My Friend Abby

I was grateful and excited when Abby agreed to write this week's blog.  We actually don't know each other super well, however every time I get to spend time with her, I am amazed how our roots systems are intertwined in how we think, dream and show up to handle life's ups and downs.  Abby's passion is helping high school/college kids find their purpose and help set them on their path to success.  The last time we sat down, we talked for an hour about her passion, her life and how to navigate motherhood with two small kiddos.

Side note:  she fed her kids something magic that allowed them to let their mom have an entire conversation about something other than legos or constantly being bombarred with "watch this".  They just played like little unicorns with each other...just hopping over rainbows.  I will shake her down for this magic recipe and get back to you...

I will include what she is up to at the end of this blog.  Thank you Abby for writing this.  I gave no direction on what Abby should write however I think it speaks to something we all could be reminded of because we have little eyes watching our moves...the big ones and the everyday small ones that really make us who we are.

With Gratitude and no further ado...

Be Nice to My Friend, Abby


“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and doggone it, people like me!” My mind immediately recalls the early ‘90s Saturday Night Live skit with the Stuart Smalley character anytime I hear someone mention positive self-talk. I’ve always been skeptical of self-affirmations. Aren’t I supposed, to be honest with myself? Don’t I need to beat myself up a little bit, so I don’t become complacent? Shouldn’t I concentrate on my flaws so I can look for ways to improve? 

The way we talk to ourselves matters. Negative self-talk can have harmful effects on both mental and physical health. Dr. Richie Davidson, founder, and director of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been studying the effects of self-criticism. He has found that negative self-talk can lead to chronic illnesses and can accelerate aging.  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/22/smarter-living/why-you-should-stop-being-so-hard-on-yourself.html

As I learned more about positive self-talk, I decided to try an experiment. I decided to make a conscious effort to speak kindly to myself for an entire week. I literally monitored my thoughts minute-by-minute. When we were late for preschool drop-off yet again, I consciously changed my internal dialogue from “Abby, why can’t you get it together in the mornings?!” to “Abby, good job getting the kids dressed and fed and you even remembered the permission slip!”  When I indulged in a dessert table at a friend’s party, I felt my mind go down a familiar self-flagellation path, and I pulled it back and thought “Tonight I’m going to make a green smoothie for dinner.” 

To be honest, it felt hokey at first. But here is the thing, I actually started to feel better. I started talking to myself how I talk to my friends. My husband helped me in my experiment, and when he suspected that I was berating myself, he would ask me, “Are you being nice to my friend, Abby right now?”

My biggest worry had been that if I started treating myself kindly, that I wouldn’t strive to be my best. However, not only did that not happen, but I also found that I had more energy and was in a better mood (so more able to creatively tackle challenges as they arose) when I came from a place of self-compassion. Just like in meditation when I’m constantly challenged to bring my mind back to my breath, I am constantly challenged to be kind to “my friend Abby.” 

As a mom, it is important that I practice positive self-talk in front of my kids. As I’ve become kinder to myself, I’ve been better able to roll with the inevitable spilled-milk-on-the-difficult-to-remove-and-even-harder-to-reattach-car-seat-covers. I’ve also been able to be a role model of self-compassion.  As a recovering perfectionist, it has been really powerful for me to share my compassionate inner dialogue with my four-year-old daughter. It must be working because as we were five minutes late for yet another event, she said, “We’ll make better choices tomorrow morning, Mom.” Indeed, we will.  
 


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Where you can find Abby...

College Admission Workshop
We will demystify the college admissions process and students will leave with a timeline and plan for applying to colleges and to scholarships. We’ll also discuss recent changes in college admissions including information about direct admission programs (applying directly to a major and how that can affect your college decision). We’ll take the stress out of researching colleges,
asking for letters of recommendation and writing an admission essay. Parents are welcome to attend, but attendance is not required. 

When: Tuesday, August 21, 1pm-3pm
Where: Westside Community Service Bldg (Sun Prairie) 
Cost: $20 Resident/$30 Non-resident
Register at http://www.cityofsunprairie.com/156/Recreation-Aquatics

College Essay Workshop
Calling high school seniors! This workshop will help you brainstorm ideas for essay topics for prompts from The Common Application and the University of Wisconsin System Application. Learn tips and tricks to improve your essay stand out and to avoid common pitfalls. You will create the first draft of an essay and learn a process to write a remarkable personal statement. Note: This workshop is for students who are entering the 2018-2019 school year as a senior.

When: Tuesday, August 28, 1pm-3:30 pm
Where: Westside Community Service Bldg (Sun Prairie) 
Cost: $20 Resident/$30 Non-resident
Register at http://www.cityofsunprairie.com/156/Recreation-Aquatics