The story of the little mouse

The story of the little mouse

I am a bit prone to the odd story (you may have noticed). My kids have been entertained over the years by many a tale and fictitious character. 5 years on, even my 12 year old will still request a “Lily story”. Lily is the youngest of 4 children in the Dinklebrot family, and keeps her 3 older brothers and parents well entertained. And then there is Gloria, the Irish lady that has been materialising at the bathroom sink for about 9 years. Her dodgy accent and playful nature has won over the most stubborn teeth brushing refusal- time and time again.

I guess I have always appreciated the power of a story.

Our 3 kids go girl, boy, girl. So our son is sandwiched in between the girls. And being female I can only guess what it must be like to be a male. But let’s face it, none of us ladies really get it, Right?

Why he runs to his sisters to be as close as possible when he needs to fart. Burping has to be done in someone’s face. The rugby tackles, headlocks, balls to the face at point-blank range, Climbing on everything (including his sisters….and parents. Shouting ‘specky’ and catching an ‘air footy’ does not make that ok!) playing his snorkel like a trumpet until your ears ring. Do I need to go on? I’m sure anyone who has a brother or son is on my wavelength. (It’s only funny because it’s true.)

My natural go-to of course is drawing attention to what I want him to STOP doing! That’s important, but I also know that what you focus on you get more of. I see this case in point because the more I am on his case, the worse his behaviour seems to get. And the more our relationship is impacted and not for the better.

The thing is, there is no such thing as a resistant person, only inflexible communicators.

I hear you say, Huh?

Human interaction is essentially communication. We’re all trying to say something in order to get something or give something. Whether we are successful in our communication is evident by the result. It either works or it doesn’t.

As the person communicating we tend to do it in a way that makes sense to us, what would work if we were the recipient, what is easiest for us, or how we are in a habit of doing it. Now the recipient either takes it on board and the result is achieved or they don’t understand or reject it. At this point there is nothing more the recipient can do. But there is more the communicator can do. They can change the way they are communicating! Do something different, say it a different way, add more detail, be more abstract…. go through the back door rather than the front.

There are various possibilities for the communicator to change their ‘method’ to increase understanding or acceptance. Hence the statement there is no such thing as a resistant person only inflexible communicators.

As communicators we get stuck in the same pattern, or habit of delivery and we choose to refuse to communicate differently. Can you hear yourself saying “I’ve tried everything”…. what we are really saying is ‘everything’ I can think of, or am prepared to do. Just think of your kid refusing to put on their seatbelt for you. Then dad/mum/grandma comes along and says or does something differently and on it goes without protest. Remember too our nonverbal communication is still communication.

This dawns on me as I wake up to the dulcet tones of my eldest screeching “Why do you always come and fart right next to me! I’ve asked you to stop doing it”. Ahhhh good morning. So I find my son in his room a bit later and I decide that I need to find a form of communication that is going to get me better results!

I begin:

There was this little mouse, that loved all the other mice so much. Whenever it saw them it just wanted their attention. It would run up and dive on them, scratch them, chase them, pull their tails and squeeze them with all its might. Soon, every time the mouse got near the other mice they would run away. It started to feel sad and bad about itself. Then one day a little baby mouse came up to the mouse and it was so excited it jumped all over the mouse, over and over again. The mouse said “ouch that hurts, I don’t like it” and the baby mouse just kept on jumping. So the mouse said to the baby lets have a race instead and they ran as fast as they could back to their hole. It was so much fun they were laughing and laughing. The next day the baby mouse saw the mouse again and was so excited he came over and scratched the mouse all over. “Ouch that hurts, please stop it” said the mouse, only the baby kept doing it, until the mouse said lets climb up this blanket. They climbed up as high as they could before they fell off onto the floor laughing and rolling around, over and over they played. By the third day some of the other mice came over and were watching the mouse and the baby. By the end of the week the mouse had all the mice playing and having fun together. He had found a way to have fun that everyone liked.

