Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Keep Calm and....

I write regularly for a money saving website.
In recent discussions, someone said (most flatteringly), 'we should have a poster that says Keep Calm and Think Like Mimi' could I resist?
Why is it that in times of crisis, some of us lose our heads, and some 'keep calm'.
Perhaps it's the first born child thing. As the eldest, I've always been the fixer, the person who makes things happen. My siblings would be running around like the proverbial headless chickens, as was the case when our Mum became terminally ill, and I would be the one going 'okay, what needs to be done', and then ensuring that it WAS done. That sort of thing certainly builds what is euphemistically termed 'character'.
Is it the self assurance that comes with having seen some difficult times in my own life, and just knowing that whatever happens, I will prevail? Perhaps.
Is it the mentality that whatever the crisis is, that this too, shall pass, as someone famously said...I forget who.
Maybe it's just that I'm the impatient type that can't stand sitting around talking about a thing for too long. I just need to DO something.
Whatever it is, it's certainly made me resilient.
I was talking to my 14 year old daughter about resilience this morning. Within that discussion, the topic of self esteem arose. She has a girl in her life at school, who we lovingly (?!) call her Nemesis. This is a person who seeks to tear her down whenever and as often as possible for no reason that we can ascertain, other than she finds it amusing to do so. Some days The Diva climbs into the car seat next to me and spends the whole 15 minute trip home, ranting about what the Nemesis did and said today. I listen, nod, and refrain from commenting until she's exhausted her narrative.
Then I ask if she feels better. She usually does.
Then we discuss some very acerbic comebacks that she could employ to stop the Nemesis in her tracks. We know however, that we won't use them, as my number one piece of advice is always 'do not stoop to their level'. But it gives us both a laugh and lightens the mood.
This morning the subject was more about the things people say that can hurt us and why they hurt us.
 We discussed what goes on in our own heads when someone says something hurtful. We can either have a questioning, self doubting narrative in our head like this 'why did she say that, she doesn't like me, maybe other people don't like me, maybe she is better at everything than I am, maybe I'm just kidding myself, maybe other people think like she does, maybe I'm not pretty and I am clumsy' and so on. Or we can have a self affirming narrative that goes more like this 'Gosh poor thing. She must have a really low self esteem to feel like she has to keep picking on me to make herself feel good. Lucky me, I've got so many good things in my life that I don't feel the need to do that. In fact I don't even feel the need to retaliate because what she's saying is so freakin' ridiculous that it's not worthy of a response. Hahahaha. I'd really like to say something back to her, but I won't give her the pleasure of even acknowledging her because that's what she wants. Gosh I've got an awesome Mum...'
Well...okay I didn't tell her to say the bit about the awesome Mum for real, but it made her laugh.
It's called positive self talk. It's also been called making lemonade from lemons. It could also be called building resilience. It's a really valuable skill. For all of us.
How resilient are your kids? How resilient are you? Could you do with having a few more positive conversations with yourself? It makes a difference. Really it does.
Try it. You'll see.
And if that fails, Keep Calm and Think Like!


  1. Love your post! We can all use a calm, caring and clear thinking listener:) Hugs to you and your daughter. We called our Mom, Meme<3

  2. Thankyou for your lovely comment Michele! I will pass your tender hug on to my darling


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