was glad to see me when I came back to my desk.
Today’s been a busy day. Middle of the afternoon, lots of stuff to still get done. I took a break and pulled out a puzzle book. After 20 minutes I said to myself, “Ok. Quit wasting time. Back to work.”
Yikes. That was an unkind way to describe what I had just been doing. You can have a happier life if you speak kindly to yourself. This requires also listening to the things your internal narrator says. When it is unkind or negative, scolding or judgmental, you have to screech to a halt and undo the negative with a positive/optimistic declaration.
So I said to myself, “That was fun, but enough’s enough.” Yikes, still not quite the voice of the Internal Optimistic Narrator. Still judgmental. I tried again. This time with a control that makes it sound saccharine and contrived, “Doing puzzles sure is fun. I sure was clever to recognize that I needed a break! Now back to work, battery charged.”
As over thought as that sounds, it is a much kinder reflection of how I had just spent the last 20 minutes. The exercise of deliberately stopping myself and taking a couple of stabs at getting the narration right, will help me in the future to cut myself some slack, to no longer describe taking a break as “wasting time.”
How do you do this as a parent? Model the behavior for them; provide them with the optimistic narration. By this I mean describe what is happening, out loud, in a positive manner. We’re all doing it anyway; explaining what’s going on, who that person was, what we’ll be doing next, why we have to do such and such.
That final example is where I’d use “get to” instead of “have to.” As in: We get to go to the grocery store to pick out our favorite yogurt flavors versus we have to go to the grocery store or we’ll have nothing to eat for dinner. Both sentences accurately describe your upcoming trip to the store. The former is the narration of the optimist. The latter is the narration of the pessimist.
Working on your Internal Optimistic Narrator is a life long task and practice is the only way you will gradually shift in the positive direction. Working on your Internal Optimistic Narrator, can change your life. Teaching your child to do the same, can change theirs!
Smile. Be happy. Ruth