My daughter and I went to an open gym together last week, where she played on the gymnastics floor.
I was annoyed AF, and trying not to be.
There was a little girl there who decided to be friends with my daughter, R, and was bossing her around the entire time they were playing. R was unphased by the demands, but there I was, so triggered. And it seemed so silly, but it was so real.
I cannot stand it when others tell me what to do, or boss me around, and I’ve always been this way. When I was a little girl, I quit a friendship because I would not succumb to the demands of the other party. When someone tells me what to do, and they have no business doing it, I have a strong desire to rebel, to do the opposite.
It’s the fighter in me, the rebel, the confrontational one.
So, this little girl is bossing R around, and R could care less, but I’m getting supremely annoyed. Then I noticed this little girl’s mama. She has 3 small kids, and she’s yelling orders left and right.
At this point, I had two emotions going on at the same time: I’m feeling annoyed, and I’m feeling compassion/empathy.
I know how challenging parenting is, and I have one child, so I’m summoning more compassion and empathy, and trying to stop being annoyed, as I tell myself “this little girl is just copying what she sees her mama doing, her mama is doing the best she can, and she has a lot on her plate.”
Sounds great, right?
There’s more to the story.
So we leave, and I’m feeling SO relieved to be out of that place, away from the bossy little girl, and her bossy, seemingly unpleasant mama.
Throughout the day, I kept noticing how bossy I WAS. I kept seeing how I was trying to be patient, to no avail. Anytime I asked R to do something, she just took her sweet time, or ignored me, or just decided that she wanted to do what she wanted to do and nothing else. (Normal toddler stuff.) And I was feeling “Do what I ask and do it now!”
I wasn’t accepting her dilly-daddle, her strong willed character, her wanting to do things her way. I was wanting her to do exactly what I wanted when I wanted it, without questioning. (BAHAHAHA!!!! Yeah right!)
I noticed that feeling, and I was wondering “where did this even come from? Why am I feeling this way?”
After reflecting over the phone with a friend, I realized I was not allowing myself to be HUMAN. I was denying myself the human experience of sometimes feeling really annoyed (or whatever other emotions we try to ban from our experiences), and I was trying to be nice, kind, sweet to the other mama.
I was trying to be a “good girl”.
But that left me in a place of not accepting all of who I am (specifically the parts of me that experience uncomfortable emotions), and not accepting where I am right now on my journey.
I was wondering, where did I get this idea of “do as I say, and do it now, without questions?”
This story that this is how children should be raised, where did that even come from???
I’m pretty certain we’ve all heard the phrase “I brought you into this world and I can take you out!” Right?
When I heard this, my response was, “right, I better get back in line.”
“What a good girl”, right?!? (I’m barfing in my mouth right now.)
As if our children owe us ANYTHING. They did not request to be created, that was entirely up to the parents. (Take full responsibility, y’all.)
Yet in the past and on some days still, I have found myself feeling resentment around being a mom. Not resentment specifically TOWARDS my daughter, as a person, but around the role of mother. Like there is something that should be owed to me because I do so much for my family. And I know I’m not the only mom who feels this way.
The idea of “I brought you into this world and I can take you out,” implies that children owe parents GOOD BEHAVIOR. “If you don’t get back in line, you’re in trouble.”
So (some) kids walk away feeling “I have to be good. I am not allowed to be anything else.” (Not all kids are this way, but I definitely was, and I know several people who relate to this story.)
And when completely natural, normal human emotions such as anger, frustration, feeling annoyed, sadness, feeling afraid, etc, show up, those emotions are blocked off/not allowed/not accepted, because they feel so “bad”.
They are rejected by the person who experiences them. (The emotions are usually rejected by the parent, which a) the child takes as personal rejection, because kids’ brains are not developmentally able to understand the difference and b) teaches the child to reject that part of him/herself, because that part of her is “not safe”. But, emotions are part of who we are as humans, it’s not something we can or should control, but something to experience and learn from.)
So, that person rejects part of themselves, saying “it’s not okay to go there, that part of me isn’t safe.”
But when you repress your emotions, they actually go away, so… the end. You’re good.
NOPE. Just kidding.
Nice try though.
They store up in the body, they sometimes come through as anxiety or depression or maybe an illness/disease, they come back with more intensity. They don’t go away.
The only way to “get rid of them” is to NOT get rid of them.
You can move through them, which actually looks like sitting with the emotion.
Accept that part of yourself, knowing that you are safe to experience those emotions, and resist the urge to attach a story to the emotion. Eventually, you’ll feel peace, contentment, ”okay,” emotionally regulated again.
The story “you are ‘bad’ if you act ‘bad’ ” is NOT TRUE. (And what people would call “bad” is not “bad” at all, it’s just acting in a way that makes somebody else uncomfortable, revealing to them where they have healing they can bring forth).
It’s their way of saying “I don’t accept this, so it must be bad.” or vice versa: “This is bad, so I don’t accept it.”
I’m sharing my experience here to bring awareness. It’s kind of obvious that repressing our emotions and not accepting ourselves is not helping us, it’s actually hurting us. So we can talk about this all day long, and we can “accept ourselves for who we are,” but if we don’t take what we learn and implement it into our lives, things will just continue to stay the same.
If you’re a parent, I know you want what’s best for your kids. There are so many different ways that people have told us how to do things all along. I’m not telling you how to do it, I’m encouraging you to question and test what you’ve been taught, and see if the way you are operating right now is working for you, or if you want to find a new way of doing things. I am cheering for you, tune into your heart, and listen to what it has to say. You deserve to let go of the stories that are not for you anymore. You get to move into a place of freedom and feeling good. It’s waiting for you.
Take away from the story: practice accepting all of who you are, and all of your human experience. When you practice accepting yourself, you can more fully accept others, which feels more like health, wholeness, unconditional love, Shalom, nothing missing, nothing broken.