From Stress to Peace | Parenting & Emotional Turmoil

stress peace

Being a first time mother was definitely an overwhelming experience from time to time. It was something way out of my comfort zone, something I had never done before. Even when I was pregnant, just ‘thinking’ of all the things I would have to do and change would send shivers down my spine. Will I do good enough? What if I make a mistake? What if there’s not enough time?

I experienced my childhood as being somewhat traumatic. I was very fearful and anything ‘new’ or ‘out of my comfort zone’ would set me off into fear, anxiety. Overtime, this accumulated into a general experience of myself as being inadequate and a victim. When I had my son and saw all the things that needed to be done, I would stress out in anticipation that things wouldn’t go smoothly, that it’d be difficult, that I’d do a bad job, etc. In a way, this seemed normal. Like, stress is a normal experience in life and is actually a good sign because it means you’re being ‘busy’ and ‘productive’.

In the end, I’d still get to everything I wanted or needed to get to. I’d even get to a point where I was no longer stressed out. But then…this just felt ‘off’. I must be missing something? I must be doing something wrong? This absence of stress must mean I am being soft on myself and slacking!!

When I looked at all the points that triggered a stress response, I saw that I accessed a belief that I wasn’t capable and adequate to direct what needed to be done. That things were just ‘too hard’ and ‘too much’ for me. Yet living in constant and continuous stress, well – then things really get hard and too much because the body just can’t keep up.

So what to do?

Every point of stress is actually an opportunity for myself to investigate my relationship towards that which I am experiencing stress towards. I can use these moments to specify myself. If I stress out about a particular task, I gift myself the opportunity to unconditionally carry it out and do the best I can. To gift myself to check whether my belief of inadequacy actually holds truth, and if I see that there is room for improvement, to set myself up to equip myself to be able to direct it better next time around.

How does this bring me to peace?

Well, in every factor of stress, there is something to learn about myself. That I can direct myself, that I can move myself to direct my world and reality effectively. And so piece by piece, I piece myself back together. And it that wholeness is peace – within bringing all the pieces that were missing – back together.

From Jealous to Zealous | Parenting & Emotional Turmoil

jealous zealous parenting emotional turmoil leilazamoramoreno

Within wondering whether I am doing ‘the right thing’ and ‘providing the best’ for my son, I can easily find myself wondering off in my mind comparing myself, my life with that of others. Whether it’s people in my life, strangers I meet or people on social media. I start to wonder whether ‘their life is easier’, ‘how can they be so confident in what they’re doing’, ‘I wonder if that lifestyle would be better for my son’,… This goes on for a little bit and then I find myself in a dark space where I am jealous of other people and the lives they live in the belief that ‘it might be better’ than what I am currently living and providing for my son. Within that, I find myself accessing a more and more passive zone – where instead of actively moving, creating and participating in my environment and reality, I kind of sit back more and simply observe everything that is ‘wrong’ and ‘unfair’.

The one day I found myself scrolling through my Instagram feed where I was subconsciously comparing my life to what other people were sharing their life to be. And I could sense myself sinking inside myself as if I was becoming smaller, smaller and smaller. So then I stopped and looked up from my phone going ‘Hey, what’s going on here’. Because one moment ago I was fine – and suddenly I find myself in this dragging experience where everything is just wrong and unfair. Where’s all this coming from?

I looked back at my phone to ‘replay’ what I just went through when I saw the subtle comparison and insecurity playing out in the background. How my mind just automatically wondered off imagining what it would be like to ‘live their life’. I decided to play a bit with that notion. So what if I was living say, this random person’s life? If I was living their life I’d still be looking at everyone else’s lives, including mine currently, and believe that ‘maybe the grass is greener on the other side’ still. I could place myself in different scenarios and see that the fear of possibly missing out would still be something that existed. I went through more people and noted what I saw as pros and cons in their lives, and how no matter what life you envision – you always have a selection of cons and pros at play (say if you live in the city you have easy access to things but then you miss out on a more calmer lifestyle – if you live in the countryside you have a calmer lifestyle but things are not as easily accessible). So I concluded that in the end, you’re always going to end up with some pros and cons – and that at the end of the day, you have YOUR life, the life YOU’RE living. One life, one path, one scenario of many. There could have been so many ways that my life could have turned out differently, but my life is where it is. This is the path I have created, this is the life I have chosen for myself.

I can either sit back passively in a sense of superiority and entitlement that I deserve ‘better’ and whine about everything that’s wrong and unfair – waiting for reality to change and adapt to my whims and wishes — OR – I can move myself with what I have available, and zealously move MYSELF to change and adapt to the reality that’s at hand. Instead of allowing my environment and my perceptions of my environment to dictate who I am and how I experience myself; I can reverse the roles through inspiring myself instead of waiting for my environment to inspire me. (Funny note here, to inspire also means to breathe – and breath is what gives us life. Where either I give myself life or place myself as dependent on my environment to breathe life into me)

In the end, no one parent or family finds themselves in the exact same situation as another. We all have different lives, different struggles and blessings. What defines us is not our situation, but who we are within it and ultimately, what we make of it.

From Nervousness to Opportunity | Parenting & Emotional Turmoil

nervousness opportunity parenting emotional turmoil leilazamoramoreno

A week or so ago we went on a little roadtrip as I needed to get my passport renewed, and could only do it at the Embassy in Johannesburg, which is many hours of driving away from where we are situated.

While we were planning and then actually went on the trip, I noticed that I would access an experience of nervousness inside myself. One the one hand, I was dreading the forecast of having to go on a long car trip with Cesar and being away from home. Imagining worst case scenarios of him not enjoying the car ride, not being happy in different living space. Yet, at the same time – I was also excited, because we’ve gone on (shorter) trips before which had been very enjoyable and could see the potential fun and how walking into the unknown can lead to pleasant surprises and interesting experiences.

Within exploring the nervousness, I noticed I was constantly switching between play-outs in my head of both the best case and worst case scenario. Where I was hoping for the best, but fearing the worst. When we actually started and got the trip going – I realised I actually had no clue as to how things would go or not go, and that there was no point fixating on an ‘either/or’ outcome. If things didn’t go quite right, there was always the possibility that I’d make mistakes and I would have to be okay with that, and equally so, if things didn’t go quite right, there was always the possibility that we’d simply handle it and move through it. Within accessing the worst-case scenario inside myself, I was actually each time accessing all my self-judgments, where I painted a bleaker and darker picture of who I knew myself to be. When I would access the best-case scenario, I was accessing a prettier and brighter picture of who I knew myself to be, where I could see ‘my potential’. But all it was – was still potential.

Then, when things didn’t go quite right and there were ‘bumps’ in the road, it was easy to submit to a darker, diminished version of myself and give up on ever being and becoming the potential I could see I could be and become. At the same time, if I held on to the pretty picture as the potential I envisaged for myself  – it’s easy to imagine that ‘I’m already there’ while there are still many aspects within myself I need to polish up, but sweep it under the rug out of a sense of self-judgment, which leads to suppression and denial.

I had to be real with myself within honestly assessing my weakness and my strengths, prepare myself the best way I can and then simply walk it. I had to drop both the worst case scenario, and the best case scenario – because where I really was at, was somewhere in the middle. If I would have kept fixating on a better and lesser version of myself, I’d keep missing who I am RIGHT HERE, and wouldn’t be able to actually move forward.

Instead of seeing bumps and mistakes as condemnation of what an awful person I am all across the board, and seeing every moment that went well as a ‘graduation of perfection’ all across the board – it was to see any and all moments as opportunities to learn about myself and to specify myself, grow and develop my potential. While nervousness is fear and desire based – opportunity works with who you are right here, right now. To allow yourself to walk through situations and experiences, so that you can get feedback about yourself learn from it and expand yourself. The focus then becomes on the journey, and not the end result.

From Frustration to Innovation | Parenting & Emotional Turmoil

frustration innovation parenting emotional turmoil leilazamoramoreno

At some stage my son really disliked having his diaper changed. I changed him on the compactum or on the bed, and the moment he laid down he squirmed, kicked and made a lot of protesting noise. I made sure I was calm and got it done efficiently so he wouldn’t have to lay down for too long. The same scenario would repeat daily, and I started getting frustrated. Then, one day my son was sorting shapes, and he kept insisting to try and fit the square in the triangle shape. He got frustrated and started hitting the shapes together. Seeing how he kept insisting on the same method without a change in result reminded me of the diaper changing times. I could see that his frustration, as well as mine, came down to a very simple explanation: our method was ineffective, and we have to be open to try something else.

I explained to him, that when he gets frustrated like this, he must look for alternative options and if he can’t figure it out by himself he can always come to me to see if we can find a solution together.

Next diaper change around, I decided to put this to the test myself. Instead of insisting he lays down to change his diaper, I looked at other ways of changing his diaper that didn’t require him laying down. We changed his diaper while standing, and all went smoothly.

