As we live each day, it can be easy to get caught up in the busyness of our world. Following the latest trends and allowing social media and our friends to tell us how to think and what to feel. It can be hard to return to our roots and to know what you think when no one else is involved.
Self-awareness and self-understanding revolve around the idea of knowing yourself. It is about more than knowing that your favorite color is green and that you would prefer to drive rather than fly. It is about knowing if you recharge better around other people or by yourself. If you are happy with your job or activities. If you are satisfied with your life.
Five good ways to help you gain self-awareness and self-understanding are:
Spend time in self-reflection
Whether it is walking through a park, sitting in your room, or spending time doing a peaceful activity such as painting, sewing, journaling, or cooking, you need to reflect on yourself.
Psychologytoday.com author Bill George says that “You can’t gain self-awareness through knowing psychology. Rather, it requires a deep understanding of your past and current self. Experiences shape how we see the world. So, we have to reflect on how the world has shaped us.” The best way to understand yourself is to spend time with yourself.
Spend time in nature
There are many locations throughout our world dedicated as spots for humans to spend time outside. Typically, these places are provided by governments or other leading bodies and can be accessed for free or a small fee. Local parks, national parks, botanic gardens, greenhouses, and more all give humans a safe and peaceful place to relax and connect to nature.
Heart.org says that time spent in nature can help reduce stress, anxiety, disconnection, fatigue, self-involvement, and more. When we spend time outside, we can reflect, breathe, and take a moment to reconnect to our most primal self. In nature, there are no constant emails or smartphone alerts. There is only plenty of time and space to consider ourselves and our place in the world.
Receive honest feedback
It can be difficult for us to see our shortcomings. We often become so focused on all the good things that we do, that we are unable to see any areas for improvement. Receiving honest feedback from people you trust is the best way to see your areas that need improvement.
Harvard Business Review author Tasha Eurich stated that in her team’s studies on self-awareness, “we found that people who improved their external self-awareness did so by seeking out feedback from loving critics — that is, people who have their best interests in mind and are willing to tell them the truth. To ensure they don’t overreact or over correct based on one person’s opinion, they also gut-check difficult or surprising feedback with others.”
Think about others
By helping others, we help ourselves. When we empathize with other humans, we learn more about them. This understanding helps us to understand ourselves as well, providing a double benefit to caring for others.
Marianna Pogosyan’s article on Psychology.com talks about how we are neurobiologically made to empathize with other humans and animals. Empathizing is a building block of our morality, and not only does it help us be better leaders and improve our relationships, but it also helps us improve ourselves.
Make time for yourself
You will spend a lot of time doing things for other people throughout your life. Make sure you spend enough time doing things for yourself as well. Take up some space to do the things that you love. Among your self-reflection, take time to care for yourself such as a relaxing bath while you think.
Meg Sellg author from Psychologytoday.com recommends that you discover your VITAL Signs. V for values, I for interests, T for temperament, A for around-the-clock activities, L for life mission, and S for strengths.
Author Tchiki Davis at Psychologytoday.com says that "Self-awareness requires self-examination. Be aware, though, that an honest, non-judgmental self-analysis isn’t easy. We tend to berate ourselves for our failings or fantasize about how great we are, when neither is actually the case. We all have a unique mix of “good” and “bad” traits, but we are largely unaware of them. In order to self-reflect objectively, we need to quiet our minds and open our hearts, forgiving ourselves for our imperfections and offering ourselves kudos, but only where we deserve them.”
Eurich says that “Leaders who focus on building both internal and external self-awareness, who seek honest feedback from loving critics, and who ask what instead of why can learn to see themselves more clearly – and reap the many rewards that increased self-knowledge delivers.”
These five tips of spending time in self-reflection, spending time in nature, receiving honest feedback, thinking about others, and making time for yourself can help you to continue to gain self-understanding and self-awareness in your life.
When my niece was five, my brother became a single dad. The divorce got a little messy at times, and Alan had to make some decisions to make sure he didn’t lose his daughter right along with the marriage. One of Alan’s most important—and most difficult—commitments was to be consistently positive with his daughter’s mom. He chose to speak positively about her, to treat her with kindness and respect, and to always build her up in the presence of their child. He stuck with his plan, with great resolve, even when he knew he wasn’t being afforded the same courtesy in return.
I’m not suggesting my brother did everything right, but I am pointing out that one of the best things he could do for his relationship with his daughter was to treat her mother with consideration, sympathy, thoughtfulness, and support. Let’s not let our ideas about fairness become confused with what is right for our relationships and our children. Here are 5 reasons divorced dads should always take the high road.
