Will you make it a party or a tragedy?
We are living in crazy times, and it's easy to lose sight of our positive energy and absorb the negativity flying around the universe. So much is out of our control, but we can choose to make
life a party or make it a tragedy. It truly is up to us how to take what life throws at us and allow ourselves to crumble into a ball of despair OR to find a way to live in what we have.
Let's take for example the current National crisis of rioting and protesting. I am often scolded and told my stance is exactly what people are protesting. Now, let me share what my stance is before you get all up in arms. It is my belief that violent protests do not accomplish much but is a temporary bandaid. Those in power will "give in to demands" temporarily to restore order, change doesn't truly occur. People are left thinking violence is the answer, and we circle this constant infinite shaped track of peaceful times that eventually come back to where we always end up. Death, police brutality, racism and hate.
I know our justice system is less than just, and that many of those trusted to uphold our laws often get free passes or fall short for The People. I hate living in fear for my family, and many of my friends who are true activists jump at me immediately at that response saying "That is exactly what Black American's face every day. They constantly live in fear. You are the epitome of White Privilege with that comment!" Now hear me when I say this... NO ONE should have to live in fear for their lives, be persecuted or stereotyped. NO ONE. I know I am fortunate and privileged. I know I do not face the daily fears many people of color do. I have never hated someone for their race, gender, sexual orientation or choices. I don't even hate my rapist. I believe in acceptance, understanding, patience and love.
Would I be lying if I said I never felt uncomfortable walking past a group of men who happen to be men of color, who leer or make vulgar comments. It had nothing to do with their race or ethnicity. I have felt equally, if not MORE uncomfortable walking past a group of Caucasian men who leer at me or make vulgar comments. Now I cannot control how other people think or how they take my words and opinions. I am allowed to find the violence and hate unfathomable and ridiculous while not being on the front lines protesting. I can also be for causes racially motivated and still hate feeling unsafe in these times. So what can I do when the anger and uproar of others are targeted at me? I will not put myself on the front lines, and often my freedom of speech gets attacked with other's freedom of speech, so I often choose to stay silent. But this again creates an uproar saying being silent is just as bad as fighting on the wrong side. You just cant win. But what I CAN do, is continue to be kind, give my time and service, love and accept everyone. Teach my children to do the same. It may be my small drop in the bucket, but a small constant drip can still fill a bucket.
Let's take this to something less controversial. Maybe your struggle to handle what you cannot control is in your home. You cannot control when you toddler will decide their favorite food is now the most disgusting thing on the planet. So what do you do when you are now at a loss as what to feed your kiddo? Remove the stress and anger from the process and find the joy in discovering something new together. Be okay with change and adapt.
How about spills. You have been telling your 3rd grader every few minutes, "please put your cup
further on the table", or "If you want more juice, please ask and I will help you. It's too full for you to help yourself.".... and splash... drip drip drip drip drip.... drriip.... d... r.... i...p........... drip. It's now all over the floor and kitchen table, chairs, dinner plates. Frustrated we flip our switch from calm to hulk. "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!!! WHAT DID I TELL YOU? I ASKED YOU TO PUT YOUR CUP FURTHER ON THE TABLE AT LEAST 75 TIMES! GET A TOWEL AND CLEAN IT UP NOW! BEFORE IT SPREADS FURTHER!" Their faces morph into terror and broken hearted. Sobbing, an ear piercing cry breaches their lips as they RUN to get a towel and hyperventilate as they "wipe" the mess which actually spreads it more and we yank the towel from their hands sputtering how if they had just listened this never would have happened and now everything is soaked and they cant even wipe it up without making more mess. (This could be real for you or an exaggeration. Some of you might be horrified. But if this hasn't been you before- you are a ZEN human.)
Instead, remember to look for the positives... Hopefully a lesson is learned for the next time. Dinner may be covered in juice, but there is always cereal or leftovers. No one will starve. It's juice- it can be cleaned up, if it gets spread out a little more, oh well. Take the time to teach your child, calmly, the better way to absorb the mess rather than push it. If you feel your temper climbing, Turn away from the event, take a slow deep breath and count backward from 5. Face your child and calmly direct orders for clean up. You cannot control what your children do. Kids will be kids after all. But you can control how you react. It's important to tell your children when you were int he wrong. When your reaction was inappropriate. I used to struggle a lot with over reacting and becoming a HULK. I still lose my temper at times and it's a constant work in progress. But I make sure to sit them down and say something along the lines of:
"Hey come here for sec. Mommy got really mad at dinner tonight and it was kinda scary huh? For me too. You know how I try to teach you to reign in your emotions and not explode? Sometimes mommy explodes too, but I'm working on it. I want you to know I love you sooo much and you are so special to me. Accidents happen, and when mommy is tired I don't react well, especially when it was something I asked you to move so it wouldn't happen. Do you know what would really help me? If you can try to listen and remember what Ia am asking you. I will try really hard to be patient. Is that a deal?"
It's crucial to discuss what set you off without blaming them. Also choosing a language and level they will understand at their stage and age is important. Make sure they know it's not their fault you reacted the way you did. That they are not to blame for your actions. Own your blow up. It will help them own theirs in the future and hopefully teach them how to manage big feelings. Then dance it out and have a mini party to make it happy again!
Things out of our control don't have to end in tragedies. We can make it a party. A happy, calm loving, accepting and understanding party. Why? Because, mama, YOU are worth it! Together we can rise above the circumstances of the world, work obligations, project or the short tempers we may have to create a more positive mind AND world. Until next time.