There are still people who try to bring me down.

‚ÄúYou can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.‚ÄĚ‚Äē Dita Von Teese

Your reaction is normal. Most¬†people feel hurt when someone says mean things¬†to or about them. Sometimes, we harbor deep insecurities that are triggered by those comments. Sometimes, we might wonder if we “deserve” whatever good fortune we have. Sometimes those “Debbie Downers”¬†sound like our own nasty inner shrew¬†which seems to lend some sort of credence to what is actually nonsense. Whatever the reason, it can be hard to put that talk¬†into the right compartment–the trash bin.

My mom always said: Consider the source. I never really got it when I was younger, but now I do and try to keep that in mind when someone comes at me. Full Disclosure: I rarely succeed at first.

People who aren’t happy with their own lives sometimes feel threatened by other people’s happiness and success and want to rain on their parades. Newsflash: There’s plenty of happiness and success for everyone; no one gets ahead by tearing others¬†down.

Those who speak negativity into your life are¬†only projecting their own feelings of unworthiness and unhappiness onto you. Don’t let them steal your joy.

I hope you can let the negative voices go straight to the trash where they belong. Live¬†your happy life! Enjoy your marriage and career and children. Especially if they’re little. Cause girlfriend, I’m warning you now: Tweens are no day at the beach.

xoxo

 

This is Supposed to be Fun?

Lately, it seems like all I do is scream at my kids. I’m a pretty happy person with a normal amount of stress. I have a good¬†marriage, a great job, and I’m not overwhelmed–any more than other working moms. I don’t need medication or a vacation from my life. But I always hear people talking about how these are the best years of your life and you should enjoy them, and I really just feel like…I can’t wait until they are grown and not arguing constantly over who looked at whom or who touched what. I’m not a bad mom, but every morning I wake up vowing to enjoy them more and yell at them less, but most nights I go to bed feeling like I fell short.¬†I love my kids so much it hurts, and I don’t want them to have bad memories or baggage.

Oh honey…reading this I can tell what a good mom you are and that your kids are so very fortunate God gave them to¬†you.¬†I have children in various stages of development: an adult woman–23, a teenage boy–16, and a tween girl–10. In 23 years of parenting, I’ve had a million realizations, but one is that I’m best¬†with babies and adults. If I can hold, bounce, snuggle, or stick a boob in your mouth, we get along. If we can have wine¬†and talk about feelings, we’re golden. It’s the years in between nursing and drinking that keep me in flux. Parenting teens and tweens and preschoolers–can we agree 3-year-olds are assholes–is not that much fun.

I promise you’re in good company. I wake up every morning with the intention of doing better, and many nights I go to bed beating myself up. Here’s the thing: All of that beating ourselves up means we’re paying attention. We’re trying. If you go to bed at night and don’t question at least one thing you did or said during the day, good for you; you might¬†be a psychopath. I’m kidding obviously, kinda, but isn’t awareness always the first step whether we’re addressing addiction or overeating or yelling at our kids? We can’t change anything until we realize there’s something that might need to be changed.

You’re not alone, friend.¬†I’ve felt this more times than I can count. And I’ve had this discussion with¬†so many¬†great moms¬†because I surround myself with fabulous women who overthink their parenting. Never had it with a bad mom though…go figure.

Here’s the thing: If you wake up every morning trying to do better, you’re probably already doing great. Give yourself a break. I yell at my kids too much. But I also say,¬†“You know what…I’m sorry I yelled about that. I was feeling [insert whatever emotion or baggage I projected onto the situation] and reacted inappropriately.” They’re well-versed in Brene Brown and Shefali Tsabary.

We’re human. We fuck up. That’s not going to change. But we can¬†accept those times we fall short as normal, own our behavior, and keep on keeping on. Works in progress, sweetheart, works in progress.

If you haven’t already read this article by Glennon Doyle Melton, I suggest you read it, frame it, tattoo its wisdom somewhere on your body, because it’s pure gold.

xoxo

You Win.

Not sure how to write this without sounding childish, but here goes. I have this friend who is ultra-competitive, passive-aggressive, and for lack of a better way to say it copies everything I do and and then tries to pass things off as her original ideas.

For instance, I get a new car–she gets a better new car. I start a “cleanse,” and she posts 90 pics of her new paleo meals–cause she’s paleo now. My kid gets an award at school, and hers enrolls in astronaut camp or some shit.

I know it should not bother me, but it is so ANNOYING!! I can’t really cut her out of my life, and she’s not a bad person … but this behavior drives me crazy.

