The lol’s of Communication

It seems this week’s topic for my blog page is communication. The idea came about one particular morning this week as I had just managed to get myself looking reasonable when suddenly I hear a loud beeping horn coming from a toll delivery van. Usually the delivery person beeps their horn and then comes to the door, however this time they beeped and stayed outside. I opened the door only to be summoned outside by the lady driver who was waving for me to come outside and grab the parcel from the van. “What”, I thought since when has a delivery driver turned up and asked for me to go to the van and collect the parcel? how inconvenient and rude were my next thoughts. I promptly yelled out to her saying that I needed to go and put some shoes on as the ground was wet. For me to go and get shoes or should I say slippers in this case, I had to bolt upstairs to my bedroom. With slippers on I made my way back downstairs only to find the lady was standing at the front door with the box. Hello, now I was really confused, my mind was all over the place wondering what had just happened, after all I did race up those stairs so it wasn’t as though she had been kept waiting, yet here she stood at the door. It must have been one of those mornings in which I don’t really take certain situations as well as I should, my mindset was quite negative by now, yet I managed to approach her calmly for manners sake. She asked for my name so that she could put it into her little gadget in her hand. My name usually does cause problems so this is not unusual. It took several attempts for her to make out that my name was spelt ANU. I signed the gadget with my signature, thanked her while closing the door and couldn’t help myself but start laughing out loud at what had just taken place.

That morning’s hilarious episode while possibly more funny for me, as you would have needed to be there or been in my slippers to appreciate the moment, it got me thinking about all the different situations we can come across in communicating with people.


It really is frustrating when you are trying hard to convey a message to someone who will more than likely be listening from their perspective at that moment. Both parties have their own preconceived ideas and thoughts so when communication is taking place it can turn into a verbal table tennis match. Both are trying to convey a message from their point of view and each person can get more and more frustrated as it seems no one understands anyone.


One of the worst places for this to take place is on social media such as face book. With social media you are unable to physically see the person you are talking with so the communication can get right off track. While I know myself that it is generally best to stay away from controversial discussions on face book there has been those occasions in which I just had to jump in due to my own point of view, yes stupid know! Each time this has happened my eyes have opened a little more to the battle really going on with communication. The person posting the controversial topic has something they want to communicate and me the reader jumps in to comment having a different opinion to the other person. With all of my own values, beliefs and opinions I the reader believe my comment is making sense yet the other person is so set on their campaign that they are not even hearing what I might be saying. All of the comments to the said controversial post that are of a different view or opinion to this person are not being heard, as the other person is consumed with their own channel of thought. We all do it.


While it is so wonderful that human beings have the ability to use language for communicating it does make one wonder how on earth do messages ever get received and sent properly.


Language itself is only one piece to the puzzle of communication, there is body language, tones used and other cultural differences which make a conversation quite challenging at times. We carry with us previous situations which can influence the way we receive a message that someone is trying to convey.


Communication within our own families is often put to the test with each member having their own perspective. Within a family setting it is all too easy to speak out quickly without taking too much notice as to what is truly being said. We can sort of slacken off so to speak, as families can be themselves at home. Whereas when we are communicating with people outside of our family we tend to consider the other person more thoughtfully as we don’t want to appear to be rude.


Life itself can take its toll with all of the busyness we each need to attend to on a given day making it quite the challenge to slow down enough to really hear what someone is saying. I think it is worth reminding ourselves that when we interact with people inside and outside of our homes that it is not merely words that are going to be heard. People are going to hear our tone of voice; they are going to watch our body language in that exchange. While I am still confused about what took place with the toll delivery driver that morning I’m glad that I managed to control myself and not let my own frustration be taken out on her that day.


I wish I could say that I am like that in every situation, but the truth is I am not! I have improved though which is a good thing. When I struggled with low self-esteem I took everything to heart and was unable to slow down and consider the situation without taking it personally. This meant that simple conversations that were a little more on the serious side had me on edge pretty much the whole time as I was convinced I was going to end up the loser by the end of it.


