Fear of Making Mistakes & Unconditional Hate

I was listening to an old interview from Bernard the other day while doing some admin work. After the interview was done I put down my headphones, let out a big sigh and push/rolled my chair away from my desk with my feet and just kind of ‘collapsed’ in my chair.

I was feeling majorly deflated.

There was just so much information, so much information that I would have never come up myself.

It reminded me of a conversation we had just before he died, where I was pregnant and he was explaining to me all the things that were happening as the baby was developing in utero. The conversation ended with ‘Do you understand now how little you actually understand of what’s really going on?’ – with me sadly nodding in defeat, sighing ‘yes…’ (cause you knew Bernard would always demand a CLEAR YES or NO or NOT YET– nodding or ‘mmm’ is not a present, direct answer!)

I was reflecting on some of my visions and plans of the future while in this deflated state and didn’t see the point of continuing my efforts in it. ‘What’s the point? There’s so little I really understand – I’m going to be making mistakes all the time! I’m probably making huge mistakes right now and I’m not even seeing it! I’m in way over my head!’

‘That’s it then’ I was thinking ‘This is just out of my reach’.

Then I felt this veil of suppression and depression slowly moving down in my body. I went ‘waaait a minute, what’s going on here?!’

See – my logical mind went: you clearly know shit compared to Bernard. Therefore you are less, therefore you’re inadequate and incapable and therefore why even bother. Which on some level is not completely untrue. I am not equal to Bernard in his understanding and application. Equal in potential, yes sure, as are we all – but not equal in fact. And here I’m not so much talking about Bernard the person, but more Bernard as Life. I am not equal to Life, I am less than Life – that’s not a judgment, it’s a fact.

But it’s the judgment part that always gets to me. It’s the judgment part that goes ‘Shame on you for not being Life yet, shame – on – YOU!’ And it’s the fear of judgment part of me that goes ‘Don’t change, because if you change, you’re actually acknowledging that something’s wrong with you, that you’re less than, that you’re…bad!’

It’s like my head can’t wrap itself around the possibility that you can be less than – yet – not be bad. That – there MUST be some kind of value judgment involved. There MUST BE some form of condemnation. There MUST BE someone who PAYS and there MUST BE someone who WINS and gets APPRAISED.

So – I had to look at these dimensions for a moment. ‘Yes, you’re less than Bernard, no that’s not a good enough reason to be all deflated and give up on everything’.

‘But I’ll make soooo many mistakes.’ (Ok so I don’t have actual dialogues with myself lol but I present myself with ‘thought-form arguments’ and then break it down for myself, move through the information, ground it for myself to ‘get to the point’ and what the correction is – but it works well to present it in a dialogue form for the sake of sharing )

‘So what, every mistake just shows you where your misalignments are, so you can correct them.’

‘Yeah but, I bet there’s soooo many, and it’s just going to be sooo embarrassing to see them all!’

                ‘So you don’t want to go forward, because it’s going to reveal your weaknesses and where you haven’t considered all dimensions because then you’ll find out exactly how little you actually understand about reality and yourself and how much room for improvement there is’

‘Yessss, exactly!’

                ‘So you don’t want to see yourself. You don’t want to reveal YOU to YOU’.

‘No, but, but, I do, because, that’s like why I walk process’

                ‘No you don’t, cause you’re just scared and super judgey towards yourself’

*GASP*

See, it’s not mistakes I fear. It’s my own hell and fury that I unleash unto myself when I do see a mistake. All my attention and focus gets sucked into the fact that I made a mistake. Not – why I made a mistake or what I can learn, if it was really even a mistake or just me feeling bad about myself for some other random reason.

Later that day I was doing a Life Alignment session on myself, and one of the words that tested out was ‘Unconditional Love’.

I was looking at these words ‘Unconditional Love’ and how there’s not much of that being lived in my life. I decided to turn it around and go, if I’m not Unconditionally Loving towards myself and others – am I then just Unconditionally Hating? Kind of a point of ‘you can’t serve two masters’.

It was a bit of a comical moment when that came up. Unconditional Hate – lol. But – there’s truth in that. I give myself and others a lot of hate – and if I need to come up with a good reason, well, there is no good reason. It’s just ‘what I do’ and just ‘how I live’ – just judge here, judge there, judge some more. And it’s because there’s no reason, that it’s just so unconditional.

But if it’s unconditional then I can change it. Cause it’s just a decision. It’s just something I decided to live. I decide to unleash hell and fury unto myself when seeing mistakes. But I don’t have to. Mistakes will come and go, for sure, they’re not going away. They’re a certainty in this Life, I’m going to make mistakes and I better see them, I better reveal them so I can work at it. BUT – I don’t have to thrash myself every time, that’s totally optional. And it’s only for the love of thrashing myself, that I don’t want to see the mistakes because then I start punishing myself. And I only love thrashing myself, because on some level I decided to unconditionally hate myself. And then I don’t change – because then all the focus is on ‘how bad I am’ and ‘how am I going to make myself feel better’ and not the who, what and why of a mistake – and then the ‘not changing’ becomes even more reason for being a total bitch towards myself.

So for this week I am going to pay attention to my experiences in relation to mistakes (though I am sure this also works for pretty much any experience):

  1. Is this necessary or is this optional?
  2. Does this serve me?
  3. Is there a better way of going about this?

And report back in my blog. Let’s see if we can turn this inner bitch around!

Also check out these related interviews on EQAFE.com:

Homesick

I arrived in Panama two months ago. On one of the first days I sat outside in the garden and I started to cry. Everything felt so foreign, so unfamiliar. ‘I just want to go hooomee’, I was whining inside myself while crying. I then thought of the farm we just left, the place I had called home for 10 years and was struck with a memory of one of the first days when I arrived in South Africa. I had just met Bernard and everyone else living and visiting the farm at that stage. I was in my room alone sitting on my bed, holding a pillow and I was crying. Everything felt so foreign, everything felt so unfamiliar. Bernard scared the shit out of me. What did I do? Why did I come here? I just want to go hoooomeee…’

Sitting in the garden in Panama I wiped up the last bit of tears and snot as I was going down memory lane. At least, I thought, I was feeling homesick then too – and it turned out to be one the best years of my life spent there. So at least I know I can’t use my current experience to determine my future experience of the place.

I sat a bit longer and placed my attention to my time in Belgium, where I lived before South Africa. I remembered how I was always in awe of people from other countries. How even though Belgium was my home country, my ‘motherland’ I had never quite felt at ‘home’ or as if I ‘belonged’. I didn’t particularly enjoy Belgian culture / way of life. I didn’t see myself staying in Belgium.

So if not any one particular country ever really felt like ‘home’ – and I’m feeling ‘homesick’ – am I really longing back for a place or am I longing simply for a state of being that I miss?

The ‘who I was’ – ‘while I happened to be over there’.

And yup, that was pretty much just it. I had just been missing me. With all the travel arrangements, the stress and whatnot that comes with wrapping up a life in one country and starting somewhere new – it was as if for a moment there were just so many things orbiting around myself, things to consider, things to keep track of, my reactions towards all that was happening – that I lost sight and connection with me. Everything ‘out there’ needed to be handled first and foremost.

Now that we’ve mostly settled down, I still get homesick – but now I know to use this as a reminder to check in with myself. To check where my attention and focus has been, how much of it has gone to trivial matters, how much of it has gone to reactions and patterns that could have been nipped in the bud way sooner? How comfortable am I in naturally flowing and expressing me? What’s holding me back?

In the end, this whole process we’re walking, our Journey to Life – is one big homecoming.

Demystifying Post-Partum Depression

In this video I share my experience with Post-Partum Depression and how I have come to look at it as being an Existential Crisis that envelops one’s whole life and the definitions we’ve ascribed to ourselves. Rather than being a short-term ‘localized’ experience, the Raw Truth of ourselves steps forth and we have the opportunity to look at some hard questions and experiences that’ve been with us our entire life.

Transcript:

Hi everyone, in this video I wanted to talk about Post-Partum Depression.

When I was pregnant and I first heard and read about Post-Partum Depression and the ‘baby blues’ it seemed like something ‘out there’. Just even the words ‘postpartum depression’ like all the ‘latin-ness’ in there, like it’s some specialized condition, put me off. And also the wording seems to localize the experience to only having to do about after the birth and the separation of baby and mother from the womb. But for myself… did I go through postpartum depression? Yes, I did.  I went through periods of lots of crying. I was exhausted mentally and physically.

