Keep those lines of communication with your kids open- even when it's tough!
Sarah here. As we dive into the height of summertime, we wanted to talk about something that’s important for everyone to do- regardless of your age. This week, we’re talking about tooting your own horn, so to speak. By this, I’m referring to recognizing your greatness and taking the time to acknowledge it.
Why is it so hard for some of us to toot our own horns? It could be that when we were younger, we were taught that it was bragging or being boastful to recognize and acknowledge our awesomeness. Or maybe we just don’t see the ways that we are great. Whatever the reason, talking positively about oneself is a really challenging thing for many people to do.
To help you in your journey toward recognizing and acknowledging your own greatness, I wanted to share some examples that highlight the difference between bragging and acknowledging positive attributes.
Bragging: “I don’t know why other people did poorly on this exam. It was easy. I’m smart so of course I did well.”
Acknowledging the Positive: “I’m a good test taker.”
Bragging: “Did you hear our boss say how impressed she was by my presentation? Yeah, clearly, she isn’t used to people who are actually well-prepared. Some of the people around here…”
Acknowledging the Positive: “I’m good at organizing my ideas and expressing myself clearly.”
What stands out in the examples? The bragging person wasn’t just talking about themselves- they were also talking about others in unfavorable ways. The person who acknowledged the positive identified their positive attribute clearly but only focused on themselves. Maybe some of what comes across as bragging involves being passive aggressive and putting down others to make oneself look good.
Recognizing our personal weaknesses can lead to further development and growth. But, recognizing our personal strengths—those areas in which we truly shine—can be just as important to our development. When we focus on our strengths, we may adapt our approach to a task to ensure we are utilizing those strengths. We may seek out opportunities that highlight those strengths in part because it feels good to do something we excel at. In the coming days and weeks, see if you can recognize and acknowledge some of the things that are great about you. Pay attention to how you feel when you allow yourself to really take in your own excellence. The more you do it, the easier it gets.
Lisa here. This week we’re starting with a quote from Oprah Winfrey:
Failure is a scary thing for many people. It doesn’t feel good and when you fail, it can feel like you’re even further away from your goals. If you tend to get in your head about things, you can start feeling very down on yourself and your abilities when you fail. BUT failure doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
The reality is that if you try enough things enough times, you’re going to fail at something. As humans, we grow, learn, and can get stronger when we fail. Failure isn't a bad thing we need to avoid. It's a part of life.
When you look at it that way, it’s easier to find the lessons in your failure. When you recognize that failure isn’t personal, you can step back and see where the missteps were and where you can improve next time.
Learning to fail and then recover is also an important lesson to teach your kids. Recovering after a setback is how we build resilience. I know it’s hard to watch your kids fail at something, but it’s actually important for their development. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t help your kids or give them advice. Just remember that it’s okay to let them try things that might be a little too hard for them or let them figure out how to do some things on their own.
It's also helpful to let your kids observe how you handle failure. If they see you experience disappointment, frustration, or even anger at a failure and then see how you get back on track, learn from your mistakes, and then try again, they gain a helpful model for how to manage their own failures.
It’s incredibly important is to let your kids have failure and recovery experiences early in life. This way, they learn that failure doesn’t have to be a big deal and that it’s just part of the process of learning new things. They also have you there to reassure them and to help them figure out how to handle the setback if they need help. When people don’t have failure experiences until they are older, they have significantly more trouble bouncing back. Failure becomes something intolerable, and they don’t know how to cope (think college student who struggles with a class for their first time in their lives and has no idea how to problem-solve, get help, and persevere). So, if it helps, think of allowing your kids to have some failure experiences as an important part of parenting.
Remember that failing is part of the process. The more you remind yourself of that fact, the easier it will be to manage your feelings about failure and the quicker you will bounce back.
So, get out there and do something. Fail. Own it. Keep going.
Sarah here. We hope that you enjoyed last week’s blog about tackling daunting tasks. This week, we’re talking about something else that can interfere with us getting stuff done. Less than ideal conditions can derail even the best of intentions.
Picture it: you’ve carved out time in your schedule to go to the gym, you’re in your car, and you realize you left your headphones at home. What do you do? If you’re like a lot of people, you’d probably hesitate…after all, you’d planned on listen to music, a podcast, audiobook, or TV show while working out or running. Now it won’t be the same. Maybe it even seems like you should just turn around and go home…after all, you don’t have your headphones, things aren’t going the way they’re supposed to…you could always run or workout another day this week, right? See how easily those less-than-ideal conditions can derail the best laid plans?
In real life, we often have less-than-ideal conditions when we set out to do things that matter to us. We may forget something we need, the weather may be bad, we may feel sick, or something else could go wrong. But here’s the hard truth: we can still choose to do the things that matter to us, even when the conditions aren’t favorable. Does that mean that your trip to the gym without your headphones will result in the best workout or run ever? Probably not. In fact, you may spend the whole time thinking about what you could’ve been listening to, lamenting about how this gym day is crummy, or being frustrated with yourself for forgetting the darned headphones. But the point is that when something matters to you, you can commit to doing it even in less-than-ideal conditions.
It’s also okay if less-than-ideal conditions result in less-than-ideal progress. Sometimes just showing up and putting in effort is a win. So next time you’re faced with less-than-ideal conditions, be sure to show up for yourself. Acknowledge the feelings and thoughts that you have. And commit to doing the thing you care about. Give yourself some grace and know that progress, no matter how small, is still progress.
Feel free to peruse our blog and see what Sarah and Lisa had to say about topics related to your needs as a busy parent. We will talk about everything from parenting values, to life hacks, to realistic self-care.