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Welcome to this episode of Friday Reflections by Dad.Work! 

Every Friday I share the best of what we have been doing in the Dad.Work community, to provide perspective, new ideas, and motivation for you to continue on your journey to becoming the best man, partner, and father you can be.

This week we talk about:

  • Why you truly matter,
  • Self-love practices for dads that only take a few minutes that you can start today,
  • Our relationship with death, and how we can use it as a motivation to live a better life.

Curt Storring 0:00

Welcome to the Dad.Work podcast. My name is Curt Storring, your host and the founder of Dad.Work. Today's episode is the very first time we're going to be doing something called the Friday reflections podcast. And what's gonna happen today is I'm going to share with you a number of things we've done this week in the Dad.Work community. These are things that I have thought about things have come across my desk, things that we've posted on Instagram or the website, and they're going to be delivered in podcast format, because these are important things for men and dads to consider. In this episode, we're going to start off with a quote from a very important book that I highly recommend you read as a father. And that's going to allow us to transition into a whole bunch of self love practices that I have used in my own life, and that I've used to teach other men in order to establish better relationships with themselves. Because only when you truly love yourself, can you extend love to other people fully. And this is so important for our kids and our partners, we have to be able to love ourselves before we can truly give of ourselves to them. At the end of this podcast, I'm gonna mention death. Briefly. This is a charged topic, and I wish it wasn't because it's a very important one as a human being to be comfortable with. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this podcast. I'd love to know whether you liked this format. And we're going to get into it in a moment. And I just want you to know that you can subscribe to this if you're listening on the website, you can go to Apple or Spotify and subscribe or follow. If you have been enjoying the podcast, please go to Apple podcasts on your phone and leave a review. If you go to the Dad.Work podcast click it scroll to the bottom there should be a space to give a star rating and a review it would be so grateful if you were to do that. If you are not a member of our private Facebook group, head over to dad dot work slash FB to join. And if you would like to do some deeper work to become a better man so that you can become a better father a better husband, we have a course to do just that. It's called the conscious fatherhood course by Dad.Work. You can find it at dad Dad.Work slash CF. That's slash CF. And with that, we're gonna get into the very first Friday reflections by Dad.Work. Here we go.

I'm going to start with a quote today from the book raising an emotionally intelligent child by john Gottman and Daniel Goleman. Quote, not just any dad will do. children's lives are greatly enhanced by fathers who are emotionally present validating able to offer comfort in times of distress. By the same token children can be deeply harmed by fathers who are abusive, highly critical, humiliating or emotionally cold, and quote. Now what this quote says to me, is that you matter as a father a lot, how you show up for your children massively impacts them not just now, but for the rest of their lives. And in this book, raising an emotionally intelligent child, Garmin goes into this a lot deeper, I recommend you pick that up if you'd like to learn more of the science and the research behind that. But suffice it to say that how we treat our kids now significantly impacts them in the long term. But what I've noticed is that the way you treat your children has a lot to do with the way you treat yourself. If you're critical of your children, are you critical of yourself? If you scold your children and have no compassion or empathy, is that how you treat yourself? What is your self talk? Like? Do you have a self care routine that fills you up. Because in order to show love and compassion to our kids, we have to have at least some of it for ourselves. You need some self love for yourself before you can truly give it to other people. And so this quote, this book shows just how much you matter to your kids. But you also matter period, you matter as a human being. And you deserve love, empathy and compassion. Because a lot of guys that I talked to myself included, usually don't consider the fact that we actually do deserve all these nice things. We come up with excuses to say that we need to be harder on ourselves, or we need to be punished. So we learn so we don't screw up again. And if you go right back to it, we at one point were children and our fathers had a great impact on us, our mothers, the people who raised us, and fundamentally inherently there's nothing different about us now, that about us. And certainly when you were a child, you deserve love, empathy and compassion, right? And so what's changed? Maybe you've done some things you're not proud of. Maybe you regret some things. But does that make you fundamentally a bad person or does that show that you were reacting to things that happened in your life that made you feel bad. Were you doing things coping mechanisms that were developed in childhood, to stop the pain? Because if you were, the fact that you feel this way isn't necessarily your fault. But it is your responsibility to do something about it. And so dads, how can we deepen our relationship with ourself? How can we love ourselves betters, we can love our partners and our kids better. I'm going to walk through a list of self love practices. And I'd really love you to listen to this and take this seriously. Some of these practices are things that I've done over the last number of years to go from someone who thought he needed to be punished to be harder on myself. Somebody thought I was unlovable. And a lot of these practices helped me form just a better relationship with myself because I was able to go, Oh, right, this is why you're doing this. And a lot of the self defense mechanisms I'd come up with to stop the pain, I've found that those were created by my ego to protect me. And so these things that now come out, as triggers these things that make me blow up or act poorly, were originally created as an act of self love. And that blew my mind.

