So here you are, trying to have a good weekend, and for once, things are starting to feel normal. You managed not to fall apart, and you even had hope that your life is about to get better.
Then you get a text from your ex. You see his name pop up on your phone, and before you even read it, it feels like a punch in the gut. Your heart beats a little faster. You begin to form sweat beads on your forehead. A mental conversation battles in your head. You think, “Should I open it or should I just delete it without reading it?”
Of course, you open it.
The text goes something like this:
I want to take the kids away this weekend but it’s your weekend so I wondered if we could switch. I have fantastic plans of (fill in the blank) and they will be so excited.
You already have plans with the kids, but his plans seem a lot more fun, and the kids would enjoy it. But you feel a pang of guilt that his plans are better than yours. So you consider giving up your weekend.
But then you realize that you would miss your kids, and have every right to have them, regardless of your plans not being as fun.
So you reply back:
That sounds great, but I already have plans with them. Perhaps you can do that with them on your weekend.
Once you hit send, you know you’re in trouble. Now you’re just waiting for the backlash, feeling like a little kid who is about to get scolded from their teacher.
And just like you expect, you get 15 text messages in a row. They may go like this:
Geeze, you really are selfish. I can’t do it another weekend because we just got invited to (fill in the blank) and it’s only happening this weekend. It’s so obvious you’re trying to take special time away from me and the kids. You see, this is why we are divorced, because you NEVER like to have fun, and here I’m trying to do something the kids will like, and now they’ll turn out just like you – boring and selfish.
And boom – just like that, you feel terrible. And because you already think you’re boring, you think there’s truth to the accusation. You’re also saying to yourself, “Whenever I try to stick to my boundaries, I get beat up. This isn’t worth it!”
But here’s what’s really going on, and you’re not seeing it:
1) He has zero regard for your plans with the kids, and doesn’t respect their time with you.
2) Having a last minute request for change of plans may be fair, but healthy people take that into consideration and don’t attack should they not get their way.
3) He knows every single one of your insecurities – after all, you were married for a long time. Think of your insecurities as a Rolodex to him – he doesn’t get his way and he pulls out the list and will attack you on them, one by one.
4) You’ve never fought back before, so he thinks you won’t now. But each time you do creates an “injury” to him – it’s sending him a subconscious message of, “See, you’re not that special or powerful after all.”
5) And because he is threatened by anyone who challenges his false sense of self, he will throw you the “book of insults.” (Look at how Donald Trump has behaved this past week after the debate – the more he loses, the more he insults, Tweets at 3 am, and punishes anyone who threatens his false sense of self).
If your ex is famous for doing this weekly, you must create a list for yourself as to WHY he is behaving this way, just like I did above. Don’t let their disorder become YOUR disorder. Don’t engage in his attacks and rationalize with him why he is wrong and you’re not boring. Do not respond at all.
You are not a child, therefore you should never be scolded or patronized. Remember who you really are, not for who they claim you to be. Rewrite your story – get back to the place your Creator designed for you, and not your aggressor.
I live about 30 miles from Washington, DC and even though I’ve lived near there for 20 years, I still hate driving in that town. No matter what I do, I still get lost – even with a GPS!
A few years ago I was driving to an appointment in DC, and my GPS kept sending me in circles – I was doing the same thing over and over, and I got extremely frustrated. I was calling my GPS lady horrible names, and my estimated time of arrival was already showing me being late (and I hate being late!) I got so focused on being late, that my anxiety made my navigation worse. I didn’t want to pull over for sake of losing more time, so I got even more lost. Then I ended up in a very bad neighborhood, and then I became scared.
Whether you’re driving or just trying to navigate through life, getting lost sucks. The more you try to find out where you’re going, the worse it gets – and it can put you in a very seedy place if you don’t take the time to pull over and assess.
Every time you are in transition, you feel as if you’re lost, without a compass or a GPS. And even though people may tell you where to go (like a GPS does), they don’t always point you in the right direction.
