Tag Archives: female engineers

Clues as to Why She Might NOT be into You… (especially for men over 40!)

10 Aug

Following on the coat tails of “He’s just not that into you,” I’ve developed a list of common behaviors rampant among men (over 40) in Florida.  Every one of these has happened to me in the past 6 months (!) and my friends concur that they experience the same thing.

While we see these as absolute turn-offs, we constantly have guy friends who say “We can’t figure out why she didn’t call/text/email me back – I thought we were soooo compatible.”

So, if you are over 40, male, straight, and living in Florida (and elsewhere), here’s the top 10 list of disrespectful behaviors that should give you a hint about:

  “Why she just might not be that into YOU”:

1. If she tells you she doesn’t like texting and you insist on texting anyways; it’s likely she won’t be into you.

2. When you ask the type of food she likes and disregard her response & take her to Hooters; it’s likely she just won’t be into you.

3. No advance date planning ahead of 3 hours; this is just plain narcissistic to think that we women are waiting by the phone for your call.  If we are busy and active, (which those of us who are emotionally healthy and happy ARE), we’re not going to find this an attractive behavior.  When you know we are busy and you still do this (because you are NOT busy),  it shows a lack of planning on your part and a lack of respect for our time;

4. Male whining about how bad your ex is/was; We don’t care (just like you shouldn’t care to hear crap about our ex’s!)  You’d be turned off about us bemoaning how horrid our ex is/was -and so are we!  It doesn’t matter what you ex did to you or who she was – unless you prefer to be with her than us… Regardless, this is a turn-off and we probably will just NOT be into you!

5. Smoking without first asking if it’s offensive; this is a big no-no – a guy who pulls out a cigarette in a crowded bar or car and then expects us to share the air with their nicotine.  Would you willingly take part in cancer research we subjected you to – that was harmful to your health?  Unlikely – and so if you do this to us (without asking if it’s okay or excusing yourself and walking away) – we’re most likely NOT going to be into you!

6. No showing after we reserve time when you’ve asked us out and then saying “it wasn’t really a date anyways;”  This one is simply amazing!  A guy I know (who insisted he really, really wanted to see me) pulled out the “I’m too sweaty and tired to see you tonight” after arranging a date a few days in advance.  His response when I told him that I had set aside the time was “well I can see you tomorrow or Friday or the weekend” – NOT!  Any busy, happy female realizes that this is plain disrespectful behavior to assume that he can see you when it is CONVENIENT for him… Gosh, it is any wonder when this happens that we are just not that into you?

7. Calling us “chicks” or “girls” when we are over 25. – Hey, we are women who deserve good treatment – we’re not school girls or barnyard animals (although you might like that – NOT!)  While you may not intend to be disrespectful – you need to know that this is how it comes across.  Don’t be surprised if we are just not into you!

8. Asking if you can meet up with us when we’re out with our girlfriends, then getting ticked off and leaving in a huff when we don’t devote all our attention to you.  This happened with a “friend” who wanted to go out with me (I told him I just wanted to be friends) – he shows up at a place where he knew I’d be with friends (the priority!), ignored my friends (despite being introduced) and tried to monopolize my time.  Is it any wonder after violating multiple points above (whining, smoking, disrespect) that he’s no longer even in the friends WITHOUT benefits category?

9. Ignoring responses to texts you’ve initiated – for hours or days – then expecting immediate responses when you finally do text back; This is a routine complaint from my single friends:  guys will text them and carry on a conversation (multiple texts) then drop “off the face of the earth” when they initiated the text thread in the first place.  When our responses to your texts go unanswered, is it any wonder why we don’t respond immediately when you decide it is convenient to text back?  If we sense a lack of respect or courtesy, you can bet that we will just not be that into YOU!

10. Whining (about anything and everything) – especially when we’re out somewhere. There is nothing more pathetic (and unattractive) than a guy who whines about how great their former city is compared to where we choose to live. Recently a transplant from Scranton, PA incessantly whined about the “high price of chicken breasts” here compared to “Scranton” – it got so bad that I started to encourage him to move back!  If you whine instead of expressing gratitude for life, don’t expect us to be into you!  We have enough drama in our lives without having to take on yours!

Now, I’m not saying all single men over 40 living in Florida (and elsewhere) are bad guys.  I’m simply pointing out that if you are puzzled by female behaviors that confuse or (at times) seem to stymie you – take a look again at the checklist items #1 through #10 – and see how many infractions are part of your regular behavior.

