The biggest lesson I learned this year will be one I will be practicing over and over for years to come. Apologizing has never been something I have thought of as particularly hard. Although I don’t always love admitting my mistakes I can often time recognize when I have hurt others and apologize.
This has not always been true for my kids. Of course if I did something obvious, like bumped into them by mistake I could apologize. But for deeper hurts I didn’t always want to recognize them, I have some more understanding as to why, which I will share in the New Year but for today I’m focusing on the lesson.
I have made mistakes as a parent, we all do. Some of my mistakes have been more glaring than others. Some of my mistaken have taken me years to see.
A couple years ago the relationship with one of my kids was pretty strained. I was really concerned with the direction it was taking. I was concerned so I started talking to some trusted people in my life, did some soul searching, decided to go on a retreat and when I came home I made a decision that something needed to change, I knew it had to start with me.
I wanted this relationship to change and part of me really wanted this kid to change. I felt like I was working hard to be the best mother and this kid wasn’t appreciating all my efforts.
After the retreat I decided to get some help and start working with someone weekly to see how I could support this kid better in changing their approach. Over time I saw I was the one who needed to change my approach. I realized this kid was not behaving in ways that frustrated me on purpose, they were just doing their best, just like me.
As I began to learn more I realized that at times I was modeling really poor behavior. Sometimes it was behavior I would get aggravated at my kid for doing. I saw how I had messed up. I never meant to hurt them, but that didn’t mean it didn’t hurt.
So this year has been the year of apologies. I have acknowledged (and continue to acknowledge) to this kid (and my other kids) how I have messed up, how I have been wrong and how I can set a good example by apologizing for my past mistakes with the intent of doing better.
It hasn’t fixed it all but it has paved a road to healing. It has helped this kid see that even though in the past I may have tagged them as bad, that I do not believe they are bad. I also see how working to find a place of understanding has helped everyone in our family.
So as I head into 2023 I am only more excited at all the growth and change ahead. I look forward to all the apologies I will be able to give because it only reflects my own growth.
One last thing, I will be changing my sign off. I was very specific in choosing “respect and gratitude”, because I respect the hard work you are doing every day showing up for your kids and I am grateful to you for the work you do on strengthening your kid because it means a better world for my kids. None of that changes.
But I will add “Namaste”, which means “the soul within me see and honors the soul within you.” I learned this word and it’s meaning in college. I had a favorite Professor, Warren Dalhin who thought it to me and I fell in love with it the moment I heard it’s meaning.
As we continue our weekly journey of growth together I want to acknowledge and honor the beautiful soul within you.
Wishing you a wonderful New Year full of love, hope and deep connection.
With respect and gratitude.