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Lessons I learned from Toddlers & Tiara’s

The real key is to live in an environment where the mind feels free to choose the right thing instead of being compelled by habit and inertia to choose the wrong thing. Deepak Chopra

As the last week of summer ends, the kids and I are finally back from our gallivanting around the east coast. Clifford, the big red mini-van has been sufficiently broken in and has driven with flying colors.  The Rosie the wonder dog, has a new car harness and dog bed, and all of the kids have new school clothes (thanks to Grandma and her love for shopping with others)

I realize I’m telling you all this, so you might understand why on earth I was watching Toddlers & Tiara’s, and I recognize that … I can’t explain it to myself, and I’m going to stop trying to explain it to you.  It’s just one of those things that I allowed to happen.

I feel like as long as I learned something from it, it might not be such an egregious offense and so, without further hesitation, here is what I learned from Toddlers & Tiara’s.

We don’t see what other people see

I understand the magic of the television editing.  They take an all-day event and chop it down into a 22 minute show segment.  It seems to be that the editors of this episode took pride in putting together segments that make parents look ridiculous and children look like… kids. (sometimes spoiled kids, but kids nonetheless)  However, the sound bites of the mother who starts the show saying that her daughter will win a title in all 50 states and further gushes about how much the little baby girl loves the pageants is in (I would guess by intention) stark contrast to the clips of the little girl trying to get out the door refusing false eye lashes and the spray tan.

Video editing or not, it brings up the point that we don’t see what other people see.

Today I’m really drawn to talking about those time when we feel frustrated and lash out at the people that we blame for how we feel.

Are you frustrated?  Do you occasionally, (ok admit it, regularly) take it out on the person/people or thing that you view as the root of your frustration?  Now ask yourself, are you still frustrated?  Did your mean angry words solve anything?

If we took a sound bite of each time you were nasty and angry and having your frustration tantrum, could we fill a 22 minute clip?

I guess my point is really twofold:

  1. We need to re-train our brain to not go down the easy, well beaten path of angry words and frustration. You are blind, because you don’t want to see, really see what other people see when you act poorly.  (BTW, no one looks nice when they are angry or yelling, eyebrows crunch, lips downturn, fingers point, and the voice sounds ugly) You may not care what other people see… which brings me to my second point.
  2. Is it working?  If you could fill a 20 minute clip a day of angry outbursts, ask yourself, is it working? If it’s not working, why keep doing it.  If it’s not helping you feel less frustrated, if it’s not fixing the problem or helping you feel differently about the challenge, then why keep doing the same thing.

You know what Albert Einstein said right?  “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

So, here you are.  You have this daily frustration that eats at you, and pushes your buttons and you feel like you just can’t stop yourself from bursting out negative comments and angry words.

You need to stop yourself.  No one can help you see something that you don’t want to see, or do something you don’t want to do… more than you.  You are in control.

Stop trying to put it on the other person, or thing.  YOU have complete control over how you view the situation or circumstance.  If you don’t like the way someone is doing something, either do it yourself, or find someone else that will do it the way you like.   It’s that simple.  (But I shouldn’t have to?  Is that what you’re saying to me now, “You shouldn’t have to … what?  Be in charge of making sure that you are happy?)

Personally, I’ve found a solution that works for me.  (I’m not perfect, so I’ll say it works 95% of the time)  I use the Speed Bump method.

The Speed Bump Method

In order for the speed bump method to be effective you have to practice something first.  Visualization. Do this:

  1. Close your eyes and take a deep long breath. ( ok keep them open to read the rest of the list, then close them… smarty pants)
  2. Visualize a really relaxing place, either a nice Adirondack chair at the lake, a chaise lounge on the beach, the sun rising over the fields as you sit on your back deck, a nice misty path through a green forest, on horseback… you get the idea, you know what’s best for you… picture something relaxing.
  3. Take a nice long deep breath
  4. Now, add some sound… like birds, or water.
  5. Imagine you have everything you could want, there are no worries, you are filled with abundance; no financial worries, no family worries, no health worries, no feelings of loss or stress.
  6. Take a nice long deep relaxing breath
  7. You are relaxed, you are happy, you are stress free, you are in control
  8. Add some smells… fresh cut grass, rain, pizza… whatever makes you happy
  9. Remember to take long gentle relaxing breaths

Feels good right?  I do this for about 5 minutes a day each morning and it has changed my life.

You will see after a few weeks, that whenever you take a slow relaxing deep breath, you will be able to summon that feeling of relaxation and calmness and be stress-free.

Your speed bump will be …  a nice long deep breath.

Don’t give your brain the opportunity to race down the well-traveled roads of impatience, frustration and anger.  Take a moment, get calm. Take a deep breath.  THEN, when you are calm and traveling down a different thought path, think about what’s really bothering you. Be thankful that you didn’t take it out on the wrong person or people.

Why is this a good solution?  Because in the end, when you stop feeding the frustration, when you stop stoking the fires of anger and fueling what you perceive as an ongoing unalterable frustrating outcome, it starts to diminish.  If there is no oxygen, the fire can’t burn.

The observer?  (Remember the person that see’s what you can’t see?) They will only see good things, in fact, I would even postulate that you will start to attract more situations and circumstances that are more conducive to your new frame of mind.  AND that outside person they will be observing your calm happiness.

That’s right, I said it Happiness.  When you start filling your life with thankfulness, instead of frustration and impatience and anger, you also start filling your life with more happiness.  Think about it.  If you stopped making all those negative comments and accusations and instead only commented on things that you like, were grateful for and appreciate… what kind of day would you have?  It would be happier right?

Yes, it’s clear to you now, right?  If you aren’t happy, then you are choosing a path that isn’t leading to your happiness.  You are in control of that.

One last comment… this isn’t about “holding your tongue” it’s about changing how you think.  Holding your tongue implies that you are still thinking those angry, frustrating thoughts.  You need to let them go. (and that is a whole different post… ‘cause I have to go make the kids breakfast now)

Wow, so that was quite a little tangent, wasn’t it?

Let’s see if I can tie that back into my original Toddlers & Tiara’s thought… OH Yeah, The whole reason I started to write this post was because it occurred to me, to wonder, what the parents think when they end up watching the final cut.  Then it made me think about … what if someone took all of my behavior and put it in a 22 minute show… What would it look like?

What would yours look like?

How about we make today amazing!


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