Anxious. Tense. Impatient.
Rewind the clock 10 years ago and the words above describe exactly how I felt as I went about many of my days, in my work and home life. At the time my boys were in elementary school – and although from the outside it appeared that we were a happy, adjusted family (and that I was a happy, balanced person), often that was not the reality. I was barely holding on, after a lifetime of locking up and disengaging from my emotions.
I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t taught what it meant to be emotionally aware as a child. I think my generation was a by-product of the previous generation, where ‘children should be seen, not heard.’ Schools didn’t yet understand the importance of teaching social emotional learning skills, and positive psychology was not part of our mainstream awareness. It wasn’t being taught in schools, nor was it being taught in most homes.
It wasn’t until a pivotal moment, when my son (in Grade 5 at the time) told me that he was starting to feel like “garbage,” that I realized there was a problem. So, I promptly took him to a therapist. After speaking with me for several minutes, the therapist promptly told me that if we were to help my son, we also needed to take a look at me as well.
What followed was 2 years of intensive therapy in a weekly women’s group, where I basically learned how to feel. The more I connected with and expressed my feelings, the more healing that occurred in my family. My children began to feel safer around me (rather than anticipating mom’s next bad mood or blow up). They began to feel accepted and loved for who they were, regardless of how they ‘performed,’ how they looked or how they acted. I eventually shifted away from the therapeutic setting and began a deep dive into areas of well-being that resonated with me: mindfulness, self-compassion, meditation, visualization and yoga. I could feel a profound shift occurring within me: from negative thoughts which focused on what was wrong about myself, others and the world around me to a general feeling of happiness and optimism. The more I turned inwards, the deeper the sense of calm, peace and connection I experienced.
This is what I wish for you. That whatever it is you may be holding onto, that you take that deep dive and begin to soothe and heal the parts that no longer serve you and your family. That you choose love over fear, releasing the grip from past stories or pain that prevent you from being fully alive and present as a person, and as a parent.