When we consider our own vulnerabilities or areas within us that are yet to be resolved it helps to consider that when communication is going all wrong that perhaps the other person also has unresolved issues. Imagine if we could actually see all of what it really takes when two people are communicating beyond the words used.


I would love to hear from you about a funny breakdown in communication that you have experienced! It would be great to have more of an interaction going on rather than me always doing the talking.

Comment in the section below and make someone’s day with your funny story.

Does a Perfect Day exist?

This past week there has been two words that have hijacked my thoughts, “perfect conditions”. I found myself thinking about how life seems to have so many imperfect situations. This isn’t the only time that I have considered this thought however each time  the conclusion  I end up with tells me that  ‘there will always be something difficult going on in our lives in some area’. I don’t know about you but I am someone who tends to lean more towards being a perfectionist, so when conditions are far from perfect I find that it requires extra effort to stay motivated and believe that things are going to work out regardless.  My greatest battles for moving forward have been in the midst of less than perfect conditions.

In life there are situations that necessitate ‘perfect conditions’ in order for something to be successful. What are some of those situations? A brief google search on when to climb Mt Everest and when not to, describes weather patterns and conditions to watch out for when making a decision about when to climb. While the conditions are never perfect for climbing there is a particular time of the year which ensures a more successful climb. There is what they call ‘the window’, which is a 4-5 day period of stable weather. This window turns up every year around the 23rd May; it is described as a period of ‘perfect weather’.

OK so climbing Mt Everest has never been a dream of mine so how about some of the everyday situations that are more likely to take place requiring ‘perfect conditions’.

Baking a Cake? Alright, to bake a cake you measure up the ingredients and follow the instructions on the recipe. You make note of the oven temperature and make sure it is set at the right heat and wait the required amount of time it takes to cook the cake for success. If it is not in there long enough it won’t be cooked and in too long the family will not be impressed with a burnt crusty cake!

Successful Mt Everest climbs require stable weather and cooking cakes need the right amount of ingredients and oven temperature/time for success. You may think of other situations that require ‘perfect conditions’ to work, unfortunately since I don’t have the perfect conditions in this household such as a maid (I wish)  to do all my work I don’t have time to keep thinking of more examples.

Does the perfect day exist?

A little bit like the Mt Everest climbs we may prepare for our day to run smoothly by planning ahead taking into consideration everything needed to get things done on a given day. You may be on track with your schedule and then something unplanned happens, redirecting the course of your day. Unlike Mt Everest climbs that can turn deadly when weather conditions suddenly change, the sudden unexpected disruptions or changes in our schedule are usually of no physical harm to us. Yes we can get stressed and frustrated yet we make it to the end of the crazy day still intact.

For a perfect day to exist it would mean that everything in life at that time would need to be perfect. For me that would require that my husband, kids and I would be perfect. IMPOSSIBLE!!! If we can’t get everything working perfectly in our day and if we can’t get people being perfect in our day then the perfect day can’t exist. Read more about feelings @  Fickle Feelings.

After getting married and having children you could say that the ‘perfectionist’ in me had to make room for error. On any given morning no one knows which member of the family is going to be in a bad mood or who is going to have a bad day. In a household we all get to hang out together and experience each other’s shifting moods. You may wake up feeling great and then someone else in the household isn’t so great, perhaps their moodiness finally catches onto you and then there goes your great day. Fortunately for our family’s sake we aren’t going to walk out the door on a bad day and not come back. As experience over the years shows us that while today is a bad day tomorrow can be better. We keep doing life and family regardless of the less than perfect conditions.

These less than perfect conditions are often opportunities for growth and change. Every person has the possibility of being selfish or to react with bad attitude. Family scenarios can show us what we are made of and highlight areas we may need to deal with. They are opportunities in which we learn to forgive and communicate.

Sometimes in life we can put things off because we are waiting for the ‘perfect conditions’. I used to believe that I was unable to help anyone if my own life had problems! Or that somehow I was less than other people as they seemed to have all their problems sorted. It is all too easy to look from the outside believing that other families have it all together. We have little conversations in our head saying; if they (the Jones’s) knew what our family was really like………  

There will always be something to work on, some obstacle to overcome, some challenge to persevere through. While it may seem as though you are alone in the struggle, you are not alone. Others do go through stuff too! It may not be talked about or broadcast to the neighbourhood; however no one is immune to difficulties in this life time.

Thankfully the ‘perfect conditions’ or the lack thereof don’t need to dictate where our lives and families are headed. We can allow for issues to be worked out when we are reacting and we can choose how to respond to our imperfect day or imperfect life. There is always room for growth and it tends to happen in our imperfect situations.

Don’t believe for a minute that your life needs to be all in order and perfect to be the person you are destined to be. We are always changing and growing through different seasons in life which will guarantee imperfect situations.

So waiting for that ‘perfect day’ could keep you stuck, how about giving yourself permission to LIVE and ENJOY life right now!

 

Reference: http://www.mounteverest.net/expguide/toclimb.htm

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Authentic You

To be authentic means to be an original rather than a copy of someone else. In a world bombarded with subtle and unattainable messages of what it takes to be accepted it can become all too easy to fall into the trap of wanting to be someone else. As a young person many decades ago I was striving hard to be noticed which meant that it was of utmost necessity to be seen wearing the latest trends in clothing, especially the correct style of Jeans! I can remember as though it was yesterday the intense desperation I felt to get my hands on a particular pair of branded jeans. Back then the branded jeans were very pricey $$$ as they are today, and the fact that the jeans were from a particular store made them very popular. I remember the moment and how I felt when I got home and put those jeans on, it was so cool and I was very excited to join all the other teenagers who were wearing these trendy jeans.

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The excitement was short lived once I decided that I didn’t look as good in those jeans as others did, my bum was too flat! All of a sudden I was so focused on the issue of body shape that I began to dislike these expensive jeans. Every time I put them on I was thinking about how ugly I looked in them. Somehow I had convinced myself that if I didn’t have the right shaped body then I was a reject and would not be as cool as all the other girls who were perfectly proportioned. The desire to have the right clothing and the body to go with it felt like a never ending marathon.

If it wasn’t clothing or body shape that spoiled my week then it was my hair! The teenage girl magazines to this day feature photos of young girls with amazing hair do’s. I would look through these types of magazines and imagine how I could get my hair to look as good. Occasionally I would pick a photo and take it to a hairdresser asking them for the same hairstyle that the model in the picture had. Each time I left the hairdressers feeling disappointed as it was apparent that the look that I saw in the magazine was completely different to the look that I saw in my bedroom mirror. If it wasn’t the 80’s spiral perm that failed me it was the flicky thing we did with our hair back in the day.

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One side of my hair flicked back perfectly while the other side was always temperamental and did everything BUT flick back. The obsession to fitting in and being accepted ruled my life and I would say that my struggle with ‘low self-esteem’ was of no help either.

When I think back to those younger days and my desperation of acceptance one can only imagine how much harder that would be in the current climate we live in. For this reason I am writing this particular blog in the hopes that I can remind individuals younger and older that we only need to be ourselves. To be someone we are not means that we can lose sight of who we are supposed to be. Changing to be like someone else is not limited to clothing or looks, this need to be like someone else can move into the area of our behaviour.

Individuals can end up so desperate for acceptance that they may even go so far as disowning their own values and begin behaving unlike themselves, believing they will be more accepted or popular. This only highlights the great need that humans have of being accepted.

Personally I believe that if acceptance requires you to throw out your true values then something is wrong, whether it is with a group of people or the acceptance of that one person.  Ultimately it is really difficult to continue living a certain way when you know deep down it isn’t really you.  Everyone needs to feel that they belong. If belonging to a group means you have to change who you are and all that you value it is worth looking at finding another group.

