If you were hurting, discouraged, angry, indignant, despondent, uncomfortable and/or generally blah… What would a kind friend say to you?
There’s a good chance what you’re saying to yourself (your inner dialogue) is different from what a loving friend would say to you…
How compassionate are you with yourself?
Learning & Teaching Self-Compassion
Learning to be a kind and compassionate friend to yourself will make a world of difference.
I’ve been reading articles from a marriage and family therapist, Kim Fredrickson. She has battled cancer, and now is dealing with pulmonary fibrosis.
Her writing encourages me – she doesn’t deny there is bad stuff. How could she? She’s grappling with her own mortality, along with a complete change in her ability to live life… And yet she is also able to point her readers to a way of dealing with that bad stuff in an honest, compassionate, God-honoring manner.
Parenting: What would a kind friend say to your child?
Now, consider your role as a parent…
Yup. For those of us with small children, bigger children, and grown children, we might find ourselves cringing a bit. (I am.) Have you ever said or done something while responding to your children that you wish you hadn’t? Do you beat yourself up about it?
She provides both the big picture and the practical with ideas on how to respond to yourself and your children when life is frustrating.
“Self-compassion differs from self-esteem.”
“Self-compassion focuses on being kind to oneself while learning from life experiences. Our inherent value comes from being a unique creation of God, not because of our accomplishments.”
Kim Fredrickson – “Give Your Kids a Break: Parenting with Compassion for You and Your Children”
Are you kind to yourself while learning from the mess-ups?
Everything in life is not perfect and never will be. Being optimistic does NOT mean we ignore our messes and mistakes. There was only One human who walked this earth with the ability to be perfect. (It’s not you or me.)
Yes, we do need to deal with our own mistakes and possibly address the mess-ups our children/grandchildren make… But let’s do it kindly. Please.
Give yourself a break.
Let’s try to be as kind to ourself as a loving friend would be…
Kim covers such topics in her book as:
getting kids to listen
helping your kids with fear and anger
skills to help children work through tough situations
and much more.
This book is an affiliate link – should you click and purchase I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only link to items I feel will add value to your life. Thank you for your support.
Want to read more about kindness? Check out this post!
and words that pleasure you and rest you, softly spoken.
Unnumbered good days, peace of a starry night,
and love from dawn to dawn that’s an unbroken deep certainty in you…
I have no right to dream of it — but never doubt
I should give you such presents, if I could.
In addition to all those items mentioned in the poem above, I would add:
deep, rejuvenating sleep every night
healthy food when you’re hungry
hope for the future
the opportunity to pause and give thanks – ThanksLiving!
Are all these things really out of our ability to give?
Could we influence in some small way?
What would you give if you could?
Leave a comment and add to the list!
Who comes to mind first when you think of giving?
One of the phrases that stopped my reading was, “love from dawn to dawn that’s an unbroken deep certainty in you”. Read more about feeling loved here.
A post I read last week held such beautiful parental love – it caused me to reflect on my relationship with our grown children and the newest adventure of being a grandparent. Do you have the privilege of raising (or being a part of raising) a little one? Take a look at “While you were walking.”
Character = Who we are when no one is watching. Hopefully it’s good character!
“Good character is not formed in a week or a month.
It is created little by little, day by day.”
Social and News media is filled with scathing reports detailing the faults of individuals in all walks of life. No person is born with all these character deficits. Negative character qualities develop one at a time, day by day, just like as good qualities.
Do you relate? I’m sure you have a few character qualities you’d like people to overlook, just as I do… right? However, with this attitude, we might be adding to the problem, rather than improving it. Chicken or egg?
Is this good character just supposed to show up…?
If we are the only ones who can change ourselves, how much time and effort do we put into developing our own good character? And by acting and reacting, demonstrating a good character, how could we impact the world around us for good?
Developing Good Character
Perhaps I’m going out on a limb here – assuming the development of good character is important to you… <grin>
Parents care about the character of their children – but where do children first see examples of how to be? From their parents and caregivers, of course.
Perhaps it’s in our best interest to care about developing our own good character if we are invested in how the world around us behaves, rather than merely joining in on the criticism-fest.
Easier said than done? Maybe. Maybe not!
7 ways we could focus on developing good character:
PEOPLE: surrounding ourselves with people who demonstrate good character – it’s said we are the sum of those we spend time with.
READING: reading to develop our character – our brain needs sustenance, what are we feeding it?
WATCHING: being discerning in what we watch – oh, yes. TV – Movies – YouTube – streaming <sigh>
BOUNDARIES: setting boundaries in our life to manage areas where our character might be tempted or swayed. We are all susceptible.
DECISIONS: making decisions with deliberate care and consideration, not on a whim or in the middle of intense emotion.