Certainly it is your choice whether you want to/don’t want to change, but if you do want someone to become special in your life, you may want to take a second look at what you might be doing to turn off women.  (And this is just a short personal list of what irks me and my friends – it might not hold true for other women.)

Wishing you all the best – do you agree with my findings above?

p.s., The next posting will concentrate on how to discern:  “You think she’s into you, but you’re just not sure:  A Checklist for Respectful Guys.”

Carol

Happy Mother’s Day – be a Mother to Yourself!

13 May
Mother's Day card

Mother’s Day card (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It might sound a bit circular to you to suggest that you be a mother to yourself – but I believe that most mothers (no matter how wonderful) fall short of being the nurturing, caring, unconditionally caring mother we all need to get us through life.

Through this blog and in everyday interactions, I hear stories that range from mothers who are exceptionally giving and accepting to downright bitches on steroids who poison every person they meet.  We cannot choose our mothers, but we can choose how they affect our adult life (or at least we can try!)

Just as I believe in the Type Y management theory (most people will do the best job they can given the knowledge and education at hand) versus the Type X (people innately need to be micro-managed or they will cheat and do the least) – I believe that most mothers (and fathers) do the best job they can given their knowledge and education about parenting. (Of course there are exceptions – we read about them in the daily press or see them on Reality TV!)

Because today is Mother’s Day in North America, I’d like to focus on mothers (and the same wisdom can apply to being a father to yourself!)

What We Need from Mothers

Childhood memories might not be as distant to you as they are to me, but no doubt the good, bad, and the ugly of childhood sticks with us all.  We all bear the wonders (and the baggage) of growing up and I venture to guess that no matter where or when you grew up, it was not all honey and roses (if it was, then I applaud you for an ideal childhood or a selective memory!)

What would the ideal mother give? Here is my “laundry list”:

  • safety (from the physical and emotional affronts we face in the outside world);
  • security (with basic food, shelter and clothing taken care of);
  • acceptance (to know that we are whole, complete and perfect just as we are);
  • love (unconditional if that is even possible);
  • truth (that life isn’t fair, that there are good and bad people, that we deserve love, and that no matter what we can make it.)

Moreover, the perfect mother would remind us that we are good enough, beautiful enough, smart enough, deserve love, and can make it no matter what or who life throws at us.  But, like a Barbie doll – such an ideal is only a fantasy.

My mother did her best to raise five children (only seven years apart) and offer a nurturing environment – given her knowledge and parenting skills, and I am truly grateful.  I always had a home where I knew someone would know my name and I could fall asleep without fear of violence or hunger – I am grateful, especially when I know that not everyone had this luxury.

Lifelong Mothering can only come from Within

Regardless of what your mother was like, I believe that EVERY mother falls short of being the ideal mother we need(ed).  The good news is that no matter who was/is your mother, we all have the opportunity, starting today, to be the ideal mother to ourselves.  We can give ourselves the inner pride, security, safety, unconditional love, acceptance, and truth to become the best we can be!

Many books attempt to teach us how to nurture ourselves and overcome our childhood – including  as the Inner Child, I’m Ok- You’re Ok, There is Nothing Wrong with You, Co-dependent No More, The Four Agreements,  etc.; but few teach how to be the mother you need(ed) for yourself.

Being able to rely on unconditional love and undying support of the ideal mother can only come from within. We owe it to our inner child to give him/her the nurturing in the way we need, from someone who knows us better than anyone possibly can.

Starting today – evict the Inner Critic

The first step to being a mother to yourself is to evict the harsh inner critic who takes up valuable real estate in your mind.  Replace this critical voice (you’re too xxx, you’ll never be yyy, don’t even try to do zzz!) with that of the ideal mother (you are perfect the way you are, you can become yyy, don’t just try but do zzz!, you can do it!)

Tell yourself what an ideal mother would say:

...you are extraodinary…you are beautiful…and you are loved.

In The Four Agreements, author don Miguel Ruiz says that Agreement #1 is Always live with integrity.  In other words, never tell yourself anything that you would not tell a best friend.  Be supportive, loving, accepting, proud, nurturing, and giving to yourself!

The second step is to write down the characteristics an ideal mother (or father) would have (or could have) provided in your life, and then start doing them for yourself!

Does this make Mother’s Day sense?

What do you think? Is this simply airy-fairy, psycho-babble?  I can tell you that the Royal We (me, myself and I) plus my inner Mother is a formidable team (newly formed!)

Does this ring true for you (or anyone you might know)… please comment!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Carol

IWF… the Forgotten Demographic

14 Mar

I  W  F

Invisible
White
Female

I will be the first to admit that I did not see it coming – the slow slide into invisibility that comes with being an over-40 female in America.  My first recognition came when I joined an online survey group offering to pay me for my opinion on a variety of social and retail trends (I quit after the first 20 surveys excluded me for not being in the 20-40 age bracket – the important demographic group).

Next came dining out alone at restaurants where maitre d’s look completely through me to seat couples or families in line behind me (perhaps I should tell him about my 20-30% tipping practice?)

Now I can add craft beer establishments to the list, where if I do not overtly flag someone down, I am unseen for at least 15 minutes (despite empty tables around me).  As an aside, craft beer is also a topic of a blog I write.

The media are no less kind to single white women (age is less relevent here) – especially if we are single mothers (a new target for a senator in WI), or ovulating (note to Rush Limbaugh and elected politicians:  why do we fund Viagra and not birth control?)

  What Happens when Women Age?

Have you heard the Hollywood saying about gender and aging?  Men become “distinguished” (think Sean Connery) and women just grow “old”. Perhaps a distinguished beard would render me less invisible?

Perhaps the invisibility comes from other characteristics?

Could it be that I am independent (my children are grown), or confident (talk about an intimidating trait!), or attractive (I stay in shape!), or financially stable (I pay my own way), or knowledgeable (I write several blogs – one professionally)? No, the people who do not see me do not know any of these things.

Yet, somehow, despite arriving at middle age with status, stature and bearing, these are not enough to ward off Invisibility… (I know it is not “Rejection” because I have not yet met the people to whom I am invisible!)

We are so politically correct in North America so as not to disenfranchise any minority group (if you are disabled+female+veteran+Asian descent you can write your own ticket) or god forbid, offend a member of any minority with a misplaced word – yet a huge majority group – Invisible White Females – is largely disregarded and forgotten.

(It is interesting to note that the average age of women in the US according to the 2010 census is 38, with a life expectancy of 80+ years.  We have a long time to be an IWF!)

What is YOUR Experience?

Certainly males are overlooked, disregarded, or downright ignored at times too, but in talking to colleagues, nothing quite compares to being an Invisible White Female as far as being a non-entity.

I feel like I am fading into the woodwork as I age… what is your experience?  What do YOU think?

Carol

Need more hours in your day? 3 Easy steps…

16 Feb

I remember days gone by when I wished for more hours in my day… no matter how I tried to rearrange things, I just couldn’t find all the hours I needed to get everything done. By the end of the day, I was exhausted and spent, and my kids did not get to see me at my best on many occasions.

These days, my children are grown and I watch around me as more and more people are in the same predicament that I was – and are equally harried and stressed.  For them and you, I present “3 Easy ways to create more hours in your day”.

1.   Reduce your load…Stop doing things that do not really matter

While you may feel that everything you do during the day from paid work to laundry to helping with homework to driving to soccer practice to …. (100 other things!) are essential for you to do, I disagree.  When I recall everything I did for so many people, I realize that they might have seemed essential (especially to me), but I know that there were things I did simply out of a sense of duty.  One way to figure out what you can stop doing that does not really matter is to stop doing something and then see if anyone misses it.

For example, I call several friends many times before they return my calls (if they ever do).  Once I stopped calling them (which I had done more for myself if the truth be known), some did not call me at all – I discovered that the “friends” do not miss me, and as a result, I can spend my time pursuing relationships that really matter.

For another example, tasks like dusting are one of the “mom” type duties that we often think must be done to avoid what others might think or say (such as a mother-in-law).  But if you stop doing dusting or do it only 1/2 as often, the results may not be noticed.  Voila!  Time saved!  Make a list of everything you do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis and see if there is anything that is non-essential, immaterial or that you can cut back on the frequency with which you do them.  You may be surprised to find out that there are things you do to satisfy your inner critic and no one else really cares.  So, stop doing these things!

A friend once told me “You can come over to my house and even write your name in my dust, as long as you don’t date it!”  I realized then that the process of dusting was less important than spending time with my children.  I stopped dusting so often, and surprise, no one noticed!

