Are You TRULY Happy?

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I was nursing my 13 month old son the other day. It was one of those really busy days – I’d just finished being interviewed for an up-coming tele-summit, there was a lot to do around the house, my husband had important deadlines to meet and needed my support with some things, and it was only 11am still… you know…THAT kind of day?
As I sat feeding my little guy, I stared into his eyes, he stared back into mine. It was a loving exchange of energy. I suddenly became aware of the amazing fact that here I am, amidst this (busy, full) life, with a new son after having 3 older children. And I reflected on the past where I didn’t think that I’d have any more children; simply given my circumstances at that time. And in that reflective moment with that sudden awareness, I had a profoundly euphoric feeling come through me. And then I had a wonder, “is THIS true happiness?”
How often do we talk about things like “I want to be happy (or happier)” or “I’ll be happy when ‘x’ happens in my life,” or “I’m not happy with how ‘x’ is going in my life,” etc. Happiness is an often spoken-of concept, but what does it really mean? And, how does one actually get happy?
I know there are a lot of books on this topic. And, I’m sure if you are reading this piece right now, you are the kind of person who has likely read at least one of those books, or been to courses or seminars that touch on the idea of creating happiness in your life. I’ve woman-eyes-closed-smilingpersonally LED those seminars! Those books and seminars will often espouse things like, “Happiness doesn’t only come with external things. We can cause it from within ourselves.”
But, as much as I KNOW that, I have to say, I feel like I’m an ongoing student of happiness. There’s always something new to discover about the idea of “being happy” – but REALLY happy.
I am sharing this wonder and thought with you today.
I invite you to join me in being a student of happiness in your own life.
What does that mean? Well, as you go about your regular, normal, busy, etc. day-to-day life, play the game of discovering moments of happiness. It may come with being grateful for something or someone. Or, it may come with appreciating and acknowledging an accomplishment of your own – big or small. And really let yourself connect to the feeling that comes with that gratitude or acknowledgement.
Explore. Wonder. Get present.
See what your access might be.
I’d love to hear from you: are you taking this on? And, what are you discovering?
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Divorce and Parenting: Teaching Valuable Life Lessons to Your Children

Parents Talking To Kid

By Guest Writer: Rosalind Sedacca, CCT

As a divorced parent, what lessons and behaviors are you modeling for your children?

The messages you convey will influence your children into adulthood.Here’s valuable advice on leaving a positive imprint on your innocent children.

Bad things can happen to good people. Divorce is a prime example.  Good people get divorced. Responsible people who are loving parents get caught in the decision to end a loveless or deceitful marriage.

The consequences of that decision can either be life affirming or destroying, depending upon how each parent approaches this transition. Parents who are blinded by blame and anger are not likely to learn much through the experience. They see their former spouse as the total problem in their life and are convinced that getting rid of that problem through divorce will bring ultimate resolution. These parents are often self-righteous about the subject and give little thought to what part they may have played in the dissolution of the marriage.

Parents at this level of awareness are not looking to grow through the divorce process. They are more likely to ultimately find another partner with whom they have similar challenges or battles and once again find themselves caught in the pain of an unhappy relationship.

man-on-laptop-by-a-lakeThere are others, however, for whom divorce can be a threshold into greater self-understanding and reflection. These parents don’t want to repeat the same mistake and want to be fully aware of any part they played in the failure of the marriage. Self-reflective people ask themselves questions and search within – often with the assistance of a professional counselor or coach – to understand what they did or did not do and how it affected the connection with their spouse.

These introspective parents consider how they might have behaved differently in certain circumstances. They question their motives and actions to make sure they came from a place of clarity and good intentions. They replay difficult periods within the marriage to see what they can learn, improve, let go of or accept. They take responsibility for their behaviors and apologize for those that were counter-productive. They also forgive themselves for errors made in the past – and look toward being able to forgive their spouse in the same light.

These parents are honest with their children when discussing the divorce – to the age-appropriate degree that their children can understand.They remind their children that both Mom and Dad still, and always will, love them. And they remember their former spouse will always be a parent to their children and therefore speak about them with respect around the kids.

