Chaos spurs growth. Well these last few weeks I grew a forest and I’m still here.
In the middle of my own personal implosion and deciding to sort recycling in the kitchen to distract my mind, my boys walked in and dropped a bomb. I stood there holding some piece of plastic, don’t remember now, looking at them in disbelief. I didn’t feel capable right then. I just wanted to ferment in my own sorrow, and run away. That’s the beauty of life, it shows up to pull us beyond ourselves; salvation.
I knew this conversation was coming I just thought it was going to happen in their 20s. In addition, we talked a lot about how we interact and one son was not happy with me. I can be selfish…I have that artist personality. I like my privacy and space. He felt neglected. This was hard to hear but I’m profoundly moved he was able to communicate his feelings. I couldn’t promise to always do better, but I promised to improve.
Having grown up without this freedom in expression I’m so glad that I have it in my home. I feel like I could die peacefully knowing I’ve accomplished this. It’s easy and it’s not easy. I’ve been ridiculed by so many people on how non-parental I am…I shake my head because they just don’t understand what it takes to foster respect. Criticism and judgments are easy. Asking questions keeps us open and receptive to each other.
Respect is an art. It’s something you’re constantly working at and it says “I’m thinking about how you feel.” It’s not a one time thing. In order to have it…there needs to be freedom of expression, and no withholding of emotions. That’s basically blackmail and it’s short lived…I don’t have any relationship that made it through this kind of exchange.
I don’t have many people I can freely vent with; where I can say those crazy things that fly into my head free of worrying about their judgment. That’s why I don’t share myself with too many. For me, the moment judgment shows up it feels like my energy has hit a concrete wall and I quickly become weary…I just can’t take it.
I think my boys are the same. We’re going to have more conversations around energy interpretation. The thing they are both facing is the natural instinct to suppress their voice…intuition. It’s a tricky time. Being 14, they don’t have the emotional experience to pull from, listening and doing what adults say is natural. Needless to say speaking up is creating internal havoc. As it should. They are learning to be brave.
So what does it take to have freedom in your home? Here’s what I’ve learned so far…and a lot of it we already know.
Allow. Let the person say “this person is an ass!”…it’s what comes after that’s truly important and not the initial sentence. Patience, and allowing the words to flow as they wish, teaches more of what the issue is than getting sucked into a judgment, a reaction to the initial statement.
Listen. The art of listening involves way more than the ears – it’s multi-sensory. It’s feeling the emotion behind the frustration. If you’re quiet and don’t look for a response they will tell you everything. The moment is about them not you; have to get the ego out of the way.
Heart. These moments are that of the heart. This is where voice needs to come from, intuition needs to speak. The brain, I’ve found is reactive. It is quick to pull from the past to use in the present. I want the moment to shape itself…however it may end up. In order for me to be giving I have to be from my heart.
Explore. To be from exploration means I have no expectations. The moment I think “I need to tell them…”, I’m missing something big and the moment switches back to me. Most often they know the solution, and not giving them an answer. It’s allowing them to find it for themselves.
Support. I use these words with my boys “I’ve got your back and we’re in this together…I can’t speak for you, and I can’t promise it’ll be easy, but I’m here…I’m supporting you and everything I say will be about what YOU want…so tell me what that is.” EVERY time I say these words, I mean EVERY time, their chests inflate, you can see the surge of confidence flow up and through them. Their eyes light up, and I get the quiet male head nod of acknowledgment. I can see they feel capable to face what they need to. That’s powerful!
Ask. I ask them what they want the home to feel like. How do we want to communicate through an issue: “do you want us to spend 10 hours talking about the same issue or get to it in 1 hour?” Guess what they agree to? This means that we all have to acknowledge our grievances, there’s open communication – nothing is wrong, and we have to commit to the solution. What I’ve found that from this energy space nothing is a compromise.
Side note: I think the word compromise has a deflated energy associated within it. It says we’re giving up a part of ourselves, to settle for the other. I don’t really like it. I’ve found it’s fine to compromise in work and some situations…however if we’re compromising on our feelings…this could be suppressing. If there’s love weaving through the moment then there’s no compromise. It’s all willingness. We WANT to make the moment better. That’s far, far more powerful…that desire. If that’s not there then the issues may reoccur. We don’t have too much of that, thankfully. Frankly, I don’t have the tolerance to talk about the same issues day in day out.
I put this out in the world so I can have it more in my world. It’s not always the case. There’s so much judgment out there it’s a swamp you suddenly fall into, unnoticed. I’m very careful with friends now….even though they say “it’s OK go ahead vent…” a part of me worries if we truly have the freedom of expression. Will the serpentine withdrawal come one day and I’m left stunned?
That’s why I told my boys that our similarities are lovely, but how we communicate through our differences shows everything. Respect is crucial. Everyone wants to be heard, acknowledged. If what you’re saying is ignored..well that’s a problem and not healthy for any relationship. You have to learn to safeguard your feelings and not let anyone tell you “you’re wrong to feel that way”.
The moment you let others speak for you eventually they will say the wrong things.
Freedom comes from being considerate. It’s not a one time thing it takes thought and ongoing actions. Respect is the work of an ironsmith. It’s taken me a while to learn my tools. And what we have now as a result…well it’s bliss.