2.   Outsource what can be done more cheaply by someone else (and help another person in the process!)

Once you have pared down your list in #1., figure out what other things could be better done (from both a financial and emotional standpoint) by someone else.  You can outsource and win just like the big corporations!

For example, if mowing the grass is on  your list of “must do’s” and it takes you 2 hours to do it weekly, consider that a neighborhood teen may charge as little as $10. a week to mow your grass AND clean up the clippings!  Are your two hours worth more than $10. (let alone the sweating and stress it may cause you?) If the answer is yes, do yourself a favor and give the teen a job to mow your lawn – you will both benefit.  This single act gives you 2 hours to do something else!

If, however, you love to mow your lawn (I know people who do!), then find other tasks on your list where it might be more efficient to outsource the work to someone who wants and needs the work.  You will both benefit and be happier!

3. Accept help when it is offered

Too often those of us who are self-reliant and independent “cut our noses to spite our face” by not accepting help when it is genuinely offered.  Our misplaced sense of pride and feelings that we might “owe” someone who helps us – can actually work to our detriment!

When someone offers to aid you with something that would help you stretch your day, accept the help!

As I mentioned in a earlier post (The more you give, the more you … give) – the acts of giving and receiving  are not coupled.  So, if you feel that you would owe someone when they give to you, think about all the times that you give freely to others.  It is about time that you allow others to give back – especially when they are not the same people who have received from you.

These are three easy steps to more hours and more happiness.  Best of all, they come at little or no cost (especially when you factor in the price of your own heartbeats and hours you save!)  Prioritize your time, follow the steps, and let me know what happens in your life.

Have a great weekend!

Carol

New Math: Subtraction can Add Years to your Life!

10 Feb

I love watching the late George Carlin‘s sketch about our Stuff where he describes how all of our stuff expands to fit into larger and larger areas.  No matter how much we upsize, we never seem to have the room we need.  Unless we have a garage sale or decide to downsize, many of us seem to collect until the day we die (and then others have to get rid of our “stuff”.)

I perused through Gail McMeekin’s The Power of Positive Choices: Adding and Subtracting Your Way to a Great Life yesterday where she describes the S in P O S I T I V E  C H O I C E S as the power of Subtraction.  It occurred to me that she is bang on with her assertion that the removal of unproductive factors from our life can be a positive thing.

That led me to ponder that human beings are not just “material” collectors, but also emotional collectors.  We collect people, experiences, and memories during our life – many of which we should have discarded long ago!  If we stopped to take an inventory of the intangible stuff we collect and store in our mental garages (our head), we would probably find a cache of garbage or things we no longer need.  Moreover, we might find things that actually work against us and no longer serve our best interests.

Maybe it is time for a mental garage sale – or even a run to the dump… I realize that I need to learn the new math: subtraction can add years to your life!

I started by taking inventory of my mental garage and here is what I found:

1.   A pile of Toxic Relationships.

For the past six years (I call December 2005 my awakening), I knew that I was hoarding this “pile”.  While it is not as big as it once was, it still resembled a stack of old clothes that no longer fit and served as reminders of times gone by.  These toxic relationships were not always toxic, in fact they involve people who once served a purpose in my life (I understand some of them); some resembled friends or colleagues, while others were family. Nonetheless, the relationships were not mutually beneficial and no longer fit what I could tolerate in my new self-loving life. Typically toxic relationships involve verbal abuse, manipulation, coercion, guilt or other unhealthy factor, or it is parasitic (one being lives off the energy or health of another.)  Regardless, a toxic relationship is at a minimum unhealthy, or even deadly (over time) to at least one of the parties. Unless the terms can be altered to become a healthy relationship, it is not worth maintaining.  In the same way that closet space can be better used for well-fitting new clothes, the space left by removing toxic relationships leaves room for new healthy ones.

 

2.      A wall of old horror movies.

It was not long after finding the toxic relationships that I noticed this emotional space-stealer! The once valuable cache contained hours of painful experience “replays” (from every possible camera angle) dating from childhood to the present.  While these served a temporary purpose while a lesson was being learned, today they are nothing more than cruel reminders of past negative events. The contents ran the gamut of pre-K pants-wetting, taunts of childhood bullies, pain of unrequited love, outbursts of hormonal girls, sports and academic disappointment, scoldings of disapproving parents, and physical and verbal assaults. Some of the actors were no longer even familiar, but reliving the pain was real.  Through the years a particular set may have served a purpose when I hoped to avoid similar screenplays, but realistically their value is mostly horrific. Moreover, by occupying valuable mental “wall space”, there is less real estate available for the happy movies.

