What do you think about love and parenting?
What are your most important memories when it comes to your child?
You might have pictures of your child printed out, digital or in your mind’s eye.
What if you were to print your most precious moments?
I highly recommend having a photo taken with your child this week and writing an appreciation for your child or yourself on it.
I felt very sad, overwhelmed and also so full of love when our 22-month old cat passed away last week.
You may not be able to relate to this at all?
Before I ever owned a pet a couple of years ago, I couldn’t identify with pet owners in the slightest.
You could even say I was terrified of all animals out there.
What I am demonstrating is almost too much to put into words and I will explain how all of it is connected to your parenting.
When I was a young girl, I was led to believe that animals like cats and dogs are dangerous and want to harm me.
This belief was very extreme and I could not even touch animals.
Decades later I still behaved like a frightened young child and I never questioned whether these assumptions were real.
Do you have a fear of spiders, snakes or maybe bees?
From Byron Katie I learned that when you walk through the desert - one day you may come across a rattlesnake on the ground.
Trying to avoid it, you walk around it and then the light changes.
Suddenly you see it from a different perspective and realise: it’s a rope and not a snake.
She continues to say that once you know it’s a rope: you can stand over it for a 1000 years and not make yourself afraid that it’s a snake ever again.
I love this analogy so much, especially when it comes to us and our child’s feelings.
After I made the discovery that fear is the absence of love, I could not longer be in fear of animals.
What I am here to help you with is to transmute your fear of your child’s feelings and convert it into love.
My experience has taught me that as well capable adults - our fears are simply unquestioned beliefs from days gone by or worries about made up images of a not yet existing future.
I have found tools and skills that I now practise as a parent.
They help me become more aware of what is my child’s fear and what is a resurfacing fear of my own childhood.
This approach is what I share with parents in my courses, private consultations and my membership.
Parents and caregivers find out what has led them to their own perception.
This is so powerful because once you become aware - you have freedom to choose.
Your child benefits so much from you doing this work on yourself and questioning generational beliefs that had been passed down before you.
What is your approach to parenting in a more progressive way?
All my life I had been a victim and acted from a place of pity.
My belief was that women are simply weaker than men because my older sister and I were meant to be boys.
On a walk with my fearless daughter yesterday, she made me aware that the boy in our family doesn’t have children of his own and imagine how sad her grandparents would be if they only had had the one boy (she said)?
The children of today are often fearless and capable beyond our comprehension and in my opinion are ready for the new.
What I mean by that is that the old distribution of power and control is no longer working with this new generation.
Our children want us to parent them differently.
Not in the old traditional way and not in the permissive way.
We are the parents of the new earth and are tasked to find an approach that comes from love and sets boundaries at the same time.
What a challenge you may say and can we not just let the next generation deal with that?
Leaving it to our children is of course a possibility.
What a beautiful experience it would be though if we were the ones to confront our fears to break these old & overdue cycles of giving in and giving out.
What I learned over these last few days is that love and fear are simply two sides of the same coin.
When I cried tears over the loss of our pet, I was switching in mid-flow between one moment feeling sadness of never touching her gentle soft black fur ever again.
Then the next moment: for the first time in my life allowing myself to experience a feeling of such love that my body found it almost too overwhelming to feel.
Until I experienced it myself, I only got Brené Brown’s explanation of vulnerability to an intellectual degree and not in my heart.
From her I learned (only paraphrasing) that if we numb ourselves to all the bad stuff in life, we also numb ourselves to the good stuff.
So, in conclusion my journey is allowing me now to feel the fear and as a surprising huge gift: I am only now starting to feel love as well.
My definition of love was very fear-based and from a point of neediness.
Now, I see that nobody can love me unless I can receive their love.
Although I am not a fan of Valentine's Day, I just realised the date and the significance of this post as I am writing this shortly before the 14th February.
Enjoy it if you celebrate it and if not make it a day of self-compassion.