I’m being vulnerable and sharing this with you because those thoughts and urges to run away from my feelings still happen for me. I’m not immune to being human.
I heard the crash while my back was towards him. I was facing the kitchen sink getting ready to prep my own lunch since I had just got the kids squared away with theirs.
As the ‘crashing’ sound rang in my ears, I recognized it immediately and felt frustration begin to course through my body. The thought in my mind was, “Ugh, not again.”
I turned to see that my little guy had dropped his bowl onto the tile – and it had shattered into hundreds of pieces.
More thoughts silently flooded my mind as my frustration grew…..
“Another bowl gone, really?!”
“I just want to scream!”
“I don’t want to clean this up, grrrrr!”
As I turned around and stood there silently, I looked at the expression on my children’s faces. I could tell they were concerned and were waiting to see if Mom was going to ‘lose it’ or not.
I took a deep breath. Paused. And took another breath. I knew if I opened my mouth without creating some ‘space’… it wasn’t going to be good. I could feel my mind chatter justifying an explosion. It was telling me to yell and vent. It was telling to scold him for his accident. I knew that 10 years ago, I would already be entrenched in a rage and feel in control yet completely out of control.
I took another deep breath and said in my mind, “Just breathe, Stefanie. It’s only a bowl. Breathe.”
The next second my middle child (8) turned to her little brother and said, “Don’t worry, when I broke a bowl, Mom told me I was more important than a bowl and gave me a hug. It will be alright.”
I knew exactly what day she was talking about. Except she skipped the part where I didn’t quite keep my cool and ended up shaming her for making a mistake. It wasn’t until after I cleaned up the mess that I apologized and told her that she mattered more than the bowl.
I took another breath and said, “You’re right, you are all more important than a broken bowl”.
My oldest, now 11, wasn’t so lucky when she was younger. I would slip into rages ALL THE TIME. And end up scolding her and creating an environment dripping with shame for making mistakes. I now realize that I lived that way outwardly because I lived that way inwardly. My food, body care, and parenting habits were born from a place of judgment, criticism, and shame.
Through my journey and experiences, I learned that how I treated myself oozed it’s way into other areas of my life. I overate, binged, neglected my body, berated myself and my children. And over the last 10 years… I’ve learned A LOT.
One of the most valuable tools I’ve practiced is PAUSING.
Just because we feel an emotion doesn’t mean that we have to become entangled in it and carried away into the land of ‘insanity’.
My ‘rages’ that I used to have happened because I wasn’t actually feeling my emotions – I was taking actions in an attempt to change the way I felt instead of pausing and feeling them. I wanted to eliminate the feeling. So when anger or frustration came up – I would take an action that created a feeling of ‘power’ or ‘control’ instead.
The kicker with this approach is that it created a new set of problems with the actions I took to get rid of the feeling I didn’t want. In the case with my children… I got rid of anger to replace with ‘control’ – but in doing so I created an environment that was conducive to breed shame and judgment. I was literally created an outer environment to match my inner environment.
While I am relating this to parenting today – Pausing is 100% applicable to food and body issues as well. Instead of running from a feeling related to food or your body… Pause. Breathe. Notice your thoughts.
When you have an urge to binge… Pause, Breathe, and Notice your thoughts. Feel. Don’t resist the feeling by taking the action of binging to feel in control. Feel it. Feel what is underneath the urge to binge. THAT is where the solution lies.
Get into the present moment. Practice being present with yourself. Tune into your inner wisdom. See what you’re truly looking for. And then take action from that place.
Pausing leads to feeling. And feeling leads us into healing.
I’m choosing to continue to practice pausing and feeling – will you join me?