Lessons Learned from Princess Diana – Lesson #9

Lesson #9: Embrace Who You Are

Princess Diana was a cross between Oprah Winfrey, JK Rowling, Audrey Hepburn, and Mother Theresa. Her charismatic yet shy and soft-spoken demeanor displayed an introverted personality that magically transformed when in the limelight. Her humble, compassionate, and deep caring for the disadvantaged undoubtedly earned her a sainthood-like status. Her global presence captured her individuality, leading her to become the People’s Princess.

Diana entered the royal family as a timid and sensitive young woman and left with a strong sense of selfhood. Along the way, she expressed her individuality by sharing topics of conversation that were once taboo and then became commonplace, such as mental health, HIV/Aids, and banning landmines. Her authenticity made her all the more loveable.

Reflecting on my youth, I remember struggling with living up to high religious expectations. I couldn’t reach the bar. It was too high. Instead, I marched to a different drum. The turning point for me was my first work performance review. I finally felt seen and heard. It was a great feeling! For the first time, I felt valued and appreciated for who I was and what I could do. It gave me the confidence to be myself and pursue my passions.

However, life was not easy. After getting married and starting a family, I faced challenges and disappointments. Slowly the unrealistic expectations of a “happily ever after” and not hitting the bar eroded my self-esteem. Like waves pounding rocks into pebbles and pebbles into the sand, I, like Diana, felt insecure as my self-confidence withered away.

I turned to God and surrendered. White flag and all. My life needed to be nurtured and nourished like a garden of herbs and spices to combat the erosion it was facing. After my failed marriage, I met my life partner, and we learned to tend the garden in tandem. Together is better when two people are in sync and not in a tug-of-war.

Like Princess Diana, I learned that embracing who you are is the key to happiness. It’s important to be true to yourself and not try to live up to unrealistic expectations. By being authentic and genuine, we can inspire others to so too. Diana’s legacy continues to inspire people around the world. We can leave our own legacy by being a blessing to others by being kind, compassionate, and empathetic. By sharing our experiences and being vulnerable, we can encourage and support others who may be going through similar struggles. Doing so can create a ripple effect of positivity that can change the world, one person at a time.

Lessons Learned from Princess Diana – Lesson #8

Lesson #8: Be Kind

Image Credit: David Gray / Reuters found in the Public Domain of Images

Princess Diana was known for her kind heart and generous spirit. What small acts of kindness did Princess Diana perform? She may have been the first royal person to touch someone without gloves publicly and was the first to touch someone with HIV/AIDS. Her willingness to see eye-to-eye with her public was a gesture of warmth and kindness as the Princess frequently stooped down on her walkabouts, especially to her young fans.

To instill kindness in her sons, Princess Diana often took them to homeless shelters, hospitals, and orphanages to expose them to all sides of humanity. She did this to inspire them to help others as they matured into adulthood. Diana was indeed a “People’s Princess.”

Reflecting on kindness and my childhood, I saw random acts of kindness from my dad. Whenever he saw a friend or a neighbor walking, he would offer them a ride. My mom showed kindness when she picked up the phone from a friend in need. She would listen and provide encouragement. I often heard her do this as she would say, “A ha and hmm.”

In my first marriage, I tried to exhibit kindness, and I did so for many years. Until I broke. I could no longer be kind-hearted when I felt so downtrodden and disrespected. Children mimicking adult behavior. Poor choice of words. Poor choice of actions. I woke up and realized I had contributed to a situation where I no longer wanted to be a part. I had reached my limit of kindness. Kindness was no longer found in my home, and I could not be the glue anymore.

A kind person apologizes. A kind person tries to discover new ways to approach old wounds. A kind person is supportive. Encouraging. Loving. Life must be filled with kindness, or it no longer supplies the needed oxygen to survive.

Kindness was important for Princess Diana because it gave her a sense of purpose, happiness, and connection with others. It also makes a positive change in so many lives. In Parades, Princess Diana’s Legacy of Kindness, by Roisin Kelly, Ms. Kelly writes this about Princess Diana, “She believed that kindness was the best way to show love and compassion in a world that often suffers from the disease of feeling unloved.” And I believe it too! My life now is ruled by kindness. Kindness is the cornerstone of my marriage. My home. My relationships.

