As I get a year older today, does it surprise you if I choose to speak to my younger self? If only we could go back in time to our former selves and tell ourselves the things we now know. What would you give to be able to do that? We cant bog it down with a list too long and so, I???d narrow this list down to four essential things, if I had the chance presented to me. Perhaps a list of four things makes more impact than a list of twenty four. I???d like to believe that.
1. It???s ok, it will pass.
I spent a great deal of my childhood fretting over things, that in hindsight, I should have just left quite alone. It was worry about the future, anxiety about what might be. Various incidents, turns of events and such. But the problem with that is that the future doesn???t present itself in the manner in which you anticipate yet you spend all that time going through various scenarios and how you???ll work through them. I now see that all that worrying doesn???t do anything other than cause further anxiety. I told myself that the worry was me planning around contingencies and being prepared but when I am really honest with myself, I can see that the worrying doesn???t lead to much planning. I was actually spending a lot of time mired in the emotion generated and not really in problem solving mode at all.
Upshot : Don???t worry so much. Whether you worry or you don???t, if it???s gonna happen, it will and there???s nothing you can do about it. What is important is to keep calm, be focused on how to deal with the problem (as opposed to just staying in misery zone by focusing only on the side effects and the emotions generated). Be more concerned with staying centred and above the issue ??? so you can think clearly through it. Easier said than done, but it???s a plan nevertheless. Beauty lies in the execution and I guess, practice.
2. Let go.
Parenting has been a real educational journey for to me. It has caused me to ask more questions than I ever have, it has caused even more self-awareness than I sometimes care to face and it has shown me the path that children are as much our teachers as we are to them (if not more). In the spirit of trying to be ever so controlling of everything around myself, all I learn is that it is futile in itself. I don???t control the things around me any more than I am capable of controlling myself. And so it???s been a process of letting go.
Upshot : Let go. There???s a huge journey ahead of me and I know that there is much to do and learn. But if I beat myself up about every turn gone wrong, then I know that I will be very disheartened and I need to be on top of it to make the journey and make the change. So, you have to let go. You have to give yourself that second chance, over and over again. You have to push the naysayers away and come to terms with what you know is in your heart, even if you have a hard time making it happen in real terms. In a post by Francesca Kaplan Grossman, entitled The Surprising Way My Husband Helps My Parenting, I learnt that the ???parenting thing??? is the biggest thing we have and the thing we are least trained for. Well, how???s about that?
3. To know is human, to comprehend, divine.
I read an insightful article today by Devon Corneal, entitled above, that helped me put to words what I have been grappling with in the last few years, especially in communicating with people and more crucially, with those I love and my children. The thing is this ??? we gain wisdom from our mistakes and our failures, when we rationalise and make sense of what went wrong in our steps. Sometimes that happens right after an incident, and sometimes, it happens years later. We might be happy to come to these realisations or we may come to them grudgingly. What is critical is that at some point, we come to this realisation but we, not others, must make that journey. As parents or as those who???ve been there/done that, we feel that our experience, our journey enables us to share what we???ve learnt and we feel and believe that these realisations are gold, having made the journey as painfully as we have. But others, those on the receiving end, having not been on our journey can hardly be faulted for not agreeing with our point of view or the vehemence in which we spit it out. And so, it comes to pass, that sometimes, we need to watch and wait as things unfold or as decisions are made.
Upshot : If you can help them understand the point you make, then that is wonderful. The connection is made and the point is not lost. But if you can???t and be far more prepared that in your journey, there will be more failures in this arena than others, then, it helps if you see that sometimes, people do need to go their own way and that there is nothing wrong in them rejecting what you???ve got to share and say. Sometimes, it needs to come from within and you must make peace with that.
4. Just do it.
Give it a go.
There???s nothing to lose.
You???ll regret it if you don???t.
Who cares if someone is looking?
Need I say more?