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  • Hey it's Marie Forleo and you are watching MarieTV,

  • the place to be to create a business and life you love.

  • And today whether you are a parent, you hope to be a parent, or even you have parents,

  • I think each of us wants a more loving and connected relationship

  • to our families and my guest today is gonna show us how.

  • Dr. Shefali Tsabary is a clinical psychologist and author of the award-winning book The Conscious Parent.

  • Oprah Winfrey has hailed it as one of the most profound books in parenting she's ever read.

  • Her latest book, Out of Control: Why disciplining your child doesn't workand what will,

  • is breaking ground with its revolutionary perspective on how to create positive change in families.

  • She blends mindfulness with western psychology, integrating wisdom from both traditions.

  • Dr. Shefali has a private practice in New York City.

  • Dr. Shefali, thank you for being here.

  • Of course, I'm so excited.

  • So as we were talking before the episode I was sharing how we have so many parents in our audience,

  • but then we have this unexpected amazing audience of people like age 9 or 10 and up.

  • So I'm so excited to have you here today so we can talk not only about conscious parenting,

  • but also really the underpinning spiritual principles that can help all of us

  • relate better to ourselves and our teams and our parents and our kids and just have

  • better relationships across the board.

  • Absolutely.

  • So let's start off. What are some of the basic ideas around your concept of conscious parenting?

  • So like you said, even though I talk and write about conscious parenting, it's really about all relationships,

  • but particularly the parent-child dynamic because that is just such a personal relationship.

  • I mean, I don't think anyone gets more defensive about their issues than a parent

  • because the child is yours, you know, it's the one person you believe, narcissistically disillusioned,

  • to believe that it's yours. It's a delusion, but you believe it's yours. Right?

  • So the ego comes roaring in such ferocity, in such velocity and you believe

  • you can, you know, possess and control and contour this person into the ideal image of yourself.

  • We're doing this in all relationships but we do it full force in the parent-child relationship,

  • and my approach speaks to this in position of the parental ego on the child.

  • And asks parents and takes them to task on it. Challenges them to become aware that there

  • is this thing called the unconscious that we put on our children and impose on them

  • burdens from our emotional past that are not really theirs to hold, to bear, to contain, to heal.

  • This kind of internal fixing needs to be done by ourselves.

  • But we're unconscious of this, so onto our children comes

  • all our past baggage and all our desires, all our, you know, wishes for our own ideal self to

  • be manifested that we couldn't but we make our children do it.

  • So in this process of imposing the ego on the child, the child loses its authentic self. Right? And has to forsake

  • its authentic self, give it up for its parent. And the child loves its parent

  • and doesn't even know that this is happening, so will just give it up. And in that process

  • year after year after year the child becomes increasingly more disconnected from their authentic voice

  • and then you have an adult who's lost, directionless, purposeless, not knowing how to access that inner voice.

  • And that's what we see in teenagers, we see that in adults,

  • and that process starts in the parent-child dynamic.

  • This is so fascinating because everything that you're suggesting and all of your work,

  • I think, is so revolutionary, so beautiful, but brings us back to our own wisdom

  • both as a parent, which I'm a step-parent, I don't have a biological child, but also

  • as an individual. You know, listening to our own inner guide. And I think something that

  • you said that I see so much throughout my work and I've tried to keep a balance of

  • in my professional life is even though I may have suggestions, is guiding people back to

  • their own inner voice and their own inner wisdom because they know better than I do.

  • I can give little guideposts or suggestions, but they're usually sparks.

  • But that's because you've learned to so honor that inner voice in you

  • that you don't wanna mess it in anyone else.

  • Yes.

  • Because you realize how sacred that is, what a valuable, inestimable gift that is. Right?

  • So you're not giving that up. So therefore you hold it sacred in the others you meet.

  • But imagine being raised having that inner voice being trampled. Right?

  • That inner voice being disconnected from within,

  • so then you don't even know that you need to be honoring this voice. So when your child comes

  • you're thinking, "Ok, I'll just do what my parents did

  • and just slap on my huge ego onto them, "and thus goes on the process of generational

  • trauma, generational pain. It just keeps going on and on.

  • Yeah. You're giving me so much respect for my mom right now. I just saw her in Vegas not too long ago and

  • since I was a very little girl she would tell me that I have this small voice inside

  • and she's like, "What do you think? How does it feel?" And

  • I love hearing this because it really is, we all have this beautiful gift that guides us to

  • decision making, relationships, how to be a great person. And I love this approach

  • because you're giving parents such freedom and so much more soulful connection

  • with the little beings they created and they love more than anything.

  • Yeah. It's the biggest gift to give parents, it is ultimately freeing, but parents get

  • threatened by this approach because it's all about them. It's about them doing the inner work.

  • They can't be misguided into believing, seduced into believing, that there's

  • some therapist that's gonna come and fix their child or fix them.

  • They're gonna have to do the inner work.

