Self-Development

You Are What You Think About

Have you ever noticed that when you get a new car, no matter how unique you think it is, you suddenly see identical ones everywhere? Or maybe you just like a particular kind of car, and then it seems like they’re all over the place. Slugbug, anyone?!? When you look for them, you see them EVERYWHERE! Or at least, my kids do so they can slug each other. Or maybe you buy what you think is a unique color of vehicle…say, green…and then all of a sudden, there are green cars everywhere. It’s the craziest thing! Why does this happen? And why is it something that I would EVER blog about? Well, my friends, because you are what you think about.

I know what you’re thinking. She’s crazy! What does this even mean? Bear with me as I try to explain. It means that whatever you’ve got on your mind, you will start to see and notice everywhere. Let’s move past the car example, because seriously, cars are NOT important in the grand scheme of life. Let’s think about when you’re mad or upset about something at work. Have you ever noticed that when you’re mad about one tiny little thing and you can’t let it go, other little things start to happen that just add fuel to the fire and you end up angrier than ever? Why in heck do all of the irritating things happen back-to-back? Well, there’s a good chance that those other little things might have gone unnoticed if you weren’t focused on being mad. When you think about a green car, you notice green cars. When you think about being mad, you notice a million reasons to be mad!

Two and a half years ago, I joined a company and started my own small business. I’m not telling you this to try to sell stuff to you, I promise. That’s not how I operate. But it was the beginning of when I really started to understand this theory that you are what you think about. When I joined the company, I was SO excited. It was like somebody had breathed fresh air into this teacher-by-day, mom-of-four-at-night (more to come on that in the future!). I had something to focus on that was different than children. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE kids! But that had literally become my whole life, 24/7, and I needed something else. Once I joined, I had my mind on the fact that there was a new opportunity for me to stretch myself. And then, guess what…I saw all kinds of opportunities out there for me to step outside of my box and grow! This blog would be a prime example. It would have NEVER happened before joining my company. I also have a Facebook lifestyle group where I share parenting tips, organization ideas, beauty/skin care information, and a whole bunch of us moms can interact and just have a little break from our day-to-day lives and feel like we’re a part of something bigger (https://www.facebook.com/groups/328768520937361/, in case you’d like to join). I would have NEVER done this kind of thing before starting my own business. It opened my eyes to possibilities beyond my career.

So what does this mean for you? It means be careful what you’re focusing on and thinking about, friends. Is it okay to get mad? Of course! But you have to let it go and move on. Don’t harbor the anger or you’ll only find more reasons to be angry. If somebody hurts you, it’s okay to feel sad, disappointed, let down. But then process those emotions and move on. If you don’t, you’ll only be hurt by more people as you’re focusing on the fact that you got hurt. If your husband does something that irritates the crap out of you (it’s bound to happen, right?!?), address it or choose to let it go if it’s trivial. If you don’t, suddenly you’ll have twenty reasons to be annoyed with him. Can’t get past the initial irritation? Try this tip: mentally list five reasons why he’s amazing and what he does right. It will help you let go of that negative! You can use this trick for any aspect of your life when you need to…five reasons why you love your job when you something unfair just happened, five reasons you ARE a good mom even though you totally just had a crappy moment, five reasons your life is probably better off without that friend that betrayed you. Focus on the positives and I promise you’ll only find more positives! As a parent, focus on the good things that your kids do and I guarantee you, you’ll find more reasons than ever to appreciate them and be proud of them. Sometimes you have to force yourself to see the positives, but when you do, you will find it becomes easier and easier to see them right in front of you.

Self-Development

Change

I’m one of those weirdos who thrives off of change. It stresses me out but it lights a fire in me every single time. I do NOT like to fail (who does, really?!?), so I will do whatever it takes to make the changes be successful. Does that mean I make changes without anxiety? Without fear? Ha!! I wish!

As this school year comes to a close, I find myself making a major change in my professional life. After 16 years in a classroom, I’m switching to become a reading teacher. As if that wasn’t stressful enough (and trust me, I’ve got ALL the stress there), I’m switching to a different school (eek) and taking my youngest two kids with me (double eek). On the outside, I look calm about it. On the inside, I am a disaster. I wish I had a crystal ball so I could stop pondering my decision-making skills.

