WKND Parenting Tips: Why you need to be taught to save yourself
Our columnist and conscious parenting coach Kavita Srinivasan explores the pitfalls of expectations and how to manage them
I don’t have anyone to call when I’m devastated.
I don’t have anyone to lean on who will hold me for as long as I need.
I don’t have anyone to love me despite my failings.
No one looks at my brokenness and believes I am beautiful.
No one will save me, protect me and give me everything.
There is no one I can be one with, knowing they will never leave.
There is no ground beneath my feet.
This is the voice of my inner child. This is my voice. This is the desperate, cloying sadness that sits in my heart…
…and yours. And hers. And his. And theirs.
There is no one on the outside waiting to save you.
But there is someone who can and will, within.
It’s hard to believe that person is you, isn’t it?
How could that person be you?
You are not the picture of the superhero you envisioned; the towering, strong, sturdy and stable well of warmth of a person whose arms block out pain.
How could that person be you?
You are barely a person.
You haven’t reached your potential.
You are not the goal.
It burns to be me. I would rather be anyone else.
Please. Anyone else.
It hurts to feel that this is it.
I don’t like my skin.
I don’t belong anywhere.
I grew up surrounded with abandonment, wandering empty halls and sleeping in a bed dressed with neglect.
My skin was chafed.
My eyes dry with numb denial.
I barely survived everything.
How could I be a saviour?
This is how we speak to ourselves. This is how I used to speak to myself.
I spared no love for me.
It was spent buying the attention of others, who were incapable of giving me everything I wanted…
…Because what I wanted was so much, too much, impossible…
I wanted someone to save me.
We are all looking to be saved; from pain; from life; and mostly, from ourselves.
I desperately latched on to identities and people whose attention and care fed me but it wasn’t enough. I was always starving. The moment my source of nourishment — a friend, a partner, work, success, the other — was absent, or left, I would crumble. I was on the floor, curled up. I felt like a sack of waste till they came back.
We spend all our lives feeling worthless unless we are plugged into an external source feeding us worth.
And it sounds something like this:
I am worthy because I am successful.
I am worthy because he/she/they love me.
I am worthy because I am physically beautiful….
I am worthy because I am popular.
These are our saviours.
THESE are our saviours?
I thought I had it all together. I had back ups and back ups of back ups. I had an army of saviours lined up to prop me on their shoulders.
They all left.
It is no one’s job to save you.
Your parents had the job once.
They had the chance to build your muscle of worth.
If they didn’t it was because they too were broken.
Their time to lift you, hold you, save you, is done.
As I stood alone, bereft of belonging,
I finally had no choice.
I knew the only answer was me.
I had to heal.
And so, it went something like this. And so, I spoke to myself like this:
“You are not alone. I am here. You don’t feel like you are worth anything. We are one. I am you and you, me. I am going nowhere.”
I’ve been looking within for over a year now.
Sitting in discomfort. It’s strange to think I am my home. I never thought I was anything… so, how could this be it?
I’ve spent the past year polishing my insides with attention, with love and reassurance.
I never left me even when the pain was unbearable.
I had to save me, you see.
If not for myself, then for my child.
It was because he needed me to save him that I ended up finally saving myself.
This is the beauty of children.
We think we raise them when in reality, it is they, with their innocence and heart, who remind us that we are beauty. We are light. We are their centre. And they, ours.