Before you cross the street, take my hand. Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.- John Lennon, “Beautiful Boy, Darling Boy”
Think for a moment about your childhood and all of the small, sometimes unnoticed, maybe even embarrassing gestures your parents performed for you. You probably hated it when your mom kissed you on the playground in front of your friends, for instance. As adults, however, when we find ourselves in a stressful, sometimes unfair workaday world, we long for those reassuring acts of kindness, reminding us that someone loves us no matter what we do or what anyone else thinks of us. Here are fifteen little acts of love parents perform for their children that we miss as adults.
1. Checking for monsters
They lurked in your closet. They skulked under the bed. They went bump in the night and sent you running to your parents’ room, and it didn’t matter how many times a night Mom or Dad had to pick you up, carry you back to your room, and switch on the lights to show you that everything was safe. No matter how grown up you are now, you probably wish every now and then when you hear a noise outside your apartment that you had a parent to reassure you. Of course, you could always do what I recently did and FaceTime your dad for a virtual monster check, but I’ve been told that grown women in their 30s don’t usually do this. Who knew?
2. Giving you piggyback rides
I always used to think that if I sat on my dad’s shoulders I could touch the clouds, and I never worried about falling. Dad’s operate on some kind of superhero code of conduct; they’d never drop a girl, especially their daughter. As an adult, I sometimes find myself longing for those days if for no other reason than that they represent a time when I naively believed my parents could protect me from everything.Advertising
3. Making your school lunch
Whenever I’ve had to wake up early to prepare my lunch for work because I forgot to do it the night before like a responsible adult, I’ve really appreciated all those times my mom did it for me growing up. Not to mention the hearts she drew in my peanut butter sandwiches. Mine just don’t taste the same.
4. Letting you lick the spatula while baking
Okay, you can do this one on your own (not that I’m guilty of this, or anything), but face it, it felt so much more like a treat when Mom or Dad let you lick chocolate chip cookie dough from the spoon. Like hearts in peanut butter sandwiches, cookie dough tastes sweeter when it’s offered in love.
5. Taking care of you when you were sick
You probably heard people warn you that the first time you’d really miss your mom while away at college would be the first time you were sick. Your roommates didn’t have a problem finding miracle cures for your hangover, but nothing soothes a scratchy throat and fever like Mom’s chicken noodle soup.
6. Reading you bedtime stories
As fun as it is to curl up with a good book and a cup of coffee on a rainy Saturday, sometimes it’s not half as fun as listening to Mom or Dad read your favorite story for the tenth, or twentieth, or thirtieth time. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie remains my all-time favorite. Whether they read slowly and paused to let you stare at the pictures or gave their best Oscar-winning performances of all of the character voices, nothing matches the simple pleasure of escaping into the fictional worlds they brought to life for you.Advertising
7. Kissing your injuries
Whether it was a skinned knee, a scraped elbow, or a cut finger, there was nothing a kiss from Mom and a Mickey Mouse band aid couldn’t heal. You can’t really expect your roommate or partner to perform this loving gesture, and in any case they don’t make adult-sized Mickey Mouse band aids. I’ve looked. (Don’t judge).
8. Displaying your Kindergarten artwork for all to see
That finger-painting of the family dog wasn’t exactly a Rembrandt or Picasso. It didn’t even look like a dog as much as an abstract brown and white-speckled blob that might have resembled a living creature if you tilted your head slightly to the left. It didn’t matter though; it went on the fridge, or on Dad’s desk at work. Some parents might argue that celebrating everything your children do gives them a participation trophy mentality—the idea that they should be rewarded just for showing up. However, the truth is that it showed you that what you did mattered to them and made you feel special in a way that as adults we rarely do, especially when the work we do often goes unrecognized.
9. Redecorating your room every time you developed a new obsession
SpongeBob, Power puff Girls, Batman, Pokémon—you name it, they put up with it because they knew how important it was for you to be able to express yourself, growing through your regularly reconstructed identity. Now they have to keep up with your selfies and Facebook status updates, which change much more frequently than the SpongeBob wallpaper and are sprinkled with acronyms they don’t understand.
10. Asking you how your day was
If you talk to your parents regularly, they probably do ask you how your day was, but they can’t follow you around and pester you for an answer the way they did when you were a teenager. As much as you hated it then, you miss it now, especially if you live alone. This was your parents’ way of emphasizing the importance of communication and expressing to you that they cared about what went on in your life, and it’s one of those things we don’t miss until it’s gone.Advertising
11. Making you clean your room
Maybe on the surface this doesn’t sound like an act of love, but it is, and your parents can’t technically “make” you do anything as an adult. Sometimes I luxuriate in the liberty of not having to do my chores when I can’t be bothered. The truth forces me to admit, however, that more often than not I find myself frantically tidying the apartment at the last minute when I’m expecting houseguests, and by tidying up, I naturally mean shoving everything into the closet out of sight of said houseguests. “making” you do anything you didn’t want to do, from Saturday morning chores to homework, was your parents’ way of teaching you the value of responsibility and how to appreciate the sense of accomplishment at having fulfilled that responsibility.
12. Playing “airplane” with your spoon at the dinner table to get you to eat your vegetables
Did your parents ever make that “zoom” noise while coming at you with a spoon-full of broccoli? You have to give them credit for the ingenuity because they weren’t making you laugh for your own amusement; they had only a split-second to shove the spoon into your mouth while it was open, and as a result, you got your daily serving of necessary vitamins and minerals. You might not “miss” this in the same way you miss Mom’s chocolate chip cookies, but it’s hard not to feel a little twinge of nostalgia at the ridiculous antics she was willing to stoop to in order to get you to clean your plate.
13. Pushing you on the swings
Remember those lazy summer Saturday afternoons you spent picnicking at the park and playing on the swings, convinced that if you swung just a little higher you’d become airborne like a superhero? In those moments, there was nothing equal to the simple pleasure of feeling Mom or Dad’s hands at your back, responding to your insistent exclamations of “Higher! Higher!” with another push no matter how tired their arms became. Life was so much simpler when they propelled you forward and gave you a boost to get to where you wanted to go, but hopefully the memory can serve as a lasting reminder that they’re always behind you in everything you do.
14. Writing sick notes
We all have days when we wish our moms could write a note to get us out of that duller than ditchwater business meeting, but as adults we have to invent our own elaborately constructed plots to play hooky from work. True, you have the autonomy as an adult to decide whether or not to use up your vacation day nursing a tequila hangover, but somehow staying home and binge-watching House of Cards would feel a lot better with written parental endorsement.Advertising
15. Picking you up when you fell
This last one sums up everything it means to be a parent: supporting you in everything you do, whether learning to ride a bike or getting into your dream college. It also means encouraging you when you fall short of the mark, which everyone does from time to time because nobody is perfect. There’s nothing quite as comforting as being scooped up in a protective hug after falling from your bike, knowing that however badly it hurt, the pain would go away eventually and you’d find the strength to give it another try. Maybe your parents no longer pick you up and dust you off, but if you’re lucky, they’ve never stopped giving you the support and encouragement we all need to forge ahead in life.
Featured photo credit: Father and Daughter via pixabay.com
Last Updated on May 27, 2019
How to Think Positive and Eliminate Negative Thoughts
In a world that is full of external factors that we cannot control, it is becoming more and more important to at least control ourselves.
Thinking positively can have a tremendous effect on our lives. By eliminating negative thoughts, we’re able to at least influence the part of our lives that we can control: our own mindset.
In this article, you will learn how to think positive and ditch the negative thoughts. Before we dive into the step-by-step guide on how to do so, I’d like to share with you how I learned to thinking positive the hard way…
How I Learned to Think Positive
At the start of 2019, I was quite stressed at work with multiple tight deadlines. I was constantly worried and the stress was affecting my ability to sleep. Numerous nights in a row, I would experience insomnia, where I had a staring contest with the ceiling because my mind would simply not stop thinking about all the stressful things I had to deal with.
I eventually got up and wrote everything down. Every single thought that rushed through my head, I wrote it down in detail. This allowed me to do a couple of things:
- It made everything relatable
- It showed me that every obstacle that was on my mind was not that big on its own. I was only stressed because these obstacles were big in numbers, while independently, these obstacles were just minor things that I could overcome.
- It allowed me to think positively about these little obstacles and how I was going to conquer them one at a time.
- Writing down my negative emotions allowed me to wipe them clean from my mind. Think of it as a laptop: after having browsed for a long time, I was able to clear my RAM and start fresh. My mind was finally clear from negative thoughts.
After doing this, I was finally able to sleep, and the next day, I slowly started to tackle these small obstacles.
This is just one example of how I manage to think positively and eliminate negative thoughts from dominating my mind.
Here are other actionable steps you can follow in order to achieve the same thing.
Step 1: Turn Every Obstacle into Smaller “Challenges”
In the intro, you read that I was stressed because I was worrying about a big number of small obstacles as opposed to one big devastating obstacle. Writing down my worries allowed me to zoom out and look at the bigger picture.
As a result, I observed my problems as single challenges that I could overcome.
When you’re currently surrounded with negativity – whether that’s because of a stressful project or problems in a relationship – you should try to dissect that challenge into different sub-challenges.
