How I Cleared Judgement, Worry & Defensiveness to Make Room for Gratitude (& the ability to influence better)

by | November 19, 2018 | 4 comments

How I Cleared Judgement, Worry & Defensiveness to Make Room for Gratitude (& the ability to influence better)

by | November 19, 2018 | 4 comments

This last weekend, I headed into a Mastery Training Session with Your Infinite Life Training & Coaching company to advance my Influencing Skills. As a teacher & mother, this is an important skillset to sharpen &  fascinating subject to study.

The idea that Influence is NOT:

  • reward / punishment
  • approval
  • “get them to …. ” / control
  • convincing

More accurately, Influence IS:

  • the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.
  • the ability to affect, to have an impact on, to guide, to shape.

I expected the weekend to be transformative, Your Infinite Life Courses ALWAYS are … but I had no idea that learning better how to truly influence others with integrity would help me to access the deepest depths of gratitude I have ever experienced in my life.

Sunday morning, after studying this subject for two days, I sobbed uncontrollably with gratitude during my morning jog while the light shined down on me … thanking God for the wisdom and clarity that was before me and the gifts I had in my life.

My kids, my husband, my home, my business, my passion, my health, my pup, my parents, my in-laws. Just sobbing …. gratitude and light flowing through me like it had never before. Ahhhhhh, what a tremendous feeling of lightness and joy.

Turns out that learning to influence others with TRUE integrity means letting go of some things that are cluttering our hearts and preventing our messages from being heard …. really heard …

>>> by those we love

>>> by those we have trouble loving

>>> by those we want desperately to love

Toxic thought clutter creates cob-webs that mess up our vision and prevent our light from shining, so cleaning them out is something that will only serve us all.

As we head into a week of Thanksgiving … a time when we all WANT to be extremely grateful for all of the goodness, all of the blessings, all of the gifts, all of the people in our lives … I want to empower you with how YOU TOO can clear out some “chambers” of your brain and heart (so to speak) to make room for gratitude to flow immensely and your TRUE influence to shine. 

Because we all know it can be a lot;

  • easier said than done” to be grateful for the toddler that is power struggling with you 55 times a day over eating his peas, putting his shoes on, peeing on the potty…basically everything or…
  • easier said than done” to be grateful for the little one who keeps resorting to revenge & hurting you when she’s angry, scared or hurt or…
  • easier said than done” to be grateful for that sweet child of yours who will just NOT stay in their bed or…
  • easier said than done” to be grateful for that ONE kiddo who’s will is stronger than the hulk or….
  • easier said than done” to be grateful for your littles who will just NOT “use their words” (instead of their hands) when trying to play in the same room for more than 20 minutes with their siblings;

Uggghhhhh, I mean the gratitude just sometimes ain’t flowin so easily for these munchkins if we’re being honest.

But why IS it so hard sometimes to truly feel grateful like we so deeply want to? And how is this related to our ability to influence our kids with integrity?

I’ve always thought of myself as a positive person.

  • I see people’s goodness easily.
  • I’m able to identify “the bright side” well most days.
  • Seeing “the cup half full” is important to me and always has been.

So this last weekend when we started studying the many aspects necessary for true Influence … and we came to the area of “My willingness to be influenced” … some interesting roadblocks and supercharged feelings came to the surface.

I mean I’m a really kind person who loves others immensely, sees the good in mankind, helps families have empathy for their children, and teaches parents to stay away from judgment, criticism, defending, and shame ….

BUT … when I laid it out on the table … I wasn’t living that same guidance out in ALL areas of my life. (as a teacher, it is a core value of mine to live out what I teach)

There was an area that I was not willing to do that….that I would NOT be willing to be influenced: groups that I STRONGLY disagree with (and ironically would REALLY love to influence!).

  • Nazi’s or racists who wants me to hate Jews or African Americans?
      • NO WAY, NEVER, Ain’t no one from this crew influencing me! 
      • but…YES, I’d love to influence them
    • People who spread hate, say it’s in God’s name and want me to condemn & judge my gay friends?
      • NO WAY, NEVER, Ain’t no one from this crew influencing me! 
      • but…YES, I’d love to influence them
    • People who fight for the right and justification to hurt their child, say it’s in God’s name AND that then also add that others are weak if they don’t do so?
      • NO WAY, NEVER, Ain’t no one from this crew influencing me! 
      • but…YES, I’d love to influence them

As I thought of these three groups in-particular (that again, I’d love to have a great influence on), my stomach tightened, my muscles became stiff, and my anger started to build. I could almost feel my heart hardening as I spoke of my disgust for them and also the hurt I felt when thinking of these groups hurting others with the excuse of their ideals.

