The other morning I was talking to a friend and we were sharing with each other what happened in our homes over the holidays. I found myself ranting about my son on how mean he has been to me. In this moment of the re-telling, I could feel my deep anger and hurt. I could also feel my rage at him. I realized I wanted to talk to him and give him a piece of my mind!
BUT, I knew it wasn’t wise to talk to my son at that time because of the mood I was in.
From my Aikido training, I have learned that the kind of energy I bring into a conversation is the kind of energy I will get back, only stronger.
So I waited. And wondered. And then grace arose in my thoughts.
I reflected on the awareness that everyone is always doing the best they can, given our level of consciousness or awareness. I began to wonder if my son even realized he was being mean to me. I really don’t believe he wakes up and jots down on his to-do list, “Be mean to my mother.”
This set of insights gave me the capacity to have a very different conversation with my son than the one I originally had in mind. Rather than being upset or angry when I spoke to him, I was able to approach him from a place of curiosity and love.
I know that when I come from love, the conversation goes much better.
I told him I needed to talk to him. I told him I was not mad at him in any way. I was actually proud of him. I explained how I see the way he treats his girlfriend and her mother with respect and care. And how I also saw that he treated me differently. I asked him if he was aware of it and gave him several examples of how I saw him treating me differently.
And from that, I asked if I had done something that I needed to apologize for; I asked him to reflect on the information I had shared, and let me know what was true for him.
The thing is, from my years of my own self-exploration and in working with clients, I have seen over and over, and now I know, that when humans experience that their truth is acknowledged and witnessed and really become conscious of the dynamics they are participating in; that kindness and love flow from there. Our behavior changes, automatically.
In that moment, my son just listened. And I could tell that he heard me. The same way you can tell when a sponge absorbs water, you can see a shift in a person who is listening, that the things you said landed. I felt like he really heard me.
And then, I saw that he took action. In the days that followed, I witnessed a change in my son’s behavior move towards being more supporting and loving.
What struck me most about the events leading up to the conversation is that once I saw the innocence in my son's behavior and I stopped taking it personally, I remembered that we humans are always doing the best we can given what looks true to us.
The best part of the conversation with my son is that I was able to share what I needed to say from a place of love.