Hi Honey,

My gut¬†reaction: You must be super-fabulous if someone is trying that hard to be like you. Do you wanna be friends, lol? I promise I won’t copy you ūüėČ Seriously though, if your life wasn’t so¬†awesome, your friend wouldn’t be trying so hard to emulate your behavior–even while trying to pass your ideas off as her own, which is incredibly annoying.

When I was in 8th grade I told¬†a friend about a pair of shoes I really really wanted. The next day she showed up with the exact shoes I was coveting. I was so pissed,¬†and my mom told me, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” But when I finally saved enough¬†money to buy the shoes, it would look like I was copying her. Ugh. Never got the shoes. Lived to tell the story.

Side note: That full quote is¬†“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” Well well well, that’s a bit harsher.¬†Oscar Wilde does not play.

But through elementary and middle and high school, I’ve used the same sentiment 5000 times or so with my own girls. And it’s actually started to ring true to me. Even though I still get really fucking pissed about it sometimes. Especially when¬†someone tries to pass off my words or ideas as their own. Work in progress, folks.

During my brief stint as an avid churchgoer, I shared one such annoyance with my pastor about a person who–while actively disliking me–followed my blog and periodically plagiarized my writing in her own posts. His response stuck¬†with me: There’s no such thing as an original idea. Think about it…what you wrote? You probably got the idea from someone else. Most likely someone you admire or who at least inspired you in the moment. So try re-framing it in your mind. No, that person is never going to give you credit, but you can give yourself credit, knowing that you’ve inspired someone else. Even someone who doesn’t like you. That’s something.

Circling back to my original sentiment, I think you must be pretty freaking amazing if your friend wants so badly to be like you. Yes, I agree with you 100 percent, her behavior is super-annoying. But here’s the thing: She’s not fooling anybody. And so what if she is. You are living the fabulous life she is trying so hard to create. You already won.

I really mean it about being friends, and as all my friends know, I’m not even currently interviewing new friends. But I’d make an exception for you ūüėČ

 

Eternal Sunshine and Other Nonsense

What do you do when your kid has a broken heart? 

Oh honey…that’s the worst; isn’t it?

Seeing your baby hurt is awful. Terrible. Excruciating. I would rather have another spinal headache than see my children hurt.

Last week, I was at the middle school selling slushies at lunch and witnessed this interaction: A 7th grade girl walks over to a table full of 7th grade boys and says to one: “‘Susie’ wants to know if you are really breaking up with her?” Without looking up from¬†his chips, he nods his assent. Girl returns to her table and delivers the bad news to¬†‘Susie.’ ‘Susie’ gives Chip Boy a death stare, and¬†her friends console her. Chip Boy continues¬†eating¬†completely unaware of the devastation he’s delivered.

I don’t know about you, but I fell¬†in love with a few Chip Boys before I met my husband. And I met my husband at 17. We know these things are gonna happen. It’s normal growing up stuff. What can we do? Be a soft place to land…Listen. Take them shopping. For ice cream or alcohol depending on their age? Try not to offer too much advice…Offer some advice? Gently remind them that while¬†it feels like the end of the world it’s not. I don’t know¬†what works. Does anything really?

When I was younger–a month or so ago–I wanted to physically harm¬†people who hurt my kids. But¬†that doesn’t work because the kids¬†who hurt our kids are someone else’s kids. Broken hearts can make mama bears¬†violent.

Seriously though,¬†there¬†are no perfect solutions but lots of¬†right things. The biggest lesson I’ve learned as a mother is universal: When love is your motive, your actions will always be¬†right.¬†Of course I’m talking about genuine, authentic, unselfish love and not ego-driven assholery wrapped up in claims of:¬†I’m only saying or doing this because I love you.

There’s no magic to fix broken hearts. No¬†“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” I’ve searched. We’ve got to breathe through the pain and hopefully walk away with the lesson that it came to teach us.

Fuck that, right? I hear you. I’m sorry. I’m with you. Me too.

xoxo

 

Fabulous at Forty

Out of nowhere when I turned 40 I gained 20 pounds. I can’t get rid of them. Seriously, I feel trapped in my body with these¬†guests who¬†have overstayed their welcome. No matter what I do: exercise, eat right, barely eat…I just can’t lose these extra pounds. WTF?

Oh honey, you are preaching to the choir. You, me, so many other 40+ women I know. I read a blog I wrote a few years ago–pre-40–kind of bitching about my weight which was, at the time, 15 pounds less than I weigh now. I wanted to go back and shake myself.¬†¬†

For real though.