If you liked this writing, please Share, Like, Follow.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post.

*Written with the assistance of New Bing AI for research purposes

Lessons Learned from Princess Diana – Lesson #6

Lesson #6: Embrace Vulnerability

Image Source: hotcore dot info/babki/
lady-diana-cooper-quotes dot htm

Princess Diana used her public image and royal status to bring humility and honesty to the field of mental health. The life and legacy of Princess Diana embraced the vulnerability of others and, more poignantly herself. In her openness to her personal challenges, she may have unwittingly encouraged us all to confront our demons and seek professional help.

Princess Diana openly spoke about her battles with depression, self-doubt, and postpartum depression. By sharing her experiences, she humanized mental health issues and sparked conversations that were often considered taboo. This applied to her marriage woes as well. Diana had a knack for deeply relating to the public in many ways. After her troubled marriage became public knowledge, she openly discussed her challenges, allowing others struggling to feel seen and heard. She was a trailblazer.

As a teenager and young woman, I dreamed of creating a nurturing and safe space for my children. I imagined a warm and fuzzy place where heart-to-heart talks would be encouraged. I pictured two parents on the same page of the “Parenting Book.” But it didn’t end up that way as my children were growing up. The parents who I grew up with, that made me feel safe and loved and taught me how to be expressive by holding hands and kissing, were not the parents my children had. And yes, this still haunts me every now and again.

Reflecting on my journey of vulnerability as a parent, “I need to put on the oxygen mask first,” thinking comes to mind. I saw the benefit of counseling and sought it several times during and after my first marriage and a few times before my second marriage. I realized that two-way communication was the secret sauce in healthy relationships.

Good mental health requires people to be open and honest with themselves, their partners, and their children. Counseling requires hard introspective work, and many are just not ready to make that commitment. Often more time is needed to be ready for counseling. Or a fixed mindset prevents them from seeing the benefits of therapy or any help or assistance in general. It takes courage to acknowledge and express our true selves. Princess Diana showed the world that vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but of strength that fosters connection, empathy, and understanding. All of which necessitate some form of communication.

A smile.
A warm touch.
A glance.
A laugh.
A text.
An email.
A phone call.

I acknowledge moments of self-doubt, uncertainty, and the poor navigating of the often-hard road that parenting requires. Yet, I did something right because my children turned out to be okay. Both graduated from top-notch universities. Both are independent. Both are genuinely kind people if you dig deep enough. I’m sure we could agree that healthy relationships are vital in today’s ever-changing world. Even tricky words, we occasionally need to hear, are worth the effort.

Career or Calling?

Daily writing prompt
What is your career plan?

I spent most of my professional career as a Career Counselor. I managed a career center for a private engineering school in the Northeast, and then a decade and a half later built a career center for a small liberal arts college in the middle of the United States. In between, I raised two boys and provided consulting services to several small to medium-sized businesses in the healthcare, tourism, communications, and manufacturing industries.

Sure, I can go on and on about career assessment tools, finding and leaning into your strengths, and preparing for a job search. Yet, many of us lose sight of our calling. We have to ask ourselves, what has God called us to do? Praying will help. Taking career assessments will help. Identifying your top five strengths will help. Pray again. Ask God to show you a path. Don’t worry if you don’t hear anything. It will be revealed in God’s timing.

While consulting, I had the opportunity to serve on the Advisory Board of a Marketing Center of an academic institution. The experience pulled strings in my heart to want to return to academia. So, I started applying for jobs in the nearby area. I wasn’t getting any bites. I prayed. I said to God – “I surrender my career to you. I will go where you lead.” I then expanded the job search to the entire country and received a job offer in Arkansas. There, I had the opportunity to teach at the college level, a dream I had that only God knew.

I hope you will allow God to fulfill your dreams!

