A little less conversation

"come along with me and put your mind at ease,"

The old way was for someone to tell you what to do. You looked at them as an expert and they "educated" you: your boss, physician, therapist, older sister. The new way is that you are smart, resourceful and capable. You don't need to be told what to do. What you do need is permission, sometimes education and most of the time practical tips to get from here to there. But that's often surprisingly hard to come by, isn't it?

"don't procrastinate, don't articulate,"

I'm a big believer in talking about things. To a point. I'm a bigger believer in action. Always. Sometimes the thing that prevents us from taking action is a lack of direction. It's wonderful to talk to friend, sister, therapist or other caregivers who struggle with the same thing but if all you do is talk then...well, what changes? 

"a little more bite and a little less bark,"

So, stop re-hashing the same sad story that you're sick of hearing you talk about. You know, it's the story of how little time you have, how stressed you are, how crazy your job makes you. That's all talk. It's all bark and no wag. Worse, that kind of conversation is not worthy of you and all you're capable of.

"close your mouth and open up your heart,"

Instead of the talk that's not getting you anywhere, try this. Below are three things you can do now to change that tired old conversation into actual action.

  1. Give yourself permission to set a good boundary. You know, a boundary that works. That involves you speaking clearly and directly to someone else about something that's not working for you AND how it will change. Mom to older son who isn't respecting her private bathroom because his is a mess, "You are not allowed in my bathroom anymore. It makes me feel disrespected and that's not okay in our family. If you go in there again, I will put a lock on the door. I don't want to but I will." Allow the other person to be the bigger person and step up into respecting your wishes. They just might be able to do it!
  2. Stop enabling. Whether that is pre-emptive "fixing" of others (this morning, for example, I practically put my daughter's portfolio into my husband's hand before he left with her so he didn't forget it. Ouch.) or the allowing them to get off the hook with something that they've committed to or taking on the arrangements yourself. All of this enables others to slack off. People other than you in your life are capable, this includes your partner! Let them show up as such by trusting them to. When they screw it up, let them fix it. It doesn't matter that it's not your husband's "thing". Giving others' a constant pass isn't your thing though.
  3. Instead of your "it's okay," stock response to excuse what isn't working for you, claim what you will change instead. Ask your partner to do bedtime 3 nights a week so you can commit to self-care or weekly wine with friends or a class you've been wanting to take. Ask your partner to attend the neighborhood association meeting so your family can be in the loop about changes on your street. You don't need to take on more (see #2). You need to take on less. 

When you bark less and wag more, people will likely get upset. You've disrupted the "natural" order of their life and it's normal to be upset with that. But don't let their upset slow down your progress. Accept that people will be angry. Allow that to be okay. Because it will be okay.

"grab your coat and let's start walking,"

Spring into action? Or do these feel too general for you? Leave me a comment here, send me an email or post a comment on my Facebook page with details about your particular challenge. 

PS. Curious where these lyrics are coming from? Click here for the full video.