One day, when my son was about 9 years old, he came to me sharing that he was feeling badly about not living up to his potential. He expressed negative beliefs of “not being good enough, feeling lazy, stupid, guilty and shame about his choices and behaviors.” It hurts me tremendously to hear him share these deep negative core beliefs as they are the same ones I have battled through trans-generational trauma and sadly often trigger me into a negative reaction. Thus, no matter how much my partner and I tell him how much we love him and highlighted all the good things he does, he could not hear us and resisted.
As a therapist, I know too well that our reactions and attempts to minimize his emotional pain were invalidating and actually making him feel worse. That one must first truly listen, accept, and validate the speaker’s feelings and expressions, wholeheartedly meet them where they are at so they may be able to process their pain and move on. Yet being a parent, feeling so responsible and sad for hearing your magnificent child feel so bad is hard to accept and cope with, especially on top of all of life’s other stressors is extra challenging. After all, we are humans living in this conditional, 4-D existence with 24-7 pressures and stimulations demanding our attention. When stressed beyond our unique threshold, we digress, actually we regress to the age we last felt safe, seen, soothed, and secure.
After becoming conscious of my own insecurities and triggers, I then chose to respond by cuddling with him and remaining silent as he cried and vented. I agreed with how painful this must feel. I apologized for the times my actions have led him to feel this way and God* knows there are too many to count and many more I am not even aware of. I tell him I will keep working on improving myself. I shared how I woke up early yesterday and caught a glimpse of the intense orange from the sunrise. I was reminded of how blessed we are that God gives us a beautiful new horizon to awake and go to sleep with every day. I thought about Easter approaching and how many are celebrating how Jesus rose from the dead. I told my son that holidays are symbols of the gifts God gives us every day. We have been given the gift to rise every day and try again to be more kind, helpful, and align our beliefs with our actions.
My son immediately said, “Thank You!” He gave me a kiss and popped up exuberantly. He hugged and expressed gratitude to the many items on his bed: his books; his new big, blue, soft blanket; his giant stuffed elephant, his fan, his light, etc. I then read him some stories, the last one was I Believe In Me.
The next morning after this talk, I was awoken early by my son meditating “Ohmmm, Ohmmm, Ohmmm.” He was inspired to start his day on a positive note. I wish everyone to see the beauty and miracles given every day and when you don’t, forgive yourself and others, and rise again.
Deep breaths and baby steps,
*I believe God is universal and defined by what feels best for you and your family’s belief system.