Hosted by Jodi Hildebrandt.
This is part 1 of a 2-part series. Listen to part 2 >
In this 2-part series, Jodi explains how your children can become emotionally disconnected—and if you do not understand distortion, you won’t even recognize that they are disconnecting! Get equipped to recognize the signs and symptoms of distorted thinking, so you can inoculate your children against disconnection, and guide them back into connection if they choose to disconnect!
Episode 98: Distortion & Disconnection—The Silent Killers of Children (Part 1)
Welcome to ConneXions Classroom Podcast. We are so excited to introduce to you the opportunity for you to join us in a classroom setting where you will be taught the principles of connection. For those of you who have already joined us on the podcasts, and for those for you who have not, you are now ready to step into an extensive, hands-on, all-star classroom experience to better understand why you are experiencing and interpreting life the way that you do.
You will be introduced to the foundational principles of personal integrity, which are: how to live impeccable honesty, rigorous personal responsibility, humility, vulnerability, openness, willingness, transparency, and boundaries.
This is a 12-week intensive course that consists of meeting one time a week for two hours. You will be given six workbooks. In each workbook, instruction will be given to you on core concepts of how to live your life from a position of emotional honesty, Reality, Truth, boundaries, validation, being able to recognize your distortions, and how choice plays a central role in all of your experiences and emotional outcomes.
Some of the concepts covered inside of the classroom include: what validation and vulnerability are and how to animate those principles your life; how to live in Truth rather than distortion; how to recognize your distraction and your controlling behavior in your relationships; and how to live a life of peace rather than pain. Powerful concepts that change lives, beginning with yours.
Hundreds of people have participated already, and have drastically transformed their lives by living and being in Truthful, emotionally honest relationships. They report experiences of personal empowerment and emotional and mental sophistication being introduced into their relationships.
So, now it’s your turn to come and participate. This classroom experience will change the way you interact with yourself and others in powerful ways, giving you the tools and emotional sophistication to connect deeply inside yourself and invite other in your life to do the same.
Come and experience connection. Go to www.connexionsclassroom.com, and hit the “Go to Academy” button and sign up. I look forward to meeting you and connecting.
Welcome to ConneXions Classroom Podcast. I’m Jodi Hildebrandt. Today is December 31st, 2016 and tomorrow will be the beginning of a brand-new year – 2017. In fact, there are probably people on the planet right now who are celebrating the new year, because we’re one of the last people on the planet to actually bring in the new year.
A couple of years ago, I remember I was in New Zealand with one of my children and it was the first time that we had been there to New Zealand, and I was unaware that they are the first ones on the planet to actually ring in the new year. So welcome to 2017 people in New Zealand, and we’re hours behind you.
I hope that in 2016, that all of us had experiences that we recognized, that were helpful in creating wisdom, and compassion, and sophistication, and allowed us to be more emotionally honest and responsible for ourselves. Regardless of what those experiences were, oftentimes learning those kinds of principles comes with very uncomfortable experiences, and I hope that 2016 was a 365-day journey that you took and that you are grateful for those days that you spent in that year.
I want to talk today about children and distortion. And so, this podcast, if I can present it in a way that’s really clear, is endeavoring to teach you how to connect first with yourself and therefore with your children or any child that maybe you have responsibility or charge over.
So, I use that word connect. This podcast is here to invite you into connection first with yourself, because if you’re not connected with you, there is no way you’re going to connect with another soul. So it’s very important that you learn how to connect with yourself first, and then invite these beautiful little children to come into connection with you.
So, let’s first start off by reading about what connection is. Connection is the central spiritual and emotional need of every human being. Let me say that again. Connection is the central spiritual and emotional need of every human being. That is incredibly powerful.
The podcast is about children and distortion, and so what in the world does children and distortion have to do with connection? Well, it is the distortion inside your child that is going to cause them to not be able to connect. And if connection is the central spiritual, and emotional need of every human being, then it is incredibly important to understand what distortion is and to be able to recognize it in yourself and then in your child, so that when you hear it in either you or them, you’re able to confront it and invite yourself and your children back into connection.
So, we’re going to talk about exactly how to live the principles that create connection, because connection is not something that you just say I want to connect and then that happens; you have to be choosing to live certain principles. And I’ve talked a lot about what those principles are. I’m going to go over them again in this podcast so that you are very clear that children, just as adults, are in need of the exact same principles. They need to be taught those principles, and the best way to teach them is to model and also to verbally teach them these principles. And, if you are only verbally teaching and not modeling, your children will not listen to what you have to say. Whoever made up the adage, “do I say, not as I do” – that is not the Truth. People do not—especially children—follow what you say. They will follow what you do. So it’s very important that you live inside these principles so that you can be available for connection at any point.
Connection is the ability to know yourself completely and to share yourself with yourself, with others, and to share yourself with God or a Higher Power.
