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Middle Child Syndrome? 15 Things Only Middle Children Will Understand

Middle Child Syndrome? 15 Things Only Middle Children Will Understand

On the big stage of life, we tend to NOT be the main act.  Are we happy to be the center of attention at the after party?  No, not that either.  We middle born are content to conduct the whole performance without accolades but with a sense of fulfillment that comes from a lifetime of patience and perseverance.  Known as the diplomats of birth order, we have the ability to approach others in a conciliatory manner and bring together successful outcomes without the angst of being the “needy baby” or the contentious firstborn.

1.  Middle of the pack?  We like it!

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    Forced by circumstance to wait behind an alpha child, then wait while the omega child caught up, we found our niche moving within a pack.  Our parents tended to let us excel at our own pace (no attention span left for us) and with that came the chance to actually understand what gave us the most satisfaction.  One successful middle who took of advantage of this and freely explored the world and his potential was none other than Theodore Roosevelt Middle trivia:  Of all the presidents since 1787, 52% have been middle children.

    2.  The good stuff is always in the middle.

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      All middles know that the juicy tidbits of life are buried within the crusty confines of family drama.  It’s that knowledge that allowed us to be eager recipients of older siblings’ rants (messy and valuable family details to be exploited later) as well as the soothing listener to the over-indulged baby (if the baby got something, then we all did just to be fair.)  Our siblings gave us the first taste of getting “something for nothing” in the way of information or product.  We learned at their sides that we didn’t have to be LOUD to be successful; we could quietly take advantage of a situation without threatening our own well-being.  One quiet but determined entrepreneur was very good at this!  Bill Gates

      3.  Middle Child Syndrome Misconceptions

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        Can’t we all just get along?  This phrase may be mostly what middle children are known for; media depictions of the oft neglected “other child” have helped to cement that status.  These CRAZY CHARACTERS aren’t indicative of real life success but add to the stereotype of what it means to be a middle child.  Although the lackluster middles may make the most noise about being ignored, etc., statistics prove they’re well prepared to be as successful or more so than their siblings.  READ MORE

        4.  Creative is our middle child name!

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          Who has time to be creative in today’s world?  Um, we middles have always had the advantage of time.  Whether we were stuck waiting with our parents for the older child’s activities to finish OR waiting around for the younger one to catch up, we were stuck!  All of that extra time honed our patience and also expanded our imagination.  Whether art, literature, or gaming, we got in a lot of time-filling practice.  Middle trivia:  Madonna, Julia Roberts, David Letterman are later born creatives.

          5.  Pressure points

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            Common sense dictates that if something is going to explode, it will go through the top and/or bottom.  And we learned this early on by watching the tribulations of our siblings.  The eldest was often held to an unrealistic expectation of success and when they fell short, kaboom!  The youngest was prone to playing “catch up” with the hindrance of age and inexperience catapulting them to failure…kaboom!  We middles are known to complain about never being noticed for our accomplishments but we enjoy our pressure free zone, failing or succeeding at our own pace.

            6.  Measuring Expectations of Middle Children

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              It’s happened to all of us later born children.  If we attend the same school as our older sibling(s) then their success or lack thereof is tied to our perception.  Teachers tend to remark early on about our differences and then we are exposed to that bias.  We have been put on notice that we will be be observed NOT for our contributions but how we compare to our sibling.  UNFAIR!  But that’s life and we middles learned to accept it early on.  Fortunately, scientific research has yet to prove a perceptible difference in IQ due to birth order.  At most, they think it may cause a 1 point reduction in IQ for each subsequent later born child.  And how do most middles respond to that?  Who cares.  The study was probably done by a first born anyway….

              7.  Births of a feather flock together.

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                Years of dealing with family dynamics, the highs and lows of birth order, we who are middle born tend to find ourselves later with others of the same mindset.  In fact, recent studies point to the fact that we are drawn to people who reflect our experiences and values.  Could that mean that our natural tendency to be conciliatory would lead us to more successful relationships than our brethren?  The jury is still out on that one but it doesn’t stop this ONLINE dating service from offering its advice to the lovelorn.

                8.  Can I add “middle” to my résume?

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                #workplace station MGD©

                  The workforce is finally recognizing our many talents!  We are a valuable commodity to employers and it’s time to make room on the job application for birth order.  With references like THESE, we should be able to occupy the corner office in record time!