Our unconscious minds are amazing and what happens anytime we hear information is what is called a transderivational search TDS. Where it searches for a link or a match in data. It looks to find a way for the information to relate to experiences and memories that we have from our past. It asks how does this relate to me? What can I take from this? While consciously our brain is busy enjoying the details and creating pictures of the little mice. Our unconscious mind is busy taking on the message and how it relates to our life.

I am not saying that now he respects his sisters completely and we haven’t had an incident since ( having said that, a few weeks on when I think of it the issue really has subsided. So much so that I can’t remember the last time something OF THAT NATURE occurred ;). What did happen is that he came and sat on my lap and ate his breakfast with me. Had I chastised his behaviour I dare say this would not have happened. My more flexible approach provided a greater connection with my son while still communicating the desired outcome.

It reminded me that there are so many ways we can communicate. Engaging children with stories, games and fun can be a wonderful way to get the results we are after.

Why not try out a tale or two and see where your flexibility takes you. All you need is a relatable and distant enough story that engages them cognitively so the message can slip by. Hence all the stories, fairy tales, and fables throughout history.

It’s the era of DIY & custom made so why not give it ago and create your own! (You also have permission to rip off “The story of the little mouse” 🙂

Photo from Upsplash by Giuseppe Martini

Three Dollars

Three Dollars

Over the school holidays, I often give the kids a ‘sleepover’. My 3 are notorious ‘chatters’ and when they are in the same room together there is more high jinks than sleep, we invariably divide and conquer.

So on the holidays, I like to let them go nuts and have a family sleepover. They get to sleep in the same room, stay up later, have treats and a movie, play some games, and basically enjoy each other’s company. It’s a special treat that they love.

Where this tale begins is on the day of said event. We were all set for the big night and piled into the car to go treat shopping. Now I am a bit hardcore when it comes to sweets, I like them to eat nutritious meals and keep the junk to a minimum. So you can only imagine what it’s like for them to head to the supermarket to buy junk food! Their request lists were growing by the second and it was time to put up some boundaries. The latest was ice-creams so I said ‘only if they are on special’. Of course, all the while quietly praying they wouldn’t be!

I unleash these sugar-crazed kids on the supermarket and now that the flood gate was open they were really pushing hard to see how much they could loot. Every 10 seconds I had a new packet shoved in my face for approval. No, no, no, no yes that was on the list, no, no, no…So we had stuck ‘mostly’ to the original list and then it was time to head for the freezer section.

YES! The ice creams they wanted were not on special! Of course, they still asked. To which I triumphantly replied, “No, they’re not on special”. It was at this point that a strange turn of events sent me into a tailspin.

A lady came up to me with a box of icy poles in her hand. “These are only $2.80 for 20” I get them for my grandchildren and just keep them in the freezer, I can buy them for the kids”… I was rendered mute for a few seconds as I grappled with how, where, why… After a moment I recovered my composure and thanked her for her kindness, assured her she didn’t need to buy them, grabbed the box, and popped it in the trolley. Dazed and confused I wondered on.

I didn’t have the heart to refuse her kind intention for the kids, I had to buy those damn things now! Instead, I wondered how the situation had even come about? My motivation for refusing the ice-creams was to stem the flow of rubbish they were about to ingest. The price was just a convenient excuse. However, for this lady, I can only assume going without due to financial constraints really pulled on the heartstrings. She wanted to help my kids be spared the pain if she could help it.

The story doesn’t end there! She soon appeared out of nowhere, again, and thrust $3 into my hand! I just didn’t have the capacity to refuse her, it was so heartfelt. So now I stood even more dumbfounded holding $3 wondering “how on earth did I get here!” It was at this point that I shot a glance at my kids.

