Feelings are messengers of met and unmet needs.
Next time you are feeling anxious or upset, take a Time In -- close your eyes and acknowledge the feelings that are arising in you. Identify them and listen quietly for the need behind them.
When you know what the need(s) is (are), don't rush to determine what to do about it. Be patient. A strategy is likely to come to mind without effort.
This quote doesn't even mention children or parenting, because it applies to everyone. Everyone feels emotions, and sometimes they can be overwhelming. When you take a Time In and assess the feelings and the needs behind them, you can acheive a small level of control and feel as though you are not just letting everything out.
I will be going over the individual emotional needs experienced and required for each and every person in the near future, but for a quick refresher you can find the chart on my previous Compassionate Parenting post about meeting needs.
Taking a time in
This can be incredibly challenging, regardless of your family situation because people are raised these days to think that taking any time for yourself is selfish. I am here to tell you that it is the opposite of selfish.
You may have heard the quote "Before you can truly love somebody, you must learn to love yourself." Or at least some paraphrasing or off-shoot of that. It's true. If you can not find it in yourself to care and love your own person, you will be very hard-pressed to find the capability to love someone else.
Take time to yourself, a time in as it were, to learn more about yourself. Use this time, even if it's only five minutes, to familiarize yourself with your feelings and your wants. Your needs. Make a list of things you want to accomplish for yourself and for each one write a little blurb on a few ways you can achieve it.
It is not selfish to take care of your own needs
If your needs are unmet, you can feel angry, embarrassed, frustrated, lonely, nervous, sad, and even puzzled. This is only the tip of the iceberg of then negative feelings you will get when your needs are not fulfilled.
Not only this, but because of the negative feelings that will begin to overwhelm your mind and body you will be less and less capable of taking care of the needs of those around you. It will be a constant downward spiral until you make it stop.
A few things you can do when life gets overwhelming are as follows:
• Listen to a favourite song
• Write a poem
• Punch pillows
• Take a bubble (or no-bubble) bath
• Have a shower
• Drink a cup of herbal tea
• Go for a walk in your neighbourhood
• Smell some flowers
• Read a page or two of a book
The list goes on. Whatever helps you or your child to calm down inside while acknowledging that there are overwhelming feelings there will work wonders.
Accept that there are some things you can not change. You can not stop the earth from turning, and you can not stop a child from being energetic. Use these unchangeable situations to create something positive and magical.
Wait for a strategy
Now that your mind has been put a little bit to ease, relax in a comfortable chair and let your thoughts wander. Focus on one need that is not being fulfilled, and consider the different possibilities of why it is being left behind.
Think of the little and big things that are affecting that need being met. Create and imagine a few steps to work towards eliminating the emotional and physical roadblocks of that need being met.
Let your mind wander and solutions will come. Don’t be afraid of them, or try to shoot them down as they come. Just write down each idea as it comes to you, no matter how strange or obtuse it seems. You can worry about filtering out unrealistic ones after. Just allow your mind to do its work and don’t try to restrain it.
Once your mind has thrown out all the ideas that it can come up with in that moment, it’s time to let the list sit for a moment. Go make a cup of coffee or tea, take a little walk, and just step away from the list for a minimum of two minutes.
When you come back, you will have cleared your mind again, and you can take up the task of rereading your list. Cross out the ideas that truly can not be completed and put asterisks beside the ones you aren’t sure about. The ones you are sure can be completed with minimal effort or strain should be done first, as they will be the easiest and will yield the quickest response on your needs.
Write out any additional information for the ideas that you plan on completing, any little notes to yourself that you want to emphasize, or particular people you’d like to speak with regarding this. Anything that will make it easier for you to take control of your personal needs should be added.
Then get up, go out, and complete one of those tasks. It will be worth it immediately, and it will prevent you from procrastinating. Get it done, and reap the benefits!
Peace and serenity,
Enjoy the Compassionate Parenting series? Click the link for a full list from the series.