The Importance of Imitation: How our Unconscious Behaviors Impact our Children
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate.”
– CC Jung
Imitation is a natural and potent force, and as parents, it’s important to recognize that we may not always be conscious of whom we imitate and what we project. When our children are babies we naturally mirror their expressions, movements, and coos to nurture the bonding process. As they grow, we may fail to recognize our own unconscious attitudes, vocabulary, and behaviors being reflected back to us by our children – including qualities we may prefer to disown or deny.
It can be difficult to acknowledge that our own behavior may inadvertently contribute to the misbehavior of our children. It takes courage to turn inwards and examine the unconscious characteristics that may adversely affect them.
“It is only in the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
– The Little Prince
Working with the heart can help you to take a deeper, non-judgemental look at your characteristics. Below is an excerpt from “How to Live from Your Heart” by Nanette V. Hucknall that offers insight on how we can connect to our heart centers to uncover negative behaviors and attitudes and remove them from our characters.
Step 1: Find a place where you can center and connect to your heart.
Step 2: Make à list of negative characteristics you know you have and the ones you really would like to rid yourself of.
Examples might be:
Step 3: Ask your Heart if there are other characteristics that should be included on the list. If you get à yes, add them to the list.
Step 4: Prioritize, putting the worse one at the top.
Step 5: Starting with the first one, ask your Heart the following questions:
1. When did this characteristic come into being?
2. Is it from my family conditioning?
3. Is it something that I really would like to change? If the answer is yes, then ask what would be a good process and a first step in changing it. If the answer is no, then ask why not?
Step 6: Do a nightly review at the end of the day, reviewing the day and recognizing when that characteristic came up. Notice if certain people or circumstances bring out that characteristic.
In the morning remind yourself to be aware of when you get into this characteristic and try changing it at the moment it occurs.
Interested in learning more about how the Higher Self can
help you become more self-aware?
It takes practice and awareness, but when you start to realize how each characteristic is triggered, it is easier to stop the process. Through exercises like the one above, we can discover more about ourselves and where our characteristics come from – and, most importantly, if they are being mirrored by our children.
Higher Self Yoga for Kids & Parents is a resource for families interested in introducing spiritual yoga into their daily lives.
Learn more about how introducing mindfulness and
meditation to children at a young age can help build resilience, awareness and a stronger connection to their own
inner source of calm.
**Author’s note: Since writing this article, I recognize many more of my reflections in my child’s behavior. This deepens our connection as there are some that we can talk and laugh about. As for imitations that are not among the best form of flattery, I am empowered by awareness, and can choose to augment or discontinue those behaviors.