Your bill of human rights…

You have the right to be you.

You have the right to put yourself first.

You have the right to be safe.

You have the right to love and be loved.

You have the right to be treated with respect.

You have the right to be human – NOT PERFECT.

You have the right to angry and protest if you are treated unfairly or abusively by anyone.

You have the right to your own privacy.

You have the right to your own opinions, to express them, and to be taken seriously.

You have the right to earn and control your own money.

You have the right to answer questions about anything that affects you.

You have the right to make decisions that affect you.

You have the right to grow and change (and that includes changing your mind).

You have the right to say NO. You have the right to make mistakes.

You have the right to NOT be responsible for other adults’ problems.

You have the right to not be liked by everyone.

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO CONTROL YOUR OWN LIFE AND TO CHANGE IT IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY WITH IT.

I was 18 when I first read a list of rights like this one. I was actually surprised to learn that I had these rights. I had to read it daily for awhile to kick start my healing. It takes on average 21 times to experience a situation the way you WANT  to experience it before our brains can make a secure connection, to FEEL the benefits and to BELIEVE it is real. I use to have to read at frequent intervals when fears and insecurities would try to sabotage what my heart knew and felt. Fortunately, my healing grew exponentially as I accepted & asserted them.

Here’s a video on the history of Human Rights. I guess I was not alone in not knowing them. Please share them with love and compassion and put these rights to action.

 

 

Conflict Reframe

Conflict, or times of significant stress, can often be the greatest opportunities for connection, healing, and growth when you learn to embrace the negativity and trust the journey. It is scary to be vulnerable and even though I have experienced the benefits of this experience, a part of me still gets triggered to fear and naturally wants to resist and that’s OK. It matters more how we choose to respond, to love ourselves and everyone else through. ~Debra

“Conflict can be a sign of where we are in conflict with ourselves: It can signal an unmet need that we’ve ignored for too long. It can give us a clue to where the fire’s burning so we can find ways to put it out instead of letting it spread and destroy us. It can point to where we’re stuck in our lives. It can invite us into awareness and reduction of stress. It can alert us to the first symptoms of illness. Conflict also can help us cultivate deeper connection: It can show us what’s unresolved in our hearts that keeps showing up in our lives and in our relationships until we confront it. Conflict resolution is a way of being rather than a method of getting along. When we practice being conflict resolutionaries, our children learn to embrace conflict as safe, fleeting, and a compassionate window into our humanity.” ~Lu Hanessian

Vital Needs

We are all born good and connected which gets disrupted when vital needs go unmet. Every interaction is an opportunity to connect, nurture, heal and grow… 

Burning Man sculpture called “Love” by Alexandr Milov
Burning Man sculpture called “Love” by Alexandr Milov

Human defense mechanisms intrigue me (i.e. passive/aggressiveness, distortion, projection, denial, fantasy, rationalization, minimizing )…They protect us from absorbing too much pain at once so that the body/mind/heart can prepare to process the uncomfortable, hurtful, and overwhelming experience in order integrate and transcend but if we depend on these mechanisms or use them too long, they harden to bricks that build a wall. You might feel the illusion of safety behind this great wall, but the build-up of toxins, the natural consequences and negativity will delude you. Connection, being able to touch another’s mind/body/heart is one of our vital needs. Many of our other needs are cultivated within safe, well-connected, mutually satisfying and respectful relationships. Unfortunately, what we need the most to heal, few have ever truly received or witnessed. The unknown triggers fear as it is perceived as a threat. We then end up learning to fear and mistrust what we need the most.

When I reflect on my life, I took risks to allow people behind the wall I had built to protect myself. Of course, a few of these people I trusted backfired yet they all helped break down my wall.  My need for these defenses continues to decrease as I find more pro-active and responsible ways of getting my own needs met. I am unsure if it is possible to rid them completely, after all, we are human. Yet as I become more aware of my use of defense mechanisms and triggers, I am better able to embrace the value and those around me. I can love myself and everyone else through the hurt even though I may be running into their walls.

Below is my favorite list of needs from the book, Healing the Child Within by Charles L. Whitfield. It is difficult to move on to getting another need met if the one before it is unmet or threatened. Sadly, I witness too many stuck and fighting at number two… 

Hierarchy of Human Needs 

  1. Survival
  2. Safety
  3. Touching, Skin Contact
  4. Attention
  5. Mirroring And Echoing
  6. Guidance
  7. Listening
  8. Being Real
  9. Participating
  10. Acceptance
    1. Others Are Aware Of, Take Seriously And Admire Real You
    2. Freedom To Be Real You
    3. Tolerance Of Your Feelings
    4. Validation
    5. Respect
    6. Belonging And Love
  11. Opportunity To Grieve Losses And To Grow
  12. Unconditional Support
  13. Loyalty And Trust
  14. Accomplishment
    1. Mastery, Power, Control
    2. Creativity
    3. Having A Sense Of Completion
    4. Making A Contribution
  15. Altering One’s State Of Consciousness
  16. Sexuality
  17. Enjoyment Or Fun
  18. Freedom
  19. Nurturing
  20. Unconditional Love

(compiled from Maslow 1962; Miller, 1981, Weil, 1973; & Glasser, 1985)

light waitalk

Below is a talk I gave on how getting vital needs met lead me to my Light…

https://soundcloud.com/waitalks-1/light

Who’s the Boss?