  • But the minute they are on this journey they become liberated

  • because they can trust that inner guide, they can re-access their own, you know, purpose for living

  • and reorient themselves to their inner compass. Right? What greater liberation?

  • They don't have to read another parenting book, they canright? It all starts from within.

  • So that's the core principle and authenticity then becomes the core principle of the family life.

  • Authenticity, worth, self orientation, inner introspection, inner reflection.

  • So these become the pillars of raising a child, not success, not grades, not beauty, not wealth.

  • It's all the inner dimension.

  • Which leads me to something that we talked about on the phone and I thought it was excellent.

  • Let's say our child or ourselves, we're struggling with something as common as overeating.

  • You know, and so many times we wanna go right to perhaps the action. Ok, well, we need to

  • adjust the diet or start looking at how much food. And perhaps that's a component

  • but you said, "No, no, no, no, no, there's something much deeper that we need to look at."

  • Well, so this approach really stays true to the premise that it's all happening on an internal level.

  • So all external behaviors are a mirror of the internal landscape.

  • And so it is with the people we encounter. So first, you know, you orient yourself constantly

  • that if another person is being mean to you or said that you're ugly or you're fat

  • or you're lazy, it's coming from their pain. So this is the first thing you teach your children,

  • that everyone has this looming, dark unconscious and when that unconscious is triggered,

  • pain comes out. And pain often looks hurtful and looks mean and looks cruel.

  • And then the second thing to orient children and parents to is that when our sense of worth

  • is based on how one feels and how connected one is to one's voice, then we are free

  • from the external tentacles of, you know, either the looks or the grades or the achievement.

  • So the orientation to this inner work liberates you from being controlled by the other

  • and liberates you from being controlled by what society puts on you in terms of

  • how we should be on the outside.

  • Yeah, because who knows. Who makes up these rules of what's perfect, what's successful?

  • Right.

  • We were talking about this on a recent episode that we just shot just about success, you know,

  • society can't even define it clearly. It's like something that we really need to take back for ourselves

  • and really look at, you know, orientating it around

  • what's happening on the inside.

  • But we have to be mavericks in this. We have to be kind of rebellious and go against the tide

  • because especially for parents, I mean, the pressure we have. You know, if you enroll

  • your child for ballet at 5 you're already 2 years behind the curve. You know? You're already falling behind.

  • The race to nowhere is treacherous, it's uphill, and it's constant.

  • But everyone's on it so you feel kind of like you're not doing something right,

  • you're not being a good parent by not, you know, entering that herd.

  • Yes.

  • So what a maverick parent you have to be but, let me tell you, when I tell parents that

  • they have the freedom to become maverick parents they're so, you know, enlivened by that.

  • They're just waiting for permission. You know, can I not go crazy if my kid doesn't

  • go to an Ivy League school? Can I allow my kid to just be? You know, this doing, this

  • fixing from the outside. So like you were saying, if a kid overeats or if a person overeats,

  • the behavior is always speaking to the inner feeling, the inner landscape. So always taking

  • the external to the internal.

  • Yes. One of the questions that we got, and we get thousands of questions from our viewers,

  • and there was one that really broke my heart and then when I knew you and I would be talking today

  • I said, "You know what? Dr. Shefali, this is one that I really wanna hear her perspective on."

  • So I sent it to you earlier and I'm just gonna read a little bit to orient everyone

  • for this question from Alisha who is struggling with perfectionism, which is not only something

  • that a teen struggles with but, of course, many people and a lot of women.

  • So she's a very high achiever, she's the president of the future business leaders of America,

  • she's the vice president of the national junior high society, assistant editor of the yearbook,

  • she's maintained a 4.0 GPA for the past 5 years,

  • and she has high school level classes even though she's in middle school. Check this out.

  • "I have a boyfriend I love, my family that I love, and for some reason whenever I mess up,

  • which seems to be a lot lately, I find myself wishing to start over.

  • Start a new week, a new month so I can just try to make it perfect again.

  • I can't tell you how many weeks I've beaten myself up

  • for not making it a 'perfect week' where I follow my schedule each day.

  • No one around me is extremely hard on myself, in fact, most of the people

  • I surround myself with are very forgiving of any mistakes I make.

  • So why can't I stop obsessing over starting anew and making things perfect?"

  • -What do you say to Alisha? -She's insightful.

  • She's insightful, she's courageous. At least she knows the traps she's falling under.

  • And she's not unlike millions of us who have put this mantle of perfection.

  • I can identify with that. Absolutely.

  • And decided that this is the only way to validate your sense of self. So she's actually kind of

  • doomed because she is good at so many things. You know, whenever a parent starts out by telling me,

  • "You know, the problem with my child is that my child has so much potential,"

  • I go, "Oh, the child is doomed.' You know, "My child is gifted." I go, "Doomed."

  • Because this is all coming from the outside. So as you can see with her, she's now created

  • markers of her identity not based on much internal but all things external.

