As therapists, we are trained to self-disclose with a purpose. When we share a piece of personal information with our clients, it is done so that we are not simply talking about selves but our experience can be used as a tool to help the client process their own. So when I share with you that I am a mother to a fun, independent, and caring 2-year-old girl, I have a good reason behind it. I don’t want to just share with you that I have a daughter but more importantly, share with you 3 of my favorite lessons I learned from this little human about life and living.
Lesson #1: Celebrate every accomplishment no matter how small! My daughter has shown me how success isn’t defined by only big, remarkable, impossible achievements. She has shown me that every moment in your day, you can find something to celebrate. The way she can cheer herself and raise her hands up for “hoorays” and share high-fives reminds me that we are doing the best we can in each moment and it is up to us to pay attention and praise ourselves.
Lesson #2: Don’t take everything so seriously! Let me tell you, 2-year-olds have very big emotions. Sometimes the littlest things can upset her and trigger a very intense cry. While during those moments I am taken back and often feeling nervous about how to consult her, I also noticed how quickly she can move on once it’s over. It is often my husband and I that look at each other in shock that the girl who is laughing and dancing was crying her eyes out a few minutes ago. The lesson here is to not hold on to things! What upsets me in one minute doesn’t have to carry over to the next minute. How often do we find ourselves dwelling and ruminating on things that happened earlier in the day or the week, even when they are resolved? It is important to feel our feelings at the moment and learn to move on.
Lesson #3: Start your day with fun! My daughter has a routine where every morning starts with playing with her toys. Well right after her morning milk. I find myself 7 in the morning sitting on the floor, legs crossed, playing with puzzles. Even though most morning I wish I had a little bit more time to sleep, I am always taken back by how she can start her day by playing and having fun. How often do we start our day thinking about everything we need to get done while running around the house? How much more enjoyable our lives maybe if we started our day with one of our favorite activities, whether it is listening to music, meditating, and enjoying breakfast. My daughter reminds me that you have to start your day doing one of your favorite things and never put it off.