Do you know what your parents see when they really look at you (or when they did)? A beautiful, successful, radiant soul shining? Or someone who needs to lose weight, exercise, get a better job, relax, get a haircut, wear nicer clothes, speak up, quiet down . . ?
What do you see when you look at your child? Of course you love them, but when you gaze at them, what are you thinking about?
A mess about to happen?
A project or chore they haven't done yet?
A habit that needs to change?
A worry about how they will end up?
Someone who's headed for trouble?
A bad mood?
Or do you see a radiant soul?
When a baby is born we can see the soul so easily, but as life goes on we sometimes begin to see a child through the lens of our mistakes, our conditioning, and our challenging experiences. And children (and adults) can sense that, even if they don't say anything. They can see the disappointment, criticism, and worry in our eyes, just as they can see the admiration, love, and pride.
It is possible to begin seeing the radiant being in everyone with practice. To begin, we have to notice what is already happening. Today, will you join me noticing what you see? Take ten minutes to sit and write about what you notice in yourself when you look at your child. Let yourself consider whether they notice and how that may feel to them.
As a mom (to 2 teenage sons), wife, and person in the world, I have been on a long imperfect journey. I have made many mistakes, but with mindfulness, emotional reflection, and lots of support I have learned enormously from those mistakes.