Walkin’ Your Talk

Maddie Rose is a little over 2 years old now, and is talking up a storm. She’s so aware of everything around her; comments on everything she sees, much of which I don’t notice until she’s pointed it out; and mimics everything she hears, which isn’t always great for me. The other day, for instance, the dogs were having a rough day; there was a lot of activity in and around the house, and they were barking for what seemed like all day long. One dog barking is bad enough, but with two, they just seem to egg each other on – it becomes a contest of who can bark the loudest, the longest, and in the most creative rhythm. I, after about the fifth round of barking for the morning, was not handling it well: I was yelling and using a tone of voice that I don’t prefer. Unfortunately, I didn’t really notice my yelling or my tone in the moment – I was really just acting out of frustration and desperation for some quiet. Those actions, however, were mirrored later in the day when little Maddie decided that she too was going to reprimand the dogs for barking, yet again. Suddenly during an afternoon bark fest, I heard this shrill shriek from her – she was yelling at them and trying to corner Soupy to make him stop barking. Oh, this was so upsetting to me; this was not the relationship I wanted for her with her pups or any animal, and not the behavior I wanted to be modeling. It was my fault – I was lax and slipped up. I let my frustration get the better of me, and wouldn’t you know she “called” me on it. I wasn’t “walking my talk” – at least not that day. And, while yes, we all have off-days and make mistakes, if I am truly honest with myself, I haven’t been walking my talk consistently for a while now. Not only with the dogs, but with my meditation practice, my running, my thoughts, even my flossing…you get the gist. If I really want to call myself a runner, I need to be running regularly. Likewise, if I really want to see myself as a meditator, I need to meditate. If I want to truly be the patient person I hold in such high esteem, I need to practice patience. It’s all practice of one kind or another.

Maddie called me on my behavior with the dogs, and it has really reminded me to look more closely and honestly at how I am truly being and acting in my relationships and in my world, rather than how I think I am or want to be. She’s forcing me to pay more and more attention every day, and I’m hoping this will help me be that much more conscious of my actions in the moment and behave more in line with how I’d like to be.

Now many of you don’t have a toddler around to help keep you in check, but here’s one thing you can do to make sure you are living in line with what you truly value. Pick one thing you identify yourself as (e.g. someone who is patient or kind, someone who loves animals or kids, someone who exercises regularly…). Pay attention to your actions for one week with regard to that identifier and honestly see are you really as patient as you’d like, are you truly exercising regularly…? This is not about judging or berating ourselves, but rather about shining a light on what we need to work on to be the best and most honest version of ourselves.

I’d love to hear your experience with this. If you are willing, please share how you plan to walk your talk over the next week on our Facebook page. We are here as a community to support each other!

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