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 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 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.

 

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!

 

Parenting as Damage Control | Parenting & Emotional Turmoil

toddler gate suppression control leilazamoramoreno

If you’ve been following my blogs, then you know that before I had Cesar, I had pretty much zero experience with children or parenting. It hadn’t been part of my world and I didn’t really have a clue of what was ahead of me. All I knew about parenting, was from my own direct experience as being a child and being part of a family and being parented by my mother and father – and from what others made parenting ‘seem to be’.

While I was pregnant I did a lot of reading, some books and monthly parenting/pregnancy magazines. The world that was about to open up for me seemed so blissful! Yes, there were a lot of warning signs in terms of physical considerations in terms of what baby should eat, how much babies should sleep, what possible problems to look out for and so on. But what was missing in all the information was how I would go through a change inside MYSELF and how I would be affected with a parent-child relationship coming into the picture. Nothing warned me of the emotional, internal turmoil I would face or how to work through it (except for maybe saying ‘sometimes things will get hard and make sure you get some alone time/get a break).

So while I was once engulfed in a world where everything was roses and sunshine where having a baby was made seem this ‘heavenly experience’; when I actually got my baby and what I went through was more a perfect Hell.

It took me a while to realise that things are NOT perfect, are NOT easy, are NOT blissful as how it was made out to be. It took time to accept that things were hard, that I was going through immense emotional turmoil and that I didn’t necessarily know how to work through it / cope with the physical demanding task of taking care of a new born whilst processing the information which was running through me at a fast pace.

Yet, once I made peace that things were hard – I realised – but this is also not ‘the truth’, this is also not the ‘reality’ of the situation.

Yes, things were hard *right now* but I did not have to experience myself this way. Just because things weren’t this beautifully, glamourized picture – it didn’t mean that its opposite polarity as ‘everything is total hell’ was now the truth of the day either.

I did get stuck for quite a while in the acceptance that ‘well maybe it’s just hard – maybe that’s just ‘how things are’. Yet, even within this level of acceptance, I could sense that something was amiss, that something’s sitting quite right and that there were still different doors and directions to explore. That this ‘couldn’t be it’.

This acceptance of ‘everything is bad and that’s just the way it is’ reminded me of the Bible and how mankind was ‘born in sin’, for ever ‘in debt’, for ever carrying a burden, forever having a ‘difficult experience. It also reminded me of Thomas Hobbes’ political philosophy, how if you let things run their course within the ‘law of nature’, you find yourself in a perpetual state of conflict, strife, turmoil, chaos and anarchy. Even in other religions, myths, stories – this concept that our base state of being is essentially a ‘bad’ and ‘negative’ one is a theme that pops up over and over.

This base foundation/state as being ‘inherently bad’ is used as a justification time and time again, to justify structures and approaches of control, separation and domination – as our ‘bad nature’ needs to be contained ‘for our own good’. We have extensive law systems, specifying everything we can and can’t do. We have extensive education systems, as we need to ensure that everyone knows their place and is properly trained and civilised to take part in this world. Parents use domination, manipulation, strict rules and regulations to keep their children in check. People all over the world are controlled through money, where only a few hold the vast majority of money while the rest fights and scrambles for some money to call their own. Money is one if not the most regulated and controlled object in this world. People don’t just have access to money, they don’t just receive money – because OBVIOUSLY, they can’t be trusted and don’t know what is good for them. They must work for it, they must EARN it.

This concept of the big bad human is omnipresent. And therefore control is omnipresent.

And this was something I was doing while I was in this level of acceptance that ‘things are just that hard’ because I couldn’t possibly conceive something outside of this age old paradigm. Or that I even deserved to experience anything other than this constant agony.

Yet, living according to this paradigm, to constantly uphold some level of control = it’s freaking exhausting. It’s exhausting to be constantly telling your baby what to do, when to do it, when to eat, for how long to eat, what to eat, when to sleep, how long to sleep, to force them to sleep, telling them when they can have your attention, when they must leave you alone, when they must do this, do that…

So one day I had enough, and said fuck it. Fuck all those rules I have been living by and imposing on by baby. Fuck this idea that he doesn’t know what’s good for him and that I don’t know what’s good for me. Fuck that I must rely on so called experts and specialists to tell me how to do things. I am going to listen to myself and I am going to listen to my child.

