I used to live in constant worry (and it still creeps in more often than I would like), but finding acceptance has been the practice that I keep coming back to when I feel the worry. As soon as I was introduced to the idea that there really is nothing to strive for when it comes to emotional balance, aside from acceptance and staying present, I had a huge sigh of relief! I could stop trying so hard to make everything perfect. When I am able to find these two states of being in a moment of a trigger, fight, flight, or freeze, this is when I feel responsive versus reactive.
When it comes to being with children, especially my own children, it feels hard not to overthink and worry about if what I am saying is the right thing, if I am giving them enough attention, or if they need better boundaries. Even harder is when triggering emotions show up…do they need guidance, or do they need to free themselves from built-up stress. So many questions and doubts. Raising and teaching children is the biggest responsibility that we have, so of course, it is going to come along with doubts and mistakes. I can now approach the challenging process of parenting and teaching children, accepting that it is just hard and imperfect.
My own triggers and reactions show up in these moments when I feel insufficient as a parent or teacher like I missed an important opportunity to guide them. The urge to “do something” or to “teach them” at the moment just appears inside of me. Even my body has a physical reaction to what is happening.
When I feel grounded, I am able to first pause and notice the trigger within myself. I can stay present with what is happening both in my physical body (this is a priority for me because it is an anchor point), and then I can find acceptance for the child’s emotional experience…after all, this is life! Emotional outbursts, testing boundaries, having conflict and disagreements, and feeling worried, this is part of the whole experience.
What I found is that it’s my resistance to what is happening that causes me to react in ways I later regret.
When I can notice the trigger in myself, I can find more acceptance of the child’s emotional experience. I can stay in the moment and work through it more naturally when I don’t feel judged or like I need to change the situation in some way. I am then able to stay in the moment with the child. I can give them space to explore what they are experiencing, and know when and how to step in to keep them safe and help them process in a healthy way…or not.
When I am resistant, I cannot find the tools or skills that I have to help them in the best way. Often, I make things a lot worse. And guess what, finding acceptance of THAT (my own mistakes) is all part of this, too.
Accepting hard emotions and triggers without feeling the urge to fix or change them takes a lot of practice. I would say I can manage my reactions about half of the time IN THE MOMENT. This is progress! Nearly 100% of the time I have an awareness of my reaction and can reflect on it later. Also huge progress!