Parenting can be an extremely humbling experience. And there is nothing like having your profession thrown in your face by your daughter when you are not showing up as an ideal mother. I had one such experience last week.
What I am grateful for is having the perspective to see how different my daughter looks when I go from one mood to another so I don’t take my bad mother blues too seriously. Previously, I would have been so ensconced on a self-help path to fix my errant ways that I would have missed the opportunity to rebuild the bridge between us.
It was the second day of a conversation that had not gone well the previous day. We had just enjoyed a lovely lunch and had come home. I was relaxed and at ease feeling like rapport was reestablished, when all of a sudden I found myself being given “constructive” criticism about my previous day’s behavior. I again took things personally, felt hurt, and got reactive.
I also got to hear about my previous failings as a mother from my daughter’s childhood up till now. Mostly my inability to be with her anger, my perceived tendency to sweep things under the rug, my maddening and irresponsible trust in her resilience and ability to figure things out, and something I didn’t know ¾¾ my buying ice cream after problems was also a problem. She probably didn’t realize I was the one that needed the ice cream. I had been known, before coming across the understanding of the Principles, to eat all the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream container after a hard day. And there was more, much more. All I could do was tell her that I was feeling reactive and it was best for me not to respond right away.
But she didn’t want to end the conversation. She felt like I was abandoning her and giving up. From my reactive state, I felt hopeless. It felt like I was incapable of ever having a conversation with her to work things out. I told her I needed help. I wanted a mediator. I told her, “I can’t seem to have a conversation with you without taking things personally and getting reactive.”
She then said without missing a beat, “With what you teach, how can that be true? What do you mean you can’t? Don’t you teach people they have everything they need inside? Why do you need someone else?”
I guess she has been listening after all!
In that moment, I couldn’t do it. I felt too destabilized. I bit my tongue and didn’t react, but I also could not trust myself to communicate. So I did leave. It was the best I could do at that time.
I then sent a frenzy of texts to Angus who spouted back to me what I had said to him the day before when he was destabilized. “You just can’t take it personally. That’s what you told me last night.” Not helpful in that moment. So after venting to him, I got on with some work. Responded to someone else’s text. And before I knew it, I was feeling warm toward her again.
Before that, my heart had felt hard and cold. I felt hopeless and incapable. But then, all of a sudden, I was ready to be back in the conversation –– this time with open ears and an open heart. I was no longer taking things personally. I wasn’t holding a grudge. My inclination was to connect and be close. My love was propelling me forward. My mind flashed caution, but my heart said ‘Go.’
I re-approached her. I said I wanted to try again. She was open. We tried and this time we heard each other. What felt impossible 30-minutes earlier was very possible in this new moment.
I was able to explain that I am not perfect. I do have a tendency to take her anger and criticism personally. I don’t mean to, but it is hard for me not to get defensive. She acknowledged that she could do better to communicate her upset from a less reactive space. We also found a common ground. We were completely polarized before, but when we revisited things we easily got to a place where we both felt good about what we could do differently. It doesn’t mean it will work, but we both agreed to try. And most importantly, there was a good feeling between us. The love was clear and strong.
I am so grateful for the understanding of the Principles. Understanding that the nature of thought is to settle allowed me to leave my thinking alone and not try to fix my reactivity. Remembering that my natural state is wellbeing helped me to relax and let go, knowing that I would eventually come home to peace within myself.
This is what allowed me to walk away even in the face of my daughter’s criticism for doing so. And it is what helped me to go back –– even at the risk of rejection. Knowing that I am naturally resilient and buoyant is reassuring. It makes the moments when I forget this a whole lot less bothersome.
Then, I can see the grain of truth in what my daughter was sharing from her upset state. I can hear the wisdom in her sharing and accept the opportunity to have more clarity about my opportunities for learning and loving. I see she wanted to connect and we found a way. Even if it was rocky, we persevered and found a path.
You have this same resilience within you. It is your true nature. May you experience the depth of the resources that are available to you whether you are a mother or not. It is the source from which we bounce back and start again — renewed and refreshed. The reset is always available no matter what your blues.
Rohini Ross is passionate about helping people wake up to their full potential. She is a transformative coach, leadership consultant, a regular blogger for Thrive Global, and author of the short-read Marriage (The Soul-Centered Series Book 1) available on Amazon. You can get her free eBook Relationships here. Rohini has an international coaching and consulting practice based in Los Angeles helping individuals, couples, and professionals embrace all of who they are so they can experience greater levels of well-being, resiliency, and success. She is also the founder of The Soul-Centered Series: Psychology, Spirituality, and the Teachings of Sydney Banks. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and watch her Vlogs with her husband. To learn more about her work go to her website, www.rohiniross.com.