Life Skills: Optimism – Can be Gained with Practice and Kindness to Ourselves

Teaching character and life skills to students

As a parent we can be frustrated by the child who never wants to try anything new or is determined that they will not like it, whether it is a vegetable or an activity.  Usually what has happened is they have a voice in their head telling them that they are going to fail, or they won’t be good at something, or someone is going to laugh at them.  The first thing we must do as a parent is ask ourselves if this is the example that we are setting for our children?  Do they see us reject things without trying or talking to ourselves or out loud in a way that is putting ourselves down.  If we put ourselves down, or put others down as not being able to do something, our children will pick up on that and apply that to themselves.

Being kind to ourselves, no matter what our age is, encouraging ourselves to step out of our comfort zone, and allow our mistakes to be seen by our children, will give them permission to challenge themselves and be optimistic that they can work things out.  When we have challenges and we are afraid it takes a great leap of faith to stay the course, especially if we are young and do not have the positive experiences to fall back on.  Having others around us encouraging us and reaffirming that “I know you can” will help in a big way, just the same as we must tell ourselves that we can.

Practicing the skill or whatever it is that has us nervous will help us to be optimistic.  As I wrote this I started thinking about our children having to deal with other kids that act as a bully towards them.  This is one of those areas where optimism is very important and practice or role playing will have a positive affect on the outcome for our children.  Ask them what if ……this happened?  What would you do or say?   Giving them the tools they need will help them be optimistic that they can solve any problem.  Repeat this sentence with your child;  “I am showing optimism when I believe in myself, don’t quit, and set goals.”

For parents and adults at the end of each day look back on the day and look at what went well and what you were able to accomplish, learn and how you were able to help someone else.  This sort of attitude and way of talking to ourselves will lead you to be the optimistic person you want to be, helping you to reach the goals you have set for yourself.

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