Growing up as a child is equal parts painful and beautiful. Growing up as an adult while still a child, is rather painful than beautiful. Healing the transition from childhood to adulthood, requires deep, internal listening and oftentimes resolving of discomfort or traumas. Our parents, humans just like us, raised us to their subjective best, even if that was not enough for us. While we can’t change the past, we can reinterpret it, thus changing our present and future: self-parenting can ignite a foundational spiritual spring and radically transform our perspective of the world.
No parent is ever perfect, in the sense that one can’t know what kind of parent their children needs them to be. Whereas my generation seems significantly more pensive than the previous one, it is important to use our evolutional advantage to forgive rather than judge our ancestors. Without a doubt, it is so unfair to judge the past with present eyes; how could we ever evaluate fairly a scene of the past, taking for granted tools that had not been discovered yet?
A friend once said, “we basically come into this world having a fit; no wonder life is such a drama”. This is such a deep statement, yet not definitive to the whole of our existence. I strongly believe in the power of human will to master internal, thus external evolution. OK, I’m also not at all in favour of drama; drama, aka reactivity, can have us locked in a problem and disorient us fatally from solutions. Instead, I am pro acknowledging and experiencing the full emotional spectrum, but with moderation. It is one thing to allow us the privilege of feelings, and another to be perpetually consumed by them.
What I just described in short is my own self-parenting formula. In detail, it is a twofold process, repeated from internal and external perspectives. First, it is important to me to address the emotional emergency; I acknowledge and accept my feelings, console and support myself. Then, comes the cognitive analysis; I use reason to understand what the issue is in detail and what are the possible solutions. As soon as I map out my own perspective, I try to repeat the process and see the situation from different angles: any matter has as many aspects as the people involved in it.
Although this theory sounds lovely, its application is so, so difficult. Who doesn’t have a hard time aching? Who doesn’t indulge in self-loathing? Who doesn’t strive with reasoning? Who doesn’t struggle to step in other people’s shoes? Lastly, who doesn’t suffer from the same torments in repeat? Still, all these collective experiences should be the reasons for us to try harder rather than quitting. One step at a time, only by committedly sobering up our self-parenting method we can evolve behaviourally, both on a personal and on a collective level.
Time is of essence here, as some issues will be immediately resolved while others may take days, months, years; in cases, some may even be impossible to bear emotionally so as to be evaluated cognitively. What, I feel, is of primary importance is to just show up for ourselves. Showing up and trying, forgetting about time and pushing ourselves to deliver within a configured timeline, can help us focus on the process rather than the result; the more we understand and master the process, the better and progressively faster the results.
Additionally, looking bravely into the past –to each’s capacity– is of essence. Same as everyone else’s, my relationships with each of my parents, respectively, are foundational. Their influence on how I perceive myself and interact with others has been an enigma to me for a long time, causing me a great deal of frustration. Luckily, through therapy, my emotional landscape has cleared, thus allowing me to understand better both the world within and outside. Of course, these realisations are rather tormenting, causing deep but not irreparable relationship fractures.
Although this process sounds scary, it carries the redemption of resurrection, rather than fear of destruction, helping one find their true self, introduce their identity and forge authentic interactions. As a result, and since I care deeply for my family, reforming my relationship with myself, mother and father is a work in progress that gives me core satisfaction. Nonetheless, this wasn’t always easy; oftentimes, due to persistent childhood traumas, I have been cruel towards both myself and my parents. This is something I am not OK with.
Which is why I keep going on, regardless of how difficult life gets at times. People are essential to me in a qualitative manner, and this sums up my idea of society at large. People should be essential to us in a qualitative manner; this principle should be merely visible in our interactions. Even though we shouldn’t, we forget so often that us humans are emotional as well as logical creatures. Assimilating this idea is how self-parenting can reinterpret fractured narratives of interaction and ultimately improve them.
There is a disconnection between ageing and maturing that only self-parenting can heal. Exploring this process can guarantee the resolution of internal conflicts and coming of innumerable spiritual springs. We have so much to learn by looking closely to our inner child; care for it, get to know it, guide it, just be there for it. Taking this brave first step can steadily guide us toward the alignment of the world within and outside us, ultimately becoming the adult we needed and envisioned as kids: this person exists. Have a lovely Sunday.
the return: if not back, where do we go from here?, liberalvirtue
Against ‘natural’ parenting, Aeon