Friday, August 5, 2011

Day 212: Forward Motion

In processing my own behavioral patterns I've acknowledged culture, childhood, and worldview. All factors, and significant ones. But lately I've been looking more practically than philosophically at this issue.

For all my good intentions and attempts to respond thoughtfully, it seems the reactions just spill out before I get the chance to think and make a conscious choice about how I'm communicating, verbally and non-verbally.

And this is why. My neurons are firing down well-worn pathways and I can't stop them.

Of course bad habits are broken all the time, and though my neurological physiology plays a role, I'm not its victim. Those neural patterns don't define me. They don't have to anyway.

The problem is that in trying to move away from coercive communication and discipline strategies - the ones ingrained in me through culture, childhood experiences, and an absorbed worldview - I've forgotten to move toward something else.

I can't just shut down neural pathways. Attempting to move backward is as effective as remaining static. I have to re-route them in a positive direction.

I can't focus on restraining coercive communication, I must focus on injecting love and acceptance into my communication.

Avoiding or attacking the negative, only brings more negative energy to my life and my relationships. But welcoming and actively pursuing a positive alternative creates change in a positive way - through forward motion.

As I work toward peaceful and loving words, they will eventually crowd out their judgmental and confrontational counterparts.

So my goal for the upcoming week (and beyond, of course) is to move toward, not away. To let go of the things I want to extinguish and center my attention on what I want to establish. Because the only way I want to move is forward.


  1. I think you hit the nail on the head here. Usually, when I hear or read about positive parenting strategies, it's mostly theoretical. That's great, but what I'm really looking for is WHAT TO DO INSTEAD of learned/conditioned bad habits. Until we have a new, specific behavior to replace the old bad habit, it's pretty hard to make changes! I think your goal of thinking about those new behaviors is excellent. You remind of what I need to work on, too. More parents should do this!

  2. Yes, in theory it all makes sense and seems easy. In practice...quite another thing!

  3. Oh how I find myself in your post Meredith ! Especially when I am PMS-ing like today :-(
    It is difficult to invent new tools to use when I am with the children in a stressful situation. Sometimes my creativity gets stucked.

  4. thought I might share this post with you as it fits right in with your challenge of late.

    You're absolutely right, more parents should be mindful and conscious.