Growing Up Maturing and Viewing Life Differently

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Growing Up Maturity and Viewing Life Differently
By Bernadette A. Moyer

GrowUp-Series

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child; I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up my childish ways.” Corinthians 13:11

Remember when we were young and we knew it all? Then we became an adult and realized you don’t even know how much you don’t know.

I was that strong willed teenager who thought way back then that I knew much. I raised a few kids that also as teenagers thought they knew it all, only to experience real life as an adult and then understand so much more. With some maturity and with life experiences we tend to view life differently.

Maybe as a child we have nothing else to compare our life with or maybe we just haven’t had many experiences yet to see things for how and what they were.

Our 25 year old daughter called a few days ago and in that conversation she stated, ”I have so many good memories from when I was little. I had so much fun then.” This was a far cry from her words and actions as a teenager. She was estranged from us for 7 years and in those years she struggled, fell down and picked herself back up. She needed to learn in her own way.

So what changed, was it her childhood or her perspective now as a maturing adult? Clearly her childhood didn’t change but her outlook on life surely has. My response; “you were just too young to appreciate all that you had.” And she was young.

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It takes tremendous courage to be honest and to own the things that we might have said and done as a kid that later in life as a mature adult we can honestly say I know better now!

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
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Enablers

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Enablers
By Bernadette A. Moyer

"Hello, my name is Roberto, and I will be your enabler this evening."

There are all kinds of enablers some may be knowingly enabling and others unknowingly. My father was an alcoholic and my mother the classic enabler. It was a typical co-dependent relationship. I am sure she thought she was helping him. She was a registered nurse and in a “helping” profession. She loved him and supported him and stayed with him even when his behaviors dictated that she shouldn’t have.

As a parent I am sure we enabled some behaviors that we would not have accepted from any others. We loved our children and often thought we were helping them. If we had it we wanted to share what we had with them even after they became adults. This often showed itself in “arrested development” the more we did for them, the less they did for themselves. This often leads to resentment on their side and our side too.

There is often a fine line between helping and enabling. What I have learned as a parent is that as hard as it is to watch your child fall and fail you have to step back and let them pick themselves up. Trust that they will figure it out, it is part of learning and growing up. Once they learn to pick themselves up they start to build their own confidence and become successful in life.

I hear about “enablers” quite often in my estranged parents support group. This is usually a person or a family that supports the “victim” the “co-dependent” and helps them to go against their parents. The “enablers” support them in making decisions they might otherwise never have made without the assistance of these “enablers.”

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A friend’s daughter recently was married and mom and dad were not invited, to make matters worse the grandfather gave the bride away. The grandparents took the young daughter in and supported her in estranging from her mother and father. What were they thinking and why? These are life altering decisions that will last forever. Dad is not only feeling betrayed by his own daughter but by his father too. Would the grandparents want this to have been done to them?

What should they have said and done? How about go home and work it out, all teenagers and young adults have struggles with their parents, you only have one mother and father, we love you but you have to go home and work it out.

I experienced this twice now myself with both my teenage daughters who found women to take them in and go against mom and dad. And it was always over a boy. One woman I never met even though I asked to meet with her. She “enabled” the behaviors of a struggling teenager. This woman has now raised my grandson who recently turned 18, my grandson who has no real relationship with his birth mother and who never met his maternal grandmother. So who won here? And I am left to wonder what kind of woman involves herself in another woman’s family without even meeting them for yourself and making your own opinion? Who has a better life because of her “enabling?”

Second daughter returned home seven years later, she sees now in her own words that she was “young and dumb” she got used by people that “enabled” her poor teenage behaviors. She admits to being a “defiant teenager” sadly the “enablers” used her for their own gain.

I think a lot of “enabling” points back to ego, thinking they know better or are better. Today I don’t question the young teenager who naturally rebels against her parents as part of growing up but I do question the real and true motives of the people that have enabled them. What was in it for them?

Motives, agenda and egos all play a role in the type personality that enables, ask yourself what is your true motivation and agenda and what part does your ego play? Are you helping or are you hurting? If you are doing things to impact another family that you would not want anyone to do to your family that is probably a good litmus test.

If you really want to love others and help others, stop enabling and start trusting that the people that you think you are helping will figure it out for themselves, they will! And they will love you and appreciate you all the more for not stunting their growth and allowing them to develop into their own mature and successful selves!

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
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When the Road Runs Out

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When the Road Runs Out
By Bernadette A. Moyer

roads

There is nothing like aging to fully comprehend how much road you have already run and that the road is not without an ending. There is a time when the road runs out for each and every one of us. We are born and we will die. It is a given that our life is not infinite but rather has a finite ending.

The older we become the more there is in the rear view mirror. And sadly the less there is up ahead the road that we are on. I’m in a really good place. Less stress and more love are the saving graces in my life today. It all points toward choices.

I owe so much to my husband Brian. He has been my rock and a steady loving partner for 25 years now. Without him, I would never have known true love and the importance of a long lasting committed marriage. I did not witness this growing up, he did. We have had our hurdles. Raising kids was probably the biggest challenge and due to our unique situation we did everything out of order. We had kids, bought the house and then got married. All three kids presented unique challenges and we are lucky to have survived them intact and stronger than ever.

What we are born into and what we experience in our formative years matters. Each child would know the loss of a birth parent. My husband and I would learn early what it meant to have children with a spouse who would never know them and die so young. Their road was cut short. Our lessons taught us to appreciate everyone and everything even more because you never know when you will run out of road.

It seems that it is important to us to have our affairs in order. We both know of each other’s final wishes. We have made peace with things that happened in our lives we accepted the outcomes.

