Give People a Chance

One of the greatest abilities human beings have is the ability to change — an important point for you to help your children understand. Just because someone is one way or feels a certain way about someone else one day doesn’t mean that they’ll always feel that way. This is true for both kids and adults.lady trump vs the world

The movie Hotel Transylvania gives a humorous take on this theme. The movie depicts monsters as the “innocent” beings vilified by evil humans. They seek refuge away from humanity. But like humans, they perpetuate the stories of all the horrors done by their perceived enemies — us.

These myths have a basis in fact, but the facts are never challenged, out of fear. It’s assumed that nothing’s changed — at least not for the better – between the two groups.

Enter the human protagonist. Through him, the monsters learn that humans may not be quite as scary as they thought. They even learn that humanity has changed their attitudes over several hundred years.

Like the monsters, the things a person often likes or dislikes about another are based on fears and misconceptions. Some are completely unfounded. Others may be rooted in a fact or event from a long time ago.

As a society, it’s possible to see how this has happened and continues to happen even now. It wasn’t long ago that the majority of Americans thought interracial romances and marriages were wrong. It was actually illegal in most of this country until 1967. Even after it was legalized, it was still considered taboo by many, but kids today are far blinder to this kind of prejudice than previous generations.

There are many areas where you can choose to differentiate yourself from others. Mentally, you can categorize people by race, political party, economic standing, religious beliefs, and level of education. You can even divide people by the types of foods they like and whether they are cat people or dog people.

You can choose to use these labels in an effort to keep separate from people who are different from you or you can use these labels to help you find people with whom you have something in common.

It can come as a surprise when someone with whom you share so many common interests with has a very strong position on something that is extremely different from your own.

These differences can be polarizing and actually result in the end of good friendships.

When you decide to give people the benefit of the doubt and accept them for who they are — even when you don’t agree with them – you’re giving yourself a gift. You now have the opportunity to learn and grow as an individual. By knowing yourself and understanding different views as well as the goodness in them, it’s possible someone’s position will soften.

When you’re open to liking people despite your differences, you allow for a peaceful dialogue. You open yourself to becoming a better human being because you’re embracing your differences.

It’s interesting to note that as an adult, you’re far more likely to recognize that some of the most important people in your life are people you probably wouldn’t have befriended earlier. Sometimes the very traits and qualities that would have divided you from others as a kid are suddenly attractive later in life. Some traits may have softened or changed, but it’s also your attitude that’s evolved.

When you give yourself and others the opportunity to change and experience other people for who they truly are, the world is a better place.

For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.

Tips for Parents of an Introverted Child

Everyone has their own unique method for processing daily information. Some children are naturally more introverted than others and this can be a challenge for parents at times, especially if the parent happens to be naturally extroverted.kid with headphones

Many people think that an introverted kid is just shy and that they’ll grow out of it, however shyness and introversion are very different aspects to a person’s personality. While it’s possible for kids to be both shy and introverted, that doesn’t mean they can’t also be quite outgoing.

Sound confusing? It can be, especially since many sources will define an introvert as a shy person to begin with.

Yet introversion is more accurately defined as a means of processing information. It doesn’t refer to how easily you relate to other people.

As a parent, it’s important to be able to distinguish if your child is an introvert or if they’re shy.

You may want to help your children overcome their shyness, but you should also support and allow an introvert to process information in their natural way. To try and change that is similar to trying to make a left-handed child become right hand dominant.

Introverted people relish time alone. They may appear to be more concerned with their inner minds than the outer world. They may like to quietly observe others without actively participating. Introverts will often report feeling alone or lonely when they’re surrounded by a group of people they don’t know. And contrary to popular belief, introverts don’t always lock themselves away in their room. They may enjoy going to parties or being part of a team, but will probably want some quiet time afterwards in order to recharge.

This can be especially difficult for an extroverted parent to understand. Extroverts get a lot of energy from other people, so they might go out in order to recharge. For an introvert, being around a lot of people or even noise can be both physically and emotionally draining.

Your introverted child may be very thoughtful and able to carry on great conversations. Small talk may be more of a challenge for them, however. Watch your child as they interact with others. Many introverts work out problems and conversations in their minds silently. They aren’t likely to blurt things out without a thought.