Guard your values and your own unique sense of self, whether that be your own personal style of dress or interesting personality. Anyone worth having in your life will accept you as YOU! Imagine a world in which young people or older felt comfortable and content in being authentic.

If we get distracted and focused on becoming someone else we tend to forget what we are good at and our own unique purpose in life. I can remember times in which I would be too consumed with the idea of who I wasn’t that it stopped me from trying anything. It was as though someone had come along and pushed the pause button on my life and everything just stood still with nowhere to go.

When I was at my worst with low self-esteem I used to think that it was only me suffering as it appeared everyone else was doing just fine! You would be surprised how many struggle with not feeling good enough or matching up to the other person we seem to fixate too. Of all the blogs that I have written so far since December 2015 the most views have been on the topic of ‘low self-esteem’. That tells me that there are many people around the globe who are feeling frustrated with themselves.

When you decide to live as the person you truly are in other words be ‘authentic’, it may mean that some people will not want to hang around anymore. I decided some time ago that I was not going to keep forcing relationships with people if it meant that I had to change who I was or the values I held. That can be difficult for someone who has felt rejection throughout their lifetime afterall who wants to feel left out. These are the choices we face to live authentic. Not everyone is going to applaud you when you live by your convictions and decide to do things differently to the rest of the crowd.

My own conviction is that as long as my heavenly father (God) is pleased with me then that is great. After all he made me in the first place and knows better than anyone what I was designed for and where I fit in the best.

All that we need to do is put our best efforts into what we are good at and the rest will work itself out along the way. Every person’s life is different including their purpose; while yours may look different it doesn’t mean there is no value in that. While there is an endless sea of people all around the globe I can guarantee that there is something unique about you. Start thinking about what that could be and then put that uniqueness to good use and you will find yourself getting more satisfied at being who you were made to be rather than wasting your precious energy on being someone you are not.

What is unique about you?

Its OK when plans don’t work to plan

There have been so many occasions in which I have suddenly begun thinking about how incredible this world is given how unique and individual people are. It is mind blowing to fathom the differences between millions of humans. How crazy is it that there are so many combinations to people’s appearance. That hair, eyes, personality can be put together in so many different ways. My youngest child who is now 9 yrs old used to use an app on his Nintendo called ‘Mii Maker’, which allowed  him to design characters from a selection of different looking eyes, mouth, hair and noses etc. He was able to arrange these items in whichever way   his creativity took him. Obviously this app is very limited when you compare to the vastness of human life and the diversities that exist.

Another mind blowing thought to consider are the differences that humans share in their life stories. Every human being that has ever been or ever will be or those of us that are here now have a very different background. No two families are completely alike! Beyond the obvious differences of gender and appearance there are these millions of individual journeys with each belonging to a person. These journeys begin the minute a child is born.

Humans are born with natural god given abilities and passions that tend to outline a picture (particularly to parents) as to what their child might be when they grow up. As children develop their natural abilities develop and inspire the child to head into a certain direction in life. At some point the growing child begins to plan out how they will fulfill their desired goals and dreams. In young adulthood there is so much excitement and buzz about the future that it is as if you can almost touch those dreams.

BUT…..

As life goes on we find that those dreams once so close are met with disappointment since the well thought out plans may not have gone to plan. These types of disappointments can lead to a sense of disillusionment for an excited young adult who may have grown up believing they were headed in a certain direction in life yet circumstances started taking them elsewhere almost without their permission.

When the best of plans don’t go in the direction you believed them to take you, does that mean there is no plan? Yes there is still a plan….

We can never guarantee that life is going to run smoothly and everything will fall into place exactly the way we had dreamed that it would. That A would lead to B and then C to D etc. Life is not perfect and never runs perfectly from one day to the next. Stuff happens beyond our control which can interfere with what we were planning to do.

