In the past few months I’ve participated in a few Positive Discipline Workshops at Austin Family Counseling. I loved every minute of it even though I am not a parent. How, you ask? Isn’t Positive Discipline primarily a parenting workshop? Yes, but one of Positive Discipline’s tenants is that it challenges the individuals to examine their own thoughts, feelings and beliefs in order to better understand the relationship dynamics they have with others including, but not limited to, their children. Almost everything I’ve learned during my time with Positive Discipline I’ve been able to relate to every important relationship in my life. Positive Discipline is about relating to others, it just happens to be a really good parenting guide!
I would like to share with you my favorite Positive Discipline exercise that has helped foster my own individual growth. The Positive Discipline book calls it “Life Style Priorities” but it’s also known as your “Top Card”. Your “top card” describes a mode you resort to in times of stress and a blueprint for how you navigate your life.
Okay, so let’s find your top card!
Imagine you received four packages from the UPS man today. They are “Meaningless and Unimportance”, “Criticism and Humiliation”, “Rejection and Hassels” and “Stress and Pain”. You are standing there with these four packages, not wanting any of them, but the UPS man says that you can only return one. Which would you choose? Which package would be the most unbearable to live with?
For Example, If you picked the first, your top card would be “Superiority”, you may believe the way to overcome your worst fears (i.e. meaningless and unimportance) you must do more, be better than others, be right and be more useful. Does that sound about right? Just to clarify though, your ‘top card’ is not always a bad thing; it can describe some of your best attributes as well. It is essentially the theme of priorities you deem most important in your life.
To continue, if you picked the second package your ‘top card’ would be Control. The third? Pleasing. The fourth, Comfort.
I also want to include a helpful and informative chart that describes more thoroughly what your Top Card means about you.
How do you think this top card has shown up in your life?
How do you think this lifestyle priority affects the way you relate to others?
What are your children’s top cards?
What is your partner’s?
You may find that in times of stress, characteristics of your top card become more alive. I encourage you to read more about Lifestyle Priorities and all of Positive Discipline’s teachings! They have truly changed my life!