Parenting is so daily, full-on that it can be easy to fall back into the default functioning of believing, “It is my child that makes me angry”.
It isn’t. It is the pain of bumping into an area in which you don’t love yourself that makes you angry or frustrated or hurt – or whatever your wound of preference is.
I know you already know this if you have been reading my blog but really, the traditional way of seeing parenting is so ingrained in us, we need regular reminders of this other way of seeing things.
I know I do.
Parenting is an area in which the places you don’t love yourself rear up and tantrum at you. They throw up on you, keep you awake, drive you to distraction, whine at you, elicit waves of sudden uncontrollable rage, make you crumple to the floor in a sobbing heap… in other words, you see them through your reactions to your children.
If you can remember that any reaction you have to your child is simply a reflection of how well you are loving yourself in that moment, you will feel a lot less overwhelmed in those overwhelming moments that seem to string together to make up the experience of parenting.
It can also help you lean more openly and frequently into those wonderful chest-swelling moments in which you feel love chiming through your whole being.
I find it remarkably reassuring to look at my feelings and reactions as simply reflections of my inner state. If I look at my child as something I am supposed to control, manage or make behave in certain ways, then I feel overwhelmed immediately. Why? Because we CAN’T control anything outside of ourselves – more particularly, we can’t control other people. Definitely not their behaviours or their intentions or motivations or feelings.
But oh how we would love to be able to…
So when I feel irritated or angry at my child, it’s not really about him. It is something about his behaviour – or the situation I find myself in – that is touching on a previous experience I’ve had which somehow was one of the causes of why I don’t love myself wholly in my life. Our anger or pain or hurt (to anything) is just an indicator, a symptom. In the same way as your body uses symptoms to indicate to you an area in which your self-love is not flowing freely, big negative reactions to your child’s (or anyone else’s) behaviour are symptoms of areas in which your self-love is not flowing freely.
What to do about it? The best technique I have found so far is to check in with myself regularly and especially in those stuck or overwhelmed moments to ask myself, “If I loved myself, what would I choose to do now?” Then listen to the Truth that arises within me, the Truth that soothes my being and try to follow that as best I can.
Like I believe about discipline with children, first love and connection, everything else second.
Love yourself parent. The rest will just flow so easily…
Please pass this on to any parent you can think of. We all need this reminder that we are not under assault by parenting – it is merely a long and detailed lesson in loving ourselves better and better. Remind your friends to love themselves.
Our children will thank us for it. So will our world.
Think of the places your own parents could not love themselves and how those impacted on you…
Now get to it! Start loving yourself more. Shine. You are already wonderful.
I always love to hear from you. What did this raise for you?