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These children are much older now!

 

Earlier this week a family member sent me a couple of parenting memes on Instagram.

One was about building grit in your teen by not giving them money.

This, on the day I had given over my check card (once again) to my son so he could fill his seemingly bottomless gas tank.

And another meme about all the soul-sucking time teens spend on their phones.

Which reminded me of my WIFI plan to shut off access after a certain hour… And how I made that plan three years ago and never followed through.

This led me into a deep rumination-dread cycle about college prep. After all, the twins are sixteen and I still haven’t done anything yet.

Which led me to wonder when I last checked in with the kids about grades this semester…

This was me inside my head: “You are not doing enough for your children! You give them too much money! And now they are going to turn into lazy, entitled moochers! You are too lenient with the devices! They will suffer from your permissiveness! And what about college? You need to step it up or they will miss opportunities and blame you all their life!!!”

As is typical of me when I am stuck in my less evolved self, I reacted quickly, in knee jerk style, and fired back a testy three paragraph retort to said family member.

Something about not parenting from fear and shame, the importance of learning responsibility over grit, and how hard it is to parent in these times but we are all doing our best.

It was all very cerebral and self righteous.

I told myself I was setting a boundary. Unsolicited advice and all that. And, deep down, I felt like she was judging me.

In response to my retort, this family member sent back a humble apology.

And upon reflection I considered the possibility that this family member may not have been trying to offer me unsolicited parenting advice out of a place of judgment. She may have just been trying to bond with me or innocently attempting to offer me, as a parent of teens, useful content.

Had this family member sent me a meme about the importance of shaving one’s legs, sure I would have found it a bit intrusive, but I would have laughed it off because I don’t shave my legs and I never will and if some people have a problem with it, they can deal.

I am quite confident in my choices with regard to body hair.

Regardless of the actual intent of this family member, the memes triggered me and the reason I got triggered was because I am decidedly not confident in my ability to adequately parent teenagers in these times.

Those memes touched a wound.

And instead of using this trigger as an opportunity for me to learn something about this wound, I chose to go into an old pattern. Knee jerk reaction + defensiveness + blame + denial (throw in a bit of self righteousness too).

In my head it sounded like this…

“What the hell?! Who asked for parenting advice??? How rude. Can’t this person see how evolved I am in my approach to parenting… well I’ll set a boundary right this very moment and let her know my thoughts!”

[head slap]

The good news, as you can see, is I’m on to myself. And this may be the time I finally get that whenever I want to engage in knee jerk behavior from a place of emotional density (fear, anger, shame, pride, you name it.), I’m likely acting from that less evolved part of me.

It took me a minute to get there but I finally found my way back to the more evolved part of me. Let’s call her Fran. No let’s not. Anyway… I realized that this whole situation was AFGO (another fucking growth opportunity) as are ALL TRIGGERS.

Here is what happened next. This is where I explain to you my 7 Step Process for Turning any Trigger into Ice Cream:

1 ) I forgave myself for acting in a knee jerk fashion without allowing myself time and space to see things from the more evolved part of me.

So self forgiveness is the first step if you catch yourself acting out from your lower nature.

2) I sat with this trigger and asked it what it needed to show me about myself and I learned that I have some wounding left over from my own teen years when I didn’t feel supported or seen. I journaled about this and offered myself compassion.

Get yourself a journal and try dialoguing with the trigger and the wounded part of you that your trigger ultimately wants to show you. What did that wounded part need? What didn’t they get at the time? How can you help that part of yourself feel seen and loved now?

3) I thought about what was realistic for me to do or change with regard to how I currently parent my own teens.

Now that you have loved yourself up, see if there’s any truth in the trigger and, with a big dose of humility, see if you can learn something helpful that will improve your life in some way.

4) I bought this family member some flowers and apologized for acting so impulsively.

If you acted on your trigger and others were impacted, take responsibility for your part. This requires more humility. It’s a muscle. If you have been stuck in the blame and shame cycle, as many of us have, your muscle might be a bit atrophied. That’s okay. You gotta start somewhere.

5) I felt really great about myself for eventually taking responsibility for my own shit and not avoiding it by staying comfortable in my victimy, self righteous story.

You’ve done most of the “heavy lifting” now so it’s time to congratulate yourself. You are evolving! This is the process! You are a spiritual rock star! Think about the kind of world we would live in if everyone took responsibility for their triggers.

6) I transmuted this mini life challenge into something positive to share with you via this blog post.

Because…

 “She could never go back and make the details pretty. All she could do was move forward and make the whole beautiful.” –  Terri St. Cloud

Don’t worry. You don’t have to blog about your life to complete this step. It happens naturally as you evolve into a person who knows how to learn from triggers. You become lighter. You laugh more. You forgive easier. You move through the world in a way that inspires others to learn and grow and the world becomes a better, more harmonious place. Consciousness is contagious, as they say.

7) I ate some ice cream.

And now it’s time for ice cream. Chose a flavor. For extra credit, post a picture and tag me. It will be our own little inside joke 😉

So there you have it. A seven step process to shift any trigger into ice cream.

My favorite flavor will always and forever be Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. What’s yours?