Putting My Oxygen Mask on First – Listen First

If there is one thing I’ve learned as a parent, it’s that telling my kids what to do, think or believe gets consistent results –  NO RESULTS (or worse negative results). It is consistently ignored and leaves me (and my kids) feeling frustrated and drained. And really teens aren’t any different than the rest of us. When was the last time that you did something or changed your view/beliefs based on someone telling you to?

In the current political climate, I am observing a lot of people (including myself), telling others they are wrong and what they should think/value/believe. But I only occasionally observe anyone truly listening and trying to understand the other person’s perspective and experience. The other day, my son shared that his philosophy is that all people are basically good and want to do the right thing. If I believe that too, then I should live that belief by taking time to understand how another person’s life experiences has brought them to a different belief/value/world view. I will learn something. My own  blind spots and limiting beliefs may be exposed.  And after I’ve confirmed I understand the other person’s perspective and they’ve felt heard, maybe they will be curious to learn about my life experiences and perspective and perhaps even make a minor shift of their own. But if they aren’t, at least they will feel heard and valued – and that is a much better result than you get telling someone what to think/do.

Part of self care is realizing where you are spending your energy, what actions you are taking that leave you feeling drained or negative and reflecting on whether you can change your approach to preserve your energy and peace. I love that so many of us are taking action to make change. But please take a minute today to observe how you feel after a day of action – and if it’s not uplifted and hopeful, then consider whether it’s time to adjust your approach.

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