We have a love for the Berenstain Bears books in our home. They are so relatable in so many ways for parents and families and I will never forget the day that this book brought me to tears.
It was the pick of the night for my 7-year-old, so we curled up on my son’s bed like every other night and began leafing through page by page. As I was reading, I couldn’t help but have a hundred pictures flash through my own brain as I was relating to Mama bear’s story. I was even finding myself a little angry at the cubs and anxious for all the running she was doing pointing out to my kids along the way all that Mama was doing for the family.
Then it happened.
I turned the page where Sister bear is watching with concern from outside the room when Mama is folded on the bed in her own little mental breakdown, crying. I couldn’t help but feel a shift of my own pain and the sting of tears in my eyes. Probably a pretty obvious red flag, wasn’t it? Feeling the feelings is one thing, but there was something about “observing” this story unfold from the outside that felt different.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I felt sorry for this character before me in all of her fatigue. Then the story continues to unfold and Papa bear walks in with nothing but compassion, and a plan. It made me appreciate the power of a good support system and validation that sometimes life gets to be too much.
I talk often with my clients about being able to stop and see the picture before them from the outside. When we are IN IT, it’s nearly impossible to do. The limbic system is “on fire” and taking all control. We become robots and perform a circus act doing all the tasks, all the while sucking in all the craziness. We begin holding all of the stress in our own brain and body until we near or exceed full capacity.
Then it happens, the cup overflows and can’t hold anymore.
It takes a conscious effort to physically remove yourself from the situation or the picture you’re living in and see it as an observer. When you do this, the brain shifts. Through another point of view (even of yourself) you can see things so much more clearly.
By making this a daily or weekly practice I wonder how many fires you could avoid? How many times would that cup get almost to the top ready to spill, but you are able to catch it and put a plan in place?
I want to challenge you to take 5-10 minutes a day or even a week.
- Close your eyes and see the situation or person before you as if it was happening on a movie screen and you were the observer.
- What are you noticing?
- When you can remove yourself from all of the feelings, do you see solutions?
- Do you notice areas that need change or reevaluation?
This can be done in day-to-day life or even in a personal relationship.
This is worth your time.
You may even surprise yourself with a few new ideas!
I want to give huge personal props to the Berenstain Bear’s Series. These books are incredible tools for teaching kids and families to see things from the outside. They have countless stories of real-life happening and you get to watch it all from the outside. They make amazing conversations with kids when you read them.
Take the time to talk about things and ask questions like, “do you ever see that happen in our family?”, or “is that the choice we should make?” etc. They are not only great for kids but moms and dads too and can actually be good advice when looking to navigate a family challenge! Over the years they’ve covered almost any family situation you could think of. It’s worth a trip to the library!
Keep up the good work, and enjoy the view from the outside!