We’re Not a Team

I just got done coaching one of my amazing clients, and I am feeling on fire.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love coaching?! Lol.

SO. MUCH. FUN.

Tonight I want to talk about what I helped her with – and that is this thought of “We’re not a team.”

Let’s talk context.

You’re married. You have a conversation with your husband that is around a “hot topic” or “problem area” in your marriage. Maybe it’s money. Or household responsibilities. Or just behavior in general. Ha!

No matter what the circumstance…words were said. And you left the conversation feeling hurt. Let down. Disappointed. Betrayed. Devastated. Or perhaps all of the above.

And, in these moments, our brains can offer us this thought…

We’re not a team.

Friends. This seems SO real. It feels SO true. It feels justified.

It’s a thought that I turned to and believed for well over half of my marriage to date.

My brain was very focused on all the ways he – my husband – was not showing up as he should. The things he should do differently. The things he should or shouldn’t say.

I just want us to be a team.

That sounds like such a great thought. But is it?

You’re going to have to test it for yourself and raise your awareness around it. In the meantime, let me share what I discovered for myself.

This thought of wanting us to be a team is based in believing “we’re not a team” is a fact.

But is it?!

Invite yourself to question this.

What does it even mean to me to be a team?

Why is this even important to me?

Let’s talk corporate for a minute. If you think about a “team” of people working together in the same department…are they only a team when everyone is getting along and everything is going perfectly? Does it mean no one ever feels hurt or that no one is ever taken by surprise or that people never disagree on courses of action to be taken?

100% no.

It doesn’t matter what is going wrong within that group of people – they’re still a team.

So, perhaps it isn’t accurate AT ALL to say “We’re not a team.”

After all, you’re MARRIED. Does it get more “team” than that?

It would be more accurate to say “we’re not acting like a team” or “we’re not a good team” – but even then we have to question if thinking that way serves us.

Still, even if “we’re not a good team” – we’re still a team.

As my client so eloquently put it at the end of our session, “Being married is about being together through thick and then. When the thin is coming out – I’m making that mean we’re not a team – but we’re still a team even when we’re going through the hard stuff.”

You and your husband are a team, no matter what.

And here’s why that really matters.

Because…

When YOU think “We’re not a team” – YOU feel an emotion – perhaps let down or disappointed. And when YOU feel that way, chances are that YOU show up in a way that is LESS like the team member YOU want to be if you believed “We are a team.” Perhaps you withdraw. Perhaps you become more cold toward your husband. More snappy. More bitter. Subtly trying to punish him. Feeling totally justified. Communicating with more tone. Feeling more frustration and spinning an endless number of thoughts about him.

And the result?

The result is that you are not acting like a team member. And, if you are not acting like a team member, OF COURSE that is going to create evidence for this belief of “We’re not a team” – because YOU’RE not acting like a team member! And also, how do you think your husband is going to be inclined to show up when you are acting that way toward him?

Now, this is nothing to judge ourselves for. Like I said, I lived here on and off for years. Ha!

But it is something worth getting curious about – because when we are focused so intently on someone else’s behavior, chances are we’re not paying attention to our own behavior. And what that means is that we are focused on what we CAN’T control (his behavior) vs. what we CAN control (our behavior).

When I made this shift from believing, at times, that “We’re not a team.” to believing “We’re a team, no matter what.” – my marriage shifted for me in a big way practically overnight.

It was unreal the impact of this one thought.

And so, my friends, if you want to love your marriage more, or even just love how you show up more, I challenge you to take a look at this if you see it coming up in your life. Not for your husband, but for you. Cause you’re the one who gets to experience ALL of your emotions, no matter who they are directed at. And because maybe you’d like to feel better in your marriage for you.

You have all the power to do that without changing anything about your husband.

And, if your experience is anything like mine, your marriage will just keep getting better and better, too.

💕 Deise

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When You Lose Your Mind

Today started out absolutely “perfect” in my mind.

Kids slept in til almost 8 AM, so hubby and I got to just snuggle in bed and talk for awhile.

We went out to breakfast at a nearby play place and had a fantastic time.

We came back and baby went right to sleep for his nap.

Before putting baby down for a nap, I gave my son a heads up that we would start his reading lesson in about 10 or so minutes.

He gave me an excited “Okay!” And couldn’t help himself from sneaking into baby’s room to ask if I was almost done so we could read, and if we could please sit on my bed today to do reading lesson.

He was totally excited and looking forward to it.

Fast forward a bit…

Baby’s asleep and we’re in my room, working on that reading lesson.

The first page went great.

The second page, I started to struggle with my thoughts about his “distraction” and “lack of focus” and how he “should pay attention.”

I didn’t do anything about those thoughts in the moment except believe them.

And then, I started feeling (and acting) a bit impatient. A bit tense. A bit frustrated.

