Everything in our lives involves relationships, and it is precisely for this reason that both strengthening and debilitating experiences arise in relationships. It will depend on the scenario in which we develop our social brain. This is how it is since the moment of our conception. Our very birth, which was supposed to end with the fusion with our mother when leaving her, instead gives way to another form of relationship.
During this time our survival depends on that mother, or in case she is missing, on someone who takes care of us, feeds us, calms us down, helps us to develop that nervous system that is still in process to be completed. It is extraordinary the way in which in order to regulate ourselves we need another nervous system that has developed that capacity. Connect to be alive is a biological imperative.
The development of human beings capable of emotional regulation and with the ability to co-regulate with other human beings will depend on the kind and quality of care they have received from their parents. All emotional connection patterns that they will develop are the result of those that their parents may have. Parents with unresolved traumas, with unmanaged sadness, with unregulated stress, can be unpredictable for children.
Children who grow up with parents in an unstable scenario, in which unpredictable mood swings are part of the usual dynamics, incorporate a lack of regulation and, in turn, if they have children, those unresolved may pass to them.
For children, what is good is that their environment is trustworthy, and that those who care for them are able to form a supportive relationship in which they can feel that their needs will be recognized consistently. That shall give meaning to their world and they will be able to learn from their caregivers how to regulate themselves emotionally by mirroring the way those adults regulate. Reliably calm parents, reliably available, reliably sensitive to the child’s needs, and equally reliable providers.
This is not always possible, let’s be realistic, unregulations will be part of the scenario and it is because as adults we ourselves lack all that reliability and are unaware of our natural emotional regulation abilities.
That unregulated stress that we vibrate, even if we try to hide it as best as we can, it is captured by the nervous systems of others and enormously affects our relationships in any area of our lives. It’s contagious.
Therefore, learning about it, taking steps towards getting this regulation is something that leads many people to see a therapist, whose qualities will be tranquillity, presence, sensitivity, availability… In short, that will help the person to have a space in which their internal information can be organized in a way that makes sense, regain a state of security, perhaps comfort and meaning aligned with their internal truth.
Therapy is care giving. A space of security and connection that helps and empowers us to develop that self-regulation that could not be reached in childhood.
Neuroplasticity is on our side. “It is never too late to have a happy childhood” is a statement that is confirmed, day after day, in the consultation. Nothing is impossible for our nervous system, I dare to say that it even «desires» to recover its natural elasticity and to return to a flexible and relaxed state.
It is wonderful to witness the breaking of any chain of sadness, trauma and disturbances that shall no longer be passed from parent to child. If we can bring that kindness, that recovered availability to all our relationships, we create a different world, the one we ourselves need, the one our children need, the one we all need.
Living in constant activation, with a load of stress in the body that has not been released and that will show itself, when we least expect it, in the form of emotional explosions, is something that has a solution.
If we say that we do not have time to explore forms of regulation and learn about we are showing a clear sign that we know nothing about our needs or our priorities. This is undoubtedly “gas lighting” ourselves, something that, as you can imagine, we learned when we were children, when our needs for real connection took a backseat in order to attend to the unpredictable states of those adult caregivers.
Instead of running to survive, instead of running from ourselves and permanently living in a state of internal struggle that, even at leisure or “rest”, sounds like a song in the background, there is the option to CONNECT TO BE ALIVE. Curiously, it is a biological imperative we have since we are born and it is what we forget.
All I am saying is just a kind sharing with you, a reminder that the regulation occurs in the connection with oneself and with others.
Today I send you an invitation, let’s stop for a moment and let’s connect to feel that we are alive.
To be alive is to be. And to be is all we long for.
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