The Goodness of Anger

I don’t usually share cute animal videos, but this one really spoke to me:

I mean, it’s insanely adorable, sure. But I keep thinking about it in terms of parenting, friendships and therapy. I guess it fits into my philosophy that what we all most need is unconditional love, whether it comes from a parent, ourselves or a therapist. If we weren’t lucky enough to get the right parenting—and who was?—then as adults we have a strong need to fix that. And the term “parenting” comprises both guidance (right vs. wrong, boundaries, tough love) and simple, pure, mushy warmth. It makes me rethink my own parenting style, which focuses a lot on helping my kids be independent and hardy, when a lot of times what they want is what that kitten has—someone to hold them just a little tighter.

Parenting is a constant struggle for balance, and for re-balancing when you realize you’ve gone too far in one direction or another, or you figure out that at this moment, your child needs something different from what you’re giving. Therapy is often similar. The relationship there is nothing like parent and child, and the client is the guide of the work, but the therapist has to be aware of the two needs of the client—to grow and understand herself, and to be held emotionally. Does anyone have enough warmth? Enough acceptance? Sometimes what we really need is just to have someone who believes in us and sits with us through our struggles.

That’s a lot to read from a kitten video. But when I look at it, I think (in a tone of pure contentment), “Aaaaahhhh.” That’s pure warmth. That’s pure love.

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