Connection is an outcome—here it is, here’s how you connect—connection is an outcome of being impeccably emotionally honest, assertive, responsible, humble, transparent, open, and vulnerable.
It means taking risks, sacrificing, and genuinely validating others.
Calm, and peace, and empathy are the outcomes of a lifestyle of connection. Calm, and peace, and empathy are the outcomes of connection. So, what that means is, calm, and peace, and empathy: Calm, and peace, and empathy doesn’t mean that everything’s just peaceful, and there’s never any waves in your life, and you have no conflict – that’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is that you stay inside life and as experiences present themselves, you are able—because you know how to be honest and responsible with your emotions and your thoughts—you know how to create Truth, you know how to go into Truth and engage Truth inside these very tumultuous experiences.
So, let’s say your two-year-old just pulled your laptop down on the floor and it broke, the screen cracked and it’s pretty much inoperable. And you look at your two-year-old and you don’t feel calm and peace, you feel upset, you feel angry, you’re mad at your wife, how come she put it there and left the cord hanging down? “Who was watching little Frankie anyways?” you think. And you don’t feel peace and you don’t feel calm and in those moments, you can take a deep breath and have some empathy for little Frankie, and realize his vulnerability, and realize that there was nothing intentional about him pulling on that cord. He’s crawling around on the ground and it’s kind of an interesting vantage point looking up to the table and there was this long black cord hanging down. And of course, any child is going to pull on something that’s hanging down from the table and they had no idea that it was connected to something that could have fallen and hit him on the head and really hurt him. However, he was spared that injury.
And so, in that experience you take a deep breath and you say, “You know what? That was not intentional and a good thing Frankie was not hurt. I can either get this fixed, or save up my money to get another one if I choose.” And I get a bigger picture in my mind. And so, even though life is still happening around me, because of the way I choose to think I’m able to go into a place of peace. And in a place of peace, I can feel calm, and I can have empathy for myself, and I can have empathy for those around me.
So, that’s what connection or living in connection creates, is that you are so awake that you know when things are going on that are difficult to manage, you know because you have the skills to come back into connection, come back into Truth, come back into Reality, come back into honesty, being responsible for your thoughts, and your feelings, and your behaviors, and you’re able to humble yourself. And inside that space, you will create a sense of peace, a sense of calm. And the outcome will be connection.
The pathway to connection is impeccable honesty, rigorous personal responsibility, and humility. Those three characteristics: honest, responsible, and humble. Those who pursue this course become conscious of and can challenge their distorted thoughts, their false beliefs, their fears, their addictions, their lusts, and selfishness, and find the fruits of love, empathy, intimacy, compassion, personal empowerment, spiritual freedom, and connection.
So, connection is, as you can hear, a pathway. It is an outcome of walking along this path of emotionally honesty, personal, rigorous responsibility. And responsible for what? Responsible for my own feelings, all of them. Responsible for my thoughts, every one of them, I’m responsible for. And I’m also responsible for when I think something and I feel something, the choices that I make to behave those things that I think and feel. I’m responsible for everything that goes inside my body, inside my mind, and the choices and the outcomes that I choose and how they play out. I’m responsible for those things. And so, being able to be honest and responsible would mean I would have to be humble. There’s no way to be truly honest and responsible if you are not a humble being.
So, those are the characteristics that create connection, and connection is the outcome of living inside those principles.
[00:13:15] Children & Distortion
Now, children and distortion – children can learn how to connect. They come to the planet connected and because they come here where there’s so much disconnect and they interact with people like us who are oftentimes very disconnected, they learn how to disconnect, and they don’t know how to get back to that connected state. And that’s where you and I step in, is that we have a charge for the children of the planet, and that is to teach them the principles of how to reconnect with themselves, come back to their original state of being when they entered this existence.
So, when I talk to you about connection, does that sound like something you would like to have with your children or your child? Do you want connection or closeness with them? Do you want them to come to you with their problems? Do you want them to feel safe around you?
So, depending on how you answered those questions, which I’m sure that the majority of you answered those in the affirmative, you must learn both oppositional positions: you must learn what distortion is and you must also learn what Truth is. Because distortion violates connection. And Truth is where connection lives. When I live in Truth, which means I live in honesty, and responsibility, and humility—as I live there, I will be in The Truth. I will be in Reality. I will be connected to my vulnerability. I’m going to talk a little bit more about vulnerability here in a minute. And it’s a very important word that you understand because children do an amazing job living in their vulnerability; most of them have no problem being vulnerable. Vulnerability means that they are really honest.
They struggle with accountability because they’re not quite awake enough to understand the rigor of being personally accountable and it’s our job to teach them that. And they have no problem just saying what they think, saying what they feel. You probably have heard the axiom “out of the mouth of babes,” well, it’s very true, all of us have been around children and children say the darndest things – they just say what the Truth is.