So you get frustrated, and you keep driving in circles, repeating the same path, and hoping for a different outcome.
This is when you need to trust your gut, pull over, and reassess your steps. You can get so focused on where you need to be, that your anxiety about not being there will only make things worse (like when I was driving in DC). Don’t worry about being late. Don’t get caught up in the additional time it takes you to reassess.
Pulling over means making a plan. For instance, let’s say you’re dating all the wrong people, and no matter what you do, you keep meeting the same losers. You’re lost, yet you keep circling around hoping for a different outcome. Hope isn’t a plan. Hoping means you’re not in control.
In this case, you would pull over and take a step back, and look at your end goal – who is your ideal partner? The more you get frustrated by who you’re not meeting will only keep you lost, and dating the wrong people!
Like any plan, it comes with an outline:
1) What is your objective or end goal
2) What is your strategy to get it
3) What are the tactics
4) How will you implement
Using the dating example your plan might be this:
1) My goal is to be in a committed relationship, with someone amazing
2) My strategy will be to date online, and be open to any introductions
3) My tactics are to research how to make a good online dating profile; write a list of deal breakers and boundaries for my dates; date at least 1x per week.
4) I will implement by trusting my gut, being open to the right person, but discard the ones who aren’t
People often struggle with making a plan because they stumble on Step 1 – having clarity on your end goal. It’s hard to use a GPS without an exact address, right? But we make excuses for why we shouldn’t have what we want, so we therefore don’t get it, even though we think we want it! Making excuses is like muddying your GPS signal – without a clear signal, you will get lost.
So if you’re lost, try working on just Step 1 – don’t do the other steps until you are crystal clear on what you want. Write it down and sit with it for a week. Ask yourself, “Is this truly attainable right now? Am I afraid to have it because of what other people will think?” Once you have clarity, then work on the other steps (and don’t forget to have fun with this – lighten up your mood!).
It’s funny – about a month ago, while driving in DC, I found myself in the exact location where I was once lost. But this time, I knew exactly where I was. I had circled around that same neighborhood so many times, I knew how to navigate my way out.
That’s the cool thing about being lost – it only happens once. While you’re feeling so aimless, you’re actually learning new skills and tools that will equip you the next time you’re thinking you’re lost. But you won’t be, because you’ve been there, done that.
To your own GPS and finding your destination…
I probably have the best commute there is. I get to ride my bike to my office, over cobble stone roads and passing views of sailboats and kayakers in downtown Annapolis. Rarely do I run into crazy drivers or commuters.
But there was this one day that was different. As I was on my bike, waiting for the light to turn red so I could cross, I saw an oncoming car going too fast for her approaching red light – she had no intention of stopping. It all happened in slow motion. I saw her texting and not paying attention. Meanwhile, I saw a car come behind me and speed up to catch his green light. I instantly created a mathematical equation of distance vs speed and realized the man was going to get T-boned by the texting driver.
Instinctively, I screamed, “Hold up!” and luckily he slammed on his breaks. He finally saw the woman run her red light, and he appeared shaken, yet relieved after realizing the disaster he avoided. He looked at me with thankful eyes and mouthed the words, “Oh my God, thank you!” and then he sped off, carrying about his day.
As I biked on, I realized I totally saved that man’s life, and maybe even the other driver who was texting. Now… rewind to just 12 hours before.
The night before, I was having a stressful day. I was so upset about something, and that led me to escape my stress by going on a late evening boat ride with my husband. We didn’t dock until 1 am, which is extremely late for me. I felt a lot better, but the late evening made me sleep in past my usual wake-up time.
So all of those events the day prior – my stress and the late evening boat ride – put me on that street corner, at exactly the right time, in order to save that guy’s life.
That’s when it really hit me: there is something so much bigger out there controlling our fate. Yet we work so damn hard thinking we are all alone, running our lives with no help.
