Big Idea: How you are in your relationship with yourself determines how your relationships with others are.
If you are compassionate with yourself, you have the ability to be compassionate to others. Likewise, If you are fierce with yourself, you are probably fierce with others.
But, Matt! I was raised to put other people first.
Yup. I was, too. But loving yourself isn’t a selfish act. I would argue that it’s a prerequisite to loving others. Loving yourself gives you the awareness and understanding of what love is. Then you can extend it to other people (and pets!)
But, Matt! I read self-help books and listen to self-help podcasts all the time, and still feel like I can’t be truly loving to other people.
There’s a difference between self-love and self-help. Try working on self-acceptance first. Then you’ll have the capacity for improvement.
This week, try this: The next time you extend yourself grace or are proud of something you’ve accomplished, I’ll bet there’s this little inner critic that tries to negate your good feelings. Talk back! Ask that little devil to cite their sources!
Quote: "Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have." ~Robert Holden
Educator Resource: New Directions in Education Conference - Trauma & SEL & Schools. Keynote Kristin Souers (author of Fostering Resilient Learners) and the rest of the experts will be here all day for workshops and breakouts. Come learn from the best in Collinsville, IL on June 7, 2023. FREE thanks to the ISBE Hub 5 SEL Grant
Dad Joke: I accidentally drank a bottle of invisible ink. Now I'm at the hospital waiting to be seen.
Happy Valentines Day! May you do your part in keeping the sugar industry up and running. :) If this was forwarded to you, and you’d like your own copy, sign up here.
Big Idea: Control freaks and the role of suffering.
An Open Letter to Control Freaks Everywhere:
It’s human nature to judge, categorize, and compare. It’s also human nature to be feel unhappy. Could there be a connection?
This last weekend, I went to the beginner yoga class that my wife teaches every Saturday morning. (Spoiler Alert: she kicked my *$$)
As I lay on my mat during her intention-setting session at the beginning, I noticed that instead of listening with an open heart, I was listening for what I disagreed with, for what I would have done differently.
My action was so wrong on so many levels.
Pema Chodron also says, “You should never have expectations for other people. Just be kind to them.”
How many times a day are you disappointed because something or someone didn’t meet your expectations? Where did those expectations come from? A bias? A judgement? A comparison to something or someone else?
This week, try this: The next time a student’s behavior disappoints you, ask yourself, “What pre-conceived expectation did I have for this student? Where did it come from? Why do I even have one?”
Quote: "Suffering usually relates to wanting things to be different from the way they are." ~Pema Chodron
Educator Resource: EVERFI - Social & Emotional Curriculum - EVERFI uses community partners to fund their work, so it’s always free. As a tech coach, I used to recommend these resources to everyone. It had been a minute since I’d explored their offerings, and I see they have a whole section of SEL courses for ALL grade levels.
Dad Joke: 6:30 is the best time on a clock. Hands down.
February is here! That’s snow day month. If this was forwarded to you, and you’d like your own copy, sign up here.
Big Idea: If you can't love yourself, you can't love others.
I have a tattoo on my back of the kanji symbol for tranquility. To me, inner peace is a quintessential necessity for personal contentment or happiness. If individuals strive for personal tranquility, I would bet the world would be a lot more peaceful.
I’ve read that the same is true for love: If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love others.
What about self awareness? I would bet that the more self aware you are, the more empathetic you can be. I think it would be hard to recognize and understand emotions in others if you haven’t first recognized and understood them in yourself.
People talk about how this inner work of becoming more self-aware is selfish - we don’t have time for that because certainly there are more important things in our lives.
But is this true? As educators in a helping profession, I would argue that self-work is a prerequisite.
This week, try this: The next time you feel disgust or hate or fear in regard to another person, take a moment (even if it’s hours later) and do an inner dive as to why you felt that way. I wonder if it’s because you don’t like the same/similar quality about yourself?
Quote: "If you cannot find peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else." ~Marvin Gaye
Educator Resource: ParentABLE - FREE for SY23-24! - Is your 8 - 12 curriculum looking for evidence-based parenting/childcare content? I would highly recommend ParentABLE’s 10-day unit that fits nicely into other SEL, families and childcare, early childhood, etc. curriculum. If you have started a pipeline for future teachers in your high school, this should be an essential unit.
I had a conversation with the founder and CEO, Katharine Bensinger and published it on our podcast. In it, she talks about their P.A.R.E.N.T. philosophy and how their perspective shifted during COVID.
Dad Joke: I don't always whoop. But when I do, there it is.
May this last week of January be the most peaceful one. If this was forwarded to you, and you’d like your own copy, sign up here. ~Matt
Big Idea: We need to be mindful of the two definitions of 'surrender'.
I’ll be you’ve seen t-shirts that exhort you to ‘never surrender!’ And then there are quotes like the one above implying that your best life will be when you surrender.
Surrender can mean not giving up or giving in despite what others want you to do. This is admirable.
It’s also admirable when you can let go of control, of the need for answers, of the need to understand and just… be. This is also surrender.
I was teaching aspiring yoga teachers this last weekend about breathwork and we talked about how the inhale enables more space and the exhale intensifies the feeling of surrender.
This week, try this: When you are feeling closed in or pressured, try sitting up straight and taking in a long, slow breath. Focus on the space that is created within you. When you are feeling overwhelmed and scattered, try taking in a big breath and then slowly let it out, focusing on letting go - of surrender to what is right now.
Quote: "Surrender is the inner transition from resistance to acceptance, from no to yes." ~Eckhart Tolle
Educator Resource: Communities of Practice - FREE! - Are you looking to transform your school or district? Joining a conversation that is starting soon around Illinois can help jumpstart the process of transformation. There are several to choose from, including whole-school trauma programming, classroom strategies, staff self-care, whole school prevention planning, community context, and whole-school safety planning. Applications due January 30. Brochure
Dad Joke: A wizard asked me to proof one of his scrolls last week. Actually, it was more of a spell check.
It takes a certain amount of vulnerability to surrender. I hope that you can find space to practice it just a little bit this week. Have a great one! ~Matt
SEL Coach Matt Weld creates and delivers in-person and online SEL-related content.