MINDSET MATTERS: It’s Your Choice

MINDSET MATTERS: It’s Your Choice

Happy Spring Peaceful Living Warriors!  I hope that spring is bringing all of her glorious energy and color to your world!  This month, we are going to be laser-focusing on MINDSET. Now of course, almost all of what I talk about through Peaceful Living Wellness is mindset-based. But, I don’t think I have ever used that particular word before.

I think this begs the question: What is mindset?

Mindset is the way you DECIDE to think about life! That’s right. It’s your DECISION. Your mindset can EMPOWER you or it can DEFEAT you!

 

Mindset is the way you DECIDE to think about life! That’s right. It’s your DECISION. Your mindset can EMPOWER you or it can DEFEAT you!

I come across so many people who are unhappy, disenchanted, dissatisfied and many other “diss” and “un” words. But, they don’t seem to want to do anything about it. In fact, I had a woman tell me the other day that she thinks she’s pretty sure that she is just negative to her core! EEEEEKKK!!! This is what I am here to disavow you all of!

  • You are NOT negative to your core!
  • Life is not supposed to be overly stressful!
  • Busy does NOT mean that you are a good person!
  • Being relaxed does NOT mean that you are lazy!
  • Taking good care of yourself through things that feel good does NOT mean that you are a selfish person!
  • Oh, just ’cause I’m on a roll, skinny does not necessarily equal healthy! (But, that is for the May blogs 😉 )

This is what we are going to be focusing on all this month: CHANGING YOUR MINDSET so that you can lead a peaceful, joy-filled life!

 

THREE CHOICES

 

You Have THREE Choices:

To be bitter

To complain

To grow & strengthen

WHICH DO YOU CHOOSE?

 

No matter who you are life will be challenging at least some of the time! I do not know one person in his or her forties who has not had at least one major challenge in life.  And then there are people like me who have had a life full of major challenges.  Here is my question for you:

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH THOSE CHALLENGES?

As I see it, we have THREE CHOICES:

  1. We can become bitter and cynical.
  2. We can wallow in complaining.

OR

  1. We can grow stronger and wiser and use the strength we gained and the lessons we learned to live more peaceful, joyous lives!

~ And let’s just say that there is a 3-A: We can use our strength and wisdom to lead and help others.

The Cynical and Bitter Path

The main question you need to ask yourself here is, “is my outlook on life more negative than positive?”  If you are a person who is easily frustrated by other people, who feels hassled most of the time, and / or complains about the world around you much of the time, you are at risk of being cynical and even bitter. If you are a person who thinks you are just negative to your core, you are already there!

If you are going down this path, or you are already there, my question for you is:

Are you happy like this?

 SERIOUSLY? If you tend towards living in the negative, are you happy on a daily basis?

If your answer is, “YES!” Well, by all means carry on. Just don’t take your negativity out on those who are around you. And be aware that you could be doing significant damage to your health. Negativity correlates with stress-based disease.

If you are not sure, here are some ways to assess the situation:

  • Keep a note-pad handy and every time you have a negative thought jot it down. Or, just mark an X. At the end of the day take a look at your log. Are there a lot of negative thoughts?
  • Ask your family, friends and neighbors. Tell them to be honest with you!
  • Take a look at your social media participation. Are you posting complaints on your neighborhood Facebook or Next Door page? How are you interacting overall? Is it more negative or positive?
  • Finally, and maybe most importantly, monitor your reactions to other people.
    • Are you angry at other drivers most of the time?
    • Do you feel like you need to tell people why they are wrong – either in person or on social media – more often than you give support and congratulations?
    • Do you find fault with people and events more often than you find a reason to praise them?

If your answer is, “yes, I feel like that. But, no, I do not want to feel like that,”

then read on to the end of this blog!

 The Complaint Path

The main question: “Do I spend a lot of time complaining about my life or people in my life?”

The follow up question: “Am I complaining about the same things/ people over and over again?”

And finally: “What am I doing besides complaining to change my circumstances?”

Again, make a log of your complaints and see how long it is. Or, ask your family and friends if they think your conversations are more complaint-oriented than upbeat or even neutral. Take a look at your social media interaction. Do you use social media to complain?

