*Are you happy at the moment?
The word “happy” always throws me for a loop.It’s kind of vague, so I have defined what “happy” means to me: inner peace and contentment. So, at this time in my life (age 42, married almost 20 years, 14 year-old daughter), yes, I am happy!
*If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?
I would tell myself that while everything seems earth shattering now, most of what I get upset about wouldn’t matter in the bigger picture. I would teach myself how to be in the present moment and to not worry so much about what other people think about me, including my parents. I would encourage myself to speak up to my mom and dad instead of burying my feelings deep inside, creating a landmine waiting to explode.
*What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
I’ve been gradually learning that other people’s actions, reactions and general behaviors have nothing to do with me. I’ve been learning this slowly over a couple of years, but it really gelled with me this year. When someone says or does something that stings, I can finally step back, ask myself what (if any) part I had in the interaction and determine what to own and what to walk away from.
*What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
Personally, I want to achieve an almost-constant state of mindfulness. I’ve found that this is the key to inner peace (happiness) for me. Professionally, I would like to start getting paid to write! Socially, I’d like to nurture some important friendships and let go of toxic ones. I want to continue supporting my daughter emotionally with respect and build more emotional intimacy with my spouse.
*What’s your secret to happiness?
I’ve found that as I get older (and maybe wiser), I have learned to pick my battles in many areas of my life. Being in the present moment as much as possible and choosing to look at emotional things objectively has given me a freedom that I have never known. I used to be a people-pleaser and would always put others’ needs in front of my own. I know now that I am the most important person in my life and if I’m not happy, I can’t wear my mom/wife/counselor/writer hats with any real effectiveness.
*What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
Staying in the present moment (mindfulness) has been the best tool for me to stay grounded. I wish I could say I am able to stay present all the time, but I can’t. I use mindfulness mostly in situations in which I experience stress and/or negative emotions. I am such an Empath – I feel other people’s feelings – that being able to remove myself from my emotions and look at them objectively has been the key to staying grounded.
*What’s your biggest regret?
I personally don’t believe in regret. Everything that has happened to me, including my own choices and behaviors, has shaped me into the person I am today, which I am generally happy with. I also don’t believe in failure. Not reaching a goal is not really a fail, it’s an opportunity to learn something to apply in the future to get more positive or healthier results. Are there people out there that I’ve hurt? Sure there are! I have done all I can to make nice with the folks I am aware of that I have injured emotionally. If someone is angry with me and doesn’t let me know, there’s not much I can do about it.
*What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
I hate to sound like a broken record, but mindfulness has been the biggest lesson I have passed on to my daughter. She has been diagnosed with OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) and is a highly anxious kid. She takes medication, which helps her ability to tap into her natural internal resources. She has told me several times that staying in the present moment helps her overcome her worries, fears and anxiety.
*What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
I do not exercise much at all. I’d like to WANT to get out and get moving. I am not overweight and don’t have Diabetes or anything, but while I know that getting my blood pumping will feel great and help deal with stress, it seems I can always find something I want to do more. My motto is, “Follow your bliss,” as Joseph Campell said, but doing this keeps me from being more physically fit.
*Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
I don’t mean to sound cliché, but my personal growth over the last few years is what I am most proud of. I have a long list of achievements and recognition from outside sources and that’s where I used to get my sense of self-worth. But now, even though it’s nice to hear good things at times, I know I am awesome without anyone else having to tell me or even agree with me. I went through postpartum depression when my daughter was born. I believe now that the endless tears, loss of appetite, inability to sleep, constant anxiety and eventually, my suicide plan were all of the feelings I had stuffed for most of my life coming to the surface. I never want to remotely feel like that again. I have bad days just like everyone else, but this was a dark place that I don’t ever want to see again. I was able to take that awful time, go back to school and get my Masters degree in Clinical Psychology and start a private practice specializing in helping new families who are going through the same thing that I did. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to pay it forward (wellnesspearland.com)!
*When were you happiest?
Without a doubt, I am now the happiest I have ever been. For people who are afraid of 40, I say don’t be! It may be the first time in your life that you feel like you may know who you really are! I wrote a book in 2007 about the importance of self-care, but even though I knew intellectually that my words were true, I don’t think I connected them with my heart until recently (wellnesspearland.com/book-store/).
*What ten words best describe you?
Loyal, intelligent, compassionate, clumsy, empathic, free thinking, reasonable, bitchy, independent, and curious. I’m sure if you asked people who know me, you’d get a few others, but hey – this is about me!
Stacey Glaesmann, MA is a Life Coach, freelance writer and author who lives in a suburb of Houston, Texas. She specializes in treating new moms and families with postpartum mood disorders. She has written a book called What About Me? A Simple Guide to Self-Care in the 21st Century and has been published in several online and print media outlets. Samples of her work can be found at http://www.examiner.com/self-help-in-houston/stacey-glaesmann and her website is wellnesspearland.com. Stacey has been happily married for almost 20 years and has a 14 year-old daughter, who is as neurotic as her mother.
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