Today, my son and I learned that being brave enough to be honest helps others more than it hurts them.
We were having the usual morning discussion of how it doesn’t need to take 10 minutes to brush one’s teeth. He is 6 and getting him out the door is like dragging a cat on a leash towards a body of water.
In my frustration I used the words, “I don’t care” referring to being done with trying to be on time aka. I don’t care if we’re late.
When his face hit the floor, I knew I had mis-spoke and I asked him if he could tell me what upset him. Bless his brave heart, he said the words “I don’t care” make him feel as if I don’t care about him.
The most important part of this story is that his honesty sparked a moment of personal reflection that helped me clarify what was really going on. I checked in with my “I don’t care” and I realized I actually care a lot; even too much, about making sure he has “everything he needs”.
He laughed and said mom, it’s not possible to have “everything”! Of course, it’s not possible to have everything one needs and trying to insure it adds stress to my body, his psyche and our relationship.
So, we decided right then and there in the school parking lot that we will quit trying to make sure of anything that involves everything. Instead, we are both going to compassionately focus on what we need and let that be good enough.
The lesson from his brave honesty and my noticing of attachment felt like the perfect message for December and the holiday season. During this time of year, I see family, friends and clients driving themselves to emotional highs and lows trying to fulfill the expectations of others, of long held traditions and of getting “everything” done.
This month I invite you to notice when you are pushing vs. when you are doing. Actions of doing feel within your means, within your budget and within your physical ability to accomplish. They may not always be comfortable as some actions stretch you and actions of “doing” accomplish something important with little to no negative impact on your body and mind.
Pushing actions add pressure, may bring a sense of tension in your body and are often connected to the needs of others over yourself in a self-negating way. They honor things that are important and may accomplish much. However, a pushing action does so while depleting you of something you need such as calm, joy or the ability to physically relax.
This last month of the year, during a four-week span that carries eight separate holidays, notice when your actions feel like pushing and when they feel like accomplished doing. Give yourself the gift of this awareness so you can choose. We may not always be able to be 100% honest with others about what’s going on for us. We DO always have the choice to be honest with ourselves and take actions that check the box without taking anything away from us.
As you extend your reach to love and support others during this time of great sharing, be brave and Move Strong by caring for yourself with actions of accomplished doing.
Happy Holidays from our house to yours!