My language was I want to punch them in the face“.

Ouch, pretty harsh right? Your positive, bubbly bright and cheerful positive parenting coach wanting to punch someone in the face? Doesn’t sound quite like me, would you agree? I could hold my own in a fight (don’t get me wrong), I’m Irish after all, but my true spirit is that of a hugger…I’m a BIG hugger.

Through many tears and questions of curiosity, I slowly started to understand what was going on better.

The question of “Would you be willing to be influenced by them?” was actually a different way of saying:

>>> “Do you think you are better then them?”

>>> “Do you feel like you have to defend yourself, your faith, your morals, your teachings to them?”

>>> “Do you feel like you have to prove you’re right?”

… and the answer to all of it was for sure HECK YES!

I don’t like what they are all about, I don’t like how they hurt people so deeply and I don’t like the idea of being influenced by them (enter thoughts of fear & vomiting) …. but again, I’d LOVE to highly influence them to think, act and treat others differently. Hmmmm, I was starting to see the disconnect.

As I let it all settle in …. I realized that all of that dislike, disgust & judgement was keeping hostage parts of my precious brain and heart space that I needed to be free.

I had to let it go. 

Judgment, condemnation, criticalness, and disgust are not part of my core values.

Because here’s the truth.

  • I DO love all people, despite the behavior they currently have. I believe we were all made in the image of God and ALL beautiful, despite our current actions or way of living.

  • I DO think that any of us can be influenced in divine, supernatural ways, at any moment, even when sitting next to people who believe in the opposite of what we do and stand for things that make us sick to our stomach. When our hearts are open to learning, we can be influenced in magnificent ways.

  • I DO think that I am flawed and imperfect and KNOW that it is NOT my place to judge their flaws and imperfections over mine. Nope, no way, not my place!

  • I DO believe firmly in what I teach families, day in day out. Absolutely no need to defend. This work is in my bones, in my blood, I teach it because I believe fully in the power of love, compassion, grace, connection, empathy, humility, and kindness. No need whatsoever to defend.

So by spending any time engaged with the other thoughts (judgement, criticalness, condemnation, defending), I was creating a dam in my heart and brain.

ALL the good guidance and creativity God wanted to bless me with just couldn’t flow through.

I was too busy worrying about all the stuff that could go wrong that could mess up the world, HOW they were the worst, and ways in which they could prevent Fresh Start Family’s message from permeating parents’ hearts …. that I was missing out on feeling ALL the goodness, seeing ALL the goodness and listening for ALL the goodness as it flows through freely.

My brain only has so much space inside … I’m not a superhuman with unlimited i-cloud storage … I needed to free up some space. 

Thank God it was effective because it was a LOT of work! Now that I feel so free, full of gratitude and light as a feather … I can keep the practice up. I’m confident that the result will be my ability to influence others better (including my two precious little wild & wonderful kiddos) AND feel more of the gratitude that was already there, just stuck & buried deep in my brain and heart.

If this process of “clearing out some cobwebs” interest you and you want to tap into deep gratitude and greater influence on your children, here’s 3 steps you can follow

1 >>> Identify the areas where you judge, condemn or are critical in your parenting walk (or any area of your life that you’d like to influence better & experience more gratitude)

2 >>> After you realize how often those thoughts fill your brain, commit to throwing them in the Bonfire each time you notice them. Yes, an imaginary Bonfire, chuck em on in there

3 >>> Engage with and give care to the more healthy, accurate, life-giving and true thoughts

  • True thoughts stem from who you REALLY are as a person – loving, kind, compassionate, caring, patient, calm, giving & faithful – yes, that really is the TRUE you – the days when you are angry, exhausted, impatient, critical & negative…do NOT define you!).

Need some more details on each area? Here’s some more guidance…

1.) Identify areas where you would NOT be willing to be influenced or people you would NOT be willing to be influenced by.

Some ideas from the parenting realm:

  • Your strong willed toddler who you often refer to as “a terror”, a “threenager”, “sassy”, or “extremely disobedient”
  • Your husband who’s just not on board with positive parenting & says “we’re going to raise entitled bratty children if we don’t scream at or use fear & force with them”.
  • Your sweet baby girl who’s approaching 2 and has taken up throwing, kicking or biting (or possibly all three, oh joy!)
  • Your tween who has started “giving attitude” consistently with words and tones that are rude, disrespectful & nasty.
  • Your toddler who meltdowns in the middle of the grocery store when you say no to cheetos or sprite at 8am.
  • Your 8 year old who keeps getting in trouble at school and then laughs and says “I don’t care” when you try to teach him a lesson.
  • Your daughter has called you the “worst mom ever” for not letting her get an i-phone like all her other friends in the 3rd grade.
  • My kids suck and are just spreading negativity in my home.

Did you think of some?

How’s your heart feel when I say “Would you be willing to be influenced by them“?

If your gut reaction is:

  • Well not while they’re so wrong?” or
  • No, I am the boss & doing the teaching here” or
  • “If I let them influence me, then the whole house will be misbehaving

… you can probably easily see that you’re engaging with some thoughts of judgement, criticalness, condemnation & defensiveness. 

2.) After you’ve identified them, watch for them to pop in your head, then just toss them in the Bonfire. Visualize it, then do it. You don’t need those thoughts, they aren’t serving you. Keeping them just fuels our feelings of superiority and judgment and LESSENS our chance of influencing our kids with true integrity.

Here’s an image to pop in your head. All your friends are there to support you and the Bonfire needs fuel, so go ahead and throw those thoughts in the fire!

3.) Commit to engaging with / keeping the good stuff. 

Some ideas for TRUE, helpful thoughts to hang onto when they arise:

  • “I always have room to grow, I wonder what I could learn from this current situation that my child needs help with?”
  • “I wonder what lesson God has in store for me here?”
  • “I realize that I fear people judging me when my child misbehaves in public, I wouldn’t have realized that if my child didn’t have this imperfection right now…how can I take care of myself without moving to fear & force with my child?” 
  • “I feel myself starting to get really angry, I wonder why? How can I use this situation to help me to grow (and learn to stop yelling)?”
  • “I could try slowing down & getting on my child’s level to give them a hug…there might be a reason my heart is calling me to do that.”
  • “It’s ok for me to step away for a moment to gain my composure & take a calming break…this will probably help me build my self-control muscles if I allow it to.”
  • “By cooperating here instead of reprimanding, yelling, scolding or punishing, I can become a better leader & teach my child what true power really looks like.”

Ahhhhh, ok, those thoughts feel good and flow more freely because they align with our true giant, humble & open hearts, do you agree?

The false thoughts of judgment, condemnation, and defensiveness will clog our heart & brain, where the true thoughts of compassion, kindness, grace, connection & creativity will flow … making room for the gratitude.

We just were simply NOT designed to judge, condemn, and criticize others … no matter who, no matter what the “crime” is, no matter what the situation is.

Yes, we can set firm boundaries. Yes, we can tell our kids we’re not ok with certain behaviors. Yes, we can help our kids identify when they are off track. Yes, we can help our kids get back on track.

…but let’s do it from a place of confidence, kindness and creativity.

Let’s try it out this week! The false and unhelpful thoughts get tossed into the Bonfire …. “see ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya” … and the helpful TRUE thoughts get to stay & flow through … right onto others that we love … and would really love to influence.

Happy Thanksgiving families, may you cherish every second with your wild and wonderful children this week, you are ALL, SO seen, SO admired,.



Learn more about how Positive Parenting Curriculum can transform your life through these Fresh Start Family programs


  1. Raquel Molina

    Honesty Wendy I’m so thankful I found you on here. I always walk away from your page/blog feeling embowered to be better for my family. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    • Wendy Snyder

      What a sweet note, you are so welcome Raquel! ~Wendy

  2. Anna

    Wow! This is one of the most
    Powerful things I’ve read in a long time.

    • Wendy Snyder

      Nice!!!! Love to hear this Anna! ~Wendy


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.