My youngest was wearing a hand me down Elsa (frozen) dress. You know the faux silk kind that collect every water drop as a decorative stain. She had also been in the garden digging in the dirt earlier so the sheer ‘white’ (I use that term loosely) sleeves had an inch cuff of mud. She had washed her hands which I guess accounted for all the water stains down the front. Did I mention the ripped collar??? Her hair was a mattered cluster of newly forming dread locks, well none of them had brushed their hair (come on, its holidays!) or were wearing shoes. If she’d been following us for any length of time she would have witnessed a barrage of “can I please have” “no” and I guess she joined some dots. Are you seeing how easy it is to add 2+2 and get 5.

So I got my derelict looking children home and pondered what had just happened. While they ate icy poles.

The thing is, we can only see the world through our own lens. It is our past experiences and the emotion that it triggers in us that makes us notice some details, and not others. Our brain can only process a fraction of the data that bombards us every second. So how do we choose what to notice and what to ignore? We notice what fits with our view of the world. What we believe to be true about the world. She saw 3 kids that couldn’t afford what they wanted. Maybe that was her experience as a child?

You see, our behaviour is driven by our beliefs. I would be very interested to know if she believes she can’t afford what she wants? She may have a lens through which she sees the world that says “I can’t afford that”. That underlying belief then gives the instruction to that part of the brain that chooses which tiny amount of the possible information in any one moment to focus on (RAS). So now she can’t see anything else.

Beliefs that are empowering get us focusing on what we want and ignoring what we don’t. Now they are the kinds of beliefs we want. Think about an area of your life where you really excel. You will have a bunch of beliefs that empower you, and an area where you’re not so happy. That’s where the beliefs are limiting. Limiting beliefs are driving your focus (RAS) so you are noticing the disempowering information over the rest.

I now have 3 dollars that sits in a neat little pile on my kitchen shelf. It’s a reminder. That we don’t see the world how IT really is, we see it how WE are. From our own perspective, our experiences, our genetics, our filters that only allow us to see things through our own lens.

Let me say that again, I keep it to remind me that we can ONLY see the world as we ARE and that others intentions, thoughts and experiences are interpreted by the way we are. The only meaning anything has is the meaning we give it. I remind myself to act with love and look for the kindness in others because I don’t know what pain and fear they may be running from. This woman did a tremendously sweet thing for my kids and that is enough.

Also a reminder that we can’t presume to know what unconscious beliefs are driving someone else’s behaviour. (Generally, they don’t even know- they’re unconscious beliefs.) Otherwise we can get 2+2=5

It’s a reminder for me to notice. To be more conscious of what beliefs are driving my own behaviours and decisions.

With greater awareness, we can create change. If you would like greater awareness and change you can.

“Our greatest tool for changing the world is our capacity to change our mind about the world.” Marianne Williamson

Photo from Upsplash Jed Villejo

WORK???

WORK???

I always laugh when someone asks me what I do for work. It’s such a loose term ‘work’. Generally, they mean paid work. However for me ‘paid or not’ work is something you don’t want to do! and I like to do what I like to do, regardless of when, where, and for how much. I then assume the question is more ‘what do you choose to do with your time’? So for me, the lines are pretty blurry. It was always a challenge to answer. I felt like where do I start. I think I’m getting clearer these days.

I could say I am in Renovation. Literally, one of my businesses takes old homes and breathes new life into them so that someone can fall in love with them again. And I also coach people to fall in love with themselves again.

It always starts with excavation & demolition. Sometimes a sledgehammer is in order and I can really weld one of those. Other times I am more the archaeologist with the brush. Or on occasion, it’s so close to falling down I just have to push. The common thread is that it requires digging & dismantling what is not working. You know I am not talking about houses now, don’t you?

So maybe what I choose to do with my time is to get results. Or what I do for work is get results. Actually, that can’t be it. That’s what everyone does at work and everywhere. Not necessarily the results they want but everyone is getting results every second of every day. The results we don’t want tend to come with reasons (aka excuses).

In that case; I choose to spend my time working on getting the results I want for myself and those I work with. There!