Complaining about the same thing over and over again, without doing anything about it, is a recipe for exhaustion.  It’s like beating your head against a wall – repeatedly!

You may be thinking, “well Jenn, the things I complain about are things I cannot do anything about!”

But, I ask you, “is that really true?”

And even if it is, if you stop focusing on the things that make you unhappy (and thus, complain about) and focus on the positive, you WILL find that your overall outlook on life becomes happier and healthier 🙂

The Path of the Peaceful Living Warrior

I begin every one of my VLOGS on Facebook Live with that moniker because staying in a positive mindset does require strength, practice and commitment ~ just like a warrior. The human brain has what has come to be known in the scientific community a “Negativity-Bias:” That is, our brains are more likely to attach to negative thoughts and events than positive thoughts and events. Some researchers believe that we are even two-times as likely to imprint negativity as positivity.

BUT, that is not an EXCUSE for living in a state of negativity! It just means that as humans we need to work at focusing on positivity.

And the good news is that because our brains have neuro-plasticity  we are able to overcome our negativity-bias and retrain our brains to focus and imprint on positive thoughts and events! And more good news: It gets easier as we get older!

Yes, that’s right my friends, the power of positive thinking is REAL! If you practice a positive mindset you can and will train your brain to be more attracted to positive thoughts than negative thoughts. That is very exciting news!

Instead of waxing on about all of the research in this area. I’m going to give you a few things to try on for size:

  • Start with empathy. For example, if someone around you is in a bad mood, think to yourself, “I wonder they had something challenging happen in their life.” And then give them a kind word or just send them a positive thought.
  • Try on super patience. I use the word “super” because I’m thinking particularly about when we are out driving. When people on the roads are acting up, see if you can take some deep breaths and say something like, “I will not let this ruin even a moment in my day.”
  • Practice positive reactions. If someone says something directly to you (or says something on social media!) that you don’t like, rethink why you don’t like it and see if you can react in a positive way.
  • Give away compliments. This is something I try to do with my children, my spouse, my friends and family and society in general. It is so nice to see someone’s face light up when I say something like, “that is such a pretty dress” to a perfect stranger.
  • Give yourself love. Our brains love it when we love on ourselves. I make my yoga students give themselves hugs and tell themselves that they love themselves. They often think it’s silly at first, but after some time they tell me that they look forward to it. Give yourself compliments every day. Write your affirmations down and tape them up around your home and office. The constant reminders will sink in and you will feel more confident, happy and healthy!

 

When Bad Things Happen

 

LIFE can be challenging. Your happiness is dependent upon what you DECIDE to do with those challenges.
       

    

I’m not going to fill the page with platitudes and fluff and tell you to just think positive thoughts and everything will be okay in the face of the really challenging life events.

It is okay to feel negative feelings like frustration, anger and sorrow when life gets really tough. What I will say is that dwelling on the negative feelings for too long is not healthy. In fact, it can make the situation worse!

There is a tenet in Zen Buddhism that teaches about giving our negative feelings their due diligence and then letting them go. By allowing the mind to accept any emotion it allows us to be human. By letting the emotion go once we have accepted it we allow our minds to come back into a state of neutrality, peace or perhaps even happiness.

Remember, dwelling in the negative releases stress hormones and trains the brain to focus on the negative. This is a vicious cycle of ill health.

Accepting negative feelings, letting them pass, and replacing them with positive, hopeful feelings, releases relaxation hormones. This is a cycle of good health.

And Finally

 

PAY IT FORWARD!

 

One of the kindest gifts you can give to yourself and others is to take the lessons you have learned from facing life’s challenges, and moving through them with positivity and grace, and pass them on to others!

By teaching others how to be positive, hopeful, happy and peaceful you allow them to reap all of the health benefits of positive thinking. And bonus! You also flood your own brain with healthy hormones and give yourself the gift of a happier healthier life!

So drop the negativity!

Stop complaining!

Embrace positive thinking!

And pass it on! 🙂

As always, your comments and shares are appreciated!

 Love & Light!