Interesting thing is that in looking back I should have known. In that when I first found out that I was pregnant, I was freaking the fuck out and I was crying, I was petrified because knowing that I was pregnant brought out all these insecurities, those inherent belief that I’m not adequate enough, that I have no self-trust, no self-confidence and I’m just going to fail at this miserably. And that same signature, that experience of finding out that I was pregnant in that panic — was the same signature that I experienced after the birth. Because it’s not about the ‘after birth experience’ and ‘oh you may get like depressed because of the hormonal changes’ and you know, ‘if you do just let people know so we can just contain that because you know unstable moms scare us’.

What I found for myself was that it’s not about that small, little period after the birth, having a child — and especially if it’s your first — you’re faced with an existential crisis. In that moment of having a child, you’re not just faced with ‘Oh the child leaving my body and all these things happening’, you’re dealing with the very question of existence: Why we are here? Why are we doing the things we do?

Because whatever meaning we have given life; whatever meaning we have given to ourselves: is going to be reflected in our parenting. It’s the framework that determines everything. And at the same time in asking that question, you’re faced with the meaning and framework that your parents gave to life. If life on Earth for them is all about survival, competition,’ just making it’ — really being part of the human race, ‘you got to be a winner’. Then that’s going to translate into your parenting. Because it’s going to define how you feed your child, how you educate your child, how much you praise your child, how much you break them down, how much you compare them to others. It’s going to frame everything. And as much as you’re asking yourself that question about ‘who are you gonna be’, who do you want your child to be’, ‘what are you doing here with a child on earth’ —  your entire childhood, your entire development, everything that comes with that comes back to the surface. All these undealt with issues, all those self-sabotaging beliefs, all those limiting perceptions that we have about ourselves come up. And what comes to mind is like a paint bucket, that’s been kept under high pressure and now someone put a hole in it and it just splatters all over the walls. That’s then the postpartum experience, where everything is just so intense and emotional and you’re all over the place.

And it’s not that it is a new experience. Because if you look at the Paint Bucket example again, the paint was already there – but it was just contained. And having a child, becoming a mother just presents the opportunity for that to come out, full force, full view, everywhere around you. And the fact that you go through that emotional experience and that really deep feeling: it’s not a bad thing. Because you’re actually really being honest about how you experience yourself, how you have been experiencing yourself all your life and you are willing to look at those questions even though they hurt, even though it’s so uncomfortable, even though you just had a child — a huge responsibility. You know, other mothers may breeze through the initial stages of birth and having a baby but maybe it’s because they’re not asking those questions. Maybe those questions came up but they managed to keep that lid closed. It doesn’t mean it’s not there so we also have to be very careful about comparing ourselves to other people, other mothers, what they went through, did not go through.

But for me I know that what I went through is equal and one to my own experience of what I have been living, how I was brought up, the conflict that was always there.

When I first went to panic when I found out I was pregnant you know it was just initially you manage and you work with it but at the same time it’s also because you know on a level it’s nine months from now – I have time.

For myself I worked with what I could, I asked myself a lot of questions about my own relationship with my mother, what is the type of mother I want to be, what are the fears that are coming up… and just kind of already starts preparing myself for what’s to come.

But when you have the actual baby, I mean it’s like you have no idea what’s in that paint bucket and the colours that are gonna come out. You know there’s stuff there but you don’t know what it is. Because you you’ve been keeping it in the dark and there’s nothing that can prepare you for that. Like you can prepare yourself to the best of your ability and there will still be things coming up.

Then another interesting thing is that after two years — that’s kind of when my son started to settle where he had all his teeth, his major growth, physical growth points were done with, he got more stable I started getting some proper sleep and kind of settling to a normal life routine again.

And I was like ‘Aaah, I can rest now….’ and then shit started hitting the fan again and I’m like ‘What is going on?’ like I’ve got all these pains, all these anxieties, fears, depressions,… where is this coming from? And then I talked to a friend of mine and she said look from what I can see everything you’re experiencing now goes back to your pregnancy, it goes back to those first initial months after birth where there’s so much shit comes up and you just don’t have enough time, you don’t have enough space to work with it. Because you know, you gotta tend to yourself, you’ve gotta tend to your child and you do the best that you can.

And it’s like your body knows and goes ‘Okay, we’ll just we’ll just scrape all this paint off, put it back in the bucket and we’ll work with it later’. So two years was my later and it all like it all came back and I’m still working through many of those points because you know it’s an existential crisis, it’s a big point, it’s a big question and it’s a very cool opportunity really to get to know yourself better to really answer those questions of why you’re here or, what do you want to create, what do you want to create for your children, what kind of person do you want your child to be — because that’s going to determine everything that you do with your child.

Another friend of mine she had like awful, awful childhood she grew up in the slums, third-world country. There was death, panic, conflict, violence, fear…that was like the background music to her life. She’s living in a first world country now, she’s not in that survival mode anymore. She had two kids and yeah initially there was a lot of emotional turmoil but it settled down and the kids got to a certain age and it’s like her mind and body just start shutting down with panic attacks, deep, deep stuff.

With my own childhood I know it was a tumultuous and conflictual childhood and it was reflected in my postpartum experience and equally for her because her childhood had been so rough. Who she is and her self-definition was is so defined by those childhood experiences that that’s what comes up because that’s what you need to work through, that’s what’s going to shape the rest of your life, your children’s lives and to use that opportunity. So as everything comes up work: through it. And don’t judge yourself for it because like I said before, this is you actually really being in touch with yourself, allowing yourself to feel, to ask those questions.

And I think if we can stop looking at postpartum depression as this clinical condition that only happens you know for this little period after birth, but see it for what it is, as an existential crisis that really, actually started from the moment you were born — and it’s not just about those few months —  it’s about the very core of your being. We don’t necessarily have to change the name but give it a different name like ‘existential crisis’ or you know being faced with ‘who I am crisis’ instead of like a mental condition — I think we would all look at these points a lot more and be a lot more open about it and share about it.

Because now it’s like ‘Ooh, that mom has postpartum depression…’ and we start tiptoeing around them and we don’t want to set them off and it’s such a delicate thing … No I mean that’s not how I would want to work with it, I don’t want other people to do that with me, just talk about it for what it is, talk about the hard questions you are facing, talk about the truth of yourself that you are facing — for me honestly in the for the first time getting that raw feedback, use it.

Alright I think that’s about it.

Thank you for watching, if you have any comments please do share

Thank you

 

Is my Child Abusing me?

In this video I discuss some of the aspects that may be involved in the experience of feeling like your child is abusing you. Remaining conscious of the variables that define the balance in our parent-child relationship will assist in tweaking our own approach and behaviour. Whenever a conflict or friction arises, we have an opportunity to re-assess and learn to come to a new sense of harmony.

 

Transcript:

 

Hi everyone, a topic I wanted to bring up …well not so much the topic — a question someone asked was ‘What do you do when there’s moments where you feel kind of abused by your child or another child?’

To give you some context this question came from a friend of mine who lives with me. She is kind of like, I call her ‘alloparent’, which is like in the animal kingdom it’s generally like another female in the group or herd who will just kind of co-parent and take care of your child when it’s needed. And at some point she was staying with my son and he started hitting her and in general just disregarding her and for a moment she is like feeling abused here. So she asked me like ‘ how do you deal with that, what do you do with that?’

And my perspective was basically that ‘Yes, he was abusing you and No, he wasn’t abusing you’ — in that you created the conditions for him to enter into that behaviour.

Now my son is four-and-a-half when he was very young a baby, he required constant care, he was very vulnerable, very dependent. And as a mother, and if you’re a new mother it’s like for the first time you realize what it means to sacrifice yourself and to be there completely for someone else and it’s a very hard thing to do. Like you have to break through so many comfort zones, so many ideas about yourself, about what you thought was possible, what you thought you would never be able to do and you end up doing it. Because the need is there, the call is there and you answer.

And for myself I really wanted to also challenge myself. How much can I do? How hard is it really? How much of my suffering is coming from my attitude, how I’m looking at things, having an emotional background – instead of coming from actual physical reality, of there being you know real physical limitations. And I really enjoyed that period, in this sense of breaking through a lot of barriers. But as your child grows up and gets older over the months, that role is no longer required.

Where it’s like you have you and your child and it’s like an equation sign here you know for each part of an equation. Initially the equation is as such that your child is like…. it’s this little vulnerable baby and you have to take this huge role of doing like everything for yourself and your baby. But you know the baby starts growing and you know. When the baby starts growing he starts understanding more, he starts to be able to do more and this part of the equation changes and then you equally have to start changing your part of the equation.

And for myself that was really difficult you know. First it was difficult to break through and just completely let go of any type of choice and put yourself in that position of just doing everything for your baby. Some babies can be very…. not that they’re demanding but they are such that they are very sensitive, they need a lot of care, you don’t sleep all through the night, their eating is like constant and erratic. You have other babies who are calmer, they sleep easily, you know it depends from baby to baby what kind of experience you go through as a parent.

