Is it Possible that you have Limiting Beliefs?

The news this week was full and controversial! The Supreme Court as you know legalized gay/ lesbian marriage, and with it came soooooo many opinions! The president announced that the healthcare act is here to stay. The Confederate flag is coming down in so many places and everyone has an opinion- or 3. The most outstanding part of it all is not so much the actual incidents that occurred but the reactions of people. Oh the comments I read on Facebook and they are my “friends”! What happened to having a belief and listening to someone else’s openly without judgment and criticism? So much name calling and generalization! One meme in particular lined up the 3 happenings above with a comment something to do with “Take that Republicans!” I thought they were individual human and civil rights issues and was surprised to the reference to politics.   So much generalization, assumption and even discrimination!

I used to be staunchly protective and defensive of my beliefs so I get some of it, but I also have learned a valuable lesson that began small and grows every day. That is the concept of Limiting Beliefs.   While learning about this I questioned many of my own beliefs asking myself not so much why I believed that but if in fact I really did. It was surprising how many of the opinions I defended were not mine, but something that was passed down during early childhood.   Who knows for how many generations that belief has been strong, or what the catalyst for that belief was. It may have been valid for that time and that situation, but out of context it makes no sense. And yet the belief continues to grow.

During contemplation, I have also discovered that beliefs can come from ignorance- not having all the facts, becoming emotionally connected to a concept based on someone else’s emotions, or jumping to conclusions. Whatever the inception of the belief, it is a personal one for which everyone should be responsible.

I avoid general online areas that allow for comments like after videos or stills that come up with a specific topic because most of the time I find it distressing. So many comments have no other intent than to diminish the validity of other human beings. Name calling and jokes is a painful and unnecessary part of growing up, and yet it is alive and well throughout the internet sites presumably posted by adults. Everybody has an opinion and it is the right one. Sadly it is part of their belief that being right somehow gives them the right to ridicule and reduce the self worth of others.

I recommend self-analysis of beliefs. It is cathartic and freeing in that it allows you to discover the true you of your heart unencumbered by hidden influences. The beliefs with which you find a deep resonance are yours but not necessarily anyone else’s. Be OK with that. It doesn’t diminish the validity of your belief. You are good without anyone else’s agreement. There are too many proverbial bandwagons and they are all standing room only. You don’t need to wait in line to jump on. Know yourself and be true to yourself.

It is time to find a place where the greater good of Americans is the focus in all our hearts. I almost wrote, “It is time to get back to ……”   but then questioned whether we have had a period of time where it was truly about the greater good. Even today many fortify their opinion by saying, “The American people want”, or “It is for the American people”. We sure like to hear that their plan is for “We the People”!   Is it? Are they coming from their hearts or their egos? Am I? Are you? Whether for ourselves, our families, our communities or country, isn’t it time to come from our hearts? Analyzing our beliefs helps us determine if we are doing that.

Celebrations From Within the Heart

I love Father’s Day and Mother’s Day celebrations because it is a time we get together for a few hours over a nice meal and enjoy each other’s company.   Tradition in this country is for gifts and cards, too. (Well, come to think of it isn’t that our tradition for everything??) In many families I believe it is a time to remind children of all ages that it is someone’s special day and to be nice. Kids hear, “Don’t fight.” “Be nice.” “Say Happy Mother’s Day”, “Happy Birthday”, or whatever is celebrated. Some even get dressed up in their finest. There are many special celebrations!

I sit here wondering how these celebrations are different in families that practice living from their heart every day. I would love to see discussion on this page! My grandson is naturally a from- the- heart- kid. He enters the door and seeks both of us out for a hug and “I love you” before heading off to do something. He never leaves without a repeat. In between, he has his “Why can’t I…” “I want…”, “Why do I have to…????” , like many other kids, but he is respectful and caring every day. Celebrations are not necessary when every day is from the heart. The interesting thing is, those that live from their heart, look forward to celebrating others! They don’t resent it, it is a joy!

Each child has their own unique personality and reacts to living with the same upbringing in different ways. Some truly hold onto living from their heart more easily than others. Others become entrenched in serving themselves. This is one area where modeling doesn’t always work. (But don’t stop exhibiting through your words and actions how they should be!) Not all children learn to be loving from being treated lovingly. We cannot expect children to want to treat others the way they are treated because the truth is many receive the message that they are worthy to be treated that way. Reciprocation is not considered when it is they who are the deserving ones. Conundrum sometimes, isn’t it?

imagesDU8B6AI2Giving gratitude each day is a wonderful way for children to begin to learn to live from their heart. It can start with one thing, one general thing, one superficial thing, one selfish thing. And it doesn’t even matter if it is sincere in the beginning. Gratitude is a way of living that takes time for many, especially if they believe they are entitled. It is a small thing to do in your family. It can be done with each child, one at a time each day. Every day. Consistently. Why do I say one child at a time? Firstly what a special discussion time for you and your child every day! Secondly, kids are competitive. By talking with them alone, each has the opportunity to speak without feeling theirs wasn’t as good as a sibling. Janet Eltaktouk wrote an article in the Sun Sentinel entitled Five Ways to Create an Attitude of Gratitude in Children that continues this discussion. Every little bit of gratitude is a good thing!

After a few weeks, discuss gratitude about certain activities, abilities or people. What are you grateful for that happened in school today? What are you grateful to Grandpop for? Later, you can add things like, Do you think your teacher knows you are grateful for him or something he did? How could you let your sister know you appreciate her? Children who begin to recognize all the things in their lives they have to be grateful for, and give gratitude for them will increase living from their heart. The day will come when most days are days of celebration!

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Alike on the Inside

 

There are moments when I regret some of the teaching strategies that were used in the seventies in reading. As I look back I remember a lot of emphasis on compare and contrast, finding same and different, and although there is a component of importance I often wonder if it has also played a role in the comparisons people make with each other.

About 30 years ago, a moment in time that taught me a huge lesson about myself, I was walking out of McDonald’s with my 4 year old. In front of us was a mixed race couple with their young daughter. My daughter blurts out, “Mommy look!” and points at their child. Embarrassed, I shushed her, then leaned down and told her to be quiet and hurried her to the car. By the time we got there she was in tears. “Mommy”, she cried. “Why wouldn’t you look at that little girl’s Miss Piggy glass?”

I was shocked at myself. I noticed the different colors of the family members, 10360543_1398844150439652_6293205814907425549_nand worried because my daughter was drawing attention to them. My four year old noticed another little girl like her, who loved Miss Piggy.

Isn’t there too little of seeing the likenesses we share? After all, isn’t that how we choose with whom we spend our time? Or do we choose who we don’t want around because of their differences? There is so much negative energy everywhere! Children see it in facial expressions, and hear it in words. They pick up on sarcasm, and jokes and soon believe it is OK to react that way. They may try it themselves and be sternly corrected, but they don’t get the mixed message. There is always a conflict for kids when they are told one thing but something else is demonstrated when adults think they are not watching. They learn from watching and copying. tsa-usa.org

In the chapter titled God’s Specially Wrapped Gifts in My Loving Self and Me, I wrote about differences of all kinds and explained that God wraps us all differently so that we can tell each other apart, because unlike Him we don’t recognize us by our Loving Selves. In the story Gram tells the children, “God wants us to look at each other with the same excitement we feel whenever we receive presents. And we need to look for the present inside!” Our souls, true selves, authentic selves, higher selves, our loving selves, whatever you call it, have no skin color, hair color, eye color, height, weight, or anything else to be compared. Inside is love energy, in each one. Sometimes it is hard to find while with others it is right there for all to see and enjoy.

I read on PBS Parents, in a section called Inclusive communities several articles on this topic. One titled “The Power of Words”, wrote about “people first language” when speaking- a boy with red hair, the girl that uses a wheelchttps://mylovingselfandme.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php#titledivhair. The race, color, disability are secondary. In this article and another “Respecting Differences: Everyday Ways to Teach Children About Respect” the focus is on teaching kids to respect themselves and everyone else. My Loving Self and Me does too.

There are far more likenesses within us than differences. The likenesses are what connect us in oneness and yet too often there is disconnect, because the differences are the focus. Respect people as people first- all the descriptions are secondary. Children are born seeing the likenesses. They don’t need to be taught that differences are anything but a way for us to tell each other apart.

 

Just As I Am

 

When I was a kid, we played outside all the time. None of the kids were the same ages and it didn’t matter. We had a set of swings, a baseball diamond, and at night we played hide and seek after dark and caught fireflies in our hands. Mostly we rode bikes.   My brother was on the local baseball team and I kept score. He was a good ball player, so I remember good times, except for the coach’s son- he got screamed at constantly. I think back now that it must have been a difficult time, and wonder if even as good as he became, he ever enjoyed it.

A young man special to me has spent the entire baseball season in the outfield or on the bench. Because another child didn’t come to the next to last game, he was put on third base and he was awesome! For the last game, he returned to the bench or played right field. His spirit is gone as is that of the other 4 or 5 boys that have spent the season on the bench or outfield. They won’t return next year because it isn’t fun, and they are not as good as the others. It is easy to complain and place blame, but we all know that it happens.   If we are honest, we probably would say that those kids weren’t there because it was what they wanted in their heart. Maybe a parent wanted them to do something, or they wanted to be like someone else, or be with someone else who played. A few may be living their dream and struggling with realizing that dream. Whether it is baseball, or dance, gymnastics, or playing an instrument, few start out being as good as they expected. Immediate gratification is not available and practice is a necessity.

like you love yourself@funnyand.comThrough the struggles of learning something new, and dealing with a reduced self- confidence, children need the reminders of who they are. Encourage them to keep spiritual pride while going through the steps of achievement by reminding them of all their previous successes.   Some things may come easier than others, but they need to believe in themselves and give gratitude for each step forward which will help them to stay focused. In “The Trick to Raising Kids Who Love Themselves” By Dr. Sherrie Campbell she says,” If we are not happy with what we see in our children, in terms of attitude, responsibility and being grateful, then we have to look deeply at ourselves and what we are modeling for them.”

One of personal favorite poems from My Loving Self and Me ends,

I will strive to be the best me I can be,

And always along the way,

Love me just as I am.

Confidence and self love are crucial to trying new things because there is nothing at stake. They don’t have to win. They don’t have to be the best. They do it because it brings joy.

 

Too Much Boredom!

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What parent likes to heart those infamous words, “I am bored!” None that I know of as it usually is the precursor to whining and complaining and a need to be entertained. Boredom comes with the belief that children always need to be doing something. Sayings like “An idle mind is the devil’s playground”, has lead us as a society to be doers. Yet, we are human beings, not human doings. And with the advancements in technology, we can be incredibly idle while doing something!

Teaching children to be at peace, and quiet their mind is a valuable tool. I wish my influence on my daughter and grandchildren had understood this when they were infants. I would give them time alone. Let them watch and interact with the mobile, play with their toes, find their fingers, make sounds and wonder where it came from, and laugh without interference. Quieting the mind is a skill most adults need to learn as well. There are so many sleep disorders, addictions and other problems caused by an inability to shut off the mind. We torture ourselves with our constant thoughts! Predicting the future, dwelling on the past, judging, criticizing, anticipating, all keep the mind active.

Kids are rarely born this way, we train them to be like us! They are asked, “Why aren’t you doing something? Find something to do!” I remember 40 years ago putting the container of legos in front of my stepson while he watched TV, thinking at least he would be using the creative side of his brain while he “wasted” time. Perhaps that is why those in their 20s and 30s are much better multi-taskers. However, that also leaves their brains even more active all the time.

Has the ability to “be” been lost? “The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force (qi, ki, prana, etc.) and develop compassion,[3] love, patience, generosity and forgiveness.” Time not doing is time for being, but it has to be taught, even if it was a skill with which we were born. Bored children need to learn to treasure down time to charge that personal energy, strength and connection to the source of light within and overcome doubts and fears. Constantly active kids need quiet time as well, because all children need the connection with self and God to reduce ego and build their loving self, becoming compassionate caring people with a sense of oneness with others. It is a package deal as they best learn from modeling you.  Meditation, or mindfulness doesn’t need to be done in a yoga pose. Sitting quietly   imagesNQ20XDWCFor families that have quiet reading time, guided meditation can easily be a next step. While teaching them to breathe deeply and focus, you are quieting your mind as well. “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” –Thich Nhat Hanh

featured-thumb-curriculum-trainingMindfulness or self reflection is being taught in schools  now to help children lose the control their busy emotions have over them. With the help of Mindful Schools  in a San Fransisco school , a documentary was created called Room to Breathe. As the instructor begins, she tells a child, that she can’t expect to be entertained her whole life. Isn’t that what boredom is, the absence of entertainment? She also within the first few minutes, talked to them about finding their happiness through mindfulness. Is a lack of happiness part of boredom as well? Whether the term used is meditation, self reflection or mindfulness, children and the adults in their lives can benefit from the quiet mind that breeds happiness, contentment, compassion and love.

 

Is the Boogie Man Still Under Your Bed?

Fear is so debilitating and yet right around the corner for many. The first real genuine pain in my chest fear I remember was of Captain Hook. I remember “watching” Peter Pan from behind the couch in complete fear. I don’t remember being afraid of the dark, but of being alone. At night I did not like being by myself in the bedroom and often wished I had a sister to share the room with me.

I can’t recall how I handled fears with my children as it seems to have escaped my memory. fear6However, I noticed with my grandchildren the many warnings they got from their father who would have been more comfortable wrapping them in bubble wrap to keep them safe. Then I caught myself doing the same, as well as their mother so that, “Be careful” was a common warning. So perhaps it is a good assumption that I was a protective mother.

The question in my mind, watching grandchildren go through fears, has been whether it is natural or do we as adults create it in our protectiveness? According to Consistent-parenting-advice.com, “Over protective parents create continuous situations from which their children struggle to escape, until eventually there is no escape as the fears have become part of the patterned response for their child’s way of thinking.”

fear4Almost everyone has worries and fears that hold them back and perhaps those of adults came from their childhood too. The first step is to recognize them. Since finding my spirituality the thought that reduces the fear is that I am where I am meant to be, experiencing what I am supposed to experience, and that God my creator is in control. Although that is perhaps a bit to convey to children, the next step is much easier. I visualize angels surrounding me and keeping me safe. That part, and talking to their guardian angels, kids accept more easily. Although they tell me they do it all the time, my grandchildren love when I call on the angels on their behalf. Knowing they are not alone, but surrounded by supportive, loving angels, helps many of us, young and old alike leave fears behind.

Fears become so much a part of life that it becomes easy to disregard what has been given up. fear5It limits our experiences socially, emotionally, physically and psychologically without realization. It is easier to not be interested than to admit that it is fear based.   In helping children deal with challenges, adults need to focus on the fact that childhood is cumulative experiences leading to maturity and adulthood. Consistent-parenting-advice.com suggests the best way to do that is to become a “submarine parent” “remain out of sight, yet able to pop up in the case of an emergency.”

fear9“In order to become responsible, confident, assertive, independent adults, children need opportunities to explore their environment both physically and emotionally without continuous interference from their parents.”

Adults that are around children, whether their own or someone else’s can use that time, to consider their own fears and evaluate what they are giving up in “feeding them”.   What opportunities have been let go by unrecognized fear? What opportunities can become available again once that is understood? Experience new things daily by taking on your fears and passing that on to those around you!