One of the greatest gifts we can offer our children is attunement with their emotions. When we meet our child's emotions with empathy, acceptance and reciprocation their emotional world becomes rich and healthy. Conversely, when we repeatedly are out of tune with our child's emotions their emotional experience becomes impoverished, with entire ranges of emotions being nearly obliterated.
If we so happen to be an adult with an impoverished emotional life carried on from our own childhood experience, the game is not over, a healthy, rich emotional life is not only possible but necessary so we can in turn offer healthy attunement to the emotions of others in our lives. We can break the chain of this impoverished emotional existence which may have existed in our family tree for many generations being passed on from parent to child in a vicious circle of apathy.
Attunement with Our Own Emotional Life
In order to begin to nourish long hidden emotions which shriveled in unwelcome environments, we need to first learn to be attuned to our own emotional life. This is done by mindfully listening to our body. Noticing and acknowledging emotional reactions, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant. Acknowledging needs to be followed by acceptance of the emotional reaction. Through this process of acknowledging and accepting our emotional life, we create a non-judgmental atmosphere where our emotions will be accepted as appropriate and a deeper understanding and compassion towards our self will begin to emerge.
Spend Time with Others who are Attuned to your Emotions
Once we are more in attuned to our own emotional experience, it becomes increasingly clearer when we are spending time with others who do share empathy with our emotional reactions. If your childhood was scarred with this environment, in all likelihood your family still will not provide the needed environment to foster this new area of growth. Time needs to be wisely allocated to open up space for new relationships where you can continue to grow. The vicious cycle of apathy can be slowly transformed into a cycle of empathy. The more attunement you receive the more you can give, not only to yourself but also to others.
Like most other elements of personal work, this is not a self-transformation that happens overnight. It happens over a lifetime of continual vigilance of both our outer and inner environments. We did not become who we are, faults and strengths included, from one or two childhood interactions but tens of thousands of interactions following similar patterns. Although our brain remains malleable throughout our life, and change is possible, well engrained habits of thoughts, emotional reactions, and behaviors take conscious, consistent efforts to change.
Heads up, one foot in front of the other, engagement in the process of change is the reward in itself. The tender seedlings of change will come and your life will blossom as it was intended to do.
To break this chain, we need to engage in the personal work of inner awareness, and consistent, conscious constructive
choices to engender a healthy environment for our emotions to develop. The reward is healthy relationships, and an increasing ability to experience empathetic acknowledgement to the feelings of others and of your own.