Of Pangolins and Teenagers

By: Terri Hayes

Of Pangolins and Teenagers 

One Christmas, my husband (Ron) and I had daughter #4 make some custom Christmas cards to give to our immediate family. She was running low on ideas for cute kid cards for our grandchildren. So I talked to daughter #2 to ask what her kids are currently into to give daughter #4 some ideas. She told me both of her kids were really into pangolins lately. I’m like, oh yeah, penguins would make a cute card! Not penguins, pang·guh·luhnz. “What’s that?” I asked her. She told me it was like a scaly anteater. So, of course I google them. I was in a hurry, so I peeked, was not impressed, thought they were rather ugly and the next time I chatted with daughter #2 gave her my opinion. She rebutted with, “awe, but they’re so cute!” Knowing this daughter is drawn to cute things like kittens, I thought maybe I should give pangolins another look-over. After giving pangolins a little more time and attention, I could see them more from daughter #2’s perspective although the word I would use is more like “cool.” Their scales look dragon-like, and their defense is to roll up into a ball. Very cool! So, now I’m a pangolin fan rather than pangolin hater.  

Now, on to teenagers. Well, transport back to when I was a teenager anyways. As I’ve mentioned before, I was a thoroughbred tomboy. As I approached high school, social cues told me that I should be liking boys… you know, in the hand-holdy type way. I struggled to transition from being “one of the guys” and competing with and against them, to trying to like them and date them. I didn’t feel like I was dating material and apparently the guys didn’t either.  

I have a sister that is a year and two weeks younger than I am. She had the cute girly figure, the flirting smile, liked proper girly things, and literally had herds of boys following her around.  

So, all I had to do to catch a boy’s attention and start getting asked out on dates was to watch how my sister and the cheerleader type girls acted and follow suit. It was a horrible attempt! Any time we try and be something we’re not, it’s disturbing if not downright creepy! I’ll not go into detail but let’s just say it didn’t get me the results I was hoping for.  

Trying to be something or someone you are not is exhausting. Besides that, if you gain friends or boyfriend/girlfriend in that manner, they “like” someone that isn’t really you! You attract others that aren’t really “your people.” I think this is common for teenagers, and truth be told, we get sucked into this as adults as well. Wanting to be part of a community is an inherent need and can cause us to wander out of integrity with who we are at times – trying to act or be a certain way to fit in with whatever group we want to be a part of.  

Me not liking the pangolin right off the bat did not mean there was anything wrong with the pangolin. It was ALL about where I was in my understanding of pangolins. The pangolin had always been cool and interesting, I just missed out on that because of my lack of interest or knowledge. The same is true about you and me! You are awesome, I am awesome, and if someone doesn’t like me or you or anyone else, it’s all about what’s going on (or not going on) in THEIR mind and doesn’t affect our awesomeness! Could you imagine what our world would look like if we all just went about being ourselves and attracting the people that resonate with the real us? No pretending or faking. All the mind drama that is taken up trying to figure out how to fit in could be directed towards making the world a better place just by being me and you just being you! No one, I mean no one is liked by everyone! Even the nicest people have haters. If someone doesn’t like you, it has everything to do with them and where they currently are in life and in their present thinking and has nothing to do with you. If someone doesn’t like me, that’s ok. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. Do you like everyone all the time? As I’ve thought about this, I truly would rather have a fan club on one side and haters on the other. It shows I’m standing up for something. Showing up in the world. Expressing myself. If everyone were to like me, it may indicate that I’m hiding and not giving my all because I don’t give enough to love or hate. I’m just existing.  

Brené Brown said, “If you trade your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment, and inexplicable grief.”  

There may a price to pay for hiding and not living your truth. 

As I look back on teenage me, I wish I could convince her the world needed her just as she was, not a lousy copy-cat of someone else! I wish I could assure her that what people think of her has nothing to do with her worth whatsoever. But alas, I cannot. However, I can learn from that and be 100% me now. I can love me for who I am now and look forward to the person I will grow into, focusing on what I am vs what I am not. So, go out there and be yourself! Attract those that are like-minded and use your mental resources to adore your life and elevate the world around you! 

Comment below your favorite attributes about yourself. 

High Five!

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3 Words That Will Transform Your Relationship

By: Andelin Price

The words we say MATTER!  Every word we use carries with it a vibrational frequency.  If you want to get into the science of this idea, you can look it up.  But the fact is, words carry emotion. 

Here’s an example.  When you think of the word darkness, what do you feel?  I immediately feel a little bit lower, heavier, closed off.  When I hear the word light, I feel lifted. My heart opens up a little bit.  Go ahead; try it.  Choose a few words and check in with your body, to see what kind of vibration they carry for you.  A word can be connected to different emotions for different people, depending on their life experience.  

