How skilled are you at encouraging yourself?
Trust me, this is a very relevant question for parents! Fatigue, frustrations, and discouragement are part of life, but particularly inevitable for caregivers of little ones.
It’s OKAY to need encouragement!!
No matter how much you adore your little miracles, our bodies and emotions have limitations and finding ourselves in need of strength, patience and, yes, encouragement is definitely NORMAL!!
I remember one day, when we only had three little ones, walking to the mailbox in front of our home... so discouraged! I literally tore into the Newsletter for Moms that so timely found its way into my hands. And it did encourage me… mainly to know I wasn’t the only mom who sometimes felt overwhelmed and like a failure.
But, through the years, it became so obvious that it was key that I learn to encourage myself!
Parents are all tempted to look in the wrong places for consistent energy or perspective or ENCOURAGEMENT!
#1 Your children cannot be expected to serve as your source of strength.
Kids are wonderful, funny, loving (much of the time) but most of all, they are children! They are not equipped to understand our adult emotional needs, much less meet them. They love us, but they are for the most part “self-invested” (lol.. that is a funny way of saying they are selfish by nature and more interested in their own needs!). Seriously though, we must always remember they are not developed enough on any level to carry adult pressures. And it is unfair to expect them to. It is totally distressing (for a moment….) for them to see you sad, but they quickly move on to what’s for dinner, etc They do care but they are totally limited in their perspective, and definitely not your resource to be depended on.
#2 Other people may do their best to be there for you, but much of the time, you are on your own, emotionally & realistically.
I’m not saying friends and family are not important. To the contrary: they are SO IMPORTANT! Loved ones are an incredible blessing and source of strength & wisdom for any parent! The inner circle of trusted, loyal and involved people comprise the most influential relationships in your life! Everyone needs good friends, who truly care!!
But much of our daily challenges are alone, on our own battlefront. We must know how to “stir up” our hope, inner-strength and faith necessary to handle the emotional impact of life’s situations, and not look to other people every time we feel the real onslaught of negative feelings.
IN OTHER WORDS: WE MUST KNOW HOW TO ENCOURAGE OURSELVES! Never allow the inevitable challenges of family and parenting to become “abnormal” or insurmountable in your mind! It isn’t easy, but it is a season! You will get thru this! Resource yourself and determine to have a plan.
Here are a few practical handles:
STOP CONTAMINATING YOURSELF WITH NEGATIVE, TOXIC THOUGHTS AND WORDS. Your words affect you deeply! Choose positive words!! Speak your faith.”Okay, I can do this! I have patience! I am strong! One day at a time! Slow down! It’s going to be okay! This is part of life!”
BE PROACTIVE IN CREATING A HAPPY ATMOSPHERE IN YOUR HOME! Strategically choose music & programs that create peace and positive energy! Light candles to create a sitting area of comfort and beauty. Buy a new throw or pillow and make you a “happy space”. Do what works for you!
DECLUTTER! If your living area, kitchen and/or bedroom is consistently messy and out of control, it will definitely negatively affect you (and everyone else!). You may not get the whole house organized in one day, but take time to take control, remove (or temporarily hide!) some piles and have a simple system of keeping order.
DON’T GO SILENT & BECOME ISOLATED! Hum, sing, make declarations. Laugh. Read encouraging books. Learn a fun craft. Put something fun on your calendar. Make a lunch date. Call and briefly check on a friend (by the time he/she tells you his/her challenges, you many times will be thankful for your own many blessings!!) Stay connected and engaged. Monitor yourself and refuse to shut down.
SMILE AND DETERMINE TO SEE THIS THROUGH, WITHOUT FALLING APART! Your mindset is EVERYTHING! Try to step outside yourself, and look at your situation from a distance. Determine to fight the doubt and fear.
CHOOSE “STRENGTH” AS YOUR IDENTITY! Period.
ASK GOD TO HELP YOU! He will give you “a peace that passes all understanding” and a joy that will be your strength!
Let me encourage you: having a “slow, seemingly non-productive day, is not bad. Times of reflection are healthy. Some days we need to rest and rebuild our energy. This is called “normal”. Thank God!
But remember, you are not out of control. Self-Encouragement is a lifestyle, a perspective, a learned skill, and a great self-investment! Most of all, it is YOUR CHOICE! You can do this!❤️
Never Give Up!