UpPsychling

We can attempt to live a life free from battle scars, to reach the end of our time in pristine condition, but that’s not what we’re here for. The sterility necessary for such a life would be near impossible, offering an arid life at best, involving as its highest priority the avoidance of relationships in any form. The truth is that so often, it is our falls or fails that become the foundation for our magic.

At the heart of the ancient Japanese art is the idea that an object’s imperfections should be embraced, never hidden.

Clay pottery begins its life as a shapeless, earthen mass. With time, effort and the tender hand of an artist striving for perfection, that shapeless earthen mass is turned into something else – a cup, a bowl, a plate, a vase – something valued for its usefulness, the time it took to create and of course, its inherent beauty.

But what if that object, valued for its flawlessness, breaks?

According to Kintsukuroi, that piece can now be something even stronger and more beautiful than it was in its original form.

Rather than hiding the break or collecting the broken pieces and scraping them from dustpan to bin, the piece is repaired, its broken seams joined with gold. The break becomes an important part of the object and speaks eloquently of its history.

The same applies to people. We have our breaks, our cracks along the seams, our battle scars. They come with every version of life.

Relationships come with the biggest battle scars of all, be it with a lover, a friend, parent, brother, sister, child. We will walk away richer for being in relationship to another, hopefully happier, but never unscarred. It’s an unavoidable part of being human.

We feel our edges. We stretch against them. We hold steady. We stagnate. We find courage and daring and we push beyond. Sometimes. Sometimes we are pushed. Sometimes we fly. Sometimes we drop. Hard. Sometimes we wonder how we’ll ever get back up.

Not only are the cracks unavoidable, but they are also important as it’s from these cracks that our new growth shoots. It’s tempting to hide these breaks, to push them deeper to somewhere under our skin unseen by us, the people who love us, and the rest of the world. But when handled with tenderness and grace, we can fill these cracks with gold, own our history, and be stronger for the opportunity. We can ‘up psychle’.

It’s the fragility in us – and it’s there in all of us – that brings the opportunity to find the gold. It’s these cracks that speak of our resilience, our strength and our humanity, ultimately leading to something even more beautiful than perfection.

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I’m so excited for this! I’m coming back to Perth in February for another parent talk on 'Strengthening Children and Teens Against Anxiety'. Here’s the when and the where:

⏰ 6:30-8:30pm | 📆 Wed 22 Feb 2023
📍 Peter Moyes Anglican Community School, #mindarie

For tickets or more info google:

Parenting Connection WA Karen Young anxiety Mindarie Perth

💜 Thanks to @ngalaraisinghappiness for hosting this event.

#supportingwaparents #parentingwa
Let them know …

Anxiety shows up to check that you’re okay, not to tell you that you’re not. It’s your brain’s way of saying, ‘Not sure - there might be some trouble here, but there might not be, but just in case you should be ready for it if it comes, which it might not – but just in case you’d better be ready to run or fight – but it might be totally fine.’ Brains can be so confusing sometimes! 

You have a brain that is strong, healthy and hardworking. It’s magnificent and it’s doing a brilliant job of doing exactly what brains are meant to do – keep you alive. 

Your brain is fabulous, but it needs you to be the boss. Here’s how. When you feel anxious, ask yourself two questions:

- ‘Do I feel like this because I’m in danger or because there’s something brave or important I need to do?’

- Then, ‘Is this a time for me to be safe (sometimes it might be) or is this a time for me to be brave?

And remember, you will always have ‘brave’ in you, and anxiety doesn’t change that a bit.♥️

#positiveparenting #mindfulparenting #parenting #childanxiety #heywarrior #heywarriorbook
The temptation to fix their big feelings can be seismic. Often this is connected to needing to ease our own discomfort at their discomfort, which is so very normal.

Big feelings in them are meant to raise (sometimes big) feelings in us. This is all a healthy part of the attachment system. It happens to mobilise us to respond to their distress, or to protect them if their distress is in response to danger.

Emotion is energy in motion. We don’t want to bury it, stop it, smother it, and we don’t need to fix it. What we need to do is make a safe passage for it to move through them. 

Think of emotion like a river. Our job is to hold the ground strong and steady at the banks so the river can move safely, without bursting the banks.

However hard that river is racing, they need to know we can be with the river (the emotion), be with them, and handle it. This might feel or look like you aren’t doing anything, but actually it’s everything.

The safety that comes from you being the strong, steady presence that can lovingly contain their big feelings will let the emotional energy move through them and bring the brain back to calm.

Eventually, when they have lots of experience of us doing this with them, they will learn to do it for themselves, but that will take time and experience. The experience happens every time you hold them steady through their feelings. 

This doesn’t mean ignoring big behaviour. For them, this can feel too much like bursting through the banks, which won’t feel safe. Sometimes you might need to recall the boundary and let them know where the edges are, while at the same time letting them see that you can handle the big of the feeling. Its about loving and leading all at once. ‘It’s okay to be angry. It’s not okay to use those words at me.’

Ultimately, big feelings are a call for support. Sometimes support looks like breathing and being with. Sometimes it looks like showing them you can hold the boundary, even when they feel like they’re about to burst through it. And if they’re using spicy words to get us to back off, it might look like respecting their need for space but staying in reaching distance, ‘Ok, I’m right here whenever you need.’♥️
We all need certain things to feel safe enough to put ourselves into the world. Kids with anxiety have magic in them, every one of them, but until they have a felt sense of safety, it will often stay hidden.

‘Safety’ isn’t about what is actually safe or not, but about what they feel. At school, they might have the safest, most loving teacher in the safest, most loving school. This doesn’t mean they will feel enough relational safety straight away that will make it easier for them to do hard things. They can still do those hard things, but those things are going to feel bigger for a while. This is where they’ll need us and their other anchor adult to be patient, gentle, and persistent.

Children aren’t meant to feel safe with and take the lead from every adult. It’s not the adult’s role that makes the difference, but their relationship with the child.

Children are no different to us. Just because an adult tells them they’ll be okay, it doesn’t mean they’ll feel it or believe it. What they need is to be given time to actually experience the person as being safe, supportive and ready to catch them.

Relationship is key. The need for safety through relationship isn’t an ‘anxiety thing’. It’s a ‘human thing’. When we feel closer to the people around us, we can rise above the mountains in our way. When we feel someone really caring about us, we’re more likely to open up to their influence
and learn from them.

But we have to be patient. Even for teachers with big hearts and who undertand the importance of attachment relationships, it can take time.

Any adult at school can play an important part in helping a child feel safe – as long as that adult is loving, warm, and willing to do the work to connect with that child. It might be the librarian, the counsellor, the office person, a teacher aide. It doesn’t matter who, as long as it is someone who can be available for that child at dropoff or when feelings get big during the day and do little check-ins along the way.

A teacher, or any important adult can make a lasting difference by asking, ‘How do I build my relationship with this child so s/he trusts me when I say, ‘I’ve got you, and I know you can do this.’♥️

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