Figuratively “tossing out” the wall of movies was empowering and refreshing.  While I realize that each experience taught me something, I do not need to relive them.  It is more important to note how the collection contributed into making me the strong, independent, self-reliant woman I am today.

 

3.      Bookcases of obsolete encyclopedia:

Don Miguel Ruiz talks about how we are “domesticated” with lies during childhood -intended to nurture us into submission as safety-minded, cooperative, giving (and over-giving), “civilized” adults. Many of the agreements we unwittingly entered as children no longer serve us, and need to be severed along with the “encyclopedias” from the past.  Agreements such as “children should be seen and not heard” and “strangers are dangerous” can become debilitating in adulthood unless we rid them from our psyche.  I found several encyclopedia series on my bookshelf – all long outdated – with focuses on religion, geography (now obsolete), and rule books promoting decades old opinions and sexist attitudes. I had no idea I stored so many “textbooks” because they all blended into the mental garage. As I unload them to the trash, I am amazed at the beauty of the wood grain and thrilled to see how much room is left for new beliefs and fresh ideas.

4.      Outdated survival provisions.

Even though I live in a state where we annually stockpile provisions (water, batteries, and canned goods), I was surprised to find a cache of outdated provisions in my psyche.  I found torn “sandbags” intended to keep watershed tears at bay should there be another flash flood (a divorce or death); expired “cans” of justification to feed anyone if they exploit my vulnerability (“you’re too sensitive” or “you shouldn’t feel that way”); an expired “fire extinguisher” to combat verbal abuse (gosh I wish I knew this was when I needed it!); and tins of emotional “mace” to ward off intruders who don’t respect my boundaries.  All of these were at one time fresh and necessary to provide security, but their utility has since passed and they all need to be ditched and possibly replenished.  Wow, I am amazed at the space these took up!

5.      Luggage filled with emotional “stuff”.

When I “travel” outside my comfort zone, I have a few prized bags that serve me well. When I glance around inside my head, I notice so many nearly new pieces of luggage that I might have used once or twice, filled with items that are doubles of what I already have. It is like having a mismatched set of sports bags, suitcases, and backpacks – all beautiful in their own right, but they are “extras” and take up space. As an idea collector, this luggage housed concepts from self-help books, motivational speakers, “gourmet” lifestyle magazines, all good in their own right, but together they create clutter and take up space.  A cluttered mental garage is as dangerous as a real life counterpart – and could be fire starter to a misguided spark.  I commit all these orphaned ideas to the garage sale.

 

Now that I realize how much space emotional subtraction can add – I am on a quest to declutter and clean out my mental garage.

Next on my agenda will be to do the same (again) in my physical environment.   This brings to mind the idea of The 100 Thing Challenge, but that’s the topic of a future post.

Does any of this make sense to you?

Have a great week!

Carol

Gaslighting – A message to Women from a Man: You are not “crazy”

12 Jan

I seldom write a column that purely features another’s post, but today is an exception.  I came across the following Huffington Post article and it resonated so well with me that I have to share it with you.  It is called:

A message to women from a man:  You are not “crazy”

A few excerpts follow below…  I am intrigued by the article for a couple of reasons:  1. The author (from his name and photograph) does not seem to be of Western descent which makes his candid (and true) observations even more relevant and powerful based on traditional views of women outside of the west; and 2. I have no idea why it would take another male to tell me that I was never crazy (or why I ever believed that I was crazy when males I loved needed a scapegoat for their bad behavior.)

Here’s an excerpt from Yashir Ali’s post:

A remark intended to shut you down like, “Calm down, you’re overreacting,” after you just addressed someone else’s bad behavior, is emotional manipulation, pure and simple.

And this is the sort of emotional manipulation that feeds an epidemic in our country, an epidemic that defines women as crazy, irrational, overly sensitive, unhinged. This epidemic helps fuel the idea that women need only the slightest provocation to unleash their (crazy) emotions. It’s patently false and unfair.

WOW – OMG – holy crap!!!  And I say that in all honesty!

