Michel Coleman, Ph. D. LMFT
The brain scientists are telling us that we change our brain structure by the things we focus on and the thoughts we nurture. If we focus on the negative and all that is going wrong, our focus narrows to only pay attention to threats and losses. We get more toxic chemicals from such a negative focus. The solution is to train ourselves to focus on the positive aspects of our lives. As we focus on our gifts and what is going right we are able to see possibilities and solutions where there seemed to be none before. Additionally, the chemicals we give ourselves with a positive focus nourish our brain and body and enhance our internal environment.
I invite you to practice scanning for the positive not only by yourself but with friends and family members as well. Such a gratitude practice will enhance the connection you feel with those you will later call on to be your support system. Now is the time to build your strength in scanning for the positive because once your child or children move into your home they will bring a narrow focus of scanning for threats. You will need to be resourced in order to help them heal and grow.
The good news is we get the chemicals we give. If we are scanning for what is going right not only in our lives, but in the life of our child or children we provide them a corrective experience of having someone see their good. Not only does it feel good for someone to notice and provide us with positive feedback, but this provides a nurturing environment for our children to heal the pain of their past.
Most children who lose their birth families blame themselves and end up feeling defective and like a failure. When we can genuinely scan for what our child is doing right, we begin to provide a corrective experience that can change the belief they have about themselves.
If you would like to deepen your gratitude practice I invite you to start writing the positive things you notice during the day in a journal before going to bed at night. Such a practice will allow the positive experiences to go into long-term memory. Those memories will be there when you need them to sustain you through the tough times of sharing love and raising a child who does not feel lovable.