Before I give you a window into one of my sessions I want to know something…
- Have you ever experienced a “know-it-all” and it really irritates you?
- Have you ever experienced someone go directly to “problem solving mode” when all you needed was someone to just listen to you?
- Do you know someone who is “right” all the time and it costs you your happiness.
Well, if you are like me, you may have seen people do this many times. You may also be guilty of it, as well. I am, too, because we are all human and I certainly have seen kids experience this first hand.
And let’s face it if our kids see “know-it-all” behavior, they will follow suit.
How can we change it??
We think we need to know everything, fix everything, and do everything!! When in reality we need to:
Know less and listen more.
This past week,I entered into a client’s home and was greeted with, “Hi Di Ana. I feel sooo guilty saying this, I feel like an awful mom, but my kid is downright annoying!! Every response now is “I know, I know, I know.” He is not listening at all and I feel my 6 year-old is going on 16!”
I responded, “Part of it is age.”
“What’s the other part?”
I asked, “Is anyone in the family a “know-it-all?”
Quickly she replied, “My husband is and I feel like I spend so much time proving my points around this house. I feel awful. I never put it together.”
I remind her that she is putting it together now. Sometimes when patterns develop we just need to STAY CURIOUS so we can learn more and make changes.
There is no awful in any of this. I lead with compassion and understanding because:
Compassion and understanding are the catalysts for change.
No shame phrases in my world! No, I am the worst mother, and OMG I did this! Be gentle with yourself.
Changing history is changing ourselves. Our kids reap the benefits.
Here’s the deal: children learn what they live, right?
- If parents rarely listen to one another, a child will do the same.
- If everyone in the household has to be “right” all the time, a child will do the same.
- If we always jump in with what we “know” and we don’t stop to listen and ask questions, a child will do the same.
And our kids will drive us nuts sometimes. This is a fact. Feeling awful and beating yourself up changes nothing. Compassion and understanding changes everything.
Who we are is what our children become.
Be more gentle with yourself because the less we criticize ourselves the less our children will criticize themselves and feel like that have to “know it all.”
I think not needing to prove ourselves is very underrated. Don’t you??
How awesome would it be to have a child that could choose being happy over being right? How awesome would it be to have children that own their worth without always needing to “prove” themselves?
So as Gandhi said, ”Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
Simply stay curious, need to know less and listen more. Let me know how it works out. I want to know.
I am such a Gemini. For a long time, I wore it as my badge. I would make excuses for my Dark side and blame it on my astrological sign.
Listen, we all have a little darkness, but my darkness wasn’t just the normal ebbs and flows of life. It was biting, hopeless, and so far down the rabbit hole of despair no one would no what to do.
In short, I needed to learn another way to cope.
Here’s the Di Dark side skinny (I’ll use my acting career as an example):
I was down to the end for a dream job, call back after call back, and then crickets. Well the CRICKETS would send me into a tailspin of anger; of being jealous of anyone I knew who was doing well. If someone asked how I was, I would say, “shitty” (after all a Gemini is honest!!) but in reality I was hopeless and pissed. At the core I believed nothing would ever go my way.
And nothing did!! Until…I changed my thinking.
Now, when I am down for the count I get up again and keep opting in as opposed to “peacing out” in a very unpeaceful way. Make sense? I also learned that when I decided to be practical I equated it with hopeless so I needed to know what I was up to.
There is a distinction between practical and hopeless.
Practical is logical and still in the game. Hopeless is dark and out of the game.
At the end of the day what I want for you, and what I want for me, is to continue pursuing our dreams and make them a reality. But you have to learn how to manage disappointment.
So, when you get disappointed:
- Notice that you are disappointed. It might sound basic, but we often don’t admit the truth and go right to the defense. So, admit that you are indeed disappointed.
- Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters! AKA the friend who is going to take you out of the dark and listen to you. This person needs to be someone who is nurturing and will take the time to hear you out.
- Make an actual concrete plan—notecards, a word document, record yourself—whatever it is that helps you to OPT BACK IN. Write the list and do it. Action combats disappointment!
I also want you to know that disappointment is a given.
It will be a part of the road—no matter what. You pursue love, you pursue your dream job, you are raising your kids—whatever it is, disappointment is a part of life. You just need a game plan to manage it.
Remember, I am always in your corner.
Out of the Dark side and into the light—JeDi style.
