Did you know you can love someone and disagree with them? Do you want to stop yelling at your child but don’t know how? Would you like some help with making the changes you want in your life? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you don’t want to miss this week’s episode.
I have a very different episode for you, as I took some of my clients’ questions and answers and turned them into a podcast episode. I purposely chose the questions that I receive most frequently, so tune in to hear my answers to these questions, and how you can apply what I’m teaching you this week in your own life.
You might find yourself with a similar question to what you hear today, or you might have something different to ask. Whatever your question is, we’ll be doing another episode like this in the future, so don’t forget to send us your questions if you’d like the opportunity to have me answer them on an upcoming episode.
Hi there, welcome to the Design Your Dream Life Podcast. My name is Natalie Bacon, and I’m an advanced certified mindfulness life coach as well as a wife and mom. If you’re here to do the inner work and grow, I can help. Let’s get started.
Hey there, welcome to the podcast. I hope you’re doing well. Today I have a very different podcast for you. I took client questions and answers and turned them into a podcast. So, there are many different ways that you can ask me questions, most notably inside Grow You, I have an Ask a Coach forum where we have anonymous coaching. So, if you’re in Grow You, you know about this, you can come in any time and get written coaching, 24/7, you can ask questions as much as you want and I will coach you on it. I think it’s a member favorite and really makes the whole membership worth it.
Also, about once a month I send my email list an email asking anyone if they would like some complementary coaching. And then once in a while I also go onto Instagram Stories and open up the question box. So, I try to provide a little bit of free help to the extent that I can. I can’t always get to all of the questions. But I thought it would be fun to bring you some questions and answers from real clients on today’s podcast. I try to choose questions that are repeats, meaning I get some variation of the question often.
If there is a question that you have that you would like me to answer, that I don’t talk about today, feel free to email me at [email protected]. And we will kind of keep a bank of questions that come in. And if you like this episode we’ll continue to sprinkle these in. That way you can see how to apply this work in real life. Alright, let’s get started with number one.
Natalie, thank you so much for this opportunity. I love your work, it’s changed my life. Today I’d like to know how to have a more positive mindset. For example, I’m having a disagreement with my mom and I don’t know how to think about it in a more positive way. Alright, thank you so much for your question. The first thing that I will say that can be really powerful is to separate out the thoughts that you’re having about your mom from the facts. So, what did your mom say? What are your thoughts about what she said?
How do those thoughts make you feel? Why is it a problem to disagree with your mom? You’re saying this as if it’s a problem to disagree with her. So, it’s good to know what thoughts your brain has about disagreements with mom. All of these questions will lead you to greater awareness of what’s going on. Once you have more awareness of your thoughts and what those default thoughts are right now then you can move into having a more empowered intentional mindset. From there you will show up in the best possible way.
So, I don’t know the facts here, I’m going to make them up. Let’s say that your mom said, “I don’t think you should send your kids to that school.” And you discover that your thought is, my mom is wrong and I can never please her. And when you think that thought you feel really discouraged. And then you show up disconnected from her, you’re fake, you’re avoidant, you’re rude to her. And you sort of blame her for your feelings. Just answering the questions above that I mentioned will be so powerful because you’ll see that your thoughts are actually what’s creating this disconnection.
From there, from seeing that it’s your thoughts creating how you feel and has nothing to do with your mom, you can decide to think more empowering thoughts. I like to use the word ‘empowering’ instead of positive because it’s not always positive. So, the new thought might be something like, my mom doesn’t have to like where I send my kids to school. I don’t mind that she disagrees with me. In fact, I know it means she really cares about her grandkids. I just love her. Did you know you can love someone and disagree with them?
It’s a very natural and normal brain response to want to fight and be defensive. So, when you notice yourself doing that, that’s a cue for you to do some of this inner work. This is something that we are going to be diving into in the next two months inside Grow You. This upcoming month we are diving into your relationship with your life. So, in a few days, October 1, you’re getting a brand new class on how to look at the thoughts that you have about your life. What are your thoughts about your in-laws?
What are your thoughts about where you live? What are your thoughts about your kid’s school? All of these thoughts create the relationship that you have and you don’t have to continue having a challenging relationship with any area of your life. You can do this work so that you have amazing connected, open, loving relationships with any area of your life that you want to. So, join us, it’s the perfect time.
