Dealing with emotional pain

As an educational presenter, sharing stories of my own history, my mom or dad often times arise to make a point, add humor, and connect me to the groups of people I may not know personally.

Oftentimes we don’t realize, unless we truly are introspective or have a great therapist, that the way we react to circumstances today is dictated by our history. Although I can laugh about my past today, I still recall the internal voices that would speak to me, reminding me I needed to work harder to be like everyone else.

Today I spend that energy on my uniqueness and see them as gifts – not a curse of difference.

I grew up with a dad who frequently reminded me of my inadequacies, oftentimes leaving me humiliated, embarrassed, and fearful of being me. Admittedly I was the odd ball out many times. Perhaps thinking out of the box wasn’t advantageous when I was 6 or 7, but certainly it is one of my greatest assets today.

As kids, we gain our ideas of what love is, what relationships consist of, and how to exist with others from those who raise us. As an adult, I’ve learned to keep most of my life private. Yet sharing my history with others does have value.

I witnessed my parents marriage as being two people who never hugged, kissed, or said “I love you” – not to each other and sadly, not to me. So I find it obvious why, at age 42, I’ve never been married. If that’s what marriage is, leave me out of it.

I don’t have kids but I do closely watch my young clients as well as my friends who have kids. I feel very fortunate to have friends who have kids that love me unconditionally. Perhaps it is because I truly listen and value their words and energy that make them have such an affinity towards me. With each hug and smile they offer me makes my own inner child sing. The old voices seem to disappear from my mind and make me that much more open to loving deeply.  As adults we should learn to provide this unconditional love to children.

In a recent TED Talk, clinical psychologist Shefali Tsabary speaks on conscious parenting and how to help our children to be more stable now and into their own adulthood. Recent studies show that 1 in 5 kids show signs of mental disorders. The use of medications for ADHD are at an all time high. Sadly, 1 in 10 kids over the age of 8 say they are unhappy and they know it and show signs of it.

What are we doing about it?

The way you parent today holds an emotional legacy your kids will work off. Sometimes kids stir old emotions and make us recall things of our own history we have long since forgotten. This may be one reason we lash out at kids when they act the way they do. Our own inner voices can become severe inner critics making us distance ourselves from those we actually love deeply. We must listen to the inner voices and not be so consumed by the act of performance or doing – tough to do in a day of modern technology.

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