The Unconditional Child
For many of us, the birth of our children is a joyous moment. We learn exactly what it means to experience “love at first sight”. Although, some of us may have felt that way from the first ultrasound, or maybe even before that if you’re not one who needs to see, in order to believe. Love creeps up on us, sooner or later and so begins the journey of teaching & learning everything from love to how to use the potty.
Some of us have been conditioned enough to parent out of fear due to our own childhoods and the beliefs we carried into our adulthoods from the opinions we formulated from our very own experiences. It seems as though there is a thin line between aware and afraid and because they can be blurred so easily, so becomes our thinking. We, instead, continue a cycle of parenting out of fear and lose sight of the bigger picture- parenting out of love. This does not mean we do not love our children, it means that we begin to no longer trust the process of life.
Of course we love our children, that’s why we’re so concerned about door locks, looking both ways, washing hands, blowing noses, nutritional food, etc. Why, though, do we tend to forget about trusting the process of life and the learning experience it provides? If we continually affirm fear, than this is what we will breed. If we continue to promote “lack of safety” in the environment, than this is what they will look for, identify with, and eventually become. If you’ve ever seen The Secret, than you already know that what we affirm (positive or negative), we attract. Our role is to empower our children with love, laughter, and opportunity for growth and learning.
Kahlil Gabran said it the best in this very popular quote:
“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.”
Now that we may have the idea of how powerful and empowering it is to love our children unconditionally, we now know how important it is for us, as adults, to be loved unconditionally. We want freedom to be who we are but we spend a lot of time looking for reassurance outside of ourselves. We’re searching for acceptance and external rewards from others and some extremists are even filling the voids with addictions, which never really soothe the soul for the long term anyway.
If we don’t fully and unconditionally love who we are, how could we possibly unconditionally love our child or anyone else for that matter and how can we expect anyone to treat us any differently than we treat ourselves? If we learned as children, that it wasn’t safe to be ourselves because we were not *unconditionally loved for who we were without judgment or criticism, there’s a chance we might be in the same cycle with the way we parent.
Sometimes, as children, our parents may have been caught up with more of how we looked (external), than how we felt (internal). Our physical, emotional, or mental expression and presentation may have not met their approval and we may have been “forced” to alter ourselves to meet and then later, seek their approval. Later, we might potentially become resentful towards them because we were fearful to be who we were based on standards and expectations laid upon us. My favorite quote on resentment states, “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for your enemies to die”.
We are so committed to not forgiving anyone; we’d rather carry along all this baggage for years and years to come, than let it go. The truth is, everyone is always doing best with the conscious level that they choose to operate on. How could we be angry at anyone- the mailman, our parents, DMV (800) # Customer Service, if they are doing their best. Just because it doesn’t “measure up to our standards”, or we think we’d do it better, or we’re comparing it to everyone and everything else, doesn’t mean that they’re not doing their best.
We are all, in the belief, that we are doing the best that we can. When our children age, they might turn around and say, “boy, you did an awful job”, but right now, we absolutely believe we’re doing our best. Even times when we “know” we’re not doing our best, let’s say at work, for example, we truly are because we’re giving all we have or want to give within our state of mind.
The unconditional love we received or didn’t receive plays a big role in who we are today and our perception of others and ourselves. The question is, am I safe to be myself without the need for the acceptance of others or the fear of rejection? If we feel secure in this truth, than we need to do nothing but lead by example and know that the best thing we can teach our children is how much we love, honor, and respect ourselves so they can learn to do the same—not because we tell them to, but because they are witnessing it for themselves.
©2009 Nina Dixon – On The Path, LLC All Rights Reserved