Dear Happy Travelers,
Parenting (and grand-parenting) has its bumps and detours, and through it all offers so much joy. Being a grandma is as much fun with less responsibility. Still, one of my greatest challenges is to balance self-care with my urge to care for them. I want to spare both my babies and grandbabies from any hurt and would like to think that I know best.
Here we walk a fine line between Divine Order and Ego Expectations. It is hard to discern sometimes when to actively help, or when it is best to ‘help’ by ‘not helping.’ Sometimes we guess right and sometimes we guess wrong. Regardless, our intentions are most likely good, and this is important.
It has taken me years of practice to understand (most of the time) that those we love, especially our children, have their own lives. They need to learn from their own mistakes. It can be deceiving, but worry is not the same as love. Worry makes us feel like we are doing something when we feel out of control.
It is important for all of us to remember that it is not our job to fix anyone. It is our place to empower them to know that they carry that strength within themselves… as do I. All we must do is access it. It is so much easier to guide our children and feel we have to define their direction that offer our self the same care and nurturing.
I have always told my daughters that I would rather visit for a few fleeting minutes by choice rather than days and days of forced connection out of obligation. Love is not measured by time, but by authenticity. It is not as much about quantity, but quality of time spent in one another’s company.
As my two daughters continue on their individual unfolding adventure of relationship and parenting I experience a relief in observing that I have nudged them out of the nest with a sense of their own strength and magnificence. We lean on one another often, but know that we can travel the road alone without resentment and expectations. We all forget at times, but when things get tough, they dig deep and access the power that comes when you remember who you really are. As hard as it is, we must not deprive our children to gain the experience of their own power by interfering on their journey. This does not mean we don’t step in to help, but that we do so mindfully, and without guilt when we cannot assist them. We listen from within rather than push from without.
Though my ‘default’ used to be set to worry and fret many years ago, I recognize now (and sometimes day by day) that such concern is really counter-productive. Worry offers us a choice-point… to waste our energy and teach learned-helplessness, or to choose to trust they will find their own way to their magnificence so they can become fully who they are meant to be.
My mom always was the first to remind me that “experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.” Although we all want the road to be smooth, challenges are often our greatest teacher. The reason I want to jump to their aid is because I’ve gained a bit of wisdom through my mis-steps. Still, there is no better unforgettable lesson learned than through our own experience.
There is nothing more important than to give your child than the courage to know that they are capable. No one needs to be rescued or fixed… only bathed in the light of encouragement in order to connect with their own wonder.
When we learn how to take full accountability and responsibility for our own happiness and connect fully with our magnificence, the gifts we offer become more true, our happiness is more durable, and blessings become more evident. Life is an incredible dance, an intuitive adventure, where those with hope experience more durable happiness.
After all, would you rather be accused of false-hope or false-pessimism?
We throw our self Off Course from a joyful and confident life when:
– We try to fix other people.
– We often feel it is our job to try to keep everyone happy all the time and believe it is our responsibility to do so. Life comes with its twists and turns. Although we like to soften the blows for everyone, it still is important to support the ones we love in learning how to handle the challenges on their own. We are happier when we know we can steer our way through the rough spots and blessed when we have the love and support to do so.
– We feel responsible to take away any pain encountered. It is easy to feel it is our responsibility if someone else feels hurt in any way. It is wonderful when we can help others avoid hurt, and still much of the pain that others experience is not ours to take away. It is a dis-service to protect someone to the point they do not develop their own durable sense of power.
– We equate worry with love. Never once in the history of the universe has worrying changed an outcome. It gives us the illusion that we are doing something to help, when in fact it is counter-productive. It depletes the energy we need to respond rather than react to a problem.
– We identify our self as a rescuer. Although traditional therapy has its time and place, it often comes from the belief that the client is broken and the counselor is there to fix them. Whether a therapist or not, many of us have the misperception that it is our job to rescue and save rather than truly support. Happiness comes more easily when we believe that it is not our job to save or rescue, but to remind someone of their magnificence and see them as amazing even when they have forgotten. We generally tend to live up to the expectation someone holds for us.
– We label, blame, and judge people. Everyone was born amazing, and then some of us were given labels and were told that we were less than magnificent. We came to believe the labels rather than the truth. Happiness is ours when we remember the wonders of others as well as our own.
– We try to save the world. Peace comes from the inside out. The best way to contribute to peace is to take full responsibility for our own happiness. It is not our job to save the world out there, but to create peace in our own heart.
– We partner with someone with the expectation they’ll change. As a young woman I thought it was my job to fix and change my husband. I have learned that changing anyone but our self is not our job. To experience happiness, notice the “if only” statements in your life. If we find ourselves stating, “If only he/she would…,” then we are setting our self up for disappointment. No one else can make us unhappy. We are the one making our self unhappy.
– We try to get our children to live the life we choose for them. We all have dreams for our children, and still they come in with destinies of their own to find and fulfill. It is our role to support and nurture them, and to love them unconditionally as they determine and discover their own passion and purpose. If you are overly invested in their life, it may mean that you need to develop your own passions instead.
Suggestions for Getting Back on Course:
– We understand that the greatest gift we can give another is to take full accountability and responsibility for our own happiness.
– We look for the gifts embedded in painful experiences without resistance.
– We remember that worry has never once changed an outcome and is a waste of our precious energy.
– We no longer feel we need to rescue, but rather empower.
– We focus on similarities rather than differences, healing polarities.
– We create peace and make a difference by living life from the inside out.
– We engage only with a mutually loving partner, honoring their unique qualities, “warts” and all, and trust the perfection of their life’s journey.
– We empower our children to discover and live their own life.