Building Relationships on Growth and Love
February 1, 2016
Children absorb and mimic the world around them. My parents, limited by their own conditioning, weren’t equipped to teach me how to consciously relate with myself and others…and even after years of talk therapy, I found myself repeating the same relationship patterns I’d learned as a child. Maybe you can relate?
It wasn’t until I was in my 30s and my mom invited me to a workshop with the Awareness Institute that I began to finally face my deeper fears and experience what it means to love myself. The weekend workshops helped me learn and practice trusting, embracing vulnerability, and connecting without my habitual hold-backs, fears, and stories. From there, I was able to build relationships in my life that truly supported growth and love, rather than fear and security.
Flashing forward to today, I’ve come full circle and am now a mother to an 8-year-old son and step-mother to an 18-year-old daughter. Now that I have a family, my journey continues from the perspective of Mother. I’m now learning how to integrate who I am beyond the roles and expectations that I observed and learned from my own mother, so that I can create authentic connection in all areas of my life: as an individual, daughter, friend, business owner, mother, and wife
I hunger for authentic connection in all areas of my life. I’m definitely a proponent of “Date Night” as a time for parents to have some child-free connection, but what’s the value of a night out if we’ve forgotten how to fully drop in and engage with our partners? If we can’t maintain intimacy with ourselves and our partners, how can we expect to connect with our children or model healthy, authentic relationships for them?
These are the kind of questions that keep me up at night.
Understanding my role as my children’s “love teacher” has been a huge motivator for me to continue to carve out time to deeply engage in the self-awareness workshops. We all hope that our children will grow up to enjoy fulfilling relationships, and yet we also know that our children are learning how to relate by observing (and absorbing) our own relationship patterns. This can feel like a daunting responsibility!
Recently I’ve had powerful insights about how I’ve been engaging with my son, including power struggles around food, claiming my personal space, and the value of holding clear boundaries… just to name a few! As I become aware of a pattern of relating that no longer serves, using tools learned through the Awareness Institute workshops and classes, I’ve been able to unhook and disengage from old ways of being, and cultivate habits that feel truer to my family’s well being. This feels like the ultimate gift I can give to myself, my partner, and my children!
If you’re anything like me, you might feel like there are many demands on your time and you can’t do everything. My experience has shown that the best way to honor myself as a parent, to forge deeper connection with my partner, and to clear the path for my children to experience richer, more conscious relationships, is to do my own inner work. To ask the question “Who am I?” and continually question my habitual thoughts, patterns, and fears. The Awareness Institute workshops provide a space to do just that — to drop the roles, get present, and find out what’s true.
Vanessa is a team volunteer for the Awareness Institute.
February 7, 2016
Thank you for sharing your heart and real truth of your own journey and going within..to find the answers as a mom & a partner…