Once Upon A Mommy

The Ups, Downs and All Arounds of Raising a Family

Month: September 2014

The Surprising Purpose of Anger

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/I just got home from a 2 hour workshop on anger and acquired some helpful tools and insights. I wanted to share the same resource with you so you can apply these skills in your work, family and relationships.

The premise of the workshop was about a theory on non-aggressive communication. It is a skill that takes practice to learn and it’s not just for people that are more bent towards anger.

So what’s the surprising purpose of anger? It’s actually personal needs not getting met. I definitely find this true in my life.

I will get triggered by something someone says or does, then I react in anger. In that state of anger, not only do I need to look at what triggered me, I need to look at the cause of that anger and what needs are not being met. Tricky stuff to do in the heat of the moment!

Here’s an example from my own life 5 years ago:

I was in the process of moving out of my rental suite. The landlord came to give the cleaning inspection and she was being overly meticulous. I was stressed out and trying to do the best I could. The last straw was when she came out of the bedroom that I had just vacuumed and showed me a small fluff ball that had been missed. I just snapped!

It wasn’t my landlord’s fault for making me angry. It was MY perception of how she treated me and I needed to take responsibility for that. In the heat of the moment, I need to shut up and go through 3 steps:

1. What was the trigger? – the landlord complaining about a hairball
2. What was the cause? – I didn’t feel good enough
3. What needs are not being met? – I wanted to feel appreciated for my hard work

This can be complicated to figure out, especially the cause and needs. Often, we don’t know what we need and we get the cause confused with the trigger.  Dr. Marshall Rosenberg will help you figure that out in his book “The Surprising Purpose of Anger”


If you don’t remember anything else, just remember….keep quiet! It’s incredibly hard to do but it spares us from making the situation worse than it needs to be.

Image courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/


Got Problems? Who doesn’t? See them as BETTER not worse!


As I was sharing a problem with my brother the other day, he gave me a fresh perspective to help me move forward rather than staying stuck.


He’s big into Tony Robbins so this tidbit of information comes from Tony.


When looking at your problem or situation, following these quick 3 steps:
1. See it for what it is…not worse – be honest about the situation. Don’t deny. Acknowledge that the situation sucks but don’t blow it out of proportion.


2. See it BETTER than it is – this takes creativity and means thinking out of the box


3. Do something to make it the way you want – find some part of the situation that you can control to change it into a winning situation for you.
This technique definitely gets me out of my spinning thoughts and my eyes off my situation. Once I see the problem clearly, I can deal with it and move on.  It’s like holding a dime right in front of your eye: it looks SUPER big. But when we pull it away, we gain perspective and realize it’s not as big as we thought.



Happy Meal = Happy Planet

Happy Meal

Happy Meal

McDonald’s use of brilliant marketing strategies ropes kids in and keeps them coming back….often against the parents’ wishes.  It works for us: my daughter currently has her mind set on getting the “purple doggy”, the recent Happy Meal toy.

purple doggie


As a result, we drove to 2 different McDonald’s last night without luck. This morning we had already been to another 2. We are still on the search and may have to call in the reinforcements: her daddy.

With this collection of happy meals, I’ve come to be mindful of the garbage produced from all it’s components:

– the cardboard box

– the chicken nuggets packaging

– the paper cup with ketchup

– the chocolate milk bottle and straw

– the yogurt bottle and tin foil sealer

– the plastic bag containing the apple slices

– the napkins and paper tray liner

– and depending on my mood, the unfinished ice cream cone and wrapper

Due to a recent trip to the city’s recycling depot, I had a heightened sensitivity towards garbage after dropping off a car load of recyclable materials. On the way home, Ella and I stopped by McDonald’s for lunch. Since recycling was in the forefront of my mind, I felt sickened at the thought of throwing Ella’s happy meal in the garbage like so many others before me have done.

Can you imagine the waste that accumulates from this repeated behavior? What makes it so much worse is that EVERY part of a happy meal can be salvageable for recycling. Depending on your city’s recycling program, all the packaging can be diverted from the garbage. Unfortunately, none of the material makes it that far because the facilities do not exist in restaurants or commercial businesses.