Probably many of us have had this experience when you go to the store and someone’s really overweight and out of the grocery cart, your child says, “Mom, they’re really fat, aren’t they?” As they’re walking by. They have no malice, they have no intention of harm, they’re just saying what it is that they see because they’re incredibly vulnerable. Vulnerable.
They’re very loving. They have no issue with coming up and hugging you, or telling you don’t be sad, or I can tell your sad, or I’m sorry that you got upset at my sister, she was being mean, wasn’t she? I mean, they are really connected to their feelings because they’re very vulnerable.
And again, as they live in this existence called earth school, they start becoming more disconnected dependent on the environment that they’re in. If there’s a lot of disconnect being verbalized or modeled, children will disconnect pretty quickly. If they are in an environment where there’s trauma, and yelling, and drama, and lots of codependency, and denial, they’ll disconnect pretty quick, yet if they live in environments that are nurturing, and validating, and responsible—they need to be held accountable as well, that’s really important for them to stay connected, is that they need to know when they do things and say things that are inappropriate—they will stay connected.
So, let’s talk about children, like who are they, who are children? And why do we as adults choose to have children? I want you to think about these questions as I ask them to you, and you can go back and listen to these questions again and think about them, like who are children? You were once a child, right? You were a child at one point.
And so, who are you and who were you? And why do we as adults want to have children so badly? It seems like so many people are desirous to have children. What is our responsibility when we do have them? When do we stop calling them children? And what does “children” mean to you? What does the word children mean to you? And when do you, or when do they start transitioning from a child to an adult in your mind? And then, what do you do with them after that, once they’re adults? So, is it when they hit 18, then they no longer are your child—they’re now an adult? Do they turn from a child that you have responsibility over, to a friend? I mean, how do you transition that?
A lot of times, children—and I’m using children quite loosely, birth to 18 I would call children—because of their environment, because of the people who are around them and the people who are influencing them, if we as those people are not clear about those questions and those answers to those questions, we will project our own distortion onto our children. Like, we won’t know when they turn into an adult. And some people say well they’re 18 but they’re not really an adult yet. And it’s like, well when exactly does that happen? Is it 32? I mean, what magic day shows up on the calendar that then says you’re an adult?
What I would invite you to think about is that we, the second those children are born, we are working ourselves out of a job with them. We are charged with imparting every bit of wisdom that we have to them. We are obligated, I would say, to teach them how to take care of themselves, how to be responsible for themselves, how to live these characteristics of virtues that create happiness or create connection. It is our responsibility to teach our children these particular principles so that when they hit that age of adulthood—wherever it is on the calendar for you, I hope it’s 16 to 18—that they are ready to launch into the world and that you can figuratively and literally wave goodbye to them from the front door step and say I love you, I adore you, I will always be your parent, you will always be my child symbolically, however, my rearing of you is over and you are now 100 percent responsible for taking care of yourself.
So, who are they—children? You were once a child, who were you? What did you think? What did you feel? What did you need? What were you curious about? What were your dreams, your fantasies, your thoughts, your understandings, your fears, your worries, your expectations, beliefs, and ideas? How did you behave when you were a child and how did others, parents, adults, respond to you or with you? What did you learn as a child? Did you learn how to advocate for yourself or not? Did you learn how to feel, and acknowledge, and validate your emotions or not? Did you learn how to feel, acknowledge, and validate others’ emotions or not? Did you learn how to fear people, emotions, things, animals, risking, yourself?
Some really important questions in there and again, I would invite you to go back and listen to those questions and answer those questions because you, I assume, are listening to this podcast because either you are a parent and you have a child or children, and/or you have charge over a child children, and/or you are a grandparent who is helping rear other children or a child, so somehow you have a connection to a child.
And so, why is it so important for you to be able to answer those questions in you? Well, because you the one that’s going to be modeling for this child. And children, again, will follow what you do. They will not follow what you say unless your words and your behaviors are congruent. If what you say is what you do, then they will follow what you say because they will have ample evidence that you do what you say.
So, you are the first person that you need to pay attention to, and you need to become very conscientious about what distortion is and what Truth is, so that you can understand the oppositional force between the two.
So, in all of your childhood—birth to 18—there were hundreds of days of core instruction on how to become an adult. Now, I’m very aware that many people did not get that. They went through their days of what was supposed to be core instruction on how to be an adult. However, as they lived these hundreds of days, they were not instructed on how to become an adult, they were not instructed on how to stay connected, and once they disconnect, how to get back into connection. They spent their childhood in a place of distortion and they had no idea that that’s where they were.
