Aha! Parenting Blog

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A Blessing for Ruthless Compassion and Self Forgiveness

"Your daily meditations are great, but what we really need is the same meditation every day, until we master it.  The first step to being a good parent is always to embrace yourself with compassion. - Beth Sandweiss

Of course, Beth is right.  Do you notice that when you find your way to your own internal fountain of well-being, it overflows onto your kids and you’re a more patient, loving, joyful parent?  Do you notice that when your child loses it, you always have the ability to calm that storm and heal what's behind it -- but only if you can regulate your own emotions?

Quite simply, we can only give what we have inside. That's why so much of what makes us good parents is learning to take better care of ourselves, so we can manage our own emotions and behavior.  We all need a sign in our kitchen that says "Put on your own Oxygen Mask before assisting your child." 

All of us get triggered, over and over, by our child.  So putting on our oxygen masks also includes healing ourselves and excavating those triggers.  That's our responsibility to our child, because without doing that work, we can't manage our own emotions. 

What stops us?  Guilt.  Fear.  They don't help your child be more emotionally healthy, do they?  So why would they help you become a better parent?

Loving our child well begins with healing ourselves.  And the first step of healing is embracing ourselves with acceptance and compassion, just as we would our child.

Of course, compassion for ourselves is a lot easier when everything’s going ok in our lives.  What about the times when we feel like we haven’t been our best selves? Or those times when we’ve simply screwed up, royally? I suspect that those are the most important times to resist being punitive with ourselves.  The more we can embrace our own imperfect selves with compassion and forgiveness, the more we can embrace our child with unconditional love, heal together, and move on.

So in honor of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year that begins at sundown today, which reminds us to forgive and return to what's important:

A Blessing for Ruthless Compassion and Self-Forgiveness

Stop striving for perfection.
That isn't the path to being a good parent, or a happy person.
What your child needs is your full acceptance of who she is at this moment,
your willingness to see things from his point of view,
and your open-hearted apologies, daily if necessary, when you can't quite pull this off
(which is the definition of being human.)
Just return to your heart, start again, and do your best.

To give your child the gift of unconditional love
offer it first to yourself,
all the good and bad, embarrassing and powerful, mundane and sacred parts of yourself.
Accept that sometimes you're angry, or lazy, or greedy, or simply sad, as are we all.
But you're still worth loving.  You're more than enough.

There is nothing you need to do to deserve that love.  Just return to your heart. 
(You may need to get past some tears to find it.)

Remind yourself:
Ruthless compassion (don't let anything get in the way)
Self-forgiveness
Return to love.

You'll find life sweeter
You'll become a real alchemist: transforming dross into love
and You will be a true blessing to your child.

 

 Need some help with how? 

 How To Forgive Yourself for Being Human

Are You Drinking Rat Poison? How to Forgive Your Parents



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