Our Real Life Struggle
You know when you have one of those lovely moments when you wake up feeling refreshed with all the positive intentions for your day…only to feel that positivity begin to fly right out the window when your morning takes a crappy turn?
In my house, I recently had one of those mornings which looked something like this: my partner and I both asked my teenage daughter (or wait, was it my son…quite possibly both!) to put away the dishes for the fourth time, after just asking them three times to make their bed and possibly six times to pick up their clothes…the list goes on, and the frustration almost took over!
(You know, those real life struggles!)
But fortunately, that particular morning quickly turned around into the great day I intentionally planned for. I love how Francois and I can make that happen now…
But to be honest, resolving those frustrations wasn’t always so swift—on occasion, our disagreements about teenage responsibilities would go on for hours, if not days.
Francois—my true love—and I have been together for nine years now. We have three children together from our previous marriages: Maude 27, Francois’ only daughter who lives a thriving life; my sweet LOLO, Lauren who’s 19 and about to start university; and my awesome Christian, who’s almost 17, going on 26.
We kind of have this magical fairy tale life—that’s what we call it anyways—but there’s a little tiny part if us that blends like oil & water because we have two very different parenting styles.
I’m the relaxed, let’s talk it through to allow you to be heard kind of mama, and Francois who has the biggest heart, is more rigid, or shall I say he’s a black or white kind of guy…
For eight of the nine years, the conversations of disagreements generally started at the kitchen island, and ended in the garage…yes, the garage so the kids didn’t hear the high-pitched voices (buuut, I am pretty certain the neighbours did, ha! Yikes!).
Our disagreements were exhausting. They were just pity parties, blaming the other or trying to convince the other who was right this time, and in all honesty we got so into our resentment and made up so many stories in our minds, that we’d often forget what we were even disagreeing about…
And, just when we were ready to give up…
…we finally surrendered to the universe to show us a better way. (And it wasn’t another book or more content that claims this or that solution “will make it all better”…)
You know how the saying goes, “when you ask, you shall receive…”? Well, that’s exactly what happened in our life.
I had this real defining moment when my mentor spoke about being the thinker of your thoughts and going to a higher level of thinking for a greater perspective. Quite frankly, he was right—no matter what we are struggling with in life, how can we think we can solve a problem where a problem was created?
Just think about that—we need a greater brain-based, practical perspective to step back from our problems and find a real, lasting solution (not just more content, nor fluff, magic fairy dust, hope or belief)…
I was on a mission to understand this at a greater level, and not just for these disagreements about parenting teens, but for any conflict in my life—including the person who just cut me off this morning for no reason, and for the person who walked right thought the mall door, that I was holding open, without acknowledging me.
OMG, these things make me want to SCREAM! Such rudeness—or is it?
Why do I assume and create stories of the worst-case scenarios?
What if I stopped creating these made-up stories in my mind, and instead, focused on being aware of my thoughts? Meaning, what if I got off autopilot thinking (you know, when you’re not even aware of what you’re thinking, and then you just react) and instead got really present with my thoughts?
Because here’s the thing: it’s our thoughts that create our emotions.
So, if you’re in control of your thoughts, you’ll be less likely to have emotions that create stories and interpretations where you end up in an angry pity party all by yourself—or arguing in the garage. ;)
Through all the work I’ve done, I’ve finally learned that the “I’m about to lose it moments” stopped the minute I let go of expectations around parenting, and anything else for that matter...
I now enter all conversations and actions coming from a place of love and compassion and detach from any outcome (yes, even with my teens, believe it or not!).
Expectations always bring you into a downward spiral no matter what the expectation is…
Letting go and instead focusing on who I am “BEing”—being a thinker of my own thoughts—has greatly impacted my relationships and, actually, my life as a whole.
And yes, even when I hold the door and there’s no acknowledgement as the person texts on their phone, quite frankly, how do I not know that he just got an email from his child’s daycare and he needs to respond and get there right away because his child has a crazy fever?
And as for my son who didn’t make his bed after being asked 5 times, instead of assuming the worst, like he’s being lazy or disrespectful, maybe he was caught up in helping a friend go through a stressful time, hence why he left quickly that morning…and he’ll do it when he gets back.
If you are going to make an interpretation about something or someone, then why not make sure the interpretation serves you in a positive way? Because in the end you’ll likely never really know what was going on behind the scenes. But what we do know is, negative energy brings you down and whenever you’re spiraling downwards you’re not creating or moving forward in life.
Francois and I did a deep detox of the mind, a continual work in progress… We’ve stopped the interpretations and assumptions, dropped the expectations, and we are an even stronger team now (and even better parents to our not-so-little teens). And actually, for that matter, we can deal with anything controversial when faced with a situation.
What used to take us hours or days to resolve, now takes us minutes, as we go to a higher level of thinking coming from compassion and love, rather the high-pitched voices of blame and fear.
It’s usually on our weekend late morning coffee chats or our Friday night date nights that we realize how far we have come after doing the internal work. I especially love seeing Francois’ look of amazement as he realized he’s dealt with something that would have usually tripped him up.
Our lives are calm now. I guess we don’t need to over-complicate things.
When we do our own internal work and stop any form of blaming, and we get out of our emotions and our pity parties, and rather into awareness of our thoughts, and we stop the made up stories and interpretations, taking full responsibility for ourselves, this is when our world shifts. This is when the heaviness goes away….
Well, that’s what happened in our life…
Now, we get to spend more time having fun, being adventurous and spontaneous—truly the foundation of our relationship.
And I sincerely mean it when I say, the same can happen for you, too.
Ready to let go of the anger, or years of negative thinking patterns whether with a spouse, or any relationship in your life? The best part is, even if you’re both not on board to make a shift, that’s ok because it actually only takes one person to change a relationship. I invite you to reach out—email me at Rebecca@RebeccaDouros.com—I’d love to connect and support you further.