By applying what they learned from the dissolved marriage to their future relationships,Friends giving advice these mature adults start the momentum to recreate new lives in a better, more fulfilling way. From this perspective, they see their former marriage as not a mistake, but rather a stepping-stone to a brighter future – both for themselves and for their children.  When you choose to learn from your life lessons, they were never experienced in vain. Isn’t this a lesson you want to teach your children?

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Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a relationship seminar facilitator and author of the new e-book, How Do I Tell the Kids … about the Divorce?A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! The book provides fill-in-the-blank templates for customizing a personal family storybook that guides children through this difficult transition with optimum results. For free articles on child-centered divorce or to subscribe to her free ezine, go to: http://www.childcentereddivorce.com

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When Are Kids Ready To Know?

I am often asked by clients or other parent-friends, “My son/daughter asked me “X” the other day. How do I know when it’s right to talk to my kids about [sensitive topics]? And, what should I say?”
This is a common concern for any parent, or, frankly, any adult with children or teens in their lives who they are close with. Here are a few things to think about, in order to find your right response:Parents Talking To Kid
When they ask, they are ready.
Sounds simple. And it is…somewhat. If a child or teenager has had the wherewithal to think about a particular matter, have a concern or question arise about that matter, and they have the courage to come out and ask about it, that tells me that they have readiness to get some answers.
Acknowledge your relationship.
It also tells me that there is some level of close relationship between you and that child, which provides enough comfort for him or her to be able to come to you. That is worth acknowledging, at the very least to yourself, that something you’ve done or some way you have been has allowed for this openness.
They want the truth.
Given that they are ready and you have the basis of the relationship you seem to have, respond with honesty. No matter how old we are, we want the truth. This honours your relationship, while honouring each of you. Honesty also provides added confidence for that young person to know that they can come to you again in the future and trust they’ll get the truth. In addition, this confidence transcends your relationship and can contribute to that young person’s personal strength in life, as well as their relationships going forward.
You get to choose what you say or not.
While you want to be honest, you also are the adult and want to bring discretion to what you share or what you don’t share. You don’t need to give unnecessary details. And, you also don’t need to share any information that could make another person look bad.
Make it safe for them to emote and react.
Depending on the topic at hand, the child may react with some emotion. They might be sad and they might cry. They might be upset or angry, and either withdraw or stomp away or let you have a piece of their mind. They may be calm, silent, or say little. Every person (including you and me) has a way of processing new information and reacting physically or emotionally. The key here is that whatever the reaction, it usually has a particular ‘life span’. In other words, it passes. If you and I let them express safely, usually it comes up, gets out, and clears away. If you and I react to their reaction, we add ‘weight’ to the emotion, keeping it around longer than it typically needs to be.
I encourage you to consider these things and incorporate them into your own value system as you see appropriate. I wish you the best with your commitments for peaceful and loving relationships.

How To Manage Other People’s Opinions About Your Break Up

why are we friends

 

 

 

I remember in 2009 finding myself sitting in a lawyer’s office after stating I want sole custody of my daughter.

It felt strange. Like an out of body experience. But it was clearly me, sitting in my body, sitting in that office.

The “wake up moment” happened after I told that lawyer that I’d just brought my daughter to her father’s house for a Father’s Day visit and was planning to take her over there the next day again. The lawyer responded, “Don’t do that”

I asked, “How come?”

He said, “Because if the two of you are able to communicate between yourselves, then you don’t need me.”

LIGHT BULB MOMENT!

At the core of my value system is Communication. What I heard the lawyer telling me (and I’m clear that he was just doing his job cause I asked him to ‘get me sole custody’) was to go against my core value….in order that I can have the lawyer speak for me.

I thanked the lawyer for his time, went home and proceeded to call my ex-partner. Within a 10 minute phone conversation that neither of us will forget, we ironed out a custody and visitation agreement that we and our daughter are all happy with. We sorted out our inter-personal differences over time, and, until today, we maintain extraordinary communication.

