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This is something I know about personally. I spent most of my life feeling the need to be in control of as many things in my life as possible. If something didn’t fit, I pushed, pulled, and zig-zagged to make it fit. I would do whatever I can to make it work.
Doing everything you can is great when you’re working for worthwhile goals and making progress, like spending a year fixing my boyfriend’s credit so we can buy a house. Or the various hoops I’ve had to jump through to build my business. I think most entrepreneurs will have a semblance of an idea of what I’m talking about.
But, when you repeatedly get undesired results or more arguing with your partner, and you find yourself so tired that you’re dreading the process, it’s safe to say it’s not working. That’s when you need to pause and re-evaluate.
Indeed, stepparents only have as much power as given to them by the biological parent at home. So, when a stepparent feels strongly about something that their spouse doesn’t, a power struggle ensues. The biological parent wins ’cause that’s the psychology of stepfamily dynamics, and the stepparent is left feeling powerless.
Many stepmoms and stepdads can probably relate to what I’m about to say since all stepparents want to be a part of their stepchildren’s life. As an acting stepmom, there were many things I thought was important that my boyfriend didn’t. One example was the my stepson’s nightly assigned reading from the teacher. His school required each student to read 20 minutes each night, and parents were supposed to sign a form verifying it was done. However, my boyfriend didn’t place much importance on his son actually doing it, and often signed it without requiring his son to read. This is 1 of many things that caused arguments between us. No matter what I said or how, nothing changed.
Also, many disciplinary actions I imposed, my boyfriend didn’t follow through on. Similarly, he didn’t implement his own rules, and often changed his mind about imposing punishment. As a result, every time I tried, my stepson retorted, “Dad doesn’t make me do that, so you can’t either.” As with the issue above, no amount of discussions or arguments would enlighten my boyfriend and persuade him to change his mind.
My eventual conclusion? Let go of trying. In this scenario, as I found out the hard way, it was a losing battle. [Now I understand this is common in stepfamilies; It’s the psychology of stepfamily dynamics. I wish I knew it then.] I was merely wasting my time and energy. Know what else? I jeopardized my peace of mind and happiness by continuing to fight against something I had no control over.
Letting go was the key to my path of happiness. Initially, it felt like I was giving up, a very vulnerable and defeated feeling. But then, I realized I started feeling more relaxed. I stopped caring about making a difference in that way. Don’t get me wrong. I still wanted to make a difference in his life – in both of their lives. But I stopped caring about those particular results. That freed up my energy to spend on other things I enjoyed – on ME. And, believe it or not, it reduced the arguing and tension.
No doubt, my health improved as a result. I probably lowered my blood pressure. I KNOW I lowered my anxiety. And, it allowed me to sleep better.
P.S. Did my story resonate with you? Do you have a similar story of when you let go of trying to get a particular outcome – of trying to control something you had no control over? If so, please share it in the comment below. Future readers will find a value in knowing they’re not alone, and learning what other people did in their situation.
P.P.S. And, don’t forget to Join host @lindajoy for the #ChoosingHappiness Crusade & video series I did! It’s free & includes 42 free gifts! bit.ly/Happiness-Videos.