What My 3-Year-Old Taught Me About Generational Healing, Posted on Huffington Post Parents

Originally posted on Huffington Post As I spoke these words to my husband, "I can't do this today. You deal with him," I cringed. Please no, I don't want that to be my truth. I give so much of my soul to my children and like all parents, my wish is that I can guide them to be their best selves. But the whining, the immediate knee jerk reaction into tears, over the past few days it's been enough to fill my emotional tank and quite frankly, it's currently full and about to overflow. It is too much and I don't want to do this.

I tune in to my self-talk. I've spoken these words before, "It's too much"; there's a pattern here which began long before I had children. I've heard these words before from women who walked in this world,"I can't do this." I feel the essence of these words that has been on-going through generations of all women.

And yet there's perseverance. The commitment to keep going in this time of disgrace. The self-shaming begins. "I should be able to handle this." The questioning, "this can't be normal, can it?" The blame that eases these feelings a bit -- "if only my husband did everything the same way I do. Could it be his fault?" The plan -- more routine, let's get even more routine so everything is robotic because I'm willing to try anything. And finally the knowing... it's unrealistic and a plan to circle back here in the future.

In conversation with parents of other 3- and 4-year-olds, so many of us are struggling. I hear from others, it's just kids at three and that's just how they are. I hear the sentiments, the commiserating, however I can't feel the truth in them. I don't believe children were created to have a hard time dealing with the world. There's something inside me sprouting that says, we just have to dig a little deeper. Go further within, find the roots.

There's a blessing that night in hearing my child cry upstairs while being comforted by his dad. I received the space to sit and listen. Upon asking my inner-self, where does this begin the answer was so clear. It's all within, it's a reflection of what's mine to own and what's ready to be seen. I tune into the essence of my own 3-year old self -- I've had these same struggles. Patterns re-emerging seeking acknowledgement and acceptance. There is a foundational truth that some of my son's struggles are presenting themselves as an opportunity to heal the past, for the times I spent at three unheard, misunderstood, lonely. For the times my mom spent at three feeling those feelings and for the times her own mother hurt.

I close my eyes and picture myself at this age. What was I wishing for? Needing? Feeling? I go to that little girl and offer her my presence. She wants a hug and to be held and to talk and have my full attention. She's wanting a friend who really understands her. And who better to do that me?

When I sit with this I recognize, yes, there were times of my life at that age I wasn't fully happy or understanding the world around me. That is well represented by my son in his own unease. He's not asking to be fixed or shamed or wanting to be too much to handle. It's simply a role he's playing to gift me the opportunity to empathize and come from a different place of connection and understanding.

There is a healing opportunity on the table. This feeling of being unheard, misunderstood, lonely at times still is felt in my 30s. I'm finding the roots, and tending to them now.

Funny, my son often cries -- "but you're not listening to me!" A statement I've said, felt and wanted to cry out in my life. It's repeating itself and this time I'm listening.

Are you ready and wiling to go within?

Here are five steps to acknowledge your own generational healing that's calling for attention via your child:

1. Witness the actions of your child that gives you an emotional charge.

2. Take notice of the surroundings, the words, and the energy.

3. In quiet, ask yourself, where does this begin and how much of this is mine?

4. Send love, energy and acknowledgement to all parts of you and your younger self that ever felt the same or similar feelings and challenges.

5. Create a mantra that changes the action. For me those words are "I am heard. I am seen." Repeat this mantra throughout your day until you see the new reflection being shown to you through your child.

From my heart to yours, Stephanie