Why am I sharing this?

Well, what led me to seek out sole custody and end up in the lawyer’s office was the opinion of other people who love me and care about me, and who were worried about what might happen if I don’t get full custody. Friends giving advice - guy and girl

Were they wrong to express their opinion about what I should do?

Absolutely not.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that my emotions were clouding my vision so much that I was reacting to those opinions out of desperation, as opposed to listening to those opinions as exactly that, opinions.

So how should you manage other people’s opinions?

  1. Be open to listening to what people have to say, but remember it is their view based on their experience and knowledge. You want to weigh those views with your own carefully.
  2. Be clear about your vision for your self and your family life.When you have a sense of the end product you envision for your life personally and your family-life you can weigh those opinions against that vision. Ask yourself if pursuing those others’ approaches will lead you closer to your vision. The answer may be ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and that is for you to determine and pursue.
  3. Be grounded in your core values.Often we think we know what our core values are but we actually have them mixed up with something else. Take some time to connect to your inner core, your soul, or what you believe is really important, no matter what. These core values are the anchor that keep you being ‘you.’ When your friends and family express their views, tune in to your core values and see if their suggestions would be an expression of your core values or not.

This is a dance; a paradox. Yes – listen to what others have to say. And, Yes – listen to yourself.

Please leave your comments below as I’m always curious about your views….

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How To Talk To Kids About Divorce

You or someone you know may be getting divorced and haven’t told the kids yet.
  • How do you know when is the right time?
  • How do you know what to say?
  • How do you know how to deal with their response?
Parents Talking To Kid These are the most common questions and concerns of separating parents.
Here is a brief guide to support you or a friend in need:
Choose your timing. Though there’s never a “good” time, there are not-so-good times: school days, right before you head off to work, just as your child is going to dance class or sport practice, or just before bed. When she hears the news, she may suddenly feel unsafe and alone. She needs you to be there. Choose a moment when you’ll be together afterward to offer plenty of hugs and reassurances.
Tell her together. Even if you disagree about everything else, try to agree on what to tell your child, for her sake. Ideally, you want to deliver the news as a team. Telling her together avoids confusion. It helps preserve your child’s sense of trust in both parents.
Keep it simple. Speak in terms your child will understand, limiting the initial explanation to no more than a few key sentences.
For example, you might start with “Mommy and Daddy have done a lot of thinking,” then explain, for example, that Daddy is going to get a new apartment/home. Aim to know what the visitation days and times will be before the conversation so you can share those details. It will comfort your child to know she’ll continue to see both of you and that there’s a plan.
Tell your child that it’s not her fault. Children may blame themselves for the breakup, even if they don’t say so. Your child might think the change is happening because she didn’t do something properly like clean her room or do as well in school as might have been expected. She might also assume some responsibility for trying to fix the problem.
Tell her flat out that the divorce is an adult decision and has nothing to do with her.
Avoid the blame game. However angry you might be, don’t blame each other for the breakup, and avoid arguing in front of your child. Also keep to yourself any details about issues that didn’t work in the marriage.
Sometimes one parent may feel so upset that they want to tell the child about the other spouse’s egregious or erroneous behavior. Refrain from this. Children will take this as a betrayal — or worse, criticism of them. For example, if one calls the other a “liar” or “cheat,” they begin to see themselves, half the product of that parent, as half a liar, half a cheat.
Answers to common questions from kids about divorce:
“What’s a divorce?” Your basic response could go something like: “Divorce means Mommy and Daddy won’t live together anymore. But we’ll always be your parents, and we’ll always love you.”Gently try to find out what she believes or knows about divorce in general and what friends or schoolmates they know whose parents are divorced. This will help you understand the notions she has about divorce and what fears she may harbor about losing friends, families, a parent, a home, or social standing. While divorce is common, it can be awkward for your child at a time when kids are comparing themselves to each other and fretting about fitting in.“Why are you getting divorced?” Don’t go into too much detail and keep the emphasis on “we.” Avoid saying anything like “We don’t love each other anymore,” because your child might assume you can also “fall out of love” with her. You might say, “we work better together living apart and we decided we would do what is best for everyone.”

“Will I still see Grandma and Grandpa? (or other family or friends) Let her know what to expect regarding seeing relatives. Ideally you can say with authenticity that she will continue to see relatives as has been in the past and even that on holidays like Christmas, Passover, Eid, Kwanza or the like, there may be times when you spend it all together.

“Where will I sleep?” At this age, your child will have a lot of questions about how her daily life will be affected: “Will I still go to my same school? Who’s going to take me to dance/skiing/soccer?” These are very real concerns for a child, so go over the details. For example, “You’ll still live with Mommy here in our house. You’ll have a home at Daddy’s new house; you’ll have your own special bedroom.” Depending on what you agree on, you can tell her she can be part of searching for the new place and/or picking decorative items, etc.

“Who will take care of Daddy (or Mommy, depending on which parent is moving out)?” Your child might have a sense of empathy that’s developed enough for her to actually worry about the parent who is moving out.
Reassure her that the other parent will be just fine. You might say, “Daddy might miss you when he’s not with you, but he won’t be sad because he would see you again very soon.”

Next steps:

Pour on the love. Divorce is difficult for children to understand and accept. While your child adjusts, she’ll need a lot of your affection and attention. Resist the urge to talk constantly on the phone or let TV become the sitter. Give her more snuggle time or extra time during bedtime routine. Just as you benefit from your support network of relatives and friends now more than ever, your child needs extra hugs and kisses from you.

Keep talking. Even after the news has sunk in, be prepared to go over the same explanations and answer questions again and again, for weeks or even months. Make sure she knows that you’re open to questions about the divorce any time, even if what you really want is to stop talking about it. One way to keep the lines of communication open is to read kids’ books like Ricci’s Mom’s House, Dad’s House for Kids, or Lallouz’s The Case of the Clown Who Lives in Two Tents.

Keep routines consistent. Sometimes divorce can make it difficult to maintain routines or even keep the house tidy. But continuing a child’s regular schedule, in Mom’s house and Dad’s house, makes children feel safe. As much as possible, make basic mealtimes and other rituals the same between the two households. Make sure the kids keep going to school and any classes or practices — the more things remain the same for your child, the more stable she’ll feel.

Be aware of signs of trouble. Your child may have difficulties adjusting to visitation and custody arrangements. Look for signs like misbehavior or withdrawal, particularly after a visit with the other parent. To open up a dialogue without putting words in your child’s mouth, say something like, “I’m wondering if you’re missing your Mom right now.” Your child might just need time to transition from one household to the next or a safe way to vent.

Consider seeing a family coach or counselor to guide you and your child through this transition. Other parents have said it is the best thing they could have done as it gives a safe place for each parent, personally, to have support, and for children to ask questions or talk about things, without worrying about upsetting their parents.

Make a point of remaining positive. If your divorce means, as it often does, that you’re taking a financial hit and they can no longer have every toy they want or take expensive vacations, let them know you’ll still do lots of fun things together.

PLEASE share your comments below…

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How Realtors Can C.A.R.E. For Their Divorcing Clients

I received a call from a dear friend who is a Realtor. She said, “Tallie, I need to talk to you about an important business matter.”

We met soon after that call at a locally owned tea/coffee house. She explained to me that among the many clients she has who are listing their homes, she has several who are listing their home because they are divorcing. She was very committed to providing the utmost service to all herImage clients and felt that when it came to those who are divorcing, there seemed to be different, complicated and sometimes emotional issues that would arise. She asked me for my help in understanding them better, so as to provide her service with real care.