  • Now, here lies the trap. If one of them doesn't fall into place you can hear her obsessing over it.

  • You know, if in the day I don't meet all my markers, which are high markers, she almost

  • doesn't have a sense of self. She wants to erase it and start all over again, rebirth herself.

  • So her as-is-ness in her humanness, in her ordinariness doesn't exist, cannot exist anymore.

  • So she has to live at this vibration at all times, it's unreasonable,

  • it's unsustainable. So she's crumbling under that pressure, but she's put this on herself.

  • She's so brilliant that if she could now learn to put all that energy

  • that she's put in the external world and take it in and go, "Did I live with my authentic voice today?

  • Did I speak up today? Did I do what my heart told me to do rather than just

  • staying in my intellect, in my head, in my mind? Was I allowed to be in stillness?

  • Did I detach from all external pressures today?" She has to do the reverse. Right? She has to go

  • really inside herself and use that as markers of success. So that's going to be her challenge

  • as an adult. She's already realizing that she's in a loop. Right?

  • So she's gonna have to really make that shift.

  • You know, I think that's fascinating because I can even hear in my own mind as you're saying this,

  • my spirit softens, my shoulders soften, and I can hear my mind, which is very

  • driven, very go, go, go. But, yes, but I'm striving for excellence. And I think a lesson

  • that I've learned and the older I get it's like I can have excellent standards,

  • but my happiness and my well being has to trump everything and that always comes from within.

  • And I think one of the things we can share with Alisha, I know from at least my own experience

  • having had the blessing to achieve success on some external levels,

  • there's days where if you're not feeling good inside, none of it matters.

  • It doesn't matter and it doesn't even sit for a second. The next mountain is right there.

  • Yes.

  • So it's almost like the universe gave us these gifts but we're not happy yet

  • because now we see the next horizon and we're still racing with the same restlessness. So that's not fair.

  • The universe is like, "You know what? That's it. This girl can never be happy. I'm stopping right now."

  • Till she learns. Right? So it's about slowing down and remaining steady wherever we are.

  • You know, achievement is great,

  • achievement is purposeful, it drives us, it keeps us living, it juices our life,

  • but if we're not steady within and we're doing it from this gnawing hunger,

  • then the hungerwe think that,

  • oh, you know, the flowers will make me feel happy and a pretty light and a beautiful dress.

  • But that hunger, because we're feeding it with toxic things, the void just gets wider and bigger.

  • And I think this is such a fun challenge for all of us, especially in our digital world

  • where, you know, for young kids, for teens, for young adults, for adults, people of every age,

  • you know, you can go on social media and if you let yourself be sucked into, you know,

  • I can say even for me in our own business and career it's like all these things that

  • quote unquote I should be doing and I should be striving for.

  • You should want your own network television show and I'm like, "Actually, no. I don't." When I pay attention to my own internal voice

  • I feel really good about the things I say no to. I feel really good about disengaging from social media

  • so I can stay in touch with my own truth.

  • And it's hard because the world is coming at you. This girl is doing what she was supposed to do.

  • This is what she was told would get her to her successful next life.

  • So she thinks she's doing great, but it's creating more hunger in her, it's creating more anxiety in her,

  • so it's insatiable. Right? The success driven, achievement driven world is an insatiable monster.

  • It's up to us to say, you know, this is who I am, this is what makes me happy,

  • -and I'm gonna go in pursuit of this. -Yeah.

  • So this is something I was so curious to ask you. I know you're a mom, you have a daughter named Maya,

  • and I know from my own work, you know, we work really hard

  • to try and give the best suggestions and resources we can and when I find myself

  • in a place of doubt and I'm like, "Oh, I don't know what's going… I should actually go watch my own

  • I did a show on this."

  • What would Marie say?

  • What would I say? Yes. Do you ever find yourself with your daughter

  • All the time.

  • like your daughter's like, "Mom, wait?"

  • All the time. Every day. And worse that now they're following me around with the video camera,

  • my daughter and my husband. They're like, "Oh, let's go show everyone

  • how Dr. Shefali is being so unconscious. "I look back and they're with a video camera right there.

  • I'm like, "What is this? I'm being stalked in my own home."

  • And my daughter is constantly telling me, you know, "Mom, that's a punishment. You said punishments are manipulative,"

  • or "That's not in your book. Go readyeah, read your book Mom."

  • Or the one day she said, "Mom, you're being so, like, centered and so sweet."

  • I said, "Yeah, I just read my book. I just read a few chapters." So I have to

  • this is why we do the work. I think we do it for ourselves. It's completely self serving.

  • It's only about me. You know, it's always about us, and even working with my clients on a daily basis

  • it's building my muscle. They're giving me, you know, and I get paid for it,

  • but they're constantly teaching me. Our children are constanteveryone, every relationship

  • takes us back to ourselves if we're willing to take the invitation.

  • I think it's so exciting because at least what we hear sometimes and when I encounter

  • our viewers or even when we're interacting in online courses, people can have