Yesterday I went to my son’s parent/teacher conference.
Before we left, the teachers shared a resource that we were already familiar with, but I appreciated the reminder. They gave us a handout from the Love & Logic Institute – you may be familiar with this philosophy for parenting created by Jim Fay.
The handout was called “The Rules of Love and Logic”, and as I was reading through it, I couldn’t help but apply the parenting lessons to a bigger picture.
Often we treat ourselves with such disrespect. We focus on where we fail, and get angry at the slightest wrong move. We chastise, degrade and constantly over-correct. So I started thinking, “If we do this to ourselves, what would keep us from doing this to other people, including our kids?”.
So I took the instructive Love & Logic technique for parenting, and put the bullet points in the light of self-treatment. If I can treat myself with empathy and care, then it will be seamless to treat others, especially my kiddos, with the same respect.
I’ll illustrate this by inserting “I” in the place of “Parents”. Here goes:
I set limits using enforceable statements
I regard mistakes as learning opportunities
I resist the temptation to ‘nag’
I provide strong doses of empathy before describing consequences
I use very few words and consistent loving actions
I delay consequences, when necessary, so that I can respond with wisdom and compassion.
Goodness, I already feel better. How nice would it be to never nag yourself? What if the default programming was that mistakes are opportunities to learn and grow? Imagine if you could actually respond to your downfalls with wisdom and compassion!
One of the most complex relationships in the world – that of parent and child – can be broken down into simple, loving acts. Yet, I do believe, that if we don’t first empathize and respond to ourselves in a loving way, the system fails.
Where can you have compassion for yourself today? Are you willing to ‘parent’ yourself in a way that matches how you want to be with others? As I, too, continue this journey, I’d love your thoughts below.