For so many parents, it is so hard to cultivate a mindset of positivity towards ourselves. Particularly for those of us who are super perfectionistic and are truly trying to achieve that super-parent life that we seem to believe everyone else is living. You know, doing all the things, all the time. It’s easy to feel like we are failing when our standards are unrealistic.
I find that the pandemic has exacerbated this situation for so many of us and while in the beginning, I think it felt acceptable to release expectations and let our lives be a bit different - you know, messier, or less grinding towards goals - now, 7 months and counting, I think many of us have ramped up those expectations again.
I think it is important to always keep in mind the fact that being hard on ourselves is the least productive thing we can do. You see, when we are hard on ourselves about everything and truly feel like if we are not perfectly doing everything that we are failing, we end up adding unneeded guilt and shame to our lives. These feelings not only take a toll on how we are feeling but they also add in a lot of emotional labor to engage in. We either spend time avoiding those feelings, projecting them onto others, or trying to heal them.
I would suggest that our time is better used by spending it on working on the way we talk to ourselves. Rather than demanding more of ourselves all the time and being relentless in our guilt when we screw up, what if we talked to ourselves the way we would talk to a small child, baby, or even kitten or puppy? Most of us, particularly parents will be kinder to others than ourselves and using a dose of self-compassion can be infinitely more helpful than anything else in terms of helping us feel calm, grounded, and confident that we can do hard things.
Here are some ideas for putting this into practice…
“I see that you are struggling with that, let’s take a break and come back to it.”
“It’s okay to be sad, overwhelmed, angry (etc.)”
“What can we do to make this situation better”
“You can do this”
“Eventually, things will be okay”
“This feeling is temporary”
The more we can approach ourselves with loving, kindness the better we will feel. And guess what, then we can also approach our loved ones with even more loving kindness as well. Plus we are then modeling for them how to manage their emotions a bit more effectively!
At Thrive, we take a positive, client centered approach to therapy that is focused on creating a genuine connection with our clients. If you would like to talk with a Thrive Therapist about yourself, your child, or teen attending therapy via video sessions, please reach out to us by phone at 858-342-1304.
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"Watch your thoughts,
They become words.
Watch your words,
They become actions.
Watch your actions,
They become habits.
Watch your habits,
They become character;
It becomes your destiny."