Taking Care of Yourself is a Gift to Your TeenagerJul 19, 2022
Question: What is it that you really want for your children?
Most parents will answer this question with a list of accomplishments.
- Do well in school
- Get into a good college
- Have a good group of friends
- Get a good job
When you extend this line of questioning to why you want them to do well in school, or get into a good college, or have a good group of friends, or get a good job, you will discover an underlying belief — the belief that each one of these accomplishments will lead to the child experiencing more happiness.
Ultimately, we all want our children to experience peace, joy and a sense of purpose. So here is the big question:
On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the level of peace, joy and purpose you are experiencing in your life?
The reason I am bringing this up is two-fold. First, the vast majority of the lessons your teenager will take from you are through your example. They are always watching and listening. Secondly, you are more credible as a teacher if you have accomplished the goal yourself.
For example, would you be likely to take weight loss advice from someone who is 100 pounds overweight?
I am going to suggest that the best way to ensure that your children experience peace, joy and purpose in their lives is to make this a priority for your life. In short, take care of yourself.
I know what you may be thinking: that sounds great but how do I do that?
Here are a couple of thoughts to get you started:
There are two fundamentals for bringing more peace, joy and purpose into your life. First, is the belief that you can grow and learn. Our ability to grow and learn is what makes change possible and if change is possible, there is hope. So step one is to adopt a growth mindset. The action step here is to start feeding your mind. Read a book. Take a class. Create a plan to improve a skill. Try to do something new. Investing in your personal growth will bring you purpose and joy. It is also a great example to set for your children.
This leads to the second fundamental. In order to bring more peace, joy and purpose into your life, make the development of a love-based mindset a priority within your plan for personal development.
We all have two competing mindsets within us. One that is fear-based and one that is love-based. This opportunity to grow and learn lies in our ability to recognize when we are seeing a particular circumstance from a fearful perspective versus a love-based perspective, then developing the skill to intentionally shift from fear to love in the moment. This is important because when we engage with others from a fearful perspective our actions are destructive and we experience more pain and suffering; however, when we engage with others from a loving perspective, our actions have a healing effect and we experience peace and joy.
Here is a simple example of what this could look like in your life. Over time there is a tendency for married couples to become more critical of each other. In the beginning, the couple is firmly grounded in a love-based mindset. From this perspective, all they can see is the beauty and wonderful qualities of their spouse. Over time, however, the pressures of life can cause a shift in perspective. The couple's attention is now on the undesirable qualities of their spouse. This perspective is rooted in the fear of missing out and will eventually lead to a deterioration of the relationship and a lot of pain and suffering. The solution is to shift the focus of your attention back to the beauty and wonderful qualities of your spouse, to shift back to a loving perspective. Dr. Wayne Dyer once said “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change.” This seems simple in theory, but we all know that it can be a challenge.
If you are looking for a way to start, I recommend developing one new habit around gratitude and forgiveness. For example:
- At the end of each day, you could write down 3 things you are grateful for and 3 opportunities to offer forgiveness.
- Anytime you experience frustration or anger you ask: who do I need to forgive? What am I grateful for? And, how can I make a difference?
- You could set an alarm on your phone to go off every 2 hours with these 2 questions. What has happened in the last 2 hours that I am grateful for? What negative judgment have I had in the last 2 hours that I need to let go of?
Intentionally developing one new habit related to gratitude and forgiveness can be transformative.
Remember: A change in perspective … changes everything.
Family Enrichment Coach