Being an introvert is hardly a negative thing. A higher percentage of gifted children are categorized as introverted and introverts can succeed at any career — even ones that you might think would only be a fit for an outgoing personality. For example, many successful actors are actually introverts — they process the information internally and then they’re able to embody their characters regardless of what personalities they’re meant to be playing.

If your child is an introvert, be sure to give them plenty of quiet time. Recognize that if they have a delay in responding to you, it might just be that they’re thinking or feeling out their answer.

If you’re an extrovert, you may be used to verbally going over answers to life’s challenges. Don’t expect your child to follow your lead because it doesn’t mean they didn’t hear you when you spoke. They may be silently repeating your words in their heads as they work out their own solutions.

For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.

Is Your Stuff Getting in the Way of Attracting What You Want?

cluttered roomLet’s face it, one of the main reasons that people want to learn to apply the Law of Attraction in their lives is because they’re unhappy with something that’s going on currently. They believe the Law of Attraction (LOA) will allow them to clean up their problems and their lives will instantly get better. They’ll immediately have everything they want.

It all sounds good and in theory, it isn’t exactly inaccurate.

So why doesn’t it work?

If you’ve been learning some of the Law of Attraction tools and have been applying them without getting the results you want, you might begin to believe the LOA doesn’t work.

Well, it does work, but not as neatly as you might like to think it will. It isn’t a matter of meditating a few times or learning a tool or two. You can’t just snap your fingers because the universe is bigger than that.

The most challenging aspect of applying the Law of Attraction in your life is recognizing the energy that you have going on all around you. This includes your thoughts and feelings, but it can also include your physical “stuff.” So if you aren’t getting what you want, you might take a look at whether you have inanimate objects that are getting in the way.

In an effort to be happy and live in the moment, you might often buy things. Since you’ve evolved beyond being nomadic and having to carry all of your possessions on your back or in their covered wagon, it’s a lot easier to acquire more and more stuff.

Don’t interpret this to mean that you should never buy anything again or that you must live a Spartan existence. You might choose to if that’s appealing, and many people actually enjoy living a simple, frugal life, but it isn’t a requirement.

Things are things, but they can also carry a lot of energy. They take up physical and psychological space in your life. If your home if full of possessions, then where will the things you want reside? You have to make room in your home and heart for the new things that you want to enjoy.

Sometimes this literally requires clearing out some of your belongings in order to have a place for something new.

Other times, it’s an emotional process of letting go. When you hold onto things tightly, it can be out of fear. You might be afraid that you won’t actually find what you want. Or it may be that you’re holding onto the past and that past is symbolized by your possessions.

You can honor your past, you’re allowed to have fond memories of your history, and you can even love and keep family heirlooms. Yet when your house is filled with stuff that does NOT have positive, happy energy associated with it, then that stuff can get in the way of attracting good things and experiences.

This is a great opportunity to work with your Internal Guidance System (IGS) to help discover where you need to let go and what’s actually serving you. You don’t have to keep something just because someone gave it to you or because it’s been in your family for generations.

Stop keeping things for your kids. Surround yourself with things that bring you joy or that are absolutely necessary. Get rid of the rest and then watch as the things and experiences you’ve been asking for begin to appear in your life as if by magic.

For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.

Raising Lucky Kids

fortune keyIt seems like some people are born lucky while others constantly have a dark cloud swirling overhead. How does a parent help ensure that their children have that lucky star? Luck is largely a result of one’s attitude and fortunately, that’s something that you can change.

Tom Brokaw is an example of a person who’s led a charmed life, but that’s not to say that his life has been without challenges.

In August of 2013, he was diagnosed with cancer, but at 75 years old, he’s had so many ups than downs that even his friends refer to his luck as “Brokaw’s lucky star.”

Being born in the right family at the right time is a big help when it comes to finding success in life, but luck goes beyond your circumstances. Brokaw offers tips that you can use to improve your luck and raise your own kids under their own lucky stars.

Mistakes

Everyone makes them. Lucky people learn from their mistakes and sometimes being lucky means recognizing the mistake early on so you can minimize the consequences. Other times, being lucky means getting a message from someone you care about and heeding it. And then there’s the matter of just learning a lesson from the mistake itself. In that sense, there are no mistakes because you might have needed that hiccup in order to learn something that’ll lead to your later success.

