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Reminding ourselves of the options(DW#745 )

Some of us need to reminded that even as parents and adults, we do not have to always be in the giving position. That it may be harder to ask for help than to offer it AND if we challenge ourselves to learn to ask for help, we will be doing ourselves and those in relationship to us, a big favour!

So here are some ways to remind ourselves of this:
 
I can share my needs with trusted people.
I can ask for help or advice.
I am not alone, even if it sometimes feels like I am.
I do not have to do it all by myself.
I don’t have to make my life harder than it is at the moment.
 
Contrary to what my thoughts lead me to believe sometimes, it is not reasonable to expect that people "should" know what I need.
 
I can ask to be listened to.
I can ask for a night off from chores. Or a whole day!
I can let others know that I need privacy or space.
I can let others know that I am hurt or upset.
I can share what is really going on for me.
It is okay for me to feel overwhelmed at...
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Supporting your loved ones(DW#743)

Once we get into the habit of checking in with each other, we will begin to get a better idea of where different members of the family are on any given day.
 
When you notice that someone is really struggling that day, for whatever reason, and you are in a stronger place, offer them support.
 
What do you need right now?
How can I help?
Do you need me to listen or offer suggestions?
Would it help if you got a night off from chores?
I am here.
You are not alone.
Do you need some time/space to be by yourself?
Shall we go for a walk together?
You have my permission to do what you need to right now to take care of yourself.

And sometimes, the best support may be to say nothing, offer a hug or simply sit with them and allow them to have their feelings.

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Understanding does not equal agreement(DW#742 )

In any relationship, we will not always be "on the same page". We will see things differently and have different reactions to the same event. This is quite common and even healthy. To have a strong and healthy relationship, we do not need to have the same thoughts and opinions about everything.

One of the things that trips many of us when we are practicing validation is when the other person views things very differently from how we do.

For example, if our spouse gets upset at her co-worker because she is late to work every day, we may struggle to understand why this is such a big deal. It may not matter to us what time our co-workers get to work and we may even empathize with the co-worker because she is a single mother with small children.

It can be very challenging to listen to someone whose world view, thoughts and opinions are different from ours.

When this happens, we need to remind ourselves that listening and trying to understand where the other person does not...

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Check your understanding(DW#741)

Here is another thing about trying to understand someone’s inner world: You will get it wrong. Quite often in fact.

As we develop our validation skills, we may get the emotion, the experience or the meaning behind it wrong.

This makes sense, because after all, we are trying to get a glimpse of someone else’s experience from our world view. Our lens and their lens are not the same. Our experience is not the same as their experience. We are trying to visit a foreign land and we may struggle to understand the language and the customs.

So, when you are trying to validate and get it wrong, remind yourself that it this is common and that you are learning. Your continuing effort to do this is the most important thing for your relationship.

To clarify your understanding of your loved one’s internal world, try some open-ended questions such as:

Can I ask some questions to help me get this?
I need your help to understand this better.
Is this a good time to talk?
Tell me...
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What to do instead of trying to cheer people up(DW#739)

Yesterday, we discussed how trying to get people to look on the bright side rarely works to cheer them up.

So what should we do instead?

Try validation.

Very briefly, human beings desire to connect. We communicate because we crave connection. And that connection comes from being heard, understood, and appreciated.

 
Validation is the art of communicating the understanding and appreciation of another human being. The message of validation is: you matter to me. You make sense. You are important.

Validation is one of the most important relationship skills and one that few of us are naturally proficient at. We need to be intentional in developing it. This is the hard work of being in relationship but the rewards in terms of connection and intimacy are SO worth it.

Effective validation has two main components:

 
 1.    It identifies a specific emotion
2.    It offers justification for feeling that emotion – this is...
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Are you trying to get loved ones to look on the bright side?(DW#738 )

We have been talking about checking in with family members.

What do we do though, if they share that they are struggling or not feeling great emotionally?

How do we make them feel better? How do we cheer them up?

Have you tried any of the following?

·      You’ll be fine.

·      Let’s focus on gratitude.

·      It could be worse!

·      We have it better than so many people.

·      At least it’s not [fill in the blank].

·      Look on the bright side

·      Just put a smile on your face and tough it out.

·      This too shall pass.

·      Don’t worry; things will work out.

·      You/We shouldn’t feel that way.

...

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Binging on technology (DW#707)

Have you noticed that your willpower wanes along with your energy throughout the day?

Recent research has clarified that willpower is a finite resource and that we have less willpower as the day wears on and we get tired (ever been mindful of what you eat through the day and then completely let go from late afternoon onwards?)

When we combine the decrease in willpower along with the addictive nature of technology, we have a perfect storm for sleepless nights:

• "One more level" turns into another hour of hunting orcs in a favorite game.

• "One more episode" becomes finishing a season from favorite streaming services.

• "One more text" becomes an all-night comfort session when a friend needs a shoulder.

• "One more email" becomes a late-night work session to iron out problems with a presentation.

In other words, "one more minute" – when it comes to screen time at night – can easily turn into several hours.

In other words, we are much more likely to...

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Using the gratitude jar for good causes (DW#658)

Yesterday we discussed the gratitude jar activity for families. Today let us explore another way to use a gratitude jar which involves sharing our blessings with others.
Here is the practice:

Next to the gratitude jar in which you are depositing your daily gratitudes, also place another jar to be used as a sort of a piggy bank.

Develop a habit of depositing small amounts of money in this jar whenever you are writing out your daily gratitudes and feel called to share your good fortune with others.
Once the jar is filled up you can decide as a family where to donate the contents.

Using our gratitude to show kindness to a charity we are passionate about encourages us to show gratitude in action. It can be a very important learning for children as they begin to recognize that the blessings and gifts that we have been given also create a responsibility to pay these blessings forward and to use them to promote good in the world.

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The gratitude jar (DW#657)

Today’s practice can become a meaningful family ritual and has the potential of transforming the home environment from one of complaining to one of gratitude.

1. Find a glass jar or a box.

2. You can decorate it with your family as you wish.

3. Keep the jar in a prominent place in a busy zone of your house such as the kitchen or front hall way. Keep a stack of notes and pens next to the jar.

4. Make it a ritual for each family member to write three notes of gratitude a day and put it in the jar.

The notes can be about mundane things (a hot cup of coffee, spare toilet paper) or important things (doing well on a test, hearing from an old friend)

5. At the end of the week, you may take out the contents of the jar and have people read out the slips of paper and share what family members were grateful for during the past week.

Over time, you may find that the atmosphere of the family subtly shifts and that an attitude of gratitude becomes the norm, especially as family members are...

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A teacup full of gratitude (DW#656)

This week we are continuing exploring various gratitude practices.

Today, I am sharing one of my favourite and simplest practices.

For many of us, the morning cup of tea or coffee is quite precious. It is a ritual we engage in every single day, perhaps with not much thought to what is involved in getting that cup of caffeine to us.

Today’s practice involves becoming mindful of this blessing and feeling gratitude for it.

While you are having your first cup in the morning, pause for a moment and become mindful of cup you are holding:
Notice …
The comforting warmth that fills your hands
The aroma that gently drifts up towards your nose
The quiet time before the hustle of the day begins
How many people and resources it has taken to get this cup to you .

. . . people who planted the tea or coffee,
. . . those who harvested it, processed it and brought it to market
. . . those who took care of the cow that gave the mil
. . . those who worked in the factory that made the tea cup,...

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