Life's Seasons Speaks

Tied to a Lawn Chair

January 18, 2023 Tina Episode 101
Life's Seasons Speaks
Tied to a Lawn Chair
Show Notes Transcript

Tied to a Lawn Chair

What's got you feeling stuck, like you can't get away or move on?

Chances are, it's not a WHAT  but the belief that you are stuck that has you held back. 

Like a horse's lead rope, tossed loosely around the arm of a lawn chair, you are only tied up if you think you are.  You are only unable to move on... if you believe that you are unable to move on.

Join in and listen today as we discuss what gets us stuck, what keeps us stuck...

Don't settle for a life where you are tied to a lawn chair!


ACOUSTIC GUITAR # 1 by Jason Shaw
Creative Commons — Attribution 4.0 International License 

Support the show

Just before Christmas, I stood at the photo kiosk in Walmart.  I was getting some pictures printed off my phone.  And as I scrolled through the photos looking for specific ones, I came across so many I had forgotten about.  One was of my husband sitting in a lawn chair while our horses stood around him, eating grass.  Their lead ropes where merely draped around the arm of the lawn chair.

And it’s something you can do with many horses… loosely give their ropes a flip around a fence rail or gate post, and they believe they are unable to get away.

Whether you’ve had experiences with horses or not, I’m sure you know that a horse can not be held in place by a lawn chair.  Not even a lawn chair with a man sitting on it.

Likewise, when I would lead my horse, hanging onto their rope, there was nothing I would be able to do, really, should they decide they didn’t want to go the way I was taking them.  I don’t have the strength to stop a horse from pulling away from me if that’s truly what they wanted to do.

Something needs to happen for something so strong, to believe that it isn’t strong enough.  And I just said what needs to happen.  It was in the word I used when I said believe.

When we loosely throw a rope around the arm of a lawn chair, we need horses to believe that they are tied and held back, in order for them to be tied and held back.

If they simply believed the lawn chair was not enough to stop them, they would be unstoppable.

Alright, quick question… who just listened to that little chat and thought, “oh my, I’m a horse on a lead rope”?

Cause I got caught up in some inventory for sure when I was thinking this through, leaving Walmart on a busy Christmas shopping day.

I started looking back on my years in different stages of life.  There was a time when no lead rope could have stopped me.

I wore what I wanted, did my hair how I wanted, came, and went and did as I wanted.  And maybe they weren’t all great decisions, but that’s not the point.  I at least thought I had the right to make a choice.  Good choice or bad choice aside, it was mine to make.

I’ve seen this in my kids as well.  I remember telling Jesse to get ready, we’re heading to the store.  And he’d proudly make his way to the front door in shorts, cowboy boots and a coat.

One day my husband hollered down the stairs to Jesse telling him the same thing.  Get ready.  We’re heading uptown.  This time Jesse hollered back.  And I heard him.  My husband didn’t.  Jesse asked, “Is it ok if I’m a clown?”

Now, I’m not the one taking him up town this day, so I say what all good moms would say if it was their husbands taking the clown uptown… “of course, be what you want to be”.

So, Jesse made his way to the front door in a full clown costume from our dress up box.  He had also, completed the fantastic outfit with a red nose, administered by permanent red marker.  He was going as a clown, even if he changed his clothes and took off the wig.  Anytime within the next week as well probably.

I watched my husband look at Jesse coming towards him at the door.  I watched my husbands gaze shift from Jesse to mine, with panic in his eyes.  So again, being a good mom, and maybe not the best wife, I said “Jesse picked his outfit himself.  It’s great.  He gets to go out how he wants”.

And he did.  And do you know why?  Because my husband was too scared to argue with me. NO!  I’m kidding… or not.  But Jesse went uptown as a clown because he knew his rope was only loosely thrown around the arm of a lawn chair, and he got to pull away and go another direction if he pleased.

That child did what he wanted.  Be believed he could go uptown as a clown.  So, he did.  For a time.  But somewhere along the line, someone laughed at him or scolded him or somehow taught him that he didn’t have the freedom to do that.  So, he lost the strength to not care about anything but what he wanted and came to believe that you shouldn’t dress as a clown to go shopping.  And I know that happened.  Because he regularly goes shopping, and never dresses up as a clown first.

I get it, not a perfect example.  None of us would aim to keep up our childhood outfits with the confidence we had then to wear them proudly.  But honestly, haven’t we all lost some of that freedom we used to carry as our younger selves, confident to make the decisions we wanted to, rather than the ones we thought we should, instead?

It can happen quite innocently.  Parents, don’t we often try to steer our children’s decisions because we don’t want to see them fail.  We don’t want to see them hurt.  We don’t want them to have to recover from anything.  They are our worlds.  We’d do anything to keep them happy, wouldn’t we?

