These days we focus A LOT on positive thinking, positive emotions and todays parents work our butts off making sure our kids never feel any shame, pain, hurt, disappointment, regret, longing, etc. Heck, we work hard to avoid feeling overwhelmed, anxious, sad or disappointed ourselves!
BUT, maybe, just maybe we have thrown the baby out with the bath water. It came to me in a flash that those negative, sad and depressing feelings we try to avoid, at all costs, might just be the jet fuel that get us MOVING. Ever been heart broken for so long that you can't stand it and you finally decide to train for a 5k? Or you are so sick of being broke, in debt , and feeling bad about yourself that you MOVE towards making financial changes? Or have yelled at your kid one too many times, and then laid awake at 3:42 am regretting the yelling, so you sign up for a parenting class because you know there has got to be better way?
The anguish is jet fuel. It gets us MOVING!
HOWEVER -- the jet fuel gets us to lift off, but doesn't keep us in orbit. We need a good shuttle design for that. That means we must nurture good relationships, open, direct and respectful communication. Our shuttle needs to be brimming with self-care (working out, sleeping, eating well and having fun). We need to travel somewhere comfortable and safe (we talk to ourselves, for the most part, with compassion & humor). You see if our space shuttle ONLY has jet fuel to get it moving, it won't work, we won't survive -- we'll lift off and crash, lift off and crash, lift off and crash.
Here's a little more bad news, we each have our own particular brand of jet fuel. Do you know what that means? It means our disappointment won't be the jet fuel for our children (or our spouse or our co-worker). THEY have to have their own disappointment (or shame or pain). I guarantee, or your money back, the things that make US feel bad will be different then what makes THEM feel bad. (UGH!)
The point isn't to create pain, disappointment or shame. The point is to notice it and USE IT to propel us into a new orbit. The point is also to realize that our jet fuel can't make our kids move. We can't light them up with our jet fuel, nor should we try to protect them from their own. Our job is to make our shuttle, and their space shuttle, comforting, productive and lovely places to see the view