Of course, I realized later that switching the phrasing into, "Instead of yelling about what you DON'T want, use nice words to ask for what you DO want," would've been a more positive way to say it, but, you know, Angry Mommy moments don't always produce the best possible wording.
Anyway, not the point.
After I posted that I got to thinking, and realized that there are probably a lot of things that we teach our kids, that we could probably use a good reminder of ourselves, starting with a repeat of the above.
1. Instead of yelling about what you don't want, ask for what you do want.
I'm sure by now most if not all of us know something about the Law of Attraction -- wherever you focus your attention, that's what you get more of. How many grown-ups do you know who focus more on what they don't want? Too many bills (attracts more bills), not enough money (attracts more scarcity), not enough time (attracts more "busy" energy, not to mention your attention probably isn't on what you're doing now). Or how about this: you're complaining that your partner isn't giving you the type of attention you'd like, or that your boss doesn't value you. Instead of putting your energy into noticing more of what you don't have, what about asking for what you'd like to have, and then working to get it? Which brings me to my next point...
2. Appreciate what you do have.
We didn't have to get you any ice cream! One scoop is enough! It's so easy to get caught up in what you don't have that you wish you did, that sometimes it's hard to notice what you do have and appreciate it. I see this a lot in my son lately (which I mentioned in a previous post); one day he made the mistake of telling us that he complains about what he doesn't have because he just doesn't get enough stuff! (Believe me, he gets enough stuff.) After that moment he really appreciated that we let him keep his blocks in his room after everything else was taken away for a while, and he appreciated every toy he earned back over the course of the next week or so. We've been working a lot on saying thank you for what he does have anytime he feels like he wants more. So, what if this concept were applied to adults? We live in a culture where we're practically expected to want more and more and more, and as a result, we tend to live in a constant state of feeling like we don't have enough. But when you really think about it, do you have enough? Chances are, you do. Would you be able to survive, even survive happily, without a lot of it? Chances are, you would. Look around you and see, and really appreciate, how abundant your life truly is.
3. Remember to say please, thank you, and you're welcome.
How many times have you, personally, prompted a kid, "What do you say?" expecting to produce one of those three answers? But how many adults remember to use our manners as often as we remind our kids? Hey, hand me the remote. Oh, you're getting some juice? Get me some while you're there. How much more often could we remember to say please, thank you, and you're welcome? And this doesn't just apply to saying it to other people -- why not use them for ourselves and the world at large, as well? Please, Self, remember to make healthy choices today. Thank you, God / Universe / Whomever, for providing me the opportunity to learn one of my weaknesses today. I made healthy choices today, Self; you're welcome!
4. Give [close relative] a hug and kiss bye bye!
Numerous studies have been done on the physical need for human contact that we all have. We prompt our kids to give Grandma a hug and kiss bye bye when she leaves, but how often do we rush out the door yelling, "Bye!"? Slow down. Appreciate the time you've spent with people you care about, and appreciate the people and yourself by initiating just a little more of a human connection than you may be used to. I'm not saying you should hug your boss goodbye at the end of a workday, but what about just making sure your partner gets a kiss goodnight before you go to bed? Which ties in with...
5. We need to get you to bed on time so you can be well-rested tomorrow!
We know that if we miss our kids' tiredness window, instead of getting more tired and being easier to get to sleep, they'll get overtired, get wound up, and argue over everything from what cup they're using to rinse with after brushing teeth to insisting that they want the one pajama set that is sitting in the washer. On top of that, we'll pay for it the next day, because going to bed late doesn't necessarily mean sleeping late; they'll be tired and grumpy and argumentative all the next day, as well. Well, what can be said for us grown-ups? How often do we stay up too late, to the point of sheer exhaustion, flop into bed at night, wake up groggy and grumpy the next morning, and have a hard time focusing all day? (I am totally guilty of this. Like, right this very second.) Love yourself as much as you love your kids; get to bed on time! Set yourself up for success!