I’m getting ready for a talk on supporting our kids in building positive self image (7pm on 3/1/18 at Fisher Middle School in Los Gatos, CA, for those interested and in the area). As I’ve been refining (and retweaking and then wondering if it makes sense anymore) my slide structure and wording, particularly when I get into thoughts about the real life skills I’ve found helpful (links to the 3 RLSs at the end of this post), I see that the tools I’ve used have shifted over time, particularly the notes to self I’ve got posted in my cabinet, my daily exercise habit, and what I like to eat that likes me back.
I could share the specific things I do each day, though I realize the details actually don’t matter that much. There are an infinite number of things any of us can try for self-care. I’m talking the self-care that goes beyond bubble baths and soft music — the thoughts that serve in this moment (Yes, life is messy sometimes!), the decision that serves in the next (It’s okay if we leave the birthday party early — I’m feeling tired and would like some quiet), and then the next cascade of choices throughout the day that helps us get to the inner place of feeling decently centered, even at the end of a long and trying day, so we can face our children, families, and anyone else and speak to them in civilized tones regardless of whatever they’ve been up to — this sort of self-care. And what works for me might not work for you.
As I’ve been learning over the past few years what works for me (and doing something first thing in the morning to work out any lingering wonkies, aches, and grumpies is huge), I also see that what best serves will be ever changing. Because I’m changing and growing and learning new things and experiencing different situations every day. I’m a different person today than I was yesterday — because of yesterday. So the specifics of what serves me today may not serve me as well tomorrow — and that’s okay.
What’s more important? That I keep making time for myself, that I’m aware of my thoughts and what feels better to roll around in my head versus what leaves the internal record stuck in a groove, that I’m got safe places to express and listen to my own feelings and emotions, and that I’m aware of my food/drink/sleep/exercise choices and what is leaving me feeling better (or not so much) to help build and keep solid my foundation. And then the specifics? I can give myself breathing room to see what currently serves. Then when something stops feeling so good, I can try something different (there are plenty of ideas, programs, and books with ideas out there to try!).
As we’re supporting our kids in building positive self image, this is a reminder that what serves them today, that they’re open to doing and might even think is the cat’s pajamas — tomorrow it may not work as well for them. And that’s okay.
After we’ve had our wtf?!? moment, let’s remind ourselves that it doesn’t mean something has gone wrong, that we’re failing as parents or current struggles will last forever. It’s that life is messy, ever changing and continually shifting. Our kids (and us too!) are growing and learning — and what serves them will sometimes need to change too.
And that’s okay. There are plenty more potential cat’s pajamas options out there to try.
REAL LIFE SKILLS POSTS
- Real Life Skill #1: Life is Messy + thoughts on applying it
- Real Life Skill #2: Emotions and Feelings + thoughts on application
- Real Life Skill #3: Solid Foundation