I’ve never understood the concept why we kick people when their down? Does it really make them move better, smarter or faster? Sure, maybe temporarily, but as human beings we already are born with that innate desire to be better, smarter and faster – or we would simply behave like animals — eat and procreate. I’ve always been naturally curious about what does success come so easily for some and others continuously struggle. I believe a basic foundation for this is tied to self-image and a belief system that we have become accustomed to over the years.
Many children grew up with phrases such as “Do I need to pound some sense into you?” “What’s wrong with you?”, “When will you ever learn?” “Children should be seen and not heard.” “If you just lost some weight, cut your hair, changed your hair color…etc” “When will you ever learn?” Sound familiar? These phrases more than likely came from the people who claimed to love us the most our parents. And when we are young and hear these statements we automatically believe them to be true because they are coming from our parents…that’s like next in line from God right? So why wouldn’t we believe them? In an all out effort to make us become better adults they tried any tactic and many of us continued to frustrate them well into our adult years. Most are well meaning, after all who wants to brag about their child ‘the failure’. Of course they wanted us to be successful – based on their terms and their expectations. But trying something and failing does not a failure make. Self-image is strengthened by our confidence to even attempt to overcome challenges and continue to pursue success.
When you come into adulthood with a diminished self-image you need to wonder how much time have you spent trying to be someone other than yourself to make everyone else happy? How many times have you been afraid to let yourself shine because of a lack of confidence?
A recent letter from a well meaning parent made me reflect on the power of words and the influence they can have on ourselves if we let them. I chose not to let them affect me because I compassionately understand this is what she heard growing up and I know she absolutely loves me. In a bold statement – “You need to tone down your makeup, lower your heels and quit being so assertive.” My inner child heard “you’re not good enough, something is wrong with you.” What I know to be true is – I am free to uniquely express who I am as I see fit. As you get to know me you will understand that I have battled my weight all my life, that I love high heels, driving fast, horses, animals, rock n roll and country music, Mexican food and most importantly being a mom.
And now FINALLY in my 40’s I am very comfortable with who I am. But when I struggled it was because I was listening to and believing the self-hate voices in my head that I have heard my whole life. I wonder how many people criticized someone like Dolly Parton… seems Dolly has been pretty comfortable in her own skin for decades.
My goal today is simply to encourage you to identify some of those patterns within yourself or patterns that maybe you are reflecting with your children. I want you to celebrate you for just being you. Celebrate your children for the unique expression of themselves that they are. It’s true for all of us… When we know better we do better. If you have a teen that is struggling with a decision, just the trust of having your presence nearby will encourage them to come to you and when they do, help them to identify their successes in the past and help them to develop the confidence to brainstorm and choose their options. Let them know mistakes will happen, but when they move forward with the best of intentions, life will naturally support them in the direction they want to go. And if they stumble, they’re safe…just need to course correct and continue moving forward.
I’d love to hear from you, share with me some stories you have about self-image with yourself or your kids. I’d love to hear some ways that you inspire and encourage your children. Please click below to share this post and become part of our Dynamic community on Facebook and Twitter. I look forward to connecting with you.
Faith not Fear!