Welcome to this week’s edition of Mindful Mondays, where we explore ways to be more present in our parenting and in our lives. This week I want to talk about empathy. I tend to be a highly reactive person, flying off the handle when I’m upset. This morning, while rushing my daughter out the door to her school bus, I snapped at her for not putting on her jacket. Looking hurt, she asked me, “Mommy, when I’m in second grade, are you going to be this crazy?”
Of course, that kind of sass is not acceptable, but she does make a point. Because when I stopped to see what she had been doing, she had been looking at the lunch calendar to see if she was buying or bringing home lunch that day. Which is what she does every morning… except this morning, I had been rushing her along because I was running late. When I thought about the situation from her perspective, it did seem a bit crazy. It’s a reminder that sometimes I need to slow down before reacting, and consider the situation from my kids’ perspective. Just because I’m in charge doesn’t mean I’m always seeing clearly — especially if I’m only looking through my eyes, and not seeing the whole picture.
And so, the challenge this week is, before reacting to a situation, try to step into the other person’s shoes and see the situation from their viewpoint. Is there something you didn’t consider? Did they understand what you expected of them? Are you being influenced by your own mood or situation? Consider how your anger will affect others, and if the punishment really suits the crime.
I’ll probably never master the art of empathy during the morning rush. But this morning did serve as a reminder to try to step into someone else’s shoes when I can, and see a situation from their point of view before losing my temper.
No matter how much of a rush I’m in, there’s always time to breathe.
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