So I guess that is why I am into renovation because once you remove what isn’t working it leaves room to notice what is. I empower people to realise they are so much more than what they perceive themselves to be. Just like an ugly, old home. There is so much more. Once you get rid of what you don’t want you can create what you do want.

and ‘viola’ you Love it again… you again… whichever way there is more loveliness  xxx

Good news today

Good news today
I don’t watch the news

I stopped a long, long time ago, maybe in my late teens. I decided I didn’t want to know! Since then I’ve always felt a bit bad about it. Like I should know what is happening rather than being in denial and in my bubble. Recently I’ve gone back to studying the brain and started understanding more and more of the science behind how our minds work. Now I understand why I made that choice. It kept making me feel so awful I couldn’t keep doing it to myself.

Our brains are wired for survival

Basically we have an innate survival mechanism to protect ourselves. Our brains are wired for survival. So in any situation of fear we create ‘the worst case scenario’. This is so we are prepared for the worst and anything less increases our chances of survival.

That’s all well and good for emergency situations. However in this day and age where information is so readily available this survival response is maladaptive. When we focus on all the negative around us it triggers our fear. Then we continually generate all these worst case scenarios. It’s exacerbated by technology now we have immediate 24hr access to information.

Have you ever gone done the rabbit hole that is Dr Google? I literally just did a search and up pops “1/3 of Australians are convinced they have a life threatening illness because of Google searches.”

This response is no longer helping us to survive its driving anxiety and fear and the constant thought pattern of preparing for the worst. And as we focus on the negative we notice more negative because that is our filter. We are drawn to the drama of the latest news headline day after day and our brains are preparing us for the worst possible outcome should we face the same situation.

The media then sells more news as they run horror after horror. Since they are businesses they seek out more and more horrific news in order to gain a greater market share. The cycle continues…

You have all the power

But I’ve got some good news. Your brain is just wired to find the worst case scenario so if you focus on the negative, it will keep giving you more thoughts of the worst possible outcome. The media will keep giving you more of what you consume. YOU are actually the one with ALL the power.

If something makes you feel anxious, fearful, uncomfortable, bad in general. Stop looking at it, thinking about it and seeking it out.

Focus on what you want.

There is so much good news in the world, so much inspiration, seek that out and see where it takes you. As they say information is power, which means information about yourself is self empowerment. Our attention, and our time is our greatest commodity. What are you investing in?

Good News, Inspiring, Positive Stories

www.positive.news

Thanks to Unsplash & Jon Tyson for the photo.

Have you done your time?

Have you done your time?

At some point after starting school all 3 of my kids have come home saying “you get what you get, and you don’t get upset”.

Well I get upset! It absolutely sends me into a fury.

Now 8 years on from first hearing this ditty, I want to know how we stop promoting children repress their emotions and openly invalidate their feelings and thoughts. Because we are essentially saying; what you feel, what you think doesn’t matter- and what goes into their subconscious?- you don’t matter.

Between 0-5 years a child’s brain wave patterns are such that everything goes into their subconscious mind without analysis. Their analytical brain is developing so prior to that everything just gets taken on as fact.

So lets return back for a moment to the intention behind the rhyme. I completely understand where the teachers are coming from. They want to find a way to give out various coloured shakers to 25 5year olds without any of them crying! What they really mean is that when you get given the green shaker and you really wanted the purple one I don’t want to deal with the fall out.

This is a really powerful point because the truth is no one wants to deal with negative emotions. Not our children’s and certainly not our own. As adults we will do anything to tell ourselves we shouldn’t feel these feelings. We will do anything to avoid feeling them. Like blaming someone else or rationalising every outcome, understanding everyone else’s position and pushing that feeling away because we think we shouldn’t feel it.

What does that amount to? Resistance. We want to change it. We want the external environment to change so we can let go of the emotion internally. We don’t know how to let go without getting what we want externally. We are at the effect of our external world continuously, while everything goes our way we feel good. When we don’t get what we want we feel bad and that my friend is not something any of us like. So we push it down or we fight tooth and nail to change the outside so we can let go on the inside. Insert picture of a toddler at the checkout with the parent denying them lollies.