“When a dad stops being married, he doesn’t stop being a dad and a role model.”
1. It’s the right thing to do.
When a dad stops being married, he doesn’t stop being a dad and a role model. Regardless of what led to the end of a marriage, we always have the opportunity to treat the mother of our children with kindness and consideration.
2. Our kids are smart enough to figure out the other parent’s faults without our coaching.
If the other parent is being unreasonable or ungracious, that’s something our kids will figure out soon enough. Fostering hostility only hurts our own relationships with our children.
3. Kindness is foundational to healing.
Separation and divorce are always painful, and everyone needs to heal. Our kindness will facilitate our own healing, our kids’ healing, and our former spouse’s healing too.
4. Children learn from our behavior more than from our words.
Watching the way we deal with stress and challenges teaches our children more clearly about doing the right thing than any lecture we could offer.
5. When we put others ahead of ourselves, everyone wins.
We live in a competitive culture. We want there to be winners and losers, and we think we have to be first. “If my ex-spouse looks like a loser, then I look like a winner.” Sorry, but that’s not going to fly. This may be counterintuitive, but everyone looks good if we make our competition look good. Dad looks good if he makes mom look good, even if they’re divorced. Putting others first is the first step to moving forward ourselves.
Source: All Pro Dads - https://tinyurl.com/f4wh7xxh
"It is my firm belief that the best way to fix the world - a handyman's dream,
if ever there was one - is to fix yourself." - Jordan B. Peterson
Raising a child as a single father can feel intimidating. It seems like everywhere you look, there are messages saying how influential a mom is on her kids. It can leave you feeling like you’re not enough on your own.
But I’d argue that not only are you able to raise incredible kids as a single dad, you’re also uniquely positioned to do it. You have opportunities that two-parent families don’t. If you parent with purpose, doing these 7 things, your kids will notice, model your behavior, and grow in incredibleness.
1. Watch your words.
As a single dad, your kids are listening to your voice more than anyone else’s. It can be tempting to speak negatively if you feel like you got the short end of the stick—your wife passed away, your divorce was unwanted, your finances are a burden. But the words you use as you navigate raising a child as a single father will set the stage for how they handle difficult times.
2. Practice forgiveness.
It’s been said, “When we refuse to forgive, it’s like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.” You possess a unique opportunity for your kids not only to hear you practice forgiveness but also to see the transformation that forgiveness can bring.
3. Never stop the conversation.
”If you’re raising a child as a single father, chances are you have a strong bond. You probably have rich and intentional conversations. Make this your thing: You and your kids talk. There’s nothing they can’t come to you about. Start a conversation with your kids that never ends.
4. Be accountable and hold them accountable.
When your kids hear you say, “I knew better and should’ve done this differently,” or “This kind of behavior isn’t how we act in this family,” it communicates that you have standards that everyone is held to. Even though life in your home looks different from another family’s, both Dad and kids are still expected to take responsibility for their actions.
5. Focus on gratitude.
You can probably name a dozen reasons life is tough. But for each of those reasons, you also have a reason to be thankful. “It’s hard paying rent on my own” becomes “Thank you, God, for a warm bed.” And “If I don’t make dinner, it’s not getting made” becomes “I’m so glad we can sit around the table to eat together.” Speak these words out loud and your kids will learn to focus on gratitude, too.
6. Find good mentors.
After my divorce, I moved in with my parents and my sons got to observe married life. Even though they were still young, I am grateful that they got to watch the interaction of a husband and wife. Pick out a few influential people in your child’s life (such as a teacher, coach, aunt, or uncle) and let them know you appreciate the example they’re setting. They might even step up their mentoring game.
7. Show them how to make sacrifices.
“Never give up what you want at the moment for what you want most.” I read that at a meeting 15 years ago and have applied it every day since. You might sacrifice the new shoes you want because you know your son’s feet are growing fast. Maybe you sacrifice getting in the last word with your ex-wife because you want your kids to see what self-control looks like. Help your kids identify what is most important to them—academically, spiritually, socially—and then set an example of sacrifice so they can focus on those priorities.
Source: All Pro Dads - https://tinyurl.com/y7554btj
Psychologists define assertiveness as “the ability to express yourself in a calm, open, and direct way while still respecting others.” Assertiveness is the intermediary between an aggressive and passive style of communication. It is rated as a vital skill that improves the quality of life and relationships with friends, family, and co-workers.
