It’s about the Nth time that S said “I can’t do it” to every single little thing that she only tried once. I’ve been trying to nudge her here and there about sticking with it to find a solution instead of keep repeating “I can’t.” Here she said it again… I had to think of a way to discuss this in a way that makes sense to her.
“Arrrh, but mommy, this is so haaard, I can’t do it!” She whined.
I didn’t respond to that. Instead, I said, “Hey, do you believe in magic?”
She paused a while, “Um… you know, I’ve discovered that tooth fairy is not real. Fairies are not real. Witches are not real. So, there can’t be magic anymore, ’cause those people are not real!”
“True… On the other hand, do you know that you can still cast a spell?” I said.
“Really? Who? How?” She asked, eyes wide open.
“Truthfully. You, me, everyone!” I replied and asked again, “Do you wanna know how?”
“By repeating something over and over again.” I said, looking into her eyes, “When we tell ourselves something over and over again, we are casting a spell on ourselves. And, it is a very powerful spell. The more we repeat it to ourselves, the stronger it gets.”
“Ooooh…” She pondered, “But why?”
“When you were repeating ‘I can’t do it,’ were you able to focus on taking action to find a solution to the problem?” I asked.
“No, I was just mad and frustrated. I wasn’t thinking of solving the problem.”
“If someone repeats ‘I can’t do it’ to themselves a thousand times, are they still going to believe they can solve the problem? Are they going to actually try some different ways to solve the problem?” I probed further.
“No and no.” Said S, thinking, “They’re probably just going to think they are dumb and it’s too hard, so they aren’t even going to try.”
“Exactly. You are so right. So, that’s how it works. We can all cast a spell on ourselves by telling something to ourselves again and again. And it is the strongest spell ever, in real life. So, we’d better keep repeating something nice and helpful to ourselves.” I smiled, emphasizing.
“Oooh… so, I probably should repeat ‘I can do it. Let me try another way’ to myself.” S sat down and mused.
“Great idea! And you know, the more you repeat, the stronger the spell gets…”
“And when I tell myself I can do it, I will be able to focus and actually do something to solve the problem!” She cheered, jumping up and down.
“You got it! You ARE your own magic. Are you ready to be a good Fairy Godmother to yourself?” I asked.
“Best ever!” She exclaimed, showing a superhero fist.