I do not have a litany of male relationships in my past on which to draw (my father, a 23 year marriage that ended in divorce, a 5 year relationship, dates here and there) – but all of them (and I’ll include my mother here) – told me that I was overly sensitive, irrational, and crazy should I ever address or question what my heart told me was bad behavior.  The statement above confirms what I always thought but never dared to speak:  emotional manipulation is about the sender and their need to cover for bad behavior.  It really has nothing to do with the receiver!

What is it in “our” (at least my) female DNA that reduces and diminishes powerful business women (like me) to a whimpering mess when a significant male in our personal lives repeatedly tells us we are crazy?  Why do we believe things about our person as being true just because someone we love spews vitriol at us?  We are forces to be reckoned with and have taken our places aside men in the professional world – and thrived! – yet we are reduced to tears (and accept the treatment) in our personal life by males who we would easily challenge (or report for abusive behavior) if we met them in business.

Why do we so readily give away our power, override our intuition, and accept lies from people when we fall in love?  More and more I believe in the adage:

Love IS blind!

Another excerpt:

And the act of gaslighting does not simply affect women who are not quite sure of themselves. Even vocal, confident, assertive women are vulnerable to gaslighting.

Why?

Because women bare the brunt of our neurosis. It is much easier for us to place our emotional burdens on the shoulders of our wives, our female friends, our girlfriends, our female employees, our female colleagues, than for us to impose them on the shoulders of men.

It’s a whole lot easier to emotionally manipulate someone who has been conditioned by our society to accept it. We continue to burden women because they don’t refuse our burdens as easily. It’s the ultimate cowardice.

Whether gaslighting is conscious or not, it produces the same result: It renders some women emotionally mute.

These women aren’t able to clearly express to their spouses that what is said or done to them is hurtful. They can’t tell their boss that his behavior is disrespectful and prevents them from doing their best work. They can’t tell their parents that, when they are being critical, they are doing more harm than good.

Do me a favor, read the article here,

A Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not “Crazy”

and let me know what YOU think.

I feel relieved to know that I am not alone with the emotional manipulation of my past, however, it pains me to know that it may be so prevalent that it might be an epidemic!

I wonder if we attract dysfunctional people into our lives… and whether there is hope for the future.  I can only speak for myself but I know that I am hypersensitive to anyone who walks, acts or in anyway resembles my exes.

What do you think?

Carol

Dear Daughter, Lessons from a female engineer (part 3)

29 Nov

This is a follow-up to two postings I did in January 2011: Dear Daughter, Lessons from a female engineer (part 1) and Dear Daughter, Lessons from a female engineer (part 2).  Now that it is almost the end of the year, I find myself with more thoughts, so I hope you will enjoy this latest installment.

SunsetDear Daughter,

You are so lovely and grown up, and it is a joy to watch you fulfill your hopes and dreams!  Godspeed to you and the wonderful life you have made.

As with my earlier posts, I hope that you do not mind the mom-isms below – take them or leave them as you will.  My purpose is simply to share with you some of my hard-learned lessons in the hopes that you might avoid some of my missteps.

If I repeat myself or seem to overemphasize certain points, please consider that my memory is not as sharp as it once was, and that it’s been several months since the last post to you. So here goes:

  • Follow your dreams!

When you set out on a path that leads to your dreams, do not be swayed by short-term failures, missteps or naysayers.  There will always be those who stand in your way of reaching your goals, (because they have their own ideas for you,) but they cannot live your life.  Friends, lovers, family, and others who do not support you may need to be set aside while you follow your dream. Some of these will pick up the pace and choose to support you – embrace them; others will continue to call out from behind – ignore them.  You need positive people in your life, not drama queens with their own agendas.

  • Do not stop doing something new out of fear

Fear of failure or of the unknown or fear of “what people will say” often are unfounded fears that stop us from doing exactly what we need to do (to move forward in our life).  We are raised in negativity (I apologize for continuing this cultural trend!) Did you know that by the time a child is two years old, on average he/she has heard the word “no” over 67,000 times?  This is not a good trend for later life! 

If you entertain thoughts about failure, balance them out with the joy of outstanding success — and you’ll find that the fear subsides.  And, if you hold a fear of “what people will say,” then you are not the daughter I know. You always try new things, challenge the boundaries, and succeed beyond all expectations.

This mom-ism is more intended for me!  I need to overcome my childhood where the constant reminder was “don’t do that – imagine what the neighbors will think!”  I now no longer care what my neighbors (or anyone else for that matter) think, and I relish in the independence and freedom that comes from this new insight.  I find that the best experiences in life come when you are doing what you want to do, not what others expect.

