Falling in love is scary…3 tips that make it safer

Falling in love with our kids is a daring thing to do. Love opens us up, wide open, no armor, no defenses. We’re naked and vulnerable when we’re in love.

Love is powerful. It’s not just cupids and chocolates and diamonds. It’s raw, heart, open, vulnerable, crazy, courageous, light that shines on every dark corner, every unmet need, and everything we don’t want to look at.

It’s our connection to all beings. It’s noticing that when I breathe, my children breathe, my lover breathes, my cat breathes, everyone in my neighborhood is breathing, all people in the world are breathing. All animals and even all plants in the world are breathing. We’re all connected, which should feel great.

Except I can’t control what happens to anyone except me, and even that’s uncertain. The more I love, the more I let in uncertainty.

We’re afraid to get swamped by the needs of everyone. We don’t know how to meet our own needs. We’ve never learned how to set boundaries to give what we want to give, to give what empowers us, and to only give in ways that fulfill us.

Love includes noticing that everything I love will end or change. Nothing is permanent. When our children blast our hearts open with their love, all this fear can come in, too. No one likes to feel afraid and so we distract. We shut down. We get busy. We work. We worry. We micromanage. We ignore.

Yet, we long for love. Many of us feel disconnected and alone. We struggle to feel a sense of belonging. So, what can we do?
This Valentine’s Day where pandora forsale.plus do the most of their sales that have been well reviewed, I ask each of us to challenge ourselves. I ask you to open your heart. I ask you to feel. Feel your own longing. Feel your desire to connect and belong. Dare to feel how much you love your children.

If you can’t or if it’s hard, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean you don’t love or that you’re broken or wrong. For most of us, it just means we’re scared. But there are ways to make the fire of love easier to bear.

3 Tips That Make It Safer for Us to Love

1) Embrace feelings — all feelings

Emotions are energy in motion. When we feel them, and let them flow through us, they are cleansing and energizing: Tears are like a good rain, laughter is a fresh breeze, shouting shakes up dormant energy. Being with a trusted friend, a supportive coach, or alone in nature, you can find safe places to feel your feelings. When we let them move, feelings often have this cleansing energizing effect and pass within 15 minutes. However, when we block our feelings, they get stuck in us. They keep asking for attention. They start to ferment and contort themselves. They become scary and overwhelming. The more comfortable you are with feelings, the safer it will be for you to love.

2) Learn to set good boundaries

Author Brené Brown speaks of boundaries as the ability to say what’s OK and what’s not OK with us. When we are very clear on this, then we can give fully, love fully, and stop when we need to. We trust ourselves to stop when we need to and that makes it possible to be fully engaged while we’re engaging. Without these boundaries and self-trust, we are never sure if we’re giving too much and neither are the people around us. If you often feel resentment, anger, or numbness, chances are good that getting better with boundaries would help you be happier and more compassionate.

3) Create good stories

Your mind is a meaning-maker: Its job is to create meaning and stories about everything that happens to you. When you open your heart and then feel hurt or disappointment, your mind may create a story that, That was stupid, and You shouldn’t open up again. That’s one story, but there are others you can tell that fit the facts and make your life happier. To the extent that we can notice the power of our minds to interpret and even create our experiences, we are able to write our own stories. Your mind is making up a story right this instant. Take back your power and make it a good story.

Using these 3 tools will put you well on your way to feeling more connection, ease, and belonging. We need more of that in our families, our communities, and our world.

One definition of courage is to feel the fear and do it anyway. Thank you for moving through your fear and daring to love.

Give your child what school cannot — rest for the brain — and free them to grow into their own

75428_8708Becoming mature is not inevitable. Not all children enter the adult world able to hold on to themselves while, at the same time, mix with others.

For some adults, the ability to respect the boundaries and values of others, and still keep their own, is not an easy to do. For these adults, having their own opinions and ideas — while being able to listen and consider those of others — is also not something that characterizes their interactions.

Our schools are investing resources and energy into trying to teach children how to behave maturely and get along with others. Movies are being produced to teach about respecting feelings. Programs are being designed to combat bullying. None of these things can produce long lasting results and they can even affect your child’s ability to learn and do well in school. If your child isn’t doing well in school then you can think about getting them a math tutor or taken them to an after school learning program.

No matter how hard we try to work at it, mature character traits that are needed to get along in the world cannot be taught: They grow within, when the conditions are right.

Shoshana-150x150I am reminded of what is missing — and what is possible — when I think of  Mark and Dan.

The boys are brothers. Mark is 12, and Dan is 10. They are two years apart in school, and neither one of them was happy when I met their family. Mark had the saddest expression I had ever seen on a child’s face. Dan’s face was hardened, and there was no light reflected in his eyes. I listened to their stories and encouraged their parents to listen to their stories.

It was then that their parents realized that Mark and Dan were lacking the fundamental conditions for growth and maturation, and they set about to provide those conditions. Nature worked its miracles, and within several months, the extraordinary process of emergence was in full bloom. Both boys were filled with vitality, venturing forth energy and a desire to learn. With the start of summer vacation, Mark and Dan had each planned his own schedule of activities that included areas of study they each wanted to explore.

There are many ways to reach this state of creativity, exploring and discovery. We are fortunate if we can be in this state of being at least part of the time in our lives. When we know what conditions our children need in order to be in this state, we can make sure they are being provided.

What Mark and Dan’s parents provided for their sons was…rest. All growth takes place in a state of rest, including psychological growth. They made sure their sons had rest from worrying about results all the time: good grades, academic achievement, keeping up with the standards. They made sure they had rest from activities that distracted them from their own thoughts and creativity, like computer games, iPads and play dates. They made sure they had rest in their relationships, that they could feel a big enough invitation in their attachment to their parents so the relationship would be secure and become deep.

Mark and Dan’s parents found that providing rest was so much better than seeking behavior-modification techniques or psychological assessment. Their parents’ eyes shifted from seeing what was wrong with their sons to what conditions for growth their sons were missing. Their efforts at providing rest were much more fulfilling, natural and intuitive than the standard advice that is usually given. And the fruits were so much sweeter: the blossoming curiosity, emergent creativity and natural love of learning that characterize all children when they are young.

Can our schools provide this quality of rest for our children?

I would like to think that this potential exists within our system. There are good intentions to make school feel like home and to give individual attention to students.

But until the focus moves away from getting the end result immediately through programs that emphasize academic achievement and social and emotional learning, children will not have the psychological rest they need that frees their curiosity, their natural love of learning and the growth of their capacity to integrate well with others.

Our focus needs to move to providing the right context and conditions that make it possible for growth to unfold and for human potential to develop. This is the source of our hope for the next generation of adults.