Are there rebukes from your childhood that are still ringing in your ears? Now that you’re an adult, you need to respond to them differently. Here’s what I mean:
- Sit down and listen. Listening to others is only one of many ingredients that will help you reach your goals. Yes, there’s a time for you to sit down and listen but there’s also a time for you to stand up and speak. A time for you to follow instructions; a time for you to follow your heart. A time for you to listen to the voices of others; a time for you to listen to your own voice.
- Pay attention to the rules. As an adult, there are still some rules that are super important to pay attention to. Stop at stop signs. Pay your income taxes. Don’t text and drive. Yet, many other rules are at your discretion. Color outside the lines. (Be the next Pollack.) Keep a messy desk. (Einstein did.) Do your homework whenever the muse hits you. If you are still being a good little kid and paying attention to all the rules, don’t be surprised if instead of getting a gold star, you get no appreciation or recognition.
- That’s dangerous! Don’t do it! You don’t need to court danger just for the fun of it. Or maybe you do. Isn’t that what’s exciting about skiing, racing, and a host of other sports activities?
Don’t you want to take risks in your career? Or in other pursuits? Isn’t there a time to muster up your courage and enter the dark woods to explore new territory? Play it too safe and you’ll likely become buggy about how boring, tedious and tiresome your life is.
- Slow down! Be quiet! Kids have an abundance of energy that adults can’t always deal with. Hence, kids are often bawled out when their exuberance becomes noisy, nerve-racking or ear-shattering. Though adults don’t have the energy of kids, if you’re always on the go, others may suggest (or demand) that you stop and slow down. Is this good advice? Maybe, if you’re neurotically driven to always be doing something. But it could be that you’re just a high-energy person who likes to be involved in many things. If so, go for it. And when your favorite scold tells you to “slow down,” you can always respond with “chill out.”
- Stop whining. Most kids have upgraded whining to an art form. Because nothing is as annoying as persistent whining, all but the most stoic of parents give in to their kids just to shut them up. Now that you’re an adult, should whining be totally off base? Not necessarily. Life can be exasperating. You’ve had a tough day; you need to find some way to let off steam. You whine a little; you tell your story to a few empathetic people; you feel better instantly. Amazingly simple and effective therapy.
But habitual whining? That’s a whine of a different color. It grates on others’ nerves, creates a victim mentality and holds you back from finding more mature ways to express yourself. So when problems arise, instead of whining, either shrug them off, look for solutions, or address the situation with a caring, confident, competent voice.
Ski racer photo available from Shutterstock