What I’m learning in my new life is that, basically, I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to control everyone. (Shocker for those who know me.) If I can keep everyone doing what I would do (you know, because I’m God), then I can control the way my life looks and I can PREDICT what will happen next. No surprises = happy.
So today, I read this from author and psychologist Dr. Shefali Tsbaray: “Do you see me or do you see what needs to be fixed?”
I am really only just learning how to allow everyone in my life to be exactly who they are. No more are the long conversations about how I can help them IMPROVE or CHANGE or DO BETTER. Because I’ve always been an advice-giver. I’ve always been the “life-coach” to those closest to me. Just ask any of my friends. I have exhausted myself on more than one occasion trying to help other people to control and live their lives “just like me.” But in doing so, I haven’t SEEN them. I’ve only seen what needs to be FIXED.
My partner and my son are the two best ways for me to practice letting everyone be who they are:
My son is loud. Louder than me even. He is non-stop energy, constantly pushing buttons, very excited about EVERYTHING until he’s not and then the world as we know it eeeeeeeeeeeeends. He doesn’t think like me. He doesn’t enjoy snuggling or sitting in my lap. He doesn’t do any of the stuff I DREAMED my child would do. He is a whole, separate person from the one I dreamed up. He is my ultimate challenge in accepting EXACTLY who he is everyday and guiding him to be the best version of him without controlling his every move. And every time I try to get him to be more like me, he gets less like me. A LOT less.
Bear is spontaneous, fast-thinking, joy-seeking, and UBER loving. I am planned, deliberate in my thinking, joy-but-order-seeking, and loving when I’m loved first. There has not been a DAY of our relationship where he asked me to be something different. He never says, “Hey, stop vacuuming and come watch football with me.” He just pauses the game and lifts his feet. His ability to accept everything about me, including the stuff that is SO very different from who he is, is inspiring. And I’m working on being more like him in that way. I heard Pastor Steven Furtick from Elevation Church say the other day, “Stop looking for the one. BE the one.” And so instead of looking for Bear to be anything other than what he is, I am learning to BE the things he needs. (And mostly ALL he needs is for me to be who I am and let him be who he is.)
I am not a life-coach. And I never should be. Not even on TV. At least not until I have learned that people get to be exactly who they want to be and I don’t get a say. I get to decide how involved I want to be, but I don’t get to make changes. What would it look like for you if you let the people in your life be EXACTLY who they are, all the time?