I’d like to share what I offered her. Here are a few keys to implement when dealing with real estate clients who are divorcing:

1. Compassion. This may seem like an obvious one; however to actually practice this way of being in reality takes some conscious effort. It includes imagining being in someone else’s shoes, while at the same time never assuming that you know what it is really like to be them. You are affording them the respect and appreciation they deserve for what they are dealing with in their life at the moment. This practice also requires acknowledging that your divorcing client is going through a phase that sometimes has them acting in ways (sometimes even irrational, emotional ways) that are not typical; and this phase will pass. Treat people as the mature adults they are, who obviously had enough of what it takes to purchase their own home to begin with.

2. Ask permission. Sometimes you, as a Realtor, can become somewhat of a confidant for your clients. When people are selling and buying a home Realtors know how emotional it can be for any client. With your divorcing clients you may be someone who can listen to what they are dealing with – without being a therapist or counsellor, but rather a confidential listening ear who is supporting them in this transition. Be open to being in that role, but always ask permission first before you discuss or ask questions about their personal affairs.

3. Review options. As a Realtor you know that the more time you have to properly stage a home for sale, the higher the likelihood for higher offers. For some of your divorcing clients, that could mean living under the same roof for longer than they would prefer! Discuss the options so that they are clear about implications of a quicker sale versus taking the time to “do it right.” Let your client choose what will work for them and bring your compassion and respect to their choice.

4. Evaluate & Elevate. After you and your client have evaluated all options and have made all necessary decisions, it’s time to move forward. Through the process, like any life situation, there may be some difficult times. Keep Elevating the C.A.R.E. principles to be more superior than the frustration that can often arise. This takes practice. So please, don’t only bring compassion and respect to your divorcing client, but also bring compassion and respect to yourself: someone who is choosing to practice new principles for making a difference for your clients.

If you have any stories to share, either as a Realtor or a divorcing client, please do tell!

 

How To Keep The Love When You Leave The Marriage

When a marriage or long term committed relationship ends, in order to reconcile what happened, it is common to attempt to identify something that was wrong that gives reason for the breakdown of the relationship – either the other person, the relationship itself, or even oneself was somehow to blame for the failure.
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As we move on from our past relationships, we are likely moving into a future of avoiding making that same mistake again. This leaves us guarded, cautious, or in some ways, easily critical of any prospective new partner. In many cases, this may cause us to hesitate entering another relationship at all for fear of the same failure.
While it is valid to take the view that there was something wrong or at fault for the unworkability of the relationship, it is not the only view. Consider that our relationships are a place to grow, learn and, ultimately, evolve. In this view, each of us has something to gain from each of our relationships and, equally, something to offer, all for the purpose of evolution – both for ourselves and for our partners.
I have had several clients ask, “Is it really possible to have a peaceful divorce when one person wants peace and the other wants to fight?” And my answer is, “Yes, it is possible.” How? In many ways, by taking the view that you are in charge of your own evolution, and you have the capacity to influence another’s evolution in the process.
The first step is to make a commitment to viewing your relationship, including the ending of it, as an integral part of your evolution. Sometimes people say they are committed to learning, but truly they are still looking for ‘who or what is to blame?’ It takes consistent practice in noticing when you are blaming someone or something (including yourself), letting that go, and re-committing to discovering your evolutionary journey.
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The second step is to choose your core values. Values may be patience, compassion, love, honesty, forgiveness, collaboration, peace, etc. These values are your beacon, your higher-guiding light in those difficult moments when conversations get intense, or when you are not even with your ex-partner but battling in your mind with them. Arm yourself with the values that most ignite you and leave you feeling ‘real’ for yourself. Practice acting from your values more and more, and that ability will strengthen.
The third important step is to acknowledge the manifestation of your vision, even in the smallest of accomplishments. It is always easy to see the negativity, failures or disappointments. We often overlook the accomplishments that illuminate the path of continuous evolution ahead. It may be as simple as during a conversation, your ex-partner said something that you would normally react to with anger, and instead you took a deep breath, listened, and responded in a calm and peaceful way. Or, you may recognize your ex-partner for responding calmly when they would normally react with anger. Either way, it is worth acknowledging as part of the evolution of your relationship and yourself.
When you practice these steps – and it does take practice – you will support yourself to leave the relationship and keep the love.
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