I wrote the first words for this book in 2017, five years ago, when I had one child who was two years old. This book was submitted as the final dissertation to complete my Nonviolent Communication studies. 

Coming back to this manuscript now, when Ilay is almost seven and Lia will be turning three, I am proud to say I am fully living each and every word written here, and that it works. And by works I don’t mean that life is easy, or always flowing like a vivid, smooth river in the spring. Not at all. What I mean is that no matter what happens, we overcome issues that arise as a unit. We grow stronger and more connected after every obstacle, and life offers us a plethora of these opportunities. 

I devoted years to observing the world, and more often than not what I see does not align with my values, desires, and hopes for the future. The world is struck by wars, suicide rates are sky rocketing (especially among teens and young adults), divorce rates follow, there is a consistent increase in the use of anti-depression medication, and this grim list is endless.  

Me, I’ve lived my life differently since the day I remember being myself. I’ve thought differently, acted, and spoken differently. I managed my relationships differently, and my life has worked for me. No matter what happened – I emerged stronger and brighter. 

When I discovered Nonviolent Communication, all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place and made my life clear to me. It explained what I was doing differently, and most importantly, why and how it worked. 

The first step to breaking the cycle of fear, guilt, and shame, is to understand how this cycle affects us, and to fathom that breaking habits that are 7,000 years old - is not going to be easy. But it becomes very possible once you understand WHY you are conditioned to fear, guilt, and shame.

As I advanced in my studies, my dream became clear too. I knew that my life mission is about spreading this message, spreading Nonviolence and focusing on parenting – because this is where our future lies. I completed my certification and began working with parents globally.

Following is the first chapter of the book is your key to entering the world of positive and empowering communication, a key to unbreakable relationships with those you love. It is the dictionary that will empower you to understand the workings of the human soul. 

My hope for all readers is to begin living a life of responsibility and accountability for your own needs, in parenting, other relationships, and in life. No one wants your happiness more than you do, and when you start working consistently towards that, everyone else will follow. 

This is my heartfelt promise to you. 

The Cycle

When we first become parents we believe we’re entering a new world, embarking on a journey unique to us and our family cell. Our heart is hopeful, the future is brighter than the morning sun, and looking into the eyes of our brand new human being we brought into this world, we know that any negative cycle breaks here.

We swear that we will protect them from all the maladies of the world, that this little human being will not suffer and ache like we did. But time goes by, day after day, week by week, and we become more tired, less patient, and understand that breaking negative cycles is going to be harder than we thought. 

The truth is that we can’t separate ourselves from the cycle, it’s imprinted within us; the neurological matter we’re all made of. For the past 7,000 years we were raised by the detrimental mechanisms of fear, guilt, and shame. These mechanisms still govern the social structures we live in; society, family, and the human brain. These work closely together to maintain the hierarchy, the structure of good and bad, right and wrong, strong and weak. And this structure has the strongest soldiers at its service – fear, guilt, and shame. 

We embody them, they design our thoughts, and dictate our actions. To break the cycle we must first admit to its power over us. See it, feel it, embrace it with compassion. Only then can we begin removing the layers of fear, guilt, and shame from our own skin, to start parenting naturally from our hearts, without coercion. 

Fear

Like all living beings, survival is our primary function. We are designed to fear, seek danger, and avoid it. What was true for the human brain 300,000 years ago is still true today, but we no longer live among lions and tigers. For most of us in the Western World, existential danger is not present in day to day life. Our brain, however, didn’t receive that update. The mechanism that once worked to differentiate danger from safety in a millisecond still works, but the labels are different. Danger turned to bad, safety turned to good. We strive to get away from everything we label as bad, and we desire what we label as good

Fear has to do with the future, results, things and happenings beyond our control, yet it is the present moment we fear inside of.  

We imagine the worst and avoid taking action, or imagine the worst and take actions disconnected from the present moment, trying to predict and affect an unknown future. 

We fear the thoughts of others, we fear our own thoughts, we fear the words of others, we fear our own words. We avoid listening with an open heart, avoid speaking from an open heart. Vulnerability is weakness and we are lonelier than we’ve ever been. 

For the past 7,000 years human societies have been systematically distancing themselves from actual humanism, from what being human means. We must be something to get somewhere, we must do it well enough and get there fast enough too, because there isn’t enough for everyone.

We ought to obtain the knowledge, funds and assets to gain respect and social status, without which we are worthless. Or, at least, not as worthy as someone else. This is what we’re led to believe. Fear is our second skin.

Fear, guilt, and shame are our second skin, and it has been this way since the dawn of patriarchy. But it down not mean that we're doomed to live this way - yes - there is a path out.

 

Guilt 

Modernity affected guilt in the same way it affected fear. Guilt could have been a useful internal mechanism alerting us that we are taking actions that don’t align with our values. It could have been a brilliant inner compass leading us to light, a call to action that drives us from a place of deep understanding and self-love. Instead it became a cross-generational punishment. We sense guilt and turn to self-judgment, spiraling deeper through negativity.  

We forgot how to listen to ourselves, find what matters to us, and live according to our heart. Instead, we let the social structure govern us. 

Fear and guilt are weaved one into the other, the dance they’re dancing is ancient, and one can’t exist without the other. 

Shame

Just like fear and guilt, shame as well took us on a different path. While guilt is an internal mechanism designed to align us with ourselves, shame is an external mechanism designed to align us with the social structure, the society we live in. It was initially an external compass to align by, but this sense is lost. We feel ashamed when we think of what others think about our actions or way of being. We avoid taking action that could be judged by others to escape the feeling of shame. 

The possibility for shame feeds our fears and creates more guilt, but others still function the way we do. When they label and differentiate good from bad they do so by their own standards. What is bad for one is good for another, and vice versa.

So, does it all even matter? 

The first step to breaking the cycle is divorcing the idea of a universal good and a universal bad. It is about teaching our brain to pause and breathe the present in, feel it, be it, before making any decision or taking action based on the premise of good or bad

In this moment we are able to connect to our needs and feelings, and the needs and feelings of the children we brought into this world, and accept unconditionally. When we are connected to our needs and feelings, there is no right and no wrong.

With this realization we can break the cycle, live authentically, and thrive. 

True freedom lies in autonomy, and there’s no autonomy in the presence of fear, guilt, and shame. 

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