Could a “Selfie” help us develop the power of awareness and of choice…?
Recently I was sitting waiting outside a Health Centre where people can access GP and Welfare support.
A young mother came out of the building with a baby girl of about 18 months on her hip and she also had a young boy of about 6. I heard them talking and was amazed to hear the little boy say “life is tough”…so mature I thought and philosophical for someone so young!
Whether his words brought home the reality of the situation to her or maybe for some other reason she started shouting and giving out to her little boy to get into their car.
As she strapped her younger child into the car-seat, she continued to verbally abuse her little boy and I was horrified to see her raise her arm at him as she leaned across the car towards him, invading his personal space, physically threatening him. I felt sick to my core. I thought she was going to physically strike him.
I wanted to jump out of my car but… I paused. I took a “Selfie.” Not a physical “Selfie” but a psychological “Selfie.” I recalled from my counselling studies the golden rule of “Do no harm” and I made a conscious choice reminding myself that this lady was too emotional to view my interference as anything other than that.
My “Selfie” reminded me of the knock-on effect my interference could have for her children if I fired her up even more. I felt sad for that little boy, sad for his day being ruined and sad for a future ruined, always wondering what he did wrong, always trying to please. I felt sad for that baby girl emotionally upset but not even able to voice that upset.
But my “Selfie” also helped me choose not to judge that young mother. I was not privy to her own upbringing or her present environment and the impact of both on her. I didn’t know the events that led her to this emotional state or way of behaving. I could only hope that the GP or the Welfare Officer were looking after her to the best of their professional capacity and helping her overcome any issues that were driving her behaviour.
I wanted to reach out, to help her break the cycle. If she could pause, mid-upset to just take a “Selfie” I believed, it could be the key to awareness and choice. It could help prevent her two children travelling this same weary, frightening, soul-destroying road.
I wanted her to become aware of the innate power of choice which she has. She may not have the power to solve her problems, at least not in this present moment, but she has the power to choose her attitude, her reaction, her behaviour. I wanted to give her the power of a “Selfie” a snapshot of awareness and of choice.