I was saddened this week to hear of some parents reactions to the idea that they could influence their childs behaviour, feeling that it was ‘too late’. Seeing our Better Parents Ask Better Questions books on display at a local event, one lady was heard saying “My child is already a brat, so it’s no good thinking about what I can do!” and another parent said “..they are too old to change and Ive done my best at being a good parent”.
Whilst I can empathise with their sentiment, what saddens me is that they have given up before they have even started and have found a rote response to situations which may challenge their status quo stance of never having to change. Human beings are so good at finding evidence to support their current belief systems. In fact someone once said “Whatever the Thinker thinks, the Prover will prove”…in other words whatever we think, our egos will always find evidence to prove us right, which in many instances means we don’t have to deal with the situation or change.
It takes a courageous person to hold the mirror to themselves and be prepared to admit that there is room for improvement AND that they are prepared to do something about it. Often we don’t like what we see in the mirror and then pretend that we didn’t notice it in the hope that it will magically go away. Of course this never happens and the lady that talked about her child being a ‘brat’ had undoubtedly done the burying and then taken it to the next level of blaming others for her own inabilities. Sadly, this seems to be another trait of human nature and that is to point the finger outwards instead of being prepared to point it inwards.
To some extent finger pointing inwards can be initially painful and uncomfortable and too many people then go on a journey of ‘self beating’ which then exacerbates the intensity of the unpleasant feeling, which in turn supports their rational to not ‘go there’ in the first place.
Whilst I admit that the awareness of my own inabilities may initially be painful, I have learnt over the years that in fact the identification of these issues is an opportunity for celebration. Indeed, it isn’t every day that we get the gift of heightened self awareness and I choose the word ‘gift’ quite deliberately because with awareness comes the ability to choose to change. Without awareness we can only keep doing what we already do because we don’t know any better. Awareness enables us to choose to be better!
So, my message in this blog is to catch yourself finding evidence to keep yourself right or safe and in that moment be open minded enough to explore a little further to see what can be revealed in the mirror. After all, if we are serious about being the best we can be in whatever endeavour, there are opportunities to hold the mirror to oneself every day, and being prepared to do so is one of the greatest gifts you will ever give yourself during your lifetime.