A Strategy For Getting Off The Lonely Struggle Bus

Last week, I mentioned a strategy for making decisions – Best Case Scenario.  Well, we are going to use that same theory as a strategy to help you get off the Lonely Struggle Bus.

As you know, I teach that our feelings are created by our thoughts.  So in order for us to not feel lonely as much as we do, we need to get control of and change our thoughts.  

How?  

One way is by asking these questions next time you are feeling lonely.

  1. Why do I feel lonely? 
  2. What is the circumstance/situation that I think is making me feel lonely?  
  3. What are all the worst things I believe about this situation?
  4. Now, what are all the things that are great about this situation? (Best Case Scenario) 

Pick one of those thoughts from the last question and start putting that in your phone reminders, post it notes, mirror quotes, your car, etc.  Start fixing your eyes on that thought. 

Let’s take an example:

  1. Why do I feel lonely?

I don’t have anyone to eat with tonight for dinner.

2.  What is the circumstance that I think is making me feel lonely?

I don’t have a boyfriend/husband.  

3. What are all the worst things I believe about this situation?

There aren’t very many good guys out there.  I’m old.  Everyone else has a boyfriend.  I’m just boring.  I’m weird/fat/ugly.  I’m never going to find someone.

4.  What are all the things that are great about this situation?

I don’t have to go out with someone who annoys me.  I am not stuck in a bad marriage.  No one is abusing me.  I like who I am. I get to eat what I want to eat tonight.  I can go to sleep early.  I have time to work at a job or learning something new.  I don’t have to worry about him cheating on me like so and so.  God knows best.  I trust God.  

Then pick the best of the best thoughts and fix your mind on that.  

I know it sounds like it doesn’t work.  That’s because your brain naturally doubts and assumes the worst.  Just like it does with being at home by yourself for dinner.  You have to teach it not to be.  

So just do it.  What you’ve been doing hasn’t worked, right?

Do it for two weeks, and let me know how it goes.  

THEN – have your teen try it. Go through the same steps. Have her come up with both sides though. If you just give her the reasons to think positive, she’s just going to assume that you don’t understand and that you’re controlling her. Let her learn to go through the process as well. Trust me.

XO – Natalie

For The Kids Who Want A’s & Hate School

I have a client who doesn’t like school.  Oh, wait.  I have many clients who don’t like school.  

This client (meaning most of my clients) has good grades, studies ok, and wants to have straight As.  Her goal for next year is to have the highest A possible in all classes.

She also thinks school is a waste of time, a necessity, and boring.  

Do you see the problem?  I know you hear it at home, but do you see it?  

She wants one thing, but the very thing she wants, she doesn’t like.  

No wonder we all decide that tweens and teens are extreme and confusing!  

I mean, we adults, are NEVER like that.  

We don’t want to lose weight, but also hate the gym.  

We don’t want to be happy at our jobs, but talk about how bad our boss is.  

We don’t want to be on time, and then say that being late is “just who we are”.

Nope.  I’ve never said those things.  (You know I’m kidding, right?)

As much as we’d like to only see what our kids are going through as just being drama, it’s also what we struggle with. 

Why?  It’s our human brain.  

It’s cognitive dissonance – when one’s ideas, beliefs, behaviors are contradictory.  

Your kids are just beginning to really learn what it is and what to do when it happens.  

Cognitive dissonance is a great opportunity for growth as long as you are bringing attention to it to your mind.  

Once your brain becomes aware of it, it has a much better chance of reconciling the two.  

Awareness is the first step.  

And I’ll be talking next steps for this in my Back To School meeting for parents of tweens & teens on the 23rd.  More details to come!

Good To Great – Changing the Programming

A lot of parents struggle with teaching their non-go-getter teens to go get. 

Why would you be okay with a C or not work to to get on the athletic team they want to be on? Or perhaps a teen coasts at a B and doesn’t understand why why they should push themselves when a B isn’t “bad”.  

If you think about it, though, most of their life they have been programmed for “good”.  They have been programmed to not be “bad” and to certainly do “right”.  

As a previous teacher, I’m guilty of that.  I remember teaching my kids to always do the “right thing”.  

Seriously. What the heck does that mean to a middle schooler? 

Half the time they probably truly don’t know what the right thing is to do and then they have so many voices telling them what is “right”.  Their friends, their teachers, their parents, social media.  How do they know which voice is the right voice?  

Even a pastor, Francis Chan, wrote about it in one of his books.  We get so caught up with teaching our kids to just be good and follow the rules that we forget to invite them to be great.  

Our kids programming right now is to not be bad.  Some of them, as they exercise independence and decide their friends are more important, actually believe they are bad or they want to be bad.  

It’s programming.  It’s beliefs.  It’s years of their brain believing this is the way.  This is THE WAY.  Not from you. All of it – school, church, the world, sports, etc.

What I work on with them is recognizing those beliefs.  Then we work on changing those beliefs.  And then we use those beliefs to accept themselves for who they are and then go for the dreams written in their heart! If they don’t have dreams, we start tackling that too!  

We take down the good shell and we create a great life.  Full of work, wins, and failures.  And they will love it.  Because they are no longer trapped into not being bad.

They are invited to be great.  

Best Case Scenario – A Decision Making Tool

Here’s one tool I teach my clients.  Best Case Scenario.  

You have a decision to make. Let’s say there are two options. Decide now that both options will turn out to be perfect – exactly how you’d want them to go. If that were the case, which one would you choose?  

That’s it. That’s the tool. Seems so simple and not effective, right?  I know. But try it. 

Here’s an example.

Recently, my husband and I found a house that just had framing up and we loved the floor plan.  It was perfect for our small family. And, if we bought now, we could finish building it.  We’d get to pick all the things.  So fun!

However, it was located much farther from my 2nd job and it was outside of our big city.  Away from all the restaurants and shops and activities we like to do.

We had to decide and we had to decide fast if we wanted to pick all the things.

Do we sell our home in Atlanta which is smaller and farther away from Darin’s work, and buy the bigger, newer home outside of Atlanta, or do we stay?

If we stay, we have to save more money to buy the type of house we want in the area we want.  And we’re not completely sure we’d find a house with this great of a floor plan.  

So how did I finally decide? Best Case Scenario. If all things worked out, and we moved out to the suburbs and loved our house and neighbors and restaurants and shopping or if we stayed and we saved up money in the next year and a half and found an amazing house in this location, which one did I really want?  

We stayed.  

Using The Best Case Scenario takes off the need to analyze all of the what-ifs, the cons, and constantly think about what could go wrong.  It makes a decision out of strength and abundance, not fear and scarcity.  

It’s so simple, and so effective.

Try it out and let me know how it works for you. Then try to share it with your teen!