I started noticing more small moments in my day where I would get slightly frustrated, and I immediately reminded myself that a moment of frustration = requires innovation!

Our behaviour reminded me of Albert Einstein’s quote on insanity: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

As parents in modern society, you’re constantly bombarded with different philosophies, methods and opinions on what it means to be an effective parent. Being a new parent, I drew from a lot of information from different sources to establish a direction for myself. The idea of being a parent and being responsible for another human being scared the hell out of me. I was so afraid of ‘doing things wrong’ that I followed many people and sources’ advice prescriptively. I bumped into frustration many times, because what I had assumed would be an effective method didn’t pan out to be effective in reality. In these circumstances, it can be very valuable to not ignore or disregard your personal frustrations, and to really have a look at whether your approach or the method you’re following is working for you, or whether you need to step into innovation. Frustration then enters the equation, not to ruin your parenting experience, but as a signpost to invite you to expand your perspective and try out something new.

From Control to Vulnerability | Parenting & Emotional Turmoil

control vulnerability parenting emotional turmoil leilazamoramoreno

‘No’ was my son’s favourite word for a long time. The moment he got it, he wouldn’t stop using it. Even when he actually wanted to say yes, he’d say No – just because he could.

Whether it was about the food being offered, a planned activity or simply moving to a different room ‘No, no nononono!’ was the standard answer. When this first happened, I got quite a fright. He was always pretty easy going, and suddenly everything was just NO. I couldn’t help but feeling challenged, restricting inside myself and feeling the urge to ‘man up’ and take control over the situation. When I acted on this state of mind, he’d start cooperating even less and we both ended up with the short end of the stick in the situation.

I realised that my forcefulness directed towards him, was misplaced. When he’d say ‘no’ I immediately assumed that his ‘no’ was meant to challenge me and my authority as a parent – instead of seeing it as him practicing his own individuality and his own voice. I’d feel powerless and helpless for a split-second, and then immediately sway into a dominant and controlling stance to get away from that icky-feeling to pretending that I absolutely know what I am doing and force him into a decision he didn’t want to make. Ironically, within believing that he was challenging and undermining me, I was through my controlling behaviour undermining and challenging HIM. Through imposing ‘my way’ on him, I was removing the space for his voice, for his individuality to come through. While I believed I was being the victim of the situation, I inadvertently put him in the exact same position.

I reflected on this behaviour, and looked at why I was being triggered into controlling behaviour. When I looked at how the event played out, I could see more and more that I wasn’t so much upset at him saying ‘No’, but that I was upset with myself and my split second experience of helplessness and powerlessness. Instead of seeing and acknowledging how I felt, I immediately suppressed the experience and entered its equivalent polarity of domination and control. When I worked on not reacting to him saying no and voicing his preference the whole dynamic changed. I could listen to his voice, his preference and modify our course of action if there was space to do so. If he really didn’t have a choice, I’d explain to him why and he’d cooperate knowing that his voice was heard and that the course of action we were taking was not a personal move ‘against’ HIM.

Whenever we enter into a state of control, we’re actually entering into a state of avoidance. We modify our behaviour and try and change and be on top of things in our environment. Through externally keeping everything a certain way, we are allowed to remain in our personal comfort zone. There is no room for growth or expansion, for trying something new, for a new perspective – because it may trigger feelings inside of us we don’t know what to do with. In a sense, we enter control because we are afraid of ourselves. We know ourselves very well, we know our weaknesses, we know our vulnerabilities. Instead of embracing them with open arms and working with them, it’s easier to arrange everything in a way where we don’t get triggered so that we are not reminded of their existence.

Unfortunately, the more we try and hide from ourselves, the stronger these experiences become. Within fearing our own vulnerabilities, we are stating that they are ‘more than’ us, that these experiences are ‘so big’ and ‘so powerful’ that we cannot deal with them and that it is better to sweep them under the rug. More often than not, the experiences we try to avoid as parents have their origin in our own childhood. Wounds from our own childhood which have yet to be healed as they have been ignored over time. When we keep suppressing and ignoring them, while at the same time be controlled by them which becomes apparent in our behaviour – we inevitably wound our own children. This is because we will consciously or unconsciously manipulate, control and steer their behaviour to fit a certain image we are comfortable with, while eradicating and persecuting any behaviour which may remind us of our own personal wounds. They are no longer free to be true to themselves and develop their independent voice and unique expression, because the parameters of what they can do and can be – are rigidly being kept in place by the parent.

