The Longest Relationship You Will Ever Have

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The Longest Relationship You Will Ever Have
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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The longest relationship you will ever have is with yourself, and for me, it also includes God. The way we treat people and our honesty and dishonesty is something that only we can reconcile. So many of us are hugely invested in our parents, our children, our friends and our neighbors and where this is quite noble, the truth is that the sustainable relationship is the one we have with ourselves. Friends come and go, family comes together and drifts apart, parents age and die and children grow up and go on their way.

The biggest investment made should be where it will have staying power and last, and that is within our own self. When we look to others for our value, whether it is an employer, a parent, a child, a friend or any other we have given way to letting everyone else determine our value.

As a child who was born as raised Catholic, I learned many wonderful life lessons. I learned to live by the golden rule and to treat other people the way that I wanted to be treated. I learned the value in living for the greater good and about service above self. I watched both Catholic Priests and Catholic Nuns put everyone else above themselves.

I learned to believe I was going to hell if I didn’t honor the Catholic code for living. It is only recently that I have discovered that if and when you put everyone else above yourself you have basically taught people how to treat you. You have taught them that you deserve to be last.

Life is a journey and not a destination, each one of us is evolving as we age, and as we learn and grow. Just like a flower that comes back year after year, where it may be the same type of flower it never returns looking exactly like it did in its previous bloom.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs     

When we are young we have no way to fully comprehend how our decisions will impact us later in life. Like the teenager who decides to become a teen mom, they can never fully understand that life altering choice until they age.

Parents fret over their teenagers and young adult decisions, because unlike the teenager and the young adult a mature adult has a better understand of poor choices. The choice to walk away and not take advantage opportunities in education and employment among other opportunities means much more to that same adult, now grown, who does not have the advantage of a college degree or work experience.

Decisions made in anger and in haste seldom stand up in the test of time. Whether our parents were great parents, mediocre parents or even terrible parents, they are the parents that God gave to us. Every single adult knows the impact of their childhood both good and bad and the importance of their roots and their home. Even in the most highly dysfunctional families, social workers and mental health care providers work to restore the health of the first family or neonatal family. They get it that the parental relationships will impact a child’s life for the rest of their life. And that is whether they remain in their lives or not. Parents are forever and so are their children.

Life is long

Most people state “life is short” or “life is so short” but it was my husband who first shared the statement, “life is long’ with me. Life is long and it feels even longer when as a young person you make life altering decisions that impact your life in a negative way, for the rest of your life.

One of the fastest growing populations of people is estranged parents and adult children. This week alone I received 6 e-mails from across the country and from both men and women, fathers and mothers who are estranged from their adult children and grandchildren. The pain and heartache is insurmountable and almost every single case has set the same cycle up for the next generation.

Statistically it has been proven that once this pattern of family estrangement begins, it plays itself, over and over again in future generations.

The Support Group for Parents of Estranged Adult Children, if needed you can find it on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Support-Group-for-Parents-of-Estranged-Adult-Children

I have heard from parents, who had social services involve themselves and when it was deemed it was a troubled teenager, the rift between parent and child was broken beyond repair. I heard from a father who was arrested after his teen daughter claimed abuse. It didn’t take long for the investigation to uncover that the teen was angry. She was angry with dad, because he took the car away from her. So she got him back by slamming herself up against the car, getting a bruise, calling police, saying dad did this and when they saw her redness and bruise, he was immediately arrested.

Now dad sees how dangerous and without boundaries, his daughter is and in his anger and hurt he doesn’t want the teen back in the home. The teen daughter is limited in her ability to function without her parents support. The stage is now set for years of estrangement. The social workers once there and involved are long gone as they have moved on helping truly abused children. This family is left with the destruction and the aftermath.

Try Not to Make Mistakes that You Can’t Recover From

It wasn’t until one of my later career jobs that I was applauded for making any mistakes. My supervisor always saw the value in lessoned learned and in the ability to try. According to him, if you made a mistake, at least you were trying. For the effort you were applauded then came the dialogue about what went wrong and how to make it better. Everything was viewed as a learning opportunity and a chance for growth and development.

Some mistakes can’t ever be repaired, nor can you ever come back from them. Murder and rape are not actions that once crossed can be repaired. Where we want to live in a world of second chances and of reform, there are actions that can be taken that you can never take back.

When you put your life in someone else’s hands and when you no longer have the power over your own destiny in life you have all but ended your relationship with yourself. No one is going to know what you like, need or want in life better than you do. Advice is great and often it is free and perhaps in being free that is what it is worth, nothing. People often have their own agenda and their own idea.

Coming from a place of strength and of self-love and acceptance and contributing to our own success and investing in our own self allows us to be fully developed mature adults. We can’t get our value or devalue ourselves by what other people do or don’t do.

