Parenting Relentless Self-Improvement

Highly Personal Posting Alert: Which of your beliefs are not meeting your needs?

I’m almost a quarter of the way through a year-long program called the Compassion Course.  (It’s closed for the year now but you can sign up to take it next year.)  It’s helping me to increase my compassion for myself and others – it continues to be a journey for me, and I will say that poor Alvin receives the brunt of my non-compassionate self after I’ve been on ‘good behavior’ with everyone else.  It’s interesting how well it aligns with RIE principles – things like noticing and acknowledging feelings (in self and others), making observations rather than judgments, and using the judgments you make (’cause we all do it) to help you understand your needs and the needs of others, and find better ways to meet them.

Last week’s assignment was to figure out which of your beliefs are not meeting your needs.  The facilitator gave an example of a concert he wanted to attend but he had no-one to go with (and a belief that he wasn’t the type of person who attended concerts alone) and no ticket (and he wasn’t the kind of person who would approach people outside the event and ask to buy an extra ticket).  He ended up in a great single seat at the front of the show, and then let go of a belief that he’s not the kind of person who dances.

A lot of beliefs about myself and others have prevented me from starting this blog until recently.

I believed that people who started blogs were probably a bit vain and self-important (“do they really think that they have something unique to say to the world that anyone wants to hear?”), and that I would never start a blog because I’m not vain or self-important and besides, I don’t have anything unique to say to the world that anyone would want to hear.  I guess it’s all driven by a fear that nobody actually is interested – which is why I hide the number of followers I have on this site.  (But I will tell you that there is more than one of you.)

First photo of Carys and me. She was a screamy little thing.

First photo of Carys and me. She was a screamy little thing.

Part of having Carys was a huge letting go for me of the fears I’d had around being a mother which, for the most part, have (thus far) proven unfounded.  I didn’t think I’d be able to bond with her, and I have.  I didn’t think I’d find her fun to be around and, for the most part – with breaks for me-time, I do.  I thought I’d hate her irrationality but mostly I’m able to observe it neutrally from a distance – although I’m sure I wasn’t like that when I was 15 months old.

IMG_1132 (1)The only thing she’s found to really push my buttons so far is pulling my hair while we’re hiking, because it hurts and I can’t stop her from doing it.  The first time she did it I have to admit that after calmly asking her not to pull my hair several times I did get angry and swat at her behind my head, although she had moved her hands away so I didn’t actually connect.

She just laughed and reached for my hair again; I was pretty mad when I got home partly because I didn’t want this to be the end of our hiking – I’d always thought we would stop when I couldn’t carry her any more.

After I calmed down I wondered why I didn’t think to do what I do at home, which is to offer something else to do the same motion with; in this case something to pull on – the next time she pulled my hair while we were hiking I offered her a load lifter strap which she happily grabbed for a few seconds and then discarded, having forgotten all about my hair.  I felt smug for having solved the problem, and chastised myself for not thinking of it the first time.

So, I had the kid.  And I started the blog.

Here I am, world, and I’ve got something to say.

Still working on the dancing, though.

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  • Reply
    Anne T
    November 11, 2015 at 10:12 am

    Jen, you are an amazing person; creative, clever, interesting, adventurous, industrious, energetic, I could go on… Must say I am delighted you are beginning to believe in yourself. There are very few people in the world who achieve or experience a fraction of what you have done already. Big hug. A x

    • Reply
      November 11, 2015 at 7:28 pm

      Thanks, Anne…I recently read a nice book by Brene Brown called Daring Greatly (she was featured on Oprah, if that tells you what you need to know about her work). In it I learned we all feel shame about some aspect of our lives; most of us are just doing the best we can to cover it up rather than confronting it. That was a real lesson learned for me, firstly that I’m not the only one and secondly that these things can be confronted – and when I’m at a conference (like I am now) trying to make small talk with people, most of ’em are just as insecure about something in their lives as I am… Big (virtual) hug right back to you.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Really cool Blog, Jen. I knew there had to be a reason you put up with me and Tom for 11 days!! Your zen attitude definitely came through.

    • Reply
      November 11, 2015 at 7:28 pm

      Marian, I had no choice but to put up with you and Tom – you were carrying most of our stuff… 🙂

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