Mine was more on the extreme side like he only started sleeping 6-hour stretches once he was 2.  But because I sooo enjoyed — not really enjoyable — was more proud of myself that I was able to let go of so many points of self-interest I kind of kept doing that because I thought ‘Oh my god, so cool I didn’t know I could do that – let me let me stay in that role’ even though now the child is changing, he doesn’t really need you that much, he’s understanding more about the

world and can take on more say ‘responsibility’. Now I’m talking two, three, four and a half years old. And the thing is you know that initial self-sacrificing, in really having to evaluate whether you can’t do something for your child whether that is based on your comfort zone or an actual limitation — that’s a big challenge for a lot of people. To be really honest about why they can’t play with your child for twenty minutes, like do you really have to work now — or you’re just in a stressed out state of mind, focusing on lack that you create the experience and you create the conditions inside yourself and around yourself, making you not being able to play with your child for 20 minutes or doing something for them? So I really enjoyed breaking through those things and I think it’s very important for everyone to look at those aspects and to break through them.

But the thing is you get to a point where your child can do more and you are not required to kind of be so strict with yourself because there’s more leniency in terms of your child understands that you’re busy and he has a capacity to understand that he can wait five minutes and then you know you’ll get him some food or it’s not gonna happen now. And if you’re personally still struggling with that aspect of dropping your own comfort zones and moving yourself to be completely there for your child you can sometimes get stuck there and believing that that’s what you have to keep doing. Well yes it’s still relevant for you to look at these points to see okay am I just being lazy or am I just using an excuse to not do something with my child or someone else’s child. But you also take into consideration that you have more space and leniency in how you direct yourself and your child.

So for instance what happened with her and my son was that she was… even though he’s four-and-a-half years old she was kind of placing herself in that position of “it’s all about him, it’s all about his well-being, and I’m just like this is the situation and I’m kind of just like not really in it but also not really out.” But everything’s about him and how he’s doing and she wasn’t taking herself into consideration she wasn’t putting herself into the picture. And children are very good, very, very good at picking up on those dynamics and they will start to push those buttons and they will start behaving… it’s almost like you’re inviting the behavior by not setting certain parameters and then they will start acting out and before you know, it’s like ‘oh my god this child is abusing me!’

It’s not they’re abusing you, it’s just that they kind of see the setting you’ve created for them and they take advantage of that. And it’s not to be mean,  it’s like … should you give a child a big room they’re gonna run in that big room they’re gonna use the space. And if you put a child in a small room they’re gonna use the space that’s there. So it’s kind of like you’re just playing with the environments and the conditions. And that is kind of an ongoing process I must say, where you must constantly evaluate for yourself. Like I would have it where you know one week everything’s going fine, we’ve got a very good balance, our relationship is like just where it needs to be. Then he goes through some kind of growth spurt and developmental milestone thing and starts shouting all these new words out of nowhere and you can see there’s a change.

And suddenly what you were doing, you know equation wise, it’s like it doesn’t work anymore. And there’s friction and conflict. It’s because this part of the equation changed but now it’s not balanced anymore. Because you know if the one side changes, other side naturally it has to change as well. The thing is, it doesn’t happen automatically. We have to consciously be aware of the environment and the dynamics that are taking place. And we have to be that force that changes the balance.

So there a little bit of insight into why your child might possibly be abusing you or if you’re a babysitter….those are the things I looked at for myself. Who are we in our relationship towards our child and is there anything that we need to change, our balance, taking into consideration where we are at and where your child is at.

Thank you for watching

Competition, Jealousy and Insecurity between Mothers

In this video I share my experience in comparing myself to other mothers and getting stuck in bouncing up and down in lifting myself up and breaking down. I explore why jealousy and competition thrive when we are actually inherently insecure about ourselves and the responsibility we carry. What have your experiences been with dynamics among mothers?

Transcript:

Hi everyone, the topic I wanted to explore for today is that of competition jealousy and insecurity between mothers and on an individual level. One of the social situations I dreaded a lot initially and when I just became a mother was being with other mothers. For me it was so easy to slip into comparison look at what they are doing, look at what I am doing, what am I doing wrong, what am i doing right – what are they doing wrong, what are they doing the rights… and I find myself inthis constant like ping-pong ball game of feeling really good about myself — feeling really shitty about myself.  But then I’m being able to feel really shitty about another mother which in turn made me feel really good about myself.

And one day I was looking at this because you know I’d spend a couple of hours out with other where there was other mothers around and like I just got a headache of this constant analyzing going on in my head. And then that night I looked at okay why is it that I feel such a huge need to compare myself with other mothers? And when I opened it up for myself, I first of all saw that I was competing with my own mother. With the mothers that have come before me where you know a lot of people don’t particularly like their parents you know, everyone, most people have gone through experiences with their own parents where they very much disagree with how things were done. You know, everyone’s got their own emotional traumas scars  that you went through as a child where you said “I’m gonna do things differently” . But regardless of how much you like or don’t like your parents — in my case it was more coming from a dislike, a competition of wanting to prove my parents wrong especially my mother — it came from… it’s like you don’t like your mother or your parents or what they did to you but yet at the same time here you are you know. And whatever they did right or wrong — it did however got you to where you are now. Where you know assuming kind of standardized scenario where you are now an adult and you are financially stable because you have a child and you are able to take care of yourself and
your child. So in terms of having prepped you and primed you for a survival, from
that perspective, like they [your parents] achieved their goal — and so did all the mothers
behind your own mother because otherwise you know she wouldn’t have been there.

So that was like a very strange point in a way because you know I was always consciously aware of competing with other mothers around me but when I actually looked inside myself I saw competition with my own mother and my own say ‘ancestral lineage of mothers’ where on the one hand you want to prove them wrong but then also on the other hand I fascinatingly enough make them proud and show that you can really take care of a child properly and nurture and raise them to be a whole well-rounded individual. It’s kind of like this love-hate relationship of wanting to prove them wrong yet not wanting to disappoint them and … more disappointing in terms of that weird unconscious survival tendency of making sure that your blood lineage you know continues to procreate. And for that to be in place you need to have certain survival skills and conditions in place.

Sso that is one point I found, because you know being a mother and being responsible for a child, of the well-being of another person who when they are small they’re not capable to do that for themselves and they are wholly dependent on you and trust you completely to cater for them.

It’s a huge responsibility and with that huge responsibility also the huge fear comes up.  I think alot of us it’s like we have a love-hate relationship with ourselves as well as like on the one hand we like ourselves or certain attributes character skills sides of us that we really enjoy and we are proud of who we are in those regards, but then other aspects other levels we noticed some weaknesses and things we don’t like about ourselves and that we need to work on and then what happens when you’re you know when you put all these different mothers together who are all going through that on some level or another it’s like just this like room of friction as everyone is insecure inherently I would say. And then constantly trying to reassure themselves that they’re actually doing okay so you get this constant of like ‘oh my god I’m the worst mom’, ‘No look I’m such a good mom cause look at what I’m doing’ and then another tendency I found within myself was to not be happy for other mothers when they had certain successes and triumphs and when they would go through certain experiences that were you know, not so desirable — I would actually secretly feel happy because at least it’s not me . Like’ whatever is a negative score for them is kind of good for me because at least I’m not doing that’. I think it is weird like competition dynamics that start to unfold…

From my experience moms can be like the most supportive people you have ever known because they have gone through that depth of care and what is involved in raising another being or several beings, you know if you have lots of children or twins I mean it’s like, respect man. On the other hand mothers can also be the most destructive nasty bitches . I experienced that inside myself as well towards myself and towards other mothers I won’t necessarily say it but the experience was there and it’s like I think we should all just accept that yes what we are doing is a huge responsibility. Yes, no one has the answer because we’re not perfect and the world is not perfect… We are a product of the world as much as the world is a product of us and if you look at the state of the world it’s not great, it’s not optimal. We’re not great, we’re not optimal let’s not try and compete about that fact you know.

Let’s come together support each other, acknowledge your own triumphs, your own successes without gloating about it, without making it something more and putting other mothers down. When you go through your failures, your trials, your challenges: acknowledged what happened, that it didn’t go great, but don’t put yourself down for it or start putting other mothers down when they are going through their own struggles.

It’s like we add this emotional value to either a success or failure you know that makes it so much more than what it is and we we don’t look so much at how we can improve ourselves and our relationship with our children as just wanting to balance how we feel about ourselves and using other people to do that.

