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Using compassion and love to prevent, end or lessen the harm

Thursday, June 05, 2014

In my two blogs about letting go of ideals that conflict with your reality, I discussed the first two steps of letting go. It has been awhile since then and I think I will finish off the topic by discussing all five steps, using child discipline as an example.
Step 1: recognize the signs that you are holding on to an ideal that you should let go of. Warning signs are any signs of stress such as fear, anger, resentment, envy, anxiety etc. Any undue stress, that can arise from wanting things to be different from what they are, are such signs. For instance your child misbehaves and you get very angry.
Step 2: recognize the ideal that you are holding on to that is in conflict with your reality. Ideals that people often have that conflict with reality are: life should be easy, your boss will like the work you do, friends will want to go where you want, instructions for putting together purchased items will be clear and all that is needed will be provided, etc.
In the case that your child misbehaves, perhaps you are holding on to the ideal that you should always have control of your child or that your child should always obey you.
Step 3: see the harm that holding on to the ideal causes or will cause. Anytime life causes you stress that lasts several days, causes anger, or tends to cause you to react in an inappropriate manner, harm is likely or is being done; and, you should take steps to prevent, end or lessen the harm.
In the case of a misbehaving child, perhaps you loose your temper and want to speak out, belittling his or her self worth.
Step 4: letting go of the ideal, that is in conflict with reality, with love and compassion. Acknowledge the stress, what ever it is, accept it as a part of your life but only a temporary event that you can deal with. Appreciate the event as an opportunity to learn or grow in strength. Appreciate your new understanding of life. Give your self a mental hug if you need it.
In the case of a misbehaving child, parents should be proactive, not reactive. Children misbehave because they haven't learned to accept limits on their behavior. View the misbehavior as an opportunity for teaching the child self control by maintaining control of your temper and explain to them why their behavior is unacceptable. Remind them of any previous limits of their behavior that you have set and the consequences for exceeding them (you should as a parent have studied child psychology and/or guidelines for child behavior and previously set consequences for misbehaving). Let the consequences of the misbehavior follow if the child continues to misbehave and show love and compassion to the child by taking steps to offer a reward for accepting the consequences without too much fuss.
Step 5. Form a new ideal to replace the ideal that is too much in conflict with reality. The need to do this will be apparent at times when you let go of a previous ideal.
In the case of a misbehaving child, as the child gets older or more mature, the limits of behavior should be more flexible and the child should be given some input in setting limits of behavior and/or the consequences for breaking the rules.
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