The hidden monster…danger is in plain sight!

The hidden monster…danger is in plain sight!

The hidden danger

Danger. The word itself can make me shudder and create an overload of real or perceived anxiety. It also conjures up a vision of a space-traveling robot from the 1960’s show “Lost in Space”. How lucky were the Robinson’s to have a danger alerting robot?

As parents, we teach our kids to look both ways before crossing the streets. We talk to them about “stranger danger”. As mom’s, we hold their hands when we are in public and we take our boys into the women’s bathroom for as long as we can. Parent’s teach their kids to NOT talk to strangers and to never help someone find their lost puppy. 

We teach our children to yell “NO” if someone tries to grab them. We enroll our children in martial arts classes so they know how to defend themselves. We talk about “being kind” and how to handle bullies. We meet their friends and the parents of said friends. Essentially, we are teaching our children how to handle any physical danger they may face…or to avoid opportunities where these dangers may exist.

But we are sorely missing something.

The monster we can’t see

The real danger isn’t in the physical threat. The real danger is in the person we cannot see. It is in the person who has unlimited access to our children without our knowledge. People all over the world have access to our children and often, we as the parents are the ones allowing the direct assess.

Take a peek at your social media. Did you post back to school pictures of your littles? Many of us do as we want to share the moment with our family and friends. However, someone scrolling social media may come across a photo of your little and zone in. When that happens, they will learn how old your child is and more often than not, they learn what school your child goes to.

Consider your next post. In it, you show your son with a valued leggo set that he has proudly built. Another post shows him riding his bike with his little brother through the neighborhood park. Now a stranger knows that your son enjoys legos and bike riding. She also knows he has a little brother.

The dangers of social media

While these posts are innocent enough, consider this. Every time you check into your favorite coffee shop, you are alerting someone that you go there often. When you check into the martial arts school, you are sending out a message that your boys are involved in taekwondo. These are two more pieces of information for a groomer to utilize when they make contact with your child.

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Contact has been established and common ground has been made.

Communication is key

In the above scenario, the chances of this happening are greater than you would think. And if it occurred with my son, he probably wouldn’t even think to mention it to me. That frightens me even more. As much as we communicate, we see the world very differently and he doesn’t see dangers all around him, nor do I want him to. It’s my job to worry endlessly about his safety.

Children are easily redirected by other adults when they do not feel of value. So as parents, our job is to let our children know that we value them for who they are. We find creative ways to praise them for a job well done. We have open-ended conversations with them. We leave opportunities to grow and learn together and we teach them to safely navigate the world (both seen and unseen) while we can provide them guidance.

And as parents, we need to sensor what we share with the world on our social media. We need to know our audience and remember that while we are proud of our kids, we also need to protect them. We do that by leading by example when it comes to protecting their privacy.

 

I understand. No, you really don’t…

I understand. No, you really don’t…

I understand

Actually, you don’t. I understand are two words that I fucking hate to hear someone say to me. Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe those words are said with love and compassion. But let’s get something straight…You Don’t Understand. And to be honest, I don’t understand what you are going through either.

I understand is something we say when we don’t know what else to say. It is something to fill in the uncomfortable silence when we get too close to someone else’s tragic circumstances. Too often, we say “I understand” when we have similar experiences and want to let other’s know they aren’t alone.

Experiences

Your experiences shape your understanding. Considering this, there are no two people in the world who will experience the same event in the exact same way. This is one reason that law enforcement doesn’t give too much credibility to witness statements. If ten people are interviewed about an incident, all ten statements will differ in some aspect. People focus on events based on who they are. Smells, sights, sounds, and even tastes may change based upon who is experiencing them.

And if an experience induces a feeling of trauma, all bets are off. Emotions will dull your senses as your fight or flight kicks in and you will be in survival mode. Many times when a loved one passes away, those left behind are blinded by their own pain. They forget there are others hurting and often personalize the behavior of their family and friends. Everything becomes about them and words and actions are often miscommunicated. Thus the reason that many families drift away after the loss of a beloved matriarch or patriarch…it appears that everyone feels slighted by others. Unfortunately, this is not the intent, it is the by-product of grief.

How to help a friend who is grieving

When I lost my brother, it was devastating. He was my rock and the one who was supposed to outlive us all. I had no idea how many people I knew had lost a sibling and when they began reaching out, I realized I wasn’t alone. Were our experiences the same? No. However, we all became part of a club that none of us wanted to belong to and we realized we were not alone. We could bond over the loss and share our experiences, both positive and negative.