So that’s something I’ve personally been working on a lot since I became a mom is to always make it sure that this is about me my relationship with myself and my relationship with my son and if I can learn from other people great let me do that. Instead of you know judging myself or judging other parents or trying to find little mistakes to show that know I am the best parent I know what I’m doing “that is why I have the permission to carry out the procreation of my blood lineage” you know there’s like this weird unconscious programming.

So yeah if you have any comments or experiences in relation to that that’s just something I wanted to share for myself like I think moms could really be great support for another and I had already experienced this but we can also be so mean let’s support each other instead of breaking each other down to not minimize it when we make a mistake or someone else makes a mistake be honest about what you see don’t make it more or less.

Alright, thank you for watching – bye!

 

What Drives you: Conditioning or Awareness?

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When we come into this world, we assume all is as it should be. We have absolute trust in our parents and our environment. We enter this world, into the current that is our life. As the water flows, we are carried through different sceneries, different environments and different motions as experiences. Along the way, we experience things we’d rather not experience again and others we want to seek out again. By the time we’re about seven, we’ve gathered quite a bit of data about our world and how we relate to our world. How we look at things and the decisions we make onwards, are vastly influenced through this data as our past experiences. The main components driving our decision making being what we have connected our fears and desires to, that which we want to avoid, and that which we want to seek out. We could compare these two elements as being our base binary code from which we operate from. Zeros (0) representing all we want to avoid and Ones (1) representing that which we want to achieve or experience.

Coming into this world and absorbing all that is around and coming towards us unconditionally, is great when you live in an ideal world. You’re input becomes equal to your output. Your environment standing as the example of harmonious and effective living then easily and seamlessly integrates itself into your own consciousness and you learn to navigate your life and your world in reflection of that harmony. Our world however, is far from perfect or ideal. The nature of our environment, society and the individuals that make up the world is largely reactive and unconscious. One where we are tolerating survival over thriving, one where untethered competition runs amok. We integrate and copy the reactive behaviour or learn to rebel against it (which tends to mostly still be a reactive response from our side going into the other side of the polarity, and not one of understanding).

From our zero’s and one’s we develop our code of conduct. The One indicating true north, your desires and ambitions you are striving towards and the Zero indicating your fears you wish to avoid. (It gets a little bit more complicated than that, with our fears and desires which intermingle, but I’ll address this in a future post). Often, these desires are not even true creative desires, but just the best vehicle to absolutely get away from our fears. Think of getting rich to avoid being poor, seeking popularity out of fear of being rejected — our fear is still our starting point and what drives us to seek out the positive. Without much awareness, we develop our principles which guide us through life, our code of conduct. While we develop and establish our code of conduct during the first seven years of life, and then integrate and specify it over the next two seven year cycles, we aren’t really aware that that’s what we’re doing. As a 5, 6 7 year old, you don’t stop for a moment to think ‘Hey, what principles am I living by? What principles do I want to have as my guiding compass in life? What do I accept in my life? Who do I want to be as a human being?’ We don’t ask these questions, nor are we prompted to by our environment and so the answers kind of ‘happen’ to us, mostly by chance, depending on what environment we were born into and placed along the way.

Then suddenly, somewhere along the way of the current that’s your life, you become a parent. You got your own little tot that’s joining the current of your life and this presents a prime opportunity to ask yourself these questions. You’re bound to ask them, because you’re faced with rearing a tiny human being into adulthood. As much as you’re asking yourself questions about how to raise your child, you’re implicitly questioning and evaluating who you’ve grown into, and if you’re happy with where you’re at.

Parenting as such doesn’t exist. There’s only the appearance of different parenting styles and approach because our own principles be live by differ, and by extension how we treat and raise our children. When we re-align ourselves to who we want to be, a person that stands strong in their particular individuality yet always considers the whole – we naturally re-align and change our ‘parenting’.

Often in life’s goings, we ask ourselves the questions ‘Who am I? What am I doing here?’. As if who we are and what we are going to do with our life is preordained. In a way, yes it is. Not so much preordained, but conditioned, yes definitely. But we ask these questions as if we have no say in the matter. As if we don’t have any power to decide who we are and what we are going to do. While the truth is, you can be whoever you want to be. But you must decide who you want to be and what you want to live by. That’s not to say that we’re all the same and anyone can do anything. We’re all still unique and have different expressions, a different way of ‘shining’. But who we are as the principles we live by can be equal. We can all embody the principles we want to live, even if we live them through our unique expression.

When we don’t question our code of conduct as the conditioned principles we live by, we’re bound to repeat the past. The past of our parents, and the generations before them and the past of our environment. We may make some consciously aware decisions here and there about things we want to change in our life, but unless we pull the rug underneath ALL of our unconscious conditioned guiding principles, we’ll find ourselves back in the same spaces, the same experiences, over and over again – each time with greater disappointment. You’ve got the best intentions, but somehow you always end up in those awfully familiar experiences and relationship dynamics you’ve been trying to surpass.

Exercise

Take a moment to identify for yourself the main fears and desires you’ve accumulated throughout your childhood. Evaluate your teenage and young adult years. How many of your decisions were based on these unconscious codes of conduct? How many of your decisions today are still being driven by those same impulses?

Now take the time to write out your new code of conduct. Declare to yourself the principles you do want to embody and live in your life (and just double check they’re not just there because you want to avoid something or seek out a fear driven desire). Really take your time to make these decisions consciously and within awareness. What do you want to create in and with your life? Sign the paper with your name to solidify and strengthen your commitment and devotion to yourself and your potential, your own personal contract with yourself.

You have the opportunity to be in the driver’s seat of your life rather than a passenger with no say as to its destination. Put those hands on the steering wheel and reset your compass!

(Note: I’ll be writing out a more into depth, step by step guide on how to walk this exercise in the future)

Stepping into Freedom & Responsibility – A Toddler’s Brazen Rite of Passage

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For the past year or so, you’ve had great delight in really getting in touch with your soft spot. Having been shamed as a child for showing emotions, which were backfired by adults as being ‘weakness’ – you’ve had a tough time allowing yourself to just be. To be there for your baby, to take care of it’s every need. To not diminish your baby’s needs or paint them off as manipulation. To stretch out your comfort zones and breaking the limits of what you thought you were physically capable of. You got in touch with your gentle, nurturing side and bathe in its soothing embrace.

Then suddenly, your little one starts changing. You hear things like ‘NO!’. Where you were once able to place your baby wherever was convenient and they’d stayed in proximity, your little one’s mobility urges itself to go into all those precarious places, their sense of observation drives them to test the laws of gravity over and over again – throwing things around and off many times over. Food is just another creative art medium (and the whole house is a canvas, living things included) – your calls for law and order go unheeded or only put more fuel on the fire.

For the longest time you battled with the voices – both the voices from the past repeating in your head, how you were raised, the standards and values that were imposed to you – as well as the external voices of well-intentioned advice (but not quite what you’re looking at in raising your baby) and the many warnings with scorned looks as to how you treat your baby. You’re spoiling him, she’s going to know no boundaries, he’s going to rule the house, she’s going to manipulate you, he’s going to know no discipline. But despite the many voices prodding at the doubts you thought you stilled, you kept going back to your calm, your trust, your faithfulness to your own inner voice, that you will see this through, that you need to see this through if only to come to a sound conclusion for yourself.

It took great bravery to go against your conditioned impulses – but now all hell is loose.

What if they were right?

What if I totally @#!8%$-ed up my child?

When something happens that appears to be the realization of your fears, we tend to petrify immediately. Following your inner guidance was just too good to be true. You’re a @#!8%$–up after all. Nice try though. You can go back now to a desolate inner landscape that holds no future.

When we fear something so much, the moment we see something that resembles our fear in the slightest, we think ‘Oh my God, this is it’. We believe our reaction at face value without investigating what is really going on. A toddler’s brazen rite of passage into freedom and responsibility easily becomes one of such fixations.

When we remain fixed on our fixation and only look at what is happening on the surface (unruly behaviour, tantrums, defiance, opposition, etc), we forego the bigger picture and perspicacious insight.

So why did your cute mogwai baby turn into a downright gremlin?

One of our unique features of being human is that of Free Will.

Free Will poses some challenges, considering there over 7 billion of us, not even taking into account the other gazillion of life forms on the planet.

We have the power to do what we want, but none of our actions come without a subsequent reaction or consequence. While we are free to choose how to act and be, we don’t have the freedom in picking out and selecting our set of consequence for that very action. On a global level – this is exactly what we are facing and is becoming more prominent and pronounced in its manifestations day by day. War, conflict and poverty are the epitome of our conflictual relationship with free will in the quest of making our free will a reality while rivalling everyone else’s free will. We’re all so much focused on our individual, personal free will, our own desires, dreams and fears that everyone else comes second.

