Do you ever wonder what would happen if?
- Instead of being cranky at the kids you laughed with them,
- You walked right up to that asshat at work and offered to buy him coffee,
- Instead of ignoring your neighbour again, you looked her straight in the eye and said, “Good Morning, how are you?” like you meant it.
What would change if you were brave?
A fellow stepmum asked me a few days ago, how I connected with my stepsons when they were little. The short answer was that I’m not sure I did it very well at all to start with.
I was scared of rejection. I was afraid if I reached out to hug them, they’d reject me, not so much because they didn’t like me, they did (I think), but more for fear of encroaching on their space and creating a reciprocal obligation. I feared they would feel obliged to reciprocate my affection, and as stepkids that might be hard for them, that they might feel disloyal to their mum by hugging me.
It’s awfully complicated when you begin to create a little rainbow family, and I overthought it.
It was much later I started to understand, I mean really understand; there was no reciprocity contract between us, my love for them is unconditional.
I can hand out love and affection in a way that gives them permission to take it without a spit of obligation.
Now they’re both teenagers so the last thing they want is me hugging them – well in public anyway. But I do it anyway and I think they like it, and if they don’t I’m going to do it anyway because I love them, they need to know it, and it feels good.
Hear that boys? Suck it up because I’m coming for you. 💙