When we are vulnerable and open with ourselves, we can deal with our own insecurities and pains from the past and work through them. Vulnerability is our ability to feel ourselves, to draw ourselves near to what we really experience so we may learn from it. Our behaviour towards our children is then no longer controlled by what we experience, but we can now actually see our child and act in accordance with what is best for them and their unique expression.

From Anxiety to Authority | Parenting & Emotional Turmoil

anxiety authority pattern emotional turmoil parenting

When my son got very comfortable with water and taking baths by himself (with someone present), he really enjoyed playing with water as it was being tapped, or playing with the showerhead extension while filling the bath. Though whenever it was time to turn off the tap there’d be a big cry and/or tantrum as he wasn’t happy to see his playtime end so soon.

Sometimes he’d get so engulfed in the tantrum/crying that he wouldn’t be aware of how he was moving and then slip and hurt himself. Though this only happened once or twice before he got that massive bath tantrums aren’t exactly a good idea. I didn’t like it when this would happen cause I had the tendency of taking his crying personal – where I would interpret his crying as a judgment directed towards me.

After it happened a few times that bath-time ended in tears, I started dreading bath-time in anticipation of the not so happy ending which would follow. The moment he would ask to take a bath or when we needed to get clean, anxiety would immediately creep up as I would already imagine him having a cry out at the end of it. And then sure enough, it would happen and we’d go through the motions once more.

This was not a fun experience as I would like to enjoy bath time and have him enjoy bath time regardless of how it ends. Applying the principle of getting the message behind an emotion, I opened up the anxiety experience inside myself. Within this, I could see the following lesson within the emotion of anxiety:

Whenever we experience anxiety towards a particular event or playout, it’s not so much the actual event or playout which we fear, but are experience as a reaction TOWARDS the event. Where, we once went through such an event/playout before and experienced this as being unpleasant in some way or another. Then if we anticipate the same or similar event to play out, we project our past experience unto the future playout – and end up with a self-fulfilling prophecy.

When I went into anxiety, it wasn’t because I was fearing him crying or having a tantrum. I was fearing my inner-experience, my experience of diminishment inside that I had gotten accustomed to, to his crying. I was in fact: fearing myself. In my head, these two aspects – the physical aspect of him crying/having a tantrum, and the aspect of me taking his crying personal – were fused as being ‘one and the same’. So when I went into anxiety and already imagined the future playout of his crying or tantrum, it made it seem as if I was fearing the actual physical event.

We assume that how we experienced ourselves in the past will be how we will experience ourselves in the future. But we also assume that we cannot experience ourselves any other way. In this, we have already defined and accepted ourselves as a particular behavioural trait or pattern, such as: when my son cries/throws a tantrum = I take it personal. If this, then that. When we enter into anxiety, we don’t fear the ‘if this’ part of the equation, we fear the ‘then that’ part.

Anxiety as a message, wishes to tell us that we have allowed ourselves to succumb to a pattern. That our experience is confined and limited to that which the pattern dictates, and believe there to be no way out (unless we avoid the event connected to the anxiety which we fear, which is merely avoiding the trigger to the experience, but the patterns still remains existent within us).

If we do not take heed of the message anxiety wishes to show us, anxiety remains because its message is put on hold. We remain a victim to our pattern and will feel less and less in control of our life. What anxiety is demanding, is for us to become the Author of our own lives. To not passively accept a pattern to overrun and overwhelm us, but to decide who we are and how we will experience ourselves in any given moment. When we become the author of our own life and script our own story, we establish Authority inside ourselves.

Are you going to remain a slave to your reaction-pattern, or are you going to script and author your own outcome?

I decided that I do not want to keep taking his cries personal. I decided to change the pattern.

His reaction never was personal to me. His crying merely indicated his sadness to a desire which couldn’t be fulfilled. When I made peace that his crying didn’t make me a lesser parent or person, the anxiety disappeared and soon enough so did his tantrums. Children have very sharp perceptual senses. When we are in a heightened state of distress, for instance when we are in anxiety within anticipating an unpleasant event, the child picks up on this. Our whole body and state of being is in essence screaming to them: “Something bad is about to come our way!” So when the event happens, the child reacts in distress because he or she assumes it is the appropriate way to respond. They don’t necessarily believe that was it happening is distressing. They are merely following our example. As long as I was in anxiety about having the tap turned off, where the turning of the tap was followed by an experience of diminishment inside myself – he assumed that it is only appropriate for him to also feel diminished when the tap turned off and play time was over. If I however showed him that turning the tap on or off doesn’t affect how I feel about myself or my levels of enjoyment, then he learns that turning off the tap doesn’t mean turning off enjoyment inside himself.

