Like everyone, I experience doubt. Doubt is that unhelpful thought in your head saying things like:
“You are not doing enough”, “You should be a more organised”, “You must do….”, “It would have been better if you had have done …..”, “You could have said that better…”
I could fill a book with the “should have, would have, could haves.” While normal, the problem is that while we focus on these types of thoughts, we don’t focus on the more helpful thoughts like:
“I did the best I could in the situation…” “It has been really hard but I will get through it” and my two favourite: “What have I learnt?”, “What could I do differently?”
Before we can start thinking in a more helpful way, we need to practice kindness at ground zero: on ourselves. We must be as nice to ourselves as we are to our friends to allow our mind and body to calm down and think through our problem or challenge our unhelpful thinking.
What does being kind to ourselves look like?
self-acceptance, the ability to accept that we, like everyone on this planet has flaws. Even the Instablogger with thousands of followers has times when they are hard on themselves;
supporting ourselves like we would do our friends and giving yourself the same advice you would give a friend;
challenging those unhelpful thoughts by questioning them. Examine them with a magnifying glass! Are they reasonable, have you considered all the facts; and
saying no and making time to give yourself some “me” time.
So why do we find it hard to practice kindness on ourselves than others? Maybe it’s because we feel we must be our own critic to keep ourselves motivated to make changes to improve.
However, those of us who are parents or anyone who owns a pet knows that trying to motivate through criticism doesn’t work. As I write this, I still ruminating over this morning where I was attempting to get Miss E to clean up after herself, something she does not do easily. I quickly adopted a critical tone and manner which was probably justified given this appears to happen every day. The problem was, it was not very helpful, she of course reacted to my criticism and focused on the fact I was talking cross to her and not what I was saying.
It’s the same with ourselves. If we are busy getting cross, sad or even defeatist to ourselves, then we are not going to be calm enough to focus on where we are right now.
Give a DOSE of Resilience this Christmas
Part of why I do what I do, is to help parents and educators equip our next generation with the skills of resilience. This Christmas give the gift that will equip your child with the resilience they need to bounce back from life's challenges. Art of Resilience has a number of workshops that are perfect for the creative, anxious or tentative child.
During January, TRY a Very Arty Day will encourage kids through play and fun activities such as painting, claywork, weaving and drawing to try need things and keep going when things get tough. '
The Mistake Maker is a 2-day course to help kids aged 6-12 to practice kindness and helpful thinking in dealing with mistakes. Two new afterschool programs called A Very Arty Afternoon at The Artspace Collective in Scarborough and I CAN kids at Loftus Community Centre in Leederville use fun play, art and STEM activities to explore resilience topics. There is also a new teen program for girls aged 11-13.