I have times, more than I would care to admit, where the internet and daily life gets to me. Instagram scrolling turns into self deprecating thoughts and comparisons. Facebook reading turns into re-traumatizing myself again and again with news I have already read but feel the need (duty?) to read again. And the daily grind of life just keeps going.
It’s part of why my big goal for myself, and to be able to pass on to other women, is to find ways to thrive instead, to grow, and feel strong and good in my day to day. I want to feel empowered even in Lego picking up, and curriculum choosing. I want to feel like myself when I am doing yoga, making dinner, or arguing with my husband about a current event.
I realized the other night that there is 1 thought shift that I have relied on daily to really guide me back to what my goals are. My goals for what I am getting done in the day, but also my goals for how I show up for myself each day.
I have been really (really) loving The Lively Show (podcast!). One of the ideas that she introduced me to is the concept of acting like you already are the person you want to be. Not waiting until you figure out how to be that person, but just… Be that person. So, that made basically zero sense to me when I first heard her say it. I turned off the podcast and thought about it.
I realized it was a concept I already do A LOT in my parenting. When I am getting really overwhelmed, annoyed, frustrated, wanting to freak my freak out, I think “what would a great Mom do right now?”. Or, often, I think “what would my Mom do right now?” (side note; my mom is an incredibly amazing early childhood educator, reader, advocate for children, and the one who introduced me to Magda Gerber, Bev Bos and Alfie Kohn, so… she’s amazing). It helps me re-calibrate. I have heard other friends say that they think “would I treat a friend’s child like this.” and it’s kind of the same concept.
Once I was able to wrap my brain around this idea of acting (pretending?) like you are the person you want to be, it totally shifted my thoughts. It has helped me to make better decisions with my time “If I was someone who was totally satisfied with their work and finances, would I take this opportunity?” if not, then I don’t (and this goes for opportunities that pay a lot but I don’t think are actually a good fit for me, and for opportunities that pay nothing but I so whole heartedly love them that I want to do them anyhow). This thought, or mentality, is really effecting how I spend my time, how I schedule us, and how I am able to fully step right over feelings of guilt.
For example, I struggle with feeling a lot of guilt about our homeschooling. Am I doing enough? Am I doing it wrong? Should she be involved in more ____? So instead, I face each day and if that guilt or fear or anxiety about how we school creeps in I think “what would I do today if I felt totally confident in our schooling?” and then I DO THAT. Often times it means I sit and we chase down answers to something she’s wondering about, or we shake up where we are doing school that day (coffee shop school and beach school are our favorites) or we go and head to the library for the day. And that IS me being really confident in our school.
I think of it like a classroom. When I was in elementary school I had a teacher who we started the year and she said “hey! You’re all awesome! You are already A students. You are already doing it. If you do poorly on this first test, it won’t fail you, it just bumps you down a bit and you’re ready to bring it right back up next time.” I felt so accomplished! On my first day!
I also had an opposite experience. A teacher who you came in “at zero.” and we had a huge day-one conversation about how an “A is earned. Never given. Show me you earned it.”
Guess which class I succeeded in?
This mentality is helping me to really embrace that I can already start out ahead. I am using this in almost every aspect my life.
“If I was living in my food freedom, would I eat that?”
“If I lived in self-acceptance, would I watch that? read this? scroll through that?”
“If I was feeling strong, capable, and flexible would I do this workout or would I skip it?”
And in this, it’s all about honesty. For example; I asked myself that question of my workout today. “If I was feeling strong, capable, and consistent in my fitness, would I skip my workout today to read my new book?” and the answer was an astounding “yes!”.
This thought shift/ hack/ change, has been really helpful for me to reality check my own decisions. Am I making them out of obligation, or shame? Or am I making them with a big nod to my own strengths and capabilities of being the person that I want to be?
I certainly don’t achieve this all the time, and there are times where bills are tight and we’re scrounging for an opportunity that I certainly wouldn’t take (Or encourage my husband to take – hi all the night time work for my husband, you’re not what I would choose) to make sure all the bills get paid. But as a concept, it’s really helping me to shift my brain to a space where I am less preoccupied with what I am not, and am instead living in what I really plan to become.