Suddenly, it’s like a weight gets lifted. Your baby responds to you and you respond to your baby and you are both in sync with one another. You do things as they need to be done. Not because some rule or belief says you must do it, but simply because the moment itself reveals the direction you require to take.

This change didn’t happen overnight. It wasn’t a 180 degree turn that manifested all in one moment – it’s something I am still walking. All the rules and regulations we live by and parent by, all stem from our own belief systems, of our own world views, how we perceive things, how we interpret them. They originate from our own upbringing, from our own training to become ‘someone’ in this world.

Within this I realised that my own emotions and feelings as the emotional turmoil and conflict that would ensue were key in identifying these beliefs and ideas. These ‘misconceptions’ essentially, of ‘who we really are’ and ‘how the world really works’ – which would translate into misconceptions of ‘how to parent’.

When I was agitated and frustrated to the point of nearly hitting rage – that’s when I gave up my old paradigm. The emotional turmoil inside myself wasn’t telling me that ‘yes, this world is shit and parenting sucks’; they were telling me ‘this is not the way’. As long as I kept doing what I was doing and kept holding on to self-limiting ideas and beliefs – the emotional turmoil and inner conflict would remain, accumulate and eventually burst. They were essentially red flags, big hands waving HELLLOOOOO!! What you’re doing is NOT WOORKING OOUUUTT!! Instead, I believed them to be a reflection of the reality I was in, that things ‘were hard’ that things ‘were difficult’ that ‘life is a burden’. I didn’t see and realise that I was the one making things hard for myself. And that this was what my emotions and feelings were trying to convey to me. That something had to give, something I had to change, this couldn’t go on.

Constant friction, conflict, fight – this is not the normal state of living, of being. These manifestations, both within ourselves and outside of ourselves in the form of war, poverty, competition, etc. – are only the result of our own acceptances and allowances. Of what we believe and perceive to be ‘the truth’ – without ever really checking in with ourselves and seeing whether what we believe and what is reality is a match.

When you let go of limiting beliefs, perceptions and ideas – things just flow. Everything comes together in a perfect balance, there’s harmony.

Within the next blog I will go deeper into the design of Emotional Turmoil and Inner conflict, and why it exists. In the blogs after that, I will walk through specific Emotions and Feelings, the message they are conveying to ourselves and how to respond to them so we can come back to a state of balance and harmony within ourselves, our parenting and so within our world and lives at large.

Thank you for reading

Parenting and Emotional Turmoil – Emotions are not the Enemy!

andrewgable emotional turmoil parenting leilazamoramoreno

Within blogs to come, I want to open up the topic of Emotional Turmoil within parenting.

Emotional Turmoil has been something which has been present within myself within my own parenting journey from the get go, and seems to be a reoccurring theme on a daily basis. This doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy parenting or have fun with my child, but that regardless of my intention to have a harmoniously relationship with my child, inner conflict in the form of Emotional Turmoil will always come and stick up its head.

Topics will range from:
– Can I have a harmoniously relationship with my child?
– Is it possible for parenting to not be ‘so hard’?
– Is conflict and frustration inevitable and a normal part of the parenting journey? – Why do I experience so much Emotional Turmoil?
– What are my inner conflicts as my emotions and feelings trying to tell me?
– Is it okay to acknowledge my emotional Turmoil or must I be strong and simply push it away?

Keep an eye on the blogs to come, and hopefully you will enjoy the journey as much as I do!

Leila

#parenting #emotionalturmoil #selfempowerment #motherhood #psychology #challenges
Original art by @andrewgableart from his Self-Empowerment series:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/262851825/chaos-halo-psychological-drawing-by

Website: http://andrewgableart.com/

Utter Dependence & Access to Life – Part 2

baby sleeping closeness leilazamoramoreno

Cesar – 1,5 months young

This is a continuation to Utter Dependence & Access to Life | Part 1

In my previous blogpost I mentioned how the first three months were the hardest, as my baby needed my constant availability to meet his needs.

Here, I faced an interesting point, because even though no-one can deny that it is physically intensive to tend to another being 24/7 for three months, it wasn’t the physical ‘toughness’ which hit me the most – but the mental wall I hit.

I was in a constant friction between meeting my baby’s needs and meeting my own ‘needs’.