Ya, but that can become the problem too.  We would do anything, like rob them of their confidence to make decisions on their own.  Rob them of their ability to recover from the wrong choices they made.  Rob them of their problem-solving skills to be learned because they tried something and failed.

We essentially end up putting a lead rope on them and swinging the end of it around a lawn chair, where they think they are stuck.  Unable to get away.  Unable to do anything but be right there.  Eating the grass they can reach and experiencing nothing more.

Maybe this is sounding familiar to you.  You too feel like you’re tied to something that really shouldn’t be able to hold you back… but it is.  

But you also think you have the answer now.  It all makes sense now.  When you were 4, you tried that crazy outfit when going out for the day and your parents made you change.  That’s it.  Has to be.  It’s all their fault.  Nothing we can do about it now.

Something happens though when we become independent of our parents and caregivers.  We have this accountability and responsibility to take up, learn from, and choose from there.

You can learn about your childhood and past experiences that explains so much about present day life for you.  But that is what it is.  It’s an explanation.  And explanations are not to be used as excuses.  They are two very different things.

An explanation is an understanding which makes something else clear.  It’s a clarification.

An excuse looks to lessen the blame by defending it and hoping to justify it.

If someone said I know I shouldn’t yell at my partner like I do.  But I have a stressful job and when I get home I am tired and fed up and can’t take anything else.

Ok, that is in explanation.  I now know that you have a stressful job, and it really affects you, but it doesn’t defend or justify mistreating your partner.

If you can see that there is a problem, it’s your responsibility now, you’re now held accountable to do something about it.

If you didn’t have the freedom that would have been wonderful for you to experience when you were younger, to make mistakes, learn, grow, express yourself, then I am sorry about that.  But once you realize that may be the reason you feel stuck now, it’s on you to do something about that.

There is a time in life when we can become aware of our own lead ropes, and actively pull against them.

There was a time when we were guided by our own voice, about what would make us happy.  That is the voice we need to work to hear again, no matter who stifled it or how it was silenced in the past.

If you used to be excited and now feel afraid… if you used to feel enthusiastic, but now feel timid… if you used to be a leader in a room, but now look to melt into conformity of the space… it’s time to realize your lead rope isn’t attached to anything stronger than you used to be, and still are, if only you’d pull away from the lawn chair.

None of us leave childhood completely free of lead ropes and tie downs.  None of us walk in the same childhood confidence all the way through life.

But all of us can tap back into what it used to be like and evolve it into what that could look like now.  As adults who know they have the right to make choices, make mistakes, and learn and grow.

We have to quit trying to put out the appearance of having the perfect life, and actually have a life, and live life, full of all the experiences we have the right to encounter.

Listen, just because I let Jesse go uptown as a clown, doesn’t mean I didn’t do my fair share of creating lead ropes for my kids, and throwing them around the arm of a lawn chair.

There were lots of times they did their own hair, and then I re-did it better.  They made their bed, and I re-made it better.  They made a craft; I added some touches to make it better.

That was me teaching them not to trust themselves.  That their effort wasn’t enough so why try.  That they don’t know how to do things on their own.  They need me.  Or at least someone else.  They aren’t enough.  And failure or imperfection isn’t an option.

I was stealing their confidence and replacing it with dependence and conformity and fear.

Never my intention.  But it was my impact.

One of the things that happened many times was the boys setting the phone down and then coming to me to whisper, “so and so wants me to come over, I don’t want to go.  And I’d tell them the excuse we could use to keep them from going over”.

Now on the surface that isn’t terrible.  We were looking to spare a child’s feelings, so they wouldn’t hear my kid say “ya, I don’t really want to come over right now”.  Again, not terrible.  But essentially I taught my kids that other people’s feelings are way more important that what you want or what you think you need.  Always put other people’s feelings ahead of your own.

And it is important to always be aware and thoughtful of other people’s feelings.  But that’s not at the expense of your own.  That’s a lead rope.

You cannot possibly live a life making choices that allow you to evolve and grow if you are first taught to consider everyone else’s experience as more important.

You can be kind and thoughtful, while also being honest and deliberate.  

Maybe you grew up in a home full of anger and yelling and conflict.  Your own lead ropes were formed then too.  You were taught to stay quiet and blend in and don’t cause a fuss.  Do anything to keep the focus off of you.  And now you stand at this lawn chair that keeps telling you to be quiet, keep your head down, keep your opinions to yourself and don’t rock the boat.

But you have great ideas, and see the issues in areas, and you know what to do if only some changes could be made.  But you won’t possibly say so.  Unless you could just pull away from this chair.

And you can.  But it will take remembering or maybe realizing for the first time that you are stronger than this invisible rope that is convincing you to stay invisible.

All it takes it an active pull against the rope.  All it takes is simply opening your mouth and making a sound… standing up and making your presence known.

Scary?  For sure!  But how scary does it feel to think of living this inviable way for years and years to come.  That seems far more petrifying to me.

I’m not good enough.  No one will like my ideas.  I’ll only fail anyways.  No one will listen.  Someone will laugh at me.

Those are ropes attached to lawn chairs.

Believing things that are not true, or no longer true, keep you tied down.

To be able to pull away, we have to know what these beliefs are in order to pull against them, pull and go in the opposite direction from them.

Beliefs like, I’m too little, I’m all alone in this, no one wants me, no one loves me, I’m not strong enough, I have no power, I don’t belong here…

To believe you are strong enough to walk away you have to start telling yourself new beliefs, until you believe them.  You have to stop looking for the evidence of these negative thoughts and start looking for the proof of positive ones.

You have to change the narrative in the language you use in your thoughts.

I’m strong enough to handle this and anything.  I have support.  I deserve to be loved.  I am loved.  I am powerful.  I belong wherever I want to be.

Don’t look at all the things that have hurt you.  Look to at all the things you have survived.  Don’t look for the people who have issues with you.  Look for the people who stand by you no matter what.  Don’t look for all the problems you have in life.  Look for all the areas that you have done well.

That’s not looking for silver lining.  That’s being realistic about who you are and what you can handle so that you build up the confidence to keep handling anything you need to.

If you think you can’t trust yourself to make the right choices, or trust others to help you, or ask for help or let others help, those are ropes and lawn chairs friends.

They are real feelings… they are real thoughts, but they aren’t reality.  It just takes a pull.  An active pull away from those beliefs.

I trust myself to make the best decisions with what I know.  And if it was a mistake, I trust myself to figure it out and recover from it.  I trust the right people to help guide me.  I just need to ask for help, which I deserve to do, and people are willing to help.  I know that I can let the right people get close to me and help me out.

Our experiences are going to be directly related to what we believe.  That’s why it’s so important to become aware of them.  Because we again, cannot use an excuse, where only an explanation is appropriate.

A study was done at Dartmouth College, and it has been duplicated by others over the years, all with very similar results.

It’s the scar study, where volunteers had scars administered to their faces with professional make-up to look very real.  They were then sent out to interact with people and report back how they felt they were treated.  Here is the thing though, right before going out, they were told their scar needed a little touch up.  In fact, the scar was removed entirely.

But, believing they had this scar on their faces, they returned after the experiment and reported that people were rude, mean, they stared at them, they avoided eye contact, and were tense around them.

Their beliefs about having a scar, caused them to also believe they were being seen and treated in a negative way.  And they didn’t even have a scar.

The truth is that they believed they were going to be mistreated, and then they went out looking for the proof.  And they found it.

Because whatever you going looking for, you will find.

Our beliefs are so powerful to the experiences in our lives.  It’s so important to know if your beliefs support you being everything you want to be, or if they are limiting you to a lawn chair.

Your beliefs also need to be your responsibility.  Sure, maybe with explanation, but not with excuse.

If your significant other goes away for the weekend, maybe on a work trip, maybe on a fishing trip, shopping trip… either way, they are away.

AND, you don’t hear from them.  You check in with your friends don’t you.  You tell them you haven’t heard from your partner in days and ask what they think is going on.

According to their experiences and beliefs, you’ll get their opinions.

The one who has been hurt and believes you can’t trust people, tells you they are away cheating!

The one who fear rejection says they must be upset with you because you didn’t invite them to an upcoming event.  

The one who believes in love and fairy tales, tells you they must have dropped their phone in a puddle, and it stopped working and the people they are with did the same trying to help them retrieve their phone.  Something weird happened.  But it’s going to be fine.

What if we could do our own scar study every morning.  But instead of what we believe to be a scar on our face, we went out into the world each day believing we had something on our face that made us beautiful.  We had something about us that made us unstoppable, and so loveable, and valued, and admired, and worthy of all we wanted that day.

What would the experience of our interactions be interpreted as if we believed those things?

Why can’t we do this?  Looking for the evidence of these beliefs.

We can do this.  We can go out with these beliefs every day.  Even before we totally believe them.

We have to be willing to be imperfect.  Willing to make mistakes, and willing to fail.

We just cannot be willing to stay tied to a lawn chair.

We have to believe that the ropes and lawn chairs can’t hold us.  And then actively pull away from them, living in the beliefs that we are unable to be tied down to anything or by anything.

And I believe we can do it.

Let’s start today.  Identify your ropes and know they are beliefs.  If you come up with some explanations, totally fine.  (Just don’t use them as excuses).  Counter your old beliefs with new ones and start saying them ALL THE TIME.  Until you believe them too. And watch your experiences change!

I love you guys.  Until next time, this is Tina saying good-bye for now, and we’ll speak again soon.