Spring

Happy first day of spring!

Spring always brings to mind a time of renewal….the flowers begin to bloom….the birds begin to chirp……people begin to come out of their houses and re-engage with the world. It’s almost like living in a cocoon for a few months and then peeking your head out to see what is going on around you…..

Spring is exciting because it is a time to do something new, something that has never been done before. Melchor Lim has a quote that says “there are three little words that can release you from your past struggles and regrets and guide you forward to a positive new beginning. These words are: ‘From now on’.

Allowing yourself to let go of past regrets is freeing and necessary to move forward… Holding on to the past is not helpful because you can’t change it…..unlike daylight savings time, we cannot rewind the clock. So if you are struggling with forgiving yourself, here are some great steps towards letting go…..the first step is acknowledge that it was not the best decision. If you do sincerely believe that you were the cause of something, acknowledge it, but do not dwell in it. The second step is to accept accountability for it. Once you have acknowledged the behavior, then you can make amends to yourself or to someone else. The third step is to let it go. Once you have stated genuine apologies to yourself or others, then it becomes your choice whether or not you hold on to the guilt and shame. The fourth and final step is to move forward. Learn from the experience and take what you have learned into future situations.

So now you are ready to spring into spring……enjoy the new season of beginnings and say out loud, from now on……..

Belonging

I spent the past week with many tweens and teens talking about depression, anxiety, unhealthy anger and healthy friendships…….and there seemed to be one theme no matter where I was……the theme of wanting to belong. Everyone is trying to fit in to something and they are afraid of what will happen if they don’t land in a category. At one event, we were talking about mental health and one young person said to me, not only do I get anxious about what’s going to happen, I get anxious about what my friends will say after I do something. Imagine living in that prison of trying to figure out what is the exact right thing to do…..

Developmentally it is completely on target for individuals at that age to think about who am I, who do I want to be, and what is my purpose but what happens when you don’t release yourself from the prison…..what happens when you live your life based completely on what you think the “right answer” is? Now, don’t get me wrong, we all want to belong no matter how old we are. In fact,  Abraham Maslow who created the needs hierarchy for all individuals identifies very clearly that one of our basic needs as a human being is belonging.  It’s more about the lengths that someone might go to in order to feel like they are part of something and is that something a positive influence on others or a negative influence on others. It’s the difference between joining a club or an awareness campaign as opposed to joining a gang and committing crimes.

When I was talking to some parents later in the week discussing social media, one parent said to the others, can’t we just take these apps and sites from our kids? The issue boils down to belonging, we as a society have created a great mechanism for communicating with one another across the world. As adults, we had ways of trying to belong that did not involve social media when we were younger, but that is not the world now. Social media is one of the major ways that children try to belong. Taking it away doesn’t help them belong but putting structure around it and having an open conversation about the responsibilities of social media will help them learn how to belong in an effective way. This means awareness and openness to have the conversation.

Being happy with ourselves and accepting ourselves can be the foundation of feeling like we belong in the world…..so on this Valentine’s Day, I wish you a day and many days after of feeling like you belong…not just in your relationship, or in your group of friends at school but belong to yourself first and allow the rest to fall into place…….

 

The Beginning

Since this is the first blog post of hopefully many, I will call it The Beginning. We all have to start somewhere. While it can be exciting to start at the beginning, it can also be scary. First, it can be scary to go on a journey when you do not know where you are going. It can be difficult to make a change, especially since where you currently are may be comfortable for you.

It can be exhilarating as well. To go somewhere you have never gone is taking a leap of faith and trusting that there is a net below. The net may not appear when we think it is going to, but it does appear. Change helps us grow.

Change comes in many forms. We can change where we live, we can change our relationships, we can change our hair color, we can change our eating habits and so on and so on…..but it can be the biggest change when we change our thoughts. Opening our minds to option B, option C, etc. instead of stopping at option A can be the first step to a new life. Changing a negative thought to a positive one can be the beginning.

The beginning……..what will you do today to create your beginning?