Dayna Sharp, LCSW
A New Year and the Nurtured Heart Approach
The New Year is a time of reflection and of resolution. What do we want to do differently next year? It's like a rebirth...another chance to do things differently.
Which reminds me of the Nurtured Heart Approach, and specifically its "Reset" concept. It's simple yet powerful. When you find yourself off track, when you and your loved one(s) are escalating in conflict, when your kids are breaking the rules, you simply take a "reset". It's a brief pause to reflect on where you are, followed by an intention to get back on track. Every "reset" is seen as an opportunity to create another chance for success. Sounds great, right? It is! And it's easy enough to start using it right away!
The Nurtured Heart Approach has another concept that rings New Year for me as well: "The Three Legged Table".
When I hear people talk about New Year's Resolutions, they are mostly all about behavior change, giving up sweets or improving their relationships. The Three Legged Table is a great foundation for all of these things. Overindulging in sweets, alcohol, etc. is often a result of energizing negativity. These kinds of behaviors help us to soothe our distressful feelings and thoughts. The problem is that we often feel worse about ourselves after overindulging. Hence, the first step: Absolutely NO! I refuse to energize negativity!
Saying "NO" is powerful, but you know what can be even more potent? Saying "YES!". Make it an intention to seek out the positive. Find the strengths in yourself and your loved ones. It sounds easy, but in the everyday moments of life, this can be genuinely challenging.
Clarity around your limits is necessary for any resolution. What does it mean to "give up sweets"? What are the rules of your home? What behaviors or language is unacceptable from your loved ones? The third leg of the table is all about finding your voice, and using it gently but powerfully to vocalize your needs and limits.
Putting it All Together
Refusing to engage in negativity means clearly choosing to focus on the positive AND clearly but un-energetically setting limits. "You have committed to giving up sweets this year, and you will not eat that cookie. You are a strong woman, and you care about your health. Walk away". Or here's another example. "I hear that you're upset tv time is over. But I know that you can turn it off and walk away. You are a strong, capable child and you know that it is bedtime".
And, when things don't go so smoothly, there's always an opportunity to "reset". "Okay, so you ate the cookie. Reset. Breathe in your intention to eat healthier. Remember all of the chances you have to make the choices that you feel good about. You are a strong, thoughtful woman and you can do this!" Reset! Here's another example: "I hear that you're disappointed that tv time is over. But screaming in the house is against the rules. Let's take a reset, and come upstairs. I know that you want to do the right thing, and I want to help you do that. Come on, let's go together". Or, here's another example: "This argument is getting a little too heated...Let's do a reset. How can we talk about this in a way that will be productive? Do we need to take a break?
The Nurtured Heart Approach offers a great model, but like most things, can be really difficult to implement in your daily life when things get stressful. Creating Space Counseling and Wellness can help you to figure out how to use these ideas in your life so that you can live with more compassion, more harmony. For this New Year, take a leap and go deeper. "Reset" and intentionally create a new path, moment by moment, everyday this year.
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