So, my son has a rash "down there." It comes and goes. This kid will walk around with that warm mess in his pants all happy and content. If you have kids, you might know what I'm talking about. This morning I was watching him walk around on the porch. We were exorcising and practicing Krav punches and kicks. He was doing his thing when he toddled up beside me and I smelled it. BLEH!
I asked his sister to change his diaper, then I looked at him and said, "Diaper?"
He replies, "No, no, no, no, no," with is little baby moan.
As he was being carted off by his sister, it hit me. Lately, when someone goes to change his diaper, he's been whining. He hates the discomfort of having his diaper changed and his rash cleaned. He's associating the cause of the pain with changing the diaper. But the pain and his rash aren't caused by cleaning him up. It's caused by him shitting his pants...and leaving it there.
Then I got to thinking about myself, and others that I hear complain about life and things like that. How often we associate the discomfort of our circumstances with the cleanup rather than the cause of the problem. Like, we get triggered or feel some kinda way about someone pointing out something and we direct that at the person rather than realizing - they're right, I can't keep walking around in my own shit.
We do this at work. When someone calls for a progress report and we get that sense of dread inside, "Here we go again." But it's not the progress report that's the problem. It's walking around with that crap because it's easier than cleaning it up.
We do this in relationships. Partner says, "you're just like your mom (or dad)." I get all butt-hurt over it. Sure, it's meant to be offensive. But look, am I acting in a negative way like one of them? Is that crap hurting your relationship? Why am I mad at someone for pointing that out and cleaning it up? Am I happier in the warmth of my shit if people will just leave me alone?
We do it in churches. I had a church once send out feedback forms to everyone so that we could give anonymous feedback. They asked a series of questions to see how well they were doing. I gave what I thought was my honest feedback. I left notes about my concerns. Wow. What happened next was crazy. They called a meeting. I was put in the hot-seat for having concerns, and I was made to feel like I was the bad guy for noticing the shit that stank. If only we weren't so triggered by the cleanup and we didn't avoid it so hard or blame others.
Sure, Chunk (our littlest dude) might not like his sister very much. She changes his diaper. He cries. It's a thing. But as he grows up he will learn a few things...I hope.
How to recognize it before I've shit myself.
So, early on babies don't know when it's gonna happen. Their stomachs do these weird things and before they know it they're walking around in this steamy warmth. It's not the glow of the Sun that fills their pants, and it's certainly something else radiating out to everyone around.
But eventually, they learn how to recognize the internal signs as that shit tries to creep up on them. And it's their responsibility to deal with it well. They start to recognize early signs, and then the more urgent signs (you would think it's obvious, but it's not when you don't know anything about anything and you're learning everything).
We're all the same way when it comes to emotional stuff. We don't know shit about shit. We have to learn to recognize the early signs, and we have to learn how to deal with ourselves when we find ourselves in a suddenly-urgent situation. We have to learn how to clean ourselves up, and that starts with learning how to recognize the need in ourselves.
How to wipe my own ass.
This one can be a bit of a struggle. Our older son (6 years old) just forgets to wipe afterwards. I don't know why. We're working on it and teaching him, and he's getting there. But ultimately, they will both learn to clean themselves up.
It's a bit harder when it's emotional trash, or when it's crap from my childhood that I haven't dealt with. But it's no one else's fault for pointing it out - it's mine for not learning how to clean myself up. I may need some help and guidance (counselor, therapist, good friend - whatever). But it's ultimately on me to seek that and deal with it. I can't just expect the world to leave me alone and let me walk around stanky and rancid. People like that are hard to be around, and harder to live with.
I also can't expect the world around me to make it their problem. It's not. It's mine. If I am walking around with my own shit and it's stinking up everything for those around me, it's not their problem. Well, it is. It's not their FAULT. It's mine problem of origin to deal with. I remember being a kid and asking mom to come wipe me. One of my brothers would do this too. It got kinda annoying after a while cause you could hear the cries echoing from the back hall. We knew he would sit there until someone came and wiped his ass, cause he wasn't going to do it. He just did have want to learn.
Tough shit. Learn to wipe your own ass.
The world doesn't owe me understanding. My friends, coworkers, boss, etc. don't owe me the stasis of putting up with my shit. If I want something from them - aka a relationship, time, money, business - then I have to come into it ready and clean.
This one is helpful to realize because it can take the pressure, or embarrassment off a little. I remember in school being terrified to go to the restroom in front of people... especially if I had to poop. No one wants to be the person remembered for the great stank roaming the halls. Every school has that hallway and that restroom, and when you walk by it you immediately are thinking, "who was that?!"
I also remember being in college on a road trip. We were stuck in traffic (you can see where this is going). I had to pee SO BAD. I was driving. I tried to hold it in, but man we crested a hill and the line of cars went on for an eternity. I had to do what I had to do. So, I put it in park, got out and someone else got in the driver's seat. I ran to the side of the road and let fly the longest, most glorious stream of pee. I felt so relieved - literally. See, I didn't care at that point. Even after that when I got back in the car, I was so relieved that I still didn't care. I realized, everyone has to go...NO ONE escapes having to go. So why get all embarrassed about it?
Just get on with it. Deal with it. And move forward. If you have shit in your life eating you up and you don't know why you're like this or that... Deal with it, and don't be embarrassed. Go talk to a therapist. Find a counselor. Get a close friend who you can really deal with this stuff with, and do it. Don't let embarrassment or being thought of as "weak" stop or ....or any of those dumb thoughts that keep you sitting in your shit. Cause the truth is, we've all HAD those things. And we ALL HAVE those things from time to time - cause everyone shits.