Over the last few days I asked my daughter to try something different. I could see that the negative self talk was consuming her and as a result her attitude towards school and towards herself was diminishing. I am a great believer in the concept of what we think we become ( see previous post Messages in my Mind).
Therefore, if my daughter repeatedly said to herself “I am bad at maths, I am bad at maths ……” then guess what happens? You guessed it, she would be bad at maths. It would become a self fulfilling prophecy. She was setting unrealistic expectations, inaccurately comparing herself to others and unaware of her own abilities. As a parent it was heart-breaking and I wanted to empower her and help her define her own notion of ‘success’.
So my big experiment was to ask her to actively ask those thoughts to leave for just three days this week. I actively use this skill and say to my negative thoughts – “really, are you playing that old story again?”, but my daughter decided to say to her negative thoughts “I don’t need you today, thanks“. After three days suddenly maths did not seem so hard, she began to appreciate her teachers who were working hard to help her and maths didn’t seem like such an unachievable task. I am not talking miracles here but I could immediately notice a change in her attitude. Just the act of recognising the negative self talk in her mind allowed her to view the same issues in a new light. This is not a quick fix but will require constant work but just being aware of the power of our thoughts is a start.
It is truly amazing how changing our thought pattern can literally turn a situation around.
I have taught my children that the more you give in to your negative thoughts, the stronger they become. I have also taught them that they need to take responsibly for their own happiness. You can’t blame others for the predicament you are in or become the victim. They lost their father so becoming a victim would be an easy road to take but they have chosen to view life differently. This does not mean I ask them to ‘toughen up’, in fact it is the exact opposite. I ask them to make a conscious decision to think about their thoughts and understand the impact they have on their life.
We all have the choice to choose our thoughts wisely.
At dinner last night my son said “lets say three things we are all grateful for today” and I realised that my children are learning skills that have taken me forty years to begin to master. It is amazing how many little tricks we can teach our children to help them navigate through a sometimes chaotic fast paced world.
At first my daughter was apprehensive about publishing this story, but in the sense of community she hopes her experiment can help others.