Lessons Learned from Princess Diana – Lesson #3

Lesson #3: Lead by Example

Image Credit: Public Domain / Source Unknown

Princess Diana believed that actions speak louder than words and led by example in her interactions with her children. She taught them kindness, compassion, and empathy through her own actions. How did the Princess do that? By bringing them along with her as she performed her royal duties. So, in 1993, Prince William, then 9 months, accompanied his parents on their trip to Australia and New Zealand. This action set a precedent; since then, Prince William and Prince Harry have had their own children on business trips. Quite a bit different from the mothering of Queen Elizabeth.

In the recent Forbes article, by Maura Thomas, What Does Work-Life Balance Even Mean? “To some, work-life balance means the convenience of managing a personal life during the workday without the hassle of getting permission or explaining our activities to others. Another common definition of work-life balance is equal time or priority to personal and professional activities.'” Whichever way you look at the work-life balance issue, Princess Diana was a true trailblazer in this regard. Years later, the monarchy was finally endorsing the concept of work-life balance.

Reflecting on my mothering skills and leading by example, I think of the early days of my professional career and as a young mother. I worked in academia, and my job required me to be there for extra hours to entertain recruiters searching for new hires. Early on, I brought my son to work occasionally. I also worked at home one or two days per week. My direct report understood the importance of work-life balance. And I was grateful for his flexibility at a time when remote working was rare. In life, we have to balance work and our family, especially in jobs where time is demanded.

My other lead-by-example was in spirituality, thanks to my dad. Growing up, my dad was a big proponent of “going to church.” Sundays were the week’s highlight for us as a family, although my dad would sing in the choir, and I would sit in church with my mother. I think for my dad, it was the fact that his family went to church together. We arrived together, and we left together. I also think he was trying to be obedient to God. Train your child up in the Lord.

I saw it much more as a spiritual thing for me and my kids. Not so much as an obedience to God thing. It was vital for me to expose my children to faith. A religion where God created the universe. God is love. And God can bring comfort to you when you need it. My lead by example was my unwavering faith. Faith in God. Faith in marriage. Faith in myself. Faith in my children.

Lessons Learned from Princess Diana – Lesson #2

Lesson #2: Prioritize Spending Time with Your Children

Image Credit: Cassidy and Leigh/Shutterstock
Public Domain

Princess Diana understood the importance of spending quality time with her children and was there for them whenever they needed her. She often took them on trips and vacations to create lasting memories. Princess Diana wanted to provide experiences to her children that reflected “normal” childhood activities. She took her children to McDonald’s and ordered Happy Meals. She rode on amusement rides at Disney with them. Princess Di placed her children’s well-being above hers. Most mothers would understand and share this desire.

Like Princess Di, I felt strongly about spending quality time with my children. I took my children to Disney. I also had my share of ordering Happy Meals. One of the most memorable adventures was a trip to Colorado. Why? Because the trip was geared to my specific family. We flew into Denver, picked up an RV, and experienced Colorado. We got lost for a few hours in the middle of nowhere and finally met the paleontologist in Delta for a private tour and excavation. We took a gondola up a mountain in Ouray and visited Mese Verde to explore the cliff dwellings. These were tangible memories. Memories that we experienced as a family. Together. It wasn’t the latest video game or device. It was spending time around a campfire and toasting marshmallows. Yup. That was me.

April is Stress Awareness Month – Part 10

The 8 Stages of Estrangement
Looking at Both Sides of a Coin


The eighth stage of estrangement, healing, is essential to the journey toward reconciliation. Below lies the conclusion of April’s Stress Awareness series focusing on the rapidly growing estrangement phenomenon. Estrangement is a painful experience that can profoundly affect both parents and children. Extended family members also experience loss. Loss of the family as it was. It can be a challenging process requiring great strength and courage for all involved. In this blog post, hope for reconciliation will be explored.

From a Parent’s Perspective

As a parent, the healing process can be a daunting task. The feelings of rejection and hurt can be overwhelming, and it can be challenging to find a way forward. It is not easy to come to terms with the fact that your child has distanced themselves from you.