So, for those people, you are not as accountable as those of us who were not raised that way and,and, and, and, and, because you are listening to a podcast like this, you are now responsible because you are learning. You are learning that disconnection looks a certain way and that it is imperative that you learn how to connect. And so, as you complete this podcast and other podcasts, you are now responsible. Consider yourself alerted to challenge your distortion and come back into connection.
When someone gets reared into adulthood, adults are the outcomes of someone’s childhood, so depending on how an adult acts is the outcome of how they were treated in childhood or what they learned in childhood. Whatever someone learned in their childhood, they will act out or behave it in their adulthood.
So, what did you learn? You need to know that. You need to know what you’ve learned. And then, you need to understand that you learned in your childhood is what you will teach and model in your adulthood. That’s what you’ll do unless you recognize what it is that you don’t want to model and teach and learn how to change it.
If you were taught behaviors of connection, you will model and teach that to the children that you have one day, or to any child that you have interactions with. If you were taught how to disconnect because your environment was disconnected—and again, let me say I am not here to blame anyone or anything. When I talk about people’s histories, I am not interested in blaming anyone, I just want to invite you to see what the Reality is, so that you can see what actually happened, whether it was something that was pleasant or unpleasant, or preferable or un-preferable and so then you can change it. It’s not about blaming anyone. So I’m not interested in blaming your parents, I’m interested in having you understand that they gave you what they had and now it’s your responsibility to pick up the stick and run with it.
So, you need to understand what you were taught, because what you learned in that childhood is what you will teach and model in your adulthood.
[00:26:42] The Family at The Bakery
I’m going to tell you a story. I was in a little bakery the other day and there were quite a few people walking around, it was in the early morning and people were coming in and getting their breads. And I ordered something and I went to go sit down at one of the tables and wait for my order to be filled. And as I was sitting there, I saw this father and he had seven little children. I mean little, I think the oldest one way maybe 10. And they were all these blond-haired children. There were six girls and I only saw one little boy. Mom was holding an infant and the others ranged, like I said, from probably 2 to about 10. And they all had their water cups and Dad was over at the water machine filling up people’s cups as fast as he could, and the kids were drinking their water, and they’d hand their cup, “Dad, Dad, I need some more water.” So, he’s filling up water cups and probably the four-year-old was standing there and I couldn’t really understand what she was saying but she was saying something to her father. And the dad, as he was filling up the water cup for the other kids – he had kids all at his elbows and when she made this comment to her dad, he turned to her and called by her name, he said, “Eliza, go sit down at the table.” And he said it very curt and very aggressive.
And I saw that little girl’s face, it just about killed me. Her face dropped and her dad never even noticed her. He turned back to the water and he was filling up the water cups and I thought oh, my goodness, that little girl has just perceived in a distorted manner, because I saw her face and I don’t know if Dad yells at her often or if that was a new thing, but her face was like she had just been slapped. And she hung her head and she walked over to the table, my heart was breaking for her. And my heart was breaking for the dad. He was in over his head, he was outnumbered by children, and little Eliza was wanting to get her dad’s attention and show him something, and he turned and lost his temper, and lost his patience, and snapped at her.
So, part of his childhood was coming out in that moment. I don’t know what, but part of it was. And I watched them for probably about 20 minutes, I was sitting right next to them. Dad never commented to her and she was sad and I would say “depressed” throughout breakfast. And Dad kept cutting up her food and she was kind of moving her food around the plate. She had been shamed, she had been hurt, she had been injured. And he had no clue what had just transpired in three seconds’ time.
And as I sat there, in my perfect world I would have gone over and said, “Can I share with you what just happened to your daughter? Can I help you understand how she might have perceived what you just did? Though I know that you are in over your head with children, and demands, and trying to help all of them. And can I help you reconnect to her? Because she has just disconnected and that disconnect will stay inside of her system unless it’s acknowledged and it’s validated.”
Now, obviously, I did not do that, but in the perfect world, I would have loved to have done that. So, I sat there and ate my breakfast and watched this family, and little Eliza never came back to life. She was grieving, and who knows what her little mind was perceiving? I have no idea, but she never woke up, she never was able to get out of that distortion because she didn’t even know what had happened to her, and come back into connection.
So, those kinds of experiences. Now, that probably sounds like a really normal, reasonable experience that you, yourself might have had, or maybe one of your parents did something like that with you at a grocery store or a restaurant and you’re probably thinking geez, Jodi, I mean, you’re expecting us to be perfect. And that’s not it all. I’m not expecting for that dad not to lose his temper. I was not even critiquing the fact that he said what he did. The thing that I was concerned and am concerned with, is that he did not understand how that affected his daughter and so he had no knowledge that she had just been shot with a distortion, and that she was sitting in that distortion, and she was hurting. And she was perceiving something about her world, and maybe her father, and maybe herself, that is erroneous, that is operating inside of her right now and it’s disconnecting her.