Assertive people take a point of view and defend it while helping others understand their point of view. People who lack this skill have their boundaries constantly violated by others. Assertiveness is a skill and is associated with self-confidence and self-respect. Like all skills, assertiveness can be learned with a little bit of time and discipline.
Learning assertiveness is a wise choice as psychologists have proven that being assertive helps reduce stress, control anger, and improve the overall quality of life.
This article shall discuss tips you can use to learn assertiveness.
You need to have a strong belief in your value to be more assertive. This involves gaining a good perception of yourself and your value. The foundation on which assertiveness is built is this high self-value and belief. Once you value yourself, it's easy to protect your boundaries and kick against everything that tramples on your rights and dignity.
Standing up for your needs and wants also becomes infinitely easier with a healthy self-value and confidence. Care should, however, be taken as self-confidence and self-importance are separated by an extremely thin line.
Self-confidence is understanding that your needs, feelings, and thoughts are as important as everybody else, while self-importance is thinking they are MORE important and overrule every other person.
Boldly Voice Your Wants And Needs
A tip to being assertive is to confidently state your wants and needs and ensure they are met. Do not wait for another person to miraculously perceive what you want, as you might have to wait forever. Identify what you want and clearly state it to avoid other people making this decision for you.
Remember to stick to your demands once you state them as long as the demand is reasonable and made with respect. Stating your needs in an aggressive or pushy way might ruin your relationship and make people less likely to see things your way.
A sure sign of non-assertive people is the inability to say No. While saying no can be quite difficult, especially if you're beginning your journey to being more assertive, saying no is essential to being more assertive.
Say no if that's what you feel about a request or solicitation. A common reason people give for saying yes even when they do not feel like it is trying to avoid conflict. However, always saying yes to all requests is a sure way of reaching a massive conflict shortly as you cannot satisfy everyone. Protect your time and interests by saying no when that's what you feel like on the inside.
Don't Try To Manage People's Emotions
Saying no can leave most people feeling sad or disappointed, and it is a common mistake to fall into the trap of trying to make them feel better. This is usually a bigger error than always saying yes. When you say no, and people act resentful or angry, acknowledge that they might be having a hard time and move on.
Avoid the mistake of trying to make them feel better or responding in the same way they reacted to your assertiveness. As long as you made the best choice for yourself and you were courteous about it, move on and let them handle their emotions themselves.
Research has linked self-confidence to being assertive. If self-confidence is an issue, it can be quite difficult to say no to a request by your boss right after reading this article. A good way to being more assertive is to start small.
You can request a different table at a restaurant, say no to an invitation to watch a game, or saying no to a child throwing a tantrum for candy. Develop your assertiveness step by step. These baby steps, when constantly practiced, build the foundation of a life of assertiveness at the highest level.
While assertiveness can be learned, it requires constant practice, time, and dedication to master it. Take a step today by practicing the tips recorded in this article, and you'll soon find yourself being more assertive.
What are the things you want your daughter to become? When she is all grown up, there will be a moment when you’ll just know. It happened to me. There is a sudden revelation that goes something like, “Oh my gosh—we really did it. This is a full-grown woman standing here talking to me.”
When it happens, you’re going to start flashing back through all the phases from diapers to graduations. Everything that happens in those years influences the woman she’ll become—and you’re living those years now, as your daughter grows before your eyes. Here are 5 things you want her to become.
Competence breeds confidence and you want her to possess both of those traits. We know the challenges adulthood will bring, so we want to be sure she’s armed with the necessary skills to make a way for herself. This includes participating in her education and providing extra support when needed, teaching her necessary life skills, and most of all, being present throughout her childhood as a loving role model. She will be prepared for the future with the skills you are teaching her instead of dealing with the frustration of inexperience.
You want a daughter who achieves in her education, gets along well with family and community, and has a broad array of interests and abilities. You can accomplish this by taking her on varied travels beyond tourist traps, exposing her to the many forms of art and sciences, and via service work in the community. A person who is well-rounded will be a more empathetic and effective adult leader.
Self-awareness is a conscious knowing of personal character strengths and flaws, and being tuned into individual motivations, desires, and abilities. We can cultivate self-awareness in our daughters primarily with consistent and honest feedback—with both praise and correction. The person who lacks self-awareness moves into adulthood unable to accept criticism, which creates unnecessary delays in growth and progress. They might also waste valuable time chasing pursuits for which they aren’t suited. We can further encourage self-awareness by teaching her how to set goals and priorities, practice self-reflection, and keep a daily journal of thoughts and experiences.
