Four years ago I had a ‘mid-life crisis’.
At the time, it felt complicated, but with a little reflection, it was fairly simple for me to see how I ended up there. My life looked like a pretty little picture from the outside: I seemingly ‘had it all’. However, I was secretly and quietly drowning on the inside. I had become a shadow of myself and the fear of turning 40 only highlighted the question of “what happened to ME”? The pressure and guilt I put on myself to be a perfect business owner, wife, and mother became too much. I was numbing out, overly stressed, suffering panic attacks, and always questioning am I doing the “right” thing as a parent. This negative energy started to snowball affecting all aspects of my life, including the ones I loved most, my husband and boys. Simply, I wasn’t the person or parent I wanted to be.
Over a six month period, I went into the boxing ring with the universe and boy, was it sending me clear messages that I needed to change or keep suffering bigger consequences. The final KO was when my advertising agency of 12 years suddenly and unexpectedly closed it doors. This heartbreaking news made me stand up and take responsibility for all the emotions, habits, and other issues I was holding on to that were keeping me from living a less stressful, more fulfilled life.
Healing these deep wounds wasn’t an easy road especially one full of potholes, and bumps. I wanted an alternative to traditional therapy, and a friend suggested I see a Kinesiologist, who specialised in gently releasing mental, emotional and physical habits that are blocked in the body. She helped me release childhood patterns of behaviour (mainly triggered by stress and issues with self-worth) that were showing up in my adult life over and over again. In that growing and healing process, I learned new techniques such as meditation, affirmations, setting intentions, and breathing exercises. I couldn’t believe the sufficient changes in a short amount of time; I was sleeping better (without having to rely on pills), my stress levels reduced, my productivity increased, I started saying no to people and situations that didn’t feel right and saying yes to my pursuit of happiness. I become connected to myself and in return connected more deeply with others. My so called mid-life crisis turned out to be my mid-life awakening.
Then one inspired night, after attending a course called “Living Life Passionately” through my Kinesiologist, I tried a guided meditation with my eldest son, at bedtime. I thought it would be a wonderful gift to teach him some positive life habits, reduce any stress he might be holding on to and help him sleep more soundly. I couldn’t believe how receptive, calm and open he was. Since then, it transformed and progressed into a beautiful ritual. I even started to do it with our very hyper three-year-old, and it even worked at his restless age. Their bedtime went from chaos to calm. It took out the exhaustion of the negotiations, the bribes, the threats and the tension all associated with trying to get them to bed. Not only did it stop my hair from growing white, but it also made me a calmer, more present parent. Our connection started to develop in a deeper way, and the process overall was enhancing their self-worth. When they asked me to teach Dad, I began to write.
Being a parent I know all to well what other parents can go through at that dreaded bedtime. It’s frustrating, chaotic and time-consuming. Even for parents who have dream sleepers, I can’t recommend guided meditation enough: this is a wonderful way for families to connect and build their child’s self-worth by getting rid of anything negative that may have happened during the day and replacing it with a more positive mind set. It’s a stress reliever for both the parents and their children. It’s also about carving out a special time in this crazy, fast paced world. Children want our undivided attention, so it gives both parent and child space to unplug and plug into each other.
Self-confidence is important for a child’s abilities and judgment, however, in my opinion, the key to a happy and fulfilled life stems from somewhere deeper - self-worth. Self-worth is our internal currency and cannot be bought or sold, but it can grow or shrink. As a parent, I feel it’s one of my jobs is to guide and build this valuable currency of self-worth. When life is swimming along nicely, they will feel good about themselves and when difficult and stressful situations arise they can stay calm and know deep down they are just as significant and worthy as anyone else. It’s about nurturing, honouring and trusting the deepest part themselves – their hearts.
When I incorporated techniques of mindfulness into my life, I was able to weather the storm of my mid-life crisis and feel self-worth again. I wanted my children to experience this too. To guide children in understanding their value, uniqueness and that their power lies within them, not on factors and influences outside of them is a powerful gift. Self-worth is a story that begins in childhood and can affect an entire lifetime. If a child has a healthy sense of self-worth, it will allow them to make positive choices in becoming their best and happiest selves.