“To believe in something and not live it, is dishonest.” What an incredibly powerful quote.
I think about this all the time and have started investigating areas of my life in which I believe something but don’t practice it (or don’t practice it well). About 2 months ago I decided to stop eating animal products because for me, in order to value all living beings (which is my personal belief) I had to finally just tell myself that to live an honest life, I need to follow my true feelings. So out went the animal products and in came lots and lots of plant-based alternatives.
And it hasn’t stopped there.
I think a LOT about this quote in relation to parenting my 19-month-old daughter. I believe so deeply in compassion, love and peacefulness but honestly haven’t been doing the best job of practicing those beliefs at home. I’m quick to get frustrated when my daughter has a tantrum or repeatedly does something I told her not to do (why is the cat’s food/water so inviting to her?!). I try to not raise my voice but I am absolutely guilty of speaking in an angry tone. Deep down I don’t want to act like this. I aspire to be able to handle frustrating and challenging situations with grace and a calm tone of voice.
So, I’m working it. It’s hard, I’m not going to lie to you. But when I feel the frustration start rising (like when she recently dunked her favorite stuffed animal into the cat’s water bowl) I’m trying to take a deep breath and put myself in her position (she was after all just trying to give her animal some water, which is cute and sweet of her).
While on the one hand it’s very challenging to try to change my behavior and thought patterns, it feels good to know I’m getting closer to uniting my deepest beliefs with my actions. As a recovering perfectionist I know that I also need to let myself follow this process and make mistakes without being hard on myself because my mind goes to ‘ahhhh! You lost your cool, you suck!’ pretty automatically. I suppose that indicates I also need to show myself the same level of compassion and patience I’m working on extending to others.
Parenting is hard isn’t it? It really makes you look at your own behavior and think about why you react/handle child-related situations certain ways. I can say confidently however that I am a much better person now that I’m a mom and that is a wonderful thing.