When we have an issue in our lives that repeatedly bothers us or challenges us, there is always the option to just push on through and carry on as we are. But if we want to, we can make changes and get unstuck.
We use Listening Partnerships - an equal exchange of time between two adults, where one talks and the other listens and then you swap over - to raise what is hard or puzzling for us, and to work through how we feel about these issues, so that we can make changes and move forwards. Here's how I used my Listening Partnership group to find some peace around my feelings about lateness.
My other half was away with work, and I was feeling on the back foot with the chores and everything that needed doing. I'd got our three young children into bed, and was working hard to get everything done, but I knew I had my parenting call group later on that evening, and I started to realise that I was either going to have to give up on eating in order to make it on time, or email in to say I wasn't going to make it at all. And then I realised there was a third option - I could be LATE!! Revelation! (Someone had arrived late, with little fanfare, in an online classroom I had attended recently, and I think that gave me 'permission' to open myself up to lateness as a possibility - otherwise I don't think I would have even thought of it!)
I am almost never late. I have this fear of things going horribly wrong if I am late - even for the school run, where they're quite relaxed if you're a few minutes late, I'm always 20 minutes early. As for classes and social events, I am always desperately worried that I'm going to miss something, and what if it's something really important?!!
I still felt I had to email in to say I was going to be late, even though I knew everyone would understand and not mind, and I was only 5 minutes late in the end anyway - and it gave me the fear even then! I felt a bit shaky and hot and panicked, even having warned them that I wouldn't be there on time!
Of course I then used my Listening Time to talk about the feelings this brought up for me! I talked about how my mum tends to keep very good time (although nothing like her own mother, who was always about an hour early for everything!!), whereas my dad is the complete opposite - always swanning in, completely calmly, at the last minute, even if it's for something like catching a plane. I've lost count of the number of 'last calls' they had to put out for my dad at airports when we went on family holidays as a child! I wondered about why I thought it was so bad to be late (even though I don't mind other people being late for things), and why I don't want to miss anything at all. My up-front listener got me to stand up and shake my body a bit to loosen up, and then asked me to try saying 'I'm late! And I missed stuff!!' very proudly. It felt very hard to do, and I felt hot and shaky again, and sort of ashamed of myself, like I wasn't good enough if I didn't make it on time. I said it quite a few more times, and we all laughed a lot about it before my time was up.
The next day was a Wednesday, which is the day I have to get the older two to school early for their choir club. I am usually quite screechy and stressed trying to get out of the door at the best of times, but more so on choir days! But on the morning after talking about being late, I felt much calmer, and we all left the house quite happy - it really took the edge off that feeling of 'must rush, must get there on time, hurry hurry' which I often feel. And, maybe because it all went calmly and smoothly, we actually got there on time anyway!
- Introduction to Listening Partnerships - a short (4m30) video giving a flavour of Listening Partnerships
- For more on Listening Partnerships - what they are, and how to do them - try 10 tips for being a good listener
- Life is easier when you listen - how listening to your children, and being listened to yourself, helps life to run more smoothly
- And now you just need How to find a listening partner!!