UNPOPULAR OPINION : You should say YES to your kids more than NO
My Mum was horrified when she visited me last year.
We took my son to our local shopping centre and he asked to go on the little ride out side of the supermarket – I said “sure” and smiled back at him while he giggled for three minutes straight. In the supermarket, his little eyes widened when he saw a Kinder Surprise “Mummy, please?” Once again, I said “sure” he skipped down the aisle of the supermarket.
“You don’t have to say yes to everything” my Mum said to me.
..there it was, those two words that still make me tense up “have to”
I was a sensitive child and felt everything deeply. My parents, although loving were also authoritative & controlling – I was raised to obey without questioning & punished for not falling into line. My parents will describe how well behaved I was as a child, and what they really mean is that unlike my son, in a supermarket I would have walked next to my Mum, never daring to ask for anything. Never allowed to make requests reflecting my ow desires as they arose. Knowing I had to behave in a certain way at all times.
I became the good girl, the overachiever, the people pleaser, the caretaker. I got really good at reading people, scanning my environment and quickly working out how I had to behave in order to feel accepted (and acceptable) & to feel worthy.
My parents, like most, did the best they could do in the circumstances they were in, with the resources they had & the understanding of childhood development they understood.
If like me, all of your basic needs were met unquestionably, we are LUCKY in this life – so this is not a swipe at what I was given or not given as a child.
Instead, this is a reflection I have been able to make about the way my upbringing has impacted my sense of self... and the aspects of myself I continue to recognise in the women I work with.
At the Supermarket, it was very easy for me to say “sure” to my son.
In total, it cost me $5 to give him those two things.
Saying “sure” to him as he voiced his little, innocent requests to the person he trusts most in the world, his Mum, has a significant impact on the way he will continue to view himself and the world *comment below if you want more info on this and Ill send you resources.
My response in those fleeting moments contributes to the foundation for what he will believe about the accessibility of his desires in this world.
You see, I was taught that we have to work hard, for everything.
We have to earn, everything.
That nothing comes easy.
I was taught that there is always some power above me that got to decide whether I was worthy of my desires or not.
As a child, we don’t understand “desires” but we do experience emotions.
When we are constantly told no, step down, step back,, sit down, be quiet – we experience that as our feelings being dismissed or invalidated. There becomes no room for the exploration of what you want, feel or need.
Its true, I definitely don’t have to say yes to everything my son wants. What is also true – is that I don’t say yes to absolutely everything.
But, what 8 years as a classroom teacher taught me and deep reflection and research as a Mum of a three year old has confirmed for me is that we live in a society that tells caregivers that freely meeting the desires and requests of children will “spoil them” and the subtext of that is – children should hear no more than they hear yes within their day.
I definitely heard no more than I heard yes as a child. Did you?
Many of the women that I work with share the same recount of their own experience.
In a recent group coaching experience I facilitated, women were reflecting on why they were struggling to activate their own voice within their own lives – why they were struggling to describe what they truly desired within their lives & I used the book What Happened To You by Bruce D Perry & Oprah Winfrey as the prompt and guide to support them in reflecting on how being raised to obey without questioning & to be punished for mistakes had impacted them as women.
Here are some of the reflections:
- I grew up thinking that other people knew what was right for me better than I did for myself
-I grew up constantly looking for approval, attention and affection
-I grew up disconnected from my own feelings, not allowed to have big emotions
This has lead to us being women that are hyper attuned to what other people need from us or require from us. Because we have been disconnected from our own emotions, we haven’t learned to use our emotions as guides and so it is difficult to make our own judgements based on what we are experiencing. Because of this, we second guess ourselves – never quite trusting our own instincts.
Personally, I know that it took me to be 30 years old to declare what I desired for myself and my life and not have it be a reflection of what I thought would be best for everyone around me too.
I had grown to be loyal to a fault and because of this – I can see that I tolerated toxic relationships and was unable to leave my first marriage for so long because it seemed reasonable to tolerate being given just enough attention and connection to keep me hooked on the high of pleasing my partner – but not enough to ever fulfil me.
Even after I separated from my first husband, I ended up chasing people that were unavailable, unsupportive and invalidating - love entangled with pain was all I knew.
I had never learned how to articulate my own needs. I had never realised it was safe and natural to feel desires and express them.
I had compromised my own values throughout my life, shape shifting and giving people chances that hurt me or took me for granted and eventually, I built walls around myself to protect myself from a world I felt just simply didn’t understand me. A world that didn’t care.
I was isolated, lost and depressed.
Research clearly tells us that adverse experiences in childhood leave a mark on a developing brain, personality and sense of self. We often grow up internalising fear, anger, guilt, shame, helplessness & a feeling of being unsafe in the world.
You might have been blessed with a home that met all of your physical needs, but many of the experiences that you may have had might be contributing to the feeling of being hyper sensitive to stress, emotionally reactive and unable to assert yourself and go after what you want in life.
As women, we get to choose to rebuild our sense of agency and safety. We can reconnect with ourselves and and learn to trust our own judgement and begin to understand what it means and how it feels to flow with life.
It is rarely our fault that we have been cut off from our intuition, our authenticity & our higher self. But it is our responsibility to recalibrate, realign and feel grounded in a deep sense of who we are and what makes us happy in this life.
Rebuilding self trust supports us in changing our perspective on whats possible, what we are worthy of and how accessible our own desires are in this world.
I allow my son to experience the ease and effortlessness of getting what he wants because I know that in that experience what is being affirmed for him is that he is the creator of his own life, his desires are met and that having the confidence to express what he wants is a powerful force that gets him more of what he wants.
That is quite literally the foundation I want to help him lay.
My 3 year old is joy personified. He is my greatest teacher – I have learn how to be a better human simply by being in the presence of his natural state day after day.
For the record, having what you want and being spoiled are not the same thing. Like I said, there are many times in the day that he simply cant have what he thinks he wants because its unsafe, inappropriate or unattainable. But whenever possible – I facilitate a yes for him. We smile at each other. Im there present with him delighting in the moment too. From me, he will learn - we can have what we want in this life.
I am unapologetic about that.
If you live in the belief that we cant always have want we want, that life isn’t fair, that we shouldn’t get our hopes up… then I know what Im saying right now wont be resonating with you.
Our beliefs are mismatched – and its likely that our experience of ourselves and the world is mismatched too.
My question for you today is – do you realise that you have exactly what you have asked for?
Everything around you is a reflection of what you have asked for.
That office you can no longer go to – didn’t you complain about it every day?
That relationship that ended – was it actually fulfilling you? What is working?
Those friends who haven’t been in touch – were they actually true friends?
Those that disrespected you – did you invite respect? Did you respect yourself?
So often when things are “taken away” from us or we “lose” something, they were never actually the best case scenario for us and now that they have gone, there is space for something else & likely something greater to come along.
Feeling depressed very much centres on what we feel we have lost rather than what we have.
When we get caught in a cycle of expecting the worst, we tend to call more of that in for ourselves. If you consistently talk about how things are difficult and never work out for you – then you are actually giving life to that experience. You are repelling anything good from entering your life simply because the current level and form of your thinking is only a match for things that are difficult.
You need to put yourself in the same frequency as the very things that you want to experience.
How do we do this if we currently feel miserable?
A good place to start would be to try and simply attain a neutral state.
Instead of allowing yourself to be running a negative commentary all day long, try and suspend making ANY opinion on things, good or bad. Just let things be.
Notice the meaning you are giving to things – suspend your judgement and just let it be.
Of course, most of us want to experience more than a neutral state in this life & this is what manifestation is.
Manifesting isn’t some magical, woo woo concept. Manifestation is the way we describe the powerful way in which we create our experiences and it is possible for anyone, let me break it down very simply today for anyone who has heard the term but isn’t quite sure what it even means
1.Manifesting simply means that you live whole heartedly in the belief that you can have good things. It might feel like a stretch from your current situation, but you need to believe that something is POSSIBLE for you to experience evidence of it in your life.
2. Form a clear vision for what you want – you don’t necessarily have to have the specifics of the THING in mind as much as the FEELING of having it.
3. Expecting it to happen. Unquestionably. Unwavering faith is required for manifestation. Just like you know the sun will rise, you must believe that your manifestation is taking form.
4. Forget about it. Manifestation is not about obsessing. Lock it in, live from the belief and let it unfold.
5. The form may be different from your expectations. Remember, the aim is the FEELING – you might have thought your get that feeling from being on holidays but you actually experience the feeling from someone being kind to you.
You will literally transform your own world when you realise the way you create your own experience day after day.
We can all begin by simply being willing to experiment.
Just go through your day and pay more attention to whats working, what you enjoy & what feels good – then AMPLIFY those things by saying them out loud. “This workout was so much fun. My whole body feels alive. I loved the music in that session – it was so uplifting”
This becomes especially effective if you share your comments with others – as you then see reflected the impact of more positive statements & how they make you feel BETTER.
MANTRA: Today I am exploring being the CREATOR in my WORLD instead of a VICTIM of circumstances.