Angry people need not apply.

I know I have a tendency to seem happy, even when things aren’t going well. And sometimes I’m sure that’s annoying. Yet, I have to admit that I’m tired of angry people. I’ve been thinking about what I know for sure about anger:

1. Most adult anger is about expectations and values not being met. Some people build up strong belief systems of how things should be or should not be and then expect others to behave in ways that they deem “correct.”

2. Angry people allow their mind to make up wrong assumptions and things that are just not true.

3. Anger is often the result of a person’s need to control someone else and tell them what to do based on his own view of how things should be in life.

4. People who had critical, perfectionistic parents learn to be judgmental themselves. They often become angry when their own needs are not met. This does not mean you can’t change, however.

5. People who are critical and controlling of others usually have high anxiety and irritability and harbor irrational beliefs that certain people are stupid or do things wrong. Really, it’s them looking in the mirror.

6. Constant criticism is a bad habit that will sour any relationship. These are the people who point their finger – verbally and physically.

I’ve decided that angry people need not apply for a spot in my life. I’d prefer mature people. Mature people seek better ways to deal with their anger in an argument. They know that they get angry … everyone does. But they don’t let their tapes play, which have the song, “I am always right.” Instead, they find a way to work on problems rather than force a result.

We all have to take responsibility for our actions. And, when we admit our wrongdoing, it can be empowering — not negative. The healthy way of dealing with anger (which we all have) is to identify it, burn the freaking tape and work on solving problems rather than pointing fingers.

We get the life we choose. Some people choose anger. And, others don’t!

Have a great day!

I’m as transparent as the Great Wall of China.

You don’t have to admit it, but I bet we’ve all played the game of hide the ball in our relationships.  We hold back and protect ourselves from the fear of getting hurt.  This is true for all kinds of our relationships.  I’m good at that game.  Sure, there are many times (most times) where I’m an open book – sometimes too much so! 🙂  What you see is what you get.  But that’s not always true and when I’m afraid, I bring forth my portable Great Wall of China.

Intellectually I know we must take the risk of being open and allow other people to jump in and learn who we really are — to experience us.  The focus of any strong and full relationship with a partner, has to include a focus on honesty, clear communication and transparency.

What is transparency?  It’s being so completely open and honest that the person on the other side feels safe and comfortable in the relationship.  It’s about building trust so that no matter what happens in life, you know you can rely on the other person. Sounds amazing, right?

The 6 million dollar question is how to be transparent.  How to see when we are not being transparent.  I key, I think (from my lawyer, single mom chair) is to keep your love for the person in front of you and to stay open even when you are afraid.  It’s also to avoid even the appearance that you are not in, not committed to whatever, the relationship or even a conversation, .  I once read a quote which has stuck with me, It’s not enough just to be good, you have to look good, too. Otherwise, you actually create fears and doubts solely out of appearances, rather than resolving them and building trust.”

I’ve found that even with my kids, I have to be transparent about my thoughts and feelings.  When I’m not, they don’t trust my words and they don’t buy in to the situation.  However, when I am honest – really, more open about my feelings (and clear), they feel more safe and secure in our relationship and what I’m saying. The same is true for a love relationship.

So, today I’m going to start taking down my Great Wall (It’ll be slow so be patient!).  I think that will allow for more depth and heart in all my relationships.  I guess that’s what I’m doing here – sharing the good and the totally not-so-good s*** about me.

Have a fantastic Wednesday!

She pulled right in front of me and took my parking spot!

Do you have things that really bug you?  I went to see the movie, “Enough Said,” this weekend and in it there was a discussion about how the husband did things that really bugged the wife — so much so that it contributed to their divorce.  I’ve got a few things that really bug me too … care to hear about them?

1. Parking spots:  If I’m stopped in front of a spot, don’t just think I’m hanging out there using up my gas.  I’m likely about to pull into the spot so don’t just swing in and take it.  Look around with your eyes before you claim a parking spot.  Same goes for gas pumps at a busy station.

2. Taking the elevator:  If you don’t have to, don’t do it.  I was in the elevator carrying more than my own weight yesterday when the door opened at 14.  On got a 20-something guy.  He looks at me, says nothing (like “sorry”) and gets off at 15. Really?

3. Finding things:  Why am I the only person who can find things in this house?  Will my children be able to find things when they move out?  Is there a force-field around their rooms that prevents them from seeing the clothes in the drawers, that I have to go and pull out for them?

4. Restaurants: Please don’t ask me if I like my food when I haven’t even had a bite yet. I was a server once (Ground Round when you could put peanut shells on the floor … remember that??).   I know you can wait just a few minutes so I can at least determine if I got the meal I ordered.

