Taking your own needs as seriously as the needs of your little ones may sound like it’s easier said than done. Most of us act unconsciously and out of habit rather than being aware of our own needs.
As mentioned earlier, only when we gain more insight into what we feel, believe, think and need, only when we understand where our own reactions and behaviors are coming from, do we become capable of consciously responding to another with compassion, kindness, and mindfulness.
Especially in moments when you notice that you are losing your patience and acting differently than you would like to be, take a moment to ask yourself what’s going on inside before you respond to your little one.
Let’s pretend you are on an airplane and your child starts to cry right at the moment when everyone wants to fall asleep. You tried everything, but there is no way to calm him down. The only way to maintain calm in this situation is to find relaxation within yourself, to start giving yourself loving empathy, noticing your own needs, and speaking appreciative words to yourself such as: “Oh, I see what you are going through and how overwhelmed, helpless and alone you feel right now; I also see how beautifully you are holding your little one, so warmly, even though everyone is staring at you as though you were an incapable mom.”
If we manage to give ourselves self-compassion, then we have the best chance of taking care of our own needs and calming ourselves down. Through that, we can be more present for our child.
When we are not connected with ourselves, are triggered by our unconscious feelings and thoughts, we can’t be fully present with our child. But our full undivided attention is what really helps our child to feel secure. They need to feel truly and empathetically held in a difficult moment. It is the same for us adults. If we are worried or anxious, and we can sense an adult being with us with his full loving attention, that is such a pure and healing gift! And this gift can be embraced without a single word!