According to C. R. Snyder, hope is the trilogy of goals, pathways and agency.
Brene Brown says, “Hope happens when we can set goals, have the tenacity and perseverance to pursue those goals, and believe in our own abilities to act.” In other words we choose to say something, do something and be something.
Aristotle says, “To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”
Lots of people who witness abuse choose this trilogy… Do nothing, say nothing, be invisible.
The Buddhist saying, “what we resist, persists” applies here as well. When we resist naming our hurts, when we resist new pathways out of the pain, when we resist claiming our agency… the old pains and stuckness of thought and deed will persist.
Snyder says that “hope is learned.”
If we did not learn hope in our families of origin we must teach it to ourselves as we age and mature. We must, it is not an option.
Brene Brown says, “We have to resist and unlearn old habits and the tendency to give up when things get tough.”
I know I have quoted everyone here, but they say it so much better than I ever could.
I would love to know:
What old habit or hurt do you need to unlearn in your life so you can teach yourself hope?
I am very fortunate to belong to a community of practitioners called the Daring Way™.
I got here the hard way, by doing the classes from Dr. Brene Brown and taking tests and following their rules and guidelines.
It was a lot of work and I loved every step of the way.
I was very happy to participate in a research survey that the community sent out a while ago and decided that I should do my part to further along the research that is the foundation of her amazing books and teachings.
So I logged in a began.
It was long, I was getting a little tired of it and considered not finishing but then something about the answers that I was giving really hit me hard.
A lot of the questions were about my feelings of worth and whether I felt my life was going anywhere and also, did I frequently compare myself to others?
Half way through the survey it occurred to me that my answers to statements like “I do not like myself” or like “when I think of my accomplishments I feel I have done less than others” ( I did not pull these from the survey, they simply reflect the sentiments from the survey), I found myself answering almost never.
What did this mean?
Simply put, it means this:
I liked myself.
I feel accomplished by any ones standards.
This occurred to me about half way through the survey THEN I was pumped to complete it.
I even told myself to BE HONEST, that Brene wanted honesty so I reread the stuff I had answered and carefully answered the rest…
And what do you know?!
I actually like myself and I actually feel good about what I am doing and feel good about being able to laugh at my mistakes and do not allow others to determine what I think of myself.
This is NOT at all reflective of how I felt just 10 years ago.
As recently as 2005, I was still comparing myself to others, beating myself up for not being up to par or not as good as almost everyone else in the my world. I was not a good enough coach, or writer, or business person, or mother or, or or. The list went one forever.
Also I was always catastrophizing. If one thing went wrong, it meant everything else was going to go wrong. If someone disappointed me, it meant I would be doomed to a lifetime of disappointments.
It was quite exhausting to live this way. I knew no way out.
I put on a great show of being outwardly confident but I was always on the look out for evidence that I was not good enough.
The evidence always came.
It came in the form of people’s words about my life choices (I was a bad mom because I was pursuing a new dream) or in the form of a societal or cultural message
(You are traveling too much. Who takes care of your home? One family member even asked who cooked food for my husband.)
The evidence was ALL around me.
I had to really close my ears and eyes to all the messages I was hearing. All the nay saying that was trying to get into my psyche.
I even had to listen to close friends and family tell me how silly and unrealistic my dream of doing something about ending violence in the world was.
After all, I did not have a degree in psychology, or any experience in the real world. I never worked at a not-for-profit nor had I had a job in the last 25 years!
Yes, they were lined up to tell me the way I was living was not acceptable to them, not at all.
I had to be deaf and blind to those voices all around me and to try to tune into the voices within my own heart.
The inner KNOWINGS that I wanted to do more, be more than a housewife (I had done that for 20 years) and I wanted to create change in my world.
I saw that survey as a way to go back into my past and to tell the younger me that she would be fine!
I gave her examples of the questions that would have brought her to tears just a few years before, those same questions that now brought a huge smile to her face, warmth to her heart and ONE single sweet tear to her eye.
The tear of clarity.
The tear that acted like a magnifying glass through which she saw herself in all of the accomplishments and all the experiences and all the loving people surrounding her.
I sent my younger self blessings and thanks for not ever giving up and always finding ways to burn off the fog of unworthiness and shame.
Thank you Dr. Brene Brown. You may still be collecting your data, but you have already shown me my results.
There was a time when I would have readily accepted that “people like like me” don’t belong on global and powerful platforms such as the UN stage.
There was absolutely nothing in my background that would have prepared me to think that I was worthy of this honor or to belong to this exclusive club. “Spoke at the UN” is indeed beyond my wildest dreams.
What right do I have to claim such esteemed membership?
I received this right from the other clubs to which I belong.
I belong to the club of the abused. I belong to the club of the oppressed.
I also belong to the club of the women who said NO MORE.
