What do you need?
When was the last time you asked someone that question?
When was the last time someone asked you that question?
Not from a place of, ‘I can fix’ you but from a place of presence, of giving you your power back, of letting you be just as you are, and allowing you to decide what it is that you need at that moment.
A lesson learned from my daughter.
My 5 year old daughter was sick a few weeks ago. I was trying to get her to rest explaining that her body has an infection and needs rest to heal.
After 2 hours of back and forth arguing where the only thing that happened was my frustration levels going up (yes, because I could not control her or the situation) she finally said,
“Mom, YOU may need to rest to heal when you don’t feel good but when I don’t feel good, I need to play and have fun to heal. You don’t know how to have fun. You always say for us to listen to our body. Your body is telling you it needs rest to heal. My body is telling me it needs play and fun. You did not ask what I need. You don’t like being told what your body needs, so why do you think I do?”
Cue punch in the gut, smack in the face response. Blow to my ego, yes. Eye opening awareness, even more so!
She made a solid case for herself.
Did I ever ask her what she needs? Nope. Not once. Not at all.
I asked her plenty of times if she wanted something to eat, to drink, to watch a movie, cuddle, rest…you get what I am saying.
All I did was offer her based on my own experiences, perceived awareness, and knowledge of what “usually” helps when my body is not feeling well: lots of fluids and rest and of course a concoction of essential oils and other remedies learned.
Truth is, if we are trying to teach our children to be aware and mindful, to develop a healthy relationship to their bodies and to Self, then she is exactly correct. Trusting her body is exactly right for her.
Now some will argue that a 5 year old cannot intellectually recognize what they need nor decide what is best for them. I disagree and have been shown otherwise many times with both of my kids. This time included.
I had to ask myself this question:
Do I want to raise self-reliant, aware, intuitive, trusting children or do I want to raise externally focused, outward validation, other people’s opinions matter more than their own children?
This was hard because I was so attached to what I thought was right for her. I was focused on what I read was important to heal. I was rationalizing in my mind that I knew better than her because I am much older and wiser.
Ha! You have to love the many voices of the ego.
So, I let her play and have fun. She laughed. She smiled. She danced. She was joyful and happy. She lived. She allowed her body to feel good and at the end of the day, she slept for 11 hours.
I trusted her. That was more healing than fighting and creating an energy of distress and anger.
I asked her what she needed going forward and listened to her response. I may not have complied with her request but I gave her space to be heard, seen, and loved.
That’s what most of us want, right?
I want my children to be mindful, to tune inward and listen to their inner voice, which they naturally do anyway. In order for them to do that I have to be willing to get out of their way from time to time and let them make decisions for themselves.
I can choose to give them a solid foundation of safety and love, and guide them in how to make conscious choices without telling them what they “should” do or what is “best”.
I allow my children to be themselves; beautiful, brilliant, open-minded individuals, instead of becoming conditioned to listen to what other people say as more important than their own self-knowledge and awareness.
I teach them what they truly have control over: their breath, their thoughts, their emotions, and their actions. Everything else is outside of them and not within their control. That includes other people too.
I teach them mindfulness practices, and how to tune into their intuition and integrate it with their intellect, creating choices that not only serve their highest good but that also honor their heart’s desires.
I honor them and respect them as individuals.
I will continue to ask them, “What do you need?” and be present as they share with me their response.