As parents, maybe we need to do better and teach our children that the longest relationship you will ever have is the relationship you have with yourself. If you are not full-filled and you are angry, only you can do what is necessary to fix that inside of yourself.

Investing in our own self is not selfish but rather contributes to wellness and to the greater good. We all know that “hurt people, hurt people.” And most often when teens and young adults are lashing out at others, at their parents and at their friends, family and community, it is because they are hurt and troubled.

I can’t say it enough, the longest relationship you will ever have is the relationship that you have with yourself. Invest in you, take care of you and do what is right. A pretty good measure for me has always been that if you wouldn’t want something done to you, you most probably shouldn’t be doing that same thing to someone else.

Peace, love and all good things …

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

A Different Kind of Beautiful

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A Different Kind of Beautiful
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and beautiful is defined differently by different people. As you age you learn that beauty really is more about how something is and feels rather than just how it looks on the surface.

Beauty is as beauty does is a phrase my mother often used when I was coming up. I have thought of that phrase often …

There will always be the obvious beauty as in a beautiful baby or young child, or the beauty in the flowers or the sun rise and sun sets. As we age what we perceive as beautiful often changes, it grows, we appreciate the rains and the storms and all of life’s imperfections more and more. We come to see that beauty really does exist everywhere and in every place and every person if we are open and receptive to seeing it. It’s there.

I have learned to look at my gray hair as “sparkles” and that it is a crown that I have earned from living life all these year. Just the thought of “sparkles” makes me smile!

Rainy days no longer depress me, today I embrace them and see their beauty just as much as a clear and sunny day, each day brings its own unique pleasures.

When I see people behave unattractively or in a poor way or with harsh phrases or judgements I seldom if ever allow it to make me view their targets in that light. But I do  view the person spewing as someone that needs more love. Someone that has their own wounds; and a wounded soul can be viewed in a beautiful light.

We can create more beauty and become more beautiful …

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

How Not Giving a Sh– Might Be Really Healthy For You

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How Not Giving a Sh— Might Be Really Healthy For You
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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(Notice in the cartoon how Tim is able to fly and is light because he doesn’t give a sh–!)

How many times have we stressed over things and over people that we literally had no control over or business in even trying to manage? We care about this person we care about that person, we care about what people might think and say? We want a different situation or a different outcome?

I am a person who cared about everything and everyone, I wanted people to be happy and to get along and then one day after years and years of stressing I recognized it really is NOT my place to stress over other people being happy or getting along. The best I could do was to make myself happy and to get along and if I couldn’t get along to move along.

One of the best parts to being older is that you have “been there and done that” you have worried and you have stressed and upon reflection it doesn’t change anything. All the worrying and all the stress in the world aren’t going to change the situation.

But what does it do? How many times have we literally made ourselves sick both physically and mentally because of things that are beyond our control? And perhaps not even our business in trying to control in the first place? We think we know better, we think our way is better, but better for whom or better in what way?

How about this? How about practicing not giving a sh–? I see so many friends reducing themselves in so many ways because they can’t accept our President. They do and say things that they normally would never do and say. They whip themselves up into frenzy because this was not the outcome they had hoped and wished for … but at what cost? At what cost to them?

Many things in life aren’t going to go the way that you had hoped for and at the end of the day, maybe they weren’t supposed to go that way after all. In many ways we learn more when things do not go easily or smoothly for us. We learn about grace, and about acceptance and about living life.

It is so free to let go, there is good reason it is called the Serenity prayer. Serenity … just think about that how would it be to live our life in serenity? Wouldn’t it be healthier than trying to force our will on people and on situations that are not ours to control?

Over the years and in many ways I have made myself sick over some of the decisions my children have made, decisions that they made as adults. Decisions that I personally would never have made, but what did whipping myself up over it do for me, for them or for the situation? Absolutely nothing! In the end, it was their life to live as they see fit and not for me to try and manage or control.

Today my children are aged 36 and twins aged 25, and each one is doing their own things, I have raised them, I have worried about them and I have loved and cared for them. And to all three of them this is what I say, I hope that you are deliriously happy and that you have a life of abundance, if things are going well and you want to share that with us, the door is wide open, but if you are struggling, creating drama or self-inflicted wounds, I say this in the most loving way, I am not going to give a sh–! You have your life and I have mine, be happy or not, be successful or not, it is no longer a reflection on me, it is your life.

And guess what? Me not giving a sh–, is the healthiest thing for me … and for them too.

Most of us would do well to practice the Serenity prayer … and/or practice not giving a sh–! It really could help you feel so much better and healthier …

Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
To accept things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all
Things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

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

Play Your Game!

