“We’re all doing the best we can.”
“I’m a bad parent if…”
“I have a short fuse.”
“Girls are supposed to be easier than boys.”
“If they loved me they wouldn’t be doing this.”
“I’m ruining my child.”
What We Think Matters
This is my end of the year PSA. Our thoughts matter and we have the ability to guide the direction they flow. Our thoughts are fueled by and feed into our beliefs. And what we believe about ourselves and the world shapes all of our interactions and our experience.
Releasing Limiting Beliefs
Ingrained, limiting beliefs influence they way we feel about ourselves and the way we react to others around us. It’s in our best interest to identify and release them. If you’ve been feeling out of sorts, gruff or irritable, getting curious about your thoughts and the stories you’re telling yourself can be a valuable practice.*
The more you turn your attention inward, the more clearly you can see the beliefs that fuel your thoughts. Reflecting upon your beliefs allows you to explore where they came from, whether they are true, and whether they are serving you. Understanding that your thought patterns may be tied to beliefs that you may not even agree with on a rational level opens up so many possibilities. When you know what your beliefs are, you can choose to shift them.
Let It All Out
One of the best ways to get a handle on your thoughts is to write. Set a timer for twenty minutes and get your thoughts down on paper. Keeping your pen moving is key, so if that means you have to write, “I don’t know what to write right now,” or “I hate doing this, this is a stupid waste of my time,” go with that. Let it repeat. As you repeat, your mind will likely wander. As your mind wanders, catch those thoughts and put them down. Keep going until that timer goes off.
Take a break if you need to, but be sure to come back to your writing. Read over what you’ve written and keep an eye out for thought patterns. When you see one that stands out to you, start asking questions. How does this thought pattern make you feel? How is it affecting your relationships? Where is it coming from? And perhaps most important of all, when you figure out the source of the thought, how can you address that with compassion for yourself and others involved?
It’s important to realize that our thoughts contribute to our feelings. Feelings offer another area for exploration. Through your writing, you can dig into what you’ve been feeling and what you want to be feeling. You can then begin to consider how you can reframe your thoughts to support the feelings you want instead of fueling negativity.
Find Somebody to Talk to
As you work to make sense of the stories you carry and the beliefs you hold, speaking your discoveries can be so helpful. Find someone you trust to listen compassionately, whether it is a close friend or a supportive therapist. This journey may start with yourself, but you do not have to go it alone.
The Inner Work of Parenting
Holding a mirror up to our selves is the true work of parenting. It can be a lonely process, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve created a new membership community dedicated to guiding and supporting parents on the inner journey of parenting. It’s full of great resources to support you as you journey inward. Plus, it will connect you with other parents who are committed to doing this inner work. To learn more, sign up for the VIP wait list today. I’ll notify you when enrollment opens and send you a few sneak peaks of the unique content I’ll be sharing.
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* Examining your thoughts and beliefs is a valuable tool for understanding how you relate to others, but it is not a cure for anxiety or depression. If you are truly struggling, finding a supportive therapist is your best course of action.