For me, some of the kindest things others have done is to just be there. I have one friend who knows that I hide away when I am struggling and she leaves messages for me, knowing I will call back when I am ready. I have other friends who often ask how I am doing and they call me out on my bullshit when I tell them I am ok.

I often joke that as a social worker, I suck at my own emotions. Truthfully, I am more comfortable with helping others, which are totally forms of denial and avoidance. So just let me know you are here. Let me ramble. Listen as I tell stories. Empathize with my situation, just please don’t tell me that you understand.

What helped me

I love the book “It’s Not Supposed to be This Way” by Lisa TerKeurst. It resonated with me. For so long, I have been stuck within my grief. Within a short time frame, many influential people in my life passed away and each one left a feeling of emptiness. However, as I explain to my children, this is the circle of life and as hard as it is to understand, it means we felt deep love. That is a blessing for I cannot imagine living life without love.

Prayer. I believe in the power of prayer. I have seen God work through people and I know He is with us. Furthermore, I believe we will once again be reunited with our loved ones. 

Being honest about how I am feeling. This is a kicker for me because as I mentioned, I suck at this. There have been times in the past few years that I have been treading water…simply treading. And occasionally I find myself back in that same place. I expend energy but I don’t move forward.

 

 

I see you…when the thread unravels…

I see you…when the thread unravels…

I know you

I realize that we may have never actually met in person, but I know you.

I know you because we share the same defeated spirit.  Right now you are wondering if I am fuckin crazy and that’s ok, sometimes I wonder that myself. What I am trying to say is that at some point in our lives we have done too much. We have committed to too many things. At some point in our lives (or maybe multiple times) we have put our needs behind every other person we know. And we are fricken exhausted.

I’m not talking about the can’t move my body because I am so tired exhausted. I mean we are brain weary, I can’t remember what I was going to say let alone why I walked into this room exhausted. Our minds are toast and our soul is screaming for a break. But we don’t give ourselves one because that would lead to feelings of guilt, which would lead to more commitments, which leads to being overwhelmed and the fricken cycle continues and the thread unravels.

The thread unravels

Have you ever tried to thread a needle? Those little needle holes are ridiculous and as you get older it becomes more difficult (I digress). Here’s the thing; if you don’t have the end of the thread bonded together, it begins to unravel. As that thread unravels, each little tiny piece of material becomes it’s own monster and demands attention and before you know it, you have multiple strands everywhere and none are working together.

The only way to fix it is to cut the thread and start again.

Stop. Cut the chords. Start again.

Real Resentment

Additionally, I understand the impromptu anger that comes when you see the dishes on the end table or the socks laying unmatched near the front door. There are times when I think I am the only person who is able to see these items, although I am most assuredly not the one who left them there.

Resentment begins when we feel overwhelmed by the tasks laid before us. Unfortunately, resentment can sneak up on us, even when we are doing things we committed to doing. It isn’t something that we wear proudly, nor is it something we often talk about. I will say it. There are days that I struggle with wishing others would do more so I could do less. Furthermore, I want to stomp my feet and scream at the top of my lungs to “pick up the fuckin socks.” But I don’t and the thread unravels.

Gratitude

For years I didn’t talk about these feelings, as I felt guilty doing so. After experiencing miscarriages and difficult pregnancies, I know what a gift having a baby is. For me, complaining felt like an affront to being a mother. Now I see it differently and realize resentment and gratitude can live together in the same world. When I begin to feel resentful, it is time for me to stop, cut the chords and start again.

It is time to take care of me and ask the family to help out. It’s my job to teach my boys to become independent, not do it all for them. Although sometimes it is so much easier to just do it myself, I realize that isn’t helping any of us. And when everyone begins to pitch in, I feel gratitude overpowering those feelings of resentment.

I see you

So, girl, I see how hard you are working. And recently, I feel as though I have experienced every emotion these past few weeks. Wondering if I am helping my kids make the right decisions… questioning if I am supporting my husband enough… hurting for those around me who are hurting. I have been grateful beyond measure, followed by waves of grief and questioning. Parenting is hard…loving others is hard…watching those you love hurting is hard.

This is for you and hear me as I say this…“You are right where you need to be and you are doing an amazing job. Cut yourself some slack and just be present”. Your expectations of yourself are so much higher than the expectations of those who love you. Say that again and believe it in your soul.
Cindi

 

Motivation is intrinsic, or is it?

Motivation is intrinsic, or is it?

