Do you remember the moment you realized you were going to be a parent?
For many of us, we can recall the exact minute we learned we were expecting. And, in an instant, our lives and thoughts suddenly became focused on our little human. This shift in thinking and priorities naturally comes with the territory of raising children, but far too often we lose ourselves in the process. As parents, we need to give ourselves permission to nurture our emotional and physical needs. If we fail to take care of ourselves, in a roundabout way, we are actually harming our families.
Thankfully, we don’t have to stash our emotions, needs, and wants at the bottom of the growing list of demands and piles of laundry. With a little awareness and reflection, there is no reason that we can’t harness our emotional intelligence to become our best self. Listed below are eight tips to help us on the journey of developing our emotional intelligence so we can embody our ideal self without sacrificing our family’s needs:
Revisit the activities that used to bring us joy. After having children, it is far too easy to forget or neglect our favorite hobbies. Write a list of activities that you used to enjoy, even if it was from when you were a child. Whether it was writing, painting, swimming, or riding horses, those pastimes made you happy. Rekindle those feelings of joy and reacquaint yourself with some special “me” time.
Be present. As we juggle our kids’ activities and needs it’s easy to get entangled by stress, fear, or anger. For example, if a child needs a diaper change don’t go in autopilot mode while thinking of six other things you need to be doing. Take advantage of this time to smile and talk to your son or daughter by making the choice to be present and savor the moment. Instead of allowing ourselves to get upset or distracted, take a deep breath and be mindful of what is happening right in front of you.
Create a vision board. Design a poster compiling a collage of images or words that represent your ideal self. Then, hang the vision board in a place where you will see it every day. By doing so, we are reminding ourselves to keep looking forward.
Everyday do something to get you closer to becoming your ideal self. It is important to move forward with our goals and one way we can do this is by breaking them down into small, manageable pieces. This will help us stay on task and bring us one step closer to achieving our ideals. So go ahead and read a book, research grad school, exercise, or take a few minutes to meditate. Just do one thing every day to keep on track to becoming your ideal self.
Journal. One of the best ways to finetune our emotional intelligence is to develop our self-awareness. Spending a few minutes jotting down our thoughts or actions can help us reflect on who we truly are, find our strengths, learn our weaknesses, and discover our true motivations in life. This can help us recognize our emotions and how they impact others.
Remember we can only control how we react to situations and other people. It’s no secret that everyone faces some adversity in life. Maybe we are parenting a strong-willed child or facing unexpected medical bills? While we might be tempted to cry or give up, we need to remember that in all types of situations, how we choose to think, react, or express our emotions can make a big difference in the outcome. According to Psychology Today, we should ask ourselves the following questions when life comes at us hard:
- “What is the life lesson here?”
- “How can I learn from this experience?”
- “If I think outside the box, what are some better answers?”
- “What is most important right now?”
Build empathy. This trait allows us to understand the needs, desires, and perspectives of others. We can strengthen this trait by listening, looking at all sides to a situation, avoiding snap judgments, and recognizing the feelings of others.
Never give up. We are a work in progress and will make mistakes, but we need to remember that our missteps show we are learning and trying. It takes time and patience to develop emotional intelligence. Stay positive and focus on becoming our ideal selves. Use this quote as a guide, “Become better- not better than anyone else, but better than the person you were yesterday.”
What advice can you share about becoming your ideal self?