Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What If We Were As Nice to Ourselves As We Are to Our Children?

Compliments are not a rarity in our household.  In the past few days I've told my children good job for a broad smattering of things: finishing a packet of math homework, putting shoes on the correct feet, eating vegetables, cleaning up toys, sharing with a sibling, and remembering to flush the toilet. 

It's automatic.  When I notice good behavior, good intentions, or growth, I comment on it.

I'm sure that you do the same with your children.

How many of us, I wonder, are this free with praise for ourselves when we do a good job?  Lately I've been acutely aware of areas where I'm not meeting my own standards: hurriedly prepared, not-entirely nutritious meals for my family; household-wide messes; a missed writing deadline; moments when I'm lacking patience with my children.

These are real things, but when I focus on my deficiencies I forget about the areas where I'm doing well.  I hug my children often.  I remembered to send several thank you notes in the mail.  I finally dropped off some bags of clothes to Goodwill.  I played two intensely-long games of Chutes and Ladders without rushing my daughter, even when she kept forgetting that it was her turn.  I successfully wrapped up the three college classes that I teach and submitted my final grades for the semester earlier this afternoon.

I'll say it: I'm killing some things.  My guess is that you are, too.  Take a moment to recognize those areas.  Rather than overlooking the many obligations that you're beautifully juggling and harping on that one ball that you've dropped, instead let yourself marvel for a moment that you still have so many up in the air.

Let's be as kind to ourselves as we are to our children.

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3 comments:

  1. thanks for the reminder, robin. I will try to give myself a pat on the back today...as soon as I have a free hand (and a free minute!) to do it! :)

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  2. Thanks, Robin!  I needed this today!

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  3. So true!  I get upset with myself when I don't complete every item on my to do list.  I know I need to learn to pat myself on the back for accomplishing what I do and not beat myself up for the rest.

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