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The Myth of “That’s How It Is”

August 10, 2020

That’s how she is. That’s how he is. That’s how they are. That’s how I am. That’s how it is.

This may seem like a mellow, chill, innocuous belief, but there is something sneaky about it that subtly and effectively cements in the untrained mind: “I can’t do anything about fill-in-the-blank. Oh well.”

I’m bad at school. That’s how I am.
I’m a stress case. That’s how I am.
He’s lazy. That’s how he is.
She’s dramatic. That’s how she is.
They are stupid. That’s how they are.
They don’t understand me. That’s how they are.

Where can you even go from there? When we make our mind up about something, it becomes a trap.

If we want to inspire change, make headway on a challenge, create a new possibility in a relationship, we must refuse to buy into complacency.

Instead of throwing our hands up in the air, we must plant them firmly on our hips, ready for action, (or at least scratch our heads), if we are going to see improvement in our effectiveness with our teenagers.

After making our minds up about “how it is,” especially when it is not aligned with our commitment to peace, harmony, advancement, and future results...anger and frustration usually ensue.

So let’s amend the statement and give ourselves a shot at some power. This could seem minor or trivial, but the power of our thoughts is not a silly idea to scoff at. Wayne Dyer, Tony Robbins, Albert Einstein, Jim Rohn, every religious text and anyone who has ever made it from here to there, agree that if you don’t believe that you can have an impact, you mostly likely will not. The power of our thoughts is immense.

As parents, we are in a position to model to our teenagers a new, more useful mindset by making a simple change to the “how it is” type statements that often come up in a day. They say, “I am bad at school.” You could say, “I hear you. That might be how school feels for you right now, but that is not how you have to stay. You can change. I can actually help you.”

Here are more examples because even if you “get it,” it really helps us to hear it/read it. A lot of these beliefs are not taught or modeled to us by our own parents so we have to start from scratch sometimes. Sometimes, that’s just how it is!

“I am a stress case right now, but I am going to calm myself down and start over.”
“He’s lazy at the moment, but let’s keep helping him move forward, even if it’s in baby steps.”
“She seems dramatic right now, but let’s give her a second to cool off and listen when she’s ready to talk.”
“I think they are so stupid, but what they are doing must make more sense to them than it does to me.”
“They don’t understand me, so I have to keep trying to get my point across.”

By the way, did you notice that the “how” in “how it is” is normally judgement-based? Bad, lazy, dramatic, stressed, stupid, misunderstood. If anything can ruin an interaction, relationship, or objective-completion,  it’s judgment. It’s like salt in a wound. It’s so incredibly common and yet almost like an invisible block to 95% of the teenagers and parents who I work with. I call it a blindspot and when you see it, you really cannot unsee it ever again!

How can you get a feel for how often you make a judgment? I dare you to keep track, just for one day! Other flavors of judgement are assessment, evaluation, opinions and comparison. Yes. It’s natural and can be benign, but it’s also not really as useful as you might think. Start counting!

So if making a judgment followed by deciding there’s nothing we can do about that subjective, (often) negative view of something is putting us in the position of being frustrated and disempowered, then what?

It just takes practice. You know, that thing you tell the kids is “the only way to get better at something!” See how smart you are! :)

For more information on “how it is” to work with a coach and get the structures, support and insight that you might need to gain more awareness, connection and peace in your relationship with your teen, email me anytime at really, anytime!

Also, here's a DIY guide that will help for sure! Click here and I'll send you a 5 day guide: How to Build A Bridge Between You and Your Teen-->

Photo by Valentin B. Kremeron Unsplash

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