When your toddler (or even baby) shifts his or her behaviour and interaction with reality in the realization that there are no defined lines or boundaries as to what goes and what not – an exploration sets forth to thirst his or her curiosity into one’s own ability to create and shape your reality. Your child steps into its power with no direction other than to find out ‘what can be done’ with this power.

For us parents, the advent of the power phase can be quite startling and alarming. Over eons of time, we and our ancestors have subdued our own in free will and have settled for complacency. Surviving to a ‘good old age’, having had kids and having accumulated some wealth to call your own is all we aim for. We’re just trying to get through the day and having a good time here and there. We’ve long given up our hopes and dreams for ourselves and the world; which was painful at one time, only to later be conceited with our own sense of ‘realism’. We turn our losses into triumphs because the truth hurts too much. We’ve given up. We’re proper a-dull-ts now. A child or infant stepping into its power phase, reigning chaos and mayhem, we’re not interested as to why they are doing it. All we know, is that it is oh so terribly inconvenient for our lives which we’ve limited to a narrow range of conduct in order to survive. We’ve worked hard to fall in line and run with the cog out of fear of being spat out and rejected as being defective. Our children, being new to this world – have no idea about all the tacit and explicit agreements we’ve made collectively and are out to explore for themselves their creative abilities.

Our fearful response to a child’s wild nature then doesn’t stem from our desire to raise a well-developed and rounded individual, but from a desire to raise a person that fits the collective agreed upon framework of survival on this planet. Whether this framework is the most beneficial to both personal and global well-being and harmony is not part of our consideration. Just that they need to fit the framework. Or perhaps we do want to nurture and raise our child(ren) to their utmost potential, but still battle with our own fears and conditioning.

You find yourself in a situation with two opposing elements. You have the child who is still raw and boundless and the adult who is excessively defined. How to bring these two elements together in harmony? What seems like two opposing forces are in fact the keys to balance to one another. The young child needs direction – not through fear or morality but through understanding. The adult has too many directions, too many fears, beliefs and conditioning that need to be erased. As much as you will be working with guiding and navigating your child through this world and learning the responsibility that comes with freedom, you too, as an adult, will be guided (well, more like triggered and challenged…) to reconsider your own approach to life and drop belief systems which do not actually serve you and get in touch with your own inner child. You come together and you learn as one.

A Toddler’s Brazen Rite of Passage is not only a tumultuous time for him or her, you too go through you own tumultuous transformation and metamorphosis if you allow yourself to embrace what your child triggers and challenges in you and give yourself the opportunity to re-evaluate your points of view.

In terms of guiding your child, what I found most effective is to work with simple explanations of cause and effect and the implications of free will and ‘doing what I want’. I will show him that when he steps into a position of doing what he wants regardless of how it affects those around him, he implicitly gives license to everyone to do the same. I give him examples of how this would look like. If he decides he wants to throw the toy at me, I can decide to go away. I could also decide to throw it back at him. I can also decide to put the toy away, because of my physical size I am able to place it out of reach. How does he feel about someone abusing their power over another? If he had lesser abilities (like for instance a dog who can’t throw a toy back but can bite when it’s really fed up), how would he feel in their position? Would he like to be considered in that person or animals position and not be taken advantage of? What would happen if EVERYONE starts playing out this particular behaviour? Does that result in an outcome that’s pleasant? Mostly these situations end up in fight, conflict. He understands this. Sometimes he doesn’t understand (or he does but insists on playing it out for himself) and then natural consequence will show him what his behaviour creates. Other people don’t want to play with him, he’s not welcome somewhere or another child hits him back.

“Now I know” – is a phrase I hear very often, and a phrase others around me starting picking up from my son as well lol.

Sometimes the roles are reversed. My son really wants me to come play with him on a jungle gym and in the sand by a crowded restaurant. I’m resistant because I don’t want to make a fool of myself and get ‘dirty’. I’ll tell him ‘No, I can’t, I’m busy drinking right now’ as an excuse to get out of it. He’ll come grab me by the hand, tell me to put my glass down and just come play with him. That it will help me and make me feel better. In those moments he pushes me to drop the beliefs, the rules we impose on ourselves but don’t help us. Our social anxieties, our fears of being ridiculed, all the little rules where we hold ourselves back because ‘what if’. We remain stagnant because we don’t allow ourselves to embrace life and celebrate the many opportunities we have to shine in our self-expression.

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With Freedom comes great Responsibility. We can do what we want, but only certain actions will provide the outflows that support all that are involved. Our current society is not one of Freedom and Responsibility. We abdicate the responsibility of how life on Earth should be managed to our politicians (and then we complain about what an awful job they’re doing) – believing we gain the freedom to ‘not worry about such things’, while our actual freedom gets removed as we allow random laws and regulations to be imposed on our lives. We abdicate the Right to Life to money, a manifestation that took on a life of its own, with many being at the mercy of volatile markets. But at least, we don’t have to think about who gets what, we have some extra time to watch a soccer game. Money can decide. The more we imprison ourselves, the more our children will rebel against our mental bars.

Our conceptualization of Freedom invites the most limitations. Equally so, we carry many ideas of responsibilities which are futile and only burden us. We need to learn to balance both Freedom and Responsibility to get the best out of both.

So people have made a schizophrenic way of life. They talk about truth, they talk about freedom, and they live in lies, they live in slaveries – slaveries of many kinds, because each s

Different Types of Living Words | Balancing Male and Female

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Source: Unsplash

I was talking to a friend of mine about her experience of making physical exercise an integral part of her daily life, how she had moved so far and what her struggles were. In this case, she had set several words as Living Word intentions such as ‘discipline’ and ‘consistency’.

Over time, working with myself and others, these words have often been a tell-tale sign indicating an imbalance in one’s approach in Living Words. What I started seeing within my own process of Living Words, is that there are different types of Living Words. If you have a look at the words ‘discipline’ and ‘consistency’, they require a timeframe to manifest as Living Words. Meaning, a single moment of application does not result in us Living and embodying these words, manifested truly as ourselves. It takes many moments, many breaths for you to verify that yes, I am living discipline or yes, I am living consistency. They are typified by frequency and regularity.

In my friend’s case, she really wanted to manifest consistency and discipline in relation to exercising because she knew it would be good for her and her body.

For more context, this was coming more from an ‘I should be doing this’ – where on a knowledge and information level she knew that this is going to support her, but on a practical experience level, she had little to substantiate this. This was also coupled with her own self-judgments in relation to being disciplined and being consistent, where these two words or traits are known to be valuable, and then judging herself for ‘not being that’. The line that is formed between her starting point and her goal is one of avoidance, wanting to avoid her own self-judgment. If ‘not being disciplined’ and ‘not being consistent’ equals “being bad” – then I have to become ‘disciplined’ and ‘consistent’ so I can feel good about myself (and hopefully others will see more good of me too). It’s then not so much about really living those words, but rather finding comfort and solace in the knowledge of having shifted labels. The desire of living consistency and discipline are not an end on their own, but a means to an end: avoiding self-judgment.

So within the context of my friend what became apparent is that 1) she is not living the words consistency and discipline for herself. When we try to live something as a gateway to something else, we usually fail.  Because then it’s not about the gateway, it’s about the end result. In this case: feeling better about myself. And we all know, there are lots of ways to feel better about yourself. Binging on tv series, digging into that favourite pie or cake, going shopping, endlessly scrolling our Facebook feed (also note how these are all means of / gateways for self-avoidance)…

In this case, it’s imperative we clarify for ourselves why we want to live a certain word, and what we gain from it for real (It’s actually a good idea to also write down what fear we see we can avoid with this, as a sort of ‘subconscious motive’, because this will bring it to your awareness and so you will notice when you are shifting your starting point in living a word from expression-based to fear-based Eg. “I want to live discipline because I don’t want to be seen as ‘weak’).

And secondly (and this is kind of the point of this blog post), to define and substantiate how we are going to make these words real for ourselves, which often means we have to look at more than just one word.

Consistency and discipline are very structural, goal-oriented words. They are associated with male expression/yang.

It’s great to aim for structure and goals, for instance, getting a house built, aiming for a degree or profession. But we also have to ask ourselves who we are going to be within the structure or form. Once we have our house, how are we going to live in it? How are we going to take care of it? Who are we going to be while studying? How are we going to approach our studies? How do we substantiate ourselves within our profession? Consistency and discipline for the sake of consistency and discipline don’t do much for us. We’re consistent and disciplined – now what? What for?

In terms of exercising, we can end up saying we are consistent and disciplined, but the same resistance and resentment towards exercising remains. Perhaps it’s a little bit easier because at least we’re satisfied that ‘we’re doing it’.

