A while back, I was having a lovely conversation with a dear friend. She was telling me about a discussion she had with one of her siblings. They were talking about what kind of car her sister was going to buy.
It turned out that the sister had been somewhat of the family hippie and never really took advice from anyone. It seemed that she was always in some kind of trouble. So when my friend found out that her sister was about to purchase a new car she picked up the telephone and did what any sister would do, right? She told her sister exactly what car she should get.
To be fair, she had given her sister lots of advice before but the poor girl never had the wits to take it. So here she was again, giving her advice….but this time she was REALLY forceful!
“I mean, why can’t she see that her decisions are absolutely disastrous and flighty? So what if she is an MD….she’s not married and is almost 35 years old and her eggs must be rotted by now!”
I listened for what seemed like an eternity and bit my tongue many times to keep myself from saying something like “Who do you think you are to try to run her life?” My tongue was scarred from the bites! Anyways, I digress.
After about 30 minutes she said, “Well, she finally came to her senses, listened to me and bought the car I told her to buy. It was a damn good thing I put my foot down, right?”
Was that an invitation for me to speak?
Yes, I think it was.
So I said, “Well, it was not so much as you putting your foot down, but you offering your own views and her making her own decisions.”
This was NOT the response she wanted….so she took a loud, deep breath and said, “Do you notice how much you are playing semantics these days?”
To this I replied, “Well, my response took the focus from your actions and put it on your sister’s actions….I do not think its semantics, but I can tell that you see it that way.”
Ok, now THAT was semantics!
I was not “playing” semantics with my first response; rather I was trying to show the difference in the energy between her “putting my foot down” and her sister “making her own decisions”. The advice offered may have persuaded the ultimate decision, but why take credit for that?
It feels so much better, energy wise, to offer the gifts of our own experiences rather than “putting our foot down”.
How old does a person have to be to care about whose foot is being put where?
Kids and abused people come to mind, when I think about the answer to the above question.
You can put your foot down and take away a teenagers car, telephone or x-box.
You can put your foot down and not let your child wear pajamas to school.
You can put your foot down and tell your wife that she must dress a certain way and HOPE that she “obeys” you. If she does obey you, is it because she loves you and is doing it to please you or is it because she is fearful that if she does not “obey” you will lash out and abuse her?
So, what does “putting your foot down” really mean?
If you are the foot putter downer, I invite you to try giving the gifts of your experience instead of ramming stuff down people’s throats.
If you are the person who gets the brunt of the all the feet upon them, I invite you to ask what accepting all of those dogmas will do for you.
I guess you can call it semantics, but since our words really do reflect how we see the world, it is worth investigating the words that fall out of our mouths and paying attention to the energy that goes with those words.
Love and light,