Responsibility can be a powerful thing!
Anyone can bring about peace in their life if they are willing to take responsibility for every problem that shows up without the need to blame someone else or insist that it isn’t their problem. In other words, make no excuses. This doesn’t involve a bit of self flagellation, or having a pity party. It actually involves a process of self reflection and a rampant curiosity as to why this issue has presented it self.
It can be liberating
It can be educational
It can be motivational
Or it can induce feelings of guilt and shame..
The kind of responsibility, I am referring to, is about being willing to accept that you played a role in the current outcome in every situation and be willing to learn from it…letting it become a learning experience and not a shameful one. Letting it drive your attitude to respond with curiosity instead of blame. Letting the results of your curiosity and self reflection drive resolving the situation instead of falling or playing victim to it. Let it motivate you to change it for the better instead of feeling helpless and hopeless.
By taking this one step I personally went from feeling like a terrible parent to being an empowered one. I look at every situation and own that I have influenced the current circumstances, realising that there was something that I needed to work on, something to learn, something to overcome so I can avoid this situation again.
OK.. so here’s an example of that from my own experience…
My daughter was in year 3 when the issues between her friends began. She was a painfully shy girl, so having a small circle of friends really meant everything to her. It began with the normal little girl behaviour of punishing those who were friends with so and so and trying to push her onto the outer of the group.
Exclusion from the group… a little girl’s worst nightmare! It started bordering on the bullying side in about year 4 as the girls up the antics and my daughter struggles with the power plays, name calling and snide remarks and finally gets to the stage where she doesn’t want to go to school.
So you’re probably thinking that I should have step in earlier, talked to the school and get the behaviour to stop… but you’d be wrong. That was not the approach I chose and I’ll explain that more in step 4 and 6 (sorry you’ll have to wait for those posts to be released or you can download the tele seminar and listen to it).
Taking responsibility in this situation meant that I could see that she was not equipped to handle the situation.
She needed help… yes.. but not by me taking it over for her! She needed to be empowered to help herself.
First step for me was to deal with my fears first (Emotional Freedom Technique being my favourite way) and then with my head cleared, used my curiosity guide me to working out why she was in this situation in the first place. What did I need to resolve in myself for her to learn how to handle this?
So I listened to her experience (emotions and all) without judgement or offering advice. We did this all the way through the months it went on. We talked about what bullying is and brainstormed ideas on how she could manage the current situation. I let her make suggestions and I walked her through the ups and downs of each idea and encouraged her to try different things, such as speaking her truth and talking with her friends. She eventually got the courage up and spoke to them all individually which then sparked a group discussion over a number of school play times and eventually the nasty behaviour stopped. Her whole circle of friends really got clear about what was OK and what was not. They spoke about it openly and reflected on how bad it was making everyone feel and they all agreed to stop playing nasty with each other.
And… even though, through out her school and social life, this issue has shown up a few times, especially since she changed schools in year 5 and then was at a new High school with no previous friends… each time we’ve talked it through and she has worked out how to handle it. She doesn’t take any bad behaviour from her friends, she pulls them up on it and resolves it quickly and she doesn’t avoid confrontation (or invite it either). Her friends really respect her wisdom. I have watched her handle difficult situations with grace and ease… one’s that made mumma lion roar inside (yes I need to work on that). She amazes me… she became my teacher.
I took responsibility by supporting her, working with her, learning from her and helping her find solutions. Without a doubt, every time I have looked at a situation as something I have responsibility for, then I also have given myself control to change the outcome. And I look for ways to influence the outcome and if that doesn’t work, I look for more ways… I just don’t give up. No excuses.
So what if it has nothing to do with you… like your children are physically fighting and you know it has nothing to do with you? They just aren’t getting along right now.
Just evaluate that situation… by taking responsibility for this problem what would you do differently? How would you look at it with curiosity and what do you need to learn from it showing up?
Answer this in Facebook if you feel that this is one of your challenges!
For me… I’d be curious as to where did the family lesson go about how conflict is resolved in this family? What have my children observed of me that they believe this is the way to behave? How have I shown them how to resolve conflict? What do I need to do in order for this to change? Have I been behaving like this? What have I pretended not to have seen in order for this problem to show up in my life?
So how does this translate to the home (or anywhere in your life)? Well if you can take responsibility for the problems that show up in your life, then you have a choice to be free from them or caught up in the drama of them (and the likely reassurance of them). By releasing the problem within you, (dealing with it), you release those around you to showing you the problem in the first place because… the problem wouldn’t have been there if it wasn’t for you!
Releasing the problem can be done on a practical, physical or spiritual way. In a practical sense, you can look at the issue and see how to find a solution to it. That could mean speaking up about what the effect is on you (and the family), it could mean that you choose not to respond to the problem (which can be difficult if take what they’ve said/done as a personal attack) or it could mean that you remove yourself from the problem (a physical solution). I’m one that tends to look for a solution, though, sometimes it’s best to remove yourself first so you can get the space to reflect and find a solution.
The spiritual way of solving this is to reflect on your emotions in light of this problem.
“In the absence of reflection, history often repeats itself. Research has clearly demonstrated that our children’s attachment to us will be influenced by what happened to us when we were young if we do not come to process and understand those experiences.”— Dan Siegel
When I get the space to reflect, these are some of the questions I ask myself…
- Where did I first feel this way?
- What does this situation remind me of and how did I learn to deal with it back then?
- Am I replaying a memory from my past and responding to the current problem in a similar way?
If the answer is YES! You can release it by becoming aware of the link to your past and talking about it with someone you trust… Or using something like Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to release all the emotions associated with that past event.
I personally, like to use EFT because it’s quick and easy and helps me to uncover any further layers to the issue. Having a curiosity and a willingness to reflect and resolve the conflict within myself will always help me to teach my children how to manage challenging situations.
Ok onto step 3… (coming next week)