That’s what I wanted to share with the father. I wanted to invite him to understand what had just happened so that he could then invite little Eliza—because at four years old, if he were to turn and said, “You know, honey? I’m sorry I snapped at you. I apologize.” She would have just woken right back up, she would have forgiven him, she would have said, probably, “That’s okay, Dad.” And he could have said, “You know, it’s really hard when I’m trying to fill up water cups and everybody’s drinking their water as fast as I can fill it up, and you want me to look over here at something, it’s really difficult for me to do that, so can you be patient for a minute and then you’ll have my attention?” She would have snapped into Truth so quickly, and she would have said, “Okay.” Because that’s how four-year-olds are if they haven’t been traumatized.
So, I tell you that story because it underscores why I am and have devoted my life to teaching people about the power and necessity of connection. If we are not aware of distortion, we will never be aware that distortion is an active energy that disconnects us from Truth.
So, our childhoods, all of our childhoods, were neutral. The childhoods of your children are neutral. And when I say neutral, what I mean is that experience just shows up. That father was not trying to hurt his daughter, he was trying to fill up seven water cups and manage all these little kids running around. I mean, I almost got run over by a couple of them because they were just all over the place and there wasn’t a whole lot of room to walk around.
And so, experiences show up in our childhood that just show up, yet we are hard-wired to place meaning onto every experience we have. That’s important. We are hard-wired to place meaning onto every single experience that we have.
So, we either place Truth onto the experience, or we place distortion onto the experience. So, what does that mean, we either place Truth onto the experience, or we place distortion onto the experience?
[00:34:38] What Does Truth Look Like?
Let me tell you what Truth looks like. Truth is about the facts, things that are factual, objective, eternal, things that are knowable by a third party. It’s where Reality is, and it’s where we are vulnerable. Vulnerable inside Truth. When I say Truth is eternal, it means that Principles of Truth have been around for the space of eternity.
So, for example, we all have 24 hours each day. That’s been going on ever since our first parents. We’ve all had 24 hours in a day. Our worth and our safety is fixed, that’s eternal. There’s nothing that we can say or do that takes away any of our worth or the fact emotionally and spiritually that we’re safe—like our spirit is safe tucked into our bodies that no one can access. Truly.
Now, we can be affected by people, but eternally, our spirits are safe. And again, not anyone else’s choice nor my own choices can change the worth of my soul, the value of my soul.
So, all of our experiences that we have, we place meaning onto them. Little Eliza placed meaning onto the experience she had with her father when she was saying, “Dad, Dad, Dad, look at this.” And he turned and he’s like, “Go sit down at the table.” She had an experience and she placed meaning onto that experience and I guarantee you she did not put the Truth onto that experience, because the Truth was that Dad was overwhelmed, and that Dad was outnumbered, and Mom was sitting at the table but Mom had an infant in her hands and she was not helping Dad direct these other little children. And he was trying to fill up water cups and some kids were drinking them, and demanding more, and they wanted lemon, and they were making a mess. Those were the facts of what was going on and Dad was struggling to keep his cool.
So, Eliza interpreted that experience inside a thing called distortion; she did not hold it in the Truth. One, because at four years old, she wouldn’t know how to hold it inside Truth. She would need an adult to help her. And that was what I wanted to lean over and tell the dad, was that your daughter Eliza held that experience that she had with you a second ago in distortion, and she is disconnected, and I would love to teach you how to invite her back into Truth and thus, back into connection.
So, when children or adults interpret their experiences—which they are hard-wired to do—inside distortion, distortion is a distortion of The Truth. It’s a distortion of Reality. So, when I say Truth, I’m also talking about Reality—the facts. It’s where we’re vulnerable is inside Reality and the facts. And so, when I go into distortion, I distort The Truth, I distort The Truth. It’s really important that you understand that.
So, let’s give another example. Your teenager is in the car and you’re backing out of the driveway and it’s raining, and they go, “Oh my gosh, I forgot my homework.” So, they run into the house from outside because they forgot their folder for school, and with them comes all the mud and the water on their shoes, so they bring in all this mud and water into your house. That’s the experience.
Now, I’m the mother, and their father is taking them to school, I’m standing in the kitchen and all of a sudden, I back up and step into a puddle of muddy water on my kitchen floor—and I have an experience. Now, I can hold that experience in Truth or I can hold it in distortion. So, let’s interpret that, put meaning onto that experience in Truth. What’s the Truth?
Well, the Truth is, is that my foot and my sock are wet because my son just came in with muddy, wet shoes. What else is the Truth, is that he forgot his folder. What else is the Truth is that he did not take off his shoes and therefore, he brought water and mud into the house.
