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.

The Art of Horsemanship, starts with Self-Mastery

horse woman leilazamoramoreno

When I first got into contact with horses on a daily basis, I was already walking a process of Self-Investigation – analysing who I am and where I can improve myself to my make daily life and living more effective and enjoyable. For me, spending time with horses was a ‘hobby’, something I would do for fun to ‘take my mind of things’. Yet, soon enough – it became very clear that working with horses and spending time with them was not the kind of ‘break’ I was looking for. Quite the opposite happened actually. My buttons were continuously being pushed, and no matter how much I just wanted to ‘relax’ and enjoy myself around the horses and specifically the horse I ended up having as my companion, I found myself in an almost constant state of inner conflict. I really wanted to get to know my horse and have a fun relationship, but he was bullying me around and I was anxious just being around him. When I had first met him at the farm he was staying before coming to live with us, he seemed like a sweet and grounded horse. But when it came to daily interaction, a whole new dynamic came to the surface. In the first few weeks, I’d need to keep his halter on in the stable while grooming because he was very pissy and all too happy to bite/nip to express his. With the assistance of others, I was able to set boundaries and stabilise myself through addressing my fear relationship with him.

When I was a child, I got my share of beatings – this left a very deep impression on me which affected my entire life (and is something I am still working through). Now, having this BIG animal with massive strength and power around me – it scared the living shit out of me. Just seeing him, seeing his grumpy expression and the intensity of him movements whether directed towards me or not – would trigger all sorts of memories bringing me back to my childhood, scared, insecure self. When I was a child, all I would do to cope with the situation is to draw back inside myself and wait the situation out while sitting in complete fear and petrification.

My experience of myself around my horse was absolutely awful. Either I would stop participating with horses, or I would change and empower myself – teach and give myself the tools I did not have as a child, to find a constructive way to work with another being who is angry and plays this out physically – without getting hurt and going into self-diminishment in the process.

This has shown to be a very challenging task. Every fibre of my being has since childhood been set up to avoid conflict situations at any and all costs, especially situations where things could get physical. It was very difficult to give up my primary coping mechanism as the survival skill I developed in situations of conflict. I had to constantly remind myself that I was no longer a child and in a position of powerlessness. I was an adult now and I did not have to be a victim of the situation. I was very scared to change, because all I knew was that ‘avoidance’ would keep me safe. So every day, I would make the deliberate effort to change. To be present, here and work with my horse regardless of the anxiety inside myself. I was taught to take notice of my posture and body language, as any emotional instability would translate into a particular body posture, which would draw out a particular response from the horse. Horses are herd animals as well as prey animals. Their survival and well-being depends on effective leadership. Someone who knows what they are doing. If you are scared, fearful, and go into states of self-diminishment – it is logical to the horse to get rid of you or at least ‘know your place’ in the hierarchy with all the consequences that come with it.

Not only are horses very perceptive of the state of being of their fellow herd members, but they are perceptive of the state of being of any human or animal that gets into their environment. In the wild, a predator who’s just had a nice meal and is fully satisfied can stroll by a herd of horses and the horses will peacefully graze on – because they already picked up on this state of being from miles away. If that same animal however would have approached them in a state of hunting, they would have ran off the moment they picked up on the animal. Much of their behaviour is determined by ‘where everyone else is at’. This became very clear that, as I changed – my horse would change. And so my horse would become the mirror reflection of myself and my state of being. Challenging me, pushing me, checking where I am at and responding accordingly.

Unfortunately, many people do not consider this aspect when working with a horse or any other animal for that matter. If a horse is being unruly, then simply more control and force is used. Someone in my position, then easily moves from being a victim to being a perpetrator – doing unto the horse exactly that which had been done unto self. Horses, in their kind forgiving nature – will put up with this behaviour until they have either had enough (at which point they get sold or sent to the slaughter house) or until they collapse under physical strain and pressure.

To have a willing, trusting and cooperative relationship with your horse – Self-Mastery is absolutely essential. This means constant evaluation and assessment of yourself and your horse. Never assume that your horse is simply being an ‘irrational animal’. This great creatures are very advanced processing machines – to call them stupid would be a deflection of our own inability to see beyond our limited perspectives.

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 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/

Pregnancy is Not for Me

Source: Pixabay

Source: Pixabay

This post is a continuation to ‘Crap. I’m Pregnant’.

At the end of the post I said I would be looking into some of the reactions and my experience within finding out that I was pregnant.

So the most predominant experience around finding out that I was pregnant was a definitive negative one. I immediately started reasoning with myself why I could not be pregnant as a way to cope and avoid the possibility of pregnancy.

Then when I found out I was pregnant, I remember cutting the lawn on our little riding grass mower, where I had to constantly pull myself out of thoughts of ‘Fuuuck, I am pregnant!!! WTF!!!’ to focusing on the task at hand and not ending up getting stuck in a hole or ditch.
After some time went by and had had the time to process this reality change, I started looking at this negative/bad experience and where it comes from. Because looking at it in a more calm state of mind, looking at the concept of ‘pregnancy’ – there’s nothing intrinsically ‘bad’ or ‘negative’ about it; which meant that at some point (or several points) throughout my life, I had created an interpretation about pregnancy which was emotionally loaded. This is now where I had already made the decision to go through with pregnancy, and obviously, I didn’t want this negative emotional experience to be running in the background while I am pregnant – I want to celebrate and enjoy pregnancy as the life-bearing and creating event that it is.

So when I looked a bit deeper into the emotion experience, I saw that – fascinatingly enough – a lot of moments and snapshots came up from movies, series as well as memories of friends and family (though mostly jokes).

In terms of series and movies, these were mostly high school/college related, where someone gets pregnant really young and this is then REALLY BAD NEWS. Since I am 22 going on 23, I consider myself ‘very young’, especially since I don’t feel much older than when I was 16….
Within this perception, where I have labelled myself as ‘young’; I immediately created the connection that ‘young’ + ‘pregnant’ = bad.

Then in terms of friends and family, there had been occasions where I had to share some ‘bad news’ where the joking response was ‘you’re not pregnant are you’ – again reconfirming the idea that pregnancy = bad.

Because I had already created a judgment about pregnancy and babies, kind of made it a ‘taboo’ subject inside my mind – I had never really explored who I am in relation to pregnancy/babies or who I would like to be.

So when I found out that I am actually pregnant and this shit is happening for real – I drew from the only information I had stored inside myself, and went into a negative experience and reaction about it.

Looking at this information inside myself and seeing how I had created this experience around pregnancy was cool, because now I could simply decide to let go of this experience, as this was not how I wanted to live my days being pregnant.