What does it mean to be whole?
We have been trained in a culture and society that conditions love and approval on behaving in particular ways. We are valued as children for what we do. If we are “good” and please the adults around us we are shown more love.
We learn to look outside of ourselves for affirmation that we are worthy.
When we are loved conditionally we learn that we are not enough unless we meet others’ expectations and approval.
When we are loved conditionally we question whether we are good enough because we are not perfect.
We try to be perfect or project some kind of perfection in order to gain love and approval.
A childhood where we experienced conditional love takes away the wholeness with which we were born.
Children are too often required to betray their inner life in order to maintain an outward appearance that meets the expectations of the institutions they must participate in and the expectations of the adults around them.
Each time we ask children to betray themselves, little by little, we take away their wholeness.
What does it mean to be whole?
It means that we have connection to our inner voice and authority.
We are able to act in ways that are congruent internally and externally. Our outward behavior is consistent with how we are feeling inwardly.
We are able to come to our relationships from a place of mutuality.
Our emotions just are. They aren’t good or bad. We’re not good people when we’re happy and pleasing others, and we’re not bad people when we are sad or angry.
We have a belief in our own goodness.
We accept and love ourselves without needing to be perfect.
We truly believe that we have everything we need within us.
Parenting When We are Struggling to be Whole
When we have come from childhood experiences that chipped away at our wholeness, being with children from a place of trust and respect is particularly challenging.
We overtly and covertly send messages of worth based on their behavior.
They act good and we feel good as parents and reward that behavior. They act bad and it makes us feel bad as parents and we punish that behavior.
We ask children to behave in ways that make us feel good, not in ways that are congruent with their inner state of being and their inner voice and authority.
Creating space where children remain whole, is challenging in a culture that views them as needing to be socialized and trained in order to be adults that are valued and productive in our society.
Our lack of wholeness moves us to reinforce cultural norms that harm a child’s wholeness.
We face internal challenges created by our childhood experiences and we face external challenges of a paradigm of control that underlies our culture.
Once we recognize they ways in which we require children to give up parts of themselves in order to fit our expectations, we can begin the process of creating this space for wholeness.
We then need to challenge ourselves to reconnect to our own inner voice and authority so that we can regain the wholeness that we once had as children.