Okay, number two, Natalie, I love your podcast and Grow You. I recommend both to all the women I know. I’d like your advice on yelling. I can’t stop yelling at my five year old. She screams, then I scream, and then I feel horrible about it. Thank you so much for your question. I know that yelling is something that people write in about almost daily to me.
And there is this added level of shame with yelling that I want you, you listening and you who wrote this in to be aware of because the level of shame that we feel with respect to yelling and then the mom guilt and all of that really makes it so much harder to make any traction. If the mom guilt and the shame was useful I wouldn’t have a problem with it. Let’s feel our feelings and let’s feel negative emotion, and guilt, and shame included. But that’s not what happens.
When we feel judgment against ourselves meaning we yell and then we think, oh my gosh, I am such a bad mom. We go into hiding, shame hides, which means we don’t want to look at that event. We want to forget that it happened and try to convince ourselves that next time our kids aren’t going to do the thing. And next time we’re not going to yell. And so, there’s this hoping, and wishing, and praying that is not effective. Instead, what I say is you first have to stop yelling at yourself for yelling at your kids.
You have to remove the judgment and shame you have around yourself. Tell yourself it’s okay that sometimes I yell and you know why it’s okay? Because when you understand the brain it makes so much sense. You yell because it works, that’s it. If it didn’t work you would not yell. Now, this doesn’t mean that you want to continue to yell, I get that. But it can be really comforting to just know that the reason it’s even happening is because your brain knows that after you ask nice 14 times, the way to get compliance is from yelling.
So having compassion with yourself, knowing that, it makes sense that I did this, it makes sense that this is how I’m showing up, because it works. I’m still a good mom. And knowing that, I do know that there is a better way, I’m going to work on this, not because it makes me a better mom, just because this is who I want to be. This is how I want to work on myself. This is how I want to grow.
When you’ve really removed that level of judgment and shame you can make so much traction on this. I mean I’m telling you, I get emails all the time about this and it really is something that anyone can do. So, I want you to know that. If you are struggling with yelling or snapping at your kids, come inside Grow You, let me coach you, you will get so much clarity around this.
The next thing that I want to mention here is what you want to do in the moment. In the moment when you would normally yell or snap you want to place your hand on your heart and feel your feelings. Your goal here is to widen the gap between your feelings and your action. So, behind every action is a feeling, action being yelling, you yell, that’s the action. What’s the feeling behind the action? Your goal is to feel that feeling and widen the space, widen the gap between the feeling and the action.
Did you know that you can feel really frustrated, really irritated, or really overwhelmed and not act out? No one teaches us this but I promise you, it’s true. This is a skill. It’s a skill that we’re not typically taught growing up. And yet it’s a skill that you can get really, really good at. The skill of feeling your feelings without taking action.
And then the last part of it after you’ve removed the judgment and in the moment you’re practicing feeling your feelings and widening that gap between the feeling and the action. Is to create a more empowered mindset so that you don’t even create those frustrated feelings in the first place. And this is what you do out of the moment when you practice your thought work.
You decide what you want to think and how you want to feel when your kids act in a certain way. It’s answering questions like, when my kids make a mistake, when they do things that I don’t like or I don’t want them to be doing, how do I want to think? What’s the framework through which I want to view my kids? How can I think about this in a more loving, connected, and powered way? These are the questions that you can ask yourself to help you start to condition a new identity of a mom who stays calm and parents from a place of showing up as her highest self.
All of these are skills that you can get really good at. You can get good at creating a more empowering mindset, so that your default emotions aren’t frustration, overwhelm, or irritation so that you’re less likely to yell. Now, are you ever going to yell again? Yeah, probably but it’s going to be so much less frequently. You won’t have judgment against yourself for it. You’ll know how to repair the relationship with your kids and you’ll continue to work on the skills of feeling your feelings and showing up from a place of connection and love as the mom who you want to be.
Question number three. Natalie! You’re coaching is exceptional. I appreciate your work endlessly. Thank you. I’m wondering how I can teach this work to my kids. I have a daughter who struggles with anxiety and is having a rough year. And I think if she knew how to feel her feelings and think thoughts on purpose she would be much better off. A great question, this is one that often comes up as well. We learn this work, we transform our lives with it and then we want to teach our kids this work.
