Teen Parenting Expert’s Tip of the Month – May

A New Beginning-Every Day
By Barbara McRae, MCC

Just two days ago it snowed and today bright yellow daffodils mark the arrival of spring. Every spring we get the chance to experience a new world. It occurred to me that changes and how we perceive them profoundly affect what we experience. Given that line of thought, I wondered what it would be like to start each day fresh.
Too often we carry our disappointments and grievances forward, day after day. When you consciously clear your mind about “He didn’t do it right” or “She shouldn’t have said that” from the past, every day can become a new beginning!

It’s liberating to know that past experiences don’t have to equal your future, unless you choose it. So, choose wisely and stop your old habits. An excellent example of how you can stop self-defeating patterns is humorously illustrated in the movie “Ground Hog Day.”*

Bill Murray stars as a conceited TV reporter covering Ground Hog Day in Punxsutawney, PA. He finds himself in a time-warp, having to live the same day over and over again. In the beginning, he remains self-centered and acts out his disorientation and frustration aggressively. Then he swings to the other extreme, becoming passive and suicidal. He recognizes that neither extreme is satisfying and experiments by shifting his focus to the people in his life.

More and more, he makes enlightened choices that benefit him and others. In doing so, he changes his relationship to his surroundings and the people in his life. The story ends after he has radically transformed himself. Throughout this movie, we witness how the same day is altered solely by the weatherman’s new choices.

We watch as he transforms himself into a lovable, generous, and genuine person, simply by changing his thoughts (and consequently, his response) to his circumstances. You can start right now. With confidence and persistence, you can be the person you are capable of being.

We can experience ourselves differently by not letting others determine our responses. And, yes, that includes grumpy teens. Choose to respond, instead of reacting. Reacting comes from the past; responding from the present. Choose to be in command of yourself and respond differently to a current situation.

Refresh your view of the people in your life. Stop overlaying the past onto your present image of them. If you drag past shortcomings with you, this will likely trigger feelings of irritation and reduce your ability to be happy. And it doesn’t allow an accurate reading of the now. Yesterday is gone and is irrelevant. Start each day with a clean slate. When you do, you’ll wake up to new experiences.

(c) Barbara McRae
*Excerpt from “Less Drama, More Fun” by Barbara McRae, MCC (www.amazon.com)
Teen Parenting Expert, Campus Calm

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