The club of domestic abuse ends in my lifetime…. the club of claw and scratch your way out of stinking thinking and claiming a life of joy and peace.
These are the foundations upon which I stand to celebrate the new club membership that I have earned.
I urge you to begin to name the clubs to which you have belonged and to begin to lay the foundations for and build the bridges to the clubs you wish to join.
I should tell you that I never dreamed of being in the UN club and that is ok. You see, I was laying these foundations as I strove for other memberships such as:
The club of women over 50 who do Olympic distance triathlons and come last and have the nerve to still feel pride.
The club of 2 marathons the year I turned 50 and several half marathons in the ensuing years.
The club of founders for a non profit.
The club of motivator and encourager of all I meet.
So it is with this beneath me and behind me that I urge you to gain membership to new clubs. These memberships will require hard work. The price of admission will often seem to steep. In times of such stress, take a break, take a breath AND continue to strive. The membership is worth the effort.
Let us all belong to the club called “I too took a chance.”
Recently I was on a flight to an important business meeting. I was very organized and even brought my lunch from home so I would have a healthy choice.
I made it easy on myself, I packed the food in disposable containers and put it in its own bag so I could throw away the whole thing when I was done.
Things went very well, I ate a little, took a little nap and then ate some more. The attendant came around and I pushed the trash into the rolling cart myself.
Then, I had a thought… did I throw my telephone away in the food bag?
I reached under the seat, dragged my purse out and searched every nook and cranny on the inside.
I sat back and took a deep breath.
What was my next step?
Well, that’s easy, go thru the trash!
I walked to the back of the plane and told the attendants my dilemma and they gave me some gloves and I got busy.
I dived into the rolling cart of trash.
I was so happy to have the gloves and to have had the presence of mind to look for my phone while I was still on the flight.
I looked thoroughly. I did not find it.
I had to rethink… if it’s not in the trash then I must not have searched my purse very carefully.
So I walked back to my seat and emptied my whole purse and there, in a very hidden pocket, I found it. I smiled!
Let me tell you what was great about this event:
1. I never, not even once, called myself a name!
2. I never spoke disparagingly about myself to the attendants!
3. I never once complained about having to dig in the trash!
As I sat in my seat being grateful for the positive outcome I realized that there were hidden lessons in this experience.
What if we could identify the very important things in life that we lose, the VERY moment that we lose them? What if, we could arm ourselves with what we need, like gloves for trash diving, and we could happily get the work done?
We would get the work done because we would know that it was too important to lose.
The first time we lose our self respect, we go looking for it and not rest until we figured out what happened.
The first time we disrespected a child by screaming or physically abusing, we would stop and apologize and get help to treat them better in the future.
We would not blame them for our inability to be mature adults.
If we could really look at life and what we lose everyday the way we look at our prized possessions, we have a really great chance of keeping our humanity intact and we have a greater chance of keeping the relationships that are important to us.
Get those emotional gloves on and a start digging for the gifts you may have misplaced.
It’s your quality of life and it’s worth the effort.
I was speaking to a very dear friend the other day.
She said that she had 6 beautiful bowls that someone had given to her a long time ago.
The other day she noticed that there were only 3 and she realized that some of them were broken.
She felt happy that she had 3 left.
She began to tell her young daughter who had been helping with her dishes.
She turned away to do something and heard the awful sound…
She froze and realized that something had broken.
She did not know what it was. She turned to the sink full of dishes and saw her sweet daughter, shaking and fearful and she heard these words, “Sorry mom it was an accident, I did not mean it. Sorry mom.”
My dear friend said, “Now there are two.”
And then she smiled.
The worry on the daughter melted away and the mom showed her child how easy it was to show compassion and to to teach her child that mistakes can and will happen.
As my friend was telling me this story I saw the realization on her face that her child had been shaking because she fully expected to be yelled and screamed at.
My friend knew that she had been a teller and she had parented with anger in the past.
She also knew that she had been intentional in the way she had been parenting the past few years and that she had significantly changed the energy in the family.
She had been able to forge a deeper connection with her son and she had been showing her daughter what unconditional love really is.
Here, at this moment, it meant that she loved her daughter MORE than she ever could love those dishes.
She chose to NOT break her child.
She chose to parent with understanding and respect.
I have known this woman for a long time. I know how hard this woman has worked to get to a place of peace and tranquility.
I applaud her willingness to change the way she used to parent and to seek new ways and to know that she was doing the best for her kids.
Most people say, “My parents did it this way and I turned out ok.”
My view is why just settle for OK when we can be wiser and better than OK?
Let us thrive as parents and constantly better ourselves so we can raise a brighter generation. One that will know more than we will ever know and will be in charge of the welfare of our grandchildren.
Today we are sharing one of Tanya’s posts, called Ending Well, which is a great read for teachers of all kinds. Tanya also offers a free group coaching call called I’m SOOO DONE with that child!Click here to learn more or to sign up.
