There are many things that parenting teaches us. One big lesson is to let go of comparison and and choose love and mindfulness instead.
if we’re stuck on the outside, we’re missing the opportunity to connect and grow
Too often, we look outside to determine how we feel inside. Giving in to those surface-level thoughts of comparison and judgement tear us up inside. When we’re stuck in that place, we’re missing out on connecting with ourself, and others.
Connecting feels so much better
I catch myself comparing at times throughout the day. We are having lunch at the park and I was really happy that we got to the park and I packed lunches. Kids are happy and so am I. Then we get there and our lunch is looking so lame compared to the other mom’s lunches. I compared myself and felt bad and negative for something so silly. It shifts my mood.
Then I try something different. I say, “I am so amazed that you can put together those amazing lunches. How do you do it?” Then she shares her tips and you make her feel good because that is obviously something she is really proud of and she loves sharing. And you just learned how to do it and you could try it in your own way next time. And now you are connecting more. And she tells you “how do you stay so calm during those toddler tantrums?” Or whatever it is. And suddenly, we are opening up about the tough and the lovely things and we all feel better.
Those comparing and judging feelings actually make us feel horrible inside.
Maybe for a fleeting moment we feel good, because you judged yourself better than the other. But that fades fast. It never makes us feel good and surely doesn’t make the other person feel good either. The negative energy is felt by everyone.
I look back on times in my children’s lives when I compared them to another child, it always proved to be futile. It goes back to me not being in control. They will walk when they are ready, they will grow teeth when their body is ready. Of course its good to support them and set they up for success and make sure you take action if you need it. But more often than not, loving them and believing in them is far better than pushing them. Its ultimately up to them, they are their own person.
We feel better when we think good things, but how do we do that? By practicing Mindfulness.
That negative energy from comparing instead of accepting and loving depletes us. It’s easy to get on a track of negative thinking and net even realize you are on it. And our children feel that. They don’t understand why our moods suddenly shifted. And its a chain reaction of more negative instead of positive. Positive spreads much faster but we have to make the choice to choose love.
How do we practice mindfulness?
- When you are getting heated up, do something different. Take a deep breath. Count to ten. Step away for a moment. Allow yourself to calm down before you take another step in anger.
- Shift your perspective toward gratefulness. Challenge yourself to see things differently. See the goodness. When you are around children its easy to do this because its how they act. We can follow their lead or build that thinking into our days by writing out things we are grateful for at the start or end of everyday. It only takes a minute and it can create a change of mindset.
- Make time for yourself everyday. Meditation or exercise or cooking or walk around the block or 5 minutes of quiet. This is how you can refuel and set yourself up for mindful choices.
- Choose love. We can’t choose what happens everyday as parents. But we do choose our reaction. Choose love and see how fast it will reset your negative mind track to positive.
Children love us as we are. We need to love ourselves as we are.
If we want to raise kind, respectful children, we have to be kind, respectful people. It starts with being kind to ourselves. We must catch ourselves if we begin to compare and judge and mindfully take a moment to choose love instead. We’ll all feel better and so will our children.