If you have followed my blog for a minute you know I just turned 40 and I am wearing it proud. A dear friend (more like family, really) took me out for a birthday dinner at the champagne bar at the Hi Line Hotel. It’s a little piece of heaven. Everyone needs to go.
So, in my little piece of heaven, my dear friend said, “Di Ana, we wanted to do something amazing for you and here is what we came up with: taking you shopping at Barney’s for some new clothes! You deserve it!”
I love fashion. Di skinny: I accumulated almost all my credit card debt in my 20’s and early 30’s shopping on the 5th floor at Bergdorf Goodman. Not proud of it but it’s true. I ((love)) the finer things …
40 year-old Di Ana is responsible. She’s on a mission to help people create a life they love filled with extraordinary relationships. I still love Barney’s but it’s not what I needed this birthday.
My friend could sense this (as I said they are basically family) and she kindly replied, “Di, whatever you want, whatever you need. You let me know. Barney’s or beyond. Just let me know.”
We had a dream dinner and I found myself in the next scene laying in my bed, dizzy from all the Moët, thinking about what I really desire. What do I want to create?? My answer was ((so)) clear. I want to write my book!
Next morning I am on the phone with one of my best friends, Lisa, who wrote not one, but TWO books and she said, “Di Ana you ((MUST)) write your book. This summer is the perfect time. Here is what it cost to write mine. Ask for that amount and be specific with why. You will write this book. Go ask, now.”
Again, surround yourself with people who raise you up!
I hang up the phone and call my incredibly generous friend with the Barney’s offer on the table and I hear a phrase I tell clients all the time:
THE WORTHINESS IS IN THE ASK.
Today, I’m walking my talk. My friend picks up the phone immediately, which surprised me because she’s running a company. How does she always have time for me? And then I gently tell myself, “Di Ana, let people love you the way you love them.”
In three very grounded and clear sentences I graciously say thank you for the Barney’s offer and share my dream of writing my book this summer.
My friend says, “Amazing idea! I remember when I was building my company and we just needed money to do things. Handbags were an afterthought. I totally get it. How much do you need?”
I gave her the number and she replied, “We will be happy to support you!”
I hang up the call feeling ecstatic! This is amazing. I am going to write this book. Whatever they give me I’ll use towards the book and figure out the rest.
On my way home that night, my doorman says there is something for me. He hands me an envelope. (not even 24 hours has gone by!) I am truly amazed with what becomes possible when we simply ask for what we need.
I open the envelope and there is a check for the entire amount! I start to cry. It feels like I won the lottery.
My tears are not only for the amazing generosity of these friends, but that they believe in me, and that I am lucky enough to have these kinds of people in my life.
That is the greatest gift of all.
This summer I will be writing my book.
I invite you to always surround yourself with people who raise you up and see possibility–your possibilities. Ask for what you need.
You are worthy of it all.
For most of my whole life I thought I would be happy when…
But what I found was that happiness does not come in the form of money, love, a dream job, or the perfect body. I have grazed all of the above, from time to time, and still was never fully happy. Why?!
Answer: I didn’t know how to cope.
I wish finding happiness had more sex appeal. I wish it was surfing trips to Costa Rica, starring on Broadway, and having that passionate love in your life. Truth is those are momentary; beautiful and to be celebrated when they happen but you will eventually come home from Costa Rica, the Broadway show will probably close at some point, and that passionate love affair becomes more “normal” and you start feeling less psyched about your life.
This is the ebb and flow of our life—the EKG, if you will. So it is critical that we learn how to cope.
Brief “Di Coping” skinny: I used to think that my parents needed to fix things for me. I ((LOVED)) blaming them instead of learning how to fix things myself. Then when I started dating men, it became their job to make things better. My coping was very impulsive: spending too much, dating the wrong men, and operating on a high level of adrenaline to feel better. No one taught me how to cope. So, I was dependent on others to cope for me.
How did I learn how to cope??
Step one: getting a rock star therapist who taught me. At first, I had some super sexy resistance, but slowly I began to understand. Truthfully, my therapist taught me how to parent myself. I know it’s not inspiring to think about parenting yourself. I would love to say I surfed my way to enlightenment or my Broadway career made coping a breeze but it’s just not a reality for me. Here’s the deal:
Coping isn’t always sexy, but it is essential to creating happiness.
