Yes, Jelly. Not where I was expecting to find wisdom, but there it is.
I am a stickler for not wasting food. So when my daughter opened a new jar of jelly, I yelled, "Don't waste that perfectly good Jelly! Don't open a new jar when we haven't finished the other one!!!!"
You'd think I'd grown up during the great depression or that my parents had. But no, neither. So this fanaticism goes back 3 generations. Just as if it were the 1930's and food shortages were threatening our very survival. And yet here I am, in the age of cellphones and food aplenty, compulsively, unconsciously reenacting 'scarcity' onto a 4th generation.
It was a normal Monday morning and we were getting ready for school and work, eating breakfast and making lunches. Instead of praising my daughter for making her own sandwich, I unleashed my ferocious energy on her.
"How could you think that was OK?!!!" making her feel very small, wrong and ashamed.
Then she got angry. Then I got defensive. We both felt awful and estranged from each other.
If this were a cartoon, a bubble of thought would show up above my head with my mother's voice saying these exact words with disdain, "How could you think that was OK?" My own internalized hurt was getting re-stimulated.
This happens all too often. We don't see that it is our own upset getting re-triggered, our own stuff from our childhoods that we may not even consciously remember. And so we pass these habitual responses from one generation to another.
What if we could see this pattern? What if we could STOP. Go into another room and be with our reaction for a few minutes. Notice it, feel it in our body - the tension in my jaw. The tightness in my stomach. What if I knew to recognize it as my Limbic-Threatened-Reaction. To OWN IT. To see that this has NOTHING to do with my daughter. To turn to SELF-COMPASSION and kindly reassure my old inner parts, we are no longer in danger, that we won't get in trouble if we 'waste' food. It's OK. Yes, being careful with food is a value of ours. But when there is This-Much-ENERGY in a reaction, that is a signal to stop. To get a listening partner, a journal, to do self-care, to do feelings and values work, to remember Self-Compassion.
Once we do, we can go back to our child and make a repair, to own our part, to reassure her she is infinitely precious, so much more important than...Jelly.