5. My computer:  I hate the color wheel.  I just hate it.

6. My memory:  Do you know that my dad came up with the name of Tom Hanks the other day before I could?  I’ve heard that menopause saps all names from your brain.  And, I’ve been known to forget which kid is which … but Tom Hanks?  Come on Jessica!

7. Customer service:  I’m tired of companies outsourcing their customer service to people who can’t understand me or computers who don’t want to understand me.  What part of CUSTOMER SERVICE, do you not get?

8. Automatic check outs: Why do these things always think I’ve stolen something and put it in the bagging area before I’ve rung up the item.  If I wanted to steal it I would not be at the check out with it in my hands!

9. Motorcycles:  Why is it that a motorcyclist can take up an entire parking spot meant for a car, yet feel like they don’t have to drive in the freeway lanes meant for cars?

10. Spelling:  Why is it I can’t spell?  This bugs me.  I went to school.  I got decent grades.  Somehow I made it through law school.  But if it weren’t for spell check …. Well, I’d still be working at the Ground Round!

Enough said.  Have a great day!

It really didn’t work out the way I wanted it to.

Someone asked me about a situation that didn’t work out the way I wanted it to. Wasn’t I disappointed about the end result?  Did I use my positive thinking? Now, did I finally get that positive thinking isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?  Whew!

She’s right.  I’m disappointed.  I put a lot of effort into this situation and it’s clearly not going the way I’d hoped.

I’ve got a habit (bad or good?) of thinking that my positive outlook will affect what happens in my life.  And, that’s partly true.  But more true is that positive thinking is really just a mindset.  It’s a way of using thoughts to move us forward. It’s not a cure-all.

Yet, despite my love of “positive thinking” there are some things that positive thinking won’t help with:

You can’t use positive thinking to deny your fears or to ignore realityI’m good at this denial-thing.  This is my mantra: “If I think bad thoughts, bad things will happen.”  See me sticking my ostrich head into the sand and ignoring instead of facing “it?” Rather, I should be saying,“No matter what happens, it’ll be OK.”

You can’t use positive thinking to cover up your real feelings. Again, my flaw comes in handy here!  Sometimes I put on my happy face even when I’m not happy, thinking it will solve the problem.  We’ve got to face our feelings and experience them.  Positive thinking should not be a mask (Jessica, are you listening??).

You can’t expect that positivity will make everything smooth in life. Life is full of obstacles.  Sure, I’m bummed that something didn’t work out the way I planned.  But, if I’m looking for solutions and facing my fears, then I won’t be focused on the obstacles. Positive thinking doesn’t remove obstacles – it allows us to see past them and focus on what we should be working on … ourselves!

Positive thinking won’t help if you don’t know what you want.  I’ve got a habit of ambivalence.  This isn’t in every area of my life, just one in particular.  It’s really fear (if I’m going to be totally honest with you).  If we’re not clear about what we want, nothing is going to happen.  Know what you want and go for it – even if you don’t feel 100% positive regarding the outcome.

You can’t only be happy if things happen exactly as you want them to. If something doesn’t work exactly as I want, that doesn’t mean my positive thinking didn’t work.  Maybe it means that something else might happen that’s better than I originally thought. I’ve got to let go of the, “It didn’t work out as I planned” and instead say “It didn’t work. Now what’s in store for me?!”

Positive thinking is a tool, not a magic wand. Use it that way and even when it doesn’t work out as we hope, we’ll be able to see other doors opening up right in front of our eyes.

Have a wonderful Monday!

“I don’t care about your feelings.”

This one blew me away.  No one has ever said that this to me before.   How could someone not care about my feelings?   Even if you’re mad at someone, don’t you still care about their feelings?  At first I felt bad, really bad.  And, I wasn’t sure what to do with that statement.

So, after the kids went to sleep, I got out my yoga mat.  I asked for guidance on how to take this statement and do some thing positive with it.  Nothing came to me  Then, I asked again.  Still nothing.  Eventually, I got hungry (big surprise) and got off my mat.  As I was making myself some toast, it hit me:  My feelings are 100% about me.  No one creates them, but me.  No one should influence them, but me.  I am in control of my feelings and if you care about my feelings, great!  If you don’t, that’s your deal (although I am unlikely to spend much time with you).

Feelings are a funny thing. When we allow other factors to determine how we feel, we find that we feel upset because of what someone said or did. We find that we feel sad because of how someone looked at us.  We feel happy when someone recognizes us.

Yet, we can’t base our life on the words and actions of others.  Think how easy it is to feel good or bad based on someone else’s actions.   If you really think about it, it doesn’t make sense.  We must base our feelings according to what we believe, what we think … what we value.  We only have control over us and no one else.

So, I can let that comment make me feel bad OR I can say that it’s their loss for not caring about my feelings.  It’s how I feel about my feelings that matter.  I’m in charge of my feelings and I’m in charge of my reactions (and my feet can do the rest of the talking!).

Whew, new stuff even at the ripe old(er) age of 51!

Have a great weekend everyone!  X0

I never read this magazine …

There’s a 15 minute period of time between when the plane takes off and when I can get on my computer and work.  It would be fantastic if I could just relax during that time.  But no, I’ve got to have a magazine.  This time I bought one (O), which had this lead in to a story:

“One New Year’s Eve, when I was 21, I had a chat with a friend I’ll call Vicky [college classmate], “The last three months sucked,” Vicky said. “I had ten pounds to lose, so I didn’t let myself leave my room, except to go to class, until I hit my goal weight.”  She lifted her Champagne.  “This is the year I can really start living!” Two days later, Vicky was killed in a traffic accident.  I’ve never been able to stop asking, How would I spend the next three months if I knew they were my last?”

We all know this — Life is short.  And, there’s no way we can fit it all in.   Yet, this author wrote that there are some things that it’s just too late for.  Some things we really can’t go back and change.  Here’s her list (with my commentary):

  1. It’s too late to get a completely different body.  Amen.  This is a hard pill to swallow – not matter how big or small or how light or dark.  It is tough to accept our bodies/our looks the way they are.  We can certainly make changes at the margins, but that’s it.  It’s still our same face, our same bone structure.   Why not enjoy what we’ve got?!  Likely someone else enjoys it too!
  2. It’s too late to live without purpose.  Living your life’s purpose begins when you embrace a state of mind that feels good, in sync with your moral being.  We’ll always have things to do in our life that don’t fit our life purpose.  But, we can limit them, acknowledge them and move on.
  3. It’s too late to live on ego candy.  When you do something purely for admiration or status, in the end, it’s simply empty satisfaction.  Do things that truly nourish you.
  4. It’s too late to turn toxic people into healthy ones.  This is my downfall.  I want to fix everything.  I’ve found myself spending too many years trying to “fix,” only to be crushed and disappointed over and over again.  Instead, go find the people who are waiting to love you.  They do exist!
  5. It’s too late to feel guilty about enjoying the simple things. Leave space in your daily bucket for things that make you happy.  Those small things that make you smile and give off that incredibly happy aura that others feed off of.   It will fulfill you and will positively affect those around you.

So, sometimes it’s worth it to buy that mind-candy sort of magazine for those few minutes before “cruising altitude.”  That was my simple pleasure yesterday and hopefully it helped us all as we begin our Thursday.

Have a great one!

Do we pick our friends?

I’m not sure we ever pick our friends.  Usually we meet people and it just happens.  “They” say that your partner is supposed to be your best friend, and I’m sure that’s true for some.  But I’m talking about something different.  I’m talking about the people (friends) you can share everything with … even the stuff about your partner and you know (or hope they won’t) judge or walk away.

I’ve been fortunate in my life to have some amazing friends.  One that I’ve known almost my whole life, many I’ve met through work, school, running or volunteering and the one I had dinner with last night.

I am in DC on business and I’m here with another attorney who is a part of this matter I’m working on.  I’d met her only once in person.  But when I did, I knew right then that we would be friends long after the matter was resolved.  From the moment we met for a glass of wine last night all the way through dinner – we talked non-stop.  About almost anything and everything.  I love that about friends.  You know what I’m talking about?  That cool way you can just share anything and not worry how it sounds or if they will think you’re weird (well, I am but that’s beside the point).

In this fast paced world of the internet, our ready to eat meals, homework, sports, modern toys, we miss a lot of the simple things in life.  Our jobs change, our marriage ends, we get older, but none of that changes real friendship.  But real friendship never goes away with time.  In fact, it is one of the things in life that ages well!

During dinner last night I was reminded of Elton John’s song, Friends.  I think I will just leave you with the lyrics and a reminder to check in with those friends who are there for you no matter what … even if you are a week behind in returning their calls (sorry to my closest and longest friend in NM!).

I hope the day will be a lighter highway
For friends are found on every road
Can you ever think of any better way
For the lost and weary travellers to go

Making friends for the world to see
Let the people know you got what you need
With a friend at hand you will see the light
If your friends are there then everything’s all right

It seems to me a crime that we should age
These fragile times should never slip us by
A time you never can or shall erase
As friends together watch their childhood fly

Have a wonderful day everyone!!!

Comfort food that burns fat?

Where does Yahoo get these titles?  Really?  I’m going to turn my comfort foods into something that burns fat?  Let’s look at what they say will “burn” our winter fat:

Hot Chocolate

They say nothing about its fat burning ability but the article does say that it can ward off dementia in elderly people.  I’ve had two cups already this morning.  Why drink wine?

