I’ve been part of various groups, retreats and workshops. I’ve noticed an overriding theme that is consistent. There is a culture of emotional safety, personal responsibility, and support.
It is this: growth comes from emotional safety (acceptance), personal responsibility (internal motivation), and consistent support (loving accountability).
If someone falls of the horse or the wagon, they are supported to get back on.
In these groups, emotional safety is created through non-judgmental listening and others modelling vulnerability. It allows people to open up about their challenges, get real and get vulnerable. When a person feels safe and heard she can then move to considering how he might improve her own situation. She will also be more open to suggestions and help from others in the group. However, the action she takes is ultimately decided upon by her, or a collaboration. Ongoing support from the group helps people stay on track and accountable to what it is they really want.
But what happens when someone fails and comes up short? We start again, we listen and support. We help them build skills, start small, get wins, be consistent, stay focused.
The core here is always love and respect. The tone is alway belief instead of doubt, no matter the challenge.
We don’t talk down to a person who needs help. We don’t get angry and blame. We don’t isolate or judge. It the quite the opposite. We surround the people who need help and hold them close.
This is the power of transformational support groups. Non-judgment, ownership, positivity, and consistency. People usually already have enough shame and doubt, they don’t need more… they need the opposite. This is the key to growth and positive behavior change. It has been proven out over and over again. This is the best way. We know this!
I’m speaking the truth that many of us have experienced and know first hand.
If our children experience difficulty or exhibit problem behavior, how then should we deal with them? Where do threats, punishments and even rewards come into play? How do they honestly contribute to authentic and sustainable growth or behavior change for the good?
If it were an adult in a support group, we would see the problem behavior, and yet fully accept the person. In these groups people find safe places to be accepted, and it feels good. I wonder why it finally feels so good?
In supportive environments, our “bad” behaviors don’t disqualify us from being loved. In fact, we see someone struggling, and love them even more. Could it be that this unconditional love is the secret sauce to positive behavior change? Does unconditional acceptance allow people to love themselves enough so that they can move in the right direction. Could unconditional support allow individuals to no longer feel paralyzed by the fear of failing and being rejected because there is always support to fall back on?
Threats, coercion, rewards and punishments are not love, surely not unconditional love. We would not do this to a contemporary in a group of equals. It’s begs the question how much we should be doing it with our own kids.
What would be possible in your home if you approached your children with the same radical kind of acceptance and positive consistency that has been proven to yield such dramatic results elsewhere? Could you see the behavior, yet fully accept the child? Could you approach parenting in this way?
This is the leap of faith.