Listening to Temperament:
How Our Innate Temperaments Derail Us, Save Us and Transform Us
Posted 9/22/19: Renewal
"Autumn is my favorite time of year. I love the rich colors, the sight and sound of geese in the sky, temperatures that are both crisp and warm, the vibrant yet cozy ambiance, a sense of both expansive and discreet possibilities.
This year my favorite season has been especially rich. I became a grandmother for the first time when my daughter and son-in-law had a baby girl. I am full into an unfamiliar role with a new little girl and I am also called back to my own experience as a new mother and the short time my mother was a grandmother.
I was asked again and again by many people if I was excited about my coming and now new granddaughter. I was and am excited and I've also also felt sad, keenly missing my mother anew who was a grandmother for three years of my son's life and no longer alive when I was pregnant with my daughter. I miss my mother and welcome my granddaughter. This time is both new and familiar. We re-new and open ourselves to change when we honor all of our feelings, not just the expected or "nice" ones.
People who are highly sensitive can be especially vulnerable to feeling pressured to feel and act to please perceived expectations. Allowing judgement, others or our own to dictate to us shuts down our inner resources. I didn't want to share all of my feelings with everyone. Sometimes I said yes I was excited when I wasn't so much at that time or when I was excited and. It sometimes didn't feel very good and it was hard not to judge myself for not feeling more excited. I tried though to honor my feelings with myself and to be candid with select people. "
Changes that we choose can still be stressful. They use time and energy and require adjustments. If you or your child are low in adaptability and typically have a hard time with change you may know to expect this. Low adaptability can also coexist though with the temperament characteristic of high Approach (initially welcoming novelty) on the Approach/Withdrawal continuum. This may be especially likely for people who are high in activity and or intensity. A high appetite for life can override reservations until the novelty wears off.
People who are Withdrawing in temperament need time to warm up to something or someone unfamiliar even when it's a pleasant something or someone. The discomfort is about novelty, not content. If you have chosen the change in your life that may help with the adjustment. You may have reduced the novelty by thinking and planning prior to the change. It's possible of course to be anywhere on the Approach/Withdrawal continuum including moderate or variable in one's initial response to novelty.
To continue with the theme of renewal and with help from my daughter website resources on the homepage are now in correct and usable format. All of the sites listed are rich in content and full of heart.
Another resource to check out is the free App, Insight Timer. It offers a wealth of free guided meditations for both children and adults. There are multiple time options as short as a few minutes. Specific topics include anxiety, depression, self compassion and sleep. If you already meditate or if you're not sure meditation is for you this can still be an excellent source of help for changing your self talk, making meditation more accessible and providing guidance for specific concerns. It's available anytime and uses numerous narrators allowing you to chose voices and styles that are a good fit for you or your child.
I leave you with a description of the website resources listed:
B-DI is a resource for the understanding of behavioral individuality. Here you will find research and a wealth of temperament related resources such as articles, providers and temperament questionnaires.
Brene' Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston. She is a captivating storyteller and writer conveying research based insights about vulnerability, courage, shame and the stories we tell ourselves.
John and Julie Gottman are husband and wife psychologists who have done extensive research on relationships and the ingredients required for a healthy and happy one. They are fonts of superb and practical relationship information and support. Short on time? Sign up for their free twice weekly email, The Marriage Minute, with short spot on videos and articles.
Pediatrician, researcher and author of, The Happiest Baby on the Block, writes about the newborn period as the fourth trimester. Knowing how to address a newborn's particular needs is invaluable for newborns and their families. He writes about the importance of of beginning to validate a child's feelings at an early age in his book, The Happiest Toddler on the Block.
Psychologist, researcher and writer Elaine Aron's website, The Highly Sensitive Person, offers a plethora of information about high sensitivity including research, providers, documentaries and events.
The Preventive Ounce is a nonprofit agency offering temperament resources (in English and Spanish) to parents of children ages four months to five years. For ten dollars a year parents can fill out an online temperament questionnaire and receive information and advice about their child's temperament.
Take good care of yourselves.
Until next time.
To read previous blog posts, follow this Temperament blog link: