On January 20, 2012, I promised my kids I would go 365 days straight without yelling at my four boys, then ages five-ish and under. It took me a few starts and re-starts but finally…
On February 6, 2013 I celebrated one year of not yelling! I didn’t stop there though, I kept going. Not yelling had become so easy, okay, so much easier, and the calmer, quieter, home and the calmer and happier mommy and kids made me naturally want to never yell again. So I didn’t.
That is until July 12, 2013 when I lost my cool and screamed bloody murder at my sweet kiddos. The stress of my life had simply gotten to me and instead of unleashing my growing anger into a freezer or a toilet as I had taught myself to do, and instead of calling a friend to share and unload, I unleashed my anger and unloaded complete unnecessarily at my kids. But alas, I had made it 520 days straight without yelling and found solace in that accomplishment. So I picked up myself, determined to not yell for 520 days or more, and started again.
I started again, but my determination kept on getting defeated by the stress of life.
Sadly, I haven’t been able to get that 520-day streak going again. I go a month or so and then break the streak. Then I go another month, maybe a few weeks, or even a few days, and I yell. Big time. And every time I yell I feel like a failure, one gigantic, big, ugly, loud failure. And I feel like a sham, one gigantic, big, ugly, orange sham.
You see, every time I yell, every time I don’t take any of my writing to heart and instead slowly re-wound my kids hearts with my words, and re-wound my own heart with intense criticism, I feel that all I am doing is eroding the truth behind everything I have written. Every time I yell, I feel that I bring into question the validity of all the lessons I have learned on my “no yelling” journey. Every time I yell, I feel that I really didn’t figure out how to “yell less and love more” at all because if I did, then I wouldn’t be yelling!
And every time I yell, I feel like I want to run and hide from you all because I feel like the biggest farce.
That was, until recently.
On Sunday, December 22nd I completed my first spin workout in four months. As expected (and hoped), forty-five minutes of sweating sweat away everything that had been clouding and weighing down my mind for months, freeing my mind to do what it loves to do: ponder challenges until a revelation has been made. That Sunday morning, one song pushed me to ponder if I was indeed a “sham” or if everything I wrote was indeed “genuine.” As I pushed the wheels around and around, literally and figuratively, one thought became clearer and clearer. Okay two.
First, I was wicked out of shape, like holy smokes out of shape.
And second, and way more importantly, I, The Orange Rhino, wasn’t a wicked liar and my writing wasn’t a sham! In fact, it was the opposite. That Sunday morning it donned on me that my problem wasn’t that all the insights, lessons, and steps to not yell that I wrote about were wrong, but rather, that they were all indeed right and I just wasn’t embracing any of them! I wasn’t yelling at my kids because I didn’t actually know how to “Yell Less and Love More,”
I was yelling at my kids because I wasn’t…taking care of me to keep me in a good place to avoid growing anger, resentment and frustration.
I was yelling at my kids because I wasn’t…asking for help and instead trying to do everything by myself despite my physical and mental limitations, which only set me up to be fried and unable to stay cool.
I was yelling at my kids because I wasn’t…talking positively to myself and saying that I can yell less, but instead I saying that I am a failure and a sham. (Um yeah, such negative talk is a sure way to not succeed!)
I was yelling at my kids because I also wasn’t…talking positively to my kids to inspire positive behavior. I spoke critically, forgetting that they respond better, like much better, to kind words and a calm voice.
I was yelling at my kids because I wasn’t…tracking my triggers to discover new ones. Kids change, life changes, triggers change. I knew that. I knew I needed to re-evaluate and come up with new solutions to manage my triggers, but I didn’t want to take the time. So instead I started “paying time” vis-à-vis increased frustrating behavior from my kids as a result of my increased yelling. (The more I yell, the worse their behavior is.)
I was yelling at my kids because I wasn’t…forgiving myself on days I yelled, but dwelling instead. The more I dwell, the more I yell. It’s that simple.
I was yelling at my kids because I wasn’t…celebrating any moment I did succeed, but rather just reminding myself that I had more to achieve.
I was yelling at my kids because I wasn’t…focusing on a goal because well, I didn’t set a new, meaningful goal to motivate me.
And I was yelling at my kids because I wasn’t…being modest. I had “succeeded” so I assumed I had the “not yelling” thing in the bag and I let my guard down. And while I did have the tools down, I still needed to be mindful to keep them top of mind; I didn’t need to get over confident that I could just succeed.
So yeah, I wasn’t yelling at my kids because I didn’t know how, I was yelling at them because I wasn’t doing what I needed to do in order to yell less and love more. How can I be sure of this? Because the last two weeks since this realization I have re-embraced some of these lessons and the yelling has already gone down which is really good news. Not yelling at my boys is just too important to me to let it continue! In these last few months of more yelling than I like, but significantly less than before I took the Challenge, I can sense the decreased calmness, joy, and cooperation in the house as a result of my yelling. And I don’t like it. And I don’t like myself for it! Life not yelling felt better, in so many ways. So for the first time ever in my life, I am making a New Year’s Resolution…on New Year’s Eve!
2014 will be the year I return to being an Orange Rhino. Full stop. Period.
I will achieve this by doing all of the above that I have lost sight of, most importantly, by forgiving myself, and not yelling at myself, if I slip up. Yelling at my kids less has to, and does, start with yelling at myself less. And likewise, loving my kids more starts with loving myself more. Full stop. Period.
Changing is hard.
Not yelling is hard.
Making a promise to do the above, is hard.
Mistakes will happen.
Moving forward and achieving my goal will only be harder if I don’t forgive myself along the way; if I don’t love myself along the way.
So love myself more, forgive myself more, I will.
Are you with me?
Please say yes because I am going to need as much support as I can find!
If you want to Yell Less and Love More with me, here are a few other resources that might help you get started.
* NEW! “Yell Less, Love More” the book! The book was published one year after this post. Notice the title…Yell LESS, not never 🙂 I am an Orange Rhino, but I am also human and as this post alludes to, life happens and so do yells. It’s okay! The key is to forgiving yourself and getting as many loving more moments as you can. It’s a 30-day guide to help you create your own motivational goal filled with honest stories to inspire, simple steps to follow, and 100 alternatives to yelling.
* Forget 365 Days (Create your own goal and remember that any moment not yelling, no matter how big or small, is a success!), click here
* 12 steps I roughly followed to stop yelling, click here
* Top alternatives to yelling, click here
* Top things I learned about yelling, click here
* Click here to join the community ready and willing to support you!