History doesn't have to be our destiny. Our past doesn't dictate our future; the pathway to this can only be possible if we alter the narrative of our past.
Making sense, bringing compassion and understanding of our past takes courage.
Without that understanding, without the awareness - History does repeat itself.
If you're familiar with Attachment Theory; John and I both grew up in households where it was Avoidant, Ambivalent, and Disorganised.
It was common to be shamed rather than create a connection to understand.
And it is especially common to suppress emotions - Growing up in a household where the attachment is avoidant, ambivalent, and disorganised would mean you have been trained to ignore your emotions - and this then also means, ignoring/ controlling/ or avoiding other people's emotions.
Empathy is all about accepting and creating space for emotion. And so much of parenting is about the mastery of empathy.
Brooklyn is our 6-month-old. 6-month-olds communicate with crying. Crying is their language.
Crying is also John's trigger.
"Why does he cry so much?". John is frustrated. Angry. Annoyed. "I can't handle it."
We talk about empathy.
"I find it hard to be empathetic when he cries. I get so frustrated and angry."
We start talking about his parents. Specifically, his father.
He finds it hard. These conversations around his past aren't comfortable. John doesn't remember much of his childhood - and this is a sign of trauma according to attachment theory.
When children are raised without emotional stability, security and a strong sense of being accepted for who they are; they learn to suppress all that is uncomfortable.
Children who don't feel a sense of secure attachment - potentially grow up to be adults who repeat the same pattern as their parents.
As a parent, we want our children to grow up and have healthy relationships, to have a fulfilled life, and to know they are worthy of love and that they are enough.
That sounds all glorious - and a big part of that vision being realised is based on how they observe their parents, and how they are treated by their parents, especially in the moments when they are struggling.
When children are struggling, when children make a mistake - they are seeking for us to love them where they are. If our initial reaction is to withdraw, shame, condemn, or project our power - we are communicating; "You are unworthy of love."
....and the irony is when they are feeling at their worst, that's when they need the most Love.
Don't we all?
Empathy can be learnt. And it starts with us.
To heal our wounds, to bring a greater understanding of our past, and to be relentless in our pursuit of bringing compassion to ourselves are the pathways to have parenting not only be enjoyable and fulfilling.
We break the bonds of feeling unworthy, not enough, and unlovable within ourselves.
Yes, we are all doing our best on this parenting journey. When we know better, we can do better.
In wanting our children to thrive, to live a fulfilling life - so much of it, is shaped and influenced by how spacious we are within ourselves. To have empathy for our past, for our view of the world as a child, and our journey of healing.
...and that is why I believe parenting is a gift our children have given us. It is through parenting that we are invited to heal, to transform, and return to our sense of wholeness.
Our children are the mirrors of our unhealed wounds. And each time a wound reveals itself from the shadows, we have a choice.
To ignore it, or to heal it.
If we choose to heal, we are the real beneficiaries of that choice. We open ourselves up to more joy, more peace, more acceptance, more compassion - and more Love.
I hope you join me in being advocates of healing our wounds - so we can open ourselves up to receive more joy and love in our lives.