I resisted these emotions, and my energy continued to shift. As a result, so did my actions. I started getting after him for getting distracted. And I started turning promised rewards into threats.

Instead of “When you do [this], then you get [that]”…it became “If you don’t do [this], you won’t get [that].”

Seems like we are saying the same thing, but friends, the energy is TOTALLY different between those two methods of communication…you can hear it in the tone of voice…and it changes everything.

Kids react to our energy. Because, our actions and energy are THEIR circumstance. They have thoughts about that circumstance, which creates their feelings.

But, they’re not aware that’s how it works, so, like most of us adults, the connection their brain makes is that we make them feel happy or sad, and, on the flip side, that they have power to make us feel a particular way.

My son got less and less excited about doing the reading lesson. And, of course he did!

If you’re going to do a reading lesson with someone, would you rather do it with someone who is totally happy and excited and encouraging you…or someone who is increasingly grumpy and frustrated with you?

I don’t know about you, but I’ll take the person who I feel like wants to make it fun and help me learn in a positive way over the grumpy, frustrated person any day day. Ha!

But, I digress. My son got stuck on a word on page 3 and got increasingly frustrated with not being able to figure it out, despite my efforts to help him. And I got increasingly frustrated as I felt like I was “trying to help him” and “he wasn’t listening” and “if he would just pay attention…”

And ya know what?

I lost it.

My brain flipped a lid and I screamed his name at the top of my lungs (in an effort to be heard over his frustration) while slapping my hand down on the bed and then telling him (in a softer but still frustrated tone) that I was trying to help him and he just needed to slow down and pay attention.

My son started crying. “Don’t yell mommy! That scares me!” #heartbreak

He doesn’t like loud noises.

And frankly, neither do I. I especially don’t prefer someone screaming at me.

It’s roughly 12 hours later, and my throat still hurts from that one moment. From saying one word a bit too loudly.

Of course, I apologized. I told him I was so sorry and that I was just feeling frustrated and lost it.

And then we tried to keep going.

Why?

Because I had this thought that “we needed to finish.”

Of course, we didn’t finish. While I didn’t scream or lose it in that way again, I was just generally more frustrated and impatient, and his response to it all that he was just “too tired.” And I recognized our energy states really were not where we both wanted to be to finish that lesson.

We didn’t need to finish the reading lesson then.

We don’t have to do the whole thing all at once.

This doesn’t need to be an intense experience.

So, we took a break. I told my son that I needed some a little bit of time to calm down and process what I was feeling.

And then, I took just a few minutes in my room to just breathe and remind myself that it was not my son frustrating me, but my THOUGHTS about my son. And also, I noticed that there were also these thoughts about how I just posted yesterday that I had overcome all these issues I previously had with reading lessons…and the next day…it’s like I’ve gone back in time. AKA, a thought of “this shouldn’t be happening.”

Put a deadline on your goal and announce it publicly and it’s just a matter of time before that brings up all the thought drama lying just beneath the surface.

I thought back to a conversation I had with another coach recently. A conversation about how we have a tendency to love ourselves only when we are behaving in a way that we deem acceptable. Only when we are doing the things we think we “should” be doing.

Soon as we cross the line into what we see as the “dark side,” we want to disown ourselves. We beat ourselves up and tell ourselves our behavior is unacceptable. We take ourselves on a guilt and shame trip. We think it will help us behave better the next time, but it never does. What it does is prevent us from learning from the experience THAT time.

When you do something you don’t particularly love that you did, I invite you to consider that maybe beating yourself up about it isn’t useful. And instead, consider how you can use that experience to cultivate self-love, kindness, and compassion.

Take a moment to stop and acknowledge how you are feeling and just BE there for yourself.

Wow, I really had a hard time right there. I’m feeling really frustrated and angry. And I’m feeling ashamed. I wonder what was going on for me.

Allow yourself to process the emotion, as described in one of my earlier posts in this challenge. Place your hand on your heart as a gesture of love, and feel your breath going in and out of your body. Your chest rising up and done. The weight and warmth of your hand on your body. The beating of your heart.

And, as Danielle Savory says, “Feel how each inhale brings your heart up into your hand and how your hand is right there to hold your heart. Let this touch be a gesture to yourself that you’ve got your back. That you are there for YOU, no matter what. Whether or not you believe it yet, let this physical connection of your hand and heart be made with the intention of creating support for yourself.”

Include yourself in the bigger picture of humanity, recognizing that what you are feeling is part of the human experience, and there is nothing wrong with you.

Of course I screamed. I was feeling really angry and upset. Other people scream when they feel really angry and upset, too.

And, last but not least, talk kindly to yourself!! This can be really hard, especially when we are used to beating ourselves up. If this seems to be true for you, ask what you might say to someone you love if they were experiencing what you are experiencing.

