I liked the bit below from this Bravewriter (homeschooling curriculum) newsletter written by Julie Bogart:
“I made a list of what ‘healthy’ looks like to me a few years back. I share it with you now:
Curiosity over accusation: When you find someone’s behavior strange or upsetting or simply different than you expected, ask questions, show interest. Don’t make assumptions, accuse, or assign intentions/motives.
Kindness over force: Kindness means a quiet voice, a gentle tone. Force is coercive-it uses an urgent (sometimes loud) tone to create anxiety in the other person to provoke an action. Kindness assumes that the person can be reached through support rather than control
Trust over suspicion: As a friend says, “I look for reasons to trust people.” A disposition that trusts creates open lines of communication and freedom to take risks. It creates a willingness to own up to mistakes or poor choices. Suspicion kills creativity and it drives shame underground. Secrets grow in an atmosphere of suspicion.
Acceptance over control: To truly accept means that you are willing to receive what is offered without judgment or interference. Control means the other person needs to match my expectations before I can accept what is offered. (Your five minutes at dinner with me before you head out the door again is enough because you gave it freely; not: Because you didn’t eat a full dinner with me, I won’t be friendly to you during the meal.)
Owning personal limits over imposing personal limits: If I need something to be a certain way, I make it happen or take responsibility to make it happen. I don’t require others to create the space I need to live in. I create it for myself. I don’t blame others for my lack.
Expressing my disappointment over calling you a disappointment: When expectations surface and aren’t met, sharing my disappointment as an unmet need rather than assigning you the label “disappointing” is healthy.
Asking for help over requiring it: It’s risky to say “Would you help me….?” because the person might say, “No.” But to require “help” is to remove the possibility of “gift.” A requirement of help can become a source of festering resentment. To share what you need and ask for help means a person has the chance to be good to you. People love to know that what they do is genuinely appreciated as a free gift, not as an obligation.
Surprise me over “that’s who you are and always will be”: I like to find out you are more than I know or thought I knew. Labels limit people and we stop being surprised and amazed by them. If when you risk sharing a new way of seeing or being with someone you love and you are met with skepticism “You don’t like X” or “You’re not that kind of person,” it shuts down the adventure of living… for both of you. Give your children the gift of being delightful surprises to you.
Passion over discipline: Discipline fuels passion, true enough. But you can’t get to passion by starting with discipline. Knowing a person’s passion and supporting it does more to create a climate of enthusiasm and joy than all the rules, systems, structures, and good ideas in the world. Discipline alone is soul-stealing.
Yelling never works. Unless your house is on fire or a semi is about to crush your car.
Affirm over suggest: Find traits to affirm, look for ways to validate the other person’s judgment, thought processes, ideas before offering your own. Only make suggestions when asked.”
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