Sunday, October 5, 2014

Imagine If...

I have been wandering through a variety of social media sites in the last few days.  You can tell it's term break because I rarely have the luxury of time to randomly float around in social media sites aimlessly, usually I am researching or looking for something specific.  It is however, aimless rambling that more often than not sees one find the best little gems!

I found this 'gem of a meme' as I was trolling through Pintrest.   It got me wondering about words and thoughts, resiliency, and moderation tactics.

Imagine if our words or even worse, our thoughts, appeared on our skin! 

If you think about it, for most of us mere mortals, that could be an alarming prospect.  We all try to moderate what we say, how we say it and where we say it.  If we are in a leadership position, even more so.  

Being mindful of what we say to others and ourselves is not a skill we are born with.  Our upbringing and our experiences shape the way we frame our words.  It is a learnt skill and as such we can choose our responses.  Knowing what triggers our frustrations so we can moderate our less ideal comments would be a useful strategy for ourselves, but one to teach our children and the students in our schools.  

Just that one thought 'would I be proud to wear these words forever on my body' could be a useful tactic that could save angst.  It's a tactic I would have liked yesterday when I allowed the preteen in the house to wind me up.  As an aside, why is it we can be patient, un rattled and calm when a student has a melt down, but fail in behaviour management 101 when it's our own child?  Being a human is hard! 

Whilst this meme refers to the spoken word, it did get me wondering.  Imagine if our thoughts transferred onto our skin.  How many of us would want to wear our thoughts out in public for the whole world to see, judge and make comment on?  Not me.  I struggle with my inner voice more frequently than I would care to admit.   

Don't get me wrong, I am a strong proponent of the power of positivity and training ones inner monologue to be one of gratitude, the universe will provide and positive affirmations.  But I am the first to admit that it is hard.  When your journey gets difficult, and the effort to stay on track seems impossible, keeping your thoughts positive and affirming takes practice, preserverence and determination.  We are our own worst critics, but the reality is that we need to be our own very best cheerleaders.  Have you ever looked at that one person who seems so positive and upbeat, who appears resilient and never seems to give up despite the odds?  Chances are they struggle with their inner monologue as much as anyone, but perhaps they win more of the struggles through their resilience and positive bounce forward skills. 

Teaching resiliency and the ability to self regulate is a critical component for assisting members of our community to be successful in life.  With this in mind, I've been thinking about how I would use this in a classroom.  It would make a great discussion starter, where students could write their initial thoughts on post it's and place them around the picture.  In groups they could discuss this at a deeper level, or write a paragraph outlining what they were thinking.  You could debate the pros and cons and as a final activity each student could have a silhouette of themselves (minature or a whole class or group large human sized) where they write positive statements they would be proud to wear.  Statements in response to everyday things that cause angst in a students life, particularly around conflict management and resilience.   

As a parent/caregiver it's a useful tool to use, especially to open dialogue on why it's important to moderate our words.  Squirts response after some discussion was that to have 'to wear ugly hurtful words around would be a reminder of how you are an unkind person', and it would be better to be nice to people.  Imagine if your body was the canvass for your words.  I agree with Squirt, positive words paint a far better picture of us as humans than the ugly negative statements. 

The uses for this meme are endless.  Imagine if you used it with your staff, what would you uncover? 

I'm pretty confident that if our words or our thoughts did transpose themselves onto our skin we would indeed be more careful. 

Imagine if this was the case.

Would your skin be more positive than negative?  

Would you be proud to carry your words and thoughts on your skin?  On your arms, your face?

Apparently my family think I talk to much (conversely I don't think they talk enough) so I suspect there wouldn't be enough space on my skin.  Perhaps in that case old could be replaced with new!  That means there could be hope for the future, and we could erase the negatives with more thoughtful and kind responses. 

I don't know about you, but I'm not perfect, and this was a good reminder that words have power. 

Imagine if we used them to build up ourselves and others instead of breaking them.  How would this change our homes, our workplaces, our classrooms and our communities?

Imagine if....

Further Reading:

It would be remiss of me to write a post that advises you to rewire the thoughts in your mind and the words you speak without some further suggestions to assist.  Here are some of my favourite posts.   My favourite is the People Self Esteem Suckers - avoid them at all costs!! 

Know a few people who suck the self esteem right out of your very soul?  Never fear, here is a handy post on how to recognise and deal with them!

Positive Affirmations for Educators - Who you are makes a difference!!

Procrastination can be a good thing!  If you are on break right now, don't forget to chill!

Leadership can be lonely, don't forget to look after yourself - that will help keep your negative thoughts at bay!

We are what we believe and we are what we wish for - Affirmations for a new beginning! 

Having a rough day?  Here are some affirmations to remind you that 'In the end it will be alright, if its not alright, its not the end!'.

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