“I have failed as a parent” is a bold statement, but I suspect all parents who work hard at parenting have said this to themselves a time or two (or 1,000 but who’s counting?).
So is it true?
Is it really true?
Those are some of the questions Byron Katie would eventually ask after diving deeper into an upsetting thought.
So, is it true that I have failed as a parent?
I’m just going to go through this process here with what she might ask based on watching her work with other people and stressors. These answers are what I would answer at this moment. This dialogue is straight from the hip after watching a few videos so it’s not for real, though I’m doing it here so it’s a little bit for real.
You can do this process for any difficult issues you may be experiencing, so please follow along just to see how it goes.
Note: I’ll share different links below if you think you’d like to access her videos and worksheets. This process might be perfect for you and your family. I love doing this type of work so it’s actually great fun for me. 🙂
First, you fill out a questionnaire about a stressful thought or difficult situation, which you can find here. Again, I highly recommend you watch a few of her videos to get a sense of what the entire process looks like. It might be difficult to imagine it by just reading the worksheet.
Q & A
She might inquire, “When did you have this thought? Where were you?”
I had this thought after a tense moment with one of my kids when we were upstairs in my room.
I have also had this same thought in the kitchen when my son hissed at me because he doesn’t want to clean up his stuff. OMG – so annoying.
How do you react when you have that thought?
I’m cry when I feel like I’ve failed as a parent.
Look around as you have this thought… notice the walls, chairs, table, drink, whatever is around you right now. Without this thought of feeling like you’ve failed as a parent, what are your thoughts?
Hunh – I’m smiling now… My children are sitting in the living room and I’m in the kitchen. We’re all fine and safe. I love them so damn much.
Feeling like you’ve failed as a parent is a burden. Take the thought of failure out…
Now is it your parenting that is the burden? Or is it just the thought of what you’re believing at this moment?
As you ask that, it’s definitely the thought of what I’m saying to myself in this moment. My kids are so fine. They’re older now. They don’t need me as much so our lives are shifting but they’re gorgeous and wonderful.
Now turn the thought around… What is the opposite of your thought?
I’m a successful parent.
One of the things my son recently told me was that even though I may have messed up (which I try to readily and immediately admit because human and all), that my intentions have always been to create the best life for him.
How refreshing to have that reflected back to me by the one I’m so nervous about hurting?
From this troubled thought of feeling like you’ve failed as a parent, what do you want?
I want to accept my situation… I want to accept that I’m going to “fail” at times but overall I want to believe and feel that I’ve been a successful parent overall and my kids are going to be just fine.
Okay, you want to accept your situation.
Sitting in the room when you’re having a dispute with your kids and feeling like you’ve failed as a parent… Is it true that you want to accept the dispute?
The truth is that we’re human and I love them and they love me. That’s it. I can apologize and hug them when I do things I wish I hadn’t or hurt them unintentionally. Then I can continue to be the best I can be with them and for them.
The past and the future can be terrifying for me at times, but what’s in front of me are two beautiful boys who are growing up and becoming their own people. Their own beautiful, perfect, flawed, exceptional people.
What’s the truth now?
Now I want to just love them all up and hug them tight. I want to listen and support them as much as possible.
I’m thinking of Dale Carnegie and the lessons in How to Win Friends and Influence People. I want to listen to them and not argue with them. Mostly I want to support them in this new stage of life for each of us. That’s it.
I want the best for them and I know I feel scared for their future relationships when they react to real-life situations with hissing and confrontation.
Will they be okay?
Will they be able to have healthy relationships?
Will they ever even clean up their dishes???
And on the exploration to the depths of my thought about failing as a parent go… deeper and deeper, ever deeper to hopefully the truth.
And I feel better and joyful after answering those questions.
Byron Katie asks,
“Is it true?”
“Can you absolutely know that it’s true?”
“How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?”
“Who or what would you be without the thought?”
That last one was what really helped me turn my fear around for this thought of feeling like I’ve failed. Without the thought, I’m an intentional, loving, respectful, hard-working Mom who loves my kids more than any two other people on the planet.
That’s who and what I am without that thought.
And done. I have shifted my thought, I feel better, and I understand more and that’s really all I need to know at this moment.
I hope you found this process even a little bit interesting and intriguing.
If you want to learn more about Byron Katie, you can find the worksheets here to start right now with any difficult situation you’re in or feeling you’re having. She even has worksheets for kids and teens as well, which looks very helpful.
I highly recommend watching a few of her videos to really learn how to drill down to find the core feelings and origins you might want to uncover. It’s so refreshing and healing, in my opinion, to discover more about ourselves to feel (and be) freer.
Who knows? You might reverse some of the difficulties in your life (cuz we all got ’em) so you can find the gorgeous life gems to help you live your best life.
So much love,