As it is mental health awareness week, I am going to take the opportunity to explore the power of a positive attitude and introduce you to your locus of control.
First let’s talk about a positive attitude, which often depends on our attitude towards life in general. So what are the benefits of having a positive attitude? Are you a person that sees a glass half full or half empty, maybe it just depends on the particular day. We all have days where everything goes wrong and no amount of positivity can help. Then we have days where all goes well, sun is shining, kids are happy, had a good day at work and even better the wash basket is empty!
Understanding why we have days like these becomes easier when we are aware of where our locus of control lies, which can be internal or external. Some people believe this is something we are born with, however, it is not. There is now significant evidence that proves that when parents become aware of their locus of control they begin to have more positive outcomes in their daily routines.
If we have an internal locus we believe that we have control and can be ‘authors of our own destiny’ whereas if we have an external locus, we believe that things happen due to circumstance or chance and we have no control over things. We act so much more confidently when we feel we are in control, drawing on our internal locus of control. This then is helped by having a positive attitude. You will also find that if you are positive it influences others, likewise if one person in the house is negative and grumpy it sets the tone for everyone.
So how can our attitude influence our locus of control, well our attitude is something we can change, no one else can do it for us, we must do it for ourselves. This is all related to our self-esteem, how we feel about our own value and worth. We are constantly having a conversation with ourselves, 50,000 thoughts each day in our conscious mind, and much more stored in our subconscious mind!
If we were asked to talk about ourselves in front of a mirror, what would we say, would it all be nice and complimentary or would it be harsh and insulting. Well, I haven’t seen very many stand and say, ‘oh I look fabulous, my hair is beautiful and this dress looks so good on me’, unless on a television show. However, I have seen, and been guilty of it myself saying, ‘aw that makes me look fat’ or ‘the state of my hair’ and the list goes on! But would you talk to your best friend like that or your child, so why would you say such things to yourself. We can be our own biggest critic and worst enemy at times.
Just think of the message you want your kids to receive – you know they are like little sponges and imitate everything we say and do, so why not make it positive! This can also make life so much easier. A lot of people describe toddlers as going through the terrible twos, but if you think about it, they are still only new to this world they aren’t trying to be terrible, they are learning so many different new things the best they can and it’s hard work just learning to be human. It can be frustrating trying to master all these things at once. So instead perhaps say terrific two’s!
Even just turning this around can change how we deal with tantrums, if we get cross and meet their upset with our own anger, it is like fighting fire with fire. Some kids may just need a cuddle and reassurance, other’s a few minutes to get all their anger out by kicking and screaming, if they or no one else is in danger, why not let them, they are expressing emotions, okay maybe a little loudly but have we not felt like doing it ourselves sometimes? They will grow out of it as they get older, have you ever seen a 16-year-old rolling about a supermarket aisle crying because his mum wouldn’t let him have sweets…
Also if you happen to have a three-year-old who some describe as ‘stubborn and has to do everything for herself’, why is this negative, we spend all of our time trying to teach them these things, then because they do it slowly we want to do it for them. This is possibly the one positive from the pandemic, it has slowed down family life and we have more time, so let them do these things, and just think of these as skills she is developing that will be essential for future employment – confidence, independent and determined!
So from today, we will draw a line under all of the negativity and start seeing how amazing we all are. I’m sure you have heard the phrase ‘Self-praise is no praise’ well this no longer exists, because ‘self-praise is every praise.’ We are not a culture of being able to accept compliments easily, we often throw in a negative to overcome our embarrassment – ‘love your shoes!’ ‘Aw sure they are only out of Penny’s/Primark!’ instead of just saying ‘thanks, I really like them too.’ We don’t need to go around telling everyone to look at how great we are or how fantastic we look. We just need to acknowledge that it is okay to know YOU ARE OKAY!