This past weekend, my husband and I chose to get away, and hike into the woods for some connection and grounding.
As we began our hike through the mountains, we realized how quickly insights and revelations were flooding in about ourselves and our family.
Before we reached our first mile, we had purged so much that we were in tears, hugging, and really appreciating the gift of simply letting go.
Well, somehow…this hike had transformed into a therapy session!
While we were venting and releasing between each other, we realized a few “not so glamorous” qualities about ourselves. It became clear that we have subconsciously beeen setting our children up for failure. Eeek! Tough realization, but an empowering one once we chose to do something about it.
We noticed how we have been asking our daughter to always be kind to her friends, and people in her life, yet in our home I have to be honest and say that we are a passionate bunch with freedom to self express our feelings – the flip side to that is that my children have clearly seen what it is like to be unkind in our home. To put it bluntly, yes, I lose my lid and have not been all smiles and perfection as a mom. No shame, no guilt – just is…
So how can I possibly expect her to not do the same when she’s feeling emotional? Add to that, that she is a child and is only just starting to understand how to filter and control her emotions.
Talk about setting her up to feel horrible about herself – we expect her to not be mean, and practice kindness, yet her own family is not giving her the tools to follow through on this expectation. Where does that leave her? In a space of failure. (“Nicely done, mom and dad!”)
For a quick second, I was dissapointed in us, but the next feeling was uplifting and relieving.
That awareness and clarity, created the opportunity for me to be able to now do something about this.
Now, this is all fresh and just a few days old, so I am still sitting with it, but I can say that I am already more conscious in the way my husband and I treat each other during a heated moment.
First step was to simply request that we talk about the “issue” after (when kids are asleep, and we can work through it without an audience, if it is too heated). If we’ve already passed that point, then at least try to consciously use our tools during the moment so that our kids can hopefully model what it’s like to work through an emotional exchange.
The next step is to simply be human and authentic. If my kids see my husband and I flip, then it is important for them to also see it resolved – to see an exchange of love and affection between us afterwards too.
And I feel that it is also important to make time to explain to our kids that this is part of being human. Sometimes we lose control, sometimes we are overwhelmed by emotions, and although we try our hardest to guide our emotions productively, there will be times when it is just not happening.
During those times, we may hurt each other. Yep, we’ve all been there. What matters is what we do after that. A simple apology, and a hug may do it. Perhaps a long talk/clearing, or an aknowledgement of what we are personally accountable for. Any of these can go a long way.
Our children will soon understand that although we are human and we mess up, there are ways to make amends and grow from it.
There’s no need to hide our feelings, or feel guilty about them, or go down any unproductive road.
Conflict is part of everyday life. Offering our children the tools to handle it authentically, and productively will give them access to qualities that they will need for the rest of their lives.
If you are “mean”, you can make up for it with kindness.
It is all part of human nature, part of the family experience, and part of growing as a person – and as a family unit.
On our way home after our weekend, I felt lighter. There was so much more room in my heart for love, understanding and non-judgment.
Who would’ve known a hike in the mountains would’ve taken us down a road of revelation and clearing, but it was exactly what needed to come up. So much more was purged on a personal level, but I will leave that for another time…
I have been sharing my weekend experience with my friends and family, and of course I wanted to share it here too with my parent community.
My intention is to shed light on the importance of Keeping It Real! And of stepping away, reconnecting with yourself, your partner, nature – and soaking up all the insight that is offered. The revelations are meant for growth and not for self judgment or “wronging”. They are a gift to be used for self-improvement.
So I say, get away and let it all out my friends! You will feel 100 pounds lighter, clearer, and it will help make you a better person, and a better parent.
Plan a weekend getaway, or at the very least a dinner date with your partner and enjoy!
If you have anything you’d like to share about how it went, please let us know! (Although all your personal emails mean so much to me, sharing something like this in the comments section below can really make a difference for another person – you could touch someone’s life without ever knowing it.) You may just make a difference and spark something for someone, somewhere…and why not?
Whatever you do, I wish you a heart – filled, and fun time!