The third blog of this CHRISTMAS series:
What bugs me about Santa is that the one question he asks children is, “Have you been good?”
Where’s the unconditional love in that! Have we even stopped to question that!
What are the presuppositions in our society that are shaping our perception of the world?
At an individual and a societal level, we create a narrative of life from what we experience. This narrative subconsciously influences our thinking, our interactions, and our way of being.
R is for Relationship
Neuroscience is opening amazing new doorways to understanding that Relationship is essential to our well-being. But for at least the last century we’ve been seduced intoÂ believing that relationship is the poor cousin to what really matters. We’ve been brought up to perceive a false narrative as truth.
The narrative we have been sold is snake oil. We have ingested it, believing it will do us good. But it is a lie that has eroded our societal well-being. It undermines the fabric of society.
And what is this snake oil that has been promoted as the solution to our problems?
Here is the 20th century deception that is still plaguing us, stated by Nathaniel Branden in The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem:
the central goal of the maturational process is evolution toward autonomy
What is True Maturity?
We were fed the lie that independence is the pinnacle of maturity. We were made to believe that if we were truly mature we wouldn’t need anyone else. Autonomy – pursuing a course for myself , often regardless of the consequences or impact. Doesn’t that sum up what’s wrong with our world today. Autonomy as the mark of maturity has been a dangerous and destructive narrative. That narrative is one of the greatest 20th century deceptions. It’s a narrative that destroys lives and destroys society. If we are focused on independence we lose sight that we are born to be relational beings. We forget the humanity of the other. It is a narrative that feeds fear and war. It’s a deception that has caused us to disconnect from who we are – beings who are made to be in relationship.
It is FALSE NEWS that independence is the mark of maturity!
Scientific Discoveries About Human Well-Being
A new and healthier narrative is evolving – one our world desperately needs. And interestingly that narrative is evolving from science. Neuroscience has proven our brains are designed to be in relationship. The neuroscientist Cozolino perceives a parallel between the neural synapses of our brains and what he terms the “social synapse – the space between us’. He states that our brains’ development is directly impacted by social interaction as “people, like neurons, excite, interconnect, and link together to create relationships.” Amie Senland*
Neuroscientist and parenting expert Daniel J. Siegel states,
For ‘full’ emotional communication, one person needs to allow his state of mind to be influenced
by that of the other.
It’s time to create a new narrative – a narrative of interdependence and co-operation as the goal of maturity – drawing from both ancient wisdom and cutting-edge science for a healthier, happier society. Human well-being is dependent on healthy relationships. We are not designed for isolated independence, we are made to be in relationship – to be collaborative and interdependent. We need to model this to the next generation, while there is still time to create a tipping point back to harmony and balance.
If we use how we were taught yesterday to teach our children today, we are not preparing them well for tomorrow. Daniel J Siegel
At an individual and societal level we need to heal breaches in relationship. What makes us fully and joyfully human is being in collaborative, nurturing connection with others. And this is especially true in parenting. Our children rely on us to heal the ruptures in relationship. We as parents are responsible for the emotional temperature in the home.
If this thought challenges or inspires you, you may enjoy reading my blog post on MyKidstime, “How to Avoid Christmas Meltdown By Understanding Your Child’s Temperament”.
Maturity is about collaboration and cooperation. This Christmas I invite you to think about how to create relationships that recognise this as the true goal of maturity. In our homes, education, work and social environments, how do we let go a narrative of authoritarianism and independence to embrace a narrative of collaboration and cooperation?
So it’s over to you. I invite you to notice where you may have encouraged or modelled independence rather than cooperation.
What’s the one doable step you choose today that nurtures interdependence and cooperation in your relationships?
In what ways can you support others to value cooperation and collaboration?
* Quoting Cozolino: “The Neuroscience of Healthy Relationships: Attachment and the Healthy Social Brain” https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03057240.2014.971483 15/12/2018