Are you always judging your parenting skills, annoyed at how reactive you can be, disappointed that you are not a happier parent and living in the hope that things will get better in the future once certain goals have been achieved? To be happy for a reason is relatively easy – good things happen to us all, when things are going our way, we’ve achieved a goal, we’ve got something we wanted. The problem here is the ‘foundations’ that this happiness is built on – it’s wobbly, temporary and outside of you. Without realizing it, you are giving all the power and responsibility for things outside of yourself to alter your state.
So it’s not more techniques you need to learn, it’s not about controlling your moods, it’s not about modeling a parent who is ‘better at it’ than you – it is just by simply seeing through an innocent misunderstanding on how we actually experience life, where your feelings are actually coming from – then you will find old thinking and behaviors start to lose their grip.
Here is the misunderstanding in a nutshell – We live in a thought generated reality and our experience is being created from the Inside Out, and not the other way round – from the Outside in, which is how it appears to work. Life doesn’t happen to us, it comes from us. Please read this statement a few times ‘ We are only ever living in the feeling of our Thinking’ and let it sit with you.
With this in mind, lets look at some of the following parenting myths which may be showing up in your life.
You have ‘hot buttons’ that people/circumstances can push
I’m sorry to disappoint, but nobody has hot buttons that we have been carrying around with us since our childhood. If this were true and you did have hot buttons, that would mean that everything outside of you had permission to push them whenever they wanted to and you were just an innocent bystander at the mercy of these buttons, ready to kick off at the slightest pressure.
The Truth – The only thing that is happening here is that you have a misunderstanding about how thoughts and feelings work. Your thoughts and feelings don’t ever come from your circumstances, person or thing. Not EVER, not from outside of you. You are only ever living in the feeling of Thought in the moment. Thought is the enormous power within you that stands between your circumstances and your feelings. You are just feeling Thought, but it looks like your feelings are coming from that other person, thing or event.
So if you child calls you X which results in you always reacting by doing Y – Stop for a moment and see that it is ‘Thought’ giving you the experience from within (the experience is not coming from your child) and you can decide if you want to act on it or not. When we start to see that just because we have a thought, doesn’t mean its true and we have to act on it – we start to behave less like animals.
Visualise yourself with no buttons, no triggers, nothing attached to you. All that is every happening is that thought is constantly flowing through you. You can act on it or ignore it.
Positive Thinking will stop Negative Thinking
As a parent, how is this working out for you? I can imagine sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t which to me suggests that is is not a universal law, but wishful and controlled thinking.
The Truth – Both your positive thinking and your negative thinking come from the same place – your mind. Therefore this makes them both totally unpredictable as you don’t know what your next thought is going to be, so how can you control it anyway? Trying to change a thought after you have had it, is too late – Good luck with that.
It is far more effective to start to become conscious of the nature of Thought and what it actually is. To have any experience in life we have been bestowed this amazing gift – the principle of Thought. So when we stand in front of anything in life -child, headmaster, husband, your job etc these outside things are all neutral to us until you breathe life into them with Thought. This becomes your reality, we live in a thought generated reality. We have the free will to think anything we like, so we are making it up as we go along, it becomes our story – it looks true and it looks like it is coming from the person, thing or event in front of us, but it isn’t. The only direct relationship we ever have is with our Thinking.
All I ask you here is to be conscious that Thought, whether it is positive or negative, is giving you the experience – see that you are creating it and don’t take it so seriously.
We will always have our thinking, but our thinking doesn’t always have to have us.
This is who I am, my own parents were like this, therefore I am this type of Parent
I am sorry to inform you but what you think of yourself – you have made it up. I am not suggesting you did it intentionally but at some point in your childhood most likely, you had a thought about yourself (and remember you could have thought absolutely anything in that moment in time) and you thought it again, and again and again. You practiced it until it became a belief and a belief is just a thought that you keep thinking. Nothing more. Think for a moment about Who you think you are as a parent – “I have no patience, I wasn’t cut out to be a mum, I’m shy, I have nothing to share”. I am not so much interested in why you think this, as you will always give me a created and well practiced story to validate why you have these beliefs. Now if you have a mainly positive belief about who you are – then I’m guessing this ‘character brief that you created’ is serving you well. So keep it. If there are many negative aspects to who you think you are – don’t analyse them, don’t look for the source of this negative thinking, don’t look for somebody to blame i.e. your parents as they were doing the best job they could at the time, just know that ‘you are making it up’, it is just thought, nonsense. We don’t need to take is so seriously.