I am super excited about the change, don’t get me wrong! I know that I’m going to grow, professionally from the change. I’ve taught kindergarten for the last eleven years. I LOVE it, which makes this move all the more stressful. I have an amazing team, which also makes me stress. I’ve got it pretty good where I’m at. But I’m feeling stagnant. It makes me wonder if I’m feeling ungrateful. I worry about that. But I just am in a rut. Guys, I’ve been leading calendar every single day for eleven years. If I have to say, “What month is it?!?” in a fake excited voice for more than the ten days that we have left, I’m going to poke my eyeballs out! I’ve done this thousands of times in the last eleven years. It’s become exhausting instead of exciting. That’s how I know that I have to change. My great position with great staff, students and families isn’t enough. It’s become too easy to overlook ALL of the good because I’m so used to it. It’s become way too easy to see the tiny little flaws because they’ve become a novelty. I hate that. I don’t want to be that person.

And so, even through the anxiety, the worries and the flat-out fears…SO many fears (Will I be good enough? I don’t want to let anyone down. Will my kids thrive in a new environment? Will they make friends? What if people don’t like me?), I change. I change because I know that’s what I need to benefit myself and everyone around me. And you know what? I’ll make it work. All of those fears will be a giggle to me down the road. This change will start a new chapter in my life that is yet to be titled. I have a feeling it’s going to be beautiful, earth-shattering and life-changing. Bring it on!!

Self-Development

Forgiveness

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I hold on to grudges. Not for little things. I can overlook little mistakes, hiccups, oversights, etc. It’s the big stuff that I have trouble letting go. And funny enough, in my personal life, I don’t seem to have a big problem with this. As I’ve analyzed it, I think it’s because when I have a problem with somebody in my personal life, usually I’m close enough to them to be able to work through it, or I have the ability to speak my mind. It’s more in my professional life that I struggle, and I bet this is pretty common for most of us.

As a teacher, it’s hard for me to forgive when I feel like somebody isn’t doing what’s best for kids. It’s hard for me to forgive when things are mandated that are ridiculous to be putting in place in a world full of 5-year olds (MY world!). Or it’s hard when I feel like somebody is choosing not to do their job and others have to pick up the slack for them on a regular basis. Big things in the overall picture of education. It’s a well-oiled machine and if one part is not working correctly, it throws everything off! Typically, I try to confront the problem or find creative solutions to make it better. However, sometimes the person isn’t receptive to even hearing about the problem. Or they’re so far above me in the chain of command, it doesn’t matter if a little peon like myself is upset with them. I STRUGGLE with this. It makes me mad. Like so mad, my blood pressure raises and my cheeks turn bright red. So mad I cry. Then I get mad that I’m crying, and I cry harder. So mad that I hold on to it for a long long time.

I know this isn’t good. It’s not good for myself. It’s not good for the person that I’m upset with (if it’s a situation where they would even care). It’s hard for me to have a positive attitude about anything that person says or does in the future, even if it really is a good idea. I had some professional development training a couple of years ago about forgiveness. I’ve been trying really hard to try to apply it to my life. Holding a grudge isn’t worth it. You have to forgive. You don’t have to like what they did. You don’t have to be okay with it. You can definitely keep looking for ways to make it better. But you have to forgive. Don’t get me wrong: you can have your moment to be upset. It’s not good to hold it all in. But once you have your moment, you have to move past it. The only person you’re hurting when you hang on to it is yourself. YOU are the one carrying the baggage, not the other person. Chances are the other party doesn’t know or doesn’t care that you’re upset. If you can’t or won’t address it with them, you have to let it go.

So now comes the part where I have to be real with you: I’ve been holding a grudge against a person for close to four years. It’s not been good for me. It’s not been good for my health. It hasn’t changed the situation. That person doesn’t even know or care that I’m upset. They don’t care about my opinion or thoughts on the issue. So why have I held a grudge for so long? Because they hurt me and have stood in the way of myself and my beliefs in what is right. However, holding the grudge and holding on to the past hasn’t done a darn thing except make me bitter and grumpy this whole time. A few months ago, I made a commitment to myself and decided I was ready to let it go and do what I could do to move on. It’s been a slow process and it hasn’t been easy, but it feels good to finally move past it. This quote says it all:

When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.

Bernard meltzer

If you’ve been upset with somebody, take a second to really analyze the situation. Are you making things better by holding on to the grudge? If not, I encourage you to forgive them, even if they don’t even know it. Move on. You don’t have to forget, you don’t have to pretend it didn’t happen. You’ll remember and it will probably change the way to handle things in the future. But for your own sake, don’t carry around the baggage. Chalk it up to an experience that helped shape you and look to the future.