Sunday, August 7, 2022

Compassionate Listening = Listening to Ourselves with Compassion

November 21, 2014 by  
Filed under Parenting From Balance©

(First published in July of 2011)

The reason why I created a compassionate preschool for my son, and the reason why I am on the hunt for a humanitarian school (or at the very least a compassionate teacher) for his elementary school experience, is completely selfish:  I was a troubled child.  I was the hard one.  I had BIG emotions, and they were usually not understood.  (OK, I admit it…I am STILL the troubled child, and I STILL have BIG emotions!)

As a result, I learned that a child who is listened to with interest, feels interesting.  And I also learned that for a child who is not heard at all, it is worse than the opposite.  They don’t simply feel uninteresting: they feel invisible.  Like if they were not here, no one would notice.  I know this because I felt it.  (Did you?)

We also all know that every feeling is valid.  (We’re feeling it, and therefore it’s “OK,” because it IS.)  If we exclude our  feelings, and judge them — especially our “negative” feelings, and only allow our “positive” feelings,” then the world would be a very sad place, devoid of spectrum of true emotions.  Hmm…in some ways easer, huh?!  But as a parent, I have to evaluate my own feelings about the situation at hand, and then keep them separate from my child’s feelings…and allow my children to have their own experience.  (And in the process, I just might learn something from them!)

Naomi Aldort talks about taking a step back and allowing our children to have their own experience of life; and Bryron Katie talks about self acceptance in “Loving What Is.”

Then I remember: the only way I can arrive at a place of total acceptance of others is by accepting myself completely beforehand.  I have to start by accepting my own emotions, without judgment.  That’s a hard one at times…  especially when my “good mom” barometer is keeping score.  OUCH!!  But then I remember that we are all in this journey together.  It’s like Rumi says, we are all stones in a stream, polishing ourselves against each other.

For example, I still get the urge to hide my face when I cry.  I know this came from my parents telling me to go to my room, or they would “give me something to cry about.”  And that came from their inability to feel the pain that my crying triggered in them. AND because I know this, I do not repeat it with my own children.

Life is amazing.  I am so lucky to be awake for this journey with my children!


Linda Shannon

Riviera PlaySchool

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