2020 was a tough year indeed. It also brought to the fore 2 areas which calls for a radical change in mindset. Dealing with setbacks, and interpersonal relationships.
These areas of personal growth are not easy because they are counter intuitive, but I will try!
1. Love the Tough stuff
Instead of being afraid of an unending stream of problems, I am going to hold a totally different mindset. One where I won’t be surprised by more challenges and changes this year, and will waste no time in being shaken, but instead shift the focus on finding solutions and being resourceful. I’m going to channel calm and zen this year 🙂
There were also times last year when opportunities came by and I was hesitant to take them up. But time and again, when I went for it, I was ALWAYS the better for it. I will be unfazed by challenges and will embrace all of it!
I will make an effort to step out of my comfort zone, and so long as it aligns with my values, I will make a clean and clear YES. Instead of focusing on all the ways things can’t be done, the focus will be on creating possibilities. Yes to walking the talk of a growth mindset!
2. Accept Blame
Whenever something bad happens, we are quick to blame someone else. This results in friction and soured relationships. It is very hard to be the first to accept blame and to apologize. It just happened to me this morning with my teen! My first reaction was to get angry at her reaction. But after I cooled down, I began to reflect if what I said could have triggered her and she reacted to it. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter who was at fault, and it takes the bigger person to apologize. It really is not easy to handle relationships, especially those you live or interact closely with. It takes a lot to respond by FIRST reflecting if we had a part to play in it, instead of reacting or blaming others.
So tough to do, but I will try.
I also see it time and again at work. Parents come to us and they are at their wits end in knowing how to handle their “naughty” child. More often than not, it stems from a parenting problem, which led their children to behave the way they do.
Even for us. I’m not spared that my kids are already in their teens and early 20s. We had some issues recently with them, and upon reflection, problems surfaced because of the way the hubs and I parented them and we were unaware how we affected them. The beauty is the growth that comes from dealing with it head on instead of sweeping it under the carpet where it will fester and become a bigger problem.
The hardest step is to admit that we are part of the problem and to take responsibility for it. Many a times, it is because of how we ourselves were parented, and it is those brave parents who come to me in my parenting courses and want to break that cycle of constantly shouting and losing our cool with our children. There is no shame in accepting blame and doing something to improve the situation. In fact, it takes a lot of courage and maturity to do so. If we do that, conflicts will be resolved quicker and our homes would be happier places.
3. Open our Hearts
We’ve just stepped out of Christmas, a time of love and friendship. In today’s fast paced and digital world, people are connected yet never truly connected with one another at a deeper level. As a society, we have gotten comfortable accepting surface level connections.
This year, I want to try to be truly present to the people around me and those whom I cross paths with. Be it a child, an elderly relative, a new mum. To really listen to them as a person. Listening attentively and patiently to someone is not easy to do!
Our hearts have grown weary and cold with disappointments, struggles and hurts. All the more, we need to be there for one another, sharing on a meaningful level, providing love and encouragement, and listening intently with all our heart.
It is time to come together for one another.
Here’s to a brighter 2021 for everyone!
What are you committed to in the new year?
Michelle Choy is an Occupational Therapist by day and mum of 6 by night. Besides the already very demanding job of managing 5 teenagers and one 7-turning-17 tween, she is also co-Founder of The Little Executive, a nurturing centre to develop children in areas like resilience and executive function. She is a Parent Coach, helping parents navigate this challenging journey. She has been regularly featured on national TV, radio and print media.