“That’s what people do. They leap, and hope to G-d they can fly.” (From the movie, Hitch). Hitch was talking about leaping into love, taking the risk to be vulnerable. When you think about it, it’s the same any time you’re taking the leap and cannot guarantee the results. (That is exactly what makes it a risk). You leap and hope to G-d you can fly.
From my perspective, taking the leap IS flying, no matter how things turn out. Gathering up the courage to take a step, have an important conversation, set a boundary when you tend to avoid conflicts… these are all risky moves.
No matter how miserable you may be, maintaining the status quo often feels more tolerable than stepping into the unknown and uncomfortable. How many people do you know (and are you one of them?) who complain a lot but don’t do anything to change their situation? It’s understandable, because we are hardwired to stay with what is familiar, and to avoid anything dangerous (or that feels dangerous).
Taking the leap is uncomfortable because we are hardwired to stay with the familiar.
Think about how you can apply this to parenting. Become an observer of yourself and the situations in which you find yourself. When you are fearful or angry, do you tend to stay in that emotional place? Maybe you are fuming because your child or spouse just doesn’t get it, or seems unwilling or unable to change.
Feel your anger and resentment for a few moments. Then, when you calm down, remember that change begins with you. Of course, that thought may bring its own anxiety. Change is scary, no doubt about it. But if you don’t change something about how you show up and handle the tough stuff, nothing changes.
Nobody enjoys fighting with their kids. The prospect of standing your ground in the face of their pushback or rejection can be daunting. But consider what will happen if you do nothing. Odds are that things will stay the same or get worse. How willing are you to tolerate that?
What could help you find the courage to take a risk and fly into the unknown? What could tip you into taking the leap? Consider your bigger vision for your child. Is what you are doing, or not doing, feeding that vision? You love your children more than life itself, and would do anything to help them grow into successful adults. That includes doing what needs to be done, not what feels easier for you. It means demonstrating courage to them, even when they don’t like what it means for them. No matter what they say, they are looking to you for love, limits and inspiration. Be their inspiration.
There are no guarantees that what you do, the decision you take that feels unsure, will get the results you want. Then again, if you don’t try, you’ll never know what might have been. Doing nothing is taking an unhealthy risk.
Taking the leap. Whether you win or lose, you and your family will be winners.
Fern Weis is a certified life coach who learned that caring and good intentions are not enough in parenting. In fact, they are often the problem! Fern supports parents of teens and young adults who are going through difficult situations, including addiction recovery. She helps parents release guilt, end enabling and confidently prepare their children to thrive through life's challenges. Her articles are featured in Thrive Global, Medium, Motherly, The Teen Mentor, and Bergen County Moms.
Learn more about coaching and classes at www.fernweis.com. And then download your free guide, "Five Powerful Steps to Get Your Teen to Talk." For information on Family Recovery programs, visit www.familyrecoverypartners.com.