Honoring greatness with the Nurtured Heart Approach
Tammy Small, M.Ed. and certified Nurtured Heart Trainer
How good are you at welcoming the vibrant challenges of your life? In church last week, an opportunity was offered to attend a wonderful presentation on Monday. My cousin complained that she had to work.  I smiled and reminded her that that wasn’t a problem.  She GOT to work. She HAS a job – and man, did she get that!  It was such a true reminder that perspective in life is everything when it comes to handling stress.  What might it take to see every experience from a glass half-full perspective?  And how can we scaffold our children, students and others we are in relationship with  into recognizing that even the challenges and struggles they have, BUILD their capacity in life?  Certainly we can help them shift away from complaining (by modeling it ourselves). We can point out how well they are handling it, how well they persevere and how, that despite the current issue, this problem does not define them. In fact, the problem is actually building their strengths – and bringing out the opportunity for them to appreciate their own resiliency and capacity.  It isn’t easy. But it is a powerful shift.
It is so hard not to leak back toward negativity in the middle of challenges.  Traffic.  Forgotten lunch.  Running late.  Criticizing co-worker or family member.  Sibling bickering. Bed too late and up too early.  Never enough time.  Bad hair day.  Not one clean glass left!
We can all go down this path of daily dilemmas. They are there for each of us, at all levels of intensity and demands on our time and energy. So how can we shift to see (and say) that these challenges are GOOD for us, good for our kids, good for our co-workers.  Yes, they could be worse.  But more importantly, these daily problems are all indications of relationships and responsibilities that indicate our liveliness and connectedness.  Stressors which build our ability to handle more – and also make us realize how lucky we are to HAVE responsibilities, to have the intellect to handle conflict, the patience to endure waiting or the blessings of having family (even when they challenge us!).  
The fine line in our daily world is CHOICE of perspective and energy. From there, the glass is not only half-full.  It is overflowing with life’s wonderful challenges and with your child’s/spouse’s/co-worker’s/student’s greatness and your OWN potential.  
So where could you begin this shift in your glass?  How can you support your own intention to overflowing with gratitude?  I would say start talking about it! Start naming it – begin small.  Help your child see that without homework, learning during the school day might be tougher. Without traffic, you might have less time to visit in the car. The dirty dishes mean you have food – and the sibling bickering is a sign of your children’s connection and necessary “practicing” of future conflict resolution. Laugh at yourself when you catch yourself leaking and redefine your vision of the situation to that fuller glass.  Breathe, accept, pray and be so thankful.  Bring on that challenging conversation, that over-scheduled day, those extra responsibilities.
Life is lucky that way. And we are knee-deep in it’s vibrant greatness.    
Glass Half-full? Hey, At Least You Have a GLASS!
Sunday, January 15, 2012