What happens next? It’s not ok to express these outbursts publicly so generally we either give in or get angry and teach the child to ‘push it down’.

Lets explore the science behind the response. What happens when you get angry, or disappointed, or hurt etc? The end result is a chemical cocktail, which we experience as a feeling. So that feeling has a start middle and an end. It’s like most things and could be graphed on a bell curve. The middle being the zenith, the strongest part and then it wanes.

According to Dr. Bolte Taylor:

Once triggered, the chemical released by my brain surges through my body and I have a physiological experience. Within 90 seconds from the initial trigger, the chemical component of my anger has completely dissipated from my blood and my automatic response is over. If, however, I remain angry after those 90 seconds have passed, then it is because I have chosen to let that circuit continue to run.

So the reality is if we allow ourselves these feelings, if we cry it out as a child, (or even as an adult) it passes. That means giving them love and attention while they express their negative emotions. It’s just in those 90 sec it feels pretty bad or in the supermarket it can look pretty bad- maybe like you are not a good parent? The irony is that while ever we try to change it, resist it, we hold onto it and prolong that awful feeling indefinitely. We let that circuit continue to run. Again you’ve seen the child still crying and screaming about the lolly in the car park, in the car seat… They are desperately trying to change the outside situation so they can stop feeling that way. And it works exactly the same way for the parent that desperately wants the child to stop screaming so they can change how they feel inside. That’s where it gets complicated because it brings up all the old stuck negative emotion like anger, sadness, hurt, guilt & fear in ourselves.

The good news is we can teach them and ourselves to feel our negative emotions completely, and let it release through our bodies instead of being stored in our bodies as stuck negative energy. We just have to do our time. 90 sec. 90 seconds of not trying to change ANYTHING. Accepting the response and the reaction.

Inspired by my most detested ditty I created my own:

“It won’t (can’t) be changed, it is just so. Let your feelings come and go.”

But I had to ask myself; Why does this rhyme strike a chord that unleashes such passion and fury in me? Because the truth is that I’m still doing it. I see my own responses mirrored in the rhyme. Every time I rationalise an emotion I am pushing it down. Every time I say “they didn’t mean it, it’s ok. I’m telling myself I shouldn’t feel this way. I’m not accepting what is. I’m not doing my time. I don’t want to face my negative emotions any more than the toddler without the lolly or the 5 year old with the green shaker. However it’s only when we feel completely all the feelings that life has to offer that we can be emotionally intelligent.

Acceptance is what we are striving for.

Being a parent is the fastest way to self improvement, because you need to BE the person you want them to become! ( Dr Joe Dispenza)

 

You got that from TOAST!!

You got that from TOAST!!

Do you ever find that you are having the same arguments with your partner year after year? The circumstances may potentially be different but it’s the same fundamental premise. Or the same gripe with your kids or relatives. Are you always late, are you always busy? Are you always cranky?

There is a reason why they made the movie “groundhog day”. Because sometimes it feels like your life is on loop. So what do we do? We kick that can down the road and say when my kids are older I’ll have more time. When my partner does ‘X’ everything will be fine. Or we book a holiday! We look at the outside world and think if we can just change our circumstances we can change our life.

So I have this long-standing irritation with my daughter and her breakfast requirements. She is ridiculously fussy about her toast. Let’s just say breakfast in general. There are very few things she will eat and so toast is the regular go-to. HOWEVER, it must be cooked to her precise standards. Too little cooking and it’s soggy, too much and it’s dry and any burnt bits are a big fat no. It must be golden brown, evenly cooked and if there is the slightest deviation it’s rejected. Arggggghhh.

We definitely have groundhog breakfast in our house. So of course I have to start thinking; quantum physics confirms that we create our own reality. Something many yogis and gurus have known longer than that. So if I believe I create my own reality then I am responsible for my toast hell.

Which really isn’t such a stretch, think about how you feel when something bad happens and then your whole day follows that pattern. Or you look around at every man-made thing and realise that it all started as a thought in someone’s mind. Our thoughts, become things. Our thoughts are creating the pictures of our life day in and day out.