The good news is that your passions and purpose are not limited to the stuff that happens beyond your control. While we may get utterly frustrated and begin believing that we won’t fulfill our purpose in life considering plans didn’t go to plan, the truth is we are often unable to see or understand why we go through stuff!!!!

While I am still on the journey to fulfilling my purpose in life if there is anything that I could say from my own experience it would be this; all of my roadblocks, disappointments, challenges, hurts and pain have worked in me a better plan then I could have put together myself. Our own plans generally don’t involve pain or disappointment, our plans are comfortable plans in which we imagine ourselves being happy and flourishing along in life doing what we love doing (I’m picturing an island scene here, you know the one in which you are relaxing on a comfy beach chair with drink in hand and the sound of the ocean putting you to sleep).  I think that most people don’t put their hand up and say they want to experience disappointment and setbacks,we want the easy road.

Had I not gone through some hard stuff I really don’t think that I could understand where another person is coming from when they are hurting? Naturally most people feel compassion for others yet unless you have gone through some hard stuff you may not truly relate to another person’s pain or experience.  Perhaps everything I have gone through in life so far has equipped me with more tools under my belt so to speak which can help me to connect with people beyond just the psychology text books that I am learning at the moment. You see my natural abilities have always been someone who loves to listen; I’m super sensitive to other people’s emotions and that of my own, when I see the wrong thing happening something inside of me rises up beyond my shell of introversion and says ‘enough is enough’, I’ve always been interested in why people do what they do. I had no plan of studying psychology! I hated school and did not do so well I was very average. Now that I am on this path of study I can see how the plan is still working together for the future. My experiences plus what I am learning in this course will give me greater abilities to help others.

Your dreams and passions may not be to help people like mine are! However the principles are the same, in life we go through hard stuff which tends to work in us a much better version of who we wanted to become in the first place. It is a journey which takes time to unfold. Sometimes we get impatient and want to hurry things along but take it from me a ‘mid-lifer’; enjoy the journey you are on and try not to hurry to your destination too fast.

Although life so far may not have gone to plan there is still a plan; however it is usually quite different to what we originally thought it would be. It is usually better than we thought it would be. Don’t rush! Don’t think that you will never fulfill your purpose simply because those best plans have not worked out. Those plans that haven’t worked out are more likely apart of the plan! It is just that we don’t normally like it when things don’t work out.

We all have a purpose, a unique contribution to life which will look different for each of us. The plan does not stop unfolding even though your plans haven’t worked out. I personally have a faith in God which allows me to trust that even he knows what’s best for me to fulfill my purpose.

Be Encouraged Today!

Our lives may not always LOOK  fbe9c2dfe740a8313854d7b0318b8d0b (2)  like they are headed in the right direction but don’t let that stop you from doing what you love doing. As eventually you will see how it all comes together in ways you could never have orchestrated yourself.

The most beautiful and valuable artwork that only the rich can afford takes precious time and patience to piece together.

Your life and purpose is that artwork.

Tension between parent and adult child

Being a parent is a great privilege and an immense responsibility. The privilege that I have experienced in nurturing five children has enriched my own life on so many levels. You don’t really understand how much you can love someone unconditionally until you have your own child. They are no less apart of you from the womb to the day they leave home. On children’s worst days you love them, whether they are having a two year old temper tantrum or a teenage mood swing. During the time that they are still young and even to teenage hood we still have a lot of influence over them. While there may be days that don’t go so well, overall they are happy to have you the parent in their world and for you to give them feedback/advice and support. Children in a fifth and sixth grade study described parents as the most influential people in their lives, often turning to them for affection, advice, enhancement of self-worth, and assistance with everyday problems (Berk, 2012 p. 577). In other words hanging out with the parents is still fairly normal and enjoyable as a young person.

Until suddenly there is tension….