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Play Your Game!
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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A couple of weeks ago I was sitting on the beach with a good friend and we were talking about people that are competitive and always looking at what someone else is doing and achieving or not achieving. They seem so focused on others rather than on themselves and what they are or are not doing.

We talked about siblings that do it and others that we knew. We talked about people that always seem to be eyeing someone else and their game rather than focusing on their own game and how they should act and handle their life.

Just think … if we all played our game, used our own unique gifts and talents, made our own decisions, did what was best for ourselves rather than looking outward for answers but kept true to our own hearts and souls? What if we did just play our own best game?

What if we lived a life with no regrets?

“You played the hand that you’re dealt and the dice that you rolled” Gary Allan

How does our life change and unfold for us if we make the effort to play our game without interference and without being predicated upon something or someone else?

I have to believe that when we are 100% true to ourselves and that when we are in total alignment and our hearts and our heads are in sync and doing and going after what makes us tick that we play our best game and that is how we come to our highest ideal and happiest and peace filled self.

Play your game! Play your game! Play your game!

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

All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

You Might Not Be Rewarded

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You Might Not Be Rewarded
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Do it for yourself! Do the right things and do them for yourself! Sounds simple, right?

How often do we do things and just expect to be rewarded? Then when we aren’t? Maybe the real rewards have nothing to do with what lives outside but rather what lives within us?

Love to love. Just for the sake of loving.

Give for giving. Just for the sake of giving.

Do for doing. Just for the sake of doing.

Work for working. Just for the sake of working.

Contribute for contributing. Just for the sake of contributing.

And the list goes on …

Do what is right and do it for you …

Let the only reward that you concern yourself with come from within and don’t think about rewards that may or may not ever come from outside of you.

Disappointment is rooted in expectations that are not met. The only disappointments we should ever entertain are the ones that we hold for ourselves, they become the meter for our soul, our character and they define us.

When we do the right things and when we do them for the right reason … we achieve peace and love from within.

When we have love and peace from within we have already achieved our greatest God given rewards.

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

All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Post Estrangement: Changing What You Hope For by Renate Dundys-Marello

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Post Estrangement: Changing What You Hope For
by Renate Dundys-Marello

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(Every once in a while an author speaks to me in a way that I felt I could have written these words myself. This piece by Renate had that impact on me and with her permission I am reposting here on my site. Thanks Renate for sharing! – Bernadette A. Moyer)

In Renate’s words …

During the early days of estrangement you hope and dream that it had never happened. This is the denial stage when you still have the misguided notion that it is all a bad dream and you will just wake up one day and it will be back to family life as usual. That whatever they were upset about will be dealt with and you just go back to being a normal family; a family that goes through difficult times but manages to stick together and work things out. Blood is thicker than water and all those kinds of messages run through your mind as you struggle with the hardship of being shunned.

Then you get to the stage where the estrangement has been going on for long enough that you accept that it is real. Your child really has done this thing called estrangement. They have also cut ties with those members of the family that do not agree with them. You realize that this is a power struggle and they want above all else to be “right”. They drop anyone who suggests that compromise might be in order.

During this stage you start to ask all the harrowing “why” questions, that unfortunately resolve nothing. But you cling to hope. It is a desperate kind of hope.

Your hopes change to wishing for your estranging adult child to recognize the damage they are causing to the family and that they will somehow come to their senses and do what is necessary for the family to reconcile. You have these hopes that it is a “personal growth phase” they are going through and when they “grow up” they will realize how silly their behavior is. You hope that this Mother’s Day or this Christmas or this Birthday everything will be resolved. You send letters and then hope they will reply or hope they will open the door to communication.

During this stage you place all your hopes on the adult child that has estranged. You hope their hearts will soften, you hope they will care enough to make amends. You hope they will change.

And as you hope for change; and have your hopes demolished day in and day out by the continuing silence you come to realize that this hope is slowly destroying you. This hope causes you pain every morning and every evening when your hopes are once again unfulfilled. This hope keeps you stuck in wistful thinking and magical make believing. This hope takes power out of your hands and places that power into the hands of the very person(s) causing you to suffer.

This stage, I fear, was the longest and also the hardest part of the grieving journey for me. It kept me stuck in the past. It kept me repeating useless questions like:
• What made her turn out to be the kind of person who can do this?
• Why doesn’t she see that this is not the way to communicate and work things out?
• Why won’t she respond to my letters and my apologies?
• What did I do that was so horrible that deserves this kind of punishment?

Until finally I woke up one day and realized I was losing myself in useless hope. I was giving up my own power by placing all the hope for healing into the hands of the very person who caused the wound in the first place.

That was when I realized I had to change the direction of my hopefulness.

Instead of placing my hope outside myself and giving power to the estranger, I had to place hopefulness on my own shoulders and upon the actions I could take to regain peace in my life.

