I’ve been kind of an emotional mess lately.
And that’s been both cause and effect for some serious soul-searching.
Today, in efforts of said soul-searching, while I was reading this great book about forgiveness and stumbling upon this emotionally charged piece by The Guggie Daily, it occurred to me that the recent “digging” I’ve been doing through my own heart messes might be really relevant here.
….Might just be exactly where a few (most?) of us are or have been.
I’m starting to realize how much of my passion for this work, for peaceful parenting and healthy families, finds its root in the heartache I’ve maybe never realized was there before this began. And as we know, dealing with our own heartache and healing are pretty important pre-requisites for positive interactions with our childrens’ heartache and emotions. Perhaps much of what you are about to read will seem obvious to you. Maybe in the end, I am just foolishly revealing my own immaturity. But, even so, if you can bear it, I am just going to use my own musings and my own story as a case study and soap box for some recent revelations. Ready? Go.
Back to my state of emotional disaster. (That’s what you really want to read about anyway, right?!)
It started a few weeks ago. My husband and I were talking, praying, digesting a recent conflict and thinking through some of our “default” responses to one another, and where they might have come from in our pasts.
Suddenly, I was crying. Really hard. Like, shaking sobs.
One minute I was talking about some vague insight into how I try to “fix” our relationship always so I am not alone, and then all of a sudden, I’m sobbing, picturing this tiny baby in a crib, screaming, alone.
We weren’t even talking about babies and cribs.
We were talking about our marriage. Believing we’re loved. Specifically, believing God loves us.
And here I was having an (admittedly somewhat ridiculous) dramatic breakdown about this imaginary baby crying alone in a crib.
Then today, I’m sitting in Barnes and Noble cafe, reading this book about forgiveness, and I start tearing up again. (Don’t worry, I kept it a little more under control this time. No sobs. Just a couple teary eyes hiding behind a mocha.)
I’m drinking my coffee, thinking about the connection between forgiveness and vulnerability, and I start crying again. I’m realizing how scared I am of vulnerability in just about every context, and suddenly I picture this crying little girl, alone again, and I’m all teared up.
Maybe I sound a little crazy.
But the thing is, I think these things are really related. And I think it’s really important.
Aside from being a psycho-analyst’s hay day, these moments are starting to seem really significant. Because I don’t think it’s just about a crying baby making me sad, do you?
Some background: *cue melodramatic music, and prepare to feel like my counselor*
I’m an only child. My mom and dad (who were wonderful parents and frequently express the wish they had done differently) practiced sleep training and cry-it-out with me. My mom needed to return to a full time job shortly after I was born, and left me with several different sitters. One of those sitters, they later found out, frequently left me alone, screaming. There were many times, some which I remember and some which I probably do not, that I wished fervently for a sibling or a playmate. I promise I’m not trying to sound dramatic when I say that most of my memories of playing as a child are of playing alone.
So what I’m saying is….
Maybe it’s not a coincidence that loneliness is my longest running battle and greatest fear.
Maybe it’s not incidental that I instantly feel powerless, afraid, and cut off from my emotions when I’m in a vulnerable situation.
Maybe it’s not mere happenstance that in my efforts to have healthy relationships with my husband and friends, the first thing coming to my mind and heart is a lonely, screaming, baby who is powerless to have her needs met.
And, maybe it’s not just random compassion that has caused this furious burning desire in me to spread the word on gentle parenting.
Maybe this is why I have this fierce passion to see families heal and raise a generation who, just maybe, will have a head start on changing the world because they’ll have to fight off fewer dragons of distrust, loneliness, anger, fear, and lack of empathy.
Maybe that’s true for most of us?
Maybe we know it, so deep in our own souls, that love really is powerful. And that needs were meant to be met.
And whether we had great parents who just didn’t know better, or terribly difficult childhoods of confusion and chaos, or somewhere in between….
Maybe we feel our own scars, hear our own unanswered helplessness, and just know we have to change it. We have to show our kids that kindness, compassion, and respect are real and they are deserving of them.
We have to live out the belief that’s written in our very bones that we’re all meant to be loved, we’re meant to love, and that’s really all this whole aching world needs: Just to be really loved.
So that’s really all I came to say.
That I’m in it. This process of healing and realizing how much I need to know I’m loved.
And learning how to show my little girl (and my husband and friends for that matter) that they’re loved, too.
And that I’m figuring out that sometimes, it’s just a really good idea to listen to your heart.