Have you ever noticed how everything your cat does is the epitome of cuteness, and you feel compelled to put all of your groceries down, mid-step, to take a photo so you can send it to your children?
I wonder what they are thinking about us. It’s likely that not being able to smile was by design. Otherwise, our cats might find us rather peculiar.
A Short Story on Self Awareness
Our children must often wonder about our behavior. When my boys were little and I couldn’t “control” them, they would run through the house laughing while I was angry. By the time I would reach them, they were laughing so hard, probably a mixture of fight and flight plus endorphin release, that I would realize my ridiculousness, causing us all to end up laughing together.
When I was a child, the only outlet my sister, brother, and I had when we were punished was to make the chore time as hilarious as possible. We were lucky to have been sent out to shovel or rake our entire yard. What outlet do your children and teens have? Tragically, they are going out into nature less often than they are tuning you out and tuning in the messages displayed on their electronic devices. Now THAT is capitulating being out of control.
Self Awareness and Family
Imagine how it feels to a child for a parent to get angry at them. Subtle signs of disapproval are sent and absorbed into their underdeveloped psyches. Their nervous system responds by shutting down. Is it any wonder that so many of our youth are depressed, insecure, and afraid to make eye contact? When we expressed fear that may have shone through our eyes or lack of eye contact during 911, the pandemic, or the recession, our children and teens may have absorbed that too.
When we share our fears overtly with those around us, if they are not emotionally mature enough to “disown” those emotions causing pain and anxiety, long-term fear, insecurity, and depression may become the norms.
How We Deal and Process With Pain & Emotion Impacts Others
The only way through this pain is literally THROUGH it. These emotions must be processed and released enough to allow other emotional states to be optional. It’s like pushing small pebbles through a hose that is otherwise blocked. The pebbles are the stories your children told themselves…beginning at a very young age. Patterns of thinking, speaking, and acting get ingrained. They then seek other opportunities to feel pain, shame, fear, and hopelessness, to justify their unconscious decision to “check out.”
My name is Dr. Diana Joy Ostroff and what many people don’t know about me, is that my first degree was in Psychology. My current sessions with patients are sometimes targeted toward assisting them in looking at some of their limiting beliefs. I will give you an example.
What We Can Learn From My Experiences With Past Patients
I asked my patient, I will call her Lehua, “Lehua, how are you feeling today?”. Lehua’s response was, “Well, my ADHD has been really bad this week.” I asked her to explore the possibility that ADHD is not a feeling word. It is a word someone labeled you with. I asked her, “Lehua, how would you like to feel? Lehua said, after some coaching, “relaxed, calm, and at peace.” I encouraged her to think about what might be possible if she stated the words “I am relaxed, I am calm and I am at peace over and over to herself while being open to the possibility that she could overcome the current feelings of panic and overwhelm. After her bodywork, acupuncture, and deep meditation laced with affirmations by the end of the visit, when I asked Lehua how she felt, she smiled widely and said, “I feel relaxed, calm, and at peace.”
I am SO EXCITED to see how Lehua is in two weeks when we revisit, and I am SO EXCITED to hear her mother’s feedback.
Have a peaceful and magical week.
Love and Aloha,