Pushing Boundaries

alleway2 (13a of 19)

Photo by Jorunn Lorenzen

I sympathize with the mother of the screaming two year old. I don’t have the blessing of being a mother yet, but I don’t dare give her a hard time at a time when it is obviously hard enough. It always saddens me when people scold her for the child’s behaviour, and I wonder how well these nosey asses behaved when they were in their terrible twos.

I know that despite parents’ best efforts, there will be tantrums, screams and howling cries as the boundaries are pushed. It’s part of the learning process. Growing up, we push our parents, their rules, the requirements of our first jobs and our stamina. Our subconscious is trained into behaviours based on the reactions we get in pushing the boundaries of those around us.

A child learns to throw a tantrum for the second and third time when this gets them the lolly they were previously denied. If we are not perceptive enough to be aware of these inner behaviours, to understand and control ourselves, these behaviours can control us way past childhood and the teenage years.

Self-awareness and self-management should be part of our everyday life as adults. We need to constantly work with others and not push those around us to get what is easy or most desired or, worse, just to push our point.

In arguments, when our tempers rage, we want to scream and shout, like the inner child in us once did. Adults often storm off, an action no different to the child throwing a tantrum on the floor. This behaviour isn’t considerate of the feelings of others and doesn’t allow a work through of the misunderstanding before hurt arises.

We are adults. We need not raise our voices. We need not storm off or become cold or aggressive. We are also human, and these actions will get the better of us from time to time, but, as adults, we need to try our best to change such reactions. We need to try to immediately lower a raised voice or calm a cold shoulder and to ask ourselves what it was that upset us. We need to seek to understand the true intention of an interaction rather than rely on our misinterpretation—and we must learn to apologise.

We will need to re-learn who we are as we evolve through the different stages of our lives and not get stuck in our ways. We must endeavour to become caring, understanding creatures, with the best interests of others at heart. We need to remember those early years when we were the screaming two year old and, with our adult wisdom, understand how our reactions can hurt those around us. We need to pause, listen and grow.