From Self-Pity to Self-Recognition | Parenting & Emotional Turmoil

self pity self recognition parenting emotional turmoil

For this blog I will be using an example of my son and his experience of Self-Pity, as the simplicity within which children at a young age experience and observe the world can be a helpful reference.

When my son was just able to start walking, he discovered he can walk to my desk and then get underneath my desk by crawling on his hands and knees. On his way back out however, where he is crawling out from underneath the desk, he had the tendency to stand up too early and so hit his head on the edge of the desk. Initially, he didn’t really mind. Sure, it would hurt, but then it was over quick and soon enough he’d find his way back underneath my desk. But once this pattern started repeating itself, he wouldn’t just cry – he would get emotional about it. He wasn’t just crying because of the physical pain, but from a sense of unfairness, in a way asking “Why does this keep happening to me?!” And then he would come to me looking for comfort. Though, instead of comforting him which would validate his sense of victimhood, I instead showed him how he has been replaying and re-creating this event. I showed him how he each time just guesses ‘when’ and ‘where’ to stand up – and doesn’t actually check whether he is steering clear from the desk. I would crawl underneath the desk, then crawl back out – LOOK above me and show him when I am still under the desk, knock on the desk to show where I would hurt myself. Then crawl more look to make sure I am out from underneath the desk, and only then stand up. Then I did the same thing, with him crawling with me and going through the steps.

Ever since then, he crawls in and out and practices his ‘check points’ to make sure he is moving in and out without hurting himself, rather than going on assumption.

If I had merely comforted him each time he hurt himself, he would have felt better about himself – but he would not have gained a practical solution to empower himself. Instead, he would keep replaying the same pattern, feeling bad, needing someone to make him feel better, and then hit his head again. The comfort provides a short-term release but does not provide him with the problem-solving skill he needs in the long turn to overcome an obstacle or challenge – and prevent it from reoccurring.

To be able to empower himself into a solution oriented direction, he first had to acknowledge and recognize his short-coming, without judging or victimizing himself for that particular short-coming. In this example, the short-coming was that he was participating in assumption instead of checking in with reality. Unless we recognize where we are at, we cannot constructively move forward. When he would go into victimization, he wasn’t looking at himself and how he could change – instead the desk was to blame, the desk was seen as the origin of all his suffering and it was the desk that needed to change. If he had moved forward with that information, he would still encounter the same issue because his perception was providing him with inaccurate information.

So whenever you face a situation where you experience self-pity in relation to a particular obstacle or challenge, it’s important to ‘get the facts straight’ within applying Self-Recognition.

What is the reality of the situation? Where am I being ineffective in my approach? Where am I empowering myself? What steps have I already taken to resolve this problem? Have I taken and considered all the steps to resolve this obstacle/challenge absolutely? Do I have the capacity to resolve this particular obstacle/challenge by myself? Do I require the assistance and support of another to walk through this obstacle?

Often, self-pity sets in when we face a challenge which requires us to move out of our comfort zone, a challenge which demands personal expansion. We can either recognize our shortcomings, support ourselves to change and move beyond them – or, we can judge ourselves for our shortcomings, victimize ourselves and seek recognition from others that our shortcomings as limitations are ‘very real’ and that others are to blame, to make ourselves feel better without actually changing or moving forward.

 

From Guilt to Accountability | Parenting & Emotional Turmoil

guilt accountability parenting emotional turmoil leilazamoramoreno

In this blog, I will be using the example from my previous post ‘From Anger to Integrity’, to elaborate on the regret and guilt dimension which played out in the scenario. Please read this blog first to gain full context.

So in my previous blog, we walked an example of how we tend to act while emotions are high, and end up regretting the course of action we took. This leaves a bitter taste in the mouth which we experience as guilt and regret.

Now, a fascinating thing with Guilt, is that we use guilt as a self-punishing instrument. The moment we act in a way which we perceive is wrong or contrary to our personal principles, guilt sets in where we feel bad about ourselves and feel ourselves being stuck in a rut.

What I noticed with myself, when taking a course of action with my son which I would regret – is that I would go through a period of feeling really bad about myself and putting myself down. However, as soon as another opportunity arose – it was very easy to make the exact same mistake again – only to be followed by another ‘guilt session’.