As you travel the road of life, maturing and aging you know longer care about what other people are doing or what they say or think about you because you know yourself better than anyone else. You know that life is precious and that you want to spend it with the people that love you and bring out the best in you. You unhook yourself from people and from situations that are not healthy. You just don’t want to waste your time.

We are 57 years old and traveled on the road for 32 years before we began traveling the road together. Having a life partner that you get along with and genuinely love makes the road so much easier to maneuver. We can’t imagine it any other way.

We look back and we see that a tremendous amount of road has been covered. We have had so many life experiences, so many blessings and in every range of emotions. It has truly been rich.

We look forward and we see the road ahead that contains more travels and more love, God willing. I still make lists of the things we want to do and to achieve. And yes even purchases we still wish to make.

I began my road as an O’Connell girl and although that is where I started from, I could not be more pleased and proud of my road and all that I have become. I would hope that everyone feels that way. And that if you don’t then you should think about making a change and possibly choose another road.

They say that when you are young you read about who just got married and when you get older you read about who died. Our focus shifts, we become so much more aware of both our beginnings and our ending.

On this date 6 years ago, my mother ran out of road when her life unexpectedly ended. Her affairs were not in order. I pray that she has peace and I look forward to the day when we meet up again.

We all know that eventually in this lifetime, we will run out of road … and that is exactly why it is so important to do all the things that make you happy and spend your time with people that add joy to your life …

An Old Irish Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And rains fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of His hand

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
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Free To Love

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Free To Love
By Bernadette A. Moyer

free love

We are free to love …

Free to love as much and as many people, places and things as we like. I love so much. Love can flow freely and does not depend on any outsider’s action. Love can be one-sided. There are all kinds of love. The marital or relationship love, the friendship love, the parental love, the love of things we do like travel and the love of the arts, movies, music and more. We are free to love as much as we like, there is an endless buffet of opportunities to love.

My first real exposure to love, real love the kind that you give and give without any expectations came when I first became a mother. I knew then that I had never truly known real love before even though I was married for two years before my daughter arrived. It was the purest most selfless love where all you want is what is best for that child. Your giving knows no bounds.

Then many years later and now after being in a 25-year union with my husband I know the depth of love both in giving and in receiving. It is a mature love that developed and grew over decades. We know each other so well. You don’t spend 25 years living with someone without having a wide range of life experiences both good and bad. We have a passionate relationship and that translates to fights that were just as fierce as our expressions of love.

Our happy life depends on surrounding ourselves with as much love as possible. Surround yourself with people that you love and that love you right back. Surround yourself with things you love and go to places that you love. Grow love with your own goodness and giving. We are free to love. The same energy that goes into hating and hurting people can be used to love them.

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You can love from a distance you can love anonymously. You can love without being loved in return.

Give your love away … it is freeing and generous and good and it costs us nothing.

We are free to love …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
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Holes in Our Hearts

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Holes in Our Hearts
By Bernadette A. Moyer

love

Most all of us have them; a place in our heart that wasn’t filled or filled enough or a loss that came later in life that created a void and left a hole in our heart. It may be an easy to see void like the lack of a father or mother or of a love relationship that ended or one that is harder to identify but lives deep within.

The longest relationship we will ever have is with ourselves and that is why we must practice self-love.

We fill the holes and the voids in our hearts, sometimes we fill them with healthy good choices and other times with people and things that may not be the best for us. When we overeat, or drink heavily or self-medicate, we can look inward to see that we are trying to fill a void.

The drinking, overeating and drug use usually is the symptom of a greater void and loss. What causes us to have a hole in our hearts or a void? For many of us there will be a different answer. What didn’t we get in our childhood? Who didn’t love us or who loved us too much? We all have our reasons. What hurts came later that left us feeling that we are off or have an unmet need.

When it comes to parenting I have always believed that we parent by one of two choices either the example of the parenting we learned and received as a child or by the holes and voids left from our own parents that we don’t want to bestow upon our children. Most of us are aware of what is missing in our lives, the choices of what to fill those voids can help us to learn and to grow or they can hurt us and keep us from maturing.

Little girls first fall in love with their fathers and if they have a loving relationship with dad, they are much more likely to find loving relationships later in life. A little girl who was raised without their father often looks for love from men that are unavailable to her. Simply put if dad was absent and gone and a “zero” she grows up and finds what is familiar to her. A “zero” father figure often translates into a “zero” boyfriend, husband etc.

Other father figures can and do fill the holes left by an absent father but only if the child is open and willing and receptive. You can’t miss what you never had. Medical studies show that it takes 6-months to a year for a child to bond and connect to mom and dad. A child who never connected to a “mother” or “father” figure in infancy may feel a void but it will be for the figure and not necessarily for the birth parent that they never fully bonded with or knew. (Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman)

When we learn to put ourselves first, we can learn to fill our own voids and the holes in our hearts with acceptance and unconditional love. Our belief system may need to be adjusted or changed.

“Imagine living a whole new way of life … a life where you are free to be who you really are. You no longer rule your life according to what other people may think about you.” The Fifth Agreement by Don Miguel Ruiz

It takes maturity and some time and the willingness for introspection for us to know ourselves. It takes quiet and the willingness to look inward. When we understand who we are, what is right for us and can identify where our holes are then we can make the choice to fill our own voids with good choices.

Healthy choices would not include overeating or excessive drinking or doing drugs but allowing our soul to speak to us and help us to decipher what we are lacking from within. It is possible to heal from our holes in our hearts but first we have to be willing to identify what caused them and how do we want to fill them to be our best and happiest and whole self …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes and Noble