Here in the UK, we have a turn of phrase for being busy; we call it spinning plates. It harks back to the circus act of erecting a number of head height poles into the ground, then balancing spinning plates on them.
The trick of it was to wobble the stick in a circular motion, causing said balanced plate to spin and remain in situ unaided. The skill arrived in getting all your plates spinning, by running to each stick in succession as they slowed, friction getting the better of them, and impart more energy to keep them going.
To be successful, the artist needed to be a blur of movement between each.
The act never lasted long.
Back to reality
My plates were projects, desires, goals and work. It was fun for a while, imagining the utopia of each whilst imparting that energy, but it was extremely tiring. Something had to give and BSD was the [temporary] casualty.
I even considered ending this alter ego but in the nick of time, I realised that it was a pity party move.
‘The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate’ oxforddictionaries.com
Maybe its just me, but kindness seems to be in short supply these days. It could the news outlets I watch but the media seems to be full of hateful intolerance. This is probably why I watch less news now!
As an adult, I like to show random acts of kindness whenever possible, although this has become a bit of a balancing act. In my recent experience, kindness can easily be mistaken for weakness and if you don’t establish proper boundaries, plenty will seek to take advantage of that.
I still prefer to offer a hand if I can.
I want my cubs to know how to:
Be kind to you first!
If you can help; do help.
First and foremost, children have to learn how to be kind to themselves! I catch my cubs in negative self talk quite often and I’m quick to challenge it. As earlier readers may remember, I’m big on autosuggestion. I try to reframe their points of reference, whenever I hear a ‘I’m not very good at that’, I ask them to add the word ‘yet’. I then remind them that no one is born good at something and that while natural talent can play a part, discipline, determination and self-belief are usually the strongest determining factors.
Negative self-talk will kill any ability you have to help others because a lack of self-belief will leave an opening for exploitation.
For reasons of self-preservation, kindness, at any given time should be a finite resource. We need to teach limits and for our children understand the need to draw a line in the sand. They’ll have to learn what their tolerance levels are which initially will have to come from experience. Recognising patterns and learning these lessons will help them make better decision in the future.
Active listening! hear [sic] we go again. My cubs have listening down to a fine art. Usually things I don’t want them to hear. Things that they will only then repeat again in company. People will always tell you who they are; you just have to listen.
Balancing the needs of yourself versus that of others is a valuable skill. You must put your needs first, but help where you can. Time is the most precious gift you can give but take care that it is not wasted.
Cubs will emulate the most influencial adults in their lives. If we engage in negative self-talk, they will too, because we’ve normailsed it. I try to openly congratuate myself for things, or reflect on an event where my acting differently may have produced a different outcome. I externalise my inner thought processes for them to hear.
I’m a bit of a fan of Freud, so watching the cubs develop through the id, ego and superego was fascinating. Without dipping too deeply into the structure of human psyche, toddlers are controlled by the id and the immediacy of their desires, as this is necessary for survival. Young schoolers learn to control those desires through the development of the ego and superego. The id and the ego will set limits! if a situation isn’t beneficial then interest is quite quickly lost. In the development of the superego, selflessness is a new attribute to wrestle with. I don’t think that swinging pendulum stops until well after the teenage years.
As this sense won’t develop for a while for my two, I’m happy for them to roleplay sharing and sympathy until they find a natural level they’re happy with. Youngest’s helpful side shows itself in acts of independence such as tidying his room. He’s pretty bad at it but there are two important factors at play; 1) he gets a sense of accomplishment and 2) he thinks he’s doing it for me. It works. Eldest will often interupt her own play to help me with a chore, especially if she thinks I’ve been on my feet for too long. I called her chief helper when she was younger.
Conscious of cramming too much learning into tiny minds, I try not to rob the cubs of their childhood and their right to get things wrong.
Positive reinforecment of desired behaviour is most effective; I try to live these attributes and lead by example. They experience me listening and giving time. They also experience me setting limits; not just with them, but with others. I help others when I can but more importantly, if I don’t help someone, I’ll explain why.
True kindness is an act of strength! but the greatest acts of kindness should be spent on oneself.
I lost my writing mojo for a little while, then I diverted my energy into getting some big projects off the ground; more about those later.
I’ve been thinking and evaluating.
Summing up what it is that is most important to me. I don’t think that this is a new thing, but more a change that has been slowly occurring over a number of months/years.
What do I feel like. I’m still not sure; the process is ongoing. What is certain, is that I’ve made significant progress. It’s so important to recognise progress because if you don’t, when you hit those inevitable walls, you’ll get stuck.
Walls are fine. I expect them. I accept how I’ll respond to them and that’s fine.
Walls are an opportunity to rest, place my back against them, and take time to appreciate how far I’ve come.
I also recognise my weaknesses and I own them. They’re mine! and so is the decision to overcome or succumb to them at any given time.
Even though I hate to admit it, I have a finite amount of energy. Being middle-aged, I recognise when it’s flagging. I spread myself too thin recently; something had to give.
My saving grace, was looking back at how far I’ve come.
While you were gone
I stopped the race to zero. The reason being, I made a life changing decision that threw it all askew. I cleared all my debt, then added to it, but in a good way. A necessary way. It feels good and not at all the heavy kind of debt.
It feels good because it is part of a plan that has an end date, which is so very, very different from the creeping debt that accumulates over time.
It’s part of a plan that took time in the forming, and whilst it was hard to see how the pieces fit together initially, I had it mapped out. It’s coming together.
If you’re unhappy with a situation, you have two choices; change it or change the way you think about it.
Stay focused, expect the knocks and roll with them; learn from them then push forwards stronger than ever before.
This question seems to roll around my head quite often; usually when I forget how lucky I am.
“Only dead people never get stressed, never get broken hearts, never experience the disappointment that comes with failure.
Tough emotions are part of our contract with life” Susan David, PhD
I lifted this straight off of a Ted Talk that I stumbled across on twitter. I like it. At some point this weekend I’ll listen to it all, but it did get me thinking.
Why do we have adversity?
I think there are a number of answers to this question, the main one being equilibrium. A term that actually refers to the state of a chemical reaction in equal flux but has found comfortable use in day-to-day language.
Balance. That’s why. If we didn’t have the rough, we would neither recognise or enjoy the smooth.
Then there’s the others
As in the worse off. There is always someone worse off than you. It’s worth remembering but to be honest, that’s a skill. A divine one at times.
This is the bit I like. I’ve spoken about it before; when going through tough times, something invariably turns up to turn the tide.
It’s always worth remembering this.
It’s also worth remembering, as the psychologist Susan David said, the only way to avoid the pain and heartache that comes with life is to not live it. Don’t expose yourself to it. Don’t take chances.
But where’s the fun in that?
So as you’ve probably picked up, things are challenging at the moment. The positive thing is that I now recognise the signs. Once you can do this, you can attempt to control your responses.
Owning your feelings and responses is a better option than shying away from any experience that may well be painful.
The greatest rewards are often linked to the greatest risk.