The Toddler Approach

Have you ever been upset with how your mind behaves? More times than I’d like to admit, I’ve found myself upset with how the mind keeps sending me disturbing messages; messages that, though untrue, tend to wreak havoc on the emotions.
Rather than being upset with the mind, why not treat it as you would a toddler? How upset would you be with a toddler for knocking over a picture frame? Isn’t that what toddlers are supposed to do? How helpful would getting upset at a toddler be anyway?
Perhaps a more effective way to work with a “tantrumming mind” is to send it words of understanding and support–something you might say to to a toddler in a moment of distress: There, there…I can sense you are struggling right now. I understand that you are doing the best you can and I’m willing to be patient with you.
Practicing the understanding that, like a toddler, the “thinking part” of the brain is relatively new to the task of navigating the external world, may help you feel better about having to deal with the disturbing messages the mind sends you from time to time. It might even help you to feel compassionate toward the mind, and toward yourself for living a human life.
Written by Tony Madril, LCSW, BCD

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