There’s nothing like having children to believe in your own “Doom Fairy”…that’s what I call my worrying trait. The one that I got from my mother and the one that sounds a lot like her, “Don’t touch that! Come back! You don’t have your shoes on!” My poor children have been Doom Fairy-ed their whole entire existence.
But guess what…it’s just that: a trait. One that me (and a bunch of my family!) have worked on leashing.
So, if you’re around a bunch of worry-warts, doom fairies, or knock-on-wooders, here’s how to get a handel on it…yes, even in a pandemic.
I’m trying not to worry during all this craziness, both my moms are chronic worriers. How do I not get mad or annoyed at their worries?
Lauren: So, the first thing to understand is that there is conditional love and unconditional love. And when it comes to parents, I usually advise unconditional love. That doesn’t mean there’s not a list of things you have to get resolved with and say for yourself to be really free with them, but once you get free, it’s not often that their personalities dramatically change. Even if you’ve told them the truth about their personalities or how it’s hurt or impacted you.
So, when it comes to accepting your parents as who they are, there’s two things to do. One, let them fully know what drives you wackadoodle about them. Not because they’re maddening, but because you’ve been being a jerk about it and watching them worry and keeping a scorecard in your head about how much they worry and how annoying it is. So you tell on yourself and apologize for worrying about their worrying. Then, you get the joke? Which one?
The one where you’re worrying about their worrying.
It’s not that I don’t agree that worrying really is a nuisance; no one really likes it. Not even the person doing it. So, what my family does with our own mother’s trait (and our version of it), is to first nickname it. So, for example, I’ve named my own version of my mother’s doomer trait, the Doom Fairy. Like “Don’t touch that, come back, you don’t have your shoes on.” My poor children have been Doom Fairy-ed their entire existence. And so they know that she’s the Doom Fairy and not to worry about her. Her worry is helping. It reminds you not to slip, fall, chew, swallow, or die from lots of things.
Marnie: Just remember, none of us fall that far from the tree. We’re either in a reaction to our parent’s crappy trait or we do some version of it and it’s probably an upgrade, but it’s still some version of it. You knock on wood…you don’t do it as loud or as much, but you have that same thought. So, it’ll be easier to have compassion for their crappy traits if you find yours.
Then what do you do? Try these steps:
- Tell on yourself. Confess you were a jerk and score keeping.
- Find your missing sense of humor.
- Find your own version of the trait. It’ll help with #2.
- Deal with your version of their trait. How? Listen to Module 5 of Inner.U LIFE and follow the steps on how to leash a trait.
- Replace your trait with a new one that better serves your higher self, your pups, and, yes, your parents!
Lauren: If you follow those steps, you’ll 100% lighten up about…”Oh, they’re cute, they’re from the old city,” right? Whatever you need to say that gives them a hall pass for having a handicap.
Marnie: Lauren, do you remember what we did in Italy?
Lauren: A dollar per doom.
Marnie: We went traveling for my parents 50th anniversary to Positano, Italy. Fricking gorgeous but there we are traveling with the Doom Fairy. We were on a boat and we were going into grottos, like caves, and hanging out with the whole family. You just start to notice how many doomers there are. We actually have a bunch, myself included. And so we started to make a game of a dollar per doom. You’d throw it into the pot and it got really fun. I mean, my brother stopped playing. He didn’t even want to play because he knew how much he’d owe, but my mother really joined in. So we went diving into this cave and she came out laughing that she owes at least $15 by what she heard going on in her head.
Lauren: Yeah, and watch how much we don’t really want to do the work to change it. You really just want it to go away and it hasn’t gone away yet. Not in your mother and not in you. There really is a recipe you can follow if you actually want to change things.
So then as you go, “What am I getting out of just being annoyed at her the whole time?” If you don’t go figure out how to stop it or follow these instructions, for any of you who wish you weren’t complaining about what so annoying about other people…
Lauren Zander & Marnie Nir
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Lauren Handel Zander is the Co-Founder and Chairwoman of Handel Group®, an international corporate consulting and life coaching company. Her coaching methodology, The Handel Method®, is taught in over 35 universities and institutes of learning around the world, including MIT, Stanford Graduate School of Business, NYU, and the New York City Public School System. Lauren is also the author of Maybe It’s You: Cut the Crap, Face Your Fears, Love Your Life (Published by Hachette Book Group, April 2017), a no-nonsense, practical manual that helps readers figure out not just what they want out of life, but how to actually get there. She has spent over 20 years coaching thousands of private and corporate clients, including executives at Vogue, BASF, and AOL. Lauren has been a featured expert in The New York Times, BBC, Forbes, Women’s Health, Dr. Oz, and Marie Claire and she is a regular contributor to Businessweek and the Huffington Post. Click here to schedule a 30-minute consultation with Handel Group.
Image courtesy of Jacub Gomez.