Jen

Finding Cherries in a World That Can Seem Like the Pits 3: Our Crazy World

Finding Cherries in a World That Can Seem Like the Pits 3: Our Crazy World

I’ll be honest with you. This one is tough for me sometimes. One of the things I’m grateful for in respect to having given-up my academic career is that I don’t have to constantly stay aware of everything that’s going on in politics (my former career was as a lecturer in political science and legal sociology). That said, I still think it’s important to be an informed citizen, so I do keep up on most current events. And yes, that is really frustrating and sometimes overwhelmingly sad.

Here in the United States we are in the aftermath of yet another mass shooting and tragic loss of lives.  Manh of our local schools here in Charleston, South Carolina (including our neighborhood schools where my children and my teen clients attend) were put on lockdown last week because of shooting and bomb threats to the schools. The kids were scared and feeling very out of control of their own safety.

Tips for Keeping Your Peace of Mind

1. Try to follow negative news with some positive news.

There are actually lots of really cool things going on and good people doing good things in the world today. Okay, I admit sometimes I just go to Buzzfeed and look at the funny cat videos but, there are some really good “Good News” sites out there!!

Just google “good news stories” and you’ll find tons of websites that cover only uplifting and positive news stories. Try to find some that you like. One of my favs is Huffingtonpost.com/good-news.

2. Make sure you don’t go to bed after having just watched negative news.  

Try to read a fun book, watch a funny show, or have an affirming conversation with your partner before you lay your head down. And if you do lay down and find your mind full of stressful or disturbing images, try to bring in happy and uplifting images instead.

I was telling one of my friends the other day how her posts on Facebook helped me get some disturbing images out of my mind. She posts pictures from the farm animal rescue she runs and pictures of her two sweet boys having fun. This weekend she posted pictures of her boys delivering toys to a toy drive for homeless children. Having those images to concentrate on helped me to calm my mind and drift off to sleep.

3. Be in a place of gratitude.

Sometimes this is easier said than done, but even if you’re feeling really down and overwhelmed, I bet you can find something to be grateful for. The roof over your head, the green grass, maybe it’s a flower growing between the cracks of a sidewalk. Maybe, it’s merely your two feet on the ground. Finding something small to be grateful for will raise your happy hormones and help you to feel better a little bit at a time.

On that note, I am truly grateful for all those who have loved and supported me in my business and my life over these past few years! And I am grateful for those of you post and respond to my blogs. The blogs truly are meant to be conversation starters AND HOPEFULLY they will help us to create a community dedicated to supporting one-another in health, happiness and peaceful living.

What tips and strategies do you have to share with us for finding the cherries among the pits?

Do you have any particular “pits” that I or the community can help you find your cherries for?

Next Week ~ join me for my travel-blog journey to Jekyll Island, Georgia! What a beautiful place for a solitary or couples getaway!

Love & Light,

Jen

Are you Addicted to being busy?

Are you Addicted to being busy?

Are you Addicted to being busy?

Last week I started talking about how to stay in your peaceful living frame-of-mind when it seems like your world is full of stress and negativity.  Last week’s blog, the first in Finding Cherries series discussed how to use boundaries and mindful communication to bring more peace to any friendship you have with people who are negative. This week, I am talking about how to use boundaries and prioritization to bring more peace into your busy life.

That Stressful Life

Life gets so hectic sometimes – The joy in life can be severely dampened by an overwhelming sense of being busy: too many things to get done, too many people making demands, too much traffic on the road, etc.  I know from experience that there are some strategies that help.

Here are a few to try:

1. Take a moment to step back and look at your to-do list.

Decide if the things on the list really need to get done right now or if they even need to be done at all. Some of this will be prioritizing based upon your values. For example, I have contact with more friends now than ever before – thank you Facebook!

Let’s take holiday cards for example. I get fewer holiday cards than I did in the past. And truthfully, I just don’t send them out either. I stay in touch on a more regular basis AND I just don’t have time to get cards out around the holidays because there are other things I have to do, like the Winter Spectacular at my kids’ school and two Brownie Christmas parties, etc.