Within this, the act of feeling guilty and indulging in this experience was in essence ‘punishment enough’. Where I did something wrong, ‘paid for it’ – and was then able to once more go about doing as I please. We find this pattern in our own religious belief systems as well. We will go for confession and ‘confess our sins’ while feeling bad for it – be forgiven, but come next Sunday we are right back at square one asking forgiveness for the same sins.

In my parenting journey, it became invaluable to not remain stuck and indulge in an experience of guilt. Feeling guilty and deliberately prolonging the experience by participating in self-diminishing thoughts only places you in a position of disempowerment. How you’re ‘such a bad parent’ or ‘how inadequate you are’. These are all statements where we condemn ourselves to remain stuck, and define ourselves by our weaknesses. Instead, I learnt to listen to the message behind Guilt – which is that of Personal Accountability.

When I find myself feeling guilty after a particular action of behaviour, I check my actions and ask myself where, how and why I acted contrary to my principles. The experience of guilt lets me now that I strayed from my moral compass and that there is a lesson to be learnt. Instead of indulging and plunging in the emotional storm of guilt, I ask myself what course of action would have been appropriate. I immediately commit myself to live this this course of action as a correction and to remind myself of this particular weakness I identified within myself. The moment I embrace this commitment and set myself up for success next time around – any feeling of guilt disappears. So just like anger, guilt does not arise for us to punish ourselves and tell us ‘how bad’ we are. It’s a flag in our biofeedback system indicating that there is an improvement in our approach which needs to take place. Guilt lets us know we made a mistake. It’s an indication for yourself to take responsibility for your actions and to restore your trust in yourself. After all, nobody likes it when someone says ‘sorry’ but fails to follow through in adjusting their behaviour. What makes an admission of remorse real is not the utterance of it, but the actions which follow.

On another note – I have also experienced adjusting my behaviour and approach the next time a similar situation took place, but where instead of being clear inside myself, I would experience a sensation of discomfort inside myself.

Guilt is linked to our moral compass and comes about when we move in a different direction than the one our compass dictates. Yet sometimes (or for some maybe often), it is not the behaviour or approach we need to change – but the morals we were responding to. Our sense of right and wrong is established in our childhood years where we absorb what is right and wrong from our parents, family, school, friends – you name it. We often copy beliefs and morals believing they are ‘the right thing to do’ because others told us so, without checking whether we actually agree with these beliefs/morals. Often, these morals are imposed to use using some kind of emotional enforcement. If we don’t obey/comply to the morals set out for us, we get punished, excluded – leaving ourselves feeling alone and unaccepted. To avoid these experiences, we behave as we are expected to behave by our environment, and not because we agree with the morals presented to us.

Say your parents were very intolerant of any kind of crying in the house. Crying is seen as a form of weakness and not to be tolerated. When you were found crying you received comments to ‘man up’ and ‘get over it already’. Now, many years later you have a baby. Your baby is crying for no apparent reason and you pick your baby up to comfort her. While you are holding and rocking her, you feel guilty for ‘giving in’ to your crying baby. You think you are being weak and that indulging in comforting her will cause her to develop a weak and dependent character.

Now say that because of this, you promise to next time leave your baby to ‘cry it out’. The next time comes around and you leave your baby to cry it out. On the one hand you praise yourself for your discipline but on the other hand you feel very uncomfortable and sad about the whole situation.

In such a scenario (which I personally went through as well!), it’s important to take a moment to evaluate your compass. Do you really stand by the moral dictated by your compass? Do you really believe and stand by it? Or have you conditioned to stand by it to avoid uncomfortable experiences and criticism of others?

Here, it can be valuable to investigate your own childhood, to see how you responded to such an approach and whether it had the best possible outcome for you. You can for yourself, play out the future of your own child. If you uphold this approach and behaviour in the long-run, will you achieve the long term goals you have set for yourself as a parent as well as for your child? This can sometimes be difficult to emulate, as we often only tend to draw from our own experiences. If ignoring and suppressing crying is all you have ever known, it can be hard to imagine how things could have turned out if your parents had opted for a different approach. When I face an impasse like this, I reach out to other people and do my own research on the internet. Even if I am not sure of a new approach or suggestion, I will push myself to test it out unconditionally to see what the results are. Remember though that each person’s perspective and suggestions may not always work for you as not everyone finds themselves in the same situation, nor do we all have the same children. Find what works for you and be honest with yourself whether you are satisfied or not with the approach you are taking. This is part of being accountable to yourself. To be fully cognizant of the decisions we make and to be able to stand by them. All too often I found my parenting mistakes to be rooted in copied beliefs and morals from my own parents, media, schooling etc. This is in part what I love about my parenting journey. To constantly assess and evaluate any ‘hidden’ beliefs or morals, to check whether I agree full heartedly with them – and to change them if need to be. As a child,I lacked the autonomy and skill to establish these for myself. As an adult with my own child, I am bound to revisit these and can filter out the junk and keep what’s good.

