Your Alpha

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Remember the song from Alice In Wonderland that says, “I give myself such very good advice, but I very seldom follow it”?

It makes me smile because I have sung it under my breath on a few occasions when I realized that I’d earned a consequence I didn’t want because I didn’t do what I knew was best for me!

So, from experience I offer a look at one way of thinking that may help that Alice in all of us. Maybe help a lot!

It’s the thought that, now that we’re adults, we need to become our own alpha! We may have the voices of parents or grandparents or siblings or friends sounding in our heads, giving us advice, but now, we need to steer our own ship and make our own decisions.

We need to get really good at hearing our own voice, particularly the voice of our best alpha self!

The alpha self isn’t a victim. She’s in charge of how she responds to what happens in her life.

The alpha self isn’t waiting to have someone else make the decisions, she is making those that are hers to make.

She is thinking for herself, she is coaching herself, and she is following her own best advice.

When you get tired, your alpha self may say, “Woman, it’s time to stop what you are doing and get ready for bed.” {In a kind, gentle, respectful and firm voice!}

Your alpha self hears whining almost before it starts and puts her foot down to drown it out instead with the voice of ownership and action.

Our alpha know so much. We need to cultivate her voice in our heads, give her the lead and then follow her very sound counsel.

Being true to our own alpha self, showing integrity with ourselves, may make it more likely that our children will listen to us too. 

The bottom line is this: Our children need us to keep growing-up!

They need mature parents and they deserve to be taught and led to a bright future. If other motivations have failed, hopefully the love and hopes we have for our children will give us the deep why we want to stand taller, take stock of where we are, see where we want to be, and give us the grit to get there!

Being our own alpha is being an adult. And it feels so much better than wallowing or grovelling or regretting or moaning or deferring.

Much love to you today!
Jacque

P.S. While reading this post, try not to think of someone in your family that might need to listen to their alpha more often! Just lead out. By self-directing and self-managing, we teach without words! And immediately the game changes and improves! When just one person rises up and takes responsibility for themselves, many others are inspired and happily follow suit!

A Case for Clarity

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I heard someone say that thinking in terms of do’s and don’t’s is negative.

Mmmm. I wholeheartedly disagree.

What a gift parameters are! What a gift the word “no” can be!

My child is playing outside, we live by a street where cars go by, would I be a good parent not to warn her about staying off of the road? I might talk her through the situation before I leave her there. I might walk off the space with her to show her where it is safe for her to play. I might string a rope to show her the boundary or I might put up a fence. I might watch for a few days to see if she is understanding the boundary. And as she shows she is capable of staying out of harms way, I would come to trust that she is good with the situation.

If, however, I ever saw her run after a ball or ride her bike into the street without looking for traffic, you can bet I’d be immediately and loudly warning her to come back into the yard. And then there may be a few days of playing in the house before we try the yard again.

Do’s and don’t’s are part of life. Whether you say them or not, they are built in.

Don’t let your hair get close to the candle flame. 
Don’t consume alcohol and then operate your car.
Don’t steal, lie or cheat, there will be consequences you won’t like.

What makes everyone happier, and I think what was truly meant by the comment I heard, is that more do’s than don’t’s is nice. Keep the don’t’s but use a plethora of implied or implicit do’s more!

Don’t hit your sister…do use your words to work things out!
Know I love you!
It’s time to go to bed, you need to get your rest.
Keep going, you’re doing great!
Eat your veggies first, then we’ll have pie!

And the best do of all, the one that goes unspoken but is loud and clear is:
“Watch me, I’ll show you how to ____________ .”
Then fill in the blank with those things you are practicing and desperately wanting your children to know. Things like, how to forgive. How to let go. How to pray. How to laugh. How to roll up your sleeves and work! How to be dependable. How to learn. How to take counsel. How to practice and not give up. There’s no getting around it, our children learn more powerfully from our example than by any other means! It’s teaching without words and it is profound.

Boundaries are a beautiful, necessary and crucial thing. They give stability, confidence and comfort to our families. 

As a family leader, we must be willing to learn them and teach them. {Remember the text, I Don’t Have To Make Everything All Better, by Gary and Joy Lundberg for strengthening your foundational understanding of boundaries. http://www.lundbergcompany.com}

Much love to you today!
Jacque

The Basics

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I heard an insightful talk recently about strengthening families. The speaker referred to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, {remember, the pyramid that begins at the bottom with basic needs being met, then rising to the top with the ability to self-actualize, or fully develop one’s talents and gifts?}

and suggested that we may think that in the midst of our abundant lifestyle, that our basic needs are met, meaning we have food, water, warmth and rest, safety and security.

We also might assume we have the next layer of psychological needs which are the need to belong, to be loved, have friends and a sense of accomplishment.

