Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Saying Yes

I have a tendency toward no.  I have what a therapist once called "an unfriendly conscience," what Geneen Roth ominously calls "The Voice," and what Anne Lamott brilliantly calls "Radio Station KFKD."

Basically, I live in a mental land of shoulds, should nots, and should haves, with a sprinkling of fear and shame landmines thrown in.

The good news is, I'm aware of this and am learning to reshape my mental landscape and avoid stepping on the mines.

The bad news is, sometimes those around me get hit by shrapnel when I do hit a mine.

Sometimes "I should have a clean house always" leads me to snapping at the kids for normal kid messes and squelching their creativity.

Sometimes "My kids should always be well-behaved" leads me to overreacting to normal kid behavior by shaming and blaming.

Sometimes "My kids should always realize how wealthy and privileged we are compared to the rest of the world" leads to inflexible "nos" to every single request they make for something extra, something special, something fun.

I am trying to learn to say yes.  Saying yes to myself means thinking with kindness towards myself instead of judgment.  It means making allowances for imperfection.  It means wasting no time in shame.

Saying yes to my kids means, well, actually saying yes.  Kids are good at thinking with kindness towards themselves, their needs and desires.  We sometimes call this being self-absorbed and egotistical, but I think we can learn a thing or two about how to believe we are worthy of good things by watching our kids ask.  Saying yes to them also means making allowances for imperfection and wasting no time in shame.

Can we go to dollar day at the movie theater just for fun?
Yes.  You won't be spoiled by some special fun things once in awhile. 

Can I spread rocks the size of kitty litter all over the front porch?
Yes.  Kitty litter rocks can be cleaned up.  

Can we paint?
Yes. Creativity is worth the mess. 

Can you talk in a nice voice to me even if I'm talking in my most horrible screechy whining voice?
Yes.  Kindness in the hard moments will win your hearts. 

Can I take my doll and her stroller to the zoo with us?
Yes.  If you get tired and stop pushing your doll stroller at the far end of the zoo, we will figure it out. 

Sometimes saying yes is more work, more challenging, more risky and I'm afraid of it.  Sometimes saying yes feels like the easy, lazy way out.  But saying no isn't inherently more righteous, more right, or more safe.  Say yes.  Try it.  It gets the best smiles.
She pushed it happily the whole time.  It was adorable. 

No comments: