If you have gotten the chance to read the “Meet Amanda” section of my website you would have learned that I have six older brothers. YES, six of my very own older brothers & I am the only girl! Can you believe it? The amount of Barbies I had with no necks growing up were a few too many because my brothers popped the heads off more than once, so I had to smoosh the heads back on only to have some goofy looking no necked Barbies in my collection as a child.
My brothers and I have come a long ways from neckless Barbies and childhood games now that we’re all grown up and have started our own lives. We are all spread out across the country and even throughout the world! As each of us are navigating life on our own terms and creating our own paths, we have all grown in many phenomenal ways. However, I can’t help but think about how each year with all these changes one other piece changes too – the amount of time that all seven of us can be together at the same time and in the same location. Honestly, it’s gotten down to only ONCE a year that we are all together! Can you even imagine? We went from munchkins to high schoolers riding around in the big red Beilke Bus (Yes, we had a Red Maxi Van) where we all had assigned seating to only seeing each other ONCE a year!
(The Baby Beilke Bunch)
Okay don’t get me wrong, I LOVE, and I mean ABOSLUTELY LOVE, that once a year where we all get together, but it also made me start thinking about the time in between our annual trip up north each year.
I had a conversation last week that really brought this all up for me in a way that I wasn’t anticipating to feel. I was talking to a friend about how much I adore my brothers and what a truly unique dynamic we have between the seven of us. We range from the INTP to ENFJ personalities with each of us having our own unique Myers – Briggs personality type. How cool is that? We are all very close in different ways with there only being 10 years in between us from oldest to youngest. I rarely even notice the age gap anymore – age doesn’t matter. I connect with each of them on a different level and love every single one of them in their own way!
As I was talking to my friend last week about how much I value my family and especially my amazing, fun loving brothers, I let her in on a little fear that was creeping up for me. What was that fear? I started having this overwhelming fear that as we continue to go through more changes each year, it’s going to be harder to keep in touch and enjoy that friendship we all have with each other. I’ve noticed it starting to happen already – not a lot and it’s all extremely explainable, but that doesn’t change how hard it is. So me being a natural extrovert, who craves connection in all I do, I wanted to change this.
How could the seven of us create a connection throughout the entire year that’s similar to what we have each year up north when we are all together? I was brainstorming FOREVER because I wanted it to be something that wouldn’t be another burden on them and that would be enjoyable for all of them with their already demanding schedules. The idea hit me! What about a simple ongoing group text between all of us & even a possible Google hangout session every other month? I thought that’s it! Then I got to thinking that I really needed a great way of proposing this idea to all of my brothers to get them on board.
Why did I think I needed to get them on board? I automatically assumed that I was the only one of the seven of us feeling this loss of connection so much or missing it when we all can’t get together. My friend jumped in as I was explaining this and she made a fantastic point. What if your brothers are feeling disconnected just as much as you? What if they miss all the time that you guys used to have to get together and ALL hang out? I paused ….. she was SO right! What if they feel similar to me? Crazy concept huh? (Insert sarcastic tone here) My brothers maybe do miss hanging out more than the once a year that we have all together.
Thanks to my friend pulling me up and out of my own thoughts that were spinning round and round about this, I was able to think about it differently and reframe the entire situation from a new perspective! This made it so easy to send a note out to the gang to see if they would be up for this. Who would have thought that something that I was stressing myself out about might not be a big deal at all?
Have you ever done something like this? The whole projecting your thoughts on a situation about what you believe the other person is thinking? And then because you just “know” that’s the way they must be thinking that they would completely be against your idea? What if they were in fact thinking the complete opposite of what you thought they were? Would that completely change the circumstance or outcome of the situation? Think about it.
Try reframing the next time this comes up for you. How would the situation be different if they were thinking the opposite of what you projected on to them of what you believed their thoughts were? It may just make that next conversation you have with someone so much easier. Plus, it could keep you from avoiding that certain conversation any longer. Ask for what you want, be willing to be vulnerable enough to share your concerns, and don’t let fear keep you silent. And if you ever get the feeling of fear in the possibility of losing a connection with your family or friends, send me a note. I hear you & I wholeheartedly feel you on this!
Hugs & Mochas,
(The Beilke Bunch All Grown Up)