We also might think that since all our basic needs are met, we believe our families will eventually self-actualize, or grow to their full potential!

The question was asked, how are your family’s basic needs being met? You have shelter, but is it safe and secure with order and boundaries? Is there good food to eat at regular meals? 

Have we put in the work to help our family members feel that they have a place to belong? To have friends and family connections, and do they feel loved and heard?

I thought that highlighting these questions was profound.

And then I heard the perfect anecdote for the ways we, as a society, may be falling short in providing these basic needs for our families. It was a jewelry commercial of all things, but the tagline was: Dare to be devoted.

I don’t think that our kids can expect to truly reach their potential without the dedication and devotion of parents. 

What might devotion in this sense mean?

Maybe being very clear about limiting the distractions we allow into our lives and making courageous decisions about how we spend our time and resources. {Our children are here and then they are gone!}

Maybe setting goals to cover the basics well, and more consistently. Regular meals; nap-times; bed-times; homework times; clean clothes to wear; clean beds and a general sense of peace in our homes.

Maybe to put in the time and effort to heal relationships; minimize stressful situations so that kids can be free to play and learn and grow.

Maybe upping our self-care so that we can be the best version of us possible in this time. Rest. Eat well. Breathe. Relax. Enjoy. Learn. Laugh.

We are blessed with so many options! I believe it is more important than ever for us to chose well. We can dare to be devoted!

I hope you will have a wonderful week ahead!

Much love to you,
Jacque

Love You

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Let’s get right to the heart of it: loving you is important.

In fact it’s so important that accepting and loving others is nigh on impossible to do without love and acceptance of self.

Remember when you have had moments of feeling enough; of feeling loved; of feeling mature and accomplished and supported?

How did you treat people, or how do you think you would have treated people when you were in that beloved space? Would you be better at holding healthy boundaries? Listening with your full attention? Validating another’s need to feel that someone really cares about them?

The inside of happiness and warmth is love and kindness toward self.  Outside is loving kindness toward everyone else! 

Now think of a time you felt less than good about yourself; maybe you felt failed or guilty or forgotten or worse, maybe you felt that grand deception of being flawed or shamed?

How did, or would you treat others when you are in that mental and emotional wasteland? It’s not a pretty thought is it?

So why do we get mixed-up about self-love? We think it might be wrong or prideful or conceited or arrogant to say, “I like myself! I love myself!”?

I believe that pride and conceit and arrogance are mostly the outcome of self-criticism, of feeling less-than and needing to prove ourselves. The faulty belief that love and acceptance are limited! Competition. There’s not enough to go around. 

What do you think?

Can you say the words to yourself, I like myself, I love myself, and mean it?

Go ahead, give it a try! Give the gift of kindness and compassion to yourself this month! In your thoughts and words, be true to yourself. Say words that will support and uplift your mind, that will encourage you and propel you forward.

Because that forward movement will be loving, kind and gentle. It will be giving from fullness. 

No need to be on the warpath of proof. {I have learned this through painful experience!}

Already, you are worthwhile; already you are valued; already you are capable; already you are bright; already you are the unique soul that is giving to the world exactly those things that only you can give!

I thank God for you. For your contributions. For your desires to give!

I pray He will walk beside you as you continue to cultivate self-love and respect, and that He will inspire you to know if or when you may need extra support from a trusted counselor or friend.

I pray that the love and peace we cultivate within ourselves will pour out onto our children and spouses in smiles, and be the benediction they need today.

Much love,
Jacque

P.S. Being self-critical as a means of “keeping yourself inline” doesn’t work. That is a false notion! Better to do our best to emulate the Godly correction we receive when we ask and then listen…it is still and small and kind, gentle and FIRM and full of love and hope and encouragement to do better.

Whose Is It?

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Learning to know where we end and where our children begin is of utmost importance.

What problems/challenges/desires/opportunities belong to us?

Which problems/challenges/desires/opportunities belong to them?

Our children need us to get this right. They need to learn to solve problems, speak up, make decisions and gain

their independence one small step at a time.

If we jump in to solve every problem, to speak for them when they can speak for themselves or override their opportunities without considering their desires, we may be overstepping our boundaries.

Remember, as we learn from the Lundberg’s book, I Don’t Have To Make Everything All Better, we can walk beside those we love and offer a validating, listening ear, but we most often need to let the problem stay with it’s owner.

We can ask ourselves, “whose problem is this?” and “how can I let my child know I’m here to offer support without taking over?”

We can also practice listening, giving our full attention and memorize the validating questions and phrases to help us engage in our listening to the point that our child can feel our love. They will also feel our confidence when we keep out of trying to solve the problems that are the perfect growing opportunity for them.

Practice. Practice. Baby step. Baby step. That’s how we are growing.

We can give our children the same opportunity.

Much love to you today,
Jacque