Sometimes I wonder what I’ve let myself in for. Especially when it seems I can’t do right for doing wrong. Throughout my life I’ve been told so many times that I’ve said the wrong thing, caused someone hurt or been unable to empathise with other people. I’ve come to realise that what I’m very good at is shaking the tree.
I used to stop myself being myself because I was worried if people would like me or love me. For many years I ended up doing what other people told me I should do. I took responsibility for everyone’s feelings and never let mine out. If anything went wrong I took the blame. I allowed people to say it was all my fault. I even believe that it was for a very long time. My nurturing streak seemed to automatically put me in the Mother role for all and sundry. Yet I always ended up being put in the Bad Mother category when it came to shaking the tree. You see, we all think our mothers are bad when it’s time for us to fly the nest.
I know that when I was a teenager I kicked against my Mother’s rules. It’s true I pushed at the boundaries she set. At the same time I really felt frightened about who I was and what would happen to me in the big, wide world. It’s often called teenage angst. That mix of confusing, emotional rebellion linked to trying to stay safe in old habits. But I also thought I was an adult already. I felt like the rules shouldn’t apply to me any more. Some of our battles were loud and turbulent. Through it all she held her line. She kept pushing me firmly but lovingly out of the cosy nest she had built for me.
Shaking the tree is all about letting the fledgling bird learn that it can fly by itself. When I finally understood that I started to be the person who is really me.
As a mother I have had to push my own daughter out of the nest. I’ve done it as firmly and positively as I can. She may not agree with me about that but it’s ok. At some other part of her life she may decide that I did ok. I know my mother did. She was more than ok. She was the perfect mother for me since she encouraged my independence and loved me, no matter what I did. So when someone tells me that I’ve upset them, or hurt them or I’m at fault I think about my mum. What would she say about the situation?
My mum was a great believer in taking responsibility for yourself. She worked on the principle that everything you did was a reflection of your inner world. I remember her pointing out that talking peace but going ahead and waging war was a hypocritical situation. When I was training to be a therapeutic counsellor her wise counsel came back to me time after time. It’s not unusual for the person supporting some one through emotional issues to end up being the one identified with blame or responsibility for the ills of the person being helped. It’s a pitfall that I used supervision to work through. Because it’s easy to identify in the challenges from a client some of your own personal issues. And that’s the heart of the issue.
When I end up shaking the tree who’s feelings matter? And what can be done about them?
If I’m not careful I can take on the responsibility for the feelings of others. Yet the reality is that they feel what they choose to feel. They identify in me something that they need to recognise in themselves. So they may not like the mirror being held up to them. But it is only a mirror. I am not the person who they think they see reflected. Turning the feelings around and saying they must be mine, or that I’m somehow projecting my stuff so the feelings they are expereincing are not really theirs, provides a way to deny those feelings. I can’t cause feelings in another person. Even my energy can’t cause feelings. Unless the person concerned wants to take what I say, or the energy I hold in my aura, and turn it into uncomfortable feelings for themselves.
That’s an important point. My feeling are mine. I take full responsibility for what I feel and think. Your feelings are yours. You must take full responsibility for what you feel and think. It’s a key part of my approach to spirituality. I know it’s a tough line. I expect people to behave towards me as they expect me to behave towards them. Or, to put it another way, to put their money where their mouth is. When I feel something I’m honest about it. But I may choose not to express what I’m feeling. I may choose to reflect on why I’m feeling that way. On what other stuff is tagged into that feeling. And why something I have experienced has made me feel that way. It’s even more important to understand this when I consider the energy I give out.
What we feel is reflected in our aura. The energy we dump out into the world is a much truer reflection of what we feel than what we might say. That’s because we aren’t very good at being authentic. At taking responsibility for ourselves.
When someone tells me I have made them feel a low vibrational feeling I pause. I check out what they are saying. Is my energy ‘off’ in some way? Has something from another part of my life stayed with me so that my energy is cloudy? Why are they seeking to pass the responsibility for their feelings over to me? Has something I have pointed out, probably as a general comment, hit home. Is their tree shaking? And do I have any responsibility to do anything about it? In the end, nothing I can say or do will alter the way someone wants to feel. I can radiate loving, healing energy out to them. But if they want to feel a particular way that is their choice. If it is easier for them to see me as Bad Mum right now that’s ok.
In the end it’s not my energy that is affected. It’s theirs. One day I believe we will all take off our masks. If we can do that I am sure that we will love our authentic selves much more than we love the masks. We will stop making excuses for accepting the hand outs that sustain our dramas. Instead we will be ready to seek out the hand ups that are all around us. Then I won’t be shaking the tree. Each one of us will recognise that flying the nest is a wonderful part of our growth and development. We will be brave, strong and persistent as our emotions are accepted as a matter of individual choice. Finally, I believe, we will have found our adult wisdom.
Day 298 of my blogging challenge.