Holy cow, life is full of opportunities to practice letting go over and over and over again.
This morning, I reflect on the past 18 years of raising my first born. I remember thinking — during the birthing process — that my first job as a parent was to do everything I possibly could to help my beautiful baby boy get safely from the womb into the world. And the moment he was born, the letting go dance began. Holding. Comforting. Consoling. Caring. Crying. Soothing. Feeding. In sickness and in health. Over and over and over again. Every day. A commitment like no other.
It seems like yesterday, I watched him walk away from me on the playground, as I stood wondering how far he would go before he turned back to see if I was still there.
As he returned in the wee hours of the morning from a train excursion to Canada with a couple of friends, I am struck by the different yet familiar dance of comings and goings.
Life can be oh-so bittersweet, don’t you think?
As a self-proclaimed creative data geek, I am intrigued by how making assumptions can really twist communication between two people. How we interpret what another says — in other words, what we make it mean — can take us down a path that is very far removed from truth. A simple example: a friend says, “I don’t like black dogs.” What I think she means: “Black dogs are bad.”
One of the dictionary.com definitions of assumptions states: “something taken for granted; a supposition… Synonyms: presupposition; hypothesis, conjecture, guess, postulate, theory.”
So think about that for a minute. We often are guessing or hypothesizing about what someone means when they speak to us.
The good news is that it only takes a slight shift in our consciousness to begin to verify the assumptions we make are correct (or not). We can do this by asking clarifying questions. In other words, don’t take what people say at face value. Investigate that you understand what they are saying by paraphrasing or asking for clarification to be sure you really get what they are trying to communicate.
This week, challenge yourself to get the facts right by first asking, what did I make that mean? Strive for better, easier relationships by checking your assumptions: ask for clarification if you don’t think you fully understand what someone is saying or what they mean. Watch what happens.
As we finish the work week, take a few minutes to reflect on how you’ve done so far with being the change you wish to see in the world. Not later. Now. Close your eyes and think about how you have been in your interactions with others so far this week. Let go of judging yourself. Stop that mental chatter that tells you all kinds of stories, and just observe. Be a witness to yourself, not a judge. What shift(s) occurred, if any? How will you know change is happening? What result(s) do you seek? How are you getting in your own way? Breathe deeply, and then let go a little so you can grow into who you really are.
And most importantly, have mercy on yourself.