2. Prioritize your to-do list and only actually do those things that you must.

Go to work, feed the kids, take care of yourself!… or that have true meaning to you. If you hate to shop, shop online and do grocery pick-up. If you love going out with your friends, go to one or more outings each month.

Everything else, say goodbye to it. You don’t need to do it all! And don’t forget, your kids will be just fine if you miss a game or a dance practice once-a-month to spend time with your friends! And so will your husband! 🙂

3. Stay in the moment.

As Thich Nhat Hanh says, “happiness can be found in every moment.” With this in mind, if you can stay focused on exactly what you’re doing, when you’re doing it, you find that the stress of “everything else” falls away.

So while you’re at the Cub Scout campout, be there and enjoy the fun the kids are having. Don’t worry about what you’re going to serve for your family for dinner for the next week.

4. Plan Ahead

One thing I’ve found that helps me to stay in the moment is to plan ahead. I use a “success schedule” to keep myself aware not only of what I need to do, but also when I need to do it.  

A weekly plan with blocked periods of time truly helps me make sure that I get where I need to get when I need to get there, that I work on the things I need to work on when it’s time to work on them, that I have time with my family and that I have time for myself. The “success schedule” allows me to savor each moment as I’m in it.

5. Find the blessings in the little things.

I was talking to my friend and client one day about Christmas and how her kids don’t act very grateful during the holiday season. But then she told me a story about how one of her sons is required by his school to write in a journal to his parents every week. At one point he wrote to his mom about how he does really understand that the season is not just about getting presents. He talked about how he loves Christmas because he gets to be with family and that he understands the religious parts of the holiday as well. What really touched me was that he wrote this journal entry as a letter to his mom so that she can understand how he is feeling inside. She said that he would never have said those things out loud to her.

What a true blessing that journal entry was! Find the little things that make life special. Try to catch people doing the right thing! And, pay special attention to it when they do.

Do you need to slow down and enjoy life a little more?

What do you need to cut out that is not serving your peaceful living?

Stay tuned for next week’s installment in the Finding Cherries series: How To Stay Peaceful in Our Crazy Mixed-Up World.

Love & Light!

Jen

 

Building Your Support Tribe

Building Your Support Tribe

Having a supportive community around us is one of the best things we can do to build resilience and reduce our stress levels!

I want to direct you to focus in on the word “supportive.”  What I refer to as a Peaceful Living Community is not made-up of a bunch of people who are just in our lives. A Peaceful Living Community is a support tribe; it is made up of people to whom you can turn in both happy and sad times and they are able to turn to you for support as well.

A few weeks ago I wrote about a metaphor that I like to use to explain what kinds of people belong in our support tribe: Grocery store people and hardware store people. Grocery store people are the people you turn to and find the support you need. Hardware store people are people who are not emotionally available to support you.

AREN’T OUR FAMILIES OUR SUPPORT TRIBE?

Many people are lucky enough to have parents or other family members who are the center or strong part of their support tribes.  Find the people in your family who are positive, uplifting and nonjudgmental. Those are the people you want as part of your peaceful living community.

 Just because someone is related to us does not mean that they are a grocery store person! Our parents, by their very role as parents “should” be our grocery stores, at least until we are adults. However, there are just some parents who are not emotionally supportive. This is especially hard as children because we don’t have many options to turn to but as adults it is up to us to find other people to fill our emotional needs. If you know of a child who does not have parents to fill their emotional needs, maybe you can be that person for them.

Even if you are a person who has a great family, it is still very important to have others in your community. Reach out using the suggestions from my “The Importance of Community” blog or come up with your own. A diverse support tribe is optimal – family, partner, coach/ therapist/ pastor, and friends – make up the strongest community but we can find support from all kinds of people in our lives.

WHEN “I DO” BECOMES “I DON’T”

Aren’t our spouses or romantic partners supposed to be our primary emotional support systems? Similar to our parents, technically, “yes.” And yet, sometimes they just are not. Perhaps they are going through an emotional downturn themselves or maybe they do not want to be a grocery store.  At this point, as the person who needs emotional support we need to ask ourselves a few things:

  •         Are my emotional needs constant and perhaps overbearing?
  •         Do I have stress-management techniques in place to help me cope with my emotional needs?
  •         Do I have others to turn to besides my spouse or partner to help fill my emotional needs?
  •         Does my spouse or partner give me some emotional support, but it is just not enough?
EMOTIONAL NEEDS

Answering these questions honestly is very important. If you are a person who is very emotionally needy, for whatever reason, that is okay. But, it may be too much to ask of one person to fulfill all of those needs. If your emotional neediness comes from a place of insecurity, overwhelm or past trauma you may want to seek out a trained coach or therapist who can help you heal. You can ask your spouse or partner to support you in that endeavor, but be aware of asking him or her to be your sole emotional support system.

STRESS MANAGEMENT     

We all have stress. A spouse or partner can be a good person to go to when we need support in processing our everyday stress. However, your partner is not responsible for being your only source of stress management. Make sure you are exercising, sleeping well, eating healthy food, and using mindfulness techniques.  If your stress is overwhelming, seek the guidance of a trained coach or therapist who can help you feel emotionally more fulfilled and relaxed.

SUPPORT SYSTEM

Supportive friends and relatives, spiritual leaders, support groups, therapists and coaches are all appropriate “grocery stores” to go to in addition to your partner or spouse when you need your emotional needs met. It is particularly important to have a widespread net when you have a lot of need. And remember, there are times in our lives that WE ALL have an overwhelming amount of emotional need! 

IS IT JUST NOT ENOUGH? 

This one can take a deeper thought process. If you are not terribly needy, and your spouse is not even meeting your basic emotional needs, you are definitely in the hardware store! If you are getting your emotional support from other people and places, but your partner is still not meeting your emotional needs, you are most likely also in the hardware store. Or you are probably at least in the parking lot!

This is where mindful communication techniques about your feelings can be invoked to help your partner understand that your emotional needs are not being met. Stay tuned for a future posting about mindful communication! If you do find yourself in the hardware store with your spouse or partner it may be time to seek the guidance and support of a relationship coach or couples therapist. Trained professionals are skilled at bringing couples back together to a place of emotional intimacy and support.

FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES

There are some of us who pick and choose our friends very carefully. Then there are some of us who embrace almost everyone they meet as friends. This is an area in which asking yourself some questions will help you understand how to build the best tribe for you:

  •         Are you a person who needs deep connection with just one or two people?
  •         Or do you prefer to have more people in your circle so you are not too dependent on just one or two people?

Both of these scenarios can be conducive to building your support system. But, they also can both be detrimental if not approached with caution.

Let’s take a look at the first scenario. Having people that you can implicitly trust and respond to gives us a sense of strong emotional security since deep connection is very important to us as human beings.  This is a positive side of having just one or two good friends.  The negative side of this is if for some reason those people are no longer a part of your life, you can be left alone and wanting.  If you are this kind of person you are well-served by having others in your support tribe: Family, partners, a therapist or coach, new friends you’re growing closer to, etc. 

On the other side of the coin, if you are a lots of friends person you may feel like you have a very strong support tribe but after deeper examination you assess if your tribe is only giving you shallow support. If you have so many people in your tribe that you do not have time to connect deeply with any of them, you are missing out on that essential element of human connection – deep intimacy.  You may also find that you are spread too thin trying to “be there” for all of your friends that your emotional well runs dry trying to tend to all of their needs.

The key to having a strong, emotional support tribe of friends is BALANCE.

Try to have more than just one or two close friends, but don’t spread yourself too thin.  It is okay to have people in your life who are acquaintances, but not friends. You are friendly with them but they are not the people who you spend time with on a regular basis. They are not the people you turn to in your times of need or people who have a valued place in your Peaceful Living Community.

Who makes up your support tribe?  Do you have a good balance?

I welcome your thoughts, questions and any value you want to add to my blog! You all are amazing, bright shining lights!

And I’m grateful for your shares and follows on Facebook @peacefullivingwellness & Instagram @peacelifecoach

Love & Light,

JEN

How community creates a peaceful life.

How community creates a peaceful life.

The month of February is all about hearts and flowers and romance! In the spirit of the month of St. Valentine all of my blog entries will be about relationships.  

Not only romantic relationships! I will also talk about friendship and family relationships.  

How to reduce stress

Ask any of us stress-relief gurus about how to reduce stress, and the word community is bound to come up.

Having a supportive community around is us one of the most important things we can do for both our emotional and physical health.  Yet, for some of us, finding that community can be really difficult.

I am going to save the dynamics of relationships for the next blog installment How to Build Your Emotional Support Tribe.  For this installment, I am going to focus on why building community is so important for your emotional health AND talk about the different people and places you can go to find the members of your support tribe.

In an earlier blog installment, Supportive Friends, I talked about why having friends is so important for our health. The following research findings help us to understand this:

  • Loneliness is one of the leading causes of depression.  Having people to reach out to when in need is one of the most important interventions for depression. Source
  • Having a social support system is one of the most important factors in reducing both symptoms and mortality in myriad diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, and emphysema.  Source
  • Having positive interactions with other human beings raises the levels of our happy hormones and thus promotes both emotional and physical wellbeing. Source
  • According to Emiliana Simon-Thomas of the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, “Human beings are an  ultra-social species and our nervous systems expect to have others around us.” Source
  • Even healthy, happy people need to be around other people! Recent neuroscience research suggests that the human brain and neuro-system work better when we are around and interacting with other humans. Source

The many places we can find social support

As a home-based entrepreneur, I can tell you that life can get pretty isolated and lonely without the camaraderie of an employee-filled workplace! Believe me, as a Work At Home Mom (WAHM) and the friend of many Stay At Home Moms (SAHMs), interacting with children as your primary humans is not enough! 😉

Our families can definitely be support systems for us. Our friends, especially a treasured “best friend” are also important social support systems.

It’s important to remember that we should not put all of our support eggs in one basket.

Our families and treasured “best friends” are not around 100% of the time.  I have seen this happen many times both in my own life and through my clients’ stories. I will speak more to this subject in the next blog.

For now, let’s talk about how to spread the wealth of our social support system!  Here are some examples of how to branch out:

  • A coach or therapist are trained professionals who will guide you and support you when you have emotional needs.
  • A spiritual leader is a wonderful person to turn to when we need emotional support.
  • A spiritual group of like-minded people is also a good place to find comfort and camaraderie. Churches, temples, or spiritual centers, in general, can provide some of this support.  I recommend joining a smaller group within the larger spiritual center. Bible studies, meditation groups, moms groups, and helping hands groups all provide a smaller environment in which to make closer friends.
  • An interest group of friends provides a social network and is usually centered around something that all of the people like to do. Examples of interest groups are book groups, movie & dinner groups, hiking groups, etc. etc.  These are good for both extroverts and people who are more introverted to find friends because there is always something going on at the same time as the social interaction.
  • A casual sports team is another good way to gain a wider-spread social group. Just like the interest group, it is a good place for people who are a little more introverted to find friends because they have a common interest with the people, which gives them a topic of conversation. Just make sure to go out for pizza after you play! And even if you are not athletic you can often still find something fun and easy to do. I have friends that play recreational kickball! And yes, they are adults!
  • And finally, your workspace is often a good place to make friends. Use caution when associating with workplace friends though. Make sure that the conversation does not turn into complaint sessions about the workplace or gossip sessions about coworkers. That type of conversation can have very negative consequences and end-up causing you more stress in the long run.
  • And what about us WAHMs and SAHMs? Co-working in a center for entrepreneurs is a great way to get out of your home alone work syndrome! And of course, networking groups and all of the above-mentioned spiritual and social opportunities. SAHMs & SAHDs there are lots of playgroups around if you have little ones at home! Find one that is a good fit for you and make it a habit to go. It is good for you and for your kiddos to socialize.

You may be thinking to yourself, “those are all great suggestions Jen, but where do I find social groups and teams to join?”  That actually is getting easier and easier these days!

Try Meetup or your local YMCA or Parks & Recreation Center. Local public libraries host book groups for adults and story hour for kiddos. Also, check into local group play areas for mommy/daddy & me groups!