                  9.  Forget the high ground, we rule Middle Earth!

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                    Since ALFRED ADLER introduced his birth order theories in 1928, siblings have been categorized according to an accident of  timing.  Middle borns have become stereotyped as the “sandwich” child, the diplomat, or the rebel.  For the most part, we have kept the peace (in true fashion) and not made much fuss about our lot in life.  Some even argue that we have SECRET POWERS and that in itself is a departure from our obscurity.

                    10.  Surprise!  We middle children don’t care that much.

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                      We are in the middle of making a living, forming relationships, educating ourselves and becoming productive world citizens.  One thing that we rarely do is FRET over our birth order.  It is interesting to see others relegate us to the forgotten category of family member.  Although it makes for good copy, middle borns aren’t out in droves protesting against our elder and younger siblings.  What we understand is that everyone can struggle to find where they belong in the grand scheme of things.  Our perspective is broad based and if that is because of our birth order, who cares?  We’re happy to share our good fortune.

                      11. Middle children don’t depend on an arbitrary number to get our point across.  Who needs 15 points when 11 will do just fine.

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                      Last Updated on October 14, 2020

                      Had a Bad Day? 7 Ways to Rebound From It and Feel Good Again

                      Had a Bad Day? 7 Ways to Rebound From It and Feel Good Again

                      Today didn’t turn out as you planned, but it doesn’t mean you’re weak. It simply means that you’re human, and you’re not bad just because you had a bad day.

                      “Not everyday is a good day but there is something good in every day.” -Alice Morse Earle

                      It’s not the end of the world when you find yourself thinking “I had a bad day,” but it can feel like it. You may have had plans that fell apart, experiences that set you back, and interactions that only did harm.

                      You may have started the day thinking you could take on it all, only to find you could hardly get out of bed. When you have a bad day, you can forget to look at the good.

                      Sometimes, self-care helps us to remember why we are worth it. It helps us to recharge and reset our mindset. It helps us to know that there are still options and that the day isn’t over yet.

                      Love yourself today, no matter how hard it’s been. That’s the way to find yourself amidst the hardships you have. That’s how you center yourself and regain focus and live a more meaningful life. Give yourself some credit and compassion.

                      Here are 7 ways to rebound from a bad day using self-compassion as a tool. If you had a bad day, these are for you!

                      1. Make a Gratitude List

                      In a study on gratitude, psychologists Dr. Robert A Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough conducted an experiment where one group of people wrote out gratitude lists for ten weeks while another group wrote about irritations. The study found that the group that wrote about gratitude reported more optimistic mindsets in their lives[1].

                      Overall, having a gratitude list improved well-being and made one truly grateful by counting the blessings in their lives.

                      Write a list of what you are grateful for if you had a bad day. Make it as long as you like, but also remember to note why you’re grateful for each thing you write.

                      What has given you the most joy? What has set you up for better days? Keep a tally of triumphs in mind, especially when you do have the bad days.

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                      The day doesn’t define you, and you still have things of value that surround you. These could be material things, spiritual connections and experiences, relationships, basic needs, emotional and mental well-being, physical health, progress towards hopes and dreams, or simply being alive.

                      Here are some other simple ways to practice gratitude.

                      2. Write in a Journal

                      Journaling affects your overall mental health, which also affects physical health and aids in the management of stress, depression, anxiety, and more[2].

                      All you need is a pen and paper, or you could do an online, password-protected journal such as Penzu. The key is to get started and not pressure yourself on how polished or perfect it is. You don’t need to have prior experience to start journal writing. Just start.

                      Write out everything that is bothering you for 15 minutes. This helps with rumination, processing problems, and can even aid with brainstorming solutions.

                      However you approach it, you can find patterns of thinking that no longer serve you and start to transform your overall mental state. This will impact all areas of your life and is a great coping skill.

                      3. Meditate

                      Meditation can help you overcome negative thought patterns, worrying about the future, dwelling on the past, or struggling to overcome a bad day[3]. It shifts your mentality and helps you focus on the present or any one thing you truly want to focus on.

                      Here is an example of a meditation you can do:

                      Get into a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Rest your body, release tension, and unclench your jaw. Tighten and release each muscle group in a body scan for progressive muscle relaxation.

                      Focus on your breath, taking a few deep breaths. Let your belly expand when you breathe in for diaphragmatic breathing. Empty yourself completely of air, then return to normal breathing.

