"To every parent and every care giver to children, no matter how badly your child behaves, no matter how much fear you have for their future, no matter what, your child is ok."...
This is a line I have said to myself time and time again desperately wanting to believe it. I was faking it until I made it but I had lost hope that I would ever graduate to made it status.
Do you know the types of moments I mean when you doubt your child’s okayness?
The time your child walks out of the gymnastic club they were so enthusiastic about joining, before even getting past the front door. The times they’re shockingly rude to their friend in front of you and play dates have gone south at a fast pace. The times they say they hate themselves and they believe they are useless at everything. The times they say they don’t love you and that you are the worst person in the world.
Can you relate?
I catastrophised about what all of these meant. I was the one who felt utter desperation for my child. I was the one that felt I needed to find a solution to my child’s issues. I was the one searching for labels to slap on them, boxes to put them in and experts to consult with. I was the one who totally did not believe my child was ok.
This went on for years, reading books, talking to people, ruminating, analyzing and planning. It was exhausting, all consuming and deeply unrewarding.
But something changed for me after a friend pointed me in the direction of an understanding of how the human operating system works.
It helped me to see that we are all innately ok despite our personal thinking which does a bloody good job of leading us to believe otherwise. But this thinking is simply transitory thoughts passing through us and we get to choose whether we grab onto them and give them more air space or simply let them exit. I no longer needed to see my thoughts as true and it felt like witnessing thought bubbles popping all around me.
It helped me to see that nothing outside of me could make me feel a particular way because 100% of our feelings come from our thinking. My son couldn’t make me feel worried, anxious or fearful, I was doing that to myself.
It helped me to really see that we are all spiritual beings with access to innate resilience, wellbeing, wisdom and more if we can pause for long enough to notice it. No longer do we need to be fixed, we are deeply ok.
And in an instant I could see I was beyond doubt was absolutely fine and in the next instant I realized this was universal and applied to every last one of us, including my child.
And then it all made sense.
My son moved on from any tough situation within minutes. He didn’t feel the need to analyse situations, hold grudges, wallow, try to find an expert to help him or read books about it. He just moved on and became absorbed in something else. He was living the transitory nature of his thinking.
My child was doing the best he could in that moment with the thinking he had. If I had experienced the same thinking he had in those moments I would have done the same things. We all do the best we can with the thinking we have in the moment.
By getting carried away in my own personal thinking and believing it, I wasn’t being present for my child in the moment. I was being consumed by my fears and unable to be the parent my son needed. I was setting myself adrift from the wisdom within me.
I was seeing my son as something that needed fixed and with that came an intense responsibility and pressure to fix him. The more I tried to fix him the more he saw himself as broken. The more I talked to people about it the more I got lost in analysis by paralysis.
I was role modeling how to get lost in our thinking, how other people or circumstances can make us feel a particular way. I was gearing my son up to feel he had to control everything that went on outside of him so he could feel a particular way. I was setting him up for a life of exhaustion but if I got out of the way and pointed him to an understanding of where his experience was coming from, life could be so much easier.
I was missing the opportunity to witness amazing moments in my child’s life. Allowing him to find his truth in it, not mine. I was missing the opportunity to really live and savour.
We are born to parent. Born knowing how to love our children unconditionally. Knowing how to forgive them when they make mistakes. Knowing how to forgive ourselves when we make mistakes. The only thing that gets in our way is our thinking about what kind of child our child should be, what kind of parent we should be. This thinking stands in our way of naturally being the parents we were born to be. But our natural ability to parent never deserts us.
Just like our kids, we are ok.