4. Filled With Integrity
Is she who she claims to be? Do her actions back up her words? To help your daughter become an honest person with strong principles and convictions, model what you want her to become. Children absorb what they see in their parents, so when she sees her father, be sure what she is absorbing is a man of honest character who stands on high moral principles.
A compassionate person has sympathy and concern for everybody’s lives and not just his or her own. We can develop compassion in daughters by teaching basic manners like saying “please” and “thank you,” modeling acts of kindness, volunteer service, and being emotionally available and comforting. Here is a deeper look into how to raise a compassionate child.
Source: All Pro Dad - https://tinyurl.com/ebn2p85j
They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger—but that’s only if we apply the right tools to challenges in life and learn how to conquer them. I have faced all the examples I’m going to list for you. Some I have pushed through with relative ease and others are still a work in progress.
We all experience challenges in life, but here are 5 barriers that single fathers face and how to overcome them.
1. The Unnaturalness of Single Parenting
I believe parenting was created as a two-person system. When one parent is removed from the equation for whatever reason, the full burden falls on the other. You may be caring for your kids completely alone or perhaps with shared custody. Either way, surrounding yourself and your children with other healthy adults to help fill in the gaps is wise. If appropriate, is there a woman who can help mentor your growing daughter? Perhaps there are others you can trust to help carry the weight of childcare, transportation, or other daily needs.
2. Mom and the Courts
Yup, I’m going there. The reality is there are plenty of great dads being hindered by spiteful moms and biased courts. The pain and frustration can cause a downward spiral that can quickly get out of control if not checked early. Whether your situation with Mom ever gets easier, or if the court order doesn’t change, I highly encourage you to remain focused on one thing: parenting your children to the absolute best of your ability for the sake of their long-term growth.
3. Father Wounds
For better or worse, our fathers have a major impact on the ways we view ourselves and the ways we parent our children. Perhaps your own father did not give you his best because he was always working or he wasn’t a generally affectionate man. Are you living with scars from his words or lack of presence in your life? Despite any emotional roadblocks your father left for you, you can make sure you don’t leave the same in your kids’ lives. Who can you talk with to begin the healing process now and be free from this barrier once and for all?
4. Failure to Adjust With Your Children
OK, this could be said for many parents. It seems just as we are getting used to a certain age and behavior level, our kids move on to the next stage in life! Anytime we are not intentional about adjusting to our children’s growing emotional and physical needs, we risk falling short in parenting. Extracurricular activities (and their growing social lives) only add to the urgency. If a single father is proactive in his children’s lives and makes the necessary adjustments, it will reap long-term benefits and help establish his children as healthy adults.
Whether or not by your choice, physical distance between you and your children may seem strenuous or confusing. Can you really parent from a distance? Yes! Dad, your words and influence will always carry great weight in your kids’ lives. Stay connected to their school and encourage them to stay on top of their work. Tell them how much you love and miss them and express influence by encouraging them to behave for their mom. Ask the tough life questions—no different than if you were living with them. I think it is fair to say that a father who is parenting correctly from a great distance can be more effective than a dad who lives with his children but is uninvolved or emotionally distant.
Source: All Pro Dad - https://tinyurl.com/yt4zjbh4
What do you think the signs of manhood are? Who do you think displays them? Your favorite professional athlete like Lebron James or Tom Brady? Or perhaps a mogul or business leader like Jay-Z or Elon Musk? Maybe you think of your own dad or grandfather. There are lots of characteristics and people we tend to associate with manhood. And some of these are really positive—but many are often unhelpful and even exaggerated.
We need to be intentional about helping our sons rethink manhood. If we aren’t, then they’re often going to absorb from our culture the most exaggerated but seductive messages: that “real” men have power, make lots of money, are “tough guys,” have frequent sex. I don’t know about you, but I want more for my son than any of these things. Here are 5 ways we want our sons to rethink manhood.
1. Men are responsible. We need men who take responsibility for themselves and for those they care for. Our sons are often taught that the most important thing is that they have fun and that they are happy. Of course there is a time and place for fun and happiness and a life without these things is a lot harder than a life with them. But we need young men who can take responsibility for their lives, for their futures, and for those around them.