                      Next, focus on the idea of self-love and let it erase negative thoughts. Think about the ways you’ve been judging yourself, with the narratives coming up that your mind may create.

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                      Give yourself unconditional love and release judgment. Take your time meditating on this because you matter. This is particularly important if you had a bad day.

                      Check out this article for more on how to get started with a meditation practice.

                      4. Do Child’s Pose

                      Yoga Outlet says:

                      “Child’s Pose is a simple way to calm your mind, slow your breath, and restore a feeling of peace and safety. Practicing the pose before bedtime can help to release the worries of the day. Practicing in the morning can you help transition from sleeping to waking.”[4]

                      When you do Child’s Pose, it can be between difficult positions in yoga, or it can be anytime you feel you need a rest. It helps you recover from difficulties and relax the mind.

                      It also has the physical health benefits of elongating your back, opening your hips, and helping with digestion[5].

                      To do Child’s Pose, rest your buttocks back on your feet, knees on the floor. Elongate your body over your knees with both arms extended or tucked back, with head and neck resting on the floor[6].

                      Had a bad day? Try Child's Pose.

                         

                        Do this pose as a gift to yourself. You are allowing yourself to heal, rest, get time for yourself, recover, and recharge. When you’ve had a bad day, it’s there waiting for you.

                        5. Try Positive Self-Talk

                        Engage in positive self-talk. This is essentially choosing your thoughts.

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                        When you have a negative thought, such as “I can’t do this,” replace it consciously with the thought “I can do this.” Give yourself positive affirmations to help with this.

                        Negative self-talk fits into four general categories: personalizing or blaming yourself, magnifying or only focusing on the negative, catastrophizing or expecting the worst to happen, and polarizing or only seeing back and white[7].

                        When you stop blaming yourself for everything and start focusing on the positive, expecting things to work out, and seeing the areas of grey in life, you reverse these negative mindsets and engage in positive self-talk.

                        When you speak words of kindness to yourself, your brain responds with a more positive attitude. That attitude will affect everything you do. It’s how you take care of yourself if you had a bad day.

                        Check in with yourself to know when you are having negative self-talk. Are you seeing patterns? When did they start to become a problem? Are you able to turn these thoughts around?

                        6. Use Coping Skills and Take a Break

                        Use your coping skills. This means not letting your thoughts take control of yourself.

                        You can distract yourself and escape a bit. Do things you love. You can exercise, listen to music, dance, volunteer or help someone, be in nature, or read a book.

                        It isn’t about repression. It’s about redirection. You can’t stay in thoughts that are no longer working for you.

                        Sometimes, it’s okay to get out of your own way. Give yourself a break from the things going on in your head. You can always come back to a problem later. This may even help you figure out the best course of action as sometimes stepping away is the only way to see the solution.

                        If you had a bad day, you may not feel like addressing what went wrong. You may need a break, so take one.

                        7. If a Bad Day Turns Into Bad Days

                        “I believe depression is legitimate. But I also believe that if you don’t exercise, eat nutritious food, get sunlight, get enough sleep, consume positive material, surround yourself with support, then you aren’t giving yourself a fighting chance.” –Jim Carrey

                        If you’ve been feeling out of control, depressed, or unstable for more than a few weeks, it’s time to call a mental health professional. This is not because you have failed in any way. It’s because you are human, and you simply need help.

                        You may not be able to quickly rebound from a bad day, and that’s fine. Feel what you feel, but don’t let it consume you.

                        When you talk to a professional, share the techniques that you have already tried here and whether they were helpful. They may tell you additional ideas or gain insights from your struggles of not being able to rebound from a series of bad days.

                        If you’re having more than just a bad day, they will want to know. If you don’t have the answers, that’s okay, too. You just need to try these tools and figure out how you’re feeling. That’s all that’s required of you.

                        Keep taking care of yourself. Any progress is progress, no matter how small. Give yourself a chance to get better by reaching out.

                        Final Thoughts

                        If you had a bad day, don’t let it stop you.

                        Know this: It’s okay not to be okay. You have a right to feel what you feel. But there is something you can do about it.

                        You can invest in yourself via self-care.

                        You are not alone in this. Everyone has bad days from time to time. You just need to know that you are the positive things you tell yourself.

                        More Things You Can Do If You Had a Bad Day

                        Featured photo credit: Anthony Tran via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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