So, there’s a course inside Grow You called Teaching Kids About Thoughts and Feelings. This is a course that you get after you become a VIP member at six months. And we do this on purpose because we want you to apply this work to your life for the first six months. And then you can teach it to your kids. I will give you a few tips here though as well. First and foremost is for you to notice the thoughts that you’re having and the emotions that you’re feeling when you are talking with your daughter about this.
For example, if you think, my daughter’s having a rough year, that is what you’re going to look for. How does it feel in your body when you think that thought? Do you feel worried? Do you feel concerned? Do you yourself feel anxious? Is there another thought that feels more connected and true for you that would be more useful for you to show up with? For example, here’s just one idea. My daughter’s having the exact experience she’s supposed to have. I know she’s a good kid who I can love and support through this. That thought may or may not be the thought for you.
But the point is to come up with a thought that feels good and empowering for you. And from there then you’ll show up in a way that’s competent, and open, and loving and you can help her. The next part of this is the process that you use to actually help her. There are two main parts. It’s the feeling the feelings part and then it’s attributing the feeling to her thinking. So, when you’re helping her process her feelings you’re not going to open up Grow You or do a presentation with your child about this.
Instead, you want to just ask some questions, some of them might be a little bit leading. But you’re asking questions in a way that’s helping your child process the feeling. So, you might say something like, “When I feel anxious I feel it in my chest, where do you feel it? Do you feel it in your jaw ever?” And those questions focus on the body. So, what you’re trying to do here is show her that she can feel this feeling. We’re not trying to fix the feeling. We’re not trying to shop, turn on Netflix, go outside and avoid the feeling so that we swap feelings and learn that feelings are bad.
Instead, we want to show our kids that feelings are okay. We can go inward and process the feeling. And we do that by naming the feeling, noticing where it is. Breathing through the feeling, all of these techniques will work. The second part of this is asking your daughter what she’s thinking that’s creating her feelings. The more that you model this at home the easier it will be for your daughter to understand this.
So, for example, in my household whenever I say I’m feeling a feeling, I always attribute it to what I’m thinking. I don’t attribute it to what’s happening outside of me. So, I’ll say something like, “Gosh, I’m feeling so overwhelmed because I’m thinking I can’t handle this.” It’s a shortcut to doing some mindset work so I always am attributing my feelings to what I’m thinking. And this is actually the most empowering thing. It’s not a problem that I’m feeling overwhelmed unless I think that I have to fix everything in my environment and change my entire life to fix my feeling.
If I instead just think, I’m having some crazy thoughts because that’s what brains do. It’s not a problem, I can feel overwhelm and I can take a look at thinking other thoughts after the feeling has passed. So, what we want to do when we’re teaching this to our kids is simply asking questions like, “What are you thinking that’s creating the feeling for you?” This alone repeated over time will be lifechanging, both of those things. You want to show up really open, really curious, you’re not trying to fix the feeling, you’re simply there as a guide and sort of mentor to help her to go inward.
And this is something that she’s never going to graduate from in terms of feelings. We feel disappointment, we feel agitation, we feel irritated, we feel sad, we feel all of these negative emotions. So, if we can learn these at whatever age we’re introduced to them, we have this skill for the rest of our lives which is so powerful.
Alright, next question. Natalie, thank you for this opportunity. I’m feeling stuck and like I need a life change but I don’t know where to begin. I’m self-conscious about my weight. I gained so much weight after my second child. I work from home and never seem to have extra me time which makes me feel resentful of my husband who gets to leave every day. I have four kids and being a mom is just so hard for me. My spouse and I have a great relationship except we don’t talk about important things so I feel like there is a huge intimacy gap.
It feels like nothing ever changes. I’ve tried therapy and I don’t love it. I want to work on all of these things, my weight, motherhood, marriage, competence, self-care, all of it. Where do I begin? Thank you for writing this in. This is again a question I get so much. We learn this work and then we want to apply it to every area of our lives which is not a bad thing. I like to think of it like showering, or working out. It’s something that we’re going to do forever because we have a human brain and our thoughts get messy, not a problem.
It’s not like college where we graduate and then we’re done, and then we never have to look at our mindset again. It’s just not how it works. And so, if you approach it from that place of this is just the work that I’m going to do forever, it can be really fun and light, and it doesn’t have to be so hurried. With that I also want to mention that there’s no right or wrong place to begin. I do suggest always beginning by going inward and doing the inner work, not by moving, changing jobs, doing things externally because you take your brain with you.