Many systems operate from the assumption that there needs to be a hierarchy, someone at the top, a boss to lead, to have power over. When my son was younger, he would sometimes say that it felt like I was the boss of him and he has to do what I say. I reflect back that yes, it does feel like I am telling him what to do a lot. I tell him that I don’t want to boss him around and that I want him to be his own boss.  I do know it is my job to protect and teach him healthy behaviors so when he does things that jeopardize safety or health, I tend to interject. But upon great reflection and listening to my son, I stopped my re-directions, lectures, scowling, and controlling reactions etc. I began to reflect what I was seeing, identifying feelings and trusting him to figure it out. It might take longer, things break and get messy, and he will get hurt, yet he learns what he was meant to learn every time I “let go.” I am amazed and feel great relief every time I do it. Of course, when the threat is of imminent loss of life or limb, I will still jump in but really how often does this happen. I choose to live my life in trust, not fear.

For example, once when he was playing a video game on our computer. I realized that I could not listen to my music on the computer while he was doing this. I felt irritated and entitled to be able to listen to my music on my computer. I snapped at him that he now had a shorter time to play. I felt the negativity tighten my body and heard the shrill in my voice. I stopped myself, apologized to my son for being grumpy at him, shared my feelings in a neutral tone about how I was feeling frustrated that I couldn’t listen to my music because he was using the computer. I let it go and started another conversation with my partner. Within moments, my son turned the sound off his game then opened up our music files and asked what music I would like to hear. All of this happened in less than five minutes and he was five years old.

I could cite 1000 interchanges like this where my children teach me about the power of love and trust, but honestly, this is something one must brother gently leading the wayexperiment with and experience the connection for themselves. Personally, my children get me to step out of my comfort zone and enjoy life to its fullest when I am open to accepting their influence. I welcome my son’s so-called “back talk.” He makes valid points and gets me to change fear-based habits. I believe we were all created equal, this includes children. I even think children have greater insight and personal power because their body/mind/souls have absorbed less negativity or interference and are more connected. I work every day to embrace fear, let go, and love and trust more. To lead by example and use power-with instead of power-over. It is hard to let go and can be scary due to life’s unpredictable nature and the fact that many of us are completely unfamiliar with it.

This may help, imagine having a controlling boss, the ones who would like to dictate everything and seem to never be satisfied, focuses on what you do wrong all the time… Now how happy and well adjusted would you be if you lived with that boss 24/7?

If you’d like support on how to lead and guide your children with respect and confidence, you can learn more about my services by calling me at 847 603 4677 or check out Debra Wallace MS LMFT profile at WeCounsel.com

Take Wonderful Care,blog signature

P.S. Here’s an article on how Kids who talk back become more successful adults

Disclaimer: Positive Reframe shares resources with the intent of the positive progression of informed decision making related to issues associated with emotional, relational, physical and spiritual wellness. While I share personal and professional perspectives, my writings reflect my personal opinion and not intended to substitute professional advice, diagnosis, and treatment. This online medium does not lend itself to the level of detail and rapport building required for thorough assessment and therapeutic intervention thus the content shared on this page is for informational purposes only. To make well-informed decisions that best meet your family’s unique needs, I highly recommend exploring and researching available options, consulting primary health care providers and seeking referrals from a trusted source for professional counseling. I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy in the state Illinois, USA

Easter and our opportunities to rise again…

One day, my son was feeling badly about not living up to his potential. He expressed negative beliefs of “not being a good enough, being lazy, stupid, feeling guilty and shame about his choices and behaviors.” It hurts me tremendously to hear him share these deep negative core beliefs as they are the same ones I have battled through trans-generational trauma and sadly often triggers me into a negative reaction. Thus, no matter how much my partner and I told him how much we loved him and highlighted all the good things he does, he could not hear us and resisted. As a therapist, I know too well that our reactions and attempts to minimize his emotional pain were invalidating and actually making him feel worse. That one must first truly listen, accept, validate the speaker’s feelings and expressions so they may be able to process their pain and move on. Yet being a parent, feeling so responsible and sad for hearing your magnificent child feel so bad is hard to accept and cope with, especially on top of all of life’s other stressors.

After becoming conscious of my own insecurities and triggers, I then chose to respond by cuddling with him and remaining silent as he cried and vented. I agreed how painful this must feel. I apologized for the times my actions have led him to feel this way. How I will keep working on improving myself. I shared how I woke up early yesterday and caught a glimpse of the intense orange from the sunrise.  I was reminded of how blessed we are that God* gives a beautiful new horizon to awake and go to sleep with every day. I thought about Easter approaching and how many are celebrating how Jesus rose from the dead. I told my son that holidays are symbols of the gifts God gives us every day. We have been given the gift to rise every day and try again to be more kind, helpful and align our beliefs with our actions.

My son immediately said “Thank You!” He gave ave me a kiss and popped up exuberantly. He hugged and expressed gratitude to the many items on his bed: his books; his new big, blue, soft blanket; his giant stuffed elephant, his fan, his light, etc.  I then read him some stories, the last one was I Believe In Me.

The next morning, I was awoken early by my son meditating “Ohmmm, Ohmmm, Ohmmm.” He was inspired to start his day on a positive note.  I wish everyone to see the beauty and miracles given every day and when you don’t, forgive yourself and others, and rise again.

Deep breaths and baby steps,

Debra

*I believe God is universal and defined by what feels best for you and your family’s belief system.

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How to get Calm…from Aha! Parenting

Thank you Dr. Laura Markham of Aha! Parenting for this very useful post.

“When our child acts out, or lashes out, it’s natural for us to panic.  We move into “fight, flight or freeze”  and our child looks like the enemy.  We all know whatever we do next won’t serve our child’s growth and healing, but we’re in the grip of strong emotions, and we can’t help ourselves. Or can we? What if there were three steps that would help you shift back into calm, AND keep your child from getting upset as often? There are.

“STEP 1:  Get Your Own Emotions Regulated

1. STOP, DROP whatever else you’re doing and BREATHE deeply.

2. Reduce the pressure: Remind yourself that there is no emergency.  No one is dying.

3. Change Your Thoughts: Say a little mantra in your mind:  “She’s acting like a child because she IS a child.  I’m the grown-up here.”

4. Physically release your tension: Notice where you’re holding tension in your body and shake it out. Take a deep breath and blow it out. Make a loud (but nonthreatening) sound. Get a drink of water.

5. Be Here Now. 

If you can bring yourself into the present moment, your upset will drop away.  Give yourself permission not to worry about the future or the past. In this moment, what action would be healing?  Anything else can wait.

“Step 2: Shift the Energy 

1. Make things emotionally safe. Say “We’re having a hard time, Sweetie. Let’s try a Do-Over.”

2. Empathize. Acknowledge your child’s perspective. “Seems like you want ______. ” 

3. Find the common ground. “But I need _______. What can we do?” 

4. Help your child get emotionally regulated. Kids usually do this best by crying or raging in the safety of our arms/presence. Breathe your way through this, reminding yourself that afterwards, he will feel safe, connected to you, and cooperative.

“Step 3:  Learn the Lesson

1. Learn. When you’re calm, reflect on what you can learn from what happened.  How can you support yourself to stay more emotionally regulated?  (Allow more time, get more sleep, better organization, fewer commitments, see things from your child’s perspective more?)

2. Teach. Later, when you and your child feel calm and connected, say “We had a hard moment today, didn’t we?  I’m sorry I got upset.  I guess I was worried.  When you _____, I feel ______.  What can both of us do differently next time?”

3. Change. If this is a recurring situation, make a list of possible solutions and start trying them.  Life is too short to endure the same lessons over and over again. “You won’t remember these steps in the heat of the moment.  Why not print out a little cheat sheet and carry it around with you?  A few months of practice, and you won’t even remember the last time you lost your temper.”

Dr. Laura Markham has since removed this original post I copied and pasted above, but here’s link to an updated version:  http://www.ahaparenting.com/_blog/Parenting_Blog/post/How_to_Stay_Calm_When_You’re_Losing_It/ Even though this is the  advice I’d give, I still printed a copy of this to put on my fridge because no matter how well I know this, I still get stressed and forget it in the heat of moment. No human is immune to emotional hijacking. We all can benefit from deep breaths so oxygen can reach all our cells and open more channels to process the information. I’d check out more blog entries http://ahaparenting.com/_blog/parenting_blog and you can sign up for the newsletter and daily inspirations from Dr. Laura Markham. I am a huge fan of the books she recommends too.

If you’d like further support in applying more coping skills like these in your home as well as learn about normal human development and improving co-parenting relationship Email me  Debra@postivereframe.org or check out my profile at wecounsel.com

Make it a Calm and Connecting Day<3

Debra Wallace MS

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist