Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 160: Mirror, Mirror

I always see Jackson's behavior as a mirror, but sometimes I misinterpret the reflection.

When he chooses to do the opposite of what I've asked, resists cooperation, and has a "bad" attitude, I've been allowing that negative, inaccurate script to trick me into thinking it's a reflection of my weakness, a lack of power and authority. So is it any wonder I've been reacting by trying to assert myself through changing his behavior?

In reality, the reflection I'm seeing is of my own behavior and attitude.

He has always freely offered respect and cooperation when he's treated with the same. He's always open and emotionally healthy when he experiences connection and acceptance.

Of course this doesn't translate into being permanently cheerful, but it does dictate how often, to what degree, and for how long he feels sad, frustrated and the like. When those feelings do arise, he communicates so openly and honestly when he feels safe and respected that, as he's heard, understood and valued, they generally float out as quickly as they came in.

When, on the other hand, he feels rejected, judged, disrespected or controlled, we find ourselves standing in a stagnant pool of those feelings - the ones that are there to guide us away from where we are and back to where we're meant to be.

When I feel disrespected, the question I should be asking myself isn't: How do I make him respect me?

It should be: How have I been disrespecting him? And how do I change that right now by showing him respect in this situation?
Even Bob the Robot gets love and respect

Kids truly do need love most when they deserve it least, and that means respect, acceptance, and connection in the face of real or perceived (as is often the case) disrespect.

As I challenge the authoritarian script, I'm going to start taking a more honest look in the mirror of his behavior so I can see myself for what I am in that moment and choose a different path - one that leads to listening and connecting.

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