Resilient or happy? Do we have to choose?
Everyone talks about resilience. And everyone wants to be happy. In fact, the thought of our kids being unhappy creates so much anxiety in parents that it caused you to read this (even though you could probably write your own parenting book at this point!). We believe that as parents we are supposed to protect our children from pain, that’s our job, all else secondary.
“I just want her to be happy.” Sure you do.
But ask any parent if they want to raise resilient kids…can you imagine saying “nah, not really”?
Big disconnect here, and something we forget every time our child pitches a fit.
We’ve all enlisted in Operation Raise Happy Kids, but most of us forgot that a prerequisite is resilience.
And resilience is an outgrowth of pain.
When was the last time you overheard parents gushing about what an unhappy baby they have?An unhappy child?
No….. We rush to fix it, make it better, medicate them, convince them their feelings are not real. Or worse, we spiral into a tantrum of our own because we are so triggered by the crying, screaming, lack of control. What have I done??? How will we live like this???
Don’t get me wrong, tantrums are mind numbing and incredibly annoying (at best), but our reactions are often way more severe and toxic (to ourselves and them).
The sooner our children learn that pain is not something to be feared or distorted, the sooner they can process it, and be done with it.
Why? Because it’s normal and natural to have feelings, all of them. Even…. the ones that we have learned are “bad” and should be avoided at all costs.
The problem comes when we can’t flow from one feeling to the next, when the “bad” feelings overwhelm and define us.
With each meltdown comes the opportunity to show them it’s ok to feel, and the solution is not to ignore the feelings with alcohol, food, sex, and gossip (and if you’re a rebel like me, way too many clicks on “BuyAgain” pretending to be an organized mom).
Yes, of course, we should be modeling the desired behavior, but while we figure out how to do that we can at least commit to being their witness- let them enter that feeling state, showing them that there is nothing to be afraid of, and that we are not phased by this seemingly evil two year old who has gone absolutely non-linear over the blue sippy cup.
The more we help them enter into that organic flow — and we enter it with them (with empathy, rather than suppressed rage of our own), the sooner the 25 pound ultimate fighting champion will take a water break, with or without the blue cup (but I do recommend finding that damn cup. And while you’re at it, purchase extras on Amazon, you fool!!)
Isn’t that what resilience is all about? Not purchasing more on Amazon, but the ability to bounce back? And fully bounce back — not to be unearthed later in a therapist’s office or during an ayahuasca experience?
So, the next time your child bares her fangs and you’re wondering how on earth you gave birth to this supposed human, take a step back and remember that this is an amazing moment to teach resilience, and forget the happiness project.
At least that’s how I delude myself to enjoying the madness. Ok, enjoying is a stretch- but you know what I mean.
I believe in the power of education, technology, personal growth and lifelong learning.
But I know from experience that these are not enough. Information without understanding is confuses and misleads. Education and talent without application debilitates growth. Awareness without transformation only stifles action.
- SO LET'S TAKE SOME ACTION -
My goal is to get the wind at your back so that you can live authentically, aligned, and create by mindful design:
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