N =The art of saying “NO.” I’ve touched on this before in the past but feel that it is something that we need to be reminded of again from time to time. Now is that time. Many of us, me included, have felt and continue to feel a more than healthy amount of stress and anxiety due to our inability to say no.
As special parents, we’ve had to take on more than our fair share of challenges and that’s understandable – but the danger is when we endlessly take on more and more and more and more – for the sake of our children, our family, our friends, our work, our……whatever – you fill in the blank. Doesn’t matter, the pattern is usually always the same – we take on things that often are to the detriment of ourselves, our sanity, our health. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, teachers and developmental specialists always say that a key milestone in a child’s overall development is the ability to say/indicate no. This is viewed as a positive and powerful way in which children make their needs known. Make your needs known in 2011 – start saying no.
E = ENERGY. Find your energy this New Year. Note: This will be a lot easier to do if you do the 1st step above:-). What are your sources of energy? Really take a moment to think about what or who gives you bucketloads of energy – gives you a sense of liveliness and makes you want to get up and go….just when you feel like your get up and go has gotten up and went! Surround yourself with these energizing things, people, activities.
W = WOW! Daily seek the things – big or small – that make you go ‘Wow’! Whether it is your child’s smile or snow falling down or the pitter-patter of rain or something happening that can only be called a blessing or the very fact that you slept more than your normal 5 hours! Look for the things that take your breath away each day – bask in them – and watch your appreciation of life increase substantially.
Y = YOU. Invest in yourself in 2011. Invest means to devote, put time in, to dedicate energy to something. Who better to do this for than you! In many ways, it is a form of empowerment – empowering yourself to be the best that you can be! What have you always dreamed about doing, always wanted to do, have been thinking about doing, know you should be doing? What kind of person, parent, friend do you want to be in 2011? How do you want to handle the anxieties in your life? Today, how can you move 1 step closer to making that dream happen, being that person? The key in all of this is making a guilt-free investment – meaning that you dare to dream and make that dream a reality – dare to change for the better – and not apologize for it. This is something that can be particularly difficult for us as parents to do, especially mothers – because we tend to view it as being a bit selfish, but try it a few times this year. Be bold and supportive of yourself and see the transformation.
E = Elephant in the room. All of us have our elephants – that one thing that you (and everyone else) knows exists but act like it doesn’t. Maybe you need to finally have that conversation with your spouse, your friend, your boss…or maybe you need to act on your gut feeling and get your child tested for his ‘quirkiness’…or maybe you need to repaint over that orange wall in your dining room that looked hip and trendy B.K. (before kids) but now just looks sad:-). Elephants by nature are huge and heavy creatures with very thick skin. Likewise, the mental and emotional ‘elephants’ that we carry around with us can be/feel just as huge, but when you finally address whatever it is you need to address, you free yourself up and very soon things seem (and are) a lot lighter. Addressing your ‘elephant’ can make non-issues out of previously long-standing ones.
A = Advocate. This is something that we as special parents simply can’t stop doing – ever. As I heard one mother say (I’m paraphrasing) – ‘the minute she relaxed about her child’s care/education/medical issues, and let others (i.e. the “professionals”) decide what was best, was the very moment that things became more chaotic for her child.” We, as parents, have the clearest and most accurate picture of our children – don’t let anyone else cloud your clarity by their defining of, explaining away or compartmentalizing your child.
R = “Rusty”. Alejandro has an imaginary dog named Rusty who is increasingly starting to be appear all over the place! He now lives simultaneously in 4 different cities and states! Whew, we can’t keep up with him or the elaborate stories (some repeated many times over) of Rusty’s travels, via the mouth and mind of Alejandro. Such an imagination! This year, I want you to have your own ‘Rusty’ and add a little imagination (and laughter) to your life. Drop me a line and let me know what elaborate stories you and your ‘Rusty’ come up with!
I look forward to having us having the most magnificent year ever together and I’m wishing you a year full of a bucketload of blessings. Happy 2011!!