It is interesting how life gives us very interesting gifts, offering us an opportunity to make ourselves and our world better. The present I received was a very shy child. And boy did my husband and I try our own “talk therapy” on her. You see, this child was born in a house of a psychiatrist and a mental health therapist. Maybe this was God working in His mysterious ways.
I remember clearly one time when she was in forth grade and had a Christmas recital. Let me clarify that this recital did not include any solos. She just needed to stand on stage and sing along with all her 4th, 5th and 6th graders. This was a very huge group, and if she would have chosen to not sing no one would have noticed, but she was still terrified. While I was driving her to school, she asked me with a look of horror and tearful, “mami, what if I throw up while I am singing, I feel like I am going to throw up now…what if I faint?” Helping her understand that no one would notice if she would just lip sing was not possible. She felt that all the 200 or 300 parents that were there were solely there to have their eyes on her.
I was as scared as she was. I am a therapist for Christ sake! I have been guiding people to create a better version of themselves for years. I asked myself desperately, How do I transform my child? How do I help my own child overcome that paralyzing fear? Obviously, whatever we were saying to her was not helping. And in the midst of my pain, because their pain has this magic effect that becomes ours at a much-intensified rate, I started to think of other ways I could help her…and this is what I did that put my child in a path of transformation while at the same time transforming my career.
- When I put her to bed we did two things. One, I asked her to tell me things that happened specifically that day that she was grateful for. And two, I showered her with affirmations that would remind her about her true self. Affirmations have this very good and very horrible rep. and the reason this happens is because there is a step that needs to be done when you repeat the affirmation for them to work…you must connect to a happy feeling. If you do not believe what you are saying, but you want the affirmation to work, then you “act as if” what you are saying or hearing about yourself is true. This is a very simple cognitive-behavioral technique that I have used with my patients for years. By asking her first to give me a list of things she was grateful for she was already automatically connecting herself to positive emotions, therefore creating the chemical reactions in the brain that I wanted.
- I chose strategically the times when I wanted to say this to her because I know that right before we go to sleep our brain waves are relaxing and therefore these messages have the power to sink in deeper. Not anymore the “talk therapy” I was using which it only went skin deep. This technique goes faster to your “core” or call it whatever you want to call it…your “center”, long term memory, subconscious mind.
- When I woke her up in the mornings, I showered her with more affirmations, I asked her to imagine herself many times doing that thing that she was terrified of doing and doing it successfully. You see our mind is a very powerful training field, and when we use it effectively it helps us create nearly everything.
What a beautiful way to help yourself and/or your child grow in confidence.
And boy does she have a long way to go, but so do I, and the rest of us. Each day I remind her to expand her comfort zone and this reminds me to do the same. It is in expanding our comfort zone that we grow, it is in doing that one thing that has been nagging us deep down that we evolve. One little step is what I ask of my clients, just one small action that will get you that bit closer to your goal.
In life, everything starts with a thought, but if we want to start a transformation, that thought must be followed with an action. Just one action, may be all you or child needs to do today. That one action may become what motivates a great spiral of change that has the potential to transform your world and our planet.
To learn more about placing yourself or your child on their own transformation visit us at www.triumphsteps.com