As a parent, you may want to keep your kids from making mistakes when in turn, that may be your biggest mistake yet. When you love your kids with their mistakes and all, they feel safer and are better equipped to live their lives to the fullest.

Opportunity

Brokaw admits that some of his luck came because he took advantage of opportunities when they arose. By listening to his Internal Guidance System (IGS), he was able to take on new challenges with confidence even when he didn’t think he wanted to make a move. This brought him to be in Berlin at the fall of the Berlin Wall, which was a high point in his career.

Teach your kids to tap into their IGS so they can recognize great opportunities. When you go with the Universal flow, you’re more likely to have an abundance of luck. As the Roman philosopher Seneca said, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”

Attitude

By keeping a positive attitude, you can create your own luck. You’re open to opportunities and experiences when you face the day looking up rather than down. Feeling confident that you can handle any situation allows for many adventures.

Raise your kids to try a variety of things. Show them to take some risks – start small and build their confidence while they tap into their IGS to steer them towards what they want and away from what they don’t want. This builds up their positive attitude “muscle.”

Pay attention as you teach your kids to make their own luck. Let go of the idea of perfection — people aren’t perfect. Let yourself make mistakes every now and then, but learn from them. Notice the opportunities that come your way and keep your own attitude up. While you’re raising lucky kids, you may just notice your own lucky star shining brightly in the sky as well.

For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.

Tips for Those Suffering from Being Parentally Overwhelmed

headache cartoonAre you feeling overwhelmed? With all the demands you have placed on your shoulders as a parent, it’s no wonder. You have to pay the bills, earn the money to pay the bills, get your kids where they need to be, help them with their homework, take care of the house, make the meals, etc.

And that doesn’t even cover taking care of pets, your spouse, yourself, or even your parents – which is something that many people in the sandwich generation have to do.

If you weren’t feeling overwhelmed before, just reading that last paragraph may have gotten you there.

You hear all the time that you have to take time for yourself, but sometimes you don’t feel like you have time for that.

“Maybe later” is a common refrain. You give up sleep, eat at your desk, and find any way you can to gain a few extra minutes in the day to usually fit in something that has to be done for someone else.

As a life coach, I’ve seen this in so many people from every walk of life. What I find all these people have in common is that they’re caught in firefighter mode. They’re constantly jumping from one proverbial fire to another and they never feel like they’re getting ahead.

One of the problems with this mode of parenting is that you always feel stretched too thin. When you operate this way, everything takes on a sense of urgency. Your energy is either high because you’re running around putting out fires or it’s really low because you’re exhausted.

With all that urgency, you lose sight of your priorities. Just because something feels urgent doesn’t mean that it’s actually important. One of the best ways to escape firefighter mode is to be able to shift from extinguishing to distinguishing.

When you’re pulled in all directions, how do you distinguish between the important things and all the other stuff that’s demanding your attention?

The best way to do this is to tap into your Internal Guidance System (IGS). With practice — and yes, I know that means spending some of your valuable time practicing this skill — your IGS will help you to recognize which fires are truly important and deserving of your time and talents. You’ll know which items you need to address right now, which can be put aside for later or delegate to others, and even those you may decide to ignore entirely.

Some people will balk at the idea that they don’t have to handle everything on their to-do list. The problem is, when you live your life as if the goal is to check everything off the list, then everything on the list is given equal billing.

Take John Jr. to the dentist- — check. Wash the dog — check. Plan Mom’s 80th birthday celebration — check. Be sure the life insurance policy is up to date before you have that heart attack — check.

How would it feel to let something go on your list? If it can’t be dropped or delayed, can it be delegated? How does it feel to ask your children, your spouse, a co-worker, or a friend to take over a task? Are there things that make you feel happy about finishing? Can you focus on those? Feel your way through the list to determine which items are truly important to you.

For some, this concept will be very foreign. They may even say that it’s selfish. Maybe it is, but there’s nothing wrong with that! Focus on what brings you joy. Being overwhelmed and exhausted certainly isn’t joyful. Be willing to be a little selfish. Be willing to let go of a few projects or at least how they’re accomplished. Show your children what it means to prioritize, to delegate, and to actually experience rather than race through life.