Had I not had a crappy day prior, I would have awoken at my usual time, and missed that car accident. I like to think that those drivers had angels, and they created a weird event in my life in order to save theirs. Who knows. I won’t ever know, really. But I like to have faith.
And so can you.
Every living thing on this planet is formed by energy, and our energy gives off vibrations. Our vibrations bounce back and forth onto one another, making us create events and circumstances that impact the world. But all you ever see is YOU, your story, and your own experience. Only our angels and God get the big picture.
So this means that when you’re having a really bad day, trust that it’s all happening for a reason. Maybe it’s benefitting someone else, or maybe the bad event will teach you a lesson that will only benefit you a year from now. Sometimes you’ll get to see the WHY in it all – like when I was able to prevent a car accident – but you won’t always.
Instead, the only ‘why’ you’ll ever ask is, “Why me?” Wåçhen we wonder why we are going through hell, it means we don’t trust that something good is going to happen from it. All we experience is the pain, and then bitterness and resentment follow.
I get it – I was having a ‘why me’ moment the other night! But as I rode my bike through the intersection that never saw debris or emergency vehicles, I heard a voice loud and clear in my head. The voice chuckled and said, “Haha, Lindsey, now you get it. Why not you?”
And I ask you the same thing this week. Trust your pain and struggle. It’s happening to serve you or someone else – you can’t control the world, so stop trying to. Surrender and trust.
When my youngest son ‘graduated’ from the 5th grade, his ceremony was surprisingly moving. Aside from the fact that I think over-indulgent ceremonies for every milestone our kids reach is a bit ridiculous, this particular one struck a chord with me.
At the end of the ceremony, we got to watch a slide show that showed each child’s baby picture, and their own comments on what or where they want to be in 10 years.
Their answers really hit home for me. I started to take notes and here’s a sampling of what I saw:
NFL or NBA player
Developing space ships at NASA
A TV Reporter for the Today Show
Getting my MBA at Harvard
Graduating from Med School
A Movie Star
A Singer For a Major Rock Band
These kids are dreaming big, because they think they can. In fact, right now, they KNOW they can achieve their dreams. They are unstoppable and fearless.
As this age, you never hear kids say, “I could never do that. I’m not good enough.” It’s why we love children – their egos haven’t fully been developed to make them fearful. They haven’t yet hit obstacles that tell them their dreams may not occur – they are doing just that: dreaming.
But the sad thing is, over time, many of those kids will fall away from their dreams because someone will tell them they shouldn’t, couldn’t, can’t afford it, it’s stupid, not realistic, they can’t make money from it, etc. How many times has that happened to you?
I really wanted to be journalist, and more specifically, I wanted Katie Couric’s job on the Today Show. In fact, my high school year book predicted that I would be a TV morning show reporter in 20 years.
But it never happened. I had lots of people telling me I shouldn’t, or that it was no pay in the beginning, or I would have to live in some no-where town reporting dumb stories.
If I didn’t actually listen to those who discouraged me, I wonder where I would have ended up.
But here’s the cool thing – I dusted off the dream of being a writer and made it happen, 25 years after I first dreamed of doing it.
Your dreams don’t have to stop. They may get put on hold. Life may get in the way. But if you had a dream when you were in the 5th grade, and you still wonder what life would be like had you done it, then it means your candle is still burning. The worst thing anyone can do is blow out their hopes and dreams. Don’t let that be you.
But let’s also get practical. Your dream of being a rock star may not exactly come true – but you could always lean into it! You could dust off your guitar, join a local band, start singing in your living room, and give a concert at your local coffee shop. Your dream is the act of singing and performing, not just the fame that comes with it.
I wasn’t able to become a reporter at 35 years old – yes, that ship had sailed – who would have hired me? So instead, I became my own reporter, writing about topics that interested me, blogging, and publishing my work on Facebook. For me, there is nothing more rewarding to see my byline on something that I wrote, even if it was just on social media.
