BEYOND THE BLUEPRINT
REPLACING EXPECTATION WITH MINDFULNESS
T here’s a concept in Buddhism that suggests suffering comes from an attachment to our expectations. We want or expect things to be a certain way, and when reality doesn’t match our expectations, we get frustrated or disappointed. I believe we’ve all experienced this at one time or another. Even if we don’t have clear expectations of the future, most of us have these internal blueprints of how we think things are supposed to be. These ideas come from our upbringing whether we realize they’re there or not. While our internal blueprints can be helpful in keeping us motivated to achieve our goals, they can also be a source of difficulty when things in life don’t align — especially in terms of interacting with other people. This goes double for raising kids.
chatter and the outside voices, we can gain stronger insight into where we are at that moment.
My kids are young, and sometimes they have emotional episodes. If they’re having a moment at home, I tend to handle it a lot better than if we’re at the grocery store. That’s because at the grocery store, we’re surrounded by external voices telling me I need to help my son or daughter calm down as soon as possible. But that isn’t listening to what my child is experiencing at the moment. Feelings are hard when you’re so young, and while I don’t want my kids to feel upset, sometimes you just have step away from the situation and
process your feelings. My kids haven’t learned how to work through their feelings yet, so if I practice listening and being mindful in tough moments, I can better teach my kids how to make it through those situations. A few weeks ago, I downloaded the meditation app Headspace to help build mindfulness habits. It is powerful to be able to mentally take a step back in a situation and to find silence in yourself
I can’t turn my kids into someone they’re not. I love my kids to death and would never want them to be anyone else, but as a parent, it can be hard to let your kids just be sometimes. I have this blueprint in my head about how raising kids or being a dad is “supposed” to go, but it rarely matches up. It’s my job to raise Finn
If we can learn to tune out our internal chatter and the outside voices, we can gain stronger insight into where we are at that moment.
and really listen to what’s going on. The brain is really powerful, and when you give it the chance to be quiet and focus, overwhelming moments aren’t always so overwhelming.
and Harlow to be kind, constructive members of society, and ideally, that’s by giving them the freedom to be the best Finn and the best Harlow they can be. To do that, I have to throw out the blueprint and replace it with mindfulness and listening. Recently, Nicole had me read a book called “The Awakened Family.” This is an incredible book about how to raise resilient, emotionally intelligent kids. The author, Dr. Shefali Tsabary, presents a lot of interesting parenting resources, but the one that really stood out to me was the importance of listening and silence. How often do we really listen to other people and not think about the next thing we need to do or say? If we can learn to tune out our internal
The real secret behind mindfulness and listening is to understand that things aren’t always going to go your way and that you aren’t always going to hear
what you want to hear. That’s okay. When we get rid of our internal blueprints and let go of expectations, we can learn to be the best versions of ourselves.
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