This shift is what I want to talk about in this blog! My perspective comes from a mum’s point of view so for the dad’s it could look a little different. As a mum you have a very deep connection to your children for obvious reasons. It would not take too much research to understand why that would be the case. We carry a baby for 9 months, give birth and travel on a journey of nurturing and generally looking after these little ones that are in our care. After I had my first baby taking care of the second one was nowhere near as difficult, simply because when I had my first baby it was all very new and I had never gone through that experience before. Hours of reading on the topic of pregnancy and child birth can never truly prepare you for what it takes to be a mum. With the first child you are super cautious of everything! The minute something doesn’t look right you are racing to the doctor or baby clinic for reassurance that everything is on track and there is nothing horrible going on.

Being a first time mum and going through the learning journey of understanding how to take care of a baby, toddler, teenager and adult child all have one thing in common. When it is the first child you will be experiencing each new season for the first time. This means that even our best efforts of trying to keep informed, such as for example: the terrible two’s season, you really cannot be prepared for what it will look like for you and your child until you get there. When our children become  teenagers and begin to go through their transition in some ways we have more of an understanding in how to deal with them as we remember what we were like as teenagers and how we felt. When they are having their off days we are able to grant them some slack and be more empathetic towards them as we remember the time we experienced it for ourselves and the mood swings we had to deal with. In some ways it seems we are more prepared for that stage of a child’s life then we are for some of the other ones.

The aim of this blog is to simply bring some awareness of the time in which the teenage child is transitioning into adulthood. You may find that there is more tension in the relationship which is really a signal highlighting that a change in interaction within the relationship of the parent and the adult child is needed. When my first child hit that stage I was so consumed in my ‘midlife crisis season’ that I was oblivious to what may have been really happening at that time for him. There were many mistakes made on my part as a parent/mum, as I was not in the right frame of mind to be aware, let alone have the knowledge to know how to deal with it better. It was the first time I had an adult child so again I did not know what I was doing, let alone understand why I was feeling so conflicted. This ‘feeling’ felt as though I was being torn. At the time I had no idea why the reactions were so strong and painful yet later on after beginning the psychology course and coming across some information I became aware for the first time in my life that it was actually a ‘normal’ transition time to go through, and the feelings and struggles that he would have felt along with what I felt were actually ‘normal’ feelings. It is just that neither of us knew what was really going on at the time.

Adolescence is a time in which your child is developing their sense of self, separate from the parents. It is marked by two specific aspects; emotionally they are relying more on themselves and less on parents for support and guidance and behaviourally they are making decisions independently using their own careful judgement and the suggestions of other people in their world to come up with a well thought out course of action (Berk, 2013 p.578). As a parent one of the biggest areas that I did not understand was why or how  I had went from being a mum to suddenly just being (someone) in his eyes. When adolescents get better at their abilities to separate from parents it leads them to deidealise their parents, viewing them as “just people”. This is where learning about effective communication and allowing for the separation can help minimise the tension.

The timing of this change that occurs with adult children is often in line with the parents own development. While the child is confronted with a future filled with possibilities a midlife parent is coming to terms with the fact their own possibilities are becoming limited (Berk, 2013 p. 579). The tension or conflict that arises at this stage of a young adult’s life signals to the parent that an adjustment is needed in the parent-child relationship (Berk, 2013 p. 580).

Had I not taken on this psychology course I doubt that I would have ever been aware of these ‘normal’ tensions and conflicts between the parent and young adult.

While this is obviously just a small glance into the tensions and struggles that occurs between parents and young adults I hope that for those parents who are finding themselves at this stage can gain some insight into their situation.

Most parents don’t like conflict and no doubt children don’t like it either. To be able to understand that these seasons are in fact ‘normal’ can take the edge off and allow for a better relationship and transition process to occur between the parent and adult child.

Be encouraged today! You may feel as though you have failed as a parent, however, no parent is perfect. It is a learning process and when you learn you grow

 and become better for it.

Happy Parenting!

 ♥

Reference: Berk, L.E. Child Development, 2013 9th Edition.