I received an email recently from a mother telling me that she had found it to be quite confronting to take a look at how much of a teller she was with her children. In our online training program, we invite parents to reflect on their more habitual or natural responses in situations where they are asked for advice or expected to give an answer. Of course, what is important in this reflection is the need for absolute honesty, and clearly, in this instance, the lady had been honest and not liked what she then realized about herself.
I confess that when I recognize something about me that I don’t like it doesn’t feel very nice initially and it is easy to choose to bury or ignore what we now know is a false belief that it will go away, which of course it doesn’t. The good thing about getting older I have found though is that I have a lot more forgiving and understanding way of dealing with my own shortcomings, in the knowledge that no one is perfect and being human actually means we are all fallible. So when I have a realization now about something that isn’t ideal about myself I feel good about it because now that I am aware of the issue I can actually choose to do something about it.
One thing that is generally true about human beings is that we are creatures of habit which means we have a tendency to keep doing the same things in an unconscious repetitive way. The good thing about having a realization about ourselves is that we can choose different ways of doing things that will give us different results. Without the awareness, there would be no opportunity or choice to change.
So rather than feeling bad about what you learn about yourself in the process of doing some honest reflection, my suggestion is to celebrate knowing what you now know because there is a wonderful opportunity for you to do something about it. In the instance with the email I received from this lady, I of course reassured her about the feeling of being confronted by what she now knew, on the basis that:
• This initial feeling is natural and needs to be acknowledged in a positive way as an enabler of change and her being an even better parent
• With the awareness she now had she can start to consciously choose to be more of an ‘asker’ and tap into and release the potential in her kids going forward
Being prepared to handle the initial adverse reaction from honest self-reflection becomes paramount to your success to be a better version of yourself on the basis that knowing ‘warts and all’ enables us all to learn, grow and be even better parents than we are already!