“Go to your room. You may not come out until you are happy,” my daughter quietly instructs one of her children, who is pitching a fit. Do not come out until you are happy (period). That is a capital period.
But but but …
In all of 5 seconds the irascible child marches to the bedroom and back. No sour sigh or slouched shoulders, no dragging toes over hardwood floors, no stomp, sharp elbows or jut of jaw. Decision made. Skillfully performed. We cheer at giving children this lifelong skill, yet, it bumps up against something hard in my life.
Even as a fairly civil adult, attitude ensnares me.
Example: Engineer (husband) and I get on either side in a discussion (argument), I am a black tide of determination. UNDERSTAND ME, I decree, UNDERSTAND my point of view. Relentless—if we want to find solution, I must be heard and understood. I. Must. Be. Understood.
Go to your room and come back happy.
I pause. I frown. I don’t understand.
Go to your room and come back happy. I am confused.
Enter an argument without attitude. Enter without the need to be heard.
Everything tells me this is wrong … and impossible. My emotions are the POINT of the argument … I AM HURT … slighted.
I craft a litany of objections on how Engineer would then NEVER know how hurt I was, how important this knowledge is to our future. And God whispers in my ear …
Go to your room and come out fine and … maybe, just maybe you are not hurt after all.
Maybe I am not hurt?
It seesaws back and forth for my consideration. Maybe I am not hurt after all.
Giving up my right to be hurt—means I am not hurt.
I cannot tell you how wrong this seems.
And yet. …
This is not about who is right and who is wrong. It is about me giving up the right to be hurt. It is about how I look over my own shoulder and watch for any reason to strike out (to make my point). It is about me not seeking understanding. Not being hurt--what could make a better listener?
I begin to see a firm path … of objectivity rather than emotions. What happened vs how I felt about what happened.
Do hard things.