The things that the ego comes up with to defend you against trauma, end up getting in the way of your life now, when there is no longer any danger. And those things were originally there to protect you. And I see that as an act of self love. And so let's walk through these, I'm just gonna go through them. And I'd like you to just take note of which ones if any appeal to you, because these are simple things, these are things you can do in just a few minutes each day. The first one is daily affirmations. And you can do this either as a loving kindness meditation towards yourself, or you can look at yourself in the mirror, and say affirming words. So you might look at yourself in the mirror in the morning, and say, I see you, I value you, I love you, I forgive you. While looking at yourself, in the eyes in the mirror, that takes five or 10 seconds. It's incredibly difficult to do. But it also helps to establish relationship with yourself. If that's not comfortable, yet, you can say affirmations daily, in the loving kindness meditation way, which is, may you be happy, may you be free of suffering, may you love and be loved, may be free from physical pain. You can wish yourself well like this. And if you do this daily, it will start to change the way you speak to yourself. The second thing I did was a tapping practice in the shower. And this one is is a bit weird, to be honest, this one that was hard for me to understand. And I did it anyway, because I was suffering so badly. I couldn't find a way to really get past my indifference to myself and get to love. And so this one actually helped me over a series of months just doing the process over and over thinking, Okay, what is this? What is this. And eventually it did play a huge role in my ability to be soft and caring toward myself. And so what you do is in the shower, using your hands, you tap each body part. So with open palms, lightly tap the top of your head, your face, your neck, your shoulders, your arms, your stomach, l all the way down to your feet. And as you're tapping, you're saying, This is my head, I love my head. These are my shoulders, I love my shoulders, and all the way down. And again, it takes a minute or two. And it helps to really change the way you speak to yourself. The third thing I touched on already is to realize that it's not your fault, but it is your responsibility. If you want to find compassion and empathy, you must realize this and you need to forgive yourself realizing that a lot of the things that happened to you weren't your fault. But you're the only one who's going to show up for you to change the behaviors and habits that currently exists to keep you safe and protect you from that old danger. You're the only one responsible now today in your life, to change those things. To see them for what they were to let them go. So it's not your fault, but it is your responsibility. How does that feel? The next thing I do every day is gratitude. Every morning I have a spot in my workflow to print three things that I'm doing for the day, we also talked about this at the dinner table as a family, we go around and give our own thanks, give gratitude for whatever it is, it's coming up for us today, it could be simple, it could be huge. It could be, you know, grateful for being alive, it could be that you're grateful that your eyes work could be that you're grateful for having a home and that you don't live outside. It could be that you're grateful for the the truck driver who delivered the food that you bought at the super at the supermarket. Because without him, it would be a lot more arduous to feed your family and just practices once per day, write down three things. This will change the way you see the world. The next thing is meditation, I think almost everyone can and should meditate. And it is a highly effective practice for getting to know yourself. But also calming the nervous system so that you don't react so strongly when things trigger you. And in meditation, we learn to know ourselves better. And before we can love ourselves, we truly have to understand who we are, beyond the behaviors and beyond the reactions in meditation helps us find who that is, and can help us find peace with who we truly are our most authentic self rather than who we think the world wants us to be.

I also recommend you do something that's just for you to fill up your cup throughout the week, either daily or weekly. This could be one thing that you love to do every day, whether that's petting your dog, whether that's going for a walk or playing sports, doing a puzzle, whatever it is, there's surely one thing you can do every day for five minutes or an hour, that can fill your cup, go to the gym, meditate, do something before the kids wake up or after they go to sleep just to help you fill up your cup, because with an empty cup, you're not gonna be able to fill up your wife's cup or your children's cup, and they're just going to irritate you when they ask for you to do so. So it's not selfish, as a father to do things for yourself, it's actually self less, because it makes you more able to show up for your family. Next, make sure you're nourishing your body. I know firsthand how much a healthy fit body can impact your mind. Every time I've slipped and stopped working out or stopped eating well, it has clouded my mind and really made me less positive. It's made me feel bad about myself. It's made me judge myself. And every time I get back on the wagon, that not only do I get the neurological benefits of the hormones from working out and being healthy, but I just feel better mentally, I am happy with my accomplishments, I'm going towards something, I don't feel sluggish. It's not hard to wake up, I have more energy, everything's just better. And it's a lot easier to find a good relationship with yourself when you're healthy. The next thing that you can consider is an update to your community. And what I mean by that is, it's often said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. And so look about look at your own life. And think about that, who are those five people? And are they really allowing you to grow and flourish as a man and a father. If they're not, it's possible to cut them out. And it's not easy. But it's possible with intentionality rather than simply living your life with inertia. And so surround yourself with people who lift you up, who see you who want to help you who have your back. Get rid of people on Facebook who shared divisive negative comments, clear all your social media clear your friends of anyone who takes your energy rather than gives you energy and supports you. This is hard, but it's one of the most powerful things you can do join a men's group, join a sports team, be more vulnerable with your current friends and establish a deeper relationship. Another thing you can do that takes from Byron Katie's the work is to write down your negative thoughts throughout the day, and then go back and ask yourself these questions. I won't go fully into the work by Byron, Katie, you can read that if you'd like to go deeper into this particular method. But write down your negative thoughts during the day. And then ask yourself, Is this true? And you might say yes, because you really believe it. But after you ask if it's true, and if you say yes, ask yourself again. Can I be 100% sure that this is verifiably true? And often the answer is no. Because there's no way to find out these things. And because often it's a story that we create in our own heads. So keeping track of this, writing these thoughts down, checking them against reality is a great way to stop giving so much power to these thoughts and to realize, Oh, I'm in story again. That's okay. It's okay to be in story but it's not reality.