Now, I don’t know what his motive was as far as his intention. I’m going to also suggest that he was not thinking, that he did not do this intentionally. I don’t know that for certain so that would not be The Truth, that would be my interpretation which would fall under the category of true. It’s what’s true. And the most important thing is that water, and mud, and my wet socks does not give me permission to launch into a distortion. Yet for many of us, we go into distortion really quickly because we don’t understand the danger of distortion and the danger of the disconnect that happens inside distortion. And so, we react and we don’t even realize that inside of our reaction as we’re going into distortion, that we are disconnecting. We don’t get that.
And so, what’s the big deal with me reacting and going into a place where I say, “I can’t believe you did that and now my socks are ruined. You’re so disrespectful and you need to have things ready the night before,” and bawling him out as he runs out the door? What’s wrong with me doing that?
Well, that person that I just did that to is my son, and I want to have a relationship with my son, and I want to have connections with my son.
I want to go back to the questions I asked you. Would you like to have connection with your children? Would you like to have closeness with them? Do you want them to you come to with their problems and feel safe with you?
If you are wanting those things inside your relationship with your child, you can’t go into distortion and disconnect with them, because all that does is invite them to disconnect as well. Because remember, they’re going to do what you do, not as you say.
Now, that also doesn’t mean that you don’t hold the person accountable and you’re not emotionally honest, that says that you stop him as he’s running back through the kitchen and you say, “You know, Evan, are you aware that you just came in the house with wet, muddy shoes?” And he’s like, “Oh, oh, my gosh, I’m sorry.” It’s like, “Yeah, I just stepped into one of your mud puddles. When you get home tonight, would you please be willing to mop the floor?” And he’s like, “Uh, uh, okay, well I’ve got practice and I’ll see.” It’s like, “Well, I will help you carve out some time so that you can do that. I love you very, very much, and, please be aware of how you’re affecting me.”
So, you can still hold them accountable, you can still tell them how you feel emotionally, you can still invite them into a consequence so that they can be more aware the next time. And all of that would support connecting, because remember, connection is about being emotionally honest, being rigorously responsible, and being humble—that’s what connecting is.
So, let’s talk about distortion. You, the adult or child, could perceive the experiences of the little girl in the bakery or the teenager who runs in from outside with muddy shoes, in a place of distortion, and distortion looks like this.
- You don’t tell yourself the Truth.
- You are unwilling to accept the Truth.
- You accept that the experience is personal.
- You tell yourself stories about the facts of the story. When I say you tell yourself stories, you tell yourself lies, you make up a story about the facts of the story, the facts of the experience.
- You’re not willing to acknowledge how others were affected.
- You go into drama.
- You blame.
- You manipulate.
- You misdirect your anger.
- You choose not to be responsible for your thoughts, feelings, and choices.
- You act entitled, controlling.
- You keep secrets.
- You hide.
- You’re unwilling to be vulnerable and you’re dishonest.
That’s what distortion looks like. It’s really not pleasant, distortion. But those are your two choices. You can either be in Truth or you can be in distortion.
So, at any given point, you’re in one of those places or the other. There’s not a third option for you to go into. You’re either staying in Reality, staying in the Truth, and being willing to accept your vulnerability, or you move into distortion. And distortion has horrendous outcomes. Those few things that I just mentioned to you about the outcomes of distortion, I would encourage you to go back and listen to those, because I guarantee you, when you are not in Truth—which means you’re in distortion—you will have if not all of those things, you will have a handful of those things that I just shared with you: acting entitled, going into drama, blaming, manipulating, unwilling to accept the experience, you’re telling yourself stories about the facts that are not the Truth. All those things happen inside distortion. And remember, distortion is about disconnect.
Children come to us connected, and it is our responsibility and obligation to do all that we can to teach them how to stay connected, to teach them how, when they distort Reality, to invite them back into the Truth. All of us are going to go into distortion—many, many, many, many times into distortion. Distortion oftentimes is our default as humans. And as we get really good at practicing telling ourselves the Truth, and we live inside of a place of emotionally honesty, and we can pause, and stay humble, and be accountable for what we feel, and what we think, and what we choose, our default will be into Truth instead of distortion.
And for children, they default into distortion very quickly, especially if their environment has a lot of distortion in it. Those same experiences in distortion create disconnect.
So, really quick, distortion equals disconnect and creates all of that chaos. And Truth creates connection. Truth doesn’t mean that the experience isn’t difficult or even painful and Truth keeps us connected to Reality and our vulnerability.
So, I’m going to talk about vulnerability for a minute. Vulnerability is something that all of us are a part of. 24/7, we are vulnerable, every one of us. There’s never a second that you are not vulnerable. Vulnerable to what? Well, vulnerable to everything that this life has to offer.
- You are vulnerable in the fact that you have to breath.
- You are vulnerable to pain and to sickness.