For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.

Seeing & ‘Fessing Up to the Error of Your Ways

404 guyAs much as the television show of the same name declares “Father Knows Best,” there are times when both fathers and mothers make mistakes. It’s important for parents to recognize that not only will they make mistakes, but it’s actually healthy for them to make mistakes and even to let their kids know about the error.

It’s natural for you to want to be strong for your kids. In some ways, you’d probably like for your kids to see you as all-knowing and infallible.

However, that’s a lot of pressure on you as a parent and human being. It also gives your kids a false impression of who you are and what they can expect in life.

Making mistakes is part of life and part of growing and learning. Some mistakes are small and others are huge.

Hopefully with every mistake you make, you learn more about yourself and the world around you. That doesn’t mean you won’t still make mistakes in the future, but at least you’ll make different ones.

Teaching your kids that mistakes are part of growing up may seem pretty straightforward. You can encourage your kids to try new things. You may even tell them that it isn’t about avoiding failure, but about picking themselves back up again.

Yet if you never demonstrate or admit to making a mistake, they’ll feel that they’re expected to be perfect too.

The problem with trying to be perfect is that you can’t be perfect and continue to evolve. Most people are only perfect at something that they’ve done over and over again.

You may have an innate skill that allows you to be really good at something right from the start, but even then, improving at any skill will include making mistakes or failing.

People who are afraid of making mistakes stop taking risks. They only do things that they’re already confident in their ability to accomplish. For this reason alone, you should encourage your kids to take some risks, to explore, and to try new things.

When you only reward based on results, you may be inadvertently encouraging your kids to limit themselves. Rather than increasing their confidence, you may be instilling the idea that you’ll only love them when they do well.

To avoid this, you have to learn to recognize your children’s individual talents, but also reward them for trying new things. You also have to be willing to be a role model. It’s important to walk the talk and get out there, try new things, and make some mistakes. Once you make the mistake, show your kids some humility and pick yourself back up to try again – there’s no shame in failing and it’s important to convey this message however you can.

Another aspect of modeling mistakes for your kids is admitting when you’ve made a mistake that ended up hurting someone. It might be financial, physical, or an emotional hurt. When you admit to your children that you made a mistake that ended up in their being hurt, you give them the opportunity to explore their feelings. You also provide them with an example of how to apologize to another when something they do causes harm.

Your Internal Guidance System (IGS) can help you teach your children respect and empathy for others. Your IGS is also a great tool for your own awareness of when you’re doing well and when you’ve made a mistake. Making amends isn’t a sign of weakness. Instead, it’s great teaching opportunity. You get to demonstrate to your kids that although human beings are imperfect, it doesn’t keep them from being loving and kind.

For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.

Spring Cleaning and LOA—Clear It Out to Attract More

spongeIt might be a little early for spring cleaning, but it’s a good time to prepare for that ritual — with a twist. This year, take the opportunity to do a thorough spring cleaning both physically and mentally.

One of the parts of the Law of Attraction that many people tend to ignore is that they have to have space in order to attract more into their lives.

The thing is, whether you’re talking about your home or you mind, you can’t expect to make room for anything if the space is already too full.

There are many shows on television about hoarders, so most people have an idea of how there is literally room for more stuff than you ever imagined in your home.

All you have to do is keep piling it up on top of the other things. Any horizontal surface is quickly covered with piles of paper, clothes, books, or what have you.

You can stack things, growing the piles until you have only a tiny path leading from the front door into the dark mass of things.

Even if you don’t hoard physical objects, many people are mental hoarders. You read, talk, watch television, and listen to the radio. Any quiet space, like the horizontal surfaces in your home must be filled. You’re so busy thinking and keeping your mind occupied that you don’t allow for any room to wander.

You know that hoarding is an illness and people who are diagnosed as hoarders need help. But how many people recognize the tendency in themselves? You don’t have to have literally maxed out the space in your home or mind to benefit from a good spring cleaning.

You might hold on to magazines because there was a great article that you meant to read. Five years later, it’s still there, unread. You have trinkets filling your shelves that you bought years before that no longer fit your taste or decorating style, but you still hang on.

In the same way, you hold onto old beliefs and fears. You cling to your old patterns even though they no longer suit you or make you happy.