Resolutions

December typically draws out a feeling of regret from failed resolutions. Humor me and take a moment to look back upon 2018 and assess your goals. Now, be honest with yourself…did you meet them? Why or why not? For me,  this year was tough. I did NOT meet my business goals. Furthermore, here’s the hard truth. I did not meet my business goals as a direct result of not working hard enough. Ultimately, I wasn’t focused enough on what I wanted.

Ouch.

But that’s the truth. It wasn’t the lack of someone’s help or the result of my team not working. Consequently, it was me not doing what I needed to do to make things happen. So let me ask you again, did you meet your 2018 goals?

Motivation

On a positive side, I did meet some wellness goals, so that’s a win. However, I digress.

In truth, I used to wonder why people weren’t internally motivated. Naively, I also used to think that I could externally motivate people to make the changes they needed to. However, now I know better. Today, I realize that I can’t change anyone any more than someone else can make changes for me. That really sucks.

It sucks because I have many amazing ideas. I am chock full of motivation and inspiration. Furthermore, I may believe in you more than you believe in you, probably because I am not bogged down by the same old tapes that you are repeating.  I see through the bullshit to who you can be if you only trusted yourself to make it happen. If only I could do the same thing with myself.

Intrinsic

When you were learning to walk, you didn’t quit trying every time you fell down.  You got right back up and tried again (I love this analogy). That desire to move on two legs was intrinsic…it came from within. Somewhere in your life, you began to doubt yourself and those doubts are what is keeping you from reaching for more.

Tell those self-doubts to fuck off. You were created on purpose and you are NOT an accident. You have a purpose. What are you passionate about? Where are you when you feel the most alive? That’s what you need to do. Trust me, you aren’t too old and it isn’t too late. Dig deep, say some prayers and go for it. God wouldn’t put it in your heart if He didn’t want you to fulfill that dream.

Goals

It will still take work. You have heard the old cliche, that it begins with a dream. That’s true…however after that dream comes goals. Goals are brought to life when they are written down, so take a moment and free write what you would do if you weren’t limited by your own self-beliefs or current circumstances.

Now, write a workable time frame next to those goals. Be honest with yourself about what you can achieve and feel free to break the goals down.

Take a look at what you have done. You, my friend, have just created a plan for your dream to come to fruition. That takes courage and many people do not even get this far in their planning.

Go make it happen and let me know when you hit your first goal!

Let your voice empower

Let your voice empower

 

What’s in a story?

Everyone has a story to tell, however, too many of us silence the screams before the words are recognized or released. We downplay the significance of our experiences and tend to minimize the emotions as we smother them. We fail to see that our story is what makes us who we are, that each of our chapters is creating a beautiful tale to be shared with others…that perhaps our story will empower and give hope to someone else who is experiencing something similar.

We deny ourselves our voice when we deny our story. When we let the silence separate us from others, we inadvertently create voids rather than implementing building blocks. We create distance from those who could lift us back up. Unfortunately, with each building block, the walls become higher and our ability to reach out to others fades, leaving us feeling alone.

Lift one another up

What if we lifted one another up by releasing that voice and sharing our story? If we derived hope from one another? What if by reading someone’s story we learned how they overcame adversity and conquered their fears?

Wouldn’t that give you hope also? How empowering for the storyteller to know that their experiences are helping someone else while the benefactor gleens a spark of hope.

Hope for a better future. A chance to move forward and tear down those walls, brick by brick and word by word. With each release, a bit of light comes in and with each ray of light, there is a larger bit of hope. This is what we are doing. We are sharing stories and sharing hope.

Empower

Empowerment occurs when we use our voice. We speak up for yourself and we speak for others. Empowerment isn’t just a word, it holds the ability to provide hope for others.  There is a lot of power in that word when you use it wisely.

How will you empower someone today?

Do you have an empowering story to tell?  Send me an email and let’s chat about getting your story out for others to read!

 

Why you will never have success unless you change the outcome.

Why you will never have success unless you change the outcome.

 

Did you find success with your 2017 goals?  If you didn’t, let me tell you why. However, let’s first agree to define a goal as reaching toward something we desire.  Each January brings an influx of desires, wishes, and promises to ourselves and to others.  For example, every January, gyms are full of people who have resolved to get fit.  Maybe after binging on sweets and alcohol for the last three months of the prior year, they make a promise to work on their own wellness and undo all of the damage they did.

