“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection..”
― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection
This morning I've been grappling with how to handle a parenting situation. There's a pretty significant part of me that feels that I should lay down the law, set an ultimatum, and force my son to comply with my rule. There's another (bigger than I wish it was) that wants to hide from the issue. And another part that desperately wants to look smart, wise, and strong rather than risking vulnerability. And a part that wants my child to look good rather than confused. That's a lot, right?
As I was struggling with the confusion I felt and the ways I should probably just fix things, I suddenly realized that I was holding the pain at a distance, defending myself from the vulnerability of the situation by staying in my head. I remembered that my connection with my son will not thrive because I try to control him. Nor will it thrive because I avoid a hard moment and let him avoid it. It's essential that I stay both connected and loving.
As soon as I got there, I felt the pain come in. It's hard and scary to set limits and deal with problems while staying connected. It feels safer to make demands from a disconnected place. And as I realized how important that vulnerability is, my consciousness kicked in, watching the stories, fears, and desires with compassion and clarity.
As a mom (to 2 teenage sons), wife, and person in the world, I have been on a long imperfect journey. I have made many mistakes, but with mindfulness, emotional reflection, and lots of support I have learned enormously from those mistakes.