If I keep thinking it’s a problem with her and keep looking outside myself for the solution, I’ve got it backwards. If we all keep looking outside ourselves to change the pictures of our life isn’t that like watching re-runs and expecting to get a different ending? That new phone or car or job or house or holiday isn’t going to make us happy not in the long term, because we haven’t looked within to the source of the problem. Nothing has any meaning except the meaning we give it, so it’s only a problem because we see it that way. If it’s all created by thought in our mind, if we don’t change our thinking, we can’t change our experiences. So we get groundhog day for real. Our past becomes our future and we are stuck watching reruns wondering why we never get what we want.

As they say if nothing changes nothing changes.

So I ask myself a few questions. How is the toast situation a problem? Because it causes delays either during breakfast or she says she’s hungry as we are leaving because the rejected toast is still on her plate and I’m scrambling for something to appease her so she’s fed before school. How is that a problem? Because she isn’t responsible for her own needs and it causes me grief at a busy time. How is that a problem? Because I feel like I’ve failed her…. And there it is. If I believe I am failing her as a mother I’m going to keep seeing more ways that I am failing her because that is my lens. I’m going to keep perpetuating the same story with my thoughts. What you focus on, you notice and attract, and the cycle continues. There is your groundhog life in a nutshell!

I let go of that belief using my master NLP skills and my toast nightmare disappeared!

Who knew toast could run so deep, I challenge you to look within.

Much Love Skye

Photo by Manki Kim on Unsplash (and by the way that toast would totally be rejected- soggy potential at the base. The hole would also be frowned upon- but could go either way)

Dis Ease

Dis Ease

I’ve been listening to a few youtube posts about the mind body connection lately and they talk a lot about how our mind can create disease OR dis-ease.

Looking back now I personally had times of depression that were riddled with negative self talk and resistance. A lot of internal dis-ease. For me when I boil it down it’s been the internal fight between what is, or what I am at a point in time, as opposed to the standard I hold myself to.

The idea of acceptance is interesting to me. I understood it on a cognitive level, however I couldn’t implement or feel it. I was often at war with what was, certainly not very accepting. Which of course promoted the internal fight. I think for me it stemmed from an ill formed perfectionism. I would set myself to a standard and never feel good enough unless I was hitting those targets.

The internal language we use programs how we see the world. If you are always thinking ‘this shouldn’t be happening’, it’s resistance to life. If you have resistance what do you need to move forward? Force and fight. I had learned to fight so hard for what I wanted, to work myself to my absolute limits. To push down the exhaustion, sadness, hurt, and to forge forward. I resisted and it created burn out.

We are taught to soldier on, just a few more days of school or work then you can have a break. Just get this done and then you can stop. Yet something always comes up, something fills the void and you just force your way through life. Where there is resistance there has to be force.

What about if we just accept and allow? Acceptance of what you are feeling, and where you are at. I’m tired. I’m sad, I’m overweight, I’m lost, I’m scared, I’m unsure, I don’t know. There is a school of thought out there that says keep pushing, keep going, hustle. But what happens when you keep pushing, keep going keep hustling keep forcing and forging, you get resistance. What happens when you let go, and stop forcing, the resistance goes away. If we can accept and be present and LEARN from what is happening in our hearts. It can pass. We stop creating dis-ease and we can start to heal.

In the words of Elsa “Let it go, let it go…. However I like to add -let it come and then let it go. Be present with it all.

Need some help with that? Give me a shout out x

Baked beans for my birthday

Baked beans for my birthday

My Birthday cakeI celebrated my birthday recently. No major plans just the simple tradition in our house which is you choose your favourite dinner and someone makes you a cake and we all sing the familiar ditty in dulcet tones.

So I was set for the same. The cake was my favourite and looked delicious (That’s my actual cake! Chocolate hazelnut) and I was just deciding on dinner right before school pick up.

