Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lessons from struggle - Let Go

I am a control freak. I like being in charge. I want to do it my way. And I am most comfortable when you are doing things my way, too. I am also the first to remind someone else that their way may not be the only way. When I was staying with my mom and dad during the early days of her recovery, mostly I tried to support their lifestyle. I don't have to live there. So, what can I do to help?

Control issues seem to be some of the most persistent of my own struggles. And when things are not going my way, I can get resentful. Now what good does that do? Kids have their own way of doing things. So do our partners. Their way may be slower, more messy, creative, unique. Different. Theirs.

When we were new parents, I was a stay at home mom, so I had more practice putting on diapers. But I also was grateful that my partner was willing to take an active role in parenting when he was not at work. After one daddy-done diaper change, he brought our smiling, wiggly son back to me with a loose, floppy diaper. I had some kind of comment about it not really being right. He said something like, "Would you rather do it?" meaning would I like to be the one to always change the diapers. The answer was a resounding "NO!" So I had to learn to accept his way of doing this or else be full of resentment because he never did. That was not the last time this kind of thing came up. Periodically he would need to remind me to keep my my-way-is-best attitude to myself or be willing to do whatever it was alone

I have lots of patience for certain things. But I can also be pretty stubborn. Letting Go is hard. It takes conscious effort on my part. I need to give myself a talking-to and remind myself that it will be okay. Is this really such a big deal? This example about changing diapers is pretty lighthearted. There are also many times that have more serious consequences, and I still don't have much power over the outcome. I can, however, work on my attitude. I can take a breath. I can remember what I am grateful for. I can accept this and do my best. Maybe this is all we can ever do.


Ellie Roadwarrior said...

Letting go can effect people in many different areas of their life. Family, friends, new and old relationships, life and death. I too feel it is one of the hardest things to learn. When you really take a look at it, we do learn to soften with time and realize that we don't really need it our way. Then again we want it our way! Thanks for this topic...

Carole said...

It is really appropiate that I read your thoughts on letting go, Yesterday was the day my mom passed away 11 years ago. This still feels fresh in my heart and every year I think of the tramatic end of her life. Our family was not prepared for cancer and the slow process of dying that took over mom at 54.
I miss her as much as 11 years ago and I am grateful that I was there to care for her during her passing.
In my expirience letting go is the most challenging life lesson.