To live means to hope, but the hope needs to be about what I need and what I want to have a better life. That meant I had to become hopeful that I could and would survive this traumatic event. I had to build and then believe in the hope that regardless what my estranging daughter did or did not do I could create a meaningful life.

• I started to hope that I could heal
• I started to hope that I could create a different life than I expected but a good one none the less
• I started to hope that I could find joy and happiness again
• I started to hope that I could live an exciting and enthusiastic life even though…..
• I started to hope for new and rewarding friendships
• I started to hope that a future without what I had expected can still be good.

And as I started to place my hopes in what I could do for myself, I was able to start the long journey toward healing, toward reclaiming the right of every human, a full and rewarding life here and now in the present.

Hope placed in my abilities to change and transform was essential for me to recognize that just because the life that I dreamed of did not turn out, I still had dreams to pursue and challenges to be met and living to do.

And best of all, I started to realize that I deserved this!

Because I am worth it!

Renate Dundys Marrello
2014 – 04 – 19

Google Renate and read many more of her blogs and writings! or http://lifeisajourneyreflections.blogspot.ca/

Photo credits – as marked or unknown

Our Health Our Responsibility

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Our Health Our Responsibility
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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You can be as ill as you want to be or in many circumstances, as healthy as you will yourself to be! My mother was a Masters educated nurse who always encouraged us to be healthy. Often she made statements like, “sick people are in the hospital and you are not one of them.” She worked for more than 30 years in hospitals from pediatrics to critical care units and later assisted living. The bulk of her career was in a Catholic hospital where all life was valued. She never wanted her children to be ill or require any truly unnecessary hospitalization.

I used to joke that “I wasn’t allowed to be sick!” Not in her eyes and in many ways it served me well. If you ever find me admitted to the hospital, I am ill, very, very ill. People die in hospitals and I don’t want to die and certainly not there.

And yes there are procedures and hospital stays that have turned people lives and health from bad to good, but it NEVER happens without the patient being part of the wellness practices. And YES there are hospital stays that have turned patient’s health from bad to worse. Just ask any medical malpractice attorney. A patient has to want to get healthy; they have to be willing to be a part of the process. If the patient is a child the parent has the responsibility. But there is no hospital or no doctor or no pill that will make us healthy if we don’t want to become healthy.

Since July of this year I witnessed our adult son admitted to the hospital for at least 6 different hospital stays. Most often he was escorted there by a “crisis team” after shocking public displays of odd and assorted behaviors. He is an adult and he alone is responsible for his care. I have come to believe that he likes being admitted and enjoys all the attention he receives at the hospital. It has been communicated to us that since July he has spent the better part of two months in a psych unit of a hospital.

Most people in the hospital can’t wait to get out, he loves going in. I am so sad and conflicted because I believe he does not fully appreciate what he is doing and the long and short term ramifications of his behaviors. I also believe he has all the power and that he will not become healthy until or unless he alone decides to become healthy. There is no magic pill, there is no magic doctor and there is no magic hospital that will bring us to good health if we don’t do the work necessary to be part of the process it takes to heal ourselves.

What I have witnessed is well-intentioned social workers, doctors and nurses that think they are helping him. What I have also witnessed is a slow and steady decline since they have all come together to help him. In many ways his attitude and his behaviors are far worse than they have ever been. The magic doctor, the magic pills and the magic hospital are not helping him at all. He needs to help himself and he is not doing that.

As a small child if he fell and skinned his knee and you babied him and coddled him his screams would become longer and louder and more dramatic. But if you addressed the wound and comforted him and eventually said okay now knock it off he would gently respond with “okay” it was almost like he took all his cues from how you addressed him. I learned early on how to manage him. Not a single one of his “crisis unit” like episodes ever happened inside our home.

The last day that he was admitted, he walked himself into the hospital and as he was waiting to be admitted he posted a video of himself on social media about where he was and what he was doing in the hospital. He clearly was NOT in any distress. And he also seemed to enjoy the camera being on him. If I had any lingering feelings about what to do seeing that post drove home for me that if and when he wants to get well he will and if he doesn’t want to he won’t. It is pretty clear.

Everyone is different some people are born with disabilities and illnesses that do require treatments and hospital stays. What I am referring to here is someone who has displayed an ability to be fully functioning and manage a full life. I am talking about mental health and seeing in the past what someone is capable of and knowing that if they alone decide, they will once again be capable of a fully functioning life. They may also decide not to be fully functioning. So much of the quality of our life is all about the decisions that we alone make for our lives.

Once we become an adult, our health is; our responsibility … and good health can only come about if we want it.

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

All books by Bernadette on Amazon and Barnes & Noble