As part of my attempt to parent consciously, I try to remember that my example is essential. I also remember that to be a good example, I have to make mistakes (in front of my kids) and I can must be accepting of myself as an imperfect human being, even when I don’t feel good.
This is one of those days. I admit it out loud, as much as I don’t really want to. Because really, I like feeling good. I like that I’ve grown into a secure and confident woman. And I do a lot of things on a regular basis that keep my spirits up, and keep me feeling peaceful and happy. And today it doesn’t seem to matter about those things. Today, I’m still mixed up about Friday.
I was at the playground Friday with my little one. There was a strange man there when we arrived. K and I got to work, drying off the slides, hoping a few friends would arrive soon (which thankfully one did). While we were playing with our friends, and I wasn’t paying attention, the man grabbed me from behind. My friend yelled at him and I shook him off and he left the park. I called the police and they found him.
But I’m left feeling all kinds of mixed emotions- angry, fearful, and more. I keep thinking what it might have looked like if our friends had not come to meet us. We didn’t know when we set out if anyone was coming and it’s not unusual for us to play alone some days.
I was reminded last night that I focus a lot of energy toward compassion and tolerance for others, and I sometimes forget to display these qualities toward myself. I forget to be considerate and kind to myself, in my thoughts and actions. Where is my compassion for myself, as I beat myself up over giving a stranger the benefit of the doubt and not predicting the future?
How do I teach my children to be safe and secure when I’m not feeling secure today? I have talked to my older daughter about trusting her gut. She calls this “God in her body” because I tried to explain God gives her the intuition that lives within her. I explained that if something doesn’t feel right, she can trust herself to change course and do what she needs to do to feel safe. I have been very good at this in the past, but not on Friday.
Adding insult to injury, I’m feeding my insecurity by not talking about this with my friends. I don’t want to talk about it- I feel like it’s my fault. Plus, nothing really happened so why am I so freaked out anyway? Really, I know the truth of this. I know that what happened is enough to be freaked out about. But it’s not enough to get me comfortable talking about being vulnerable. I don’t want to be vulnerable today. I want to feel strong again.
So that’s why I’m writing. I haven’t been able to speak the whole truth more than a couple times. But I know there is strength in the truth. And there is nothing more spiritual (to me) than authenticity. Pretending doesn’t make me a better parent, friend, or anything else.
I am putting one foot in front of the other today, being an example of self-acceptance- a little bit at a time. Being an example, I remind myself- is not about perfection or doing things right. It’s about being honest, and hopefully kind. And even if my little ones are too young to understand it all, being an example is an ongoing process. Today’s lesson is an opportunity to be ready for the next lesson in acceptance, tolerance and love of myself.
And that’s the example I want to live.