By me leaning into that dream, something drastically shifted. I became passionate again. I found a purpose, one that was truly my own and didn’t require me to depend on others to get it. And that passion led to me starting my business.
I may not be on Good Morning America, but I now have a radio show, a blog read by thousands of people, and when something really inspires me, I write about it on Huffington Post. Not only am I coach, but I’m finally the journalist I wanted to be – and I have never felt more fulfilled in my life.
So what’s your dream and how can you dust it off? If you wanted to be a move star, perhaps you can audition for your local theater group? Don’t ever say, “It’s too late.” You’re in a life transition right now – in fact, it’s perfect timing! Go out and do it!
I no longer dream about being Katie Couric. Instead, I dream about her interviewing me – and who knows, it might just happen!
The other night I couldn’t sleep (gotta love being over 40), and I turned on the TV at 3 am and watched the movie, Revolutionary Road.
If you aren’t familiar with the picture, it depicts Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as a young married couple in the 1950s, living a seeming perfect life. They live in Connecticut, in their cute, suburban Cape Code home, located on Revolutionary Road.
The movie opens to Winslet performing in a play, and after the performance she is in the dressing room, looking miserable – as if she is hiding from her truth – that life isn’t turning out the way she wanted.
On the drive home from the play, DiCaprio begins to poke and prod Winslet, wanting to talk about what’s bothering her, yet she doesn’t want to talk. The argument gets so heated they have to pull off the road. They admit how much they hate each other, and the scene closes.
The next day, everything is fine. As if nothing happened between them. As if the truth wasn’t spoken. So they continued to live in denial.
Winslet suddenly has a brilliant idea – they should move to France – and escape their problems. Once she and her husband agree on this idea, their lives return to joyful bliss. They go back to being madly in love.
But their joyful bubble bursts when she finds out she is pregnant. He wants to keep the baby and not move to France, and she wants to end the pregnancy and pursue their dreams. They spiral back into their miserable state as a couple, spitting vitriol and threats. Their marriage is borderline abusive, and it ends tragically.
This movie is a haunting replica of my first marriage. Winslet’s dream of wanting more for herself, feeling like a caged bird, hating suburbia and the fake people that come with it – this was all me.
And every time I came so close to honoring my truth within – a massive argument would ensue. It was often violent, with door slamming and name calling – yet because I felt like I couldn’t escape it – I would retreat into denial. I would act like everything was fine.
It was easier to ignore what I wanted, so I did what Winslet tried to do.
Instead of wanting to go to France, I would want to move, find a new job, have another baby – these things would allow me to further escape from my truth, and provide a wonderful distraction.
Until they all failed – I would get laid off from my job. The house contract would fall through. I would have a miscarriage.
Back to my reality I went – and I slipped deeper into my prison.
It’s amazing what we can do to sabotage our own truth. We create false dreams or goals. We make excuses. We go on vacation. Or we delve into a never ending project. All to avoid what we are meant to look at – ourselves.
But after the projects are finished, or perhaps they implode, you’ll always be back, sitting face to face with yourself once again.
And here’s where I went wrong – that “prison,” as I called it – was only a prison because I perceived it to be.
In fact, it wasn’t a prison at all. It was an awakening.
My truth was actually calling me to freedom – and the reason why everything went wrong, and the arguing ensued, and the misery expanded, was because I chose to ignore it. I was, in fact, meant to do all the things I dreamed about! (And I have!)
So if you are avoiding your truth, putting off that hard conversation, planning a vacation when you know you should be planning your future, realize that the discomfort you feel is just the Divine pushing you forward.
If you live on your own Revolutionary Road – where you feel imprisoned by your own home or situation – just trust that it’s merely a shelter. Think of it as a lean-to, and once the storm passes, you’ll be out walking in the sunshine.
Don’t pretend it’s fine when it’s not. Don’t bury your problem under a project. Face it.
Look at your situation like it’s a winning lottery ticket, not a daunting task.
All you need to do is cash it in.
To your winnings.