So, you’ll really help yourself the most when you do your mindset and emotion work. So, begin with the area of your life that is most approachable for you right now. The reason I say most approachable is because some areas that are hardest for us are the areas where we have the most judgment. And so, starting with them can feel very heavy. So, if there’s one area that doesn’t feel as heavy but that you do want to work on, I would just start there.
Let’s say you want to start with your marriage, what are your thoughts about your marriage? When you think there is huge intimacy gap, how do you feel? Really go inward, how does it feel to think the thought there is a huge intimacy gap? Probably doesn’t feel good. So, from there, what do you want to think? What if you decided that in the past your husband and you haven’t been the most open and vulnerable with topics such as money, or kids, or career, or whatever it is. But in the future you are deciding to be open and vulnerable.
I promise you it only takes one, we have the marriage and relationship toolkit as well that you can access inside Grow You, that explains this in more details. But just noticing what your thoughts are about your marriage and then deciding how you want to think about it will change so much. Confidence is an area that you could also start to work on here and get so much traction in all areas of your life.
For example, let’s take motherhood, confidence says it’s okay that it’s hard for me to be a mom. I’m not supposed to be a robot mom, I’m a human mom, of course sometimes it’s hard and I don’t like it. That doesn’t mean anything about me. I’m not a bad mom because it’s hard or because sometimes I don’t like it. I’m a human mom. There are also parts of motherhood that are easy and I do like. I love and accept all of me, there is nothing wrong with me. That’s what competence says.
Competence is not being the most competent. It’s choosing your mindset on purpose knowing that you can think and feel anything.
Alright, let’s move on to the last question. Thank you for your work, Natalie, it has really helped me so much. I have a very critical mother and I’m not sure what to do. She critiques my parenting constantly. I want to show up from love, and connection but she just won’t stop giving me her opinion about how I parent and all the decisions that I make and that we make as a family and it’s really starting to drive me nuts.
I feel a little bit bad, I don’t want to say something to her and make her upset. But I also really am getting fed up with how critical she is every time I am around her. Can you please help me, give me some tips or advice of how to approach this? Yes, I sure can. So, the first thing that I think is important for you to see here is that you don’t have the power to make your mom upset, just like she doesn’t have the power to make you upset. So, if you are getting fed up, what that really means is you are feeling a feeling when your mother is critical.
And that feeling is coming from the way you’re thinking about it. So, if your mom says, “Hey, I don’t like that style of parenting, you shouldn’t parent like that, you should parent like this.” You’re thinking a thought, something like, there my mom goes again. She is so critical. I’m fed up with this, which feels what? Frustrating, disconnecting, disempowering, one of those. Okay, and then you show up in a way that is disconnecting. Maybe you avoid her. Maybe you don’t answer her calls. Maybe you spend less time with her. Maybe you change the subject, whatever it is.
You’re not really showing up as your best authentic self, so what you want to do is accept the way that your mom is and reframe how you’re thinking about it. You can parent however you want. And you can take responsibility for how you’re feeling and release yourself from your mom’s feelings. She is going to feel how she feels based on her thoughts and you’re going to feel how you feel based on your thoughts. So, it sounds like, I love you so much mom, and no, that’s not how I do naptime or whatever it is. And that’s it.
She might be upset, she might be mad and that’s only because of what she’s thinking and it’s okay. You get to feel however you want to feel and I don’t think there is an upside to feeling all of this disconnection about this. Instead, I think you can really clean up your thinking and decide how you want to think and feel when your mom acts in a certain way. You can always show up from love, with love and still hold a boundary.
Alright my friends, that wraps up this episode. I want to say thank you so much for all of your submissions. Thank you for all of your kind words. So many of the entries start with such wonderful notes about the podcast, about Grow You, about sharing it. I just want you to know I appreciate it so much, every share, every mention, all of it. I’m so glad that this work is helping you and has been so powerful for you just as I know for myself it has also been so powerful. And with that I will talk with you next week. Take care.
If you loved this podcast I invite you to check out Grow You my mindfulness community for moms where we do the inner work together. Head on over to momonpurpose.com/coaching to learn more.