  • Be confident that you are exactly where you are meant to be

I love that you did not marry the first person you fell in love with, and that you are waiting until you find the right person (and are not settling for less!)  I also know that we do not choose who we fall in love with, but it is up to us to make sure that we take care of our own well-being first before we dive into a full relationship with such persons.  If someone you love wants to change “you” to suit their needs, know that this is not true love – it is controlled or conditional love.  The love that I wish for you is a love that is unconditional, pure, giving, and accepting, where you can keep up both yourself and your integrity.  The potential for co-dependence, unfortunately, came with your genes (I apologize!) and as with all hereditary traits, takes vigilance to keep at bay. You are a whole, complete, and perfect person just as you are, and your choice of a partner should complement the true you!

  • Forgiving does not mean forgetting

The saying that “forgiveness heals the forgiver” is absolutely true and I urge you to forgive as often as you can to stay emotionally sane in an insane world. People will disappoint, hurt, be cruel, and inflict pain on you – and often do so ignorantly or without caring about the impact on you.  The act of forgiveness allows you to move forward and realize another’s missteps, without necessarily allowing them back into the same place in your life.  Forgiveness means saying “I feel hurt by you, but I forgive you and can move on” but it does not mean “I will forget that you ever did this to me.”  Serial forgiveness of an habitual hurt is a different story — remember the adage “fool me once, shame on you… but fool me twice, shame on me” .  I believe this means that we should forgive an offender once (giving them the benefit of the doubt that it was an accidental occurrence), but a second time requires vigilance and a memory on our part.

Pride, arrogance, and vanity are not the same as self-esteem, yet they were interchangeable for many of our childhoods.  Self-esteem is confidence in oneself that comes from within, and cannot be gained from the approval of others.  If we encouraged our youth to have better self-esteem, we would see gang problems decrease (as people would no longer need gangs for approval) and bullying would drop dramatically if insecure people did not feel the need to prove themselves.

Safeguard your self-esteem and keep it fully charged – it is like the story of the cookie jar I’ve mentioned before. Keep your own cookie jar brimming with cookies (take care of your own needs first) before filling the cookie jars of others (giving your time and energy to others).  When you have high self-esteem, everyone benefits because you can give freely without resentment, and you can face disappointment because you understand that the reactions of others have nothing to do with you.

  • Relationships of all kinds depend on a symbiotic give and take

If you find yourself in a relationship (love, friendship, family) where you are giving or taking more than 50% over a long time, it’s time to re-evaluate whether the relationship is healthy for you.  When one person gives more than their share (more than half) and the other takes more, it is only a matter of time before resentment sets in. The giver will one day wake up to the fact that they have given too much and resent his or her own part in this over-giving and resent the other party (even if they love him or her) for over-taking.  Neither over-giving or over-taking is a healthy situation, and as a former over-giver I can attest that it takes a long time to get over the tendency to over-give and to forgive myself for doing so much over-giving in past relationships.  I want more happiness for you in your relationships!

  • Understand that it takes many people many more years to arrive at their “Truth”

We all find what we believe to be “the truth” of life almost as if it was a paragraph inscribed in a stone tablet. Our Truth embodies our values, our principles, our precepts, our boundaries, and sets a level above which we expect all others to adhere.  Unfortunately, your truth is strictly yours alone and just as no one else in the world has the same life experiences as you or I, no one else will have discovered this same truth. Some people never discover a truth at all and amble along in their life like a “pinball” in a pinball machine – being tousled by outsiders who tell them what he/she ought to feel or do according to the outsider’s truth.  Others come to realize their truth based on their life experiences or lack thereof and become entrenched in a belief system that negates all others who do not uphold their truth.  You can see evidence of this everywhere with extremism even in our society.  Value and hold dear the truths that you discover, and know that no one else will share the same truth or be as passionate as you are about it.  Respect and understanding go a long way in life, and really hold off the disappointment I often feel from others.

  • In closing…

I hope that you can glean one or two nuggets out of this mountain of words I wrote to you today.  Hindsight is 20/20 and I hope that your life moving forward can be a wondrous adventure filled with sights, sounds, and experiences that take your breath away.

In love and kindness,

Mom

p.s., It is a wonderful achievement to say that I love my life!  And it’s stellar with you and your brother in it giving me moments that take my breath away every day!

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