Our familial and love relationships are the source of our deepest joy and fulfillment, as well as, our deepest pain. In my work as a Certified Relationship Coach, I have the honor of guiding women, men and couples through the waves of life and love that continuously take us from one extreme to the next. As a wife and as a Mommy to 2 boys (ages 6 & 8), I’m being reminded of this truth today as I prepare for my boys’ school field trip departure to Canoe Island (about 5.5 hours away) with worry, anxiety, and a lot of emotion. The idea of both of my boys (ages 6 and 8) getting on a van tomorrow morning with their classmates and teachers to return 4 days later rocks me to my core. Sure, I know they’re going to have a fabulous time. Sure, I know I will miss them much more then they will miss me. Sure, I know this experience is one of those that will leave a lasting mark on their growth chart as boys. But that gnawing fear… the “what ifs” and worst-case scenarios continue to pop up and play out relentlessly in my head.
But I know what’s best for them… and for me. To let them go. To let them engage in adventures full of uncertainty and amazement that I can’t fully predict. To muster up my own courage and strength as their Momma Bear to put them on that van with a smile and show my excitement for them. To show them it’s OK for Mommy to be worried and fearful but ultimately wanting them to have this experience. To let them know I won’t let my own Mommy fear stand in the way of their own vital growth experiences. That I will use the infinite love I have for them to help me walk the line a mom must often walk between protecting our tiny people and letting them go. so they can have experiences and grow from having these enriching experiences and adventures.
I’m grateful to have the tools I have to use when I feel stuck in my own head, anxious and fearful, even though I may need extra time to get back on my own wagon, so to speak… like today. So as soon as I realized I was getting stuck from thinking about all of the worst-case scenarios… I decided to TAKE THE ACTION I knew I needed in order to be able to shift myself out of “stuckness”. I decided to call another parent who will be driving the van transporting everyone and chaperoning the trip. So I call up Mike and I said “Hey Mike! I was calling you in hopes you would ease my worried mind!” And he quickly responded with “about (my youngest son), right?”. I felt instant relief. I felt more peace in my heart because knowing Mike had already anticipated this from me made me feel heard and understood. Huge victory. I went on to let him know I was feeling anxious and worried, mainly about my younger son, with this being his first trip. I also made a direct and specific request of Mike to help my self even further. I asked if he would text me once a day to let me know my boys are safe and sound. His response, “Of course”! “Don’t worry, I’ve got this!”, etc. was music to my ears. I felt understood and supported instantly after than phone call and so was able to trudge forward with an improved emotional state.
So remember next time you’re stuck, call your “Mike” and follow these 3 steps to help you shift quickly:
1. Connect with others.
Isolation may feel like the easiest route when we’re troubled and stuck, but connecting with others gives us those gifts from others than often are not predictable or foreseen when we’re feeling stuck.
2. Be vulnerable about your feelings and experiences.
Letting others in on what we are feeling and experiencing opens up opportunities for us to receive the feedback, love, support, understanding, affirmation, etc that we need to help us shift in to a more positive emotional mindset. Speaking our truth on what is troubling us and what we need help with gives OTHERS the opportunity to contribute to us and support us.
3. Make direct requests.
Know what you need and practice asking for it! When we get better at making direct requests of others when it comes to helping ourselves get our needs met, we help other people help us. And this is truly a gift to others. I’m sure you can think of a time when someone specifically requested your help and you felt your own relief and joy in knowing exactly what you could do to help them. And perhaps you even felt honored because they came to YOU and trusted YOU with their request for help.
So next time you’re feeling “stuck” for whatever reason, reach out to a key person in your world and 1) connect, 2) be vulnerable about what you’re feeling and experiencing, and don’t forget to 3) make a direct request of the other person so they know specifically what action they can take to help you.
Cheers to your Extraordinary Relationships,