Have you landed a job, gained happiness, improved the way you lived, enhanced your productivity all because of one single word?
You may not realise it, but that one word can pretty much define how you spend your day. If you haven’t guessed it already, that word is YES.
As a race, we thrive on acceptance and affirmation. Just look around you. You feel thrilled when a status update is ‘Liked’ on Facebook. You are suitably ecstatic if your achievement is recognised by your peers. You are over the moon when your book gets accepted by a publisher (yes, yes, I am practising the power of The Secret) 😉 !
The point is, there is nothing WRONG with this. Yes is a powerful word. It carries heavy associations of gladness, doing the right thing, encouragement and positive vibrations every time it is uttered under the right circumstances.
Well, it hasn’t been a great month on the parenting front. Yes, I am being honest here. After 218 days, I broke my Yelling Less streak in early September. I flipped out, screamed, came this close to shaking her and let loose a choice set of angry words that were totally unwarranted. The reasons were ridiculous and petty, but I suspect the deeper, underlying reasons were many more. There was a general feeling of discontent in the way I was handling her emotions, compounded by the fact that I had a bad sprain in my shoulder/neck which left me virtually unable to write/blog for a long time.
This unsettled me a good deal and I spent many nights tossing restlessly, worrying about how I was damaging her self-esteem beyond repair by constantly snapping at her for every little thing. This wasn’t helped by the fact that she ALWAYS ended the day with a hug and kiss, saying, ‘Amma, I love you so much.’
This morning, I woke up with a resolution. It was a simple one. I decided I would say ‘YES’.
As easy as that sounds, you have no idea how hard it is to practise for someone who is, in essence, a bit of a control freak. I wasn’t like this. I don’t think so, at least. But, parenting brings out some harsh truths about oneself.
So, to make it simple, I just told myself that my first knee-jerk response to her queries or her need to read a bit longer would not be a snappy ‘NO!’ Instead, I would pause and say, ‘Okay, no problem. Five more minutes is okay.’
Almost magically, all her tasks today happened smoothly- her eating, her getting dressed, her homework (!), why, even her TV time limitation! Plus, she helped out with cleaning up around the house.
The fortunate fallout of this was manifold!
One: She was happier today than she has been in the last month.
Two: I had a song in my heart and a spring in my step. Even my friends online noticed that I was chirpier and cheerier than usual and were worried about my mental health 😉
Three: I found little things to be happy about, like this incredible sight of two tiny butterflies perched on top of the plant outside my building!
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