- We as humans live in an inescapable state of vulnerability. We are vulnerable to sickness, aging, death, pain, confusion, sadness, loss, grief, hunger, lack of information, our own poor choices, or others’ poor choices, broken trust, deceit, fraud, violence, disasters, and on, and on, and on.
- The state of vulnerability means we live “out of control,” The state of vulnerability means we’re out of control; we cannot control these things.
- We cannot control our environments. We cannot even control our own heartbeat.
- Acknowledging how out of control or vulnerable we are can be very uncomfortable, and therefore, we as humans struggle to live in the Reality that we are vulnerable.
Instead, we want to feel invincible, powerful, and in control. So we go towards anything that gives us the illusion of control.
Here are some things that give us an illusion that we’re controlling.
- When we gossip.
- When we lie.
- When we envy or lust.
- Our addictions.
- Our compulsions.
- Competition, being the best, keeping up with the Joneses.
- Lust for money or power.
- Distorted anger, aggression, hatred, violence, war.
- Anything that gives us the illusion of power.
However, the Reality is that despite all the work we do to escape our vulnerability, we are vulnerable, which means we are out of control. So, little Eliza in the bakery was out of control, she could not make her father listen to her, she could not make her father understand, and she experienced a very poignant taste of her vulnerability.
When we choose to accept this crucial fact of our existence, we become emotionally open, raw, real, and willing to share ourselves. We admit we are weak, we ask for help, we communicate our emotions, we ask to be validated, and we take responsibility for the outcomes of our choices. We accept the Reality as it is. It’s important. We accept the reality as it is.
So, I was sitting there watching little Eliza’s reality, I was having an experience inside Reality, I was being affected. And so, I did exactly what I needed to do to stay connected, and I told myself the Truth. The Truth was, Eliza wanted her dad’s attention, the Truth was that Dad was busy. The Truth was that he was occupied with other things. The Truth was that at four years old, Eliza did not understand her father was occupied with other things, because her world is all about her. Little four year olds, their world revolves around what they want and what they think, and she was demanding her father to listen to her.
And so, inside my vulnerability, I felt for both the father and I had empathy for Eliza, for both of them. And it was very uncomfortable. I sat there the whole entire time—20 minutes—and my heart was sad. And so, I didn’t try to change the Reality; it was not appropriate for me to say anything to that family or to that father. And it was very uncomfortable to sit in that and recognize all of our vulnerabilities in that moment, and see Eliza hurting and not know why she was hurting, and to watch the father not understand why she was having such a difficult time eating her breakfast. To him, the water experience was over and done and he was trying to focus her attention on her food. And she was still back in that experience five minutes ago, hurting because of the way the father had responded to her.
Vulnerability means you are willing to align your choices and your life with the objective Truth and Reality outside of you, regardless of what you want or wish Reality were. Vulnerability requires you to risk emotionally, to put yourself in a position where you will experience pain, and upset, and discomfort. Accepting your vulnerability creates peace, stability, and faith to face the Reality of your life. Vulnerability is connection and freedom.
Now, at four years old, Eliza would not be able to understand her vulnerability. I’m sure at middle thirties, I think is how old this man was, he would not be able to understand his vulnerability in that moment. And being able to teach that principle to him, maybe he could have had another response, especially if he could have sat down and thought about it, and he would have recognized that Eliza’s face was reflecting that she had gone into distortion, and had disconnected, and that she needed his help to come back to Truth.
If parents are not aware of this, then they will not be able to support accurately their child in their state of disconnect. This is why this information is so important for parents to learn, is that your children have the propensity to disconnect at any second, and so you do. And so, you must learn what disconnection looks like so that you can help them come back into Truth, back into Reality, and back into connection.
Inside of our vulnerability is experience, and experience can invite anything to materialize. Our choices create outcomes, and others’ choices create outcomes, and then there’s just stuff that happens, like the weather, disasters, things wearing out and breaking, stuff that is not a result of my or another’s choices and outcomes. It’s all inside Reality, it’s all inside The Truth, and it’s all about me living and accepting my vulnerability.
This is what you must teach your children: that they must learn how to accept their vulnerability. And the way that they do that is they learn how to be honest, they learn how to be responsible, they learn how to be humble. So, Dad being able to turn to Eliza and say, “Honey, I need you to be patient, please go sit down at the table, I will address you in a moment.” And then Eliza saying, “Okay, I’ll be responsible for myself and I’ll go sit down.”
When we disconnect or go into distortion, we are attempting to control that vulnerability. Whether we acknowledge that Truth or not, that is always the outcome if we choose to disconnect. Always.
Disconnect is full of dishonesty. It’s all about dishonesty, so you can’t be in Reality, which is where the Truth is. If you go into distortion and disconnect from Truth, Reality, and vulnerability, you have to choose where you will be. Your choice is so, so important, and whatever you choose will create an outcome of either Truth or distortion. It really is that simple, is that our life is full of experiences, and because we’re hardwired to interpret experiences—just as children are—you will either choose Truth or distortion.
