I'm a bad person...

Uncategorized Sep 09, 2021

Avery is missing his cousins and close group of friends, so I decided to run start running some mindfulness classes so they can all connect.  

Yesterday was our first class, and I shared about "Big Feelings".  

This is a group of 3 - 6-year-olds.  

I asked them, "Who here has felt mad or angry before?"  

They all raised their hands.  

"Who here thinks that they are a bad person when they feel mad or angry?".  

They all nodded and raised their hands.  

They shared that when they felt angry, it was like heartbreak, or it felt like fire all around them, or it was a big mountain that was red…  

Most adults hadn’t had the opportunity to go through this awareness - because they were never given the opportunity when they were younger.   As a result, “shame” is now all-consuming. 

Here is what happens. 

We may have been a child that was angry when we were younger.

We were then told or interpreted that "anger" is terrible....and somehow, in our mental model of the world, when we feel angry, we unconsciously believe we are a bad person.

We shame and judge ourselves, not knowing how to navigate the energy of anger.  

We don't realise that children are unconsciously associating their big feelings with being a bad person - just like us.

Because if we unconsciously judge ourselves, we're also unconsciously judging our children with their big emotions.  

Shame is "I am bad".

Guilt is "I feel bad".  

For adults, if you experience deep shame - it’s the remnants of emotional memory from childhood.  

When the experience of shame isn't navigated - it makes its way home into our minds and hearts - and here is how it plays out in adulthood.  

We avoid big feelings.

We run away from big feelings.

We project our big feelings.

We numb our big feelings.

We do EVERYTHING we can NOT to FEEL.  

….Because feeling the big feelings has been unconsciously associated with “I’m a bad person”.  

Now, we're completely hijacked and trapped.  

The issue isn’t simply that we are avoiding our feelings.  

The issue is that the avoidance of the feelings leads to an inability to hold space, and we project our feelings or internalise them.  

We blame.

We make others responsible for our emotional state, and we also feel we are responsible for everyone's emotional state.

We become a victim and give our power away.

We suppress it - and that’s how we become unwell and stressed!  

This is why we avoid conflict or are terrible in conflict….and yet conflict isn’t “bad”.

Conflict is actually needed so we can deepen our connection and have the opportunity to be vulnerable. Without conflict, there is no vulnerability.  

What makes conflict unhealthy is not knowing how to navigate it.  

As parents.. we know that...

We can't teach our children how to ride a bike unless we know how to ride a bike.

We can't teach our children how to drive a car unless we know how to drive a car.

We can’t teach our children to navigate shame if we’re unable to navigate our shame.  

This is the biggest one.  

We cannot teach our child “You are enough” if we aren’t the embodiment of “I am enough”.  

You can’t feel enough if there is shame.  

Most of us don't have the tools to navigate our big feelings in a healthy manner.  

We suppress. Spiritually bypass. Positive think. Do the affirmations. Numb. Drink. Drugs. Sex. Be busy. Addicted to achievement. Push people away. Stonewall. Lash out.

When we make something else responsible or someone else responsible for the tension within, there is no freedom, and the shame continues to perpetuate.  

When we reject these parts of ourselves, deeming "they shouldn't be there" or "I shouldn't feel this", we deny our humanity.   …and for some of us, denying our humanity started as young as 5.  

When we associate with “I need to be perfect” to be loved or “I’m a bad person” if I feel anger, these are unhealthy mental models - and these mental models have as disassociate with being human.  

We are infinite Spiritual beings, having a human experience.  

Having a human experience is about surrendering and embracing what it is to “be” human.  

And to “be” human is to feel… and this includes to feel the shame, to feel the anger, to have it all be met….and in meeting it, break free from making it mean anything about us.  

That we can feel anger, and we’re not a bad person.  

Or we can feel our shame… and know this is NOT who we are.  

So meet your big feelings - so your children know how to meet theirs.

And… in meeting your humanity and guiding your child to love theirs.  

Here’s what there is to know about anger.  

Anger is a secondary emotion. Underneath anger is deep unresolved sadness that we have been unwilling to meet.  

When we can get to a place where we no longer need to "fix" our children when they are angry, and we can be with them and their sadness, and not take it on as ours - this is a ripple effect in the world that heals.  

Because... to no longer judge our humanity requires a deep sense of love for ourselves - and with that deep sense of love for ourselves will come compassion for what it is to be human.

In compassion for ourselves - we give it to each other. 

Love shall set you free.   


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