This week let’s continue to expand on the topic we were working with last week- about how the ways you were parented had, and most likely still do have, a profound effect on how you parent.
It’s SUCH a big piece to look closer at, to examine in the present, because so many of the conclusions that you make about your child’s behavior or being, are based on very early conclusions you made about yourself. Left alone and not questioned, those conclusions became deep unconscious beliefs that drive your parenting.
I find this for myself on an almost daily basis- a chance to check out my conclusions.
Here’s an example-
My daughter asks me for a snack shortly after dinner. I get a rise in my body of frustration about having to attend to another need. I’m tired, it’s the end of the day, I just want to sit down and feel done.
I hear this voice in my beautiful mind that goes right to defending my feelings- BUT I already made dinner and you can finish eating that, you’re always hungry no matter how much food is here, every time I sit down you need something….and basically it spirals quickly to– how dare you ask me for a snack right now!? Don’t you see everything I do?
I focus on this story going on inside my mind. I defend and justify my position by telling myself about how hard I am trying, and how no one cares that I do everything around here!
The energy amps in me, and her– she still wants a snack.
Do you do this?…the energy surges in me and I power over her- I choose a few words that snap and bite at her for asking.
Sometimes I do the opposite and I walk away. I give up.
The SafeSeat practice has supported me with a new option, a middle ground.
A chance to go back to that story of how hard I have to try which is an early conclusion I came to… that no one cares how hard I try, I can never be good enough, I will never be seen for who I am.
And in this one precious moment where I have learned in this practice to PAUSE- I recognize what is going on inside- all that thinking and concluding and strategizing to do better, the energy ramping and amping up in me.
As I slow down and soften towards the moment I am in…I hear the voice of a little one in me who had to try so hard to get the love and attention she wanted. She had to try so hard, she had to say all these intense things inside herself, to amp the energy up, to try even harder.
If it wasn’t good enough, perfect even, she had to get scrappy and try even harder, make her efforts look even prettier, better, and more satisfactory to the adults.
I can see how so much arose in my own internal experience.
In reality- my girl just asked for a snack.
I am the one who came to the conclusion that I’m not good enough.
Whew! It’s a lot.
With practice I recognized how wise and precious it was of that little one to come up with that plan, to try harder, be better, do everything she could to appear as the best, most helpful giving one she could muster…and how she also had to convince herself it didn’t matter how hard she tried, to stay in the love.
When I come back inside and offer so much kindness to my early conclusions I get to take the next steps of setting healthy boundaries.
In Purejoy we say that healthy boundaries are about how I treat myself- not about how others treat me. So now I can check it out- when my girl asks for a snack, do I want to believe my stories and amp my energy, or would I rather choose to love this whole dynamic, wrap it up in loving kindness, find out what I am truly up for and let my girl know how I hear her needs and support her in getting them met. (and that may not be by me)
By doing this, I ground my energy and choose how to behave rather than adding to early conclusions. As I do, I notice I almost always have something to offer my kiddo and we can both relax in the moment, when we stay with ourselves, together.
I am the loving support I want to offer myself, and her.
Now- setting boundaries on this level can be really hard! It goes way back to the same roots we are talking about where you made these conclusions.
Can you remember telling your parents no? Was it ok for you to slam your door? Roll your eyes? If you’re anything like me and the parents I work with- you’re laughing right now. This takes us back to the last post where we talked about how you were parented has a profound effect on your parenting.
In reality, you were like my girl- you were just acting on your body sensations and emotional impulse in the moment, it’s what kids do because they don’t have the executive function part of their brain developed yet. So if you were feeling engulfed, overwhelmed, sad, angry, and afraid and you couldn’t ground into your parent’s energy, your energy amped, your parents did too and it exploded in a way that you could get what you needed. You slammed, hit, rolled… and that was actually a very healthy move to regulate your experience in the moment. When you did that you were called crazy, rude, mean, bad, wrong and there you headed to that conclusion that you were less than, or didn’t matter, or (insert young conclusion here).
So this work is very powerful in looking at those early conclusions and noticing how you react to your children’s innocence. Go gently here, and remember to wrap it all in loving kindness.
I heard a mama in Purejoy this week describe how she has come to her SafeSeat- her couch and recognized it’s like huge loving arms that she can sink into. Give yourself a moment of that mama! Find a comfy spot, wrap yourself up and imagine pure and unconditional love holding ALL of this.