 

From Anger to Integrity | Parenting & Emotional Turmoil

anger and integrity

Anger is one of the emotions I faced a lot within my personal journey, and one I made a priority to deal with. Becoming angry and acting out in anger – would only lead to guilt and regret. Anger, was a real (d)anger.

Let’s look at a simple scenario to place how anger can play out and what we can learn from it.

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Say, you’ve had a long day (as is every day when you are parenting a young baby/toddler) and you’ve finally found a moment to sit down and catch up on your emails. Your baby is crawling around by itself, and you pray to god that he will continue entertaining himself. As you’re clicking and reading away, you realise that your baby found your cell phone and seems quite fascinated by the lights and movements it makes as he swipes on it. You cringe inside yourself, because you know your baby doesn’t have the concept of what a phone is, how easily phones break these days and the type of financial investment they are. You really don’t want him to play with it.

But… on the other hand… you are finally having some sweet time to yourself. If you intervene and remove the phone, baby might get fussy and then it’s bye-bye me time. You weigh your options and decide to take the risk of letting baby play with the phone.

Click, click, click….Scroll, scroll, scroll. You realise how long you’ve been reading your emails and you check up on what your baby’s up to.

Oh My God!!

Did he just SLOBBER all over the phone?? Are those BITEMARKS???

You get up, rip the phone out of baby’s hands and start shouting that he must NOT PLAY WITH THE PHONE!!

Baby started crying the moment you stood up energetically and ripped the phone away. Now he’s REAL FUSSY. You see the devastating look on his face, how he has no idea what just happened. You realise the look on your own face, piercing through his heart. You regret what you did immediately, you soften up and try to comfort him.

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So let’s have a look what we can learn from anger in such scenarios.

First thing I realised, is that whenever I get angry at my son, I am not actually angry at him – I’m angry at myself.

I’m upset with myself without even realising it, and instead of listening to myself and directing myself – I project the issue unto my son as if he is to blame for my experience.

Second thing I realised, is that when I get angry, it’s already too late. Why is that? Anger in itself, is a statement of ‘this is unacceptable’ – a boundary or line has been crossed. In the example above, we can see that the boundary or line was crossed the moment we decided to forgo our own common sense. The common sense being: I don’t want, and can’t afford to get my phone ruined – baby should not have access to my phone.  Instead, we decided to *hope* that by some miracle the phone would be alright (which who knows, could have happened – but you don’t have any control over that) and so gave away our power to direct the situation from the get to and leave the outcome up to ‘fate’.

Then, when fate turns against us – now we get emotionally charged and angry at our baby. But why? Didn’t we make the decision to not intervene? Didn’t we leave the outcome up to chance? And now suddenly the baby has to pay for it?

This brings me to the solution of dealing with anger, which is Integrity.

What does integrity mean? Integrity means to live and uphold your principles. As within, so without.
Furthermore, integrity is linked to wholeness through its root in the word ‘intact’. Within being whole with yourself, you are living and standing undivided. Yet, the moment you uphold principles within yourself but not live/act upon them – you stand divided within yourself and so ‘cross your own boundary’. You get angry, at yourself.

Within this I realised, that the essence of anger is essentially hypocrisy, something I didn’t like seeing or realising – but cut straight to the point, and allowed me to see my adult tantrums for what they were.

So whenever I get angry or get the slightest irritation or frustration boil up inside me – I stop – and I ask myself: where am I not being true to myself? Where did I make a decision to ‘slack’ and not live up to my principles, and my utmost potential that I know I can live by? Where, and how could I have done something differently? Where am I being divided, split inside myself?

Through working and developing your own personal integrity, we can avoid these situation where we burst out and have an outcome we regret. These rash emotions and feelings which rise up, they are not here to be ‘acted out’ – they are part of our biofeedback system, pointing at a message we have yet to embrace.

Whenever you get angry, remind yourself of the word Integrity. There are two sides of the same coin, we just need the courage the flip the coin over and hear the message we require to learn.

