Difficult Situations · Parenting

Show Yourself Some Compassion

This is the second post in my new “Comfort Series,” where I will provide insight and advice for managing all the uncertainty and change swirling around us. Read the first post here.

One of the reasons it is hard for many parents during times like these is that they’re so sure that other parents are handling it, managing and taking care of their children better than they are. I have heard this concern from many parents. 

What I want you to know is that there aren’t mythical parents out there who are brilliantly handling this situation. Parents who never get upset, never feel disorganized and know exactly what they’re doing. Most don’t have it figured out. This is hard, so it is okay if you are struggling. (Cue the collective sigh of relief.) 

Say nice things to yourself

The norm is to be hard on yourself, even unfair. Instead, offer yourself words of encouragement. Last week, we shared why it’s important to talk to your kids about your feelings, both the good and the bad. We want our kids to know that grown ups experience both and that it’s OK for them to experience both too. We want kids and parents to be able to talk about their good and bad days. 

Allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling, and don’t beat yourself up for feeling sad, mad, frustrated, overwhelmed or anything else.

What would you say to a friend who has your problem?

I ask my clients that question, and most of the time, they’ll admit that if their friend was going through the same thing, they would be very compassionate and empathetic. They realize that they often create impossible standards for themselves. 

Having compassion for yourself as a parent always, and especially now, and honoring yourself is important. Most of us haven’t learned the behavior from our own parents or guardians; no one modeled it for us. I want you to model it for your children, though.

You are going through so much right now, and managing so much change. Show your children that you can give yourself a break.

This week practice positive self talk

When you start negative self talk, stop and be nice to yourself. You will feel better, and your anxiety and worry will go down. Then tell your kids what you are saying to yourself, and you will teach them to say nice things to themselves too.

So what does a healthy person say to themselves when they are struggling?

  • “I am doing the best I can.”
  • “I am a worthy and good person.”
  • “It is okay for me to make mistakes. This is part of life. I just need to keep learning too.”
  • “Having a not so good day is not the end of the world. Each day is a chance to start over.”
  • “I can stand anything for a while.”
  • “I am getting better at figuring things out.”
  • “We are all in this together.”
  • “I am confident in my ability to move forward, even with all this craziness.”
  • “We will figure out a way to be okay.”

Use this time to learn how to be compassionate with yourself, honor yourself and talk to yourself. Do it for you. Model it for your children. Stop holding yourself up to a standard that no one can live up to.  

I promise that when you do, everyone will be better for it. 

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