For example, if you have to deliver a huge presentation at work on Friday, try to think of this big task as multiple smaller tasks:
- Find sources to support your presentation
- Think of interesting anecdotes, introductions or examples
- Create a general outline of your presentation
- Complete the first 5 slides
- Add a small video or puzzle to your presentation
- Finish the presentation
- Think of a keyword for each slide to remember what you have to say
- Practice the presentation in order to finish it within 30 minutes
- Deliver a great presentation
While this example may not be relevant to you, the message is all the same. You can tackle pretty much any obstacle – no matter how big it may seem – as long as you take it one step at the time.
That’s how you can eliminate negative thoughts such as “I can never do that” or “I’ll never be good enough” or “I’ll never reach that goal” from controlling your actions.
Take it one step at the time and pretty much any goal becomes manageable.
Step 2: Realize That Positive Thoughts Can Be a Choice
Happiness is determined as follows:
- 50% is determined by genetics
- 10% is determined by external factors
- 40% is determined by your own outlook
This determination has been studied by numerous researchers, and while the details differ, the results all share the same observation:
Your happiness can be influenced by your own thoughts.
Even though there are things in life that we cannot control, we can still often control how we react to these things.
In that sense, we might not get to control 100% of our happiness but we can still influence a big chunk of it.
I believe we can learn to influence the 40% of our happiness that is determined by our own personal outlook. Happiness is a choice, and you can learn to recognize these situations on your own.
How does this help you to think positive and eliminate negative thoughts?
Well, because this shows you that it pays off to learn how to think positively in difficult situations.
By developing this skill, you can really increase happiness in your life. It is definitely not always easy, but you can change a bad day into a good one just by focusing on the positives instead of the negatives.
This is the reason why I love this quote of Winston Churchill:
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity whereas an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Step 3: Spend Time with the People That Have a Positive Influence on Your Life and Be Grateful for Them
Almost everybody has a small circle of people that they trust and love, whether that’s a partner, family or friends. These people have a positive influence on your life.
I want you to focus on spending more time with these people. When you’re surrounded by negativity, you are more likely to postpone activities that require you to be outgoing. You’d rather be lazy and watch Netflix all day than to go outside and meet up with your friend.
You must try to break out of your comfort zone and spend more time with the people who actually have a positive influence on your happiness. These people can act as a support net for the moments when you’re feeling down. This might sound intimidating and scary, but it’s a step that should not be underestimated.
Even when you don’t feel comfortable sharing your challenges with these people, there’s another thing you can actively do to initiate positive thoughts; and that’s to be grateful that these people are in your life:
- Be grateful that you have parents who support you, no matter what you do.
- Be grateful for the friends with whom you can laugh your ass off.
- Be grateful that you have a healthy and loving partner.
- Be grateful that you have a kid that looks up to you and thinks you are the best.
Being grateful might sound like a rather pointless thing to do. Why would being grateful help you in thinking more positively and eliminating negative thoughts?
Well, the answer is simple.
Being grateful forces you to think of the good things that you already have in your life. This allows you to face your issues with optimism, instead of negativity. People that actively practice gratitude are much better able to deal with toxic emotions.
So what do you have to do?
Go out there and meet up with the people you love, and be grateful for having these people in your life.
To help inspire you to feel more grateful, here’re 60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life.
Step 4: Don’t Give up After a Setback
So you had a bad day last week? Or maybe a terrible week in which you allowed negative thoughts to control your life? Who cares!
We are only human, so we’re bound to experience a day of negativity every once in a while. It’s important to realize that everybody occasionally experiences negative thoughts in their life. Eternal happiness does not exist. Even the happiest man alive has experienced negativity and sadness on some days.
What you need to when this inevitably happens to you:
- Don’t let this set you back.
- Don’t interpret it as a failure
- Don’t let it stop you from trying to think positive
You see, even the most optimistic person experiences negativity on occasion. Sure, we can try to be as positive as possible every day, but we have to accept that negativity is something that we have to deal with from time to time.
So what if you’re engulfed in negative thoughts today? Screw it and know that tomorrow is a new day and that you can try to work on this again.
Take a look at this article and learn about Why Negative Emotions Aren’t That Bad (And How to Handle Them).
In the end, there’s no arguing that we cannot control 100% of our happiness. We can’t stand in front of a mirror, repeat the words “I am thinking happy thoughts only” ninety-nine times and accept to suddenly be happy.
It doesn’t work like that.
However, there are a number of things we can do to at least improve our mindset in the situations where we do get to choose how we react to external factors.
I hope that you have a better idea of what you can do in these situations. Sooner than later, you will influence your own mindset to think positively and to eliminate negative thoughts.
More Articles About Positivity And Happiness
- How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up
- How to Change Your Mindset for a Happy And Successful Life
- 10 Practical Tips To Make Positive Thinking Your Habit
- How to Be Happy Again: 13 Simple Ways to Shake off Sadness Now
Featured photo credit: Lucas Marconnet via unsplash.com