So I took it upon myself to take action!! I took it all home to recycle! In Metro Vancouver, we have a fantastic recycling program. We have a mixed paper recycling yellow bag for all paper products except newspaper. A blue bag for newspaper recycling. A blue box for metal cans/tin foil, plastics #1, 2, 4 and 5, and other food packaging. And a fabulous yard trimmings bin for all food waste such as meat, grains, dairy, fruit, vegetables and paper soiled products.

When I go the extra mile and take my recyclables to the city depot, I can return Styrofoam, mixed plastics, mixed metals, stretchy plastics (salad bags, suran wrap, plastic bags), paint, cooking oil, batteries, and glass. Taking advantage of all those choices, this is how an ENTIRE happy meal can be recycled:

– the cardboard box (uncontaminated)——————-mixed paper recycling

– the chicken nuggets packaging (uncontaminated)—-mixed paper recycling

– the paper cup with ketchup ——————————yard trimmings bin

– the chocolate milk bottle and straw ——————–blue box

– the yogurt bottle and tin foil sealer———————blue box

– the plastic bag containing the apple slices————-city recycling depot

– the napkins and paper tray liner————————-mixed paper recycling

– the unfinished ice cream cone and wrapper———–yard trimmings bin

Who would have thought that the only item that needs to be returned to the garbage can receptacle is the plastic serving tray?

Now this isn’t for everybody. Not everyone is thrilled to take their garbage home, clean it out and sort it into its allocated home. However, if you are conscientious, like me, I challenge you to take responsibility for your garbage. Cause if you don’t, it ends up here….

for my daughter and her generation to deal with.

It’s A Beautiful Day, and I can’t See It…

Today, a request for a new perspective and attitude was answered through this inspirational 2 minute video:

So often I find myself caught up in my own world, blind to the beauty around me. I can’t see the wonder because I’m consumed with myself and my negative spiral of thoughts. I get in a funk and see everything with the same shade of glasses.

I currently find myself in that place right now. When I have this bad attitude, it’s so easy to blame others for my unhappiness and lack of seeing things correctly. However, as I write this, I’m convicted by this quote I discovered from Osho:

Consequently, I’ve been praying for a new frame of thought; a new perspective; a new wisdom. In essence, I need a renewal of my mind. I’m excited to share that I received it today!!

If I change my words, change my attitude, change my thoughts…I change my world!

So what are the words that are coming out of my mouth that restrict the flow of life to myself or others? Usually they are words based in fear, doubt, and hopelessness: “I can’t”, “I don’t know how”, “it’ll never work”, “yeah, but…” These statements all contribute to my reality in a negative way.

Furthermore, what are the colored glasses I’m wearing that are skewing my perspective? Typically they are attitudes rooted in jealousy, comparison, judgement, ingratitude, bitterness, resentment, and score keeping.

When I find myself stuck in my circumstances, thoughts or attitudes, I’m left to wonder when it will change. I get fixated on someone else’s behavior and think that my reality will only change when they change first. However, I am then reminded of the words of Victor Frankl:

I must first change myself: accept the things I cannot change and have the courage to change the things I can (The Serenity Prayer). Rather than looking for a fix to the specific problem, I need to first look beyond the problem at the bigger picture. It’s turns out to be a much bigger gift…a changed perspective and mindset to not only see the specific problem differently, but to handle and cope with life in a different way. I believe God is not particularly interested in rescuing me from my particular woe. Instead, He wants to change me. He’s way more interested in the whole puzzle rather than a specific piece. Additionally, He is more concerned with my character and heart than finding a solution to my current temper tantrum.

So how do I change my mind, attitude, and words?

  1. Gratitude! – Focus on at least 1 thing a day that I am grateful for.
  2. Changing the words that come out of my mouth. – Easier said than done. The mouth is unruly and hard to tame. Nevertheless, I need to be more mindful of the quality of words coming out of my mouth.
  3. Meditating on truth. – The mouth is really an overflow of the condition of my heart. What is my heart meditating on? What truths am I filling my mind with? What am I paying attention to and focused on? Whose truths am I adopting?

For me, I am learning to search for the Word of God. His Word has power and life. His promises are backed by the honor of His name. He spoke and the world was created…Wow! His truth gives me the courage to change and the hope that everything will be ok in the end.

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.”

Isaiah 43:1,2

PS. As I wrote this, I had constant struggle and frustration with my toddler. As she was climbing all over me, I was riddled with annoyance and impatience. I was continually challenged to change my attitude and heart towards her. It’s a process I am continually working out.

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