As many of you already know, India holds a special place in my heart as do many of my friends who are from there. The spiritual connection we all share is something I cannot describe but can definitely feel.
I recently came across a TED Talk by Dr. Shefali Tsabary, Ph.D. clinical psychologist, and author of the book “Conscious Parenting.” Her Indian background compliments her style of work where Eastern spirituality and mindfulness meets Western world psychology, creating one of the most transformative ways of thinking while raising children.
Whether you are a parent or a non-parent, Dr. Tsabary’s insight is remarkable because all relationships are intimate connections and relationships with our children are the most intimate of all because they are a part of us. As children grow and learn, we relive our own childhood and this includes the challenging times they experience which can trigger the challenging times we experienced as children with our own parents. The same is true with love relationships, new situations can trigger old wounds which continue to revisit us until they are dealt with.
We all carry around something called our emotional shadow which is our emotional baggage of unacknowledged pain and our own ego. Whether you are a parent or not, we all have it and carry it. Maybe your emotional shadow is made up of pain, neglect, abandonment or dishonesty.
As a parent, we can’t expect our children to embrace painful feelings if we haven’t taken the opportunity to do that with ourselves. They need to experience pain in order to grow because it’s where we learn the most from life. Hiding, covering up or avoiding pain only adds to the emotional baggage and when you become a parent, our children will do something that triggers that old wound, and instead of reacting in an outburst, we need to look within ourselves and ask why we are reacting a certain way so we can awaken ourselves and start being better parents. We need to explore our emotional shadow to face the unprocessed emotional pain and tune into our own essence, therefore, tuning into the essence of our children. This is how we face our own ego and become better parents.
As you help your child, you are helping yourself and as you look within yourself to ask your inner child what this is trying to tell you, you are helping your children. Children are our teachers and this is why it’s so important to put yourself first so you can be the best possible parent for your children. It is the most transformative swing of the pendulum because you are changing your perspective from ego to wisdom and both sides are winning.
Dr. Tsabary also talks about how we always have choices in life and we can look at life situations in two different ways. One, life is happening to us or secondly, life is happening for us.
In the first example, life is happening to us, essentially means, you vs me. It is a separation from our spirits, a victim of life perspective. People become passive aggressive and find addictions as an escape route. Perhaps it’s someone who lost their job or a failed relationship. People see themselves as chronic victims and find an addiction such as drugs or food and they lose their spirit and connections in the world. It’s the easy way out.
In the second example, life is happening for us. People rarely take this approach, but it is always a choice that exists. Life disguises itself in painful ways such as trauma, shock, darkness, yet even in these times, we can look at this pain as an awakening and we can ask ourselves “What does this experience mean to me and how do I need to grow?” Life mirrors back to us the ways we have yet to develop. We miss these signs, calls, and invitations because we look at it as if life is happening to us. Every difficult relationship is a calling because it’s asking us to wake up. Ask yourself, “What in my emotional shadow has been triggered so I can reach my authentic self?”
Dr. Tsabary developed an acronym as a reminder when owning your own emotional baggage, which is ACT.
A-Aware of yourself. Aware of your anxiety, energy, words and beliefs. See things as is, as they really are. What is really going on?
C-Consciousness. Noticing the cause and effect. Where do our cause and effect occur?
T-Transformation. There are 3 ways to transform. One, embrace the situation, take it for what it is. Two, stop being a victim, change it, go to therapy, and start healing. Three, leave it.
When people see the work and effort that is required to own their emotional baggage, they take the first approach where life is happening to us and therefore, no ownership is taken because it means giving up too much.
Every moment is alive with meaning and purpose, and we can lead joyous and peaceful lives for ourselves and for our children.
We just need to awaken into conscious parenting.
Much Love ❤