Because we’re only focused on the goal, we miss substantiating every moment of exercise and what we express / who we are within exercising. We overlook things such as ‘which exercises do I want to do’, ‘which exercises work for my body’, ‘which exercise are putting too much pressure on my body’, ‘do I want to stick to a routine or switch things up according to where I feel my body needs focus’, ‘am I really aware of my body while exercising’, ‘do I exercise care in making sure I perform the exercises correctly, am I doing stretches, giving myself appropriate rest and checking if I need to make any dietary changes to support these new activities in my day to day life’. These questions don’t emerge because they are not part of your initial goal and intent of ‘just get disciplined and consistent with exercising’. The focus is on ‘get it done’ – not ‘who am I within it’. This may give rise to consequences such as overexertion, injury, building strength without flexibility, strain on the body due to dietary needs not being met etc. What was supposed to be a supportive endeavour for yourself, ends up creating damaging consequence.

Similarly, when we only focus on words that are expressive and creative in nature, associated with female expression/yin – we end up with substance without direction.

We may wish to support our bodies in gaining strength, become more aware of our body, really getting to know our body’s capacities, expanding it and nurturing it to the best of our ability – but if we don’t include structural points such as planning, a particular method or modality, consistency and discipline — we will miss out on the depth and direction in which we can develop and exercise these expressions for and as ourselves. We both want to draw the lines (structure/male) of the picture we want to manifest/create as well as colouring in (expression/female) to substantiate it.

Whenever you’re working on a particular point or working on a particular endeavour, it’s essential to identify for yourself both which structural and expressive words you want to live. When you know you’re more expression inclined and tend to overlook the structural, it’s easy to go overboard in only focusing on the structural and dismissing the point of expression. Yet when we include expression equally in the equation, you will find that mastering the structural expressions becomes a whole lot easier. Rather than contradicting one another, structural and expressive words complement each other in a symbiotic co-creation, taking each expression to a new height.

aboutSOUL

LeilaAuthor

Fear of Consequence | How Punishment breeds Irresponsibility (and what to do instead!)

I was watching a Black Mirror episode, namely episode 3 from season 4 where a woman’s past comes back to haunt her after an insurance investigator starts looking into an incident and has special technology that allows her to peak into people’s memories to get more ‘accurate’ witness reports. In the beginning of the episode the main character was complicit in covering up a hit-and-run. She goes on to live her life and become quite successful in a business until this event comes catching up with her. It soon becomes pretty obvious that she’s going to get caught for what happened many years ago and that her life as she knew it was going to be over.

I haven’t finished the episode yet, because I was experiencing myself as increasingly squeamish at the prospect that she was going to get caught, that moment where everything comes to light and she has to face the consequences of her actions. I looked into the point, and decided that before I can continue watching the episode (and the rest of the season lol) I should write a blog about it. Entertainment in the form of movies and series so easily provide us points to reflect and investigate ourselves, I didn’t just want to keep watching and let this opportunity pass by to share how we can introspect, investigate, evaluate and correct ourselves in something as mundane as watching an episode of a series.

If people are good only because theyFEAR

As I folded my laptop closed when I made the decision to stop watching the episode, I looked at my experience and what else it reminded me of. I saw that I had had this experience before when watching the series Dexter. Where you go into this conflictual experience of on the one hand liking Dexter, and on the other hand judge him because, well, he’s a serial killer – but then when it comes down to it and things get tense – don’t want him to get caught.

It also reminded me of a dream I had, of which the theme I believe repeated itself a few times in my life. I enter the dream and it’s already in full action, meaning, there’s no ‘story build up’ – like you start watching a movie halfway into the duration of it. In the dream I was busy looking for someone along with another group of people, when the knowledge hit that I had killed the person and that the authorities were also looking for the culprit. I remember not being phased at all by the piece of information that “I had done it”, the only thing I was wrought up about was that I may get caught and set course to run away and hide.

Another memory that came up was of me sitting in music class in my first year of high school, where for some reason we were discussing the topic of the sun when my teacher mentioned that the sun will burn out at some point and then that will be the end of Life on Earth, but that this would only happen a long time from now. I remember thinking ‘Well as long as I’m not there when it goes down, then I don’t care’ – with pictures from the Armageddon movie flashing by and being terrified at the prospect of having to face such a situation. I felt icky inside myself because I also knew that a lot of people now on Earth live a disastrous life that I am unwilling to live and I quickly buried up the thought and the feelings that came with it. But for some reason that one moments thinking has always stuck with me (what you resist will persist hey).

What this episode and the associations as the memories brought up for me is that I still have a very deep fear of consequence and wanting to avoid consequence. That I don’t give much consideration to what I do, but only the possible negative consequence which may or may not befall on me. This leads me to make decisions and work with consideration where I look at how things will make me feel, rather than understanding what I do and whether it is the best possible outcome. In simpler terms it leads to making compromising decisions which give me a sense of reward or forgoing doing what’s right to avoid experiencing someone’s backlash. It’s not about content but about how things make me feeling or how I anticipate they will make me feel.

This led me to look more at my experiences as a child, where faux pas were often met with aggressive, emotional punishment.

What I realised in looking at my childhood memories, is that I had stored punishment and consequence to be part of the same database. In that, as a child – I didn’t differentiate between natural consequence, initiated consequence and punishment.

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In the image above, you can see how all three were bundled up together in the same box, with the colours representing a fear energy within which the container as the words and their definitions were drenched in. (To be honest, the box really just held consequence and punishment, as I hadn’t even specified or verbalised for myself that there are distinction!)  I’ll explain later what each of them entails individually.

As a kid for instance, I loved exploring our computer, which was a family computer. There was only one PC which we shared amongst the five us. And well, during those explorations sometimes things would go wrong with the computer. My father, who was really into the computer to play games would always get angry whenever a dreaded error screen appeared or the computer wouldn’t start. I’d get shouted at for breaking the computer, until I felt broken inside myself and would go hide in my room trying to avoid my father for the next couple of days. Swearing to myself that I’d never touch the computer again because it was just not worth all of the shouting, yelling and feeling like a little shit. I had no idea how I ‘messed up’ the computer or why exactly my father was getting angry (other than the basic assumption that computers cost money). A few days would go by and would get back behind the computer, making sure I do it when my father is not yet home. Eventually the cycle would just repeat itself.

The natural consequence here, was that playing around with something you don’t fully understand (and don’t ask for help / guidance), you might make mistakes and possibly create damage.

Because my father’s response was one of diminishing me into submission through fear \ to have a fast, quick outcome/result in keeping me away from the computer (and so hopefully prevent the computer from going haywire) – all I learnt from that one event is to avoid my father whom I feared.

I didn’t learn a thing about pcs, and my father never did get to avoid the computer from messing up from time to time.

It’s a lose-lose situation. That’s punishment.

Punishment is about making another feel bad and diminishing them on a level of ‘who they are’ – with no consideration of ‘what they did’. It’s like saying ‘all of you is bad’, instead of addressing the one behaviour which was not constructive. It’s convenient, because it gives a quick result – and gives an opportunity for the punisher to let out pent up frustration and anger. But nothing about the actual situation is learnt. The one being punished then adopts secretive behaviour to continue, with no accountability or responsibility being developed.

Because there was both natural consequence and punishment in the same event, the two became fused for myself. That the one implies the other.

From there things started escalating. I’d be staying at a friend’s house and accidentally break something. The thought of telling someone wouldn’t even come up as option. My first instinct was how to hide it as best as possible and pretend nothing happened. I couldn’t have predicted how my friends or their parents would have responded. Maybe they would have been totally cool with it, maybe not. The one time an accident happened with eyes around when at a friend. The mother told me to be more careful with how I am playing as I was not paying attention to my environment, and started moving breakables out of my reach until she was sure I was paying more attention.

Even though the mother was totally calm, composed, explained to me my actions and what they were creating and took further measures to prevent it from happening – I felt punished. I felt punished that she moved all the breakables away, and accessed the same hurtful feelings as when my father would punish me. That I wasn’t to be trusted, that I was inadequate.

This example, is actually one of natural consequence and initiated consequence. The natural consequence was that ‘when I don’t pay attention to my surroundings when I play because I am so caught up in the energy of the game, I may possibly break things around me in my unawareness’. The initiated consequence was ‘breakables are being moved away until I’ve shown that I can play with more awareness and do not pose a threat to breakables in my direct surroundings’.

The lines between consequence and punishment were so blurred for me that I couldn’t distinguish the one from the other. My response was always the same. If I saw a parent initiating consequence with a child which was totally supportive, I’d still feel sad and project unto the child my own experience of how I felt when being punished, assuming the child was going through the same and condemning the parent for their ‘abusive behaviour’.

