For children to be mentally stable and to feel loved, they must be allowed to express their fears and pain of losses, as well as their hopes and longings.
The parent or primary caregiver must listen to, bear the burden of and validate the child’s thoughts and feelings with compassion, love, comfort and care.
This is the cornerstone of creating a foundation of deep self worth and safety within a child. This is an emotional, survival-level need for a child. With this validation, a child can thrive.
This arguably leads to creation of a feeling of internal safety that is far deeper and far more valuable than any feeling of external safety (basic physical and survival needs aside).
Sometimes a child’s expression of losses and fears are cut off too soon, perhaps in order to change to a subject that is less threatening or more convenient for a parent.
When these basic expressions of need from a child are unattended to, the child can collapse into a traumatic state — one marked by symptoms of depression, self-loathing, perhaps even self-harm. Or conversely, the child develops defenses marked by grandiosity and invulnerability.
The child assumes a false belief that fears and their losses in life are something to hide in shame — for it seems the expression of these feelings must make a person unlovable.
A parent must have to courage to hear their child’s expressions of pain and losses with deep love and understanding. When the adult listens with compassion and wisdom, magical things can occur. The evaporation of the child’s fears and losses organically takes place — and they are now transformed into expressions of hope and longing. The child knows they have been seen; their pain, loss and fear has been valued and heard with love.
Now the child can live in harmony with himself or herself, able to express pain, fear, loss, hopes and longings. All are essential in order to live a vital and balanced emotional life.
As adults we need to value these principles throughout our lifespans to guard against the development of masked depression, anxieties, panic and addictions.
The lack of these fundamental needs of all human beings is arguably the root of all mental illness.
The restoration of these fundamental needs is arguably the cornerstone of mental wellness.
Here is a self-soothing affirmation:
I will speak about my pain, losses and fears now without the shame I have carried for years. I will commit to bringing into my life a parent/ caregiver/ friend or professional who is not to afraid to listen and willingly bear my feelings with loving compassion. I cannot heal alone. As I find loving individuals in my life, I also will commit to treat myself with loving compassion, safe in the knowledge that all of my losses, fears, pains and longings are valuable. They represent my deep worth and the worth of all others.