Acknowledge the Hard. Dwell on the Good…advice from Suzanne Pease

pic for mary jeanne blogMy next guest contributor juggles more titles than a circus performer.  Writer, physical fitness instructor, single mother, event planner , manager of our neighborhood Swim and Racquet Club–Suzanne Pease, or Suzi as she is affectionately known, is the author of the blog, Split Pease ( where she talks about lessons learned and insights as a single mom to three boys.

I encourage you to reflect on her question–“What do you focus on?”  Because the truth is that what we focus on we give power to and we really need to ask ourselves are we dwelling on the good or getting sucked into the vortex of negativity? Please enjoy this insight from my dear friend, Suzi Pease….

Have you ever read this poem?

I’m Thankful

I’m thankful for…

Laundry – because it means that my family has clothes to wear.

Dishes – because it means that my family has food to eat.

Bills – because it means that we have financial provisions.

Blah Blah Blah

I hate that poem. Too harsh? Let me explain. Whenever I read that poem, I think, “Yes, I am thankful I have clothes, but I will never be thankful for laundry.” ”  I get it.  Be thankful. But seriously, can we also just acknowledge the hard things.

 I always want to dwell on the hard parts – I want to be validated for the struggle.

I have never met a self-help book I did not want to read.   I think I am drawn to them because I am always looking for the next bit of wisdom or advice that is going to help me live well.

So imagine my surprise when it was my boys, not a book, that have given me the advice I have needed the most.

I don’t have the corner on hard things – by a long shot. But being a single mom has brought many hardships our way.  My guys have overcome A LOT. I’ll spare you the details but let’s just say they have scored unfairly high on the ACE inventory (Adverse Childhood Experiences.)

Many times, when I was feeling particularly sad for them, I would say things like, “Guys, I am so sorry this is the hand we’ve been dealt”, or “Son, I am so sorry you are experiencing this loss”, or “Seriously, can you just put the d@*m dish in the dishwasher!”  (Sorry some things are hard to stop saying.) But, without fail, every time we would have this conversation they would respond with, “Mom, people have it a lot worse than us”,  or “Relax, there are harder things than this”

They would always acknowledge the hard, but dwell on the good.

Not me.  I am the queen of the pity party. I have perfected the art of stomping my feet and yelling, “This is so unfair!” I am not proud of it, but I pretty much have a PhD in dwelling on the negative.

But it is my kids that are constantly teaching me to change my focus. 

Here is a text conversation I just had with my boy who is on mile 230 of a very rainy 273 mile hike   (I tried to walk a mile today and quit when I got to the end of my street)


See, I went right for the negative.

But, my boys, they never stop reminding me to dwell on the good.

 Even if the good is only root beer candies!

 I’d like to think I am making progress in taking my kids’ advice to focus on the good; but rest assured, I will never be thankful for laundry!

How about you? What do you focus on?

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