Becoming the best version of yourself

Thanks For Your Input! (NOT!!)

Sometimes those well-meaning people in your life are just . . . too . . . you know . . . well meaning?  I know they “mean well”, but seriously, I didn’t ask!  Sometimes I do ask, case in point, when my TV set up isn’t working or my computer is shutting me down – I ask the experts – my sons!  Of course mainly I get the reply “Mom, Google is your friend.”  OK – fine!

But what do you do when those times roll around that people are offering you their thoughts and their unsolicited advice?  I never want to hurt their feelings, they do have my best interests at heart, but sometimes it’s just too much.

I recently read a short article on how to handle these situations when they arise and I got a chuckle out of it.  I wish I had the ability to remember these “come backs” when I need them, but chances are I won’t.  This one I may practice though!  The article suggests:

“Unsolicited counsel can trigger reactions ranging from gratitude to feelings of inadequacy to anger, . . . The quickest fix?  Be direct.  Say, “Thank you for trying to help me, but I might have given the wrong impression.  I’m not actually looking for advice.”

You might also consider tweaking your own conversational style.  Sure, it could be that your nearest and dearest are busybodies, but maybe they’re jut looking for a way to connect with you.  Friends and family may be naturally inclined to offer guidance if, say, you tend to do a lot of venting or complaining.  And, honestly, even if that’s not the case, you’re less likely to be offered unwanted suggestions if you steer the discussions.”

It’s a fine line to know when to accept and when to ignore or decline.  I have two adult sons who always have my best interests in their minds when they start offering unsolicited advice.  Sometimes it reminds me too much of my EX, sometimes it’s spot on.  Sometimes it’s just plain awkward.

If you’re paying a professional for services, then mostly I would think you should listen to their direction, after all that is what you’re paying them for.  It comes to mind that these would include Doctors, Financial Advisors, CPA’s filing your tax returns, Lawyers – to name a few, but even then, you have a right to question and not take it as the gospel.

I have a friend who years ago worked with me in the Development Department of a Non-Profit.  People were constantly offering unsolicited advice to her about the way she should do her job.  She would always smile a beautiful smile while saying, “Thanks for your input”, but that twinkle in her eye told me that she wasn’t the least bit interested in hearing, or acting upon their opinion.  It became our “inside” joke.

Here’s to knowing when to say – enough!

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Bouncing Back Better – Part Deaux!


Last week I shared some pointers I’d seen in the AARP Newsletter and promised I’d get back with some “further” thoughts!  So here goes:

1)  Don’t rush it.   There was nothing “rushed” about my divorce.   Luckily for women in the State of Texas, we have Community Property.  After a year + of “h*ll”, it was done.

The next thing that was not rushed was what I would call “recovery”.  Life does not just move on, it’s a struggle.  You’ve been thrown a curve ball, a slider, a sinker,  I could go on all day with the sports metaphors but truth is, you’re unbalanced (and I mean that in a good way).  You need to take the time to reacquaint yourself WITH yourself.  You’ve changed and it takes time to see your way through to this next phase of your life.  You are ALONE!  No matter your support system, you’re going to need to do a lot of this on your own.  Take your time and get to know the person inside; let the new woman emerge as better and brighter than before!

2)  Consult others.  This is so important.  It can be your family, your best friend, a professional therapist, a member of the clergy, a support group – many choices and only you will know what is best or possible for you.  Some are free, some come with cost – but all should be considered when seeking guidance to steer you through this important next phase.  You’re laying the groundwork for the next 20, 30, 4o years of your life.  Don’t you think that’s important enough to get some feedback?  A good listening ear is worth it.

Maybe you just need to hear yourself talk, maybe you really do want some answers?  Regardless of your state of mind, few can get through to the other side without some kind of help.  If people offer, take them up on it.  If they don’t, maybe consider that they’re just waiting to be asked.  If they’re not interested in listening or helping,  you’ll know pretty quickly so you can move away from them and look elsewhere.  It’s not a sign of weakness to seek help, it’s a sign of strength in acknowledging that you want to get to a better place.

3)  Think positive.  It’s all in the way you spin it in your mind.  Yep, no doubt about it, divorce sucks!  I really used to despise that word when my sons, then late teens and early 20’s, used it.  Boy does it apply though.  It just totally sums up what you’re going through.  You wonder if you’ll ever smile again, if you’ll ever love again, if you’ll ever feel cherished again?  You will.  Find a reason to smile, love yourself and cherish the time you have left on this earth to fulfill a dream, a destiny, a purpose.

There are no instant fixes but having a positive outlook will help  you get there much faster.  Not saying it’s not OK to have some dark thoughts, you will, I still do.  I can happily report though that they seem to be further and further apart these days.  Little things will set them off, that need to have a pity party but just don’t let it rule your thoughts every day.  Never let it be an excuse for bad behavior, there are enough people out there exhibiting their own bad behavior for you to be adding to it.  Having trouble making yourself happy?  Then try finding ways to make others happy by doing nice, unexpected things for them.  That alone can get you in a positive frame of mind.  Just today while outside enjoying a nice spring day (after three months of rain, gloom and doom) while walking the dogs, I passed by a neighbor’s house where the yardman was putting in some spring color.  He hopped up out of the way of my two large canines and noticing his work I smiled at him and commented on how pretty the flowers were.  The change on his face was amazing, he seemed so surprised that someone would compliment him.  It made him smile, it made me smile.  Easy!  Take time to be positive.

4)  Recognize your own strengths.  I had been pretty well sheltered during my “child”  life.  My father took care of everything outside the house, my mother took care of everything inside the house.  He went to work everyday and provided for his family.  My mother made sure we were well fed and taken care of.  I expected to grow up, marry and have the same thing.

My spouse provided for us, but I was never a full partner in the decision making having to do with finances, where we lived, what we did, who we saw, etc.  When I suddenly found myself single and alone – it was frightening.  Would I be able to make decisions based on very little experience having to do with day-to-day living?  I’d been a daughter, a wife, a mother; I had never been solely responsible.  Guess what?  I am pretty smart and capable.  Who knew?  (smile)  Recognize that you too are smart and capable.  You can take care of yourself and make smart decisions.  If you need guidance, ask for it.  Coming out from the shadows and into the light is very liberating.  I’ll make some bad decisions and I’ll learn from them and I will keep moving forward.  I am strong, . . . I am woman . . . (you know what’s coming!), hear me roar!


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AARP – Yep, I’m Getting Old!

I remember when I first got my “invitation” to join AARP.  I was turning 50.  WHAT?  Isn’t that what you do when you’re approaching 65-ish?  Obviously not.  What made it even worse was the fact that I was a year older than my “then” spouse and boy did he rub it in.

Fast forward to now, I am a member of AARP and the newer fact that I actually enjoy reading some of the articles they write in their newsletter.  OK, so not all the articles pertain to me – I don’t need a “walk-in” tub or a pendant to wear for medical alerts or falls or a wheel chair and walker.  However, every once in a while they have something that I can really relate to, thus today’s “share”.

These helpful hints can actually be applied to multiple maladies, but they rang very true to me in “Divorce Recovery” and I’d like to share them with you for your quest of survival from whatever brings you unhappiness.  The title of the section is:  “Bouncing Back, Better“.

1)  Don’t rush it.  Take time after a shock, says Susan Bridges, president of William Bridges and Associates, which provides transition coaching.  “We see it as a three-phase process; starting with acknowledging what has ended.”

2)  Consult others.  Richard Leider of AARP’s Life Reimagined suggests assembling a sounding board of friends as advisors.  “You want a committed listener, who can just hear what you have to say without trying to fix anything,” he says.  “Then you want a catalyst, who offers inspiration through his or her own story.  And then you want a wise elder, who helps you keep your eye on the big picture.”

3)  Think positive.  “Whether people can access positive emotions in dire circumstances is typically a matter of what kind of sense they make of the event,” says psychologist Barbara Fredrickson.  “The reaction to a natural disaster could be “I lost everything,” or it could be “I’m still breathing.”

4)  Recognize your own strengths.  “People say that they now experience themselves as a different person,” says psychologist Lawrence Calhoun.  “They see themselves as more vulnerable than they thought but stronger than they ever imagined.”

I’ll give you some time to ponder these thoughts, and when next we “connect”, I’ll share some of my thoughts on these suggestions, and the ways I’ve tried to “Bounce Back”.

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