Self-Care Tip #152 – Please don’t say “but” to be a friend to yourself.
She wanted to explain why. Her sons did not hear. So she explained why to me. I listened. What I learned was…
…It is her choice. Forget about explaining her “why.” She knows that they can only hear themselves. If she wants to be in their lives, she has to be with whom they are in this moment, trumpeting her failures, bemoaning their losses. If she wants to be with them she’ll meet them there in the gutter and remember their value when she smells stench.
If you’re going to be with the sick, you can’t expect them to mop your brow with tender caresses. Remember yourself. If you want to be with your sons, than be where they are, apparently breathing fire and your name is the flame. Still want to be with them? Don’t explain why then. Just be with them, like Christopher Robin when Poo was stuck in the tree trunk. Just stand there until they can get out and be. Being present.
If you say “but” it means you didn’t hear. “I’m sorry but,” is not saying I’m sorry. “Yes but,” is worse than many more obvious offenses. See the eyes roll? Hear the sighs? Watch the words fall apart into letters that pile up like a wall in front of whatever it was that was said in the 1st place.
In some such scenarios it can be a first come first serve. Wait your turn to complain. Wait your turn to present your case. If you didn’t get there first, listen. And let the air fill up with all the things that someone wanted to say, and don’t open windows. Just breath. Just stay and breath and listen to them if you choose to. If you choose to be a part of that person, where they are now, stay and be and breath. Another time if and when they can be with you, you can explain the why. Maybe they will never be able to give you that gift. But are they worth it to you?
For her, she decides moment by moment. You can’t give what you don’t have and sometimes she has what it takes to give that gift and sometimes she does not. When she doesn’t, she isn’t standing beside their bodies stuck in a tree hole. She’s off taking care of herself like she should be. They’re still worth it to her. And in her story, when she’s gone from them it doesn’t equal her abandoning them. It means she can’t give just then.
For others, being gone may mean that it is not worth it. That is fair. It is a free choice to give a gift. Gifts are free. Listen or walk away. …But please don’t say “but.” No one will hear you.
And staying present doesn’t mean more than just that. It doesn’t make you guilty by association. It doesn’t give you a “go to jail” card. If you don’t judge yourself that is. Wow. What a gift. Standing present with the one you love. Even when they are not being nice. Even when they are not healthy-minded and say all manner of evil against you, still stand beside them, a witness to their value.
Nor does being present turn you into a noodle. For pity’s sake, it means only what it means to you. There is love. And love is stronger than anything. …But please don’t say “but.” No one will hear you no matter how much you love him.
And that is what this aching heart-mother taught me about presence.