Practically speaking, all my needs were actually taken care of. I had a comfortable room, I got access to plenty of food and water, I was able to rest for moments and tend to my hygiene.

The ‘needs’ which weren’t getting met where my mental needs. These were the collective of all the things I believed I ‘should be doing’ and ‘should be getting’. I thought it was wrong to spend every moment of every day tending to my baby. I needed to ‘do something’, I needed to ‘be productive’. In how I was raised, much emphasis was given to the value of achievement and producing tangible results. Not only at home or in school, but also in the general system/society we’ve set up. Unless you’re doing something productive, unless you are contributing (in the sense of how ‘productivity’ and ‘contribution’ are defined within material accumulation) – you are useless and you must be lazy/evil/selfish. We see this in the way the labour system is set up – unless you are working and you are employed and functioning as a ‘human resource’, you will not receive (sufficient) income to live a dignified life.

I was restless, I shouldn’t have to be taking care of this ‘needy’ being. I should be doing things, making things. I honestly believed that these ‘urges’ were a reflection of positive ambitions within myself, that I was ‘wanting to be a good person’ and ‘contribute to the whole’. But then why was I stressing out so much about it, why was this restlessness almost painful?

As I looked deeper into my ambitions, I noticed they were not in fact ‘positive reflections’ of who I am, but were actually stemming from deeply negative fears and feelings inside myself. I wasn’t truly interested in being ambitious and being productive, I was driving myself to be so in order to get away from the dark nagging feeling inside myself, that if I were not to pursue these ambitions, that if I were not to be ‘productive’ = that I will be rejected, that I will be ostracized, that I will be excluded from the community, from society and be left to fend for myself. I was afraid that ‘Who I Am’ as a being is not enough, and that it is all about ‘what I do’.

I tried to push for being productive, for engaging in ‘work’ – to show my value, to show that ‘I am needed’ and not completely useless. But for me to pursue this, I had to compromise my baby’s needs. I had to ignore him to ‘get to my own things’. And he grew increasingly unhappier and unhappier. Inside myself, I was feeling more comfortable, because I was engaging myself, the fear of being useless wasn’t so prominent – but now I am in a situation with a deeply unhappy baby; and so inner conflict and turmoil still remained, they just shifted sides. I managed to appease my inner reality, but now my external reality was in distress.

So, tired of all the conflict, friction and turmoil – I took a moment to stop, to pause and re-evaluate everything which I was doing and how what I was participating within was affecting my child.

My inherent fear that who I am as Life is not good enough, was a belief so entrenched within myself that I felt the need to constantly prove my worth. In doing so, I was consequently no longer meeting my child’s needs in order to appease my own fears and self-worth insecurities. But within doing so, I was creating an environment for my child where HIS worth, HIS value was being undermined. He was in agony, his needs are not being met – are his needs not worth of being met? Is his Life not valuable enough to be completely secured?

Unintentionally, by wanting to avoid my own sense of worthlessness, this was exactly what I was creating for my child.

Problem.

I was (and still am) in a unique situation. I live with a group of people who can support me and the livelihood of my child and myself where my financial stability remained the same whether I was being ‘productive’ or not. I had a choice. I did not have to insist on working, I had in fact the choice to dedicate myself to taking care of my baby completely and absolutely, without this compromising my livelihood.

So I made a decision. I will be there for my baby, absolutely.

Obviously this is easier said than done. As I was living the decision to dedicate myself to my baby absolutely, many fears, insecurities, frictions and doubts would still rise up. These were deeply ingrained within my unconscious mind from my own upbringing. The only way I could stand by and live my decision, was to investigate all the thoughts, emotions and feelings which would come up, to forgive myself for them and let them go. The only way I could state and secure my child’s worth in this world, was by stating and securing mine (which honestly, would have been a lot more difficult, if not impossible had it not been for the supportive environment I live in).

I had to redefine worth and value for myself, to see, recognize, realise and live the worth and value of taking care of another being, another life – who as a baby was completely helpless, dependent and physically incapable of any ‘productive input’. Yet when you look into a baby’s eyes – you know, you see that they have the right to life, you know they have the right to be here and live a fulfilling life. Yet despite this knowledge, we’ve somehow still managed to create a world system and environment which constantly pushes people to the brink of survival, constantly pushing people to compromise on living for the sake of acquiring just the necessary resources to ‘make it another day’. A system that insists you are not good enough and need to constantly prove your worth, where you need to compete because if you’re not up for the job – well, you can simply be replaced.