The healing process for parents involves accepting responsibility for their actions and behaviors that may have contributed to the estrangement. It is essential to take the time to reflect on the past and identify areas where improvements can be made. This can include examining communication patterns, recognizing where boundaries were crossed, and acknowledging past hurt.

As a parent, it is crucial to approach reconciliation with an open mind and a willingness to listen. Valuing the child’s feelings and taking their concerns seriously is essential. It is necessary for rebuilding trust and repairing relationships.

It is also essential to seek support during reconciliation. This can involve therapy, counseling, or joining support groups for parents of estranged children. Talking to others who have been through similar experiences can help gain perspective and find strategies for a smoother reconnection process.

From a Child’s Perspective

From the child’s perspective, the healing process can be equally challenging. It is not easy to come to terms with the fact that you have distanced yourself from your parent. It can be tough to navigate the complex emotions of estrangement, such as anger, guilt, and sadness.

Healing involves accepting the past and moving toward forgiveness. This process can be complex, particularly if significant hurt and pain occur. It is essential to recognize that forgiveness does not mean forgetting or excusing past behaviors but rather letting go of anger and resentment.

It is vital to approach these conversations with empathy and understanding, recognizing that the healing process is a two-way street. It is also essential for the child to communicate their needs and boundaries clearly. This can involve setting limits on communication or establishing clear expectations for future interactions.

Seeking support during reconciliation is also crucial for the child. This can involve therapy, counseling, or joining support groups for individuals who have experienced estrangement. Talking to others who have been through similar experiences can help gain perspective and find strategies for more effective reunification.


Image Credit: Freepik dot com

In conclusion, healing is a vital part of the journey toward reconciliation. Reconciliation is not possible without healing. Open wounds, fester. Injuries that have healed leave scars. Therefore, both parties must approach the reconnection with grace, love, and patience. Reunification requires parents and children to accept responsibility, communicate their needs and boundaries, and seek third-party support. Reconciliation is challenging, but with patience, understanding, and empathy, it is possible to rebuild relationships and find a way forward for the child’s and parent’s sake and the family system. Dedication, effort, and mutual understanding can rebuild relationships and create a strong foundation for a loving and healthy family dynamic. Ultimately, the journey toward reconciliation can lead to a brighter future for both parents and children.

April is Stress Awareness Month – Part 8

The 8 Stages of Estrangement
Looking at Both Sides of a Coin

From a Parent’s Perspective

Stage 7 | Fear

This stage involves non-estranged children. It is the fear and anticipation of potential estrangement from another child. After estrangement, fear clouds the relationship between a parent and the non-estranged child. This fear negatively influences parenting decisions. A parent will discipline the non-estranged child less frequently. A parent will adjust their communication for fear that something said will trigger the non-estranged child to estrange. Is the fear realistic? For a parent who has lost a valued relationship with one child – the fear is real – it is a perceived danger and potential threat. The risk of losing another family connection is constantly lurking in the subconscious. The relationship is fragile, and a parent wants to guard it to ensure it does not break. Respecting adult children and their choices is vital for a healthy relationship.

I fear that my other son will stop speaking to me too. I realize this is irrational, yet the thought sneaks into my mind every day. I find the fear paralyzing at times.

A parent’s perspective

Living and parenting with the fear of another estrangement is overwhelming. It is a difficult stage to endure, and learning to live day-by-day keeps worries at bay and is a worthy goal. As the non-estranged child matures, the fear of estrangement may dissipate based on their behaviors and communication. Furthermore, this fear extends to all future relationships as well. Remember this when meeting, introducing, and welcoming others.

Artist Credit: Silvia Pelissero, Agness Cecile’s World of Watercolor – Mayhem & Muse

From a Child’s Perspective

Stage 7 | Acceptance Part 2

Children at this stage have accepted estrangement as a way of life. They realize that time has passed, and they and the estranged parent have become different people. If the child has undergone therapy or is questioning their role in the estrangement, they may consider reconnecting. Children at this step are curious. They are interested to know whether what others tell them is true. They meet other people and begin to realize that every family is flawed. All families have struggles.

