One of my favorite quotes is…
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” – Aristotle
So many parents share with me how their biggest struggle is to keep from snapping at their kiddos.
They get angry, feel resentful, and find themselves just overall frustrated….then they do or say something they wish they had not. Ouch. We have all been there.
Many of you know I am a recovering yeller. I get it…really I do.
So…. here’s how to work on these kind of issues in three “not so easy” steps.
1- Increase moments of stillness throughout the day.
2- Study your mind and body. Be curious.
3- Question any stressful thought that appears in your mind. (I say “appears” because we don’t make those thoughts… they just appear…we don’t need to take them so darn seriously)
Do you have to sit in meditation for hours a day? Well… that would be nice and certainly something I strongly support, but if all you have is five minutes a day, start there. If all you can do is put a reminder on your calendar to pause and take a few breaths five times a day, then start there. Just increase the moments of stillness throughout the day. You can do it!
Why study your mind and body? That sounds weird. I wish I knew any other way to free ourselves from maniacal behavior, but I just don’t. Invite the mind and body into a permanent life research project. Which thoughts are repetitive and get in your way? Where in your body do you tense up when you feel sad or angry? Where does your body light up when you feel insanely happy or a moment of simple joy?
Questioning stressful thoughts sounds like a lot of work. Yep… pretty much. It is. I won’t lie to you. But as I’ve said… mindful parenting is not for the faint of heart.
Sure… we can do many little things that make a HUGE difference to our mental state and well-being. But in order to transform into a truly peaceful, rational, loving parent… we all have some work to do.
We are all perfect as we are… and also have some improving to do!
I’m a student of Byron Katie, and have been working with my stressful thoughts using her process called “The Work” for many years. Reading her book “Loving What Is” changed my life.
And even if you do not use that particular process, I would encourage you to first start noticing your stressful thoughts throughout the day. What are they? When do they most likely appear?
Once you have spent some time getting to know your thoughts you can start responding to them by asking…”Is that true?”
See what the response is….
For a little more inspiration on working with your thoughts, you can listen to my latest podcast episode “Don’t Believe Everything You Think“.
Now get out there and get to know yourself! And let me know how it goes… I love your letters and respond to each one.
May you meet this moment fully. May you meet this moment with kindness towards yourself and others.