Unfortunately, getting out of shape didn’t happen overnight and it will take time to get back into shape.  Therefore, when the majority of people fail to see instant results, they become frustrated and stop trying.  Seems like the same can be said for nearly any resolution made.  Ultimately, we fail when our desire to change is overshadowed by our willingness to stay the same. Click To Tweet Consequently, here are my top reasons we fail and how to overcome our own objections to becoming successful in achieving those desired results.

You stopped caring.

Point blank.  Much as you may want to, you just don’t care anymore.  After all, you can buy larger clothes, save money by purchasing generic coffee, you can sleep later if you don’t have to be at the gym early.  Sound familiar?  Subsequently, when the effort to move forward becomes shadowed by apathy, you can kiss your goal and therefore success, goodbye.

How do you stay focused?  WRITE DOWN YOUR GOAL(s). Begin by putting your thoughts in writing and hang it somewhere you see it every day.  Better yet, make multiple copies and put them on the bathroom mirror, in your car, your purse, your pajama drawer, in the kitchen pantry.  Ultimately, this will be a constant reminder of your desired goal and help you to stay on track.

You didn’t believe in yourself.

You never believed you would be successful. Initially, you made a goal because you felt like you should, not because you actually thought you would reach it.  As a result, you wanted to test the waters and see how you would do without really putting in your all.  Sound familiar?

When I started my home-based business, I originally gave myself 3 months to find success…that soon changed to six months and now I am going on five years.  Why?  Because I realized that growth is ongoing and I am continually learning and pushing my own boundaries. There are times when I believe in myself wholeheartedly and there are times I feel as though I have no idea what I am doing.  So, how do I get back on track?  If you want to pursue this train of thought further, see my blog post on broken thinking and how to fix it.

Affirmations.

One of my favorite shirts says “fake it till you make it.”  You have to walk the walk and talk the talk.  I have learned that repeating affirmations truly does help me to believe in myself and what I am doing.  You truly have to envision your end result before you can even take the initial steps to reach that goal.

Pinterest has amazing affirmations for virtually any goal you are looking to meet.   I know it may feel awkward to use them if you haven’t tried them before, but trust me, once you believe in yourself, you become unstoppable!

You failed to make yourself a priority.

In January you were on fire and worked daily on meeting your goals.  You had post-it notes of your to-do plan everywhere you could see them and you talked about your goals to anyone who would listen.  However, February came around and you found yourself being drawn into more activities and by May, you had forgotten about your own priorities.

This is easy to do as we get busier and our calendars quickly fill up.  At this time, you begin to make yourself a priority by scheduling yourself in your planner.  This is critical if you find yourself slipping on your goals.  Find a time slot and book time for YOU…and keep those appointments.

You let other’s dictate your decisions.

We have all been there.  It is easy to succumb to the pressure of a good friend or loved one and we get suckered into an activity we are not so sure about.  Maybe it was a networking group or a business opportunity.  Perhaps it was a new gym or book club.  Regardless, we didn’t really think it through, however, we decided we would give it a go…because we felt pressured by someone else.

Here’s the scoop.  This will never work unless you are all in. Get out.  Say no. Let go of the guilt.  Bye Felicia.

You got lazy

Right?  Let’s be honest.  Sometimes it just takes too much effort to keep going.  It takes work to stay on task.  You must have vision, passion, and forbearance.  There must be a deep desire to want to reach a destination, regardless of the roadblocks or life events.  Things will happen.  Suddenly you become very ill or require surgery or you may experience an overwhelming loss.  You may doubt yourself and/or the process.  Regardless, YOU are the reason you have not successfully met that goal.

Every year more dreams die due to failure to continue the process than any other reason.  When we get lazy, we no longer care about the outcome, we stop believing in ourselves, we stop making ourselves a priority, we let others dictate our actions and we fail to meet our goals.

Do You really want Success?

Are you ready to make a resolution or two for the New Year? You are if you are committed to being a better you.  Resolutions and goals are promises to ourselves that we will do better because we deserve better.  What if we treated ourselves as we do a valued loved one?  Would you continually disappoint someone important in your life? No?  Why are you willing to do that to yourself? After all, you are responsible for your success.  Don’t leave that up to chance.

I invite you to go to: http://cindijeffrey.wtfitworks.com  and join the movement.  This is a free app that will provide you will motivation, fitness regimes, healthy eating tips, and opportunities to win prizes.  Remember, we are stronger together.  Feel free to send me an email via the contact form below to set up a free consultation to talk about your own 2018 goals.  I would love to help keep you accountable.

 

 

Help me be accountable!

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