Achieving your parenting goals – for yourself and your kids – will make you happy and fulfilled.
Nothing outside of you can make you happy. And for that matter, nothing outside of you can make you feel anything at all- sad, peaceful, jealous, rage, sorrow. I know it looks that way but it is an innocent misunderstanding, the only way you can experience happiness is by happy thinking in the moment. You are only ever living in the feeling of thought. Happiness comes and goes with your thinking, not because of outside circumstances.
Just stop for a moment and notice some of your parenting goals that you may be working towards, to increase your level of happiness and wellbeing. I will be happy when ……….my child starts school, I lose weight, when my child is in all the top classes, my child enters university, my children stop fighting, I’m a member of the PTA, we have more money!
Now there is nothing wrong with having goals in your life, in fact they can be very empowering, the problem arises when you believe that your state of mind/ your wellbeing is attached to the outcome of these future goals. They then become toxic goals.
The Truth – Our feelings do not come from the outside/achieving goals etc. If this were true then how come we all know Slim, healthy mums who are still miserable having lost the weight, how many mums do we know that the kids have started school, and they are still stressed. We all know many unhappy achievers. There is only one place unhappiness comes from – and that is unhappy thinking.
Please keep on having your desires but when you can know that you can be happy NOW, without having to achieve them, you can start living in the present moment without being attached to future outcomes.
If you get more done in less time, you’ll have more free time…… and then you’ll be stress-free and happy.
The Truth – This is not where stress comes from, stress does not come from a never ending To Do list. Stress is a feeling and the only place it can come from is stressful thinking in the moment. The biggest cause of stress is believing that it is coming from somewhere outside of you and not from your thinking.
Just be aware that the feeling of stress is being generated from the inside out. When you start to see this more and more, you will find that your language often changes and instead of starting a sentence with “You make me so angry, my job is stressing me out and so on – we start to see that the feeling isn’t coming from a person or event – so we start to blame less. “I have some angry thinking going on right now’ and ‘I am choosing to feel stressed in this moment’ become more appropriate and you will naturally find that the feelings then which follow are less intense.
You need to ‘work on’ your parenting mindset.
You are not broken, there is nothing to fix. Your mind, like your body is a self correcting system. Just like your body, always going back to balance all by itself. Start to think of Joy, Peace and Happiness as your natural state. The state you came into this world with, this is your default setting. The only thing to ever take you out of this state – is when you have a THOUGHT. You can look at it as this naturally joyous state is always present, in the gaps between thought.
“Just as a side note, please take yourselves and your little ones off to the cinema to watch the Disney movie ‘Inside Out’. This film demonstrates very well how Joy is running the show, until the other ‘emotions’ get their turn at the control centre in your head.”
What I would love for you to do here, is to try and experience more of your ‘Quiet Mind’ – this comes about when you stop taking your thinking so seriously – you get less involved in the stories you are telling yourself, you get less caught up in the nonsense of your ‘Thinking’. This is where the solutions/wisdom lives. It’s a bit like when an orchestra, which has been playing full out for so long, starts to quieten, then you start to hear the flute being played alone. This is your wisdom, it has been there all along, but you couldn’t hear it. This wisdom tells you all you need to know and do. Start hanging out in this place more. Wisdom comes not from ruminating a problem to death thinking about it 5 hours a day. It’s a little like when you want to say something, promptly forget and express it’s on the tip of your tongue. The more we try to remember it, it evades us. By letting go – it naturally comes. Wisdom and solutions also work like this – try it.
Before I go, I would like to point out, that we fall in and out of this misunderstanding all the time – it is part of the human condition. It works the same way for everybody. Just last month I heard myself telling my grumpy teenager ‘ You’ve just had an amazing holiday, got that new jacket you wanted and you are still not happy’. I was innocently adding to the confusion that it looks like we live in an outside world and these things should be making him happy. I saw my error immediately, but it is so ingrained in our language that sometimes we can’t see what we are saying.