Since being a mother, I’ve had many “growth opportunities” to rethink how I express how I’m feeling about myself or my children. These are called AFGOs (another fabulous growth opportunity). Today, instead of yelling at and being impatient with my daughter for crying again for the umpteenth time about her pain which I perceived as nothing , I chose compassion instead.
Honestly, I tend to shut her down sometimes in expressing her feelings because I’m not allowed to. I am often blindly uncompassionate for myself. And her pity parties are so exhausting but she’s four and that’s what it is.
When Fiona takes it to the next annoying level where she seems to draw her real identity from her “boo-boo”, it’s worse. She’ll milk injuries for drama-filled days and it’s truly annoying. Baths are miserable as even the thought of getting the boo-boo wet will throw her into shrieking fits of anticipated pain. My bathing duties are just too hard then.
So the other day, when I saw we were headed into a series of fits and drama over a perceived boo-boo, and that my usual tactics of “knock it off or else” were again not going to work, I shifted. I asked her if she thought her boo-boo made her more special and she said “Yes”. And then I slyly refuted that theory by explaining that her boo-boo wasn’t as exciting as how good she could write her name and set the table and make up cool songs.
And I probably went on to say how all the people who loved her knew she had these marvelous talents too. And you wanna know how quickly that boo-boo didn’t hurt anymore? I shifted from fearing she might be someone who’d cut herself just to prove she was alive to gladly seeing her back as a normal little 4-year-old whose boo-boo suddenly wasn’t so bad after all. I just had to out think myself.
It seems a cautionary tale too about how we can be so used to an injury or a mental trauma from our childhood, that it becomes who we are. I recently outed myself for this very scenario using the past as an excuse to keep me from fulfilling my potential. If we over-identify with our pain, we become the pain. And I’d like to be a person who’s mending from my injuries, not someone who’s stuck a victim state for which nothing will ever make it better.
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