My dear psychoanalyst always warned me: “If you want to care for your children, stop trying to ‘help them . AVOID HURTING THEM. Carry the responsibility for your own consequences; repair them so as not to pass them on to them. That would be enough”.
Just the other day, my 22 year old daughter returned from work in a sea of tears. The promotion she had been working so hard for, and rightly deserved, had been given to another girl who was willing to pay her boss with sexual favors. She was deeply insulted and appalled.“Welcome to the worldl!” I said sarcastically, remembering my own experiences, as I flashed back over moments where being a woman, had been a set-back and a reason for abuse. I was furious. So much so, that my dreams replayed the pain. It wasn´t fair…but it never has been.
She kept asking herself, why she wasn´t upgraded. ‘Wasn´t she good enough?’. ‘Was she trying too hard?’, putting herself down as she became over-assailing. I was very proud of her, but could see her self-doubts belittling her self-esteem. And again I saw myself in her shoes.
“Please Dear God, don´t let her repeat the mistake of putting myself down, for others to love me!” I prayed. Maybe my mother prayed the same, for me.
As it was, she got the promotion and public recognition for her hard work. But I was left with my fears, reflecting on the personal work I had to do, to avoid setting wrong examples.
I see it in my patients, over and over again. Young girls choosing lovers who are alcoholic, to inwardly try to heal their fathers; or others who choose married men…unconsciously exploring the reasons why their fathers commit adultery…or young girls who unwittingly get pregnant just to abort and ‘kill’ their inner child, as they feel unwanted, themselves. The Bible rightly warned that we would be passing down our sins, from generation to generation.
Before carrying the responsibility for our deeds we must learn to care for ourselves. This starts with respect for self and others. ‘Respect’, from the Latin: ‘re-spectio’ (to perceive from another angle), will give us a second opportunity to see ourselves from re-newed understanding that will set a firmer pivot for our personal choices. It’s not about right or wrong; about judgment or punishment. It´s about forgiving ourselves and accepting our human imperfection; it’s about repairing the damage done, from the compassion that comes when we re-cognize that same imperfection, in others. It all starts and ends with love.