Updated: Jan 15, 2021
Recently I have been listening to a podcast called TEN Percent Happier. Prior to the New Year it had several really super smart people on it talking about how important it is for your happiness to take care of yourself. Did you know that research shows that people that actively "like" themselves and practice kindness to themselves are more likely to practice kindness towards others?
So this year has been a crazy stressful year. In a world of such divisiveness I am constantly wondering and battling the idea of how do "I" teach my girls to practice openness and kindness towards others, especially those with apposing views as us. I often times get stuck in the idea that it is something we can do for others or things we can "make" our kids do for others that will spread the kindness most.
After listening to several of these podcasts, it became very apparent that the way I treat myself plays a major role in how my girls will in turn treat themselves and others. It is not a magic formula that I can apply and poof my girls will become tolerant/loving humans. It actually will take me working on myself and being a role model of self love and kindness.
There was one professional talking that hit me particularly hard. He was in summary saying, "Do you want a coach that yells negative things at you when you mess up or one that talks kindly and helps you learn from the situation?" "Why do we listen to the coaches in our heads that are constantly reprimanding us and yelling at us?" I about stopped in my tracks when I was listening to this conversation, and thought to myself, "Wholly shit! My coach is an asshole!" For 30 plus years now I have had an abusive coach yelling at me every time I make a mistake or act foolishly or worst of all say something that would be considered putting my foot in my mouth.
I replay these situations over and over and over again, most times I end up just being mad at myself. There are times when apologies are appropriate but other times are just plane misunderstandings or mistakes. They are life learning lessons that I could grow and learn from. As it turns out acting kindly toward myself when these mistakes happen and talking to myself kindly will also help me be more empathetic towards others when they make a mistake or do or say something less than ideal in a situation. As I look back on the years I look at situations where I have felt so wronged or judged people for not meeting my "situational standards". As I examine these times, taking into account what I have learned from these podcasts, I have realized that it was my internal "coach" making the same judgments on other people that has made horrible judgments of myself through the years.
I also have noticed the "coach" inside my daughter's heads as they are learning at home. I see them yell, "I'm no good at Math!" when trying to solve a hard math problem or getting it wrong. I have seen them give up on a task because they are "no good and will never get it right." These coaches develop very early on and I am starting to open my eyes up to the possibility that we all need a bit more self-love in our lives. We all need to soften that internal coach and teach it to treat us the same way we would treat our best friend in a tough situation. Perhaps we need to tell ourselves " Life is hard, this is a tough situation, you are doing the best you can, and you will get through this."
My kindness challenge for all of us this week is to outwardly acknowledge when our internal coach is being a jerk. Show our kids that we are struggling and we need to be a little bit more kind to ourselves. Then, in-turn notice when your children are beating themselves up and help them rephrase that talk. Perhaps change the conversation to "I am really struggling with this math, I could use some help, but I know we can work through it with a little help and support?"
Sending you all so much love and light and a Little Human Kindness to yourselves!