The next thing is I get another call from our extended family that had returned home from a trip. They wanted to see me for my birthday (lovely right), however they had rung earlier to say they couldn’t make it that morning as arranged. This call was to suggest we go to them with the kids after school. My immediate thought was, I don’t want to go. I just wanted our simple tradition, my cake, my dinner, my husband and kids.

However I didn’t listen to me. I let the memories run: “If I say no they may feel hurt”. “They’ve been away, if we don’t do it today we are busy all week and won’t see them until next week, they won’t like that”. The guilt rose up and I chose to run the program.

Inevitably we went and returned home at dinner time with no prepared dinner and half a cake. It was of course action stations to get baths, lunches and some food in our belly’s ready for school and work the next day. So it was baked beans on toast for my birthday.

I was grumpy and short with everyone trying to get the evening routine into action because I felt resentful that my dinner and birthday evening had been hijacked.

Then I stopped.

I had created this situation. I could have said no to the visit. However I let past memories, past feelings drag me into a negative state. And I chose to stay there. While ever I blamed others for the situation I was powerless. I had chosen that experience. I could have explained that I wanted the time for our simple tradition. That it was important to me. And my relatives could have understood or they could have not. And that is their choice to make. There is always a choice, we may not like it but it is there. We create our own feelings, no one can make us feel anything because it happens in our minds. We decide to feel it, often because of the memories of our past.

Once I took responsibility for my choice I could let it go. I changed my state from one of blame, irritation and anger to responsibility. Then I could just be present with my feelings and move on.

It became my best birthday gift- the gift of growth- changing old stuck emotional energy into wisdom. And I am always grateful for that.

How far can you reach today?

How far can you reach today?

So the blogs going well, I think (insert laugh emoji). Seriously though, I’m really enjoying it. The process of taking the ideas, thoughts and feelings out of my head and putting them onto paper (so to speak) is so powerful. Talking this stuff through teaches me more than just having it rattle around in my own head.

What’s even more rewarding is when someone lets me know how it’s helped them.

I bumped into a friend a few weeks back and she had just read my blog post “The shoes!!!”  that morning. She stopped me to say thank you, because it had changed her perspective for the whole morning. She said it ‘made her day’; she was feeling relaxed, enjoying her children, feeling positive and inspired. It had shifted her thoughts, and so shifted her feelings and in turn her actions.

Consequently her appreciation and praise (her positive thoughts and feelings) ‘made my day’! I felt empowered. It was confirmation for me that my efforts, my learning and sharing is doing good things. My intentions are materialising.

I see it as a pebble dropped in a pond, the ripples are far reaching and you really don’t know how far they go. How many other people did she touch that day with her good mood. Who in turn touched others and created a chain of good thoughts that created good things? What difference had she made for her children?

So it’s an interesting phrase ‘made my day’, we usually refer to it in terms of something external. In the sense that ‘it’- the blog, made my day or ‘she’- my friend made my day. But what is it that is actually ‘making’ the change to our day. It’s our feelings, something external is changing our thoughts about something which starts the cycle of thoughts/feelings/actions. So most of the time we omit the first step – which is the decision. We spend our day floating around either being caught up in negatively or positivity depending on what our external environment brings. We are not deciding for ourselves but reacting to our environment.

So why is it that something can ‘make’ your day? Well, we are actually making our own days, hours, & moments always. By the thoughts we carry and put our energy into. We have just forgotten the first step. That step that empowers us! We have the choice!!!! We don’t need to wait for something external to us to ‘make our day’ for us, we can create it ourselves.

We are having an affect on everything around us, all the time. I also process it as ‘ the going viral’ phenomenon but on a silent platform. Everything we do is far reaching. We are just unaware. We are spreading our energy in every moment, so what are we giving our energy to is the great question? Negativity, complaining? the things we don’t like and don’t want? OR are we spreading joy and positivity, talking and thinking about what we do want.

It starts with a choice, then our thoughts, then our feelings and our actions all follow. So you really only need to make the choice. In every moment each day, be aware of your choice. What are you investing your energy into? What is going viral because of your choice?

