My mother was right about a few things she shared as a kid with me but one thing for certain I hold dear till this day...Dime con quien andes te dire quien eres. Loose translation is Show me who you hang with and I'll tell you who you are.
She would always say that when I would naively call everyone my friend. She would very sternly say no, that is not the correct way to express yourself...not everyone is your friend. She had this great way of reading people I hated it but most times she was correct. Years later when I too became a mother I inherited her gift.I have made some adjustments in my "gift" but for the most part people show you who they are from the get and we should never forget that. I have also realized that my "gift" isn't really a gift at all it is just part of the tools a great parent acquires.
illustration by clipfed.com
But it isn't just something that should be geared towards our children, it is something we as adults should be mindful as well.
Case in point, what I recently noticed about myself.
For several years now I have implemented more useful ways to deal with conflict. I am careful with my choice of words, I try to breathe and I if possible try to leave things alone and return to it a short time later. I credit my Meditation practice for that along with some really hard life lessons that caused me more tears than I'd like to recall. I have recently found myself surrounded by people who are time and time again testing my tools and sadly on a few occasions I failed.
I participate in several volunteer projects and other activities that allow me to interact with all types of people and for the most part I love it and encourage everyone to volunteer their time helping others. One of these projects has me surrounded by a group let's call them boisterous. This group varies in age and experience so the conversations are all over the place. I noticed that a few in the group when feeling attacked or questioned instead of being respectful or taking a breath instead latch out become very confrontational, defensive and loud. On my first exchange I did pretty good, I said ok lets calm things down, regroup and come back. On my second exchange I commented that it wasn't cool to behave this way because no one was being heard or respected and in turn nothing was going to get resolved. But on my third exchange I totally lost it! I found myself being just as loud and not using very nice words or ton. I was burning up inside and felt like a caged bird. When it was all said and done I heard nothing they had said and they heard nothing I had said. I walked away saying this is defiantly something I do not want to participate in again. My energy was depleted, I was exhausted and sadden. It reminded me of why I had changed my ways to begin with.
illustration by cliparthut.com
Poor behavior and hostility gets you no where. Chaos and drama only brings about more chaos and nothing productive comes out of that. So if you find yourself in this space as I did or if you see your kids start to behave in this manner I have some suggestions:
-talk your feelings out, don't keep them bottled in so you feel like your about to explode
-practice what you preach, if you tell your kids to relax and take a deep breath guess what you do the same
-listen, no one wants to feel ignored so take a few minutes to listen so that no one feels discarded or disrespected
-share an experience where you too behaved poorly but realized it was not the correct approach and corrected your ways
-remove yourself, if the group or the person you are with constantly brings out "the ugly" side of you reevaluate that connection, if possible discuss and if no solution found walk away
illustration by dreamstime.com
I decided to bring the subject matter up at a calmer time and we all agreed to try another way of communication. I will give it some time and see how it goes but if it doesn't change I will remove myself and invest my time and energy elsewhere.
What do you think, do you feel poor behavior is easier or harder to pick up? Do you agree or disagree with my mom? Have you noticed how some of your friends behaviors have rubbed off on you, how about your kids? Please share your thoughts.
Always stress free xo