by Jessica Dancingheart
To help our children have physical, social, emotional, mental, creative, and spiritual health, we must provide our kids the foundations of good physical care while tending to their social-emotional needs.
A tool for tending to social-emotional needs is to create the time and environment for family shares on self-pride. In the last year, I began to ask my clients and students to adapt the vital practice of gratitude by turning it inward. I have asked them to share what they are proud of with attentive people. The results have been excellent. The feedback is that this simple self-pride sharing exercise strengthens bonds and is clarifying and empowering when shared in emotionally nurturing social environments.
Self-pride expression clarifies our values, the qualities we enjoy in ourselves and the people around us, and our meaningful, purposeful, and fulfilling activities. It is a very vulnerable process. Therefore, it is best to treat it as one by offering our complete undivided and non-judgmental attention to the person sharing what they are proud of and by willingly sharing what we are proud of with the people who are being vulnerable with us. To create a safe and suitable environment for vulnerable sharing, we do not want to interrupt, comment, judge, advise, distract ourselves with other activities, gossip, story-tell, compare, or one-up. By not interrupting, commenting, judging, or counseling, we are stating that we trust the person who is sharing to know their truth. By staying off our devices and not engaging in other activities while listening, we are saying, “I value you!” By not gossiping, comparing, one-upping, and story-telling, we are saying, “I respect you and myself, and honor that we have our unique paths.”
I want to add a note on judgment. Societally, we tend to think of judgment as a “negative” commentary on what somebody says or does. It can also come from cheering and applauding. To contribute to a non-judgmental environment, we can listen deeply, and if we feel compelled to comment, we can do so by sharing our feelings. For example, instead of saying, “You are fantastic,” you may want to say, “I feel happy when I hear you talk about your accomplishment. I value seeing people master their goals. I enjoy watching you celebrate your efforts and am happy to celebrate them with you.”
Now that I have talked about what a nurturing environment is for sharing expressions of self-pride, I want to talk about the importance of not only being proud of accomplishments and accumulations but celebrating qualities, relationships, awareness, etc. In a society where we are constantly measured for what we have accomplished and accumulated, we can easily go on the roller-coaster ride of external motivation—shifting with the tide of finding our value depending on our setting. If we cheer ourselves on by sharing the innate qualities and the accomplishments we are proud of, we get to know and honor ourselves and feel more grounded and centered no matter who we are surrounded by.
I suggest that during mealtimes, you make the time to have each member of your family, including yourself, share what they are proud of as everybody else gives complete and undivided attention.
I would love to know how the practice goes for you. Please feel free to reach out and tell me.
Jessica Dancingheart is a personal and organizational consultant working to build healthier and stronger relationships at work, at home, and in your communities. Please check out www.openingtopossibilities.com or call (303) 589-8420 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.