“YOU complete me”, the line made famous by Tom Cruise in the movie Jerry Maguire, while hopelessly romantic, has screwed us all up and reaffirmed the misguided belief that there is someone, or something, outside of us that will make us whole; like we aren’t already.
This misguided belief, unfortunately but quite naturally, gets bestowed upon our children. Though not intentional in any way, we begin to look at our children as if there is something to fix, change or complete; like they are not already whole just the way they are.
If we believe there’s something “wrong”, especially with our child, our natural instinct kicks in to want to help them. We start to get anxious & worry:
“What if they don’t have any friends? … I’ll just make sure they’re invited”
“How will they ever afford to live on their own! …. I’ll give them extra money”
“They need to have a University Education to be happy & successful! … I’ll help them write their application.’
As if anyone who doesn’t have a University experience must not be happy or successful.
When we impose these subconscious ideas, beliefs & feelings on our kids, they internalize the same limiting belief that you may have, “There must be something wrong with me”, “I’m not enough or “It’s important to fit in.”
Culture & the marketing genius’ behind any good product, reinforces this idea that we need something in order to be ok or at the very least a bit better, in order to stay in the business of selling “things”. And so begins the endless quest to seek approval, value, worth & love in the form of a person or thing outside of ourselves.
The greatest gift we can give our kids is to demonstrate that we don’t need anyone or anything else to prove our worth. It is OUR job to seek our own approval, value & love.
Instead of learning how to accept every part of ourself, we learn to give our power away to something outside of us to fill our internal needs.
There is nothing and no one outside who can make you feel whole & if you believe there is, you will continually try to fill that void, always waiting on another to make you feel content. Inevitably, you’ll be waiting a really long time & never really feel the peace that you crave!
Here's some good news! You are already whole & complete & the misconception that you are anything other than that is simply not true! This is great news because if all it takes to feel complete is YOU, then YOU already have it & can start feeling more at peace now!
Lindsay Lal Professional Coaching....
Wouldn’t it be great if instead of meltdowns, eye rolls, tantrums, harsh words or rebellious behaviour our child would just tell us when they’re struggling?
“ Mommy I’m tired & need to go to bed.”
“ I don’t have the hand eye coordination to tie my shoe, so I’m feeling frustrated.”
“ I need to feel safe right now because I’m afraid that you’re going to leave again.”
“ Mom, could you please stop talking because I really need to feel heard right now.”
“ My prefrontal cortex isn’t fully developed yet so I don’t have the ability to organize my homework.”
This would make our lives so much easier wouldn’t it? But how many of US have actually have these insights or have learned how to communicate this way?
Sometimes we just react and don’t even know what we’re upset about. We don’t always have the words or ability to articulate what’s going on inside us & consequently our own behaviour doesn’t always reflect how we really feel but thankfully, our kids don't hold that against us!
Instead of articulating our needs, frustration or inability to do something, we end up doing damage control to repair our immature outburst & then feel guilty about not being able to respond differently, ending up in a downward spiral of shame.
When our needs go unmet we become resentful, bitter, & exhausted from filling everyone else’s needs or if we don’t have the skills to help our child with their school work we may become defensive & angry, instead of the helpful Mom we wanted to be. In other words, when we have unmet needs or lagging skills we do poorly as a Mom & so do our children.
It’s a child’s nature to please. They want to do what we’re asking of them, so if they aren’t, we need to become detectives & figure out what’s going on.
When we see children through the lens that they’re misbehaving because they “want to” then we see them as giving us a hard time. When we see them through the lens that they’re misbehaving because they are “unable” to do what we are asking, we see them as having a hard time.
When you’re having a hard time it’s not helpful for someone to tell you that you can do better, when it’s quite evident to you, in this moment, that you cannot. It’s the same for our child when they are misbehaving.
In that moment there is usually an unmet need or an inability to perform the task required of them. Through a lens of compassion & empathy, we are much more willing to help them learn a new way or to connect with them so they are able to feel safe & loved enough to be able to learn or express themselves.
If you’re having a hard time with something right now, have a little compassion for yourself. It’s not easy being a Mom with the complexities of the world we live in, but it is possible to learn skills that can help you feel good about your behaviour!