Patty Ingram is an Addiction Counselor whose early career began in pharmaceutical sales. Her clinical background and degree in Psychology formed her unique ability to relate with compassion in helping others. From narcotic addiction, pain management to education on how drugs affect our minds, bodies and lives, Patty also serves as a Parent Pathway Expert. Please feel free to ask Patty or our other experts any question you might have about chemical dependency or your role in relation to someone with a drug abuse problem.
Ever find yourself stressing about a friend’s bad relationship…or your parent’s finances? How about if your college-age son is eating enough, or a co-worker’s ability to juggle her schedule? These are Hula-Hoop moments.
Your own personal area of responsibility is your Hula Hoop. It contains your goals, actions, emotions, obligations and commitments. One of the best tools to learn in life is the ability to determine what belongs in your Hula Hoop, and what actually belongs in someone else’s! This mental picture of a Hoop is useful for ourselves, and for setting boundaries with others. When worries like those listed above enter our minds, we need to remember, “that’s not my Hula Hoop” and be able to put those worries and dramas aside. Pray for those individuals, hope for the best, but let it go.
Perhaps you have a mother-in-law calling you with parenting advice; or a spouse telling you the best way to fold the laundry. Guess what?…That’s not their Hula Hoop! It becomes very clear when we use this image that we must protect what is ours, and give to others what is theirs. There are opportunities all the time to politely advise others to get out of our Hoop, and simply re-focus their attention on their own.
Imagine the ways to use this tool. We have so many people trying to manage us- in relationships, at work, and in families. Our ability to set appropriate boundaries provides peace of mind for all involved.
The Hula Hoop is a very simple way to put the brakes on co-dependency- our own, or someone else’s. We cannot solve everyone’s problems, and most of the time, the energy we expend trying is wasted. Analyze those swirling thoughts in your head as you try to fall asleep at night: how many are REALLY in your Hula Hoop? If not, mentally place them in the right hoop, and focus on what is yours.
When that intrusive advice or criticism comes your way, remind yourself (and if possible, the advisor) that this is an attempt to get in your Hoop. Protect your Hoop at all costs! It’s yours, and only yours.
We all have plenty to fill our Hoops. By remembering that our focus belongs there and there only- and that no one else is allowed, we give ourselves a gift: Peace.