Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Nightly Ritual

Some time back I started a blog about books.  It was really a way for me to reflect in essay format on how certain books were impacting me personally.  Unfortunately, I didn't save the posts or the blog, I don't remember its title, the email I used to create it, or much of anything else about it.  It only had two or three posts.  I think blogger probably trashed it.  I thought it was called Book Gurl or something like that.  I have been unsuccessful in finding it.

But one of the posts that I did write and post was related to some insight I gleaned from Nathaniel Branden's How to Raise Your Self Esteem.  In it he discussed how people with high self-esteem are mentally in the present, while people with low self-esteem tend to relive the past in their minds or spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about the future.  And usually, it's both.  I believe there were some exercises for helping yourself to remain focused on the present.

Then in another book, I also read about ways to boost your self-esteem, by reviewing your actions and activities at the end of the day.  It connects with what this book discusses about self-esteem and growing being related.

So fast forward several (!) years and we have me still trying to shore up my sometimes shaky self-esteem, but now with a daughter in tow.

So every night, after reading books and before saying prayers, we review our day.  We (okay, I) talk about the things we did that day, they way they made "us" feel, the things that were good, and the things "we" could have done better.  Now that she is understanding that process more, I can ask her what her favorite part of today was.  If there were discipline issues, I mention them very briefly and then just as briefly mention how "we" can do better tomorrow.

Usually this review segues nicely into our prayers, since our prayers start with "Thank You God, for Today" and then Thank You for the things that were wonderful about our day.  Then Blessings, and then Please Help Us with ... unless the kid starts yawning and needing to get into her bed.  So some nights we just say a bunch of "Thank You"s and a bunch of "Please Bless"s and I have to think that God likes to hear those kinds of prayers.

So between the daily review and the prayers, I am hoping that I'm teaching her the skill of looking back over your day.  What worked, what didn't, and what to work on for tomorrow.  Not in a guilt-inducing way, just in "being present" and "growing" kind of way.  Which, according to all the books, is one of the basic skills of self-esteem.

Won't it be wonderful if it works?

1 comment:

Billy said...

Sounds so logical, that people with low self esteem live in the past/future and those with high live in the present!
Love the little talk you have with her at night, I'm sure it's a good way to teach her to appreciate the present! (and hope I'll remember to do such talks when Butterfly is old enough..)