On the flip side of this, you can make an inventory of the things you've done well, no matter how small, if you've got an A bed on time, if you did a good job at work today, if you played with your kids for 10 minutes last night, maybe you had some old wins from years ago that you can add to this. It's like making a list that you can draw from when you're feeling bad to remind yourself that Oh, right, I can do good things I have won before I have succeeded. I've raised children, I'm alive. I have all these things going for me. And it took courage and discipline to get there. So I'm okay. Having a list like this that you can refer to, again, helps to change the mindset that you have about yourself. And finally, you have to realize this is hard, it's probably gonna take a while you might mess up along the way. And it's not a reason to give up. This is important work if we're going to go through life growing and feeling better about ourselves and stop suffering and struggling so much as men. Plus, as we mentioned earlier, this is the way to get closer to your children, your wife, to love them more to be compassionate and empathetic, which is what everyone needs. You need to offer these things to yourself. And so I hope that you can use these self love practices throughout the week. I'd love to know how they go for you send me an email Curt at dad dot work if they help. And finally, before we leave today's episode, we're going to talk about death. You could die today, what would your kids last memory of up? We don't like to talk about death. But it is the only thing that we can be absolutely sure about in this life. Rather than something to fear death can be a powerful motivator to show up fully, to love openly and to cover each moment with our full awareness. You will die. everyone you love will die. But today, you are alive. What will you do with that gift? I think about this all the time. One of my tattoos has the initials M M, which stands for memento mori, remember that you will die. This came to mind recently. Because one of my son's classmates, his father passed away over the weekend. And I just thought what a gap that creates in a child's life. And when I saw that gap, I realized that the space we take up when we're alive is enormous. For such a huge gap to exist, the space we take up now has to be huge to imagine the sadness and the grief that families going through. And I know about this firsthand, and I'm so thankful that I wasn't as young as this boy was my own father passed away suddenly. One day, it was fine. The next day he was gone. And this could happen to any of us. Whether you're 30 or 50, or 70. Just because the sun rose yesterday doesn't mean it will rise again tomorrow. And the same thing is true for our lives. And what this brings up for me is is gratitude that the last thing I had ever said in person to my father was I love you. We hugged it and said, I love you. And we texted over the months between his death and when I saw him last. But in my mind, and in my heart, I am so thankful that the last thing we said was I love you. And so realizing the death could visit us at any point. But it's not something to be feared but to be embraced and to surrender to but realizing it could come for me at any point. I make a point to tell my kids and my wife that I love them every time one of us leaves the house. Because I don't want to miss the chance that the last meeting we had could be anything but good. And so this is a great reminder for everyone, but especially for fathers with young children. Show up with the understanding that this could be the last time you show up. What would you say to them? How would you act if you knew that could be the case? Because it could and I hope not I hope you have a fulfilling, long loving life. I hope that for myself too. And I always keep death in front of mind, not in a morbid sense, but in a way to remind me of how I should be acting today while I'm alive. So these are some ideas we've been covering this week in Dad.Work. The Dad.Work community I hope this was useful. If you like this please let me know Kurt at dad dot work or find me on Instagram slash Dad.Work Kurt and let me know what you thought about this episode. Enjoy the rest of your week and we will see you back here on Monday. For the next episode

that's it for this episode thank you so much for listening it means the world to find out more about everything that we talked about in the episode today, including show notes resources and links to subscribe leave review work with us go to dad dot work slash pod, that's da d dot w o rk slash pod. type that into your browser just like a normal URL, Dad dot work slash pod. To find everything there you need to become a better man, a better partner and a better father. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time.

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