Why does Emotional and Feeling Turmoil Exist?| Parenting & Emotional Turmoil

becoming-aware-of-the-mind

In my previous blog I gave an example of how the beliefs we hold inside ourselves as ‘truth’ and ‘fact’ determine our perception and so the actions we take in response to what we perceive is happening.

So how do emotions and feelings as emotional turmoil fit into this picture?

What I’ve noticed with myself, is that whenever I hold a belief inside myself through which I perceive and act through – some form of emotion or feeling energy will emerge inside myself.

In the beginning of the series I had shared how I was going through a lot of emotional turmoil inside myself in the beginning phases of my parenting journey. When I finally had ‘enough’ of this hectic experience inside myself, it wasn’t that I was telling the emotional turmoil to just ‘stop it’; rather; I dropped the beliefs which I was holding on to which were creating emotional turmoil inside myself.

When I noticed this, I started to be more aware of the slightest movements inside myself – to challenge myself to see whether what I was experiencing was a reflection of the ‘reality I was in’; or whether the experience was there because I was holding on to an inaccurate view of reality and myself. Throughout time, this conclusion was affirmed time and time again.

When I would say be angry at my child, the situation wasn’t demanding of me to be angry – rather, I was perceiving reality in such a way that I believed anger was the appropriate response. The anger didn’t emerge and rise inside myself for me to act out on; the anger emerged to say ‘Hello, there’s a misalignment in how you’re perceiving your reality – you need to check what belief you are holding on to which is causing you to think and act inappropriately’.

I noticed that every emotion and feeling, and every single nuance that exists of it, would contain a specific message – a specific door that needed to be opened and for me to look into, a door to myself wherein I could see and assess what ‘guidelines’ as beliefs, ideas and perceptions I had set myself up to act in accordance to; beliefs, ideas and perceptions which would lead to disharmonious outcomes inside myself and my outer reality if I decided to act on them.

Have you ever noticed how uncomfortable fear, anger, anxiety, restlessness, excitement, adrenaline are experienced inside yourself and your body? It’s because they’re within their very nature disharmonious – and arise for us to reflect on ourselves, so we can ask: where we are being disharmonious inside and with ourselves? I’ve been a very emotional person throughout my life, and I never liked it. I don’t like the feeling of having this energy inside myself that I cannot direct and don’t know what to do with. That I can’t see or think past anything but what I am experiencing as the emotion or feeling presiding in that moment. I would avoid so many situations, especially social ones – simply because I knew I would be going through emotional turmoil inside myself, that I would not know what to do with it or how to direct it and so I rather not place myself in those positions at all. I absolutely hated these experiences coming up inside me, and being a slave to them. Not being able to do things that I wanted or with the confidence that I wanted, because so many things would trigger an emotional response inside myself that I decided that it was simply ‘not worth it’.

As a mother I hated it even more. I love my son to bits and I want the best for him – yet, I experience all these conflicting emotions and feelings inside myself. When I act on them I regret it as soon as the moment as past.

Learning that emotions and feelings are not here to limit us, but here to guide us, show us how we decided to diminish ourselves through inaccurate beliefs, ideas and perceptions about ourselves and the world – has been one of the greatest gifts received in my life. I don’t have to fear emotional turmoil. If emotional turmoil comes up in one way or the other, I can simply look at the message behind it, change my attitude and approach from limitation to empowerment: and the turmoil disappears.

All those emotions and feelings you battle with within your day to day living, they don’t really want to be there! They’re coming up to ask you to pleeeasse have a look at how you are living, how you are perceiving yourself and the world around you – and to make a change so they may disappear and you may leave in peace with yourself and your environment.

What’s more – is that as you become attuned to your own emotions and feelings and what they are trying to show you, you will be able to create a more effective and intimate relationship with your child. As a parent you may have noticed that a tantrum doesn’t come in a ‘single package’, but that the way children, toddlers and babies ‘act out’ differs from moment to moment, situation to situation. When we become attuned to how we’ve allowed ourselves to live by a limited version of ourselves, we can assist our children in showing them how they can empower themselves through conflicting experiences. With my own son who is but a toddler, most if not all of his tantrums manifest not because of a disharmonious perception on this side, but where he ‘acts out’ to reflect back to me where I have not been true to my utmost potential, and allowed limiting ideas and beliefs to control me, which also determine how I approach my son.

Besides my own emotional turmoil being there to guide me, I also have my son as an external reference to show me where I am going off path.

So if you can relate and find yourself going through your own experiences of emotional and feeling turmoil – then that’s great! Because guess what? It simply means there’s still a better, more improved version of yourself to be discovered and lived!