Be Flexible in your Thinking
In this post I want to talk about openness of mind, and how this can lead to more creative and harmonious family relationships.
We often are so stuck to our own ideas, so afraid of being wrong we stubbornly defend our position to the exclusion of really listening to another persons opinion, point of view or belief. We are so caught up in our own story and perspective that we are blind to the other. We can be closed down, defensive, controlling and project meaning onto what others are saying that isn’t even there.
When we start to step back from our ego and see things as ever changing, which they are – including our own minds, we won’t be so rigidly stuck to our beliefs. We can hear another person from a place of wonder and openness rather than defense and closure. We are able to see the truth of what they’re saying and genuinely ‘try on’ their opinions, solutions or ideas to see if they feel right for us, or are a possibility in our lives. Rather than getting caught up in a battle of the wills, we can approach things with an air of speculation and interest.
So what does this mean for parenting? Two kinds of scenarios here but there are probably many more.
If your child comes up with a solution, or an alternative to your planned day, in any normal situation most of us would think of a reason why we couldn’t entertain that possibility. Our day would be ‘set’ in our mind, and we would be going through it with blinkers on trying to ‘get things done’ in the order or way we had planned. If we weren’t so obsessed with ‘our position’ / beliefs / thoughts / way of doing things, we would genuinely open up to the suggestions posed by our kids and think, why not?
When our child is doing something we don’t feel comfortable with, we may go into auto pilot and tell them to stop, but if we stop for a minute, become conscious of what it is they are doing we don’t feel comfortable with we can open our own mind up to other solutions other than stopping the activity. For example, my 2 year old loves standing on the chairs in the coffee shop. My automatic mind would chose a power struggle and tell him to get off, and then have to keep telling him, and keep telling him, and keep telling him etc etc. So instead of spoiling his fun, I can ask myself what is it about what he is doing I don’t feel comfortable with. Well his shoes are dirty and he’s standing where someone else has to sit. So I can just take his shoes off. Simple. But if I was unconscious of my thoughts, if I just went along with my first reaction my life would be more difficult and his life would be less fun and free. By consciously thinking, I’m developing a different auto pilot in my brain, an auto pilot that will look for alternative solutions to every one getting their needs met and being happy.
What other situations would this be useful in? Have you already applied this type of thinking to your life or can you be quite rigid in your thinking? Would love to hear what you think and if you like this article, please remember to share it with your friends!