What's Your - What If...?
Check in with the message you receive when someone goes to the worst case What if. It might sound like: What if you fail? What if no one likes what you do? What if they leave you? What if you get hurt or even die?
How do you receive such comments? Do they contribute to being confident or do they bring you into doubt and fear?
Get the difference? One projects fear and distrust and dis-empowerment. The other encourages empowered choice, allowance and guidance. If you were on the receiving end which would you like to receive?
Recently I was chatting with a mom whose young adult daughter left to move out of state. The mother and daughter talked about the value of making this move and the mother knew that this was a step her daughter needed to make. Yet she found it very difficult to let go of her fears.
It had been arranged that once the daughter arrived to her destination she would call her mother, which she did and in doing so let her mother know that she needed to go and find the place that she had arranged to stay and that it may take her a couple of hours. Again she agreed to call her mom at a specified time. Her mother began to wonder if her daughter was safe and if all was going well. She worried that she was in a bad part of the city and would she know how to take care of herself. The time for the daughter to call came and went and the mother fought the worries and what if's that were coming up. It led to a very disconcerting time for her.
Parents can identify with this type of worry and fear of wondering what has happened when things don't go as planned with their children. So often the first place they visit are all the things that could go wrong. I suppose this may be out of wanting to be prepared if bad news hits. The good news is that if a parent has this kind of worry, it is okay to go ahead and consider what a parent would do if such and such were to happen. The key is not to stay worried or fearful.
Another course of action would be to use your awareness. This is difficult to do if you are being fearful, as that will affect how aware you can be. As you ask your What if's, check in and see if there is anything to what you are asking. Does any energy come up around it? If nothing comes up, let it go. You can't change anything by worrying about something and you are only adding more stress to your life by doing so.
There is another option for the What if's and that would be to focus on What if -it took longer than she planned to find her way? What if her phone battery died? What if all is going well? Which in this case that is exactly what happened. The daughter did call eventually and everything was fine. She encouraged her mom to relax and to trust her to be on this journey.
And this is where the challenge for every parent comes in...
...Allowing each child to be on their journey, regardless of where it takes them. It is not as if any parent can truly control the life of their child. They may try. Yet ask yourself, "What do I truly want for my child?"
If the daughter mentioned above needed to go through something "bad" in order to discover herself, would her mother have been able to better assist her daughter from a place not of fear but of encouragement and support if that had been the case? Is it in our best interest to keep them from the experiences that will allow them to gain the awareness of life and living? We do our best in teaching them about being aware, asking questions so that they don't go blindly into situations and in the end there is a time to set them free to experience life through their choices.
What if there were a better way to use the words- What if?
- What if my child learns exactly what she needs to learn from this experience?
- What if I can be in more allowance with my child's choices?
- What if I use questions to replace my fears?
- What if my child knows more about her choices than I give her credit for?
- What if my child has a wonderful life changing adventure?
Using these kinds of What if's for any situation that may arise for your child that you are tempted to enter into worry can actually allow you to have more ease. Some additional questions that you can use during those times that will allow you to step into what you know might be:
- What do I really know about this?
- What is my fear really about?
- How much of my own experiences am I projecting onto my child?
- What questions can I ask that will allow me to know what I need to know?
- What questions can I ask my child that will allow him to access what he really knows?
Parents can begin to use these at young ages and get in the habit of allowing kids to make choices for themselves thus gaining more awareness through those choices without being fearful. For young kids as you teach them about asking questions and following what they do know, you may need to let them know that certain choices are not allowed for their own safety and that you sense that there may be a better choice. It is more empowering to continue to ask questions until a child can perceive that a choice they are choosing may not be in their best interest at this time. What else may be possible that they have not considered?
I wonder what new What If statements you will begin to use. Do you have a favorite that allows you to go beyond your fears? Please share below in the comments.
Below is a replay from the Be You Parenting Radio Show and Mary shares some more insights about the different worlds of What If.