Tap into your Internal Guidance System (IGS) to know what you do want. Use it to help you clear out the old physical and mental stuff to make way for the new stuff.

Getting rid of just one box of old stuff that you don’t need anymore can be freeing, so imagine the liberation of cleaning out the attic or basement.

Allow your mind the time to relax and be renewed as well. Filter the information that you put into your mind. Learn to be okay with quiet. Try meditating. On your next job, try listening to the sounds of nature rather than the tunes on iPod.

You’ve probably heard the saying attributed to Aristotle, “Nature hates a vacuum.” This truth explains part of how the Law of Attraction works. Instead of dreading spring cleaning this year, think of it as setting up a vacuum that the Universe will then fill with whatever you attract into it.

For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.

Our Feelings Not Actions Determine End Result

goal chart with armMany people who don’t believe in the Law of Attraction point out that we must take action in order to accomplish our goals. They seem to be under the misimpression that as believers in the Law of Attraction we are actually coaching people to only meditate or repeat affirmations and expect their heart’s desires to happily land on their doorstep. With a bow on top, to boot!

Of course actions are needed at times in order to get results. But the action without the appropriate feeling will not yield the desired outcome.

“Life is a journey, not a destination.” 

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some people will interpret this famous quote to mean that it is the steps you take that are important.

Yet, the journey itself includes not only the path(s) we have chosen during our lifetime, it also includes all the feelings that went into our making those choices. It is actually how we feel about the process, not the specific steps that we take, which really determine our end result.

If you think that the destination is achieving one of your big goals, then you are missing the point.

We all have lots of goals during our lifetime. Our journey doesn’t end when we successfully reach them. Sometimes we don’t even seem to have time to celebrate our accomplishments because we have created newer, bigger goals that we are now striving for.

This is what life is about, moving along a path. We can create the path ourselves, or we can choose to follow a path that someone else has blazed before us. Either way, it is up to us to follow a path and live in the moment. That is what the “journey” is — living in the moment.

If we are so absorbed with achieving a specific goal, we may miss the fork in the road that will bring us extreme happiness. If we set hard and fast deadlines where we will have accomplished our task we may lose out the most important part of the creation—the fun of it!

One of my big goals was to write my book “The Art of Blissful Parenting.” For a while I allowed self-imposed deadlines to create stress in my life and take away the fun of creating. That is when I had to remind myself to check in with my IGS so I could again enjoy the process.

When we allow our Internal Guidance System (IGS) to help us determine our path, the correct way will unfold more easily before us. Some people actually enjoy bush-whacking, forging a brand new trail through hard work and determination. Others prefer to create a unique path by selecting various meandering branches along the way. Still others practically fly along the path because for them speed is the thing. They want to see more and more progress.

It doesn’t matter what type of traveler you are, as long as you are following your heart and IGS. You may even find that you move back and forth from bush-whacker to flyer to meanderer. For a few moments, or even years, you may relish one sort of challenge only to find that later those challenges have no appeal at all.

Pay more attention to how you are feeling while you are on the path than how the path is being created. If you suddenly feel like you need more time, take it. If you have a sudden urge to skip over large parts of the trail or take a short cut “through the brush” then do that.

Our success as individuals is not measured by achieving of goals, accumulation of wealth, or by crossing the finish line first. Our real success is measured by the joy we have felt while we are on the trip.

When you truly feel good about your trip, you will find that your tasks become easier. I certainly have found that when writing my book. When I tried to force it, in order to meet a deadline, I found that it was difficult and others were not relating to the result. When I relaxed and appreciated the creative process, the words flowed.

I started to feel good again about taking the steps that I was inspired to take, but to let the timetable fall away. The end result is a wonderful book that I am very proud of. The bow on top of this end result is that I have memories of a pleasant, fun-filled experience as I move on to the next part of my journey.

For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.

Sharing Your Kids Over the Holidays

Most people’s lives don’t resemble movies, especially when it comes to the holidays. Even for those who have happy memories of their family gathering together for the holidays, the reality these days is different from anything Hollywood writes.
kids following santa
No longer are families consolidated in a single area of the country.

You’re more apt to be traveling across the country for a visit to your parents’ house than you are to trek across town.

