We are so caught up in how others see us and what they think. People practically take a poll of their friends before making a decision. It is like we consciously choose to give our power away to other people. We don’t even seem to know we are powerful.
I have been trying to pay attention to the many messages we give our children about their self value. Most parents are clear on the need, during discussions about self-esteem, as to how it works BUT how many actually have that conversation? And how do our actions support or contradict what is said? Children learn by example.
I have been overwhelmed with how many little things we do every day that undermines the message of, “you are beautiful and capable and perfect just the way you are.” Their grades are not good enough, we criticize the tiny thing they missed and not the greater success they had. We ask our partners and friends for validation about the way we look, or decisions we make. We belittle others, talk about them, criticize them. We brag about being better than other people, and those discussions are never about important qualities like “I am so much more honest than she is.” They are about looks and money usually. We measure our value by comparing looks and how much money we have to others.
We are constantly coaching our children on how to be so that someone “likes” or “approves” of us. We don’t look for opportunities to give our children experiences with all kinds of kids, we look for those that share our same beliefs, those that are usually on the same socio-economic level, and those that “look” right for the image we are trying to present. We talk about our children’s friends in terms of them being “good” or “bad” … “nice” or “not nice” … of of the “type” of person they are. We seldom know these kids or anything about their families, we usually only know things we have heard, or where they live is not a good area, or that they don’t go to church or they go to the “wrong” church.
All these things teach a child that THIS is how you are valued.
I was shocked to start noticing how insensitive we are the messages we send. I was further shocked to find how difficult it is to be hypervigilant in saying positive things that build. I had to really force myself after I realized how few actual words I was saying in an encounter. I would think them, but I needed to say them. I needed to MAKE the time to say them because I don’t want another generation growing up believing that their worthiness of being loved is contingent upon how beautiful they are, how slim, and how rich. I think we have had our fill of barbie dolls. I want people with hearts and souls who worry more about being kind to one another than they do having the best outfit at the party.
So ya, YOU decide who you are, and YOU let the world know and if they don’t get it, you need to move on and find people who are willing to share the journey you are taking. Don’t get on the wrong bus, believe that YOUR bus is perfect for you, and the people you need in your life are waiting along the way. But Get on YOUR bus and not someone else’s.