January 15th 2019
Something my husband always says and it used to bug the sh1t out of me. I thought it was sidestepping responsibility. Associated it with decreased motivation to act and change. An excuse. Many conversations later, with people and authors much wiser than myself, I’ve grown to appreciate what it can mean for me, particularly in parenthood. I’ve realised one of the reasons we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is.
Arguing with reality is hopeless and very stressful. On a simple level I do it all the time with T2’s naps. I’m basically the sleep police. I’ve always had a nap routine for the children and will plan life around their naps (I get some people find this crazy but it works for us). However, when I put T2 down for a sleep and she doesn’t go to sleep I get really stressed out! She ‘should’ sleep. It bothers me so much. I want something to happen that isn’t happening – I want reality to be different to how it is and it hurts to argue with reality. Embracing this fully is hard. I try to remind myself that I don’t have to BELIEVE my thoughts. T2 you ‘should’ be sleeping. Thinking this whilst she’s screaming to get out her cot is so frustrating, I can’t concentrate on anything else! If I took away the thought ‘she should sleep’ the frustration would fall away and I would embrace the extra playtime. It is what it is.
I shout at the kids when we are running late and they aren’t listening to me. I feel awful about shouting. I think ‘my kids never listen to me. They should listen to me’ I start to feel guilty that I’ve shouted, helpless that I have no control over them and like an awful mum. When I think that way I start to feel and believe it. I wallow, shout again, hating myself a little bit more. What I try (sometimes.. depending how late I am and how much sleep I’ve had – last night probably about 3hr max so today isn’t a great example ) to do is step back and question it. ‘My kids never listen to me. They should listen to me.’ How do I feel when I think this? Pretty crap. Guilty. Out of control and like a bad mum! How would I feel if I didn’t have this thought? Free. Calmer. I might still shout if I need to in the situation but without the domino negative effect the thought ‘my kids should listen to me’ has I feel a lot more present and in control.
Byron Katie takes this a lot further with her ‘work’ into turnarounds and inquiry but it gets a bit complicated unless you’ve read the books but the general idea is ‘it is what it is’. That is reality. Truly accepting it brings an inner peace. Alongside that – you don’t have to believe what you think. Thoughts can be changed and you will feel different. Don’t get me wrong I believe you can achieve what you put your mind to. I believe in the power of attraction and like attracts like but ultimately I FEEL better inside when I accept what is, in that moment. I am TRYING to apply this but it’s a huge work in progress … literally… as T2 is currently in her cot singing at the top of her voice and she SHOULD be asleep and having been awake more hours than I slept last night with T1 it’s tough not to just feel sorry for myself (& eat crappy yummy comfort food!).
This beautiful chaos