Saturday, May 2, 2009

I choose love

I think a lot about where we are parenting from and how we relate to our children. For so many of us who we were parented ourselves from a place of fear and coercion, we find ourselves in our less than ideal parenting moments parenting this way as well. The words may just come out and hang in the air before we even realize it, leaving us feeling awful because this isn't the way we want to parent. We want better for ourselves and better for our children. Yet, there we are with a strong reaction to something our child did or said anyway.

My minister last week at church talked about having a mantra, or a statement that we could say to ourselves when we needed to shift our focus away from fear and back into the present moment, when we were reacting from our past instead of responding in the way we wanted to respond. One suggestion was, "Peace, be still," which is one I've used myself many, many times as a parent to calm my own stress. The other she suggested was, "I choose love." This resonated deeply with me as soon as she said it. Yes, I choose love. I choose to parent from a place of love, not from fear. I choose love.

As often happens with me in my life, I had an opportunity to put this into practice that very afternoon. I found myself reacting to something happening in my family and didn't respond the way that I wanted to respond. I took some nice deep breaths and said to myself, "I choose love." As I let that settle into my body at a deep level, I said it again: "I choose love." That means that I am going to let go of the need to be right, the need to be in control, the need to convince someone else that they are wrong. I choose love. Our children deserve it and so do we.

Have you ever seen Dr. Emoto's Messages from Water? His pictures of water with different words or thoughts on them were then frozen and the crystals were photographed. Nothing brings the point home more than these pictures. My favorite right now are the two pictures of "Do it" and "Let's do it." You can check out his children's book and share it with your own children here.

Release your parenting fears. Fear grows nothing but fear. Love grows more love. As Heather Forbes says, "In mathematics, a negative plus a negative is a positive. In parenting, a negative plus a negative is always a negative." Choose love today and see what amazing things happen in your family!

I choose love!


Annie said...

Mine is "Be not afraid." One of the things that struck me about Heather's approach is that I finally understood that my foster child's reactions were fear reactions. MY anxiety is fear (at not knowing what to do for him; not being able to change him, or sometimes to understand him). I was explaining this to a priest friend, and he said, "Well - that makes sense; the thing that Jesus said more than anything else is "Be Not Afraid". So, I try to remember that!

Rebecca Thompson, M.S., MFT said...

Love it!