“You parent yourself really well,” Christian once said to me. A funny thing for him to say and even funnier considering I am not yet a parent, but the more I thought about it the more I realized, I really do parent myself.
Whether you are a momma or not, you’re familiar with what might go into parenting. Discipline, honesty and love are just some of the things that are often instilled. Even when it’s tough love, it still comes from a good place because we know it’s important to teach children how to make good decisions on their own. You want what’s best for them and when it comes down to it, you want them to understand and realize that making good decisions will help them live a healthier and happier life. It won’t always save them from hard times, but it will help encourage them through. So if we care enough about our children to parent them (in all of the ways), why don’t we also do this for ourselves?
Here are 3 examples of what parenting yourself might look like:
Most children are taught to communicate honestly at an early age. In fact, it’s one of the things I love most about kids – they are very honest (most of the time, anyway) and will let you know exactly what they think or how they feel – without hesitation or guilt associated with it. So why does this tend to stop as we age? Just as we continue to hope that others are honest with us, we need to continue being honest with ourselves. We need to listen to our gut, say, ‘No, thanks’ when asked to put just one more thing on our already very full plate, and then we need to leave the guilt at the door. Life will be chaotic, busy, and stressful at times, but there comes a point when our mind, body and soul plead with us to slow down and we need to stop trying to silence that and instead pay attention to it. If we’re honest with ourselves, and then hold tight to the courage of being honest with others, it may not save us from every crazy moment, but it will certainly alleviate the time we spend afterwards worrying about them.
2. A personal time-out
Have you ever had one of those days where you wake up and just know that your very own dark cloud is hovering over your head, surely to follow you wherever you go? And then as the day goes on, your mood only continues to go farther south and your attitude is so far down the hole, not even a Friends marathon can fix it? (Yeah. It’s that bad.) There have been times I have literally taken myself to the bathroom for a five-minute personal time-out. I look at myself in the mirror, breathe in and out deeply, and then remind myself to ‘lose the ‘tude’. Then, I force myself into a state of gratitude by coming up up with three things I’m grateful for. If by the end of the day I still feel that cloud hovering, I put myself to bed. No phone, no computer, no venting to my best friend about all of my problems – just bed.
3. Positive self-thinking
We have all done it; maybe you even did it today. Self talk that goes like this: “Just give up, you’re not gonna make it.” “Everyone is judging you right now.” “You’re so fat.” “You’re not good enough.” ” You’re not enough.” Squash this and squash it immediately. Could you imagine sitting in a room while your child, sibling, best friend or spouse says these things about themselves? You wouldn’t allow it for one second. You would cut them off and remind them of all the positives, and this is an important habit to get into with yourself as well. The next time you start to think negative thoughts about yourself, stop right then and there and replace each thought with a positive one. Discontinuing the negative self-talk is one of the hardest things to do but I promise you – this type of continued self-discipline eventually becomes a thoughtless habit and before you know it, you won’t be going to anyone else for encouragement or to help you out of your rotten day because you’re already doing it yourself.
We accept the love we think we deserve.” -Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Are you loving yourself well? In what ways should you be parenting yourself?
A version of this post was originally first shared on 2/27/15 over at Best Kept Self.