I wonder what my mother thinks of me. I wonder if she even cares. When I was growing up it seemed that she only cared about herself. I have done a lot of inward work and I might want to reach out one day and see how my mother is. But for now, I like my life just the way it is right now.

A child’s perspective

This stage requires the child to do the necessary emotional work that needs to be done. Children realize they are not the same people they were at the initial point of estrangement and recognize that their parents may have also grown and matured into a person they just might want to engage with. As maturation progresses, they may feel a void. They may have exasperated an issue. They begin to accept themselves for who they are and who they have become.

Lessons Learned from Queen Elizabeth – Part 7

Moving right along with lessons learned from Queen Elizabeth, we start by stating Lesson #7 and then referring to the previous 6 to refresh our memory.

Lesson #7: It’s Never Too Late to Turn Over a New Leaf

Lesson #1: Duty and Love Rarely Mix Well
Lesson #2: Mothers Don’t Always Know Best
Lesson #3: There is a Big Difference Between Illusions, Delusions, and Reality
Lesson #4: Sometimes it is Important to Break Protocol
Lesson #5: Accepting a Situation for what it is can be Good for the Soul
Lesson #6: Sometimes, it Not the Words…But the Way We Say Them that Matters Most

Growing Old Gracefully

Artist Credit: Mariah Doolittle | Title: Tobacco Leaf Girl

We have seen in previous lessons how Queen Elizabeth seemed to soften as she aged. She enjoyed her grandmother’s role and could blend her queenhood with her grandmother’s function for the first time. Before this time, her life-long service to the people took precedence over all else. As her children married and had their own children, Queen Elizabeth matured as well. It was through this developmental process that she could balance her roles simultaneously. Maybe it was because she became more confident in her role. More confident as a woman. More confident as the leader of her family as well as the Monarchy.

God’s Right Arm

Queen Elizabeth believed she was anointed to her role by a higher power. For her, adhering to the church’s teachings was a duty. We saw that she denied her sister, Margaret, to marry a divorcee. And again, we noticed that in Charles and Diana’s divorce in 1996. Interesting to note that Charles’ brother Andrew was also divorced from his wife, Fergie, in 1996. Yet, Princess Diana’s tragic and unexpected death paved the way forward for Charles to comply with biblical scripture, for Charles to marry Camilla. (See Lessons Learned from Queen Elizabeth – Part 3.) although Camilla’s ex-husband was still alive, which negated the union. We know how that ended.

Changing with the Times

As the culture changed, so did the Queen and royal rule through a gender-neutral lens. For example, changing the Succession to the Crown Act ended the tradition of a younger male sibling superseding an older female sibling in the line of succession. The change took place in 2014. Interestingly, just months before Princess Charlotte was born. 

Love One Another

When King Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson, he was treated like a pariah. So, when Harry married Meghan, we finally saw a bending of the “can’t marry a divorcee rule.” Perhaps, Queen Elizabeth realized that nothing good came from the “disowning” of a family member. Queen Elizabeth may have just discovered what true Christianity was all about. To love one another and not pass judgment.

If you liked this writing, please Share, Like, Follow.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post!

I and Thou: Ode to the Llama

Ode to the Llama

Listening quietly to the stillness of the night,
his slender, long legs nestle underneath his body.

Searching for the soft wool of his llama friend,
his long neck extends outward, nuzzling to find a place to lay his head.

Content and feeling safe in his herd,
sleeping soundly and waking refreshed.

The sunshine kisses him with a warm glow,
he is ready to start the day.

His charisma charms the ladies,
they find him loveable and easy to talk to.

Peace runs through his veins,
seeking harmony with all those around him.

Anxiety and stress cause him to hiss, spit, and kick,
as does intimidation and feeling threatened.

He settles down with a gentle word,
empathy oozes out of his heart.

Humans can be pretty similar to llamas,
yearning too for a kind and caring world.

Image Credit: freepik dot com