It’s okay. I’m here for you. Let me support you and remind you that you are safe and understood.

And continue to breathe, my friend. Lean in and see what you can learn from the experience.

When emotions are high, intelligence is low.

Allow yourself to process what you are feeling, and then you can create space to evaluate what went well, what didn’t go so well, and what you will do differently next time.

What did I learn from this?

  • I have more thought work to do around getting this goal done by an established deadline. Turns out some of the same stuff that came up for me last fall with a deadline is coming up for me now with this deadline. But, that doesn’t mean stop! It means learn and grow and GO.
  • I can plan multiple blocks throughout the day to work on the lesson. It doesn’t have to happen all in one sitting. What’s most important to me is managing our energy. And I want to teach my son the importance of taking brain breaks when you need them.
  • Moments like these are a great opportunity to practice a “re-do” with my son – to model another way the experience could have gone AND to model how to act toward ourselves and others in the aftermath of having lost our minds.
  • That moments like these don’t cancel out all the other great moments from our day. And that moments like these don’t have to ruin the rest of our day. Today started perfectly, and it ended perfectly too – with time playing in the pool, relaxing together as a family, and enjoying time with my hubby in the evening.

“Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

This presupposes that we love ourselves.

The more we can BE there for ourselves, no matter what difficulty we are facing, the more we can BE there for others, no matter what difficulty they are facing.

Learn to embrace the version of you that is here right now.

Can you love her?

💕 Deise

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You Can Believe Whatever You Want to Believe About Yourself

Lately I’ve been thinking about the tendency we have, as humans, to label ourselves (and others).

I was reading a post by a fellow coach and noticing that I could identify with everything she was writing about.

She is a coach for people with ADHD.

All of a sudden my brain was like, “Woah, what?!  Am I ADHD?!”

And, similarly, when I was doing research on OCD and discovered perfectionism is a form of OCD, my brain was like, “Say what?!  Am I OCD?!”

To both questions, I had remind my brain “Nope, for sure not.”

Cause here’s the thing…doesn’t matter if someone else thinks I am ADHD or OCD or if I actually am or not…doesn’t matter if it could be argued that it is true that I am.

Doesn’t matter.

What matters is what I believe about myself and whether or not that is serving me.

I see absolutely no upside to believing I am ADHD or OCD.  There is no sense of relief or freedom for me – only limitation – so I won’t be taking on either of these labels as beliefs about myself.

Now, this doesn’t mean that these labels have this same affect on others. This is simply my experience of these labels. And my experience of them is what matters for me.

In a similar manner, I’ve been looking at labels I have taken on in my life.

I used to label myself as a perfectionist. It was a label I even wore proudly for a LOOOOONG time.  Ha!

Then, earlier this year, I realized in a big way how many problems identifying as a perfectionist was causing for me. 🤯

I realized that perfectionism includes a lot of beating myself up that I didn’t even realize I was doing.

I realized that perfectionism involves a lot of unnecessary fear.

I realized that identifying as a perfectionist was holding me back.  It wasn’t serving me.

And so, after a bit of an identity crisis (the good kind, ha!), I decided that I’m no longer going to label myself as a perfectionist.

Yes. Just like that.  I decided.

Because I get to think whatever I want to think about myself.  No one can stop me.  And whether it’s true or not doesn’t actually matter.

What matters is that what I choose to think is true ultimately lays the blueprint for my future.

I used to see myself as a perfectionist. Now, I see myself as a high achiever.

It’s a subtle difference, but it is EVERYTHING.  

High achievers are more forgiving and kind to themselves than perfectionists.

High achievers live a life less paralyzed by fear.

High achievers find more joy in the journey.

I’m not a recovering perfectionist.  I’m not overcoming perfectionism.

I’m a high achiever. And every day, I become more and more of a high achiever.

Same thing you think?

It’s not!!

The difference is subtle, but it is everything.

The former focuses on the past; the latter focuses on the future.

What we focus on expands.

And how we feel about what we are focused on matters most.

Telling myself I’m a recovering perfectionist leaves me feeling like I’m lacking.  Like something is wrong with me.  I feel inadequate and “less than.” I feel limited. For me, those feelings drive inaction and spinning in my head.

Telling myself I’m becoming a high achiever fuels me with possibility.  With excitement.

And that?  THAT is everything my friends.

How do you label yourself?

Is it serving you?

How do you feel when you think about yourself that way?

What actions (or inactions) do those feelings drive?

Are those behaviors creating the type of future you desire for yourself?

If not, I have great news for you.

You get to believe whatever you want to believe about yourself.

And, when you change what you believe, that will change how you feel, what you do, and what kind of life you create for yourself.

What do you want to believe about you?

You can choose anything my friend!

And then you can look for evidence that supports those beliefs while also going about creating more evidence to support them. 😉

 💕 Deise

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