Did you know that our physical brains require a specific kind of intimate joy in order to develop properly?
We need to be looked at in a certain way.
We physically need people to bask in the wonder of who we are and give us “joy smiles” as they enjoy, admire, and gobble us up.
The rich back-and-forth gleam from their eyes to ours triggers a neuro-cascade of resilience-building in the part of the brain where we keep our capacity for true joy.
I learned about this in an addictions recovery group called Thrive.
I learned that without regular, deep, authentic moments of “being delighted in” our brains develop with HOLES where these ‘joy centres’ should be, and these holes are the very size and shape and location that show up in the brain scans of addicts.
Basically, without a regular dose of “being delighted in” (especially before the age of 2) our brains are pre-disposed for addiction.
I was kind of panic stricken when I first heard this because I hadn’t known and I hadn’t been deliberately Beaming Joy at my kids for their first years of life.
I’m sure I gave them a basic supply of affection, but….I was soooo tired and my eyes were always being pulled like junk magnets toward the swarms of laundry and toys taking over my house.
It’s hard to radiate love when you feel empty.
But. That’s OK. When we know better we do better.
So I let myself off the hook for being so oblivious and gloomy, and I simply began doing the CARE BEAR STARE with my kids (and hubby!)
Children of the 80s, you know it.
What could be more powerful than BEAMING the essence of who you are straight at them?
That was the key for me — the smile worked best when it came bubbling up from the plexus of my own joy and unique personality.
So it doesn’t even matter if you’re feeling radiantly happy; even Grumpy Bear contributes to the rainbow!
So it’s not an oozy, shmoozy “why you looking at me like that?” thing.
It starts in your belly.
Dial up the flavour of who you are.
Authenticity or bust!
Giving this explosive love power starts with liking yourself a bit 🙂
Find that place!
Then….split the atom and blast them with it.
Radiate your kid with a prolonged, strong, intentional blast of “Gee, I adore you kiddo!”
“I’m looking straight into you…and love what I see!”
“I’m so happy to be here with you right now!”
Beam. Gleam. Triple-charge your gaze and fire!
Even just for 5 seconds.
Golden moments with our kids often strike by surprise, but if you want to galvanize their souls with the deep-down assurance that they are honestly likeable, remember to actively blast them with the glow!
Here are a few more ways to foster that Care Bear Stare quality of delight:
- When your kids are high on joy, place yourself in the line of fire and get a good dose FROM THEM! Kids are strong joy generators by default, just get in the way of their energy and soak some up (then bounce it back).
- Take a sec to linger. Watch. Absorb who they are! Appreciate their unique quirks. Silently send them quantum love beams. Delight in them blindly, boldly, with a “falling in love” helpless kind of surrender.
- Beyond eye-to-eye connection, you can also use voice and touch. My nightly snuggle time with each kid is probably the high point of our daily intimacy (and it’s in the dark!) This is when I make sure I’m at 100%. Full blast affection, laughter, physical cuddle power, reams of silliness. We go to bed on a good note!
- It’s cliche but true that these moments disappear all too fast….so scoop up a bottle of their super-concentrate essence and breathe it in….
- Improvise, experiment, and believe. You’ve got the magic!
- You will forget. (I forget all the time!) But then you’ll remember. And you’ll smile. Give them that!
p.s. it’s never too late! I saw brain scans that showed rehabilitation through the power of joy smiles; never underestimate the impact you can have by offering someone your delight.