Parenting…it’s a hero’s journey!
This morning saw me up nice and early at 3am…it was the perfect time for me to write up some nifty affiliate marketing goodies like:
Around 5:30am or so, sanity kicked in and I figured that Jeepers self, sleep would be a good thing indeed! The husband was already up and about, and I tried to fall asleep once again.
10 minutes later, Honorable Boy 1 and Honorable Boy 2 bounced into the room and asked to sleep there too! Given the fact I realized total unconsciousness was impossible at that moment, I said, sure! ….and then it happened.
The Mooses Jumped Into the Bed!
Now, as you’re probably aware, i have two mooses (check out my About page to learn all about them!).
- Moose Major, the Malamoose named Khan, is our Dignified Moose, Our Moose of Regalness, Our Moose of Magnificence – Khan is a very "worship me from afar" moose-like member of royalty.
- Moose Minor, the husky named Grif, is our Court Jester Moose, our Moose of Zero Dignity, Our Moose of Mayhem. Grif’s attitude towards the world is that it was made expressly for him to lick in wild zany appreciation.
In other words, Grif inhales attention while Khan would prefer love from a distance.
Anywhos, where was I? Ah yes! The mooses jumped into the bed and Khan flung himself onto my left shoulder and side of my body, thus effectively rendering me quite immobile indeed. But then he arched his neck backwards to be petted (a first!) which I happily did.
Until…Honorable Boy 1 tried draping himself over Moose Major…resulting in Khan stepping on my sternum in his eagerness to get away.
I chastised HB1 of course and explained to him, Khan HATES attention like that and you know it! Why on earth do you persist on trying to wrap yourself around him?
And in tears, he responded:
"Because I love him Mom and I want him to love me too!"
Ignoring the searing pain from my compressed moose-stepped-on sternum, I realized, it’s time for the all-powerful Mother Unit to explain to Honorable Boy I that different people and animals have different preferences for love and affection…and you CANNOT force your definition on them whatsoever.
So I cuddled him and drew parallels between his sisters (one sister adores cuddling and tickling while another would prefer affection from the distance of at least 14 yards) and how even though they show their emotions starkly different….the base feelings are the same.
They just have contrasting ways of expressing them.
I’m pretty certain I did manage to get my point across (the tears dried and HB1 today has simply petted Khan and moved on, giving him his needed space), but it did get me thinking about the following.
I recently had a chat with a girlfriend of mine who is positive her husband doesn’t love her anymore…because instead of SAYING "I love you", he shows it by his actions instead. But that’s not the definition by which she operates…and both of them have never learned to communicate effectively about their own personal needs.
So he’s mad because she doesn’t appreciate him, and she’s mad because he doesn’t conform to her standards of expressing emotion.
It’s amazing how we can screw up our lives even if we don’t intentionally try! :-/
Do you find yourself suffering from the same kind of insecurity/neediness/etc that failed communications can bring? If so, here is the best way of dealing with it.
==> Realize that Everyone Has Failed Mind-Reading 101!
Yes, shocking, I know. But! You might be building up in your mind ideas about the other person that are 100% false…because their reactions to your actions are so bizarre (to you) they’re totally outside your realm of experience. So! You might think you’ve been communicating effectively when all the while, you’ve just been driving your friends/loved ones/etc. farther away. And because actions are assumed….the damage can continue until it becomes irreversable.
The Cure – Talk It Out. Don’t rely on email or chat or texting or what have you. Because human beans put their own interpretations on the written word, you have no guarantee that your heartfelt emotions were actually understood. Even worse, if you don’t talk it out, misunderstandings can fester until they’re more painful than an infected left ingrown toenail (and just as pretty).
But! When talking it out, you CANNOT say, you made me feel like abc or xyz!
Instead, you have to TAKE ownership of your own emotions and reactions and show that you consciously chose to behave in whatever fashion you did. Friends and spouses and loved ones generally do NOT wake up one morning and think to themselves, Jeepers Self, I think I’ll destroy the one I love!
My mom always told me when growing up, Pride is a lonely companion at night in bed. That’s why my husband and I will always express how we’re currently feeling…and let the other know what’s driving our sometimes, ahem, unique interactions. I try to walk this walk with my friends as well and if there’s confusion there too…will try to get at the root cause and head off major misunderstandings in the future.
My personal unique challenge, however, is I live by email…and a good number of my friends DON’T.
And even worse, the baggage I carry from my earlier years always tries to affect me negatively as well. It becomes a case of balancing battling demons of the past with trying to understand current best area practices of today (ie, I’m horribly gun-shy of being hurt emotionally by anyone…and will cut short friendships prematurely if I feel I’m in danger of being hurt).
In other words, it’s quite character-building indeed! 🙂
Remember…EVERYONE, your loved ones, your friends, your parents, your kids, your mooses…EVERYONE has failed Mind Reading 101. It’s up to YOU to decide how important holding onto misconceptions really can be to you…and if you have the courage to make yourself vulnerable and find out the real truth. Quite often, you’ll discover your imagined ill-intentions by the other person was just that….imagined. And with open communication, you can repair any hurt and make your friendship/relationship stronger than ever.
And that, of course, is a Very Good Thing indeed.