For several months – I was no-one, I was nothing, I was just darkness. Who I was as the person I used to be and live, the personality I had accustomed to identify myself with as ‘who I am’ as all my hopes, dreams, fears and desires – was non-existent. There was a complete silence within myself. All I did was serve. I served my baby and his life in every moment of every day, and in doing so I served my own.

Is this the perfect way to come into being into this world? I would say no.

Looking at my son, he hated being completely helpless and dependent. He hated that his every need was dependent on a responsiveness of my own.

Is it necessary? At the moment I would say yes.

The manifestation of a baby as a completely helpless and dependent being – forces us to push to the absolute extreme realisation that we are in fact interdependent. That ‘no-one’ is an island. That every individual person’s actions affects the whole.

That for a child to come into this world and realise its utmost potential, we have to stand as the living example. If we want the child to grow up accepting and realising its self-worth, we must stand as an environment which resonates this. If a child comes into the world in an environment of compromise, of conditionality – then that is what the child will integrate and become. We can’t have one without the other. We can’t bring children into this world, seeing them as a fresh new start and believing it is ‘all up to them’ to make a brighter future. It is for us to set the foundation in place.

Does that mean that I will keep tending to my child’s every need into eternity and protect him from the outside dysfunctional world into eternity? No

The transition of the child to move from helplessness and complete dependence to one of being capable and independent (in so far that we can, really be ‘independent’) is a process. As he moves and grows, my services, my ‘interventions’ become less and less. My availability remains constant, but the frequency that this availability is being called upon diminishes and diminished overtime.

He learns that he is not dependent on myself as the mother with the breasts and the breastmilk to fill his tummy. There are other resources available. He learns that I am there when I need him which translates into self-confidence and self-reliance. He learns that he can give himself direction, but that I will be there when he finds himself in an unknown situation. From this unknown situation and my presence, his learns and integrates new perspectives which he next time can apply on his own.

Securing and dignifying his being, his presence and life – he learns that others deserve the same treatment. He learns to look at situations within the consideration of not only what is best for him but what is best for everyone.

There’s often a fear that gets expressed when seeing someone take care of a baby’s every need that he will become dependent, immature – emotionally attached forevermore. That we need to show the child that the world is ‘a hard place’, ‘that nothing comes easy’ and that ‘they better get used to it’.

This is a false dilemma – as if there is no other way than preparing your child for the harsh reality we live him by deliberately instilling a sense of insecurity inside themselves. We can in fact, provide a sound foundation in the child’s life – where his self-worth and self-appreciation is so absolute that no matter the challenges he or she will face in life, he or she will not doubt one’s ability to respond to these challenges – and to look, see and analyse any and all situations from a practical common sense perspective; rather than coming from a fear of losing its self-worth and seeing that self-worth being entirely dependent on how their external environment treats them.

Dependency, immaturity and emotional attachment come about when one’s self-worth is NOT secured, when one’s self-value is NOT dignified – and forevermore seek out confirmation from our environment that we are allowed to be here, that we are allowed to express ourselves. Every action, experience and move we make – is fear driven, driven by the belief that we are not worthy and dependent on others to give it to us.

(Funny enough, before I was cooking up this post I was reading a book about horses and the human-horse relationship, where their ‘fight or flight’ stress response was compared to that of a child where many similarities were found. Here a little snippet on the research done around this subject:
“Biological psychology researcher Megan Gunnar and her colleagues did infant studies that confirmed animal research findings. In their work, infants three months of age who received consistent responsive care produced less cortisol. Also, eighteen-month-olds classified as insecurely attached (who had received lower levels of responsiveness) revealed elevated levels of stress hormone.7 These same children at age two continued to show elevated levels of cortisol and appeared more fearful and inhibited. Again, these children were those who had been classified as having lower levels of maternal responsiveness.8 Other investigations have confirmed these findings.9 Dr. Gunnar reports that the level of stress experienced in infancy permanently shapes the stress responses in the brain, which then affect memory, attention, and emotion.10”
http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/linda_folden_palmer2.html

The horse book (Tao of Equus) also made reference to the work of Dianna Hine)