You and your generation aren’t the first generation to experience this, but it’s likely even more commonplace today than when you were growing up.

Traveling adds to the stress than many people already feel about the holidays. Whether you’re staying with friends, family, or at a hotel, you’re away from the comforts of home.

On top of all of this, you have to learn how to share your kids.

For some families, sharing kids is a part of the regular routine. Kids may spend the week with Mom and weekends with Dad, or they live with Dad for most of the year and visit Mom on alternate vacations. Obviously, this kind of sharing continues over the holidays, but it’s not the only “kid sharing” you might be faced with.

Even in families with both parents living together, it’s important to share your kids with your extended family and you have to share your kids with their friends too. When your children get older, you have to share them with boyfriends, girlfriends, and even in-laws. Suddenly, “your” family looks very different and trying to plan your holidays has gotten more complicated.

While you may still dream of a holiday worthy of a Norman Rockwell painting, many people will happily settle if we don’t reenact movies like Home Alone or Bad Santa.
Of course, you should still envision the family holiday that you want. Just keep in mind that you cannot create in anyone else’s universe and their vision of the perfect vacation may be quite different from yours.

What is the best way to handle sharing the kids, no matter the age or circumstances? By talking it over with everyone involved, including the kids themselves.

You can each talk about how you’re feeling and what you’re most looking forward to this holiday. What if your college student has his heart set on going to Cabo with his buddies or your daughter-in-law wants to host the family dinner for the first time? Or maybe your youngster wants to stay with his mom this holiday because he has a special tournament he would have to miss if he spent it at your place?

Since it’s not possible for anyone to be in two different places at the same time, you may have to use some creativity and flexibility. If you focus on the feelings you want to have as opposed to the exact experiences, then you truly can have it all. After all, nothing stays the same, including your family. Your traditions may just need to be able to evolve a bit so you have years of happy holidays ahead.

For more, please visit http://www.SharonBallantine.com.

When Applying the Law of Attraction, Are Details Important?

When people are learning to apply the Law of Attraction, they want to be sure they get it “right” and worry so much about the process that they actually miss the point. You need to pay attention to how you’re feeling rather than ticking off a specific list of items. man in front of success chart

It’s your emotional energy that goes out into the Universe and brings back the experiences that match your vibration.

This doesn’t mean that details are never important. It’s just that so often that people get bogged down in the details that they forget about the energy behind them.

Let’s say you want a new house, for example.

You can spend hours looking at other homes, making a list of all the attributes that you want your new house to have, and even create a vision board with pictures of wonderful homes.

Yet you appear to be no closer to your dream home than before. Why is that?

Of course you need to spend some time gathering data, but are you gathering the right data? Are you merely creating a list of architectural details that don’t actually resonate with you and the way your family lives?

Be sure to spend time thinking about what’s important to you in a home. Let every family member contribute to your list. You may be surprised at some of the items that are crucial to your kids or even your spouse.

This list then becomes your “important details.” Look it over and review it with your family members every day. Now you can create your dream board and focus your collective energies on the house you have emotionally built.

Do you remember the movie, Miracle on 34th Street with Natalie Wood as the little girl, Susan? Susan wanted to live in a house rather than their apartment in the city. She even found a picture of the house and looked at it every night. She was focused. She didn’t look at other houses; just the one she wanted. She knew what it felt like to live in that house.

Then one day when she and her family were out for a drive, they took a wrong turn. Of course that led to the family driving right by Susan’s dream house, which just happened to be for sale. This may have been a Hollywood movie, but it really is how the Law of Attraction can work in your life. You never know when the wrong turn will be exactly what you need in order to fulfill your dreams.

Don’t get bogged down in the details that don’t really matter to you and focus on the ones that bring you the feeling you want.

Granite countertops may look beautiful and be the current style, but maybe what you really want is to feel like you’re part of the family activities when you’re in the kitchen. In that case, your dream house may have dated counters, but an open floor plan that allows you to help the kids with their homework as you make dinner.

Whether you’re looking for a new house, a car, a job, or a new love interest, you can apply this same principle. Yes, details matter. Just make sure they’re details that are important to you, emotionally, instead of a laundry list of items that might just be nice to have.

For more, please visit http://www.SharonBallantine.com.