Happy End of Year to all of our teacher friends! And happy reading!
Cheers to you! As you take down the artwork and fancy writing assignments. Cheers to you! They’ve come so far since that first day you met them. Cheers to you — the year is over! And the 2014 / 2015 class picture takes its place with the others. Whew!
Maybe you’ll see them next year, but it won’t be the same. You’ll have a new class. They’ll have a new teacher. There are some students you hate to see go. But frankly, when it comes to others, you think, “thank heavens I will not have to deal with that child next year!” And in the same breath, the talk among your grade level team is thick with speculation about who is going to get the problem students next year.
Ending well is a process of letting go of the worst of times and the best of times and preparing to embrace a new class. It is also an opportunity to deepen personal and professional wisdom. If you’re willing to go there, it means taking a moment to linger with the memories and spirit of your problem child before moving on. If you decide to do so, above all, be gentle with yourself.
We’ve all had students who get under our skin. We breathe a sign of relief and the shoulders visibly let down when they are absent. We’re exhausted by the turmoil, conflict, strife, and high level of demand they bring to the classroom. We don’t want to feel that way. We maintain our best professional demeanor. But inside, we rail. We rant. “Why does it have to be such a struggle, every day? It’s so unfair!”
Consider a rant-o-rama. Basically a rant fest. Grab some paper and something to write with. Set a timer for 2 – 4 minutes. Rant about this problem child. Use your ugliest handwriting, caps, underlines, exclamation points, and emoticons. Stamp your foot if you want. Have a little tizzy fit now that the pressure is off. Or score your place in Monday’s “The Year’s Over and I’m SOOO Done” call at 10:00! Click here.
Later, when you have some time to quietly and calmly reflect, set aside 5 to 10 minutes. Approach this reflective time with a spirit of curious inquiry.
How is it that this child had such an ability to rile me up? What do I wish she could have been or done instead? Besides this child, what other people or situations bring up these same responses for me?
If you sense another rant-o-rama coming on, consider whether it would be beneficial to go back to that step, or it it would be best for you to return to a calm, reflective place of curious inquiry right now. Or, you might decide that now is not a good time to reflect. Remember to be gentle with yourself!
You may think, “Why even go there? The year is over. I never have to deal with her again. It’s not worth my time and energy.”
Here are 2 reasons why you might want to go there:
Because there will be a next time! The universe has a sense of humor, that’s for sure. You’ll get another chance to deal with a similar personality or set of circumstances. Wouldn’t it be nice if the cray-cray is a little less intense next time?
Because going there give you a chance to know and do differently next time. A small shift can make a difference.
Find the smallest thing that you can to admire, appreciate, or like about your mighty little tyrant. Mixed emotions are welcomed:
“Well, she did have this outrageous spunk — totally out of line in the classroom, the little brat — but she would be fabulous as my defense attorney, if I ever needed one!”
“Dang, if he wasn’t stubborn! Once he made a decision, he followed it through — too bad he missed out on what I could have taught him this year — but man, was he committed!”
And finally, allow yourself a touch of what you’re admiring, appreciating, or liking about the child. In your own adult, grown up, wise and beneficial way, bring some of the child’s spirit into your world. Because maybe what she was trying to show you all along was that a little outrageous spunk every once in a while is not such a bad thing.
Self-respect is defined by Nathaniel Branden as “the conviction of our own value. It is not a delusion that we are perfect or superior to everyone else. It is not comparative or competitive at all it is the conviction that our life and well being are worth acting to support, protect and nurture, that we are good and worthwhile and deserving of the respect of others; and that our happiness and personal fulfillment are important enough to work for.”
When a woman is forced into a marriage that she does not want, when she is forced to birth more children than she desires or is forced into aborting fetuses that are the “wrong” gender, that is not respecting a woman.
Some of these issues are couched in cultural language that makes it seem iron clad for women to “behave certain ways and accept traditional roles.”
I would like to float the idea that NOTHING is iron clad and traditions had to start somewhere, so we can be brave enough to make new ones.
This kind of bravery can only sprout from deep and abiding self-respect, nothing short of consistent self awareness.
We cannot fall asleep to how we live our daily lives, make daily choices and then wonder why our self-respect is in shambles.
“To appreciate why our need for self-respect is so urgent, consider the following : To live successfully, we need to pursue and achieve values. To act appropriately, we need to value the beneficiary of our actions. Absent this conviction, we will not know how to take care of ourselves, protect our legitimate interests, satisfy our needs, or enjoy our own achievements.” Nathaniel Branden
I urge you to read, no, to devour, Six Pillars of Self Esteem. It is by far one of the best books that anyone who has received abuse or is presently receiving abuse can read. It will give you the language to demand the respect you need for yourself, the respect you will expect from others and the strength to say NO, I will not accept disrespect anymore.
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