What do we hear? What first reactions do we pass on to others? How confident are we in ourselves to be honest with ourselves?
I’m loving this counseling thing. Many things have been overcome over the years just out of determination to learn who I am. Flawless? Of course, not. Sincere? Most definitely. Honest? Trying to be in all ways.
As a child, I felt that every finger was pointed at me. Innocent comments I would take to heart. If attention was turned to me, I hid. Insecurity and shyness were tucked away surrounding me by a moat of self doubt.
“Okay, Syd, are you mad at me about something?” I asked.
“You said I had to wait until Gabby played her Christmas song. It’s not even Christmas,” she spouted. “You’re picking on me.”
“Well, let’s go over that conversation again. This is not about you.” I replied.
“You didn’t yell at her for taking my place at the piano,” she retorted.
“No, I didn’t. She had not had a turn, and there was nothing wrong with you giving her a little time. This isn’t about you so get over yourself,” I replied. “I will not argue over something that is just plain silly.”
Her mood changed. She actually started to have fun and moved from the piano to her easel.
Most fights with children I would guess stem from them defending themselves. Protecting themselves. Most times they don’t get past the beginning of what you say because they are lost in building a barrier of protection. I know. I’ve been there.
I love this counseling process I’m in now. I’m learning that not everything that happened in my life, not everything someone says that bothers me is about me. My guilt, my insecurity added bricks to the wall. A pretty big wall after 62 years. A silly wall.
A lesson I have learned over these years is to put everything into perspective. I keep what will help me grow, analyze that which I don’t understand and toss what is useless. I find I don’t need defenses because I am my worst enemy. My walls only acted to keep me in with my anger and frustrations. I could change.
My granddaughters are teaching me to listen, to be a better person. Their innocent comments and actions are real, more real than what I have piled into my life. They are my teachers. They make my life and my decisions smarter. They teach me to communicate and how to listen. They teach me to not judge and to be a friend.
A friend of mine was a high school counselor. We did social dramas together. My life with my husband and my kids often tore me apart. I was frustrated and at a loss. “So who are you mad at, Pam?” he would ask. “Why are you making it more than it is? Let it go.”
It takes work to change after all these years. But I love the fact that I am learning. I love the fact that not everything is about me. I love that I can have a different, healthier relationship to my children free of judgment and guilt.
I was always taught that we should go to God as a child. Indeed, they are the blessed, they are the innocent, they are the teachers of what we should be. Maybe in turn by learning from them, we can be better examples.