An idea from author Shefali Tsabary that has stuck with me since I first heard it is – “Parent from wholeness, not from your wounds.” In saying this, she refers to parents having a choice – to parent from love or to parent from insecurities. We all either know this first hand or have seen the difference. Parenting from wounds typically demonstrates certain patterns like – parents who push their kids to achievements they wish they had, parents who bully their kids because they got bullied themselves, etc.
I heard of a student suicide yesterday from the same high school I went to. While it is definitely a horrible experience for any parent to go through, I understand that the student’s reason for doing so was that he felt he was a disappointment to his parents. The apparent recurring conversation in the house was that his results weren’t living up to the sacrifices his parents had made and he said so in his note. Unfortunately, such conversations are far too common. I’ve spoken to many who’ve grown up feeling inadequate simply because they felt they’d disappointed some “loved” one (I use love in quotes because that definitely isn’t love). And, in one phase of my life where I chose to be loyal to someone who exhibited similar characteristics, I remember feeling horribly inadequate and occasionally depressed.
I think Shefali Tsabary’s idea can be extended to all of life to say – “Live from wholeness, not from your wounds.” It doesn’t really matter which relationship it is applied to. If we have close relationships, let us be lights, not judges. When it doesn’t work and when we feel ourselves reaching to our wounds, let’s learn to understand those triggers and walk away. And, if we can’t walk away because of the nature of our relationship, maybe it is a sign that we ought to grow out of those wounds.
Life is too short to live in the unhappy throes of pain, fear and insecurity. There’s enough of it going around. A big part of living a good life is developing the courage to recognize that being happy and loving from wholeness is not about conquering our demons, but about realizing that there are things more important than paying attention to them.