Now, if you go into distortion, because you’re having an experience, you’re having another experience, you can always come back into Truth, but you’ve got to know that you’re in it. That’s why it’s so important for you to understand what distortion sounds like and looks like, so that you can get back into Reality.
These principles are the same for children. And we as the adults are responsible to teach the children these principles of Truth so they can govern themselves appropriately. Can you appreciate why it’s so imperative that the adults who are raising the children know these principles? We will give children the only principles we know and those principles, teachings, could be in distortion. That’s really frightening to think that.
I know that my parents weren’t aware of these principles, or at least how to teach them to me. And so, I spent a lot of my time living in distortion. I was the second youngest of seven children and I had a lot of older brothers. I don’t remember my parents being around very much for some reason, but I remember my brothers being around and I remember they were quite bullying of me and I did not feel safe and protected in my home, so I went into distortion a lot as a child.
[00:56:38] Distortion & Shame
So, let’s talk about distortion, like what is distortion, otherwise known as shame? Shame. You probably have heard that word. So, when I say distortion, I also mean shame. Distortion is connected to the way I perceive and place meaning onto my experiences or my environment. Distortion is the meaning, the words I use, the words I make up, to explain my situation, my experience, my circumstances, my conclusions in my world.
Another way to explain it is: distortion is full of dishonesty. So, let me go back and share with you what distortion is. Distortion is about not telling myself the Truth, being unwilling to accept the Truth, accepting that the experience is personal, like the experience is trying to hurt me—which is never the Truth. Distortion tells me to make up a story about the facts of the Reality. It tells me to not be willing to acknowledge how I’m affecting others. It tells me to go into drama, and to blame, and to manipulate, to misdirect my anger. It tells me not to be responsible for my thoughts, feelings, and choices. It tells me to act entitled and controlling. It tells me to keep secrets, and hide, and be unwilling to be vulnerable. And it tells me to be dishonest. That’s what distortion is. Yuck! That’s yuck.
This creates disconnection. Distortion creates disconnection. There is a reason why I, and you, and children go into distorted thinking or distorted perceiving. When people—adults and children alike—become afraid, they become vulnerable to believing not the Truth of their experience. Let me say that again. When children or myself become afraid, I become vulnerable to not believe the Truth of my experience.
Now, when I say afraid, what that means is, is that I’m afraid not just like, boo, be scared, I’m afraid, but afraid that I’m bad, or afraid that I’m not enough, or afraid I’m going to get in trouble, or afraid I’m stupid, or afraid I’m going to get teased, or afraid that I’m not going to be liked, or afraid that someone’s going to call me a name—that kind of fear. So, distorted thinking and perceiving happens when children or an adult becomes afraid. They become vulnerable to not believing the Truth, they become vulnerable to wanting to control and not feel fear, bad, uncomfortable, responsible, honest in their experience, because it feels better to not. So then we fall prey to going into distortion. We choose to believe a distorted thought, all in an effort to control, not live (or be in Reality or Truth) our vulnerability. This is a lie. It will always bring pain and you will want people to join you in your distortion because you want to experience and feel justified in the distortion.
That axiom “misery loves company”—when someone confronts you, you will go into distortion because you’re afraid. It’s really important you understand that. That’s one of the main reasons why people go into distortion is that they feel fear. They feel like they’re going to get in trouble, they’re afraid of emotional responses, they’re afraid of their own emotional responses, they’re afraid that someone’s going to tease them, or laugh at them, or get angry at them. They’re afraid. We’re afraid, we become afraid.
Now, we have to learn that even though we’re afraid, we still have to be honest, we still have to be responsible, and that’s where you teach children that even though Mommy or Daddy is going to be angry at you because of your disobedience, it is still important that you tell the Truth.
Now, as a parent, you’ve got to make sure that you as a mom or a dad don’t go into your own distortion, because if you go into your own distortion and you come screaming down the hallway, it’s going to make it really hard for that child to tell you the Truth, because they’re freaked out of their mind because you’re coming down the hallway like a bull. So, it’s very important that you stay in the Truth. You still get to express your emotions, you just need to be responsible for them.
So, if I keep choosing to go into distortion, I will keep creating pain in my life, and then I’ll want other people to come into the pain with me because I want to be in there with other people; I don’t want to be there by myself. And when I go into distortion, the likelihood of becoming angry is very high because you’ll want to defend your distortion and not be humble, not be responsible. This is a trap that children get themselves into. It requires humility to come out and acknowledge the inappropriate, or wrong, or dishonest choices you’ve made. And then, you can come back into Truth.
I’m looking at the time, we’re at about an hour, so I’m going to stop this and I’ll pick you up on the next podcast. See you soon.
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