S.M.A.C.K.s for Stepmoms: Visualize Your Ideal Stepfamily

2 12 2008

Visualization, meditation, imagination, brainstorming, whatever you decide to call this, I hope you’ll try it. Below you’ll find a guided meditation you can read to help you see the home life you desire. You can read it yourself, ask your spouse to read it to you, or tape it and read it yourself. I do have this recorded to music and will post the podcast soon. But in the meantime, basically what I’m asking you to do is close your eyes and imagine what you want. Then you’ll open our eyes and write down ways you can actually get to the vision you saw in your mind’s eye.

Visualization is a technique that’s been written about many times. Napoleon Hill wrote about it in his book Think and Grow Rich, which was first published in the early 1900s. Shakti Gawain made it popular in her book Creative Visualization in the 1970s, still a bestseller today. And the latest version of this technique is written about by Rhonda Byrne in her book, The Secret. Basically, it’s simple. You close your eyes and think about what you desire then you plan how you’re going to get what you want.

Now, turn off your phones, your blackberries your computers. Shut the door. Grab your notebook and pen and set them somewhere nearby. Find a comfortable place to sit where you will not be disturbed. Make sure your arms and legs are not crossed. Close your eyes. Now breathe deeply into your belly. Take five deep breaths. Relax. Be here now in your body. Feel the floor or chair supporting you. Breathe.


Imagine yourself ten years from now, after you’ve already created the blended family you desire. How old will you be? Where are you living? What clothes are you wearing? What room are you in? What colors are on the walls? What furniture fills the room? What is the view out the window?

Who lives in your house? If your partner’s kids don’t live with you imagine them coming for a visit.

Imagine you and your partner and your stepkids together in one room. How old is your partner? What is he wearing? How does he appear to you? Is he happy? Are you close together? Are you touching each other? How does he make you feel?

How about your stepchildren? How old are they? Have they brought anyone with them? How are they treating you? How do you feel around them?


What does it feel like to be in the room with all of these people? What are you doing together?


Now everyone gathers around you, your partner, his kids. They’ve brought you a present that they all chipped in together to make or to buy. They hold out a wrapped gift. The present represents how they all feel about you. It is a thank you. A gift of appreciation.  They all know how hard you worked for them. You open the present. What’s inside?


When you’re ready, open your eyes, pick up your pen and write down everything you remember from what you imagined. Write down the details, the present they gave you, how you felt. Take as long as you need to write down what you saw. 

Once you’ve recorded your vision, the next step is to figure out how to start taking steps to get there. We’re going to use a tool called mind-mapping that people have used for centuries under various names to help brainstorm strategies. Click the link for a worksheet you can print and fill out to help you do your mind-mapping. Or turn to a new page in your notebook. Draw a circle in the middle. Then write one goal that came out of your visioning session in the circle.

For instance, if your current reality is that you and your teenage stepchildren can’t sit through dinner together without a fight, your vision may have been about inviting your stepkids over for dinner ten years from now. Your goal in the circle may be:

A harmonious, fun dinner with my stepchildren.

So what things do you think need to happen in order for this dinner to occur? Put those action steps in circles around the first circle. For instance, you might put “Develop stronger relationships with my stepkids” in one bubble. “Take things less personally” in another bubble.

Then next to those bubbles write down action items. So under “Take things less personally” I might add a bullet that says, “Read about teenagers so I can understand what normal behavior for a teen is. I might also put a bullet that says, every time my stepchild says a hurtful remark I will breathe, respond with kindness and then do something absolutely wonderful for myself.

Once you’ve broken down your action items to smaller and smaller steps, choose one thing that you can do today to move toward your goal. Choose one thing you can do tomorrow. Keep taking steps and one day you’ll reach that vision.

Visit my other blog www.smackyourinnercritic.com for more information about how to S.M.A.C.K. your Inner Critic.




5 responses

2 12 2008

This really works. I did this early on when Kathy (the kids’ mom) and I were having trouble, and now, a few years later, we have an amazing relationship. Thinking about what I wanted — what I really, really wanted instead of what I didn’t want — got me opened up to opportunities that presented themselves that I might not have seen otherwise, and it got me thinking more creatively and less defensively and obsessively.

2 12 2008
The DHX: The Doughtie Houses Exchange » Blog Archive » Links for Tuesday, December 2

[…] Becoming a Stepmom: Smackdown for Stepmoms: Visualize Your Ideal Stepfamily […]

3 12 2008

I’ve used a lot of meditation techniques through my adult life to help me focus, calm down and re-energize. Thank you for another method to try out.

3 12 2008

My stepson came into my life when he was 8 years old and he’s now 21. And I can honestly say that I now look forward to his visits. But geez, it was a long time comin’. My advice? Always be yourself, don’t sugar-coat your personality for the kid(s). But also, don’t ‘blow it’. By this I mean to avoid any super angry confrontations that could spoil the relationship permanently. Leave the room, take a walk, go visit a supportive girlfriend. And always keep the goal in mind: A great marriage.

10 12 2008

Thank you gals! I have used visioning techniques for all areas of my life and I have to say it has worked for me. For those of you who have never done it before, the science behind it is really interesting. Basically, it turns on the reticular activating system in your brain. That’s the part that is constantly scanning our environment and tuning out the things we don’t need and drawing our attention to the things we do need. You know if you decide to buy a red car, suddenly you see every single red car on the road when you didn’t before? That’s the reticular activing system in your brain at work.

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