This post originally appeared on http://www.mikarose.com
“We impose [on others] burdens of our own emotional past,” said Dr. Shefali Tsabary, a clinical psychologist who writes about parenting. I have been thinking a lot about one of the books she wrote, “The Conscious Parent”. Although the title of the book has the word “parent” in it, it is useful to anyone (whether you are a parent or have parents). She talks about people interact and relate to each other, especially the parent-child relationship. We all seem to have a desire to either raise our kids the way we were raised or completely different. Either way, we are making our children vessels of our pain, joy and experiences, according to the book. According to her, we do it unconsciously.
At first, when I was listening to an interview with Dr. Shefali, I thought, “well, of course, we’re going to use our feelings and experiences to raise our kids. How else would we do it? There are no manuals out there for each child.” But then as I got further and further into the idea of conscious parenting or relationships, I began to understand what she was talking about.
As a kid, I loved my Saturday morning cartoons. My Saturdays were much happier, and so I have tried very hard to make sure that my nieces and my kids were exposed to some of the same cartoons that I was. After I had listened to the interview with Dr. Shefali, I began to ponder my desires, actions, and thoughts when it came not only to how I was influencing the children in my life but how I felt I was raised. When they were very young, my nieces loved watching the cartoons I liked to watch, but then they grew older and grew to know their own minds better. My nieces do not watch a lot of Tv so spending a day (even for just two hours) watching cartoons is not their idea of fun. After listening to Dr. Shefali, I realized how important it was to not only let them but help them listen to their inner selves.
There is only and will ever be one you in the world. No one else is like you, even our fingerprints proof that. Why then would we try to replicate who we are in someone else? Or expect them to know and understand us completely? Is it ok to make someone else be in charge of validating who we are and our emotional needs? Our parents, kids, siblings, friends, teachers, etc., have their own core values and things that are important to them.
Let’s make it a goal to not criticize, ostracize, shame, or sadden them because how they feel is different than how we feel. Also, let us try to not overly push them when they are doing things that match with our thoughts and feelings. They should not need our approval to make sure who they are or who they are becoming is good. Instead of saying, “I think/feel…” let’s try to ask more, “What do you think/feel?” Find out what others want for themselves, who they want to be and what their idea of success is. Make it about them and not you. Because you understand how important it is for everyone to walk their own personal path to happiness, success, and freedom.
In the comments, I would love to hear from you. Do you promote conscious relationships? How do you do it? Do you agree with Dr. Shefali’s ideas? If not, what is it about that does not resonate with you?