Letting go is an art. It takes practice and it doesn’t get much easier. It is a conscious choice. Often times we forget how important it is to let go of the desire to change and fix those we care about and those we are in helping relationships with.
The biggest thing about change is that people have to want it themselves. They have to be in a place of contemplation about change and trying to fix or make someone change can stifle that mindset. When we spend time with someone wanting them to change or wanting to “fix” them in one way or another, that person can feel it. Even if we don’t directly say anything about it. We all have felt that way from another person. Fixing and controlling, even with the best of intentions, doesn’t feel good. It can shut people down, discourage internal resilience, and cause people to lose hope.
We can be really bad about this with children. Even in the smallest, seemingly insignificant, ways grown ups squash the unbridled curiosity and free spirit of children. Telling them the grass “has to be green” in their painting, reprimanding them without understanding the reason for their behavior or the feelings behind it, telling them their pants “have to match their shirt.” Of course most of us adults do want what is best for children but we simultaneously forget just how resilient children are. We do this when we give them our ideas and forget to ask them theirs (which would probably work better for them anyway). We do this when label them and throw our hands up in the air when OUR ideas for them don’t work.
Often times, when we let go and truly listen, when we truly attune, when we attempt to understand with all of our being, what needs to happen will happen. We create the space possible for change. From that space we are more able to feel what that person feels and then “offer” instead of “fix” and “control” and that feels better for everybody. When we offer support, encouragement, advice, it comes from a different place within us. It comes from a place of understanding and love. We cannot help others if we cannot truly let go and intentionally create that space.
So get out there. Love others the way they are. Encourage their ideas. Seek to understand them with every fiber of your being. Let them paint the grass purple. Let them wear what they want. And most importantly, celebrate them on their own journeys while always believing they are capable of positive change and growth.
Oh did I mention, WE have a lot to learn from children too. 😉