Don’t let ‘em in! Catch ‘em! Catch those unwanted feelings, thoughts, and beliefs before they internalize into one’s experience. This is an essential part of self-regulating one’s life.
Those nasty thoughts that say we are not as good as others, that tell us we should be doing something else, that state we are bad, or even worse, that run negative emotional “tapes” over and over in our minds literally destroying our well-being.
Since these feelings, thoughts, and beliefs can do much harm for years, it is essential to catch ‘em before they enter. A mental gate of sorts is needed. Teaching this to children, and even adults, is an important life skill.
We can’t be in front of our child all the time being the guard of the gate, so children must be taught to be their own gate keeper. And, it can be a fun learning, too. Using imagery, a child can establish his or her own gate surrounding him or herself. What is it made of? Bricks? Stone? Wood? How tall is is? Flags at the top? What does the gate look like?
Now, establish the gate keeper. An angelic being? A replica of the child? A frog? Well…anything can be the gate keeper as long as it is effective!
This gate keeper allows the child to sense when negative feelings, thoughts, and beliefs are approaching the gate. Ah ha! Caught! Now, the empowered child has the option of accepting the feelings, thoughts, and beliefs or tossing them out. Yes, self-regulation is an essential life skill.