Thursday, February 16, 2012

On Love: Mindful Parenting - Learning to Love Ourselves as we Love Our Children

It doesn't have to be Feb. 14 for me to write a post about love. This post is actually about Feb. 13. And is posting on Feb. 16.

On Feb. 13, I was in a funk. It was dreary and gloomy (particularly for LA), and I was in the dumps. Down and distracted.

However, because the next day was Valentine's Day, I pulled out my favorite book on the subject of love, which is True Love by the oft-referenced here Thich Nhat Hanh.

Skimming back through this treasure-filled book, one section stuck out to me. He writes:

"When the mother hears her baby crying, she puts down whatever she has in her hands, she goes into its room, and takes the baby in her arms...The mother does not know yet what is the matter...but the fact that she has it in her arms already gives her child some relief."

This is something I do often for my own children, but TNH uses this example as an analogy of something we must do for ourselves (out of love for ourselves and for those closest to us).

He speaks about treating one's negative feelings in this way. Instead of burying them or pushing them aside, we should pick up our jealousy, our anger, our resentment and hold it, recognize it. This allows us to release it.

It may sound odd -- that focusing on your negative emotion lets you get rid of it, but it works. It also forces us to recognize it. Upon reflection, I realized that I was not in a funk at all. I was jealous. The why and what doesn't really matter. What matters was the action, the awareness.

I took the analogy to heart. I held my jealousy. Then I was able to transform it and release it. I freed myself of it. I began to see the positive elements of the reality that was causing me to feel jealous. Once that happened, my jealousy became gratitude - whoa, what a transformation.

It was love that caused the transformation -- treating myself with love, just as I would my children. This not always easy, but it is always necessary.

So - give yourself some love (jealousy and all!!)

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  1. Wow, this is a lesson that I just experienced this week! I usually let my uncomfortable, negative feelings fester and pretend they don't exist. This week I decided to let myself feel them and learn to articulate what the feeling was. It relieved a whole lot of stress!

  2. Are you in my head or what? As my children leave the house and I find myself with loads of free time, I realize that I forget to love MYSELF. Excellent post!

  3. What a great way to approach life, embrace every emotion, especially those that get us down...LOVE IT!

  4. What a profound article. So important to remind us that we need to treat our hurts the same way we would treat our children's pain.

    Thank you for linking up to the Sunday Parenting Party!

  5. That's a wonderful and inspiring thought. :) I clearly need to read more by Thich Nhat Hanh, his analogy is very good.

  6. Love this. It is amazing what recognizing an emotion can do.