Root causes have been a recurring theme in my conversations and thought life lately. So many of us want quick fixes, but we don’t slow down enough to understand the root of the problem, thus the issue keeps manifesting in the same or new ways.
I reject the saying curiosity kills the cat. Curiosity is the birth place of learning.
For example, my child has been “rawring” very loudly in people’s faces. The parenting style we grew up with would demand the child behave better or get punished. This may very well solve the behavior that manifested, but it certainly does not get to the root of why my child feels he needs to do this. It also does not speak to him that he can trust me as a safe person. My mother’s intuition told me there is something more going on than him just being rude or annoying and rawring in people’s faces.
While we don’t allow him to continue this behavior, Erik and I decided to get curious and to notice when he is doing this, so we can understand him and figure out why. We noticed that he does this in situations when grownups are talking over him and ignoring him and situations where he feels powerless and out of control. It invokes some kind of an anxious response in him that manifests as him being loud to get any type of attention.
Rather than removing our love by punishing an unwanted behavior. We have been trying to double down on him feeling understood and loved. For instance, before Erik and I practice music (which had been a big trigger for him) we have been taking time to play legos or some other interactive game with him where we can prep him for what is going to happen.
Last week, while playing blocks, we had a conversation that went something like this, “Mommy and Daddy are going to practice music soon. We won’t be talking to you because we will be singing, but this does not mean that you aren’t important or still being cared for. You’re safe, and we are here with you even when you don’t have our full attention.”
When we went to practice, we got through almost our entire set without any issues. He just needs to feel seen, safe, and connected, and since he is two, he doesn’t have the words or capability to express that. Getting curious helped us learn how to better connect and communicate with him. Instead of making him feel isolated, alone, and like he was bad, we were able to make him feel good about himself and loved while also addressing the concerning behavior.
This can go for all relationships not just those with our children. Being curious about others as well as ourselves could go a long way to promote harmony and understanding.
Another example is health. Most people just want a pill, a cream, or a magic wand floated over them to solve the annoying or scary health problem at hand. Not many people are willing to get to the root of the problem. Our bodies are speaking to us with our acne, our acid reflux, our recurring nausea etc. Often times, our bodies don’t like what we are feeding it or need nutrients that we are not feeding it. Additionally, a lot of times, physical issues are a manifestation of unaddressed wounds and trauma. However, not many people are willing to get curious and start changing the lifestyles they are accustomed to or do the emotional work to actually listen and heed what their bodies are telling them. This is the first line of defense in preventing bigger issues. It’s a beautiful gift given to us by God that so many people are just completely ignoring and rejecting.
Our society seems to encourage people who feel uncomfortable in their own skin to distract themselves with exterior solutions. I’ve noticed people change their hair, get tattoos or piercings, or turn to various substances to numb what they are feeling when going through something. Some excessively work, utilize social media, binge watch shows, excessively travel etc. to distract themselves from having to deal with what is going on inside of them.
While these things aren’t bad in and of themselves, when it’s used to just slap a band aid on a dirty wound that needs to be thoroughly cleaned out and addressed, it just perpetuates the core issues.
Where you go, there you will be.
I would love to see a shift in society where all types of people are encouraged to be curious and patiently learn to love and accept themselves exactly as the human that they are with no buts.
You can’t escape the darkness inside just because you change yourself or your surroundings.
I did pretty much all the things I listed at one point or another. I felt that running away from my life and problems was going to magically help me feel better. While it was temporarily distracting, no matter how far I traveled, how transformative my new hairstyle was, how many likes I got on social media, how cool my tattoo was, there I was.
I knew I had certain issues, but I didn’t know how to go about addressing them. Additionally, I was afraid to address my flaws as it had been looked at as a weakness to have flaws let alone admit to them.
After years of deconstructing from the perfectionist mindset that was ingrained in me from my religious upbringing, I realized that getting professional help and talking to a therapist was not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength and courage. I got a therapist and started working through my stuff.
Doing the work is hard. It’s a process that never ends. I’ve had several revelation moments in my life where it felt like God shined a light right on something I kept stumbling on and struggling to process, and suddenly, it changed so much for me.
Just when I think I’ve arrived and addressed all my inner junk, something else pricks my flesh and triggers me, and I start the growth process of digging to the root all over again.
It’s a continuous journey to self-actualization. However, the lessons I'm learning along the way have been a path to greater peace, joy, and clarity.
*This blog is dedicated to Uncle Robert and Mickey Mouse. The most lovable and self-actualized person and cat to walk the earth. I still miss you both. ❤️💙