What supported me in my own process to detangle my past experiences and memories of punishment and consequence, was to clearly indicate to myself the different types of ‘consequence’/’punishment’ that exist. This assisted me to see where in the past a situation was directed less than optimally by others in my environment, as well as where I missed points of responsibility that could have changed the course of such situations and possible repetitions.

The latter being the toughest part. When you’ve gone through trauma, it’s easy to become accustomed to a sense of victimhood where everything was always the fault of another, and we were just innocent players. When someone treats you unacceptably and you scrunch into a corner and just take it – it’s hard to admit that there was a moment where you could have gathered yourself up again and say ‘Stop’. As a child, we’re not always aware of our alternatives when the alternatives have not been presented to us through the living example of others such as our parents. So when I place myself in those moments of childhood, I give myself a little grace – knowing that, at that point in time, I didn’t know much better. At the same time, I acknowledge I am older, have gone through more experiences and am able to set up a different response for myself. The grace that counted for myself as a child, no longer applies in my current situation. I’m in a more empowered space, and I am going to use that more empowered space to go back into my childhood and see how I could have done things differently. Not because we should have done it differently, or even had the potential to do it differently. But to go back to the source of our wound, the pain, the hurt – face that moment again and rise above it. Even if we can’t re-write the past, we blow a new perspective into it. So that instead of repeating the hurt and carrying the emotional wounds into our current life situation, what we carry through from the memory is what we have learnt, and the solutions we now know we can apply.

In the case of the memory with the repeated computer incidents for instance, I realised that I could have asked for help from others or even just gotten myself a book on how to work with computers. But because of how I experienced my father’s outrageous response, I felt compelled to blame the whole situation on him, that he was too irrational and punitive about it. The size of his emotional outburst took up so much space in the events, that I didn’t see anything other than *that* playing out. I didn’t see or look for any alternatives, and never took a moment to look at how I could do things differently. In the face of the vast punishment, the space and moment to reflect on myself and my responsibility in the given situation was completely minimized. Hence, I didn’t change my behaviour (only when I did it) and the pattern persisted.

So for myself, I clarified my relationship to natural consequence, initiated consequence and punishment through redefining the words – as well as removing any emotional connotations or loads connected to it, so that each word/point can stand on its own.

  • Natural consequence: the if this then that effect, the result/outflow of an action

For example, if I am late at the train station, I miss the train

  • Initiated consequence: a set of imposed conditions to prevent certain damages or harm from comping to pass

For example, my toddler is still specifying his motoric skills and broke a drinking glass, for the time being he will only be provided with plastic cups and plates and we will re-assess in time

  • Punishment: the intention and act of making another person feel bad about themselves to refrain them from repeating perceived undesirable behaviour and to elevate oneself into a position of being in control. On an elemental level, punishment is an act of retribution. You made me feel powerless, now it’s your turn.

For example, my child is running rampant and keeps waking up the baby, I feel at a loss and desperation rises. I take him aside and give him a good shouting after which he isolates himself in his room

The moment we redefine and so clarify a word/manifestation for ourselves, it’s also easier to establish our own directive response to such situations. When we’re confronted with someone who’s out to punish us, we can immediately move ourselves to share that we see our own responsibility in the situation (if any), saying we understand that they’re upset, where they are coming from and to immediately steer the conversation towards constructive solutions. If we however keep ourselves to the wound and not the lesson of a memory, we will let the other person exert their anger and frustration on us, while we feel smaller and more resentful towards the other. We keep ourselves small and disempowered and equally disempower the other party through simply letting their past hurts play out through letting them vent their anger and frustration out. When we move out of our disempowerment position into our directive power, we change the variables and relationship dynamics in any given situation. As we change who we are and how we respond, it forces the other party to reconsider their own position, because things are not playing out according to their expectations.

As a parent who’s been left with a bad taste surrounding ‘consequence’ and ‘punishment’ as a child, it can be tricky to assess as to when to not engage, where you leave a situation or behaviour to natural consequence; when to initiate consequence – and to when you do, to not trap yourself in punitive consequence. (Sometimes, we also need to employ measures that may look like punishing (like shouting) – and may feel bad or guilty afterwards for thinking that we’re damaging our child and that they will hate our guts forever more. While shouting and raising your voice is mostly abused in the sense that it’s an easy way to exert frustration, anger and irritation – the physical act of shouting, where there’s no emotional load or intention behind it can be very helpful and effective in certain circumstances. If your child is about to do something dangerous, using your voice as a sound wave to pop them out of a ‘trance’ where they don’t realize what they are about to do is dangerous, is effective to literally ‘shake’ them out of it for a moment, until you can get closer to direct the situation. Whenever I use my voice strongly, I make sure I can in the next moment be equally gentle and soft, moving from one expression to another with ease. If I get stuck in my voice being raised, I know I accessed some emotional energies and need to have a closer look at what is being undealt in my own interior life.)

In general, I work with a few guidelines to establish how to proceed:

  • Who is being affected by the behaviour?

If my son’s behaviour only affects his reality and he is not placing himself in any form of harm or danger, I leave it up to natural consequence.

If he’s going a bit cray cray and keeps breaking his lego construction because he’s not paying attention, then it’s for him to learn how his behaviour affects his reality and how he can change his behaviour. I might give a suggestion here and there, but I leave it up to him how he moves forward with it.

If he’s going cray cray and he somehow picked up an object he could harm himself with or plays in a way that could easily warrant a doctor’s visit if things go wrong, then I initiate consequence (eg insisting he calms down before he can continue playing and if not removing whatever may cause an issue).

If he however keeps breaking his toys and keeps coming to me to fix it, his behaviour is now affecting my reality and within that gives me space to initiate consequence or parameters if I find that it is really getting in the way. I can fix his toy once or twice, explain that he needs to be more aware and slow down, possibly show him how he can fix it himself if its within his skillset, and warn that I will not keep fixing it.

  • If I initiate consequence, is it relevant to the situation and have I done my best to transfer understanding through communication?

If my son is being loud and others can’t have an audible conversation amongst themselves, there’s no point to tell him he won’t get chocolates today. There’s no natural or causal relationship between being loud and the access to chocolates. Rather, I will ask him to be more quiet, explain to him why I ask it of him, and ask him to place himself in the other people’s shoes (“imagine you are trying to tell me something but someone keeps shouting and you can’t share with me what you want to say, is that something you’d like to experience / be in?”). I’ll also explain that there’s no issue with being loud and expressive in itself, but that we have to be aware of the context we find ourselves. If he really wants to sing loudly or play train, he can also do it in his room.

I do my best to keep the conversation around the behaviour and to not make it personal to him. To clearly state the consequence I will initiate and to not nag about (keep warning but not following through with it). I keep my voice tonality, my choice of words and body language in mind. When there’s space for it, I ask him how he proposes we direct the situation.

I have definitely not perfected this for myself, as my experience with watching the Black Mirror show nicely reminded me of. Old patterns from childhood are like rivers whom have embedded themselves into the earth into a set path. It’s difficult to redirect the flow of water when there’s already a certain direction it is used to following. Every time we practice our new direction and new response, it’s like we’re digging a bit, starting a new trench at the source for the river to take on a new course. The more we practice, the more it entrenches and embeds within our being. Until one day the river effortlessly flows in our new direction we diligently practiced and planted.

LeilaAuthor

Fairness is the New Entitlement

I was playing around with the word Fair or Fairness the other day as it’s a point that very easily sneaks up its head. Especially if you’re someone who’s more rationally, logically inclined – it’s so easy to come up with arguments and point at all the x,y, z variables in your reality or environment that are ‘out of place’ as to why things are difficult for you and why you have the right to be frustrated and have somewhat of an inner tantrum.

If we have an honest look at the world around us, we quickly realise that there’s nothing fair about it. More than 3 billion people live in poverty. One in nine people are stuck in starvation. Animals are going through extinction, nature’s being raped faster than we can regenerate her. You could pretty much say that life on Earth is a bubble of unfairness. Nothing’s the way it should be. But we’re not spending all our time and energy moaning and complaining about that. No, we throw a tantrum when someone else got a job we wanted. THEN we get upset. When we feel like our partner is not carrying his or her weight in terms of responsibilities around the house. THEN we get pissed off.

While the truth is, that nothing is fair about the world we live in. Absolutely nothing. It’s a ginormous mess. Taking that into consideration, it’s really rather peculiar how selective we are about what we complain about and where we use ‘fairness’ as an excuse and justification to vent out our own personal frustrations. Now, I’m not saying we should start to complain about every single little thing that’s wrong in our world. Or to ‘equalize’ our complaining so we complain a bit about everything lol.

