Years ago, I did a counseling internship with kids, mostly boys, in a therapeutic group home.
In our milieu, we practiced accountability. When behavioral problems arose or rules were broken, the kids took accountability by saying “I’d like to check myself for disrespecting myself and others by ____ (insert what was done wrong).” If they didn’t do this themselves, others, including the staff, could prompt them to action by saying “you need to check yourself.”
It worked amazingly well, and I was bit immersed (read “Gung Ho”).
One day, I came home from my internship. I can’t recall exactly what happened, but in the middle of making dinner with my fiancé, I felt he needed to take accountability for some behavior, so I turned to him and said, “You need to check yourself for disrespecting yourself and others.”
He looked at me like I was crazy and said something to the affect of “this ain’t work, and I’m not your patient. Check YOURself.” And he walked away.
There’s lots of reasons why you shouldn’t take your work home with you. I learned a valuable one that day.
Still, the idea is a good one.
Years later my fiancé, now husband, and I worked out a quiet system by which we could alert each other if we were being insulting or unpleasant. Our whole family actually adopted the system, and we would push each others’ noses to “reboot.”
That’s a small improvement.
But when you’re in a bad spot, especially if you’re pissed, you don’t want someone touching your face. Especially if they’re pissed at you for whatever you’re doing that requires a reboot. (Aggressive nose pushing is no bueno.)
So somewhere along the way our system settled into its current effective form.
We hand it over.
Anything, all of it, limiting beliefs, fears, moods, ego, whatever stands in our way.
A member of our family checks another, holds out their hand, and politely says “give it to me.”
In February, while on a ski lift with my daughter, she started to list all of the fears she had about the lift, getting off the lift, and getting down the slope. I listened, and when she was done, I turned to her (carefully) and said, “Give it to me.” Then, as always, I held out my hand. She went through the motion of pulling her fear out of her head and putting it in my hand. I said, “is that all of it?” She laughed and said, “no.” And I said, “Give it.” And she put the rest in my hand.
I then threw that fear off the lift. We watched in horror as it dropped directly down on a passing skier. We’re now so into this process that I actually panicked when I saw that the fear landed on him, and I yelled “oh crap! Sorry!” And turned to my daughter with a genuine “oops!” face. She laughed and comforted me with, “that’s okay mommy, he looked like he had already given up his fear. I think it just rolled right off him.”
She slid effortlessly off the lift that day, and she beat my ass down the slope by 10 minutes.
Works on kids and adults, and I realized yesterday that somewhere along the way I started applying it to everyone. I guess because I just can’t sit by while people limit themselves anymore. With love, I take it off their hands. Yesterday, while in line to pay for and exit a parking garage, I spoke with a young college student. I asked him what his major was and he said “theater lighting and production… There’s no money in it.” And I held out my hand to this total stranger and said, “Don’t own that, give it to me.” He looked at me, then down at my hand, smiled, and handed it over. I threw it on the ground as he watched. Then I paid his parking fee.
Let’s not stand complacently by when we hear people limit themselves. Challenge.
“Give it to me.” Toss it.
Pass it on.