I learned a lot from doing the “Don’t Take Things Personally Challenge.”  And I’ve been using my knowledge every day to make life as a stepmom less emotionally taxing.

Today, gave me a great reason to pull out all my tools and find one I didn’t even know was in my toolbox. I got to discover another lesson I hadn’t realized I learned; I hold the power to control my thoughts.

And so the story goes, I have been having a great couple of weeks. I’ve really focused on not letting things get to me and it has made a huge difference for me.  My husband commented that he has noticed a new calmness about me. Good stuff. Today, it was put to the test.

My SD’s natural mom made all these promises and once again didn’t fill them. It has been about a month since she has last called my SD.  My SD was just at the point of giving over her anger and connecting with me again and then the phone rings. Guess who????  This is a cycle that I can recite verbatim; mom calls and makes promises, mom doesn’t keep promises, SD lashes out at me transferring all of her anger and frustration onto me, I deal with it, SD starts to diffuse and get over Mom’s continued failure, SD begins to warm up to me, mom calls, cycle restarts…….

Usually, after one of these call I feel terrible. I don’t even know what is said anymore (another lesson I learned from the challenge) but I’ve lived through the cycle for so long that I know what is coming.  I feel powerless. I feel a victim to the circumstances.  I feel like screaming.

But this time was different.

When my SD hung up the phone and was doing the “mom is gonna change this time” dance, I started to feel those powerless, victimized feelings I’ve felt in the past. But before I could take a drive down that road that only leads me to sadness and despair, I took a U turn and got on another path. I said I am not powerless. I can control how I react to this. I can choose to get all worked up and worry about the next few weeks or I can just be happy with me, my husband, and the many blessings in my life and live day to day in regards to my SD and her relationship with her mom.

I realized that I am GIVING my SD’s mom power when I ALLOW her behavior to negatively impact me and my thoughts. No more! I will not give my power away. I choose to focus on all the good in my life and not dwell on the chance that I’m going to have a tough go of it over the next few days.

I really don’t know what tomorrow holds for my SD and myself. But I do know that I hold the power to be happy. That I will not give my power to a woman who does not value the wonderful person she helped create 9 years ago. I refuse to allow her to ruin even one minute of my time thinking about what might happen.  Realistically, even if my SD lashes out at me over the next few days I know why. It doesn’t make it right for her to be so combative towards me but it helps me to understand that she’s not lashing out at me.  She’s really lashing out at her mother and she’s doing it through me as I’m the mom in the house.

I have the power to focus on me and how I will react to circumstances and I’m going to use it in a positive way.

If you want to read my learnings from the Don’t Take It Personally Challenge, visit www.thestepmomstoolbox.com to read my full article featured on the site.

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