How many of you have thought after the Mountain Experience “I wish I knew this when I was 15”?
What’s this? The idea that I can let go of my emotional pain and a lot of the life stress that comes with it.
One of our culture’s most damaging myths is that we are stuck with our pain. We are taught this myth through books, movies, and our parents and family. We believe this myth about abuse (mental, physical, and sexual), we believe it about the impact of parental divorce or split families, we believe it about the alienation of a parent, or abandonment of any kind, and on and on….
Children and teenagers can learn to let go of their pain at an early age. As they let go of the hurts and anger they may be harboring about their childhood, and even against you, they are more likely to communicate honestly and have a much higher sense of self-awareness.
How to teach your children about letting go:
First, and most important, heal yourself. Begin with your own pain from your childhood and additionally any guilt or shame you have around how you have parented your children. Once you have healed make it a point to share your healing, what you have discovered for yourself and how you have healed it. This conversation is at least as important to your child’s health and well being as the talk about the “birds and the bees”.
If you feel comfortable with it, you can share from your own experience how you have probably created pain for them and from your new perspective you are sorry. You can also share that you wish you could change it but you cannot. You will support them but they must make the intention and effort to heal their pain.
Obviously, creating a safe environment for them to share is important. Just as we teach safety at the Mountain Experience they need to know they won’t be judged or harmed by sharing.
Second, create a common language with your children. Just as you learned you can also teach your children, particularly the younger ones, the steps to letting go of pain. If they are upset just ask them if they would like to let it go. When they are ready take them through the steps.
We can help with the teenagers who maybe more resistant to sharing with you or being coached by you. I have one client who told me the story of how he tried to talk to his daughter and she responded by saying “Dad, stop it. This is not The Garden Company.” In any event the Student Mountain Camp this June is a great opportunity for the teens to learn that it is never to early to let go of their pain.
The younger a person is the more receptive they are to letting go. I love working with young people because they have not developed strong coping mechanisms around their pain and have not totally believed in the myth that they can’t let go.