Let’s make someone’s day today! I’m hoping it’s your own, and that those ripples are infinite.

Much love Skye x

Need some Help? Drop me a line skye@retrainthebrain.com.au

PHOTO: Many thanks Aaron Lee (Downloaded From Upslash)

And now the penny drops on praise

And now the penny drops on praise

I have worked with children and in the field of education for my whole career. Couple that with being a parent and you can imagine I’ve said my fair share of ‘well done’s’ and ‘that’s fantastic’. It’s a pronounced habit, it’s normal. We praise our kids, we want to encourage them, we want to share our joy and show them we’re proud of them. We also want to encourage the behaviour we like and want to see more of.

The quality of praise

For a long time I’ve taken on board the type of praise that psychologists and educators promote. Often termed encouragement rather than praise as it offers children a lot more value than your old school ‘good girl’. And I get their point, ‘good boy/girl’ implies that they are only good if they are doing ‘x’. It holds them to an unrealistic expectation that they always need to be ‘good’ to get our affection. In other words that our love is conditional. So long as they demonstrate certain behaviour they get our affection. If you really want to drill down it can encourage deceit and internal conflict. They will certainly lie rather than lose their good standing. Or if they are labelled ‘good girl’ and they know some of their behaviour does not fall into that category (which of course it will not) it causes internal discomfort. They want to please and earn your affection however they feel bad about themselves if they fall from grace or have to lie to get it.

On top of that is the consideration; by whose definition? What is good? Grandma’s good is not the same as dad’s etc, etc. It’s a subjective and external reference.

So I’ve always promoted descriptive encouragement, “Gee those colours are so bright” “That has taken you a long time, you kept trying different ways until you got it”. It’s obvious that there is more value in a more descriptive encouraging phrase rather than simple praise.

Where the difference lies

However where the difference lies has just occurred to me. It’s the point of reference that makes all the difference. Descriptive encouragement alerts children to how they may be feeling, for e.g. “I can see how happy you are, doing that”. “The look on your face is priceless that must have felt so good”. However, it wasn’t until recently that I actually understood the value in the differentiation.

Does it really matter?

So some of you may be thinking yeah, I get it, but so what, does it really matter? Who has time to think up these things, can’t I just say “good girl” “that was awesome” or in our less interested moments “MmHmmm” … I’m being positive, I’m interested in my kids, surely that’s enough, what does it matter how I say it?

Well, I have to say that when we understand WHY we are doing something, we are more likely to be invested. When you see value in the potential outcome, you’re more likely to make changes. So here is the WHY?….

In any experience the end result is emotion. We experience something and our body makes a chemical called a feeling, an emotion and we assign meaning. And we remember that feeling as happiness or sadness or anger etc and we link the experience with the emotion as a memory.

And the Penny drops

Simply put, when we praise our kids we are teaching them to look for the feelings of acceptance/ happiness/ self worth/ love… externally. When we describe or alert them to how they might be feeling we encourage them to look within and develop intrinsic motivation and internal validation.

Have you ever noticed that around 4 and 5yrs of age children start to come to you and ask, do you like this? Do you like mine or my sisters better? Whose is best. They want to be on top, they are comparing themselves with their external world. And they won’t let you off the hook with an “I like them both”. What they are essentially asking is you do you love me? Am I valuable, am I worthwhile? We are teaching them to get their self worth from others, and by comparison. They start to feel that they always need to be accepted and validated by an external source.

I think it’s well worth updating our vocabulary and firing up a few new neurons to shift our children’s focus to how wonderful they are. So hit them with a “Do you like it”? and how does that make you feel, then that is perfect”. Because simple praise can lead to external self-worth. We teach them to chase validation and they lose their connection with themselves. When we alert them to how they feel on the inside we strengthen their self-love and self-worth. Now that is worth a bit of extra work and a rethink on our part.

They are enough, let’s alert them to that.

Photo from UPsplash Siora Photography