This is the tenant on which I base everything because honestly it is the foundation on which everything is built.
I once heard and often repeat “we can only be connected to others as deeply as we are connected to ourselves”. I deeply believe this and when it comes to raising kids it is magnified.
This week someone shared a Ted talk with me about emotional hygiene. Mental health is a topic that is getting more time in the press and is becoming a less taboo topic. Although this is true, there is still a lot of stigma around “mental illness”.
Fifty years ago we began to put more of an emphasis personal hygiene, which increased life expectancy by fifty percent. Today personal hygiene is commonly accepted and practiced.
In the Ted talk the presenter talked about emotional hygiene, which although not a “normal” practice now it is something we should all be working towards. And as with everything parenting the way we show up in the world (for ourselves and others) is a model our kids will use to build their lives.
There are four way to practice emotional hygiene:
1. Take action when we are lonely. Our brains are activated in the same place for physical and psychological pain. Psychological pain is real pain and we need to be treating it as such. Loneliness is a serious concern that we should be paying attention to, especially in children.
2. Change reaction to failure. We live in a highly competitive global culture that places a lot of emphasis on winning. Helping kids learn resilience and understand that to “fail” is actually just a First Attempt In Learning.
3. Protect self-esteem. Negative self-talk is toxic and as parents we need to remember that the way we talk to our kids becomes the way they talk to themselves. So if we are highly critical of them they don’t stop loving us, they stop loving themselves. Our voice becomes our kids inner voice.
4. Battle Negative Thinking. The power of “yet” is one of the most beneficial things to help kids battle negative thinking. We need to remind kids that it isn’t they can’t do it is they can’t do it YET!
Something I am going to working on in the next few months is building a more deliberate meditation practice. Neuroscientist say one of the most beneficial things we can do for our brains it meditate daily. I “know” this is true, now I need to put that knowledge into practice because this is definitely one of the most powerful ways for us to connect with ourselves.
And what I know for sure is the more connected I am to myself, the more connected I am to my kids and that is powerful.
With respect and gratitude.