What is a Good Life? #53
A Path to Conscious Parenting with Yvonne Smyth
On the 53rd episode of the What is a Good Life? podcast, I am delighted to introduce our guest, Yvonne Smyth. Yvonne calls herself a Conscious Parenting Adventure Guide, and she's on a mission to change the world by bringing intention to how we love our children.
In this conversation, Yvonne takes us on her journey from her own frustrations with her experiences as a parent to exploring the unconscious and developing her own model for what’s important in her life: tending to herself, embodying love, and impacting the world through conscious parenting.
We touch on many important themes, from exploring the unconscious and the beliefs and stories we tell ourselves based on the behaviour of a child, to interpreting all behaviour as communication, enabling children to fulfil their own blueprint, along with the significance of giving them our time, attention, and presence.
While acknowledging our humanity and flaws, we explore the process of rupture and repair within our relationships, the significance of heartfelt apologies, and the importance of empathising with children while taking accountability for our actions.
Culminating in a beautiful realisation that conscious parenting is more about growing ourselves up than our children.
If you are presently struggling with parenting or other close relationships, this episode will touch on a substantial number of themes that may be ripe for you to explore. Yvonne’s insights and very relatable experiences will help guide you towards the potential of better parenting and relating generally with others in your life.
The weekly clip from the podcast (5 mins), my weekly reflection (4 mins), the full podcast (64 mins), and the weekly questions all follow below.
1. Weekly Clip from the Podcast
2. My weekly reflection
While Yvonne touches on several important aspects of our relationship with children, they are generally applicable to how we relate to others outside of parenting as well. A significantly underused and under-appreciated aspect of relating is giving a genuine and heartfelt apology and being accountable for our actions.
Similar to the expression "I forgive you," saying "I am sorry" is probably right up there in terms of an expression that is often used but perhaps rarely fully felt or embodied.
Whether it's the pain it causes our ego or sense of self, how certain situations or roles may incentivise not doing so, or the ubiquitous presence of politicians or CEOs denying the truth until fully checkmated, we seem to struggle with genuinely acknowledging our flaws or being accountable before having no other option.
However, this manner of "defending" or "protecting" ourselves, regardless of what people are doing elsewhere, generally harms us in the long run, irrespective of the external, material, or surface-level outcome.
Firstly, in terms of our own self-development as humans, the longer we distort our actions and the further we position our narratives from reality, the more we will suffer and hinder our own growth. It only makes it harder to be and know ourselves in the long run.
While we may be defending ourselves externally, internally we are telling ourselves that the truth of our behaviour is not acceptable, and perhaps we are not acceptable. So, in some ways, we don't escape the rejection we fear and seek to avoid with our denials; we just internalise it.
All of which makes our relationship with another even more complex than it already tends to be.
From my own experience, I've noticed a few crucial developments from offering an apology before it has been demanded, so to speak.
For one thing, it has greatly improved my relationship with myself. It has told me that it is okay to make mistakes, to be human, and there can be benefits to that as long as I am willing to see and acknowledge them myself. My internal narrative has massively shifted as a result of this acceptance, allowing me to explore more of myself. It has told me that parts of myself that I previously preferred to disown are okay; it widens the aperture of my self-inquiry.
Furthermore, it has greatly enhanced my capacity to connect with other human beings. It affords us the chance to connect through our shared humanity, not our carefully curated and restricted versions of ourselves.
There are few things that have built greater trust between me and another than offering a genuine apology and being accountable, and even giving the context (not an excuse) of my headspace, feelings, experiences, and intentions. It opens up our inner worlds to each other and allows other people to join us on our self-explorations and discoveries and vice versa.
By removing this unhelpful layer from the relationship, it provides an opportunity to truly meet each other, to marvel at the difficulty sometimes of altering our behaviour or being human, and to share in our frustrations of that difficulty. Seeking help, guidance, and connection with those having similar experiences becomes possible.
If you’d like to work with me individually as your coach, to awaken your own self-inquiry, message me here to a arrange a free 30-minute 1-on-1 consultation
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3. Full Episode - Changing The World Through Parenting - What is a Good Life? #53
4. This week’s Questions
When is the last time you gave someone a heartfelt apology, before it was asked for or before you hoped it would get you out of a difficult situation?
Whether with parenting or not, which relationship do you find yourself attempting to control the most or that you expect the most from?
I am a Coach based in Berlin, via Dublin, Ireland. I left behind a 15-year career in Capital Markets after I became extremely curious around answering some of the bigger questions in life. I started this project in 2021, for which I’ve now interviewed over 170 people, to provide people with the space to reflect on their own lives and to create content that would spark people’s own inquiry into this question. I am also trying to share more genuine expressions of the human experience, beyond the facades we typically project.