How to set your 2018 on fire: Part 10 of 18
10. I will be my own cheerleader
There is something so beautiful and natural in the way we encourage children, isn’t there? As they learn to walk, ride, swim, the air rings with the sound of “Atta girl! You can do it!” “You are doing so great, I’m so proud of you!” “Keep going, doesn’t matter if you fall baby, just try again, you’ll get the hang of it”. Our communication is clear and bright. Enthusiasm exudes. Expectations of perfection are firmly managed as we keep it positive. It’s a very easy way to communicate. It takes virtually no e ort. We know that emphasising the positive is a faster and more enjoyable route to the desired outcome than continual berating. We want to keep them interested, connected to the process, excited, enthusiastic, so we lead from the front. It’s joyful. And it gets results. And — hello — it’s just a nicer way to communicate and live.
If someone has a go at our kids, shouts, screams, judges, criticises: my goodness are we not fast to react and protect? Our boundaries on the quality of words that should enter our children’s ears, and therefore hearts and minds, are strong. We are the gatekeepers and we take that very seriously indeed. If someone bullies our child they will meet with every bit of wrath we can muster. And then some.
And so, what happens when we get to adulthood and we talk ourselves? Where does the “Atta Girl!” go then? For every mum I see cheering her child on from the sidelines with unbridled positivity I see the same mum in the gym or in the yoga class giving herself the opposite experience. “You are useless at this. Hopeless. What’s the point of even being here? Everyone else is so much better than you. You suck at this, be honest. And Sheila . . . those leggings are not fooling anyone . . . you are looking FAT”.
The Atta Girl has been swiftly replaced by the meanest of mean girls in the school. She undermines. Berates. Criticises, Judges. Expects perfection. We should be faster. Thinner. Younger. Stronger.
It’s mean girl talk. It’s emotionally abusive. It’s the bully in our heads. And we are doing it TO OURSELVES. Then we wonder why we don’t want to go to the gym or try the new boot camp or enjoy book club. The knock-on effect on our mood and motivation is instant.
You wouldn’t allow the mean girl to repeatedly tear down your son, or daughter, niece or nephew, grandson or granddaughter. You know that bullying is wrong. You know those taunts can last a lifetime, which is why you protect so hard and so vigilantly against it. You would not stand for it with a child you care about (or even one you don’t), so stop allowing it for yourself. The words you use, to yourself, in your own head, are the most powerful of all. They determine how you feel, and what you do. They govern your mood and your actions. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that just because no one else can hear them they do not carry great weight.
They are the most influential of all. Don’t let a mean girl live in your head when you would not have her at your table. Channel your own encouraging voice, the one that is there in spades for your child. Be kind and encouraging in your own self-talk. You will be blown away by the instant difference in your disposition, what you can accomplish and what you enjoy. You will appreciate everything more when you kick your inner mean girl into touch, and come from your inner Atta Girl instead. She’s in there; let her talk to you too.