Usually, I think of myself as a kind, thoughtful & compassionate person – I probably pride myself on that, or at least carry a sense of “I’m a good and decent person” around in my mind and spirit. But my adult child pointed something out to me recently which I had not realized: I can be judgmental.
Judgmental, who ME? That doesn’t fit my perception of myself at all! Though, with 30+ years of Al Anon experience, I have gradually learned to hear a criticism and not be completely devastated, overly defensive or to discount it right away, but rather take a moment to ponder its legitimacy.
I have heard the phrase, “Consider the source” when an arrow of negativity comes our way, and usually I consider this source not very accurate (we are VERY different, and rarely hold the same viewpoint). However, in this case the source proved exacting. As I listened, I wanted to discount the words, but I couldn’t – they were certainly true for the given situation that was brought up. I admitted the truth, which perhaps surprised my child. The admonishment has remained as a welcome guard over my mind and mouth ever since.
I continued to meditate (think thoughtfully) upon this uncomfortable insight and had to admit that this same judgmental attitude was the filter through which I often saw my adult child. Perhaps that contributes more than I realize to the struggles in our relationship.
Thanks again to the life lessons from Al Anon meetings and readings, I am encouraged to work on awareness of my judgmental thoughts. I don’t want to look at my child or anyone else through such a lens if I can help it.
I remember the exact day I sat in an Al Anon meeting and first understood the power available to me to change myself (a thought pattern, an attitude, a response) – I was blown away, filled with hope, instead of resentment, irritation, and frustration. I don’t know where this new insight will take me, but I am eager to work with it and see how I grow and change. After all, the only one I CAN change is me.
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