In a future article, I want to more fully explore change. How do we decide what we need to change, let go of what we don’t and go through the process. One of the critical parts of the equation will most certainly be perspective.
Until we can see and focus on what is working, what is good and what we seek to feel, we will miss the opportunity to build on what we already have and deepen our successes along the journey of change.
To walk through what this looks like, I am going to use parenting. However, the process can be an effective tool to use in any part of your life. It simply builds a strong foundation to help navigate.
I was inspired to write this after reading several parenting articles that had, what I felt was somewhat murky and conflicting information. It made me really reflect on the tough gig of parenting when you are searching for answers but the process to find them is rather confusing. The internet and book stores are FULL of advice as are friends, relatives …. even perfect strangers. How do we stay confident and clear? What do we really need when seeking guidance?
Let’s take lecturing for example because I did this just last evening 🙂
Ever lectured your child when they did something you didn’t like? How quickly after you started did they tune out, feel hurt or fight back? If someone lectures you about something you did ‘wrong’, how do you feel? You probably don’t need an article to tell you it was ineffective.
Just to clarify – we do learn from our mistakes. We do benefit from knowing about how others stumbled and rebounded. Without question, we all do and need to make mistakes. Furthermore, outside information can be critical to help us learn and make informed choices. I just question if we need to stay stuck there.
When we know and believe in our own capabilities, we can make choices that we know to be right. They are right because they align with who we know we are and not just because we read it on line.
So, how do we do that?
- Stop and change your perspective. So often, there is more to see than at first glance.
- Get in touch with your amazing capabilities and tweek them (if necessary) so they manifest in the way you intend. Make a list and revisit it often.
Getting back to the lecturing example. Would it help you to read that you are making a mistake and wasting your energy by lecturing? Or, would it help you more to feel validated that you are a caring, supportive and conscientious parent? Perhaps that your lecture came from a good place of wanting to teach or communicate something you felt was important to your child. If you know the outcome did not teach what you had hoped and left you and your child feeling worse, the question is, what now?
With a shift in perspective, the timing and quality of your ‘lecture’ changes. It can be a well received message of what they are showing in THIS moment that is working rather than staying stuck in what wasn’t. Loving, nurturing, supportive parents need to know they are all that and more. Believing and trusting those great inner qualities can help channel our reactions (like lecturing) from that place rather than a place of worry or fear. In order to rely on them, you need to believe them.
Therefore, instead of a list of all the ‘mistakes’ you are making and the negative effects of those, I am switching focus.
Yes, we parents behave badly sometimes. This is a really hard job that I, for one, had no REAL idea of what I was getting into. We get stuck in patterns and we reach for techniques that are familiar (albeit ineffective). We say and do things that we wish we could take back. Furthermore, we often know better but mess up anyway with that little voice inside saying – ‘you know better!’
More importantly, for many parents, there are way more things that we do right. In fact, one of the reasons we make mistakes is because we are investing so much.
I would love to see your greatness grow! Accept imperfections, forgive your mistakes and focus on all that makes you great. Give yourself what you wish to give your children.
To get you started, I will share some observations from the parents I know. None of them perfect but certainly all sharing some incredible and critical qualities.
7 great qualities that make us awesome!
- Tenacity – Even if it is ineffective or counterproductive, we do not give up easily. If we believe it to be right for our children, we will fight tooth and nail to get them to see it, to protect them, to help them succeed or to give them a chance at fulfilling their dreams.
- Forgiveness – This can be a hard one because sometimes, it can take a lot of work to get past things that deeply hurt, appall or offend us. From what I have seen, most of us do. We let go of the emotional attachment we have to our children’s transgressions and we figure out how to move forward in having a relationship with them.
- Love – I think all I need to say to this is that many never know their capacity to love until they have children. I didn’t. It is endless, boundless and unwavering. In fact, often, our ‘mistakes’ come from this place.
- Compassion/Empathy – Be it the broken heart of their child who has been hurt or wronged by another, the pit in our stomach when they are facing a challenge that feels so scary to them or that lump in our throat when they dig deep for their courage – when our children feel, so do we.
- Commitment – While at times I consider an e-Bay posting, whatever happens, we work through it. We all have times when we feel at the end of our ability to be patient or resourceful, to listen to another complaint, consider another question or do one more task. But we do. Somehow, we find it deep within ourselves to go that extra mile.
- Selfless – Think about the number of times you put your needs on the back burner. There is no judgement here around ‘should we’ or ‘shouldn’t we’. In the real world, most of us strive for balance but when our children need us, we put it all aside and spring into action.
- Human – a.k.a. our emotional capacity. We all get angry, sad, excited, anxious etc. Why is this awesome? Because by being human, we model that it is OK to be human. Fundamentally, our children need to know that what they feel is so important and to learn how to deal with an incredibly diverse and sometimes confusing or overwhelming range of emotions. They need to see us have them. They also need to see us handle them in a healthy way but maybe that is a topic for a future article 🙂
I hope you reflect on how you are all of these things. It may be hard to access sometimes and these qualities may come out sideways on occasion (e.g. tenacity can lead to being close minded, love can be smothering, compassion can make us over protective etc.) but know that you are all this. Just feel, re-balance and choose the next step. You can give all of these a positive outlet. Take this to heart, add your own awesome-ness, focus on it and watch it grow!
The bottom line is this. We all have great qualities that give us amazing capabilities to do what is in line with our success. When we can trust and believe in these, they are the driving force behind how we make choices and respond.
Enjoy! You are doing great.
Marny Elliott is a Nurtured Heart Approach® (NHA) Trainer, Coach and Emotional Health Therapist. She empowers parents, educators etc. to use this effective, heart centered approach to transform behaviour, build relationships and grow the Inner Wealth® of children. In addition, she provides holistic counselling to adults seeking to address defeating patterns and improve their emotional health. Please visit www.joywithin.ca, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250.218.8702.