As a parent, are you ever confused by the advice of the ‘experts’?
I know I sure was! Even though I was so clear that focusing on my own internal experience was the path for me, I still had this secret hope that somehow my child’s behavior would change. Ha!
On a deep intuitive level, I knew that going inside was for my well-being, and not to get my child to behave, and in hindsight, I can see how that realization took time to develop.
Honestly looking at my motivation was eye-opening. It wasn’t so much about my daughter, what I found out was that that I didn’t want to be my mom.
As a practice, turning inside towards myself, instead of acting out, gave me a chance to experience the discomfort in my body, opening my heart to hear my stories and feelings. From this internal experience, I asked myself, as my internal wisdom being the expert: “what is my motive in my parenting? What do I actually want to happen? What is my goal in consciously parenting?
Seeing any behavior in my daughter that reminded me, even a little bit, of my family origin, I immediately labeled it bad and wrong and tried to do the exact opposite. Since I felt abandoned, rejected, and unsupported by my mother I went to great lengths to avoid my daughter having the same external experience I remembered.
Parenting in opposition to something isn’t really parenting from the center of your being. I call this work Purejoy to pinpoint that centered place inside where I find truth, and my truth told me: taking responsibility for my personal boundaries is the cornerstone to support myself and my daughter.
For example, one piece of parenting advice that I deeply questioned from the center of my being, was that children need limits and boundaries. The way I interpreted this was that I was supposed to limit and bind my child’s behavior which I didn’t want to do since I remembered how uncomfortable it was when this was done to me. So, I swung clear to the other side of the pendulum and took on the job to become a bottomless provider of anything she wanted.
Truth is, neither one worked because they both focused on controlling HER.
Moving deeper toward my center I experienced the clarity that owning my limits and boundaries was the key! Of course, my child experienced my limits and boundaries when I owned them as my personal responsibility, and yet there was no need to turn outward limiting or binding her.
Does this sound surprising? My experience has shown that my child naturally experiences limits and boundaries when I set my healthy personal boundaries so there is no need to set a limit on her.
Here’s the hard part though: most often when setting a healthy personal boundary I feel selfish, abandoning, and unsupportive of my daughter. All the things I tried to avoid feeling in myself and in my parenting! In my discomfort, it’s easy to flip back into wanting to bind and limit her so I can feel at ease again.
My early programming with my mother trained me to look outside for the cause of my discomfort and my happiness. When I recognize that my daughter only triggers the feelings that live inside me, that supports me in releasing her from causing them.
Getting to this understanding is both empowering and challenging, as my early conditioning can easily bleed through the truth of who I want to be.
Setting aside the polarities of being opposite of my mother or dependent on my daughter, I enter into the sacred place inside that is and always has been open to Purejoy.