Step two: implementing my learning. Any self-development IS MEANT TO BE IMPLEMENTED, not just “talked about”. I am not into emotional masturbation. Translation: you have so much self-awareness but don’t hold yourself accountable to behavioral changes . DiAna example: I dated the wrong men. I could always tell you why because I had amazing psychological theories to back it up and I still would make the wrong choices! I stayed in the emotional awareness and didn’t change behavior.
Knowing what you do is very different than DOING what you know.
It isn’t always so fun. To be honest I made some choices just this week that were pretty painful. A man I love resurfaced but I know he doesn’t want a relationship. But I do. Period. We can do that same dance again for 2 more years-the dance that got me nowhere. It was fun and I enjoyed it, but it’s not what I want now. So here’s how the feelings play out:
- OMG I am gonna grow old, alone.
- No one will ever connect with me the way he does.
- Maybe I should reach out one more time.
Actually dealing with those feelings and implementing my new actions has really been crucial for me. It puts me in charge of my own life.
I created happiness by coping and I am honestly the happiest I have ever been.
I truly believe:
Happiness is not found. It is mindfully created and executed by you—everyday.
So here’s to coping better and knowing that at anytime you can choose to grow into the person you wish to be, and I think that’s pretty rad.
Do people still say rad? Well…I do.
And I must work on #2: FREE MY MIND FROM WORRIES.
I am both embarrassed and relieved to share this story. However, it is useful because I believe the list above can guide you no matter where you are on your journey and we can all relate to it in some way.
So allow me to introduce Gazpacho…
Possibly the cutest dog ever and possibly the greatest teacher of mine. Why? Well, when Gazpacho was 2 years old he was diagnosed with a neurological illness. I became a fierce mama bear, and it also summoned a lot of paralyzing worry. I basically gained a PhD in worrying and convinced myself that my catastrophic way of thinking was always THE TRUTH.
I kept thinking that if you worry about it first, you will stop it. Anybody with me? Well, this accomplishes nothing!
WORRYING STOPS NOTHING AND CAN COST EVERYTHING.
I always tell my clients that worry is a happiness stopper. Don’t you love that fancy psychological term? But it is the truth. You cannot worry things away or prevent tragedy from happening.
So back to Gazpacho … spoiler alert … HE DOESN’T DIE.
I went away this weekend with my mom, here. Beautiful, right?
I got a call from a friend who asked, “Should I run Gazpacho to the emergency room? He is not doing well.” He told me the symptoms and I was at worst-case scenario in a breath. Umm…I even went as far as thinking about his toy fish and how it needed to be cremated with him because I couldn’t bear to see it after he was dead. High drama happening, folks! I thought of every angle of disaster—my PhD worrying in full action.
The next day, Gazpacho’s appointment is at 12:30 p.m. (so much morning time to worry) so I went to SoulCycle. I started envisioning all the food I would eat post tragedy, so I had to sign up for bike 10 to offset the pint of ice cream that was going to go down post appointment.
In the taxi ride to the appointment I am talking to the little red travel bag that houses Gazpacho (this could be our last taxi ride. More sadness, more worry sets in) and even the taxi driver is consoling me and talking to Gazpacho from the front seat. As I said, high drama, folks–high drama! I finally sent Gazpacho back to be examined. I sat in the waiting room for what seemed like eternity and the doctor came out and said, in much more involved medical terms—he’s fine. Yes, his arthritis is bad, but he just has a stomach bug and I think he missed you.
I left Animal Medical hospital feeling like a moron and quickly forgave myself (go me!!) BUT I vowed that THIS has to stop. I have been prepping myself for the past 8 years for Gazpacho to die and he is living despite this disease. This pattern of preparing for the worst to cope has to stop.
What I took away from all of this is that we all have something or many things that paralyze us with worry. Our kids aren’t doing well in school, our love life keeps breaking our hearts, we aren’t where we want to be in our careers, etc. and the high drama begins. We all need a way to cope. I get it. But worrying is not the way.
You can dress rehearse disaster or you can live in and savor each moment, but you can’t do both.
Manage disaster if and when it happens. Worrying will only make the challenging times more difficult. You have all the tools you need to make it through and if you don’t, make it your mission to learn how to get them.
So, whether it’s for “Gazpach0-like moments” or anything else, tell worry to take a backseat and instead focus on all the good that is possible.
Free your mind from worries–it’s one of the ((many)) roads to happiness.