Oatmeal

The article says that oatmeal “sticks to your ribs” and topping with nuts or fruit can give you energy.  I don’t think of oatmeal as “comfort food.”  Try again.

Chicken Soup

“People who eat a broth or vegetable-based soup before their meal consume fewer calories overall” was their quote.  This might be a comfort food when we are sick but so is Advil.

Pot Roast

Now you’re talking.  Digesting protein in general requires burning calories, as the body has to work harder to break down protein.  Plus, protein keeps you fuller for longer than carbs or sugars.

Roasted Veggies

I love veggies as much as anyone, but unless they are collared greens, they don’t count in my book as comfort food.

Potatoes

Love them!  Roasted, fried, baked …. you name it and I like them.  These carbs are right up my alley … with a lot of butter to boot!

Chili

Sure.  I agree here and we make this all the time in the winter.  Meat or no meat, it’s great.

Pumpkin Pie

Why do they wait for the best at the end?  I’m quite happy to hear that I can eat a pumpkin pie a day and burn fat!  Well, I guess they didn’t say that.  But they did provide that pumpkin (not the pie) fights oxidative stress and inflammation with beta-carotene, an antioxidant.  That’s almost as misleading as an attorney’s arguments in front of a court!

My comfort foods were not on this list: ice cream with caramel sauce, apple or rhubarb pie, wine (I know it’s a drink but you can use it as food), wild rice soup (fav), chocolate (any time of the year) or even my three cheese grilled cheese!   Frankly, it doesn’t matter to me when I eat my sugar, salt or fat.  I just know that I need those things and my “comfort” will always win out over calories!

Hope you have a great day!

His talk was cheap.

Urban Dictionary “talk is cheap” definition:  a phrase used to indicate an individuals’ inclination to verbalize opinions, stances or other traits and subsequent reluctance to act upon said traits.  e.g.  “He kept telling me he would do X, but he kept doing Y.”   Know any one who fits the bill?

People talk a lot. I guess it’s human nature.  It’s easy to find people who talk non-stop, who try to convince you that the world is exactly how they see it.  But those people … well they don’t think before they speak and they certainly don’t act on their words.

Talk is cheap. Anyone can say anything they want but it takes more than that to be able to produce “talk” that is worth being heard or read or acted upon. That’s what’s bugging me – there are some people who do a lot of talking with absolutely no follow through and no intention of doing anything more than putting the words out there without any actions.  Sadly, those are the people who miss out on the really important things and people in their lives.

As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.  Andrew Carnegie

So true.  You can listen to words all day long, but if you are watching someone talk and their feet don’t match their words …   run.

My soap box advice for today?  Talk less, listen more and think before you speak.

I know some of us who can do it.  I know some of us who are working on it.  And, I know a few who just love themselves too much to even think this makes sense.

Hopefully, we all know where we stand.  Life’s an amazing journey – with benefits!

Have a fantastic start to your week!  And to my marathon friends – enjoy the day off.

I’ve lost my patience.

I’m on a business trip and my room is on the 3rd floor.  Third floor!  That means that the elevator ride is short.  Yet, I get in the elevator and I age 10 years in the amount of time it takes to get to the 3rd floor.  What’s my problem?  (In reality, it was only about 2 minutes).  Yet, I find it to be so outrageously slow that I begin to take the stairs each time I leave and then race myself to see how long it actually takes me to use the stairs.

I’ve got a lack of patience lately.  Sure, I’m tired and desperately need a vacation (stay tuned for a cool vacation announcement!), but that is no excuse for this behavior.  Not only am I fed up with the elevator, but I’ve been super frustrated with the lines at the grocery store, how long it takes to pump my gas and how many times I have to ask my kids what they want for breakfast, with no response.

Mother Teresa said, “Without patience, we will learn less in life. We will see less. We will feel less. We will hear less. Ironically, rush and more usually mean less.”

Life’s challenges require that we practice patience.  But the speed of life of our lives wears our patience thin. Patience helps us be more loving, more attentive and to reach those places that we want to reach.  It’s really a choice.  It’s having the right attitude that gives us the patience we need to see more, not less.  I’ve got to work on this one.

I’m going to strengthen my patience muscle by counting to 10 when I feel frustration creep in.  I’m going to take three deep breaths before I let something come out of my mouth when I’m feeling edgy.  I’m going to work at not getting frustrated when little things don’t go my way.  And, when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’m going to focus on what I’ve accomplished, not on what remains to be done.

Look, I can pawn a lot off on menopause, but I think this one I’m going to have to take full non-hormonal responsibility for.  Or, maybe you can loan me some of your patience (or do our laundry … something I will never develop patience for!).

Have a very calm weekend! 🙂