It’s that time of year again…
…when we often feel compelled to think about what we might change about ourselves to make us “better” – better parents, spouses, colleagues….
I want to propose a different change. What if becoming “better” meant changing your perspective of who you are right now? What if becoming your best self included accepting who you are, appreciating who you are, and choosing to love yourself RIGHT NOW…mistakes and all. You bribed your kid to eat breakfast? Love yourself anyway. You yelled this morning when your kid wouldn’t get in the cart? Love yourself anyway. I know some of you are thinking, “isn’t this antithetical to peaceful parenting?” Hang in there with me.
What if choosing to love yourself despite your mistakes is not selfish or lazy or shameful? What if choosing to love yourself anyway is the necessary step toward making your life with your family more peaceful? I believe creating a space of self-love and self-accept yourself right where you are gives you the safe space you need to grow into your best self. And without self-love and self-accept it is almost impossible to offer love and acceptance to anyone else right where they are, including your children. This is the journey of the peaceful parent.
Your children need your unconditional love. They need you to accept their emotions and be present with them as they work through those emotions. Your children need you to meet them right where they are – mistakes and all – because they need a safe space to grow into their best selves. When you choose to “love them anyway” you choose to create a space where your children are able to continue to grow and learn because they aren’t shutting down and trying to protect themselves from rejection, shame, or coercion. When you choose acceptance, you choose to teach through love and connection. And from the space of acceptance, connection and love, you’re able to lay witness to your children growing into their best selves and you growing into yours.
You may not have been raised with parents who were able to see and hear you in the ways you needed. Many of us on this peaceful parenting journey were not. Today I’m inviting you to do something revolutionary. Today I’m asking you to consider – just consider – what it might be like for YOU to show up for yourself; to be the person for YOURSELF that you needed when you were a child. Consider allowing ALL your feelings to visit – whatever shows up: sadness, anger, disappointment, joy, love, fearlessness. Listen to your feelings, see them, feel them, get curious about them without judging them, and allow them the space to leave in their own time. Your feelings are a gift of guidance – they let you know when you need something – self-care, stronger boundaries, a relinquishing of control, to ask for help. Notice your feelings without fighting them and without letting them control your behavior – simply notice them with curiosity and allow them to show you what you need.
I invite you to give yourself the experience of self-acceptance and self-love, and to know that the love, presence and listening you give your children will serve you all for a lifetime. Choose love.
Thank you for all you do for your children and for yourselves. Happy new year!
In gratitude and peace,
Amy C. Bryant, EdS, LPC
Parenting Beyond Punishment
Wild Child Counseling, LLC
Play At Home Mom
My online services can help you increase your skills in emotional regulation and stress tolerance, and discover life-changing tools. Learn how alternatives to traditional parenting and how to create an atmosphere of respect at home. And if you’re experiencing “all the emotions” like the rest of us? Bravo! That’s what life is all about. A part of peaceful parenting is understanding and meeting our own needs along with meeting the needs of our children – at the same time. You can learn more HERE!