It turns out that I have known for a very long time what I never learned. I have know it on a visceral level, have tried to explain that while I understand much from an intellectual level, belief and behavior do not always correspond and it is had to teach what you’ve never learned. And so I have decided to embark on this home year of learning what I need to teach. I will be teaching myself and in turn my family while writing about the experience of redefining what practicing healthy attachments is and the trajectory that will send us on.
Over the course of the last several years I have been on a personal and academic learning journey in the re-discovery of authentic living, wholistic and alternative educational practices, positive and organizational psychology, coaching, change and the science of well being…. and while I have grown by leaps and bounds intellectually, I have also discovered that while I have spent years dedicated to learning about these topics, very little time have I spent putting these concepts into practice for the good my family or even myself.
In the last few months I have begun to read more and more about relationships. According to evidence in Positive Psychology, relationships are the # 1 predictor of well being. So began my study on attachment theory… how our early attachments to friends and family manifest throughout our lives in all of our future relationships. So when beginning to read “8 keys to building your best relationships” I found myself face to face with some of my biggest intuitive and relational fears….. I demonstrate dismissive and preoccupied characteristics, according to the Attachment Classifications chart provided in the book. CRAP…. now I have to face head on what that means from the perspective of my childhood self, my internal self and my parenting self. Simultaneously I am relieved and overwhelmed, I can see how many of my life experiences are related to my relationship to attachment. I understand why many people have experienced me as cool, or intimidating. I understand why relationships tend to dwindle off or fade away. I understand why feeling really included escapes me. I understand my vulnerability and resolve. And its a damn good thing I am a firm believer in introspection and change.
I’ve also spent a bit of time with Dale Carnegie and his work “How to win friends and influence people”. So far biggest take away… Criticize no one. What this means to me is that we must really be mindful of ourselves, we must have reflective distance in how we experience others, we must be aware of our own feelings in any situation, we must monitor our reactivity and we must attend to the idea that we all have extenuating circumstances. We must practice what Dr. Daniel Siegel calls “mind sight” that is we must empathetically be both aware of ourselves and others in any interaction. We must practice the process of “active listening” with ourselves and others. We must not only attend to the words we hear but the physical expression s of those words, we must attend to the whole story by slowing down as viewing out relationships as though we are watching a movie, thoughtfully responding vs. impulsively reacting Lets just say… no easy task, just one that needs practice like every other worthwhile endeavor.
So on this first day of HOME YEAR
Step one: resolve to return to my word of the year ATTEND.
Step two: Employ a lot of self compassion and develop a practice of kindness and encouragement all around
Step three: Play more.
And so it begins !