But, we grow and change and so do our bodies. I don’t feel the same on the inside as I did in my 20’s or 30’s; do you? If we could imagine our bodies as¬†an outward representation of all the wisdom and life experience we’ve gained, maybe we could find it in our hearts to be a little kinder to them–unwelcome extra pounds and all.

Lysa TerKeurst wrote a great¬†book about our relationship to food and our bodies called Made to Crave.¬†In it is¬†one of my very favorite quotes in life: The scale only measures the weight of your body not your worth as woman. Praise the lord and Lysa–love you, girl–let’s all tattoo that somewhere. Or if you aren’t into that, maybe write it on your bathroom mirror or in some noticeable place right near that godforsaken scale.

Let’s support each other. If you need a pick-me-up, or a place to vent about those stupid pounds, I’m here, friend. Promise.

xoxo

You’re Already Amazing

This sounds so petty that I feel awful even writing it…but I’m jealous of my friends. It seems like they are all¬†in great relationships, with exciting careers, moving forward with these amazing lives, and I am stuck. No man. A boring job. Blah. I love my friends so much and don’t want to feel like this.

 

Oh honey…I am sorry you’re feeling blah, and I promise you I feel your pain. It¬†can be difficult to see others–even people we¬†love–realizing dreams when life seems to be in a holding pattern for us. It’s hard not to compare ourselves with¬†others or feel envious of their achievements if we feel like¬†life keeps¬†handing us lemons.

I promise you we have all been in this situation–even your fabulous friends with their great relationships and careers and lives. One of my favorite quotes is by Stephen Furtick:

‚ÄúThe reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else‚Äôs highlight reel.‚ÄĚ

Goodness, isn’t that the truth? I wish I looked half as my own picture right now¬†(thanks, Amy). The truth is, I’m in yoga pants, with my dirty hair in a bun, drinking a cup of coffee I’ve warmed up 3 times (update the dog just drank it) and smelling cat pee somewhere near–or on–me.

Sometimes, I think we view life as having a limited number of opportunities … as if someone else’s¬†success makes our own less possible. Your friend didn’t snag the last good man or great job, love. The universe is a place of abundant opportunity. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling bad, but if you aren’t happy with where you are, by all means realize that you have the power to change your circumstances.

And honestly, honey, I’m guessing if you are surrounded by such fantastic¬†people, you are probably far more amazing than you can¬†even imagine.

xoxo

Wanna chat? Great!

K I N D N E S S

My 14-year-old¬†is getting mean-girled. Some friends recently¬†decided they don’t want to hang out with her anymore and so have been leaving her out of activities and basically shunning her. Additionally, she’s subjected to the constant barrage of social media exclusion–We’re all hanging out and having so much fun¬†without you. She didn’t do anything to provoke this behavior–that we know of. I feel so bad and want to help her. Any suggestions?

Hi honey, I’m so sorry. Mean girl shit¬†is the absolute worst. I feel like I write more about this than any other subject. And I wish all of my thinking and reading and writing and ruminating had elicited some illuminating insight, but the fact is: It¬†sucks. We can’t fix it for our kids. We can learn to accept things and people at face value and seek to bring positive energy to each interaction, but being mean-girl’ed hurts.

I see this meme all the time, and I agree wholeheartedly, but I think it’s even more important¬†to be¬†kind¬†and raise kind people. I encourage my kids–and myself–to remember that others’ actions are never about us. Our perception is that it’s personal, but it never is. When someone’s behavior seems to be meanness directed at us, it’s coming from a different place. A place that has nothing to do with us.

Try empathy. Imagine that you’ve been in a position where you didn’t act as the best version of yourself. I’m certain most of us would admit having¬†been in situations where we could have been kinder. ¬†

I try to remind my girls to remove the personal aspect of things in dealing with mean girl bullshit. People might leave you out. “Friends” might gossip about you. That hurts, and it sucks, and it’s awful, but it’s temporary. Your¬†actions define YOU, and other people’s actions define them. Don’t leave¬†others out. When people do and say mean things, it’s because they’re suffering with something internally that we may not¬†know or understand. Shake it off and move on. It’s not yours to carry.

I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. I’m sorry your daughter is dealing with this. It’s shitty.¬†I encourage you, sweet friend, to hold¬†your precious girl close and remind her that this won’t last. We have all been there. She is NOT alone. Don’t take these unkind actions personally no matter how personal it seems.

Be kind. To yourself. To others. You’ll never regret that.

 
Follow my blog with Bloglovin