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Congratulations on becoming a new parent! I'm extremely happy for you as you embark on the incredible journey of parenthood. To me, there is no more important, or potentially joyful, experience in life.
There's no question that two of the happiest days of my life were the days my two daughters were born. The joy I felt was, and still is, indescribable. As a new parent, you either already have had, or are about to experience, a similar feeling. Most parents will tell you there's nothing quite like it. The love you feel is like none other.
It's strange that something so magical and wonderful could also be so stressful! But the truth is, between all the new responsibilities, not knowing what to expect, sleep deprivation, and everything else associated with being a new parent, the experience often is just that -- stressful! Again, this doesn't detract from the joy and wonder of it all -- but it is hard work, and it can be a little overwhelming.
Being a parent myself, I've put a great deal of time into reflecting on ways to be the best, happiest, and calmest parent I can be. I know that as a parent, there are many important decisions regarding "big stuff" that must be made on a regular basis and, as our children grow up, there are many critical things to attend to. Often, our choices regarding our children are of monumental importance to their future, and these choices aren't always easy to make. To me, that's precisely why it's so important that we learn not to sweat the small stuff; there are simply too many more important things to take care of and think about.
It's for that reason that I created this little book especially for new parents. I've carefully selected strategies from my Don't Sweat books that seem to be most useful in helping new parents become less stressed, happier people. The strategies you are about to read are the ones that new parents have told me have been the most helpful to them, and the ones that helped me the most when I was a new parent. They are designed to heighten your perspective and gratitude, nurture your relationship with your child and with yourself, and to help you remain relaxed, calm, and happy.
If you are a new parent, I salute you and thank you. You have taken on the world's most important job -- parenting. Thank you for doing your best to bring up a wonderful, happy child. I hope this little book serves you well.
Treasure the gift of children,
1. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
Often we allow ourselves to get all worked up about things that, upon closer examination, aren't really that big a deal. We focus on little problems and concerns and blow them way out of proportion. A stranger, for example, might cut in front of us in traffic. Rather than let it go, and go on with our day, we convince ourselves that we are justified in our anger. Many of us might even tell someone else about the incident later on rather than simply let it go.
Why not instead simply allow the driver to have his accident somewhere else? Try to have compassion for the person and remember how painful it is to be in such an enormous hurry. This way, we can maintain our own sense of well-being and avoid taking other people's problems personally.
There are many similar, "small stuff" examples that occur every day in our lives. Whether we had to wait in line, listen to unfair criticism, or do the lion's share of the work, it pays enormous dividends if we learn not to worry about little things. So many people spend so much of their life energy "sweating the small stuff" that they completely lose touch with the magic and beauty of life. When you commit to working toward this goal you will find that you will have far more energy to be kinder and gentler.
<%=fontsmall%>Excerpt from A DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF TREASURY: A SPECIAL COLLECTION FOR NEW PARENTS, copyright © 2000, Richard Carlson, Ph.D.<%=xfontsmall%>