How can you create a healthy life? By taking good care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Have you ever wondered about how to identify the state of your soul? We all know that when you take good care of your soul, you nourish your feelings, mind, and body. These expressions of your life embody your relationship with your soul. Therefore, when you express your emotions, in a way you allow your soul to speak. So, if you want to be healthy on a soul level, you must have healthy feelings.
How can we know we are here to experience life on a soul level, most of all? Because our feelings have a great part in making choices. We sometimes say I know something in my heart.
Where is that knowledge coming from? Your emotions are the language of your soul or spirit. When we are born, we first connect with the world through our feelings and senses before anything else. We also form relationships on an emotional level, be it any kind. Since we still have a lot to learn about our emotions and relationships, they can be very fragile.
The Rocky Road to Our Current Parenting
We have come a long way since medieval times in how we raise our children. Back then, humans completely missed out on the modern meaning of childhood. Kids started working when they became physically fit for it, not in easy roles, either. Instead of valuing them and showing good examples to them, it was normal to devalue or even abuse them. It was believed that punishing them emotionally or physically is good for them because it teaches discipline. By the 1600s, the reward and punishment parenting style gained momentum.
Then, it was a developed way of parenting compared to the medieval style. However, today we are aware that the reward and punishment parenting style is one of the most destructive ways to raise children. This phenomenon didn’t develop much until the early 20th century, so much so that parents were advised not to play with their infants in the name of discipline. Instead, they were encouraged to follow a very strict schedule with regards to the eating, sleeping, and other physical needs of their children, with a lot of discipline.
In the 20th century, we began to realize that corporate punishment as a form of discipline isn’t healthy, it is abuse. If you are an adult today, chances are, you also received some corporal punishment as a child. More modern thinking parents tend to use other forms of discipline, such as time-outs. They place their children in a very boring place or control moving out of their room for a certain time. Today we think medieval parenting had been ruthless, but one day in our future, people could think the same of our parenting ways today.
Necessary Emotional Transformation in Our Households
So in what area should we improve today the most? In those where our parents were lacking the most. Emotions, you must have guessed it right. We need to understand that today we are causing the same emotional damage to our children, as those parents who were formerly beating their kids, causing both physical and emotional damage. So, how do we create a healthy emotional atmosphere for our children in our households? And why is this topic so important? Because emotionally unhealthy environments significantly outnumber the healthy ones even today!
We have only started paying attention to what good parenting truly means recently. Currently, we are struggling with feelings and emotions as much in our households, as in our everyday lives. We are becoming conscious of the fact that it is possible to become great at all levels of parenting even if it is not easy. Unfortunately, it can also happen quite frequently that parents are great on a physical level, but quite undeveloped on an emotional level. And what does it do to such children? It is sadly quite damaging. Because our core existence needs soul food like feelings and emotions.
Why is it important to maintain healthy households? Because if there’s an unhealthy climate in your home and relationship with your children, you and your children need healing emotionally. Our ancestors have carried a lot of emotional baggage throughout generations, and it is our task to wake up to change! Why? Because our time has come to do so in our conscious modern world with plenty of options for healing. Maybe your parents had ignored your emotions, what’s more, couldn’t connect deeply emotionally with each other either. Sadly, this situation is very common. So what can we do about it?
Transformation: Replacing the Old Negative with the New Positive
Don’t listen to any advice that says to ignore anyone’s emotions, the least of your children! So far, the emphasis has been on correcting children’s misbehavior while overlooking the very emotions that caused that misbehavior. It might be still hard in our current society, especially in our traditional education systems, but we should try to focus more on raising healthy adults than obedient children. Of course, they should follow the norms of society, but we must understand and respect their needs, choices, and unique characters.
There had been many fallouts between family members of previous and current generations just because of major character differences. So what? Try to work together to find common ground. Where is the problem in our entire society? We are trying to correct the effect rather than understanding and treating the cause. If you look at our justice system or healthcare system, you will realize they take the same approach. Judging and correcting misbehavior, or treating medical conditions with medication, rather than understanding and mending the underlying causes. Which are always rooted in our emotions!!
The foundation of our relationships is a deep understanding and Emotional Transformation. It takes healthy feelings and emotions to become good parents and create good relationships. These days, we can make three pivotal mistakes as parents: we ignore or dismiss our children’s emotions; we disapprove of or reject their feelings, or we offer no advice or guidance to our children, or the guidance we offer is poor or not good for them. These factors are crucial for our kids to cope with and rise above their negative emotions.
Ways of Poor Parenting and its Consequences
If you dismiss or ignore your children’s emotions, they learn to think that their feelings don’t matter. What’s worse than this, is to belittle their emotions, children can feel completely rejected this way. Some parents may empathize with their children’s emotions to various extents, however, their guiding strategies and setting behavior limits are lacking. They don’t serve as good examples to their children, don’t provide self-care and self-management skills, nor help them in understanding and coping with their emotions.
How do such parents express themselves? Disapproving parents might scold their kids for their lack of cooperation, or call them a brat and punish them with time-out or spanking. Dismissive parents disregard their children’s emotions saying something like that’s silly, you have no reason to feel that way. These parents could also try to distract their kids with something that takes away their attention from their emotions. The parents who offer no guidance may behave empathetically by saying it’s okay to feel sad or scared. But these parents would not offer emotional comfort or understanding, hence their kids won’t feel safe but powerless instead.
Children who grow up in emotionally unhealthy environments cannot comfort themselves when feeling down. These kids tend to develop diseases. They cannot connect emotionally with their family members, nor develop intimacy with them. They usually feel like they don’t belong. Consequently, they feel alone and isolated. These tendencies are mostly dragged along to adulthood. Becoming adults, it’s hard for them to manage their emotions,
often still feel like they don’t belong, and it is hard for them to form healthy relationships.
They are likely to develop co-dependent relationships, and two extremes of needing and fearing intimacy.
Various Levels of Abuse and Professional Help
When these emotionally unhealthy individuals turn to professional help, chances are, they are first and foremost asked about overt signs of abuse. Sadly, we often suffer from unhealthy emotional patterns that seem hidden or harder to recognize stemming from childhood conditions. Many serial killers or school shooters reportedly came from healthy families, trouble is, their families were not emotionally healthy for sure. As mentioned above, perhaps they came from healthy homes on a physical level that is clear to see for the outer world. But real problems stem from the abuse within the walls, unavailable to the outer world.
Underneath the clothes, good food, and a nice house can lay the extreme pain of dysfunction. Which, like a huge cancerous cell, sabotages the kids’ healthy connections with others. We need to recognize and stop Emotional Transformation, including disapproval, dismissal, and offering no guidance to negative emotions for the sake of our kids and future.