This week I had a talk with Taiya about life as a teenager and the importance of focusing our energy on what we can control in our lives.

I really believe we should focus on three things every day that we are in full control of:

1 – Our Attitude – Life will always throw us curveballs and unexpected events that we could not have anticipated or prepared for.   It will have ups and downs, twist and turns, and unexpected speed bumps that were beyond our control.  However, how we choose to respond to these situations is completely within our control.  Do we sulk over the situation, feel sorry for ourselves and quit?  Or do we acknowledge the disappointment, pick ourselves up, and continue on?

2 – Our Effort – No one can do the hard work for you or on your behalf.  If you want to get the most out of each day, your work ethic must match your desires.  So many people have large goals and dreams but a small work ethic.  They won’t reach their goals or accomplish their dreams, not because they were impossible or unobtainable, but because they were not willing to work hard enough to reach them.

3 – How We Allow People to Treat Us – During the discussion with Taiya we spent most of our time on this one.  I explained to her that if we let people lie to us, talk bad about us, mistreat us, yet we come back for more, without ever letting them know how and why we feel hurt, we are saying it’s ok to keep doing it.   We are setting the norm for how people can expect to treat us, which in many times starts to eat at our own self-esteem and self-worth.  At Taiya’s age with all of the changes and pressures of being a teenager it’s easy to allow people to treat you poorly because we all want to be liked, popular, and have friends.  Quite honestly a lot of times we will allow people to treat us poorly because it’s easier than having the difficult discussions about how their treatment is hurting us.  We turn the other way and rationalize their treatment of us by saying “they really didn’t mean it”, “they were drunk”, or “they were just having a bad day”.  No matter why we think they treated us poorly, if we never let them know how we feel, we are not taking charge of our own feelings.  We are not stating that we value ourselves to much to allow this kind of treatment to continue and we start to set the expectations that it’s ok.  Eventually we end up in very one sided relationships in which we are never truly happy, nor ourselves for fear of how they will treat us!