HABITS: designing our habits to support our good character development. Habits. It’s the small things that make up the great things.
GREATER THAN OURSELF: following a higher ideal. The belief and adherence to something greater than our self will make a difference even when we fail. Rob and I are Christ followers and often speak of the Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) as a barometer of our character.
Have I overlooked something? Would you add anything to this list? (Leave a comment to share, please! What has worked for you when you’ve been focused on character development?)
This book is a collection of stories and fables on virtues – character qualities. These moral stories provided the opportunity to ask questions and discuss ideas in areas like friendship, courage, honesty, compassion, and responsibility. Rob and I found some of the stories quite challenging and personally convicting. I’m looking forward to getting that book out of storage!
Another book I’ve been researching is called “What Do You Stand For? For Teens: A Guide to Building Character”. It has a teen version and a child version, along with the option of a game. If you don’t have teens in your home right now, the lists and questionnaires would still be good exercises to go through as an adult. What we need to learn isn’t defined by age.
And finally, here’s a one-page checklist to download as a reminder to focus on your character – it’s the above 7 points as questions to ask yourself. Post it on your bathroom mirror for a bit, and see if it sparks something positive. No email needed, click HERE to download.
Have your children been introduced to character building resources in school? Perhaps you’re a teacher… do you have any recommendations? Please leave a comment!
“Men of character are the conscience of the society to which they belong.”
Plant kindness. What grows from being kind to others is beautiful and nourishing.
Kind or Critical?
In case you were wondering, criticism is not kind. Criticism is like a poisonous weed.
I’m imagining criticism – that deliberate judgment of others – is like hogweed. Hogweed’s sap burns and scars.
If you try and mow or weed-whack a hogweed plant, it’ll just send up new growth. Isn’t that exactly like being judgmental? Start criticizing one action or aspect of a person’s character, and you’ll quickly find other points to criticize… And hogweed might appear to be Queen Anne’s Lace or Angelica, just like criticism can be disguised as helpful advice, but it’s not. Get involved in criticism and it’ll burn. And scar. You.
Plant a Garden of Kindness
Now, imagine a garden filled with beautiful flowers, fruit, and vegetables. It’s nourishing for the soul and body.
That’s just like kindness – when we watch others be kind, isn’t it a joy to behold? When we, ourselves, are beneficiaries of a kindness, isn’t it nourishing to every part of our life? And, when we are the authors of an act of kindness, isn’t it something we rejoice over with the other person?
Make this a day to sow seeds of kindness.
(Toss those critical thoughts/words on the burn pile!)
If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
~ Mother Teresa
Love does not judge.
Judgemental = having or displaying an excessively critical point of view.
Many times I feel judging and criticising are kin to each other.
Criticism = the expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes.
What do you think?
“Do not judge other people. Then you will not be judged. You will be judged in the same way you judge others. You will be measured in the same way you measure others. You look at the bit of sawdust in your friend’s eye. But you pay no attention to the piece of wood in your own eye.”
To love someone is to strive to accept that person
exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.”
~ Fred Rogers quote
No one is perfect. Not even you or me… and yet we are all loved, and can love.
Love is a gift. Pass it on…
Who will you actively love today?
(Even if it’s a struggle, how can you demonstrate you accept her or him exactly as they are? See below for 5 ideas. )
5 Ways to Show Love is an Active Noun
Let’s put some sweat equity into loving someone… show you love her or him exactly the way they are, right now and here.
Communicate. Talk, text, or write. Use a sticky note on the bathroom mirror.
Touch. A hug, handclasp, fist bump, shoulder rub, footsies, sideways nudge shoulder-to-shoulder, and if they’re your child, parent or spouse, you’ll know from experience what touch is most appreciated.
Time. Yes, time. That precious commodity you say you don’t have enough of… take the time to invest in that someone. Do something that person values – together. Hint: it’s probably not watching TV.
A Gift. No need for huge investments. What is that someone you are seeking to love missing in their life? What will bring a smile to their face? Buy/find that and give it to her or him. Think of something simple, but make the presentation of that simple thing spectacular. (Who doesn’t have fun opening a big box, to find a smaller box and opening that one to find an even smaller one…?) Remember, It’s the “air” in the balloon that makes the balloon special!
Serve. What chore or activity, if done by you, will make a difference in that person’s life? Make a meal, vacuum, clean up, organize, shovel, dust, fill the car with gas, sweep, or take out the garbage. Take action to demonstrate that love is an active noun.
These ideas are from a special book by a fellow we admire, Dr. Gary Chapman. His books are classic, and the simple ideas can be put into practice for anyone.
His premise is that one of these five actions will resonate the most – it’s like the primary language of love that you speak. The key is to find the action that the other person translates as “speaking love”.
