“Your eyes, they shine so bright
I wanna save that light.”
When I began my Hands Free journey almost five years ago, I did it to free myself from the external distractions, internal pressures, and unrealistic societal standards that prevented me from truly living. But there was an unexpected result: As my distracted ways lessened, my loving ways increased—tenfold. For the first time in my life I saw a direct correlation between my undivided presence and my ability to love my people in ways that most nurtured them. When I was in their presence, I studied them. I listened to them. I watched their faces when I used certain words and tones. I noted what words brought sighs of relief … surges of confidence … and glows of acceptance. I vowed to say those words more. I also noted what words brought shame … disconnection … pain … and silence. I vowed to say those words less. Over time, I collected quite a powerful list of words that helped me love my people in ways that helped them thrive. Like sunlight and water to a plant, these words nourished the deepest parts of their human hearts and fostered growth in all areas of their lives. Hence, I called them Soul-Building Words.
Recently a reader of my blog wrote to me about her 19 year old daughter. She was facing great challenges in her schooling and the mother wanted to support her in ways that would lift and strengthen her. The mother asked, “Do you have any words I can say to my daughter?” That is when my mental Soul-Building List became a physical one. When I shared it on The Hands Free Revolution page, many people said they wanted to hang that list on their refrigerator, in their bedroom, in their child’s bedroom, in their classroom, in their office, and even on their foreheads. “Please make this list a printable!” I heard over and over. The word “printable” is definitely the opposite of Soul-Building to me (quite befuddling, actually), but I knew someone who would not cringe at the sight of that word. My multi-talented, soul-building friend Kristin Shaw of Two Cannoli graciously made us that beautiful printable for today’s post.
So here is my list of 20 Soul-Building phrases followed by the printable and two extraordinary resources for knowing and loving your people. My friends, thank you for helping me discover what my Soul-Building Words are. Whenever you say, “Never stop writing,” my heart beats stronger and my life’s purpose becomes a little more solidified.
Soul-Building Words for the Ones You Love:
When they need to know how much you love them:
* You make my day better.
* You make my life better.
* I love spending time with you.
* Seeing your face makes me happy.
When they need to know you are ALL there:
* I’m listening.
* My time is all yours.
* How can I be a better _____ (parent, friend, spouse) to you?
* Nothing is more important than being with you right now.
When they are stressed or frustrated:
* How can I help?
* Take your time. You don’t have to rush.
* I think you are doing a tremendous job.
* Keep going. You got this.
When they experience failure:
* Be kind to yourself. You are doing the best you can.
* Mistakes mean you are bravely learning and growing.
* It may not be the outcome you hoped for, but I noticed your effort and it was quite remarkable.
* I believe in you.
When they face a challenge:
* I am amazed at how much you are handling right now.
* I am learning a lot from you by watching you do something so challenging.
* This isn’t over—there’s still time to turn this around.
* You are not alone.
- “Journey” is the word I often use to describe my life’s transformation from less distracted to more lovingly connected. Some might even call my experience an “inspired parenting journey”. Little did I know there was a step-by-step guide that has helped many people create the lasting change I’ve experienced on my Hands Free journey until I read Parenting Inspired: Finding Grace in the Chaos, Confidence in yourself, & Gentle Joy Along the Way. As I read the pages of Alice Hanscam’s enlightening book, I felt like I was reading the perfect companion guide to Hands Free Mama. Many of the concepts that Alice illustrates in the book (like focusing on the positive, the power of the pause, and the importance of self care) have been critical to the success of my journey. Alice goes a step further by providing highly relatable examples, sample dialogues, and practical exercises based on her experience as a PCI Parenting Coach. Her in-depth instruction allows readers to implement loving practices into everyday life and reflect on the positive changes that are occurring. After working through this excellent resource, I believe you’ll come away feeling less alone and more hopeful for the calm, connection, and confidence you yearn for in life.
- I know many of you follow my blog for encouragement and inspiration to be the best parent you can be. That is why I wanted to share this with you. The amazing “2015 Be the Best Parent You Can Be“ free online event has drawn together 20+ leading experts, including my colleagues Sandy Blackard, Dr. Laura Markham, Jane Nelsen , Patty Wipfler and more, to share their simple mindful parenting strategies for raising happy, independent and successful children in today's fast-paced world. If you'd like to see daily video interviews with these experts, chat with them in a private Facebook group, and receive their free gifts, I encourage you to sign up by clicking here.
Thank you so much. This is a great and loving list! I will use it.
You can also use these words to say to yourself! Mama’s need nice, loving words too. So why not say them to yourself 🙂
Thank you so much! What a beautiful list. I love it when you post.
Sandy Quinn says
Thank you so much for this list! I shared it on FB. Words are so powerful!
James Thomas Horn says
You are always welcome to read some of my over 1,200 poems
at http://www.poetrysoup.com under name of James Thomas Horn
and at http://www.story-telling-around-the-world.com under
Poems by Adults.
Love this uplifting and powerful list Rachel – keep your words and wisdom coming.
Thank you for putting this together and for the webinar info. Pinning and sharing on g+
Thank you for this encouraging , helpful and lovely list! Words have power! God blesse you and give you more than you can imagine!
Caroline McGraw says
Rachel, never stop writing. Seriously. 🙂
Rachel Stafford says
Thank you, my friend. So touched by your faithful & loving support.
As I wipe the tears away to type, my heart swells with gratitude for you and your writing! You are my teammate that I will never meet, yet I can hear you cheering me on. Today I heard your suggestion, stop: don’t say the words “hurry up”,breathe: and this moment to wait for my son to get his show and tell will not ruin my schedule! Thank you for your encouragement, your love and of course your writing. I can’t tell you enough how much you have impacted my life. Every week when I receive your post, my soul warms to the knowledge that I will read your writing and feel inspired to keep on this positive, stay in the moment parenting journey.
Rachel Stafford says
Wow. I am truly humbled and touched by your beautiful message to me! Thank you!!! I am grateful to walk this journey with you, Melissa!
Thank you! My 3 girls have a more present and patient mom because of your guidance. Keep up the amazing work!
Kim McDonald says
Thanks for the ideas! Another phrase that I love:
“Sometimes, just thinking of you makes my heart smile (or makes me happy)”
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