Positive thinking helps with managing stress and can even improve your health. There is this saying that many of you may have heard, “Is your glass half-empty or half-full?” How you answer this age-old question about positive thinking may reflect your outlook on life, your attitude toward yourself, your kids and your spouse, and whether you’re optimistic or pessimistic. Some studies show that personality traits such as optimism and pessimism can affect many areas of your health and well-being.
In my last Blog I introduced you to the DISC Four Bird Styles – Eagle, Parrot, Dove and Owl – What to do when Impatience & Anger Dominate your Parenting. In the DISC Behavioral Model Parrots and Doves always see the glass half full and have an optimistic view of life. Whereas Eagles and Owls see the glass half empty and have a pessimistic view of life. What we say to ourselves (negative thinking) in those moments, where our kids are winding us up and anger or impatience jumps out, can have a huge impact – how we react in these situations. Do any of these statements ring true for you: “I’m a terrible parent, I’m never going to get it right!” Or, “I’m doing such a bad job”, or “I’m just like my parents”. How about this one, “I’ll never be as good a parent as X!” Many of us have negative thoughts. It’s part of being human. The problem though is that negative self talk can become self fulfilled prophecies – “What you think about, comes about”.
If we do the opposite and use positive thoughts about ourselves, the effect can be just as powerful but far more helpful. I call these affirmations. Just like we do repetitive exercises to build up our muscles and improve our health, affirmations build up our mind and outlook. They can reprogram our thinking patterns and if used over time, we begin to think and act differently.
Here is a list of affirmations you can use on a daily basis. Start the affirmation with this statement, “I know how to live my day to day life without….” then add these other statements or words to create the affirmation. Before creating the affirmation take a moment to think about what it is you would like to change in your relationships. When you have made a list of your affirmations, display it where you can see them everyday.
“I know how to live my day to day life without…”
- Being impatient
- Being nervous about the future
- Criticizing myself or others
- Anger at my family
- Anger at myself
- Holding grudges
- Being nervous about the next step
- Worrying about having enough time
Each Bird Style’s Limiting Behavior & Virtues to Practice
EAGLE parents can be too direct and intense at times. “Do as I say” is their motto – Since Dominant D Eagles would rather have the authority and be in control, they will take the lead when parenting. As natural renegades, they want to satisfy their need for autonomy. They want things done their way, or no way at all. This type of behavior can be upsetting for their family members and so Eagles would benefit from developing Patience.
Patience is having quiet hope and an expectation based on trust that in the end everything will be alright. It means having self-control because you can’t control the way your Kiddo is acting or when things don’t go as you would like them to. It’s about being tolerant when those difficult moments happen. And tolerance is being flexible and you don’t expect others to think and act just like you.
Signs of success that show you are practicing Patience are: You are calmly tolerating a delay or confusion, accepting things you cannot control with humor and grace, and are being gentle with others when they make mistakes.
PARROT parents are somewhat disorganized and spontaneous. They want your admiration and thrive on acknowledgment, compliments, and applause. “It’s not just whether you win or lose. . . to them it’s how you look while you play the parenting game.” The natural weaknesses of Influencing Parrots come from too much FOMO – Fear of Missing Out! This often keeps them in action, saying YES, when they should be saying, “Thank you… but not this time!”
Running out of time to do it all makes them impatient, often late, or bored… unless it’s all about them! Listening is not one of their strengths and they can talk too much. So, how can Parrots shift these limiting behaviors? They can practice the virtue of Self-discipline.
Self-discipline means self-control. It means choosing to do what feels right. With Self-discipline you can be moderate. You may not be able to control your thoughts or feelings, but you can control what you do with them. With Self-discipline you create structure in your life. As a Parrot parent, watch yourself and think about things and choose how you are going to act. Especially when you are feeling stressed, as under stress Parrots tend to become sarcastic.
Signs of success that show you are practicing Self-discipline are: You’re using detachment so your emotions are not controlling you, you get things done in an orderly and efficient way and there is structure in your life. Woohoo! You are getting things done on time.
DOVE parents prefer stable relationships which don’t jeopardize anyone, especially themselves. They are very good at planning and following through and are seen as nurturing and have a relaxed disposition – appearance of approachability and warmth. Doves are great at listening but they have their own type of unique difficulty with speaking up. They seem to go along with others and put up with conditions, while inwardly, they may or may not agree. This may not help when it comes to co-parenting. So the Doves can benefit from practicing the virtue of Assertiveness.
Assertiveness is asking for what you want and need. It is being able to express your own ideas and opinions. You tell the truth about what is just. Others show you respect when you are being assertive. When you have ideas, you speak out. Being assertive doesn’t mean you control things all the time. It means that when someone asks what you think or how you feel, you just don’t tell them what they want to hear.
Signs of success that show you are practicing Assertiveness are: You are telling the truth about what is just and asking for what you need and want. You are setting boundaries about what is right for you. You are thinking for yourself.
OWL parents think deeply, often succumbing to overly critical tendencies, due to compliance to their own personal, very high standards. They demand a lot from themselves as well as others in their family. This tendency toward perfectionism, taken to an extreme, can result in “paralysis by over analysis”. Owl parents often keep their criticisms to themselves, hesitating to tell people what they really think is deficient.
They typically share information, both positive and negative, but only on a “need to know” basis, once they are assured that there will be no negative consequences for themselves. Complex and serious, Compliant Owls prefer doing tasks over having to interact with other people. With this in mind Owls can benefit from practicing the Virtue of Joyfulness.
Joyfulness comes when you can have a good laugh, because humor is a wonderful source of joy. Whatever you are doing, do it with a joyful heart. Joyfulness comes from within. When good things happen to you, enjoy them fully. Find the gifts in what is happening and stay calm and serene. Allow sadness to come and go.
Signs of success that show you are practicing Joyfulness are: You are looking inside for your inner happiness and others see you enjoying whatever it is that you are doing. You are laughing when you make a mistake and are not taking yourself too seriously.
Empathy can be Practiced by all the Birds
Without empathy the world would be a very different place. It enables us to connect to human suffering with care and understanding, acting in ways that bring comfort to those around us. Empathy allows people to build social connections with others. By understanding what people are thinking and feeling, people are able to respond appropriately in social situations. Research has shown that for both adults and children alike, having social connections is important for both physical and psychological well-being.
So, what is Empathy? Empathy is having the ability to put yourself in another’s place, with compassion and understanding. It is the ability to be aware of the feelings of others and imagine what it might be like to be in their position (or in their shoes as my mum used to say). It’s experiencing for yourself what it is they are going through, with such clarity that you can understand what they are thinking and feeling. Empathy I believe is a key ingredient in all positive relationships. It also reduces conflict and misunderstandings. Read my Blog Post here that gives you tips for helping children develop Empathy. My next post will be, “How come your Teenager complains that you “Just Don’t Get It!” Mm? I wonder why?