When someone admonishes, criticizes or judges my children I can turn into a Lioness who would rip out the throat of that person. Instead, I often become defensive and “attack” the person verbally. But, what if there is another way?
What if instead of focusing our attention on the person criticizing, we focus our attention on the child. We become their ally.
When I was young we had a family friend who I adored, he was a gentle and sensitive man. If he heard anyone being “Put down” he would become an ally. Once a member of my family made an admonishing remark about the number of times I dyed my hair different colour, the tone of the remark was meant as a “Put Down”. I was a sensitive teenager and the remark made another dent in my already fragile self-esteem. Our family friend, without making a big of deal it, said, light heartedly “Well, variety is the spice of life after all”. This simple statement made me feel good and safe. He didn’t make anyone wrong he just became an ally in that moment. He didn’t even know he was being an ally; it was just in his nature to be kind.
Some people have enough self-awareness to be able to hear you when you feel uncomfortable about something they have said….after all, we are all just human and say things unconicously sometimes. Then, we welcome the chance to learn and grow if someone shares with us the way in which we have upset him or her.
But, many people don’t have this degree of self-awareness and tend to just feel attacked and then go into defense and deflection….blaming the other person.
We’ve all heard people say “You/he/she are too sensitive”. As though being sensitive is a bad thing!!!
When faced with people who have this attitude I am learning to let them “be”. To not waste my energy trying to change people who aren’t open to change. It doesn’t matter how much you try to explain, if a person is stuck in their own beliefs, fear, anger and identity they won’t be open to hearing anyone else.
So, this is my practice, to become an ally to my children without making anyone wrong. Sometimes, I may say something like…”Yes they are sensitive….beautifully sensitive” or I may just move closer to the one being judged or even just make eye contact to say “I’m here, I’m standing with you”.