Recently I had someone very close to me throw some pretty sharp verbal daggers my way. With all of my might, I tried to not react but rather listen and process. I attempted to sort out what might be this person’s own “stuff” and what was useful for me to think about. The most challenging part was wanting to value this person’s opinion but also set boundaries to keep myself from being hurt.
Of the many hurtful words that were directed at me, the two themes that stunned the most were that I am not authentic, and that I am a lousy and irresponsible parent hiding behind my spirituality and acceptance. Yeah. Exactly. Stunning…..takes a breath away…..incredibly painful. The rest of the nonsense can be mostly dismissed as a child-like fit of unsolved anger and resentment but for those two themes, I cannot easily dismiss.
Granted I have spent the last 24 hours thinking about it all, I came up with the teeniest bit of truth to not being authentic with what I “project into the world”. Yes, it is true. I speak of being diligent with my diet, and yet I consume cookies when they are within arms reach. I do not meditate every day, nor do I have a Yoga practice beyond 30 minutes a day. I really do not like my car that I pay a lot of money each month for and I will skimp on quality foods for the insatiable teenager. I prefer to be alone and I use a large portion of my social time on social media where I am comfortable. There it is: I am not the clean-eating-mediating hippie-cavewoman eating-Yoga guru-happy about my car purchase-out going extrovert that some may see.
As far as my parenting. I have a practice of reflecting on a daily basis as to how I handled the day. It is not evaluative in nature, but instead it is a moment of grace. A moment to choose what I get attached to and choose what I allow myself to feel emotions over. It is not a denial system, nor is it covering myself up with the shawl of spirituality. It is self-care. It is creating a space both in my heart and in my physical world of acceptance and of grace. It is cultivating a sense of peace and trust. It is my way of shining the light along their path, knowing that it is they who have to choose the way. I do not rank my parental worthiness by their financial success or their plaques of accomplishments. Instead the real and meaningful conversations about their hearts, their fears and who they are is my radar for success. Not owning their mistakes as mine and having clear boundaries about what I choose to harden my soul with is one of my greatest strengths as a parent. Certainly it may have made my son’s life a lot easier had I stepped in with my checkbook to bail him out of his life changing mistake years ago. But then again, that may have made it a non-life changing event. I have learned through experience that there is a huge difference between worry and caring. I choose to care and to trust. To me that is not irresponsible and their challenges are not a reflection of my bad parenting. It is a reflection of their choices. At the end of the day, I love them and they know without a shadow of any doubt, I see who they are. I see them. I accept them.
With a tender I heart I move about my day and I get an opportunity to look at who I am and who I have become. Nothing happens in life, or relationships with others, that isn’t a chance to look inward. Believe me when I say it…. I am looking inward.