If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you have a strong-willed child, or maybe teach one. Or you might be an aunt or uncle of one, or just know one. I want to let you in on a really big secret: they are here for your benefit.
I know, you’re thinking I’m nuts, I’m crazy. What am I talking about? How in the world could a child that pushes my buttons all day long, driving me berserk, even in a million years be beneficial for me? What the heck? WTF?
All right. I’ll spill it. They are here to show you where you don’t love yourself. They are here to show you all of the places and ways that you are rejecting love from coming to yourself.
By now you’re thinking that I’ve really gone off the deep end. Hang on. I’ll connect the dots that you can’t quite see yet. They’re there, I promise you. But they’re just invisible to you right now. Let’s see if I can help light them up for you, one by one.
When we have parts of us that reject love, they hurt. They live deep within us, often silent, until something causes them to cry out. Those parts of us are parts that became separated from us when we were young. They are pieces of us that got lost or went missing. They became disconnected from us and are sitting, waiting for us to notice them.
They are waiting for us to call them home. To once again reconnect with them. To open our hearts once again to them and accept them back in.
They are waiting for us to go back and love on them with such fierce and unconditionally accepting love that they have no choice but to melt back into our arms and into our hearts. They are waiting for us to remember and reconnect to that part of ourselves that is nothing but love, so all of those hurts, pains, stings and burns can dissolve back into love.
How do we recognize these lost little parts of us? What do they look and sound like? What do they feel like? They feel hurt, disregarded, disrespected, like they’ve been ditched. They feel sad and angry. They feel like fear. And sometimes they feel like fear masquerading as evil.
They sound like thoughts in our head. Thoughts of being bad, of getting caught and getting in trouble. Thoughts of being stupid, and being too fat or too skinny, or being defective. They scream out that they just want to be left alone, to do what they want to do, not what someone else wants them to do. These lost parts have a thousand voices of pain, crying out to be loved.
So how is it that we lost bits and pieces of ourselves? How can this even happen? It happens when our young hearts are broken. They lose faith. They lose trust. And they get stuck and lost without our love.
They tuck themselves into little balls of hopelessness, fear, and distrust, stuck in time and yet still connected to a part of us, just no longer with us in our hearts. They’re connected to us such that we feel them in our children’s pain and difficulties. As our children struggle, push against us and cry out, our lost bits and pieces cry out too.
Our lost little ones see themselves in our children’s feelings, rising up in triggered pain. The lost and separated parts of ourselves resonate with our children. They ring out with our children’s frustration, and with our children’s sadness, with our children’s anger and inability to cope with life. They ring out when our children believe they are stupid, lazy, or ugly. They recognize that feeling and call out, “Yes! That’s me! That’s what I feel like! I’m still here, feeling like crap! And I’ll continue to stay here for as long as it takes.”
We become triggered by our strong-willed children in a thousand ways. And every time it happens it’s because part of ourselves is crying out. It’s calling, begging, screaming out to be heard. To be loved. To be remembered. To be accepted.
When we are triggered by our challenging children, it can feel like a red-hot poker to the eye. But see it more as a neon red arrow pointing directly at the child in you that is screaming out to be accepted.
Awareness is the first step to being able to love them back into your heart.
The next time your strong-willed, high-spirited, or challenging child triggers something in you, take a moment to accept and love that piece of you that is still in pain. It will help you to be more loving towards your child when you know what’s really going on.