In order to learn to love unconditionally, you first need to discover the barriers that you have to giving love, and the barriers that your children or partners have to receiving it. The negative beliefs that you carry, often subconsciously, prevent you from having the loving relationships you want to have. I’ll show you how negative beliefs get started and strengthened, and how they block love.
In last week’s blog, I suggested that you take a quick quiz to determine where you are on the loving / fearful parenting spectrum. You may have been surprised to learn that fear plays a role in your parenting style. This week’s blog will explore the importance of learning to love unconditionally. I was able to learn so you can too!
“Hey, wait a minute,” you may be thinking “Of course I love my children unconditionally!”
I know I thought that – that is until my daughter went off the rails as a teenager in a dramatic way. The way back for our family was by learning to love unconditionally. We learned it the hard way and I don’t want that to happen to you.
We discovered that although we thought we were a loving caring family, and certainly anyone who knew us would have agreed, our parenting was largely fearful making unconditional love virtually impossible. We had worries about our children’s futures, and expectations of what that should look like for each of them. We felt we needed to shape them into fine humans rather than simply to accept them as they are. The good news for us was that it was possible with a few simple techniques, to learn to love without fearand to become more effective parents as a result.
You can do a quick assessment of how much fear versuslove there is in your own parenting style by taking the quiz below:
“Smile at everyone you meet, the gift of life will then be yours to give” - Nachman of Bratslav
When was the last time someone smiled at you? How did it feel? How do you feel when you smile at others? Have you ever smiled at someone across a crowded room and felt as if you’ve shared a ‘moment’ that is precious?
“Smile more – you won’t regret it!” That’s the advice I give parents who are having challenges raising their children. The reason? When things go wrong and life feels tough, it is easy to forget to smile, but our children are nourished by our smiles. Here are a few things smiles communicate to them:
“All Pain Comes from Attachment” - The Buddha
It’s that time of the year again! I recently received a wish list from my son of gift ideas for his daughter – my granddaughter. To date I have been quite abstemious with gifts for her in my attempt not to make the mistakes I made with my own children – the subconscious notion that they would love me more if I could just find the right toys.
I’ve learned over the years to move away from materialism and commercialism and have felt much better for it. We certainly don’t derive happiness from accumulating toys – in fact, the opposite is generally true.
By Anne Andrew PhD
Children develop negative beliefs about themselves between birth and age 6 or 7, which unchecked can lead to negative behaviors such as addiction, bullying and depression. These negative beliefs make up the person they think they are.
How do negative beliefs get started?
When I was four or five, I was on a summer holiday on the coast, with my mom and dad and my brother. This particular day, we were taken to the dock where there was a great big wooden galleon. I could hardly believe my luck that we were going to go on board and sail away! I held tightly onto my mom’s hand as we climbed the steep gangplank and the sailor at the top helped me jump down onto the deck. When all the passengers had assembled, the captain told us, “Welcome to the Hispaniola! We’ll be heading to Treasure Island, where there are gold coins buried somewhere beneath the sand.”
It’s both Canadian Thanksgiving and the Jewish thanksgiving festival of Sukkot this weekend, so it would be remiss of me not to mention the power of gratitude in raising happy children. In my opinion, the single most important thing that you can do to help children to grow up with a positive attitude is to have a gratitude habit as a family. Scientific studies have linked gratitude with happiness – it’s a defense against depression. If you don’t already have a family gratitude habit, Thanksgiving would be a great time to start. Here are a few suggestions:
I know firsthand the heartache that comes with having a teenager who struggles with eating disorders and other self-harming behaviour. Helplessness combines with guilt and even shame. I was fortunate to discover how to be happy despite our circumstances, and learned that not only could I be happy, but by being happy I was helping my child. That’s why I must debunk the myth that we can only be as happy as our least happy child. This unfortunate concept condemns parents of unhappy children to life sentences of misery. It doesn’t have to be this way and what’s more, the unhappiness parents suffer contributes to the ongoing misery of their children...
There are shelves of books about the importance of a child’s self-esteem, but I want to point out a crucial difference between self-esteem and Inherent Worth. Our Inherent Worth is absolute. Our IW just is. It doesn’t depend on what we do or what we don’t do. It is non-negotiable - it just is. It is easy to see the truth of this when a baby is born. No one comes into the world any other way. We were all equally naked. It stands to reason then, that our worth is not established:
What does Inherent Worth mean?
Inherent Worth is the idea that everyone has the same worth – infinite worth - by virtue of just being, regardless of race, religion, gender, health, status, wealth, peerage, class, ability, or any other external factor.
Where does the idea of Inherent Worth come from?
Inherent worth is based on the spiritual concept that we are
I’m passionate about prevention of substance abuse, depression, bullying, and suicide in teens, and I’ve chosen to spend my time helping parents to raise resilient, bully-proof, addiction-free kids. I know firsthand the emotional and financial costs of having a troubled teenager and I don’t want that to happen to you.