It’s ok if you don’t know the specific emotion attached to every word (that would take a long time!).  It’s enough to know if the word feels more closed or open; more constricting or more expansive. 

How does this apply to Marriage? 

When you were about to be married, what was the advice you received?  Most of us are told things like, “Marriage is hard. You have to learn to compromise,” or “marriage requires a lot of sacrifice.”  (It’s a wonder any of us got married at all, with this kind of advice! But I digress.) 

I am on a mission to change the language we use to describe our relationships, particularly in our long term intimate relationships.  Here are 3 common offenders: 

  1. Compromise 

Compromise sounds good, at first.  It’s like, yeah, I want to be flexible, easy to work with, or accommodating.  But it actually means that everyone has to give up something they want.  So basically, in a compromise,  everyone gets a “sorta crappy” deal.  “Compromised” can mean being exposed to an enemy, or jeopardized.  Not my favorite way to think about the workings of a marriage partnership. 

 Collaboration, on the other hand, feels so much more open.  It suggests that we put our heads together and create a way for everyone to have what they want. We find a way to create here there is enough room for everyone’s needs to be met.  Where everyone gets equal say.  And when everyone has what they need, we empower each other and our relationship benefits.  

  1. Sacrifice 

I’m sure we’ve all been told the importance of sacrifice in a marriage.  The message is something like this: marriage requires sacrifice.  You should sacrifice what you want for the good of the family.  Merriam-Webster defines sacrifice this way: “destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else.”  And I’ll tell you that when I thought I needed to sacrifice what I needed for the sake of others, it certainly felt destructive to me. 

Sacrifice is a scarcity word.  It says that there’s not enough to go around, so someone has to go without. Because there really is enough to go around, for everyone’s needs to be met (and then some).  

 Rather than sacrificing, I now choose to give. When a child needs my attention in the middle of the night, I don’t “sacrifice” my sleep.  I am choosing to give up a little sleep so that my child will feel cared for.  It’s a worthwhile exchange, in my opinion.  And, when I am in need of some self care, I give myself that, even if it requires someone else to wait until I’m ready to give them my attention.   

I know that when I give myself the care I need, I am so much better able to be there for others.  As the saying goes, you can’t give from an empty cup.  Thing is, I fill my own cup; nobody else can really do that for me. 

Where and how to give of myself isn’t always an easy balance point to find, but sacrificing too much is ALWAYS going to feel  out of balance. And when giving, there is no resentment, only Love. 

  1. Selfishness 

I see a lot of people, women especially,  misunderstanding what selfishness is.  She might want to take some time to connect with friends, get a haircut, or take a nap, but she won’t do it because she’s telling herself it would be selfish.  Sometimes she won’t allow others to serve her because she’s worried of being seen as selfish. 

Selfish feels like such a dark, icky word to me.  It’s not that selfishness doesn’t exist; it definitely does.  But most of the time, a mom who spends most of her time in the care of others is the furthest thing from it.  But due to cultural messaging, she doesn’t know the difference between true selfishness and honest self-care. 

Instead of telling myself I’m selfish for taking care of myself, I remind myself that I can be willing to receive. In the past if a friend or family member offered to help, I would deflect.  I remember a time when we were newly married and had a young child, I had mentioned to a friend how it had been so long since I had vacuumed my home. Instead of saying, “well, let me know if I can help with that,” she asked where the vacuum was, and she vacuumed my living room right then and there. Admittedly, it was a little uncomfortable for me (even though I was thankful for her help). Because I was not accustomed to receiving. When help was offered, I would think, “I should do everything myself. I don’t want to be a burden.”  What I didn’t realize is that I wasn’t allowing others the opportunity to give, because I wasn’t willing to receive their gift.  So not only was I making it harder for myself, I was also preventing them from having the blessing of serving me.  

 For the past few years, my husband’s work schedule has often allowed him the time to cook dinner for our family. In the past I felt a little bit uncomfortable when my husband would cook. I saw it as “my job” and that I should be the one doing it.  But now, after a few conversations with him about it, I understand that it’s a gift he wishes to give to me and the rest of the family.  Now I gratefully receive it.  And in receiving, all are blessed with greater feelings of love for one other.  It has created a more expanded and equal partnership for us.  

Being intentional about the words you use can create more expansiveness in any relationship. I know it sounds simple, but it’s true.  I know, because I’ve experienced it.  I have seen the shifts in my own life toward more expansiveness just by changing the words I use.  I would love to hear how this works for you. 

With Love, Andelin 

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