October 31, 2010

The Importance of Self Esteem - 2

Building on from the last post on self esteem, I wanted to share that there is some amazing work done in the area of mediation and non-violent communication by Marshall B Rosenberg.  His philosophy is to always try to connect with what is uniquely alive in each individual.  In interactions, I have found that when I do this (and it does take practice, just like anything worthwhile) and genuinely honor the life before me, I run in to far less conflict, even in really difficult situations, as it is diffused by my interest in the person.  Furthermore, coming from this attitude, I am able to look past any angst that may be present from the other individual without taking it on board or personally, and find as a result that this angst quickly disappears.  Once the wall is removed, there is nothing for anyone to bang against!

Two excellent reads on this topic are Speak Peace in a World of Conflict and Raising Children Compassionately both by Marshall Rosenberg.  In the area of child psychology and applying the concept of non-violent communication to children, Dr Louise Porter has an excellent book "Children are People Too". Not only will you learn about your own self-esteem but also how to interact with people and children in a way which truly supports the self-esteem of others.

In the book "Raising Children Compassionately" there is an excellent case study of two groups both given the same issue to deal with, one supposedly dealing with an adult and the other group dealing with a child.  Neither group knew this simple distinction until they shared the methodology of how they would deal with the issue.  The group dealing with the adult were horrified at the presentation from the group dealing with the child because it was patronizing, derogatory, disempowering, disrespectful and generally unfriendly.  The revelation that the group was dealing with a child and the then acceptance of the method used was quickly followed by horror as both groups realized the double standards applied to children.  That's why Louise Porter's book is such essential reading!  Don't overlook either book if you want to raise your children compassionately, respectfully and keeping their sense of self and self-esteem in tact!

September 11, 2010

Love & Peace

To create peace in the world, love everyone the way you love your children the very first time you hold them!

March 8, 2010

The Importance Of Self Esteem - 1

No doubt many will read the title of this post and say "well yeah" and that's great!  But what does it really mean?  We can all understand how empowering it is to have good self esteem and how that then flows on to how we treat others and the planet in general.  However, I never understood it so fully as I do now, until I was blessed with children and had the opportunity to watch, 3 very different individuals, growing within the same environment, and to make some really important connections or BFO's (blinding flashes of the obvious).

We are often led to believe that children come into this world a blank slate, ready to be written upon so to speak. But those of you who have had children and really watched those babes, know that's a long way from the truth!  They are their own little people from the very beginning - sure it may be a very basic foundation of who they are that they come into this world with, but it is there nevertheless, and to truly help them evolve into the amazing individuals they came here to be, it is our job as parents to help them navigate their way through this world, with their own authenticity, originality, integrity and importantly their self esteem in tact.
We do our best as parents but as a "learn as you go" profession, we do make mistakes.  And I have noticed when I make those mistakes just what the effect is on my children's self esteem.  (The good news is, if you notice you can fix it!  Kids don't hold grudges naturally, this is something they learn, so if you can fess up and change your mistake, they'll move on quickly without any lasting harm to their self esteem.)

Have you ever noticed with your kids (those who have them), that if you pick them up on "inappropriate" behaviour in a negative way, how that often leads to even more "inappropriate" behaviour, but if you guide them gently and supportively in their behaviour, it's a total non-issue, and they can even thrive on it?
By way of example, I look after a friend's child in the afternoon once a week, and when we do this my 5 year old gets very excited!  He becomes the "big kid" amongst the 4 children I have at that time having just started kinder, and well to put it bluntly, in his excitement and exhuberance he can get kind of cocky and bossy, telling the other kids what to play and how to play it.  The first week this happened I was shocked and not overly impressed and found myself telling him off and expressing what he should do instead with his friends (in hindsight, getting cocky and bossy myself, about him).  Well that was a disaster!  He got worse and started acting out in other ways as well.  You see I had embarrassed him in front of the others, and shaken his confidence in his ability to navigate his own friendships and by making him feel bad about himself (damaging his self esteem, and dampening his natural enthusiasm and exhuberance) I'd made him feel WRONG as a person and his behaviour actually got worse.

The second week this arrangement took place, I'd had a whole week to think about how to handle the situation should it occur again because I certainly don't want what I do with my kids to lead to "worse" behaviour, poor self-esteem, dampened enthusiasm for life and teaching them how NOT to function best in this world.  Naturally enough the same situation arose with him laying down the playing rules for all, and the other kids feeling very over it to say the least.  This time, I gently pulled him aside, reminded him of what a great friend he is, but suggested he just noticed how the other kids were finding him, behaving towards him and what they were saying and asked him to reflect on how he likes to be treated.  Now of course, I didn't say it like that to a 5 year old exactly and you might think someone so small couldn't understand the concepts, but never underestimate your children, they are a amazing!  Well the result too was amazing!  Instead of spiralling into rebellious behaviour and being cross at all around him, he became Mr Incredible.  His behaviour became cooperative, he was gentle with the kids, guiding them, helpful a real treasure really. With self esteem in tact, his positive natural light could shine and the best in him came forth.

We all know this if we think back, we can remember how we react when we feel bad about a situation versus when we feel good. So in the words of the great Wayne Dyer, "inspire people by helping them to see themselves as better than they are".  When we do that we help them shine the light in the world that they are uniquely here to bring.

February 23, 2010

Welcome to Empowered People, Peaceful Planet

Hi and welcome to my blog.  This is my first foray into blogging so I hope you'll bear with me while I learn the ropes.

I wanted to create a forum for people who are mad about personal development and self improvement and desire to "spread the word" with the fundamental understanding and belief that, well, if everyone feels great about themselves and their circumstances, or at least understood that they have the power to be the creators of their own lives, then everyone would be taking responsibility for their own STUFF and what would there be to fight about or war over anymore.  Idealistic?  Probably!  One of my former bosses told me I was an ideologue which really just meant that I was striving for something higher than he was willig to do.  But I thank him for that.  That idealism, striving for excellence, trying to see what's possible and the best in everything and everyone (although not always easy) is part of who I am, and holding onto the hope that we can all contribute to making the world a better place by improving ourselves, helping ourselves and god forbid even likeing ourselves, gives me a strength, energy, enthusiasm and joy of life that I wish for others to experience and share in.

Anita Rodick said "If you think you are too small to be effective, you've never been in bed with a mosquito!"  Well I have been, and they are bloody effective, so we must be able to be too.  So, I hope that you will join me on this journey, contribute your thoughts, learnings, inspiration, as well as get some, and help create a wave of positive energy, which commences within each one of us and resonates outward to the rest of the world and all we encounter, to improve life on earth for as many as we chance upon and hopefully for all living things.