But insisting that things should be fair in our little world, when obviously our little problems are the result of much greater discrepancies in the world we live is like focusing on a light that’s not working in our car rather than looking deeper and having a look at what the actual problem is. Fixing the light so it’s permanently on doesn’t mean our car is fixed.

When we enter a state of fairness, I’ve found that we’re essentially fighting ourselves, our own personal nature and reality. The world we live in and the structures governing it today, are a reflection of our inner realities. As within so without. And you might say, well you know what, I had nothing to do with that. It’s the people who came before me, it’s things that happened before my time – I had no part in this!

But when we are completely honest with ourselves, we’ll find that much of what we condemn and judge in the world as bad and undesirable, we are living out ourselves in our everyday life. We may not be a big bank involves in massive fraud, or a corrupt government institution. But perhaps we are constantly looking out for bargains in shops. Really picky about spending our money. Buying things for less when we actually do have the money to pay a decent price for a product or service. Leading to people being paid lower and lower wages just to be able to remain active in the market. You may say, well, now you’re just blowing things out of proportion. These things are happening on two different scales! And yes, sure they are happening on different scales. But the underlying principles, the underlying pattern within both is the same: How can I have more money for myself regardless of what it does to anyone else? The desire and fear that fuels this patterns is the same for the person who’s doing it on a big scale as the person doing it in a micro scale. I bet each can justify their ends just as well as the other, regardless of the scale!

Perhaps the governmental agents feel entitled to power moves because they find the public to be too uneducated to take part in decision making, rather going behind its back. Because it’s ‘unfair that they would have to deal with such people who are inadequate to make thoughtful decisions’. Similarly, you might find it unfair that you have to spend your hard earned money, you are entitled to keep it and so will try to spend as little as possible – even though others worked just as hard to produce what you’re buying.

Fairness only breeds more fairness. Looking at it this way, we could actually say that we use what is supposed to be a noble cause, as fairness and equity, as a channel to pursue, validate and push forward our own private and self-interested sense of entitlement.

_Blame_ and _Deserve_

For instance, when my husband is around, I have the hidden expectation that he will help out more with say household points and spending time with our son. And when that expectation doesn’t get fulfilled, it’s all anger and fury inside myself, because it’s “so unfair”. The crux in this type of situation for myself, I found is not so much that I want him to help out, but that I believe I deserve more ‘off time’ and ‘me time’, where I believe and perceive myself to be missing out because theoretically, he could be providing me with that. And that I’m entitled to it. He still helps out here and there and on a practical level things are easier, yet on those days where’s he’s more around I find myself enjoying myself less and overall having a less pleasurable time because of the inner friction I find myself within. On days that he is not around and so know not to bring in my expectations, I may be busy all day without much time for myself but I am enjoying myself and satisfied because I know I am doing all I can. There’s no ‘what if’, there’s no choice to constantly reflect on, there’s no ‘greener grass’ to obsess about. It’s about what can I do. And how far can I push myself. My eyes are not locked and fixated on what others are doing and if they’re pushing themselves to their utmost. How am I supposed to ascertain that anyway? I only know myself, my reality, my capacity, my context. That’s why the principle of Self-Honesty is of utmost importance. To slack and do less than what you’re capable of simply because you perceive or believe others are not doing the same, and you don’t want to be seen as a loser. Is just plain self-sabotage. People come and go. The person you have to live with and stick with for the rest of your life, well is YOU. You need to be satisfied with yourself regardless of what anyone else is or isn’t doing.

By constantly focusing on our external reality and what COULD be, we miss out on who we could be and actively engaging our potential.

When I was playing around with the sound of the word Fairness, and Fair – I identified the sound ‘fare’. A fare, being typically a fee you pay for transport or the like as part of a journey you are on. When I take that concept back to myself, I see that I employ fairness much in the same way. Say, I will do the dishes, clean the room, tend to our son – not as a point of expression coming from me. Doing it, but doing it with much drag and resistance. These things then become ‘hard work’ and require ‘effort’. The ‘hard work’ and ‘effort’ then become the ‘fare’ I pay as the price of my journey to achieving the definition of a good mother and wife.

When we work hard for a job promotion or just looking for some acknowledgement but someone else gets it, we’re mad because – we paid our ‘fare’, we worked hard. And now this other person is getting away with it? But he/she didn’t pay his or her fare!!!

Fairness then becomes a means to want to equalize our suffering. Instead of supporting and empowering one another unconditionally, we only care to check that the chains holding everyone back are ‘just as tight’ and ‘just as long’.  Because we paid our fare, it’s only fair that we are entitled to x, y, z. We engage fairness as a fare we pay on our journey to achieve a certain self-definition or idea about ourselves. And if that idea or self-definition doesn’t manifest or gets proven wrong, everyone around you better hide.

By removing the concept of fairness, we’re placing ourselves in a position of absolute responsibility. It’s not about anyone else but ourselves. When we still employ fairness, we can forevermore point at our environment and the people within it as reasons why we’re unsatisfied and unhappy. Instead of seeing the things in our reality as challenges to better ourselves, we see them as obstacles there to make us miserable. When your boss yells at you and you feel awful for the next three days, it feels so justified and rational to say that you should set more boundaries. That he should not be acting that way. That you shouldn’t have to deal with people like that and shouldn’t experience yourself that way. But in a world permeated with unfairness, that doesn’t get you very far. You can keep on experiencing everything in your reality as a setback, or move yourself to make the best of any given situation despite what you’re being handed. We’ve screwed up this world beyond measure, and for each one of us it’s going to take more than our ‘fair share’ to set things right again. If we’re going to limit ourselves to what each person feels is right to them, or finds justifiable – we’re never going to create a better life on Earth for ourselves and the future generations to come. And while it feels like the most irrational thing to do, the most counter intuitive move to make – when we remove fairness from our lives and actually push ourselves to the potential we each have within us, you enter a state of liberation you would have never thought existing if you’d kept to fairness.

To place this all in a more practical, day to day context, an example:

A Day With Fairness

I wake up in the morning and want to get ready for making breakfast. My son wakes up and seems to be uncomfortable. I see the possibility for a quiet breakfast on my own disappear before my eyes and let out a deep sigh. This is so unfair. My whole body feels heavy and I grudgingly go to the bed to help him get started with his day. I’m still upset about not getting breakfast my way and this makes me short towards my son who grows increasingly frustrated at my unhelpfulness. In turn, I get irritated by my son, why can’t he just cooperate? I start with breakfast but my son is now whining about every little thing that is going wrong, and I start to now really lose my patience. In my head I am backchatting about all the things that are wrong in my life that I don’t notice that the eggs start to burn in the pan. Of course they’re burning. Everything just goes wrong for me. I dish up breakfast and my son complains he doesn’t want to eat the eggs cause they are burnt. I lash out and say FINE, THEN DON’T EAT ANYTHING!!! …

A day without Fairness

I wake up in the morning and get ready for making breakfast. My son wakes up and seems to be uncomfortable. I go check on him to see why he’s uncomfortable. He says he woke up cold. I give him a big warm hug and we lay together a bit in the bed until he feels better. I suggest that a nice breakfast will get our day nicely started. Since my son is quite settled he plays with his toys a bit on his own while I prepare breakfast. We’re both calm and I can pay attention to the eggs and make them just right. While we eat my son complains he doesn’t like the pepper on the egg. I tell him I didn’t know it would bother him and tell him that next time I will pay special attention to not put pepper on his eggs. He says ‘yes, now you know’. I scrape off the pepper from his egg as best as I can and he continues to eat. …

Our starting point determines everything. If we wake up and start our day with a mindset of everything that is wrong, lacking and unfair –  we weave these ingredients into all the aspects of our day. Our starting point then becomes equal to our end point. Unknowingly we sabotage ourselves and our day to confirm our original start point – that nothing is what it ‘should be’ and that ‘everything’s unfair’. However, when we are open and flexible and aim to make the best of each moment, we come up with responses and solutions that otherwise simply would not have to mind. We so insist that everything can only go wrong we don’t see how we can direct ourselves and our environment into a different direction.

So when you hit yourself into a bout of fairness, where you complain about all the injustices in your world – stop for a moment and take a break. Have a look at whether you’re really upset about the apparent unfairness of the situation, or whether there’s something behind it that you’re trying to achieve or fear losing. Use the moments of fairness to identify where you’re still using a sense of entitlement and you can instead approach the situation in humbleness. What can you take with you from this situation? Is there a point you need to learn here or change a habitual pattern? If you let go of the idea that things should be fair, how would you best direct the situation?

Here’s a video from Gian also on the subject of Fairness and how he realised that holding onto fairness only creates more suffering for all involved:

If you’re new to self-improvement and would like to learn more about how we tend to be our own worst enemies, rather than helpful guides – check out the free online DIP Lite Course