I suggest you try all five as you lean into loving that someone.
Love is an active noun. DO love.
Here are the links for the books by Gary Chapman about the Love Languages. He’s covered all kinds of relationships: couples, singles, children, teens, and men. If you’re curious what your own “love language” is, then go to his website and complete a quick survey.
These books are affiliate links – should you click and purchase, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting PositiveThanksLiving.
“The thing we don’t realize in highschool, and sometimes we still haven’t learned during the mini-van driving years, is that everyone is on the outside of something.
But that is only half the story.
We are all, each one of us, also on the inside of something
— often without even realizing it.”
Think of the relationships you have with people.
Are you thankful for those you are already connected to?
Maybe if we stop comparing ourselves
in our perceived “in” or “out” spot,
and began giving thanks,
inviting and encouraging others to join us,
our lives would hold more joy…
That’s my thought… what does this bring up in you?
Some of us might find making new friends easy. Some of us might feel daunted.
I’m guessing we might share some discouragement from the past – being or not being part of a group for !oh! so many reasons. Is it time to leave that discomfort behind?
We are all adults now.
Being candid, that’s one reason I picked up the book from where today’s Positivity Prompt originates. Friendship amongst women has its ups and downs. It shouldn’t. But it does.
We all need to practice forgiveness, overlooking hurts, and serving each other.
And where some believe this topic is only for teens, consider again. If you’ve ever moved to a new city/state and began forging friendships anew, you might be revisiting some of the issues you felt when you were a teen.
Friendship… making friends and feeling on the “inside/outside” can be difficult.
So be encouraging, and invite a new person into your “inside” friendships… start today!
Who will you reach out to and invite “inside”?
And for whom will you give thanks that you’re already on the “inside”?
Time. Investing your time with a child can be the greatest act you do for your future. You won’t see the dividends now. The impact is seen much later.
Consider — who spent time with you as a child? What good memories do you have from that experience? Pass those memories on…
No matter how hard the day (or night), or how many times you’ve put together that Duplo/Lego, or cleaned up after an old-fashioned board-game, your time is worthwhile when it’s invested in your child. Even a few minutes are good for that child. The minutes add up to hours… and hours together are a great investment.
The memories you’re making together are never wasted. It might feel futile now, but it’s not. Really.
Grow through. Every age and every stage is just that – a time that will pass.
Sure, it’s not comfortable but it won’t remain. You’re going to become accustomed to this new challenge. You’re going to find solutions and short-cuts. You’re going to continue to grow through till every test is no longer a threat.
If you’re struggling at a certain stage, then embrace the struggle. Just like the seed that needs to break through the ground and reach for the sun, we all need to grow till we blossom.Use some laughter, some learning and some love to continue to grow.
You can do it. I can do it. We all can make the growth happen, and help each other along the way.
You’re going to keep changing. For parents, this is as true as their children.
As a parent, we continue to change and grow as much as our children. Parents of newborns are very different from parents of teenagers.
Remember when we first held the little bundle in our arms? Even if they only weighed less than ten pounds, our arms became tired after a bit. Fast forward a year or so, and that toddler now weighed in the double digits, and yet we could lift them up and didn’t really notice the weight.
If we were so blessed as to hold another newborn, that little babe felt so feather-light we wondered if there really was a tiny human bundled up in our arms. The difference between newborn and toddler was great, but we grew stronger as our little ones grew bigger.
3 ways to grow through:
Grow through – love through it, learn through it and laugh through.
Grow in love.Love makes a difference in every situation we need to grow through. Love without prerequisite or condition. Read through 1Corinthians 13:4-8 and replace your name with the word “love”, to see how you’re doing.
Grow in learning. Never stop learning. For every challenge, there is something new to learn. It doesn’t need to be book learning, although books are always a good resource. Reach out to those who have encountered your situation in the past and moved forward. They’ll have something good to share.
Grow in laughter. Laughter is good medicine. “A merry heart does good, like medicine...” And if you can’t laugh, then find your smile, at the very least. While reading through a parenting book, I happened on a paragraph where the experts recommended making a game out of a chore. Even in mundane tasks around the house the parent and child could have some fun. That thought stuck with me. Why can’t we take that bit of parenting advice and use it for all of us, at every age and stage? There has to be some way to find the laughter as we grow through. Ask yourself, “What’s humorous about this?” You might surprise yourself…
Love, learning, and laughter will help you grow through. Every challenge brings us closer to the people we were meant to be.
Go ahead and pin or share this image to remind yourself!
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Hello! I’m Lori –
I'm a writer, a wife to Rob for 34 years and mom to grown children. My focus is to be optimistic, thankful and to encourage you!