Friday, March 23, 2012

Looking for Yes

One of the techniques I learned when my children were small was a little concept known as "looking for yes."  

When I was growing up, I'd ask whether I could have this thing, do that thing, go that place.  Sometimes the answer was yes.  Most times - it was no.  Just a flat no.  No other options, nothing. If I didn't like it - and said so - well, let's just say the results weren't pleasant.

When my own children were small, I knew that the task ahead was daunting at best.  Children are pretty much BORN saying, "I want."  (What else do you think "Waaaaah"means?)  I was fortunate to find the help of a tremendous group of women who taught me that it was okay to trust my baby's signals and respond to them.  Through them, I was led to a book that became a bible of sorts for child-rearing:  How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk - by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. (Wow, I just checked and it's still available online!) -  They provided a LOT of techniques, and one of those was looking for yes

Source (via Google Images):
The idea was that even if you must say no to your child, you provide him with a choice or an option of what he or she CAN do instead.  Example: "No, we can't go to the corner store but we can either put on a video or do some painting." I found when I used that choice, I didn't frustrate my kids nearly as much.  They were happier more often.  They could make a choice and feel like I was not "against" them. Instead of "I can't," they learned to say to themselves, "I can."

I have used this technique as they have grown older and for the most part, it still works, amazingly. And just lately - I've begun to use it on myself to start to deal with my tendency to see the glass half-empty and to criticize before listening.  Example: No, I can't control what this person thinks, believes, does or says.  But I can listen to some music and feed my soul, or I can go do some housework (I RARELY opt for this unless I'm really angry), or I can write my feelings down and work through them, and then let go.  

Looking for Yes is working, even though I KNOW I'm using the technique on myself! It opens my mind a bit more to the idea that I am accepted and loved by my Creator.  As I do, I find I am happier, too.

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