Over the next few weeks, I will be offering up some motherly advice to my older teenage children. I hope you find value in this lesson and the lessons to come. Some of the lessons touch on the specific tools I offer with my facilitation and coaching services. Tips for success, if you will, integrated into my own personal stories and experiences.
LESSON #1 — VALUES and BELIEFS
“Mom, for goodness sake, I’m a long way from getting married! I’m still in high school!” Although you have not yet seen this lesson, dear children, I am quite certain one of you will say something very much like this when you do.
This is true; however, the age you are now is the beginning stages of you as young adults getting to know yourselves. Your likes and dislikes. What makes you feel good and what makes you feel bad. Start paying attention to your values and beliefs and accept that as you age and experience your own heartbreaks and disappointments, these things will change.
VALUES: Definition – the worth, usefulness, or importance in comparison to something else. (ex. I value hotel vacations over camping vacations; I value steak & baked potato over seafood; I value annual travel vacations over brand new vehicles; I value having quality time for my family over living in a big fancy house; I value success and achievement in my career over staying home with children; I value community recognition over anonymity)
BELIEFS: Definition – trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something; an acceptance that a statement or concept is true or that something exists. (ex. I believe in monogamous relationships; I believe that men feel a stronger financial responsibility in a relationship than a woman does; I believe that women feel a stronger nurturing responsibility in a relationship than a man does; I believe we are in control of our own thoughts and feelings; I believe disagreements can be resolved without extreme anger or name calling or shaming or guilt manipulation; I believe we are all in control of our own destiny)
Find out what you genuinely believe and believe in and know without a doubt what is profoundly important to YOU! Do not let the rose-colored glasses and the warm fuzzy feelings of being in love keep you from knowing what YOU stand for as an individual. Do not allow yourself to become an extension of another person because you will wake up one day and not have a clue who you are…and that is what happened to your mother. I take full responsibility for not having identified my own true values or beliefs before I got married and because of that I faced a lot of hurt trying to figure out how I fit in life AFTER I was already married and that was not fair to your dad or to you two, and for that I can never apologise enough. The only thing I can say is I did not know what I needed to know before I needed to know it.
The lesson here is this: know what is truly important to you and communicate that very clearly in your relationships and choose the person who has the most respect for your values and beliefs and whom you know will have the adaptable nature to accept you through your changes over the years. More experience in life, more disappointments, more crisis will change your view of the world and will alter your values and beliefs along the way. Choose someone who will change with you or at the very least will accept and support your changes even if they choose not to change from the experience you go through together.
My final wish for you is this: before you walk down the aisle or stand at the front of the church, (or on a beach or in a Chapel in Las Vegas) be certain you are fully aligned with respect to your mental, emotional, physical, and financial values and beliefs. If you are not, be prepared for a rocky start that may not end in a happily ever after. Take it from your divorced mother…know yourself well! If you want help figuring that out, just ask. I have some exercises that can help you find out what you will stand for and what you will not stand for
The Cabin Door is always open for others looking for a last-minute check-in before they make that big decision. For you two, well, you know the code for my door so come on in anytime!