Get out & Enjoy! Spread the beauty of who you are with others and let them share their friendship and support with you!

Please share your ideas on how to grow your social support network! Peaceful Living Wellness is a community ~ I love to hear your ideas, wisdom, and insights!

Don’t forget, if you would like to have a coach as part of your support system, just reach out and we can schedule a consultation!

Love & Light,

Jen

 

Stop Going to the Hardware Store for Milk

Stop Going to the Hardware Store for Milk

We communicate to be understood and to understand others.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Who among us has gone to another person looking for emotional support and found that person unresponsive?

As human beings, we long to be understood by others.  We have an innate need to have our emotional needs met by others. Being in an emotionally supportive community is one of the most surefire ways of reducing stress and living a longer, happier life.  

But sometimes, we turn to others for that emotional support and we find the support they offer lacking.

Sometimes we may even be subject to the other person (or people) tearing us down, doing the exact opposite of supporting us. And yet we can find ourselves returning time after time to that same person, or those same people, only to be ignored or torn down again.  

This begs the question of, “why?”  

Why would we return to a person who does not support us?

Truthfully because these people are often the people who are supposed to support us! Parents, spouses/ partners, family, and friends are all people with whom we are supposed to stand in a supportive community. And most often these are the people we can trust to be our emotional support system.

But, there are times when these people are just not available to fill our emotional wells.  And there are people who are NEVER available to fill our emotional wells.

So what do we do when the people who are supposed to be emotionally supporting us do not or can not?

The Metaphor of the Hardware Store

At one point a few years ago a very wise friend of mine (amazingly talented Kids & Teens Coach/ Tutor, Kimberly Keeth) shared a metaphor that helps us understand what to do when we are faced with this situation in our lives.  It goes like this:

When we need milk we go to grocery store.

When we need nails we go to the hardware store.

Emotionally, we sometimes get lost on our way to the grocery store though.

At these times of getting lost, we can find ourselves at the hardware store.

We find ourselves looking at nails when what we really need is milk.

The milk represents our emotional needs.  The different stores represent the people we associate with in life.

There are some people who are grocery stores. They are bright and airy and full of food that can nourish our bodies.  These are the people we want to go to for our emotional milk.

On the other hand, there are people who are hardware stores. There’s nothing wrong with a hardware store, it’s just not the right place to go to for milk. The hardware store does not have products that will nourish our bodies! The people who are hardware stores certainly have great products to offer the world, but they don’t have the products that will nourish our emotions.

What do you do when you live with the hardware store??

There are those of us who live with the person who represents our hardware store. I know this can be really hard.

You want (and need) your spouse or partner to be your emotional grocery store. But, sometimes he or she just can’t. Or, won’t. So what do we need to do?

The first thing we can try is to have a mindful conversation with the person to whom are turning to support us emotionally.

Remember, mindful communication keeps in mind the possible feelings and reactions of the other person. Mindful communication is thoughtful about both what we say and how we say it. Mindful communication does not make assumptions about what the other person is thinking or why the other person is not meeting our emotional needs.

And finally, mindful communication allows you to speak your truth with assurance, but not aggression.

We also need to find other people or other ways in which to take care of our own emotional needs. Stay tuned during the month of February. I will be posting two more blogs on this topic: How To Tell if Your People are Hardware Stores or Grocery Stores; And, How to Build Your Grocery Store Tribe.

In the meantime, be thinking about different ways you can take care of your own emotional needs!  Here’s a short list of examples:

  • Write in a journal
  • Talk to a friend
  • Go see a therapist
  • Meditate
  • Practice Mindful Movement – Yoga, Thai Chi, Chi Gong, slow walks or swims, etc.
  • Read uplifting books/ magazines/ blogs
  • Listen to helpful podcasts

There are many different ways you can nurture your emotional needs. Add to this list, or create one that is uniquely yours.  Post your ideas in the comments or on @peacefullivingwellness on Facebook! I would love to hear from you!

Love, Light and Namaste,

Jen

PS ~ If you are interested in talking to totally awesome Kids & Teens Coach, Kim Keeth about coaching for your kiddo you can reach her at KimKeeth1@gmail.com

 

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