2. Men are courageous. As dads, we work hard to protect our kids from danger. This is crucial. However, sometimes we can take this too far and teach our children that the world is a scary and dangerous place where it’s far better to take few if any risks. But we don’t need men who are risk-averse. We need men who are courageous, can risk speaking up when something is wrong, and can make unpopular choices.
3. Men are sage. When we think about the “signs of manhood,” the word sage rarely comes to mind, but that needs to change. We need sages more than CEOs. We need elders who have experienced loss and failure and come out the other side having learned what’s really important, who are willing to pass what they’ve learned on to others. If that’s going to happen, we need sons who know that the point is not to win but to learn and grow.
“If you are given the gift of influence, use it for the well-being of the people you lead.”
4. Men are servant-leaders. We want our boys to become men who lead. We also want them to understand leadership not as a top-down, ego-centered power move, but as a way to help others become their best. If you are given the gift of influence, use it for the well-being of the people you lead. Use your influence to move us toward a more equitable, just, and beautiful future for all, not to secure power for yourself.
5. Men are accountable. One of the biggest signs of manhood I believe we need our sons to embrace is that of accountability. We don’t expect our boys to become perfect men, but we need them to be accountable. When they mess up, they need to fess up. When they misstep, they need to own it. We need a world in which men gladly submit themselves to being held accountable for their actions so that they are much less likely to do things for which they will be ashamed.
These are the signs of manhood we want our sons to have embedded in their understanding. This is what we want them to aspire to as they mature. The key is, if we want them to rethink manhood, it begins with the most influential man in their lives: you.
source: All Pro Dad - https://rb.gy/rio00g
The last thing you want to think when you are on your deathbed is that at any time, you wasted life. Whether you’re at the beginning, middle, or end, you want to live fully. That is one thought I have had since I am moving into the second half of mine. It’s pretty much impossible to know for certain if you’re in the second half of your life. The definitive information isn’t available until you really don’t need it anymore. However, there is something undeniably pivotal about reaching your 40s and 50s and hearing that “it’s all downhill from here” (or something like that)
Regardless of exactly when the second half of your life begins, there’s absolutely no reason for anyone to fail to live with enthusiasm, resolve, and passion. Here are 5 ways to find meaning in the second half of your life.
1. Fine-tune your purpose.
Younger men invest so much energy in “getting ahead” and establishing a family that they sometimes forget to consider the “so what?” That “so what” is going to save you from a wasted life. It will help you shine despite the empty nest, retirement, and loss of professional focus.
“Don’t wait for meaning to come to you when there are so many needs that can benefit from your gifts.”
2. Seize the day.
Take some classes. Teach a class. Volunteer. Get involved in your grandchildren’s lives. Put the wisdom of your experience to good use. In other words, grab the opportunity and seize the day. Don’t wait for meaning to come to you when there are so many needs that can benefit from your gifts.
3. Arrive there in sound fiscal shape.
Prepare now for the second half of your life by making financial decisions that will free up your resources to serve your family and be generous to the world.
4. Love your family like never before.
By now, you’ve learned a lot about your own gifts and the particular needs of the people you love. Don’t waste this opportunity. Put that knowledge into practice and love your family with all the wisdom and skill that you now have.
5. Avoid slipping into maintenance mode over-performance mode.
Don’t fall into the trap of letting your guard down because all the hard work has already been done. No—if you are married, then fight for your wife’s love like never before. Get to know your kids all over again. Hone your existing skills and learn new ones. Continue to push the envelope. Invest in your education or faith or community like you never have before. Finish in a sprint.
source: All Pro Dad
I visited a Catholic church during a recent trip to New York City. My wife and I attended Sunday morning mass and sat behind parents who had a two-year-old son. The boy was fidgety, bored, and confused by his surroundings. He behaved as any two-year-old would at church. The boy’s father undoubtedly was irritated by his son. But instead of telling the boy to be quiet, he would pinch him. The most upsetting aspect of this display of parenting came just before communion. The boy took notice of a profound moment and said aloud, “Wow! Who is that?” pointing toward the priest, who held up the Eucharist. Instead of answering the question, the kid’s father flicked his ear so hard that the boy started to cry. He then reprimanded his son: “Boys don’t cry.”
That boy’s dad probably was parenting the only way he knew how—which is probably how his father parented him. If we are unconscious of our inherited beliefs, they will determine the way we parent. And some of those beliefs are social norms that can destroy your son’s masculine identity and lead to stunted growth. Here are 5 social norms that will stunt your son’s growth into manhood." READ MORE