The idea of responding appropriately to my emotions has always haunted me. Why can’t I control my temper? Why do I get so frustrated and irritated with my children – who I love and cherish with all my heart?
I heard a story the other day about a monk who was an experienced meditator and who – while having his head covered in electrodes to measure his brainwaves – did not flinch when a bomb went off. How amazing, I thought. How fantastic that he can control himself and his emotions like this. Why can’t I master the art of not automatically reacting to everything?
But then I thought…. Do meditating monks have children?
If I had spent 20 years meditating on a mountainside my automatic emotional reactions would probably be different too. But do I want that? To be frank, No. I’d rather be an imperfect mother than a perfect monk.
The thing about perfectionism is that it makes you want to be something or someone else. It makes you feel like you are not good enough already as you are. So we try to be something else in order to be perfect and only then will we be worthy of love and respect.
But the real answer lies in accepting ourselves now. With our faults and our bad moods and our crazy idiosyncracies. This is who we are and the only way we will ever be happy is to accept it.
So I am learning to accept that it’s ok to lose my temper sometimes, and that it’s only natural that I get frustrated with my children. It does not mean that I am a bad mum or that I don’t love them. And it’s also ok to want to improve and control my temper more. It’s just that I need to do it in a realistic way, not by beating myself up because I don’t have the serenity of a Tibetan monk.