My youngest son’s middle name is Matan, Hebrew for gift. I’ve told him all his life he is a gift from God.
My eldest son is looking so mature these days – I can still see the little baby boy I remember from years ago but his features are becoming more adolescent, more handsome boy. I hold his face in my hands and remark about how beautiful he is, tell him I love him.
My daughter sidles up to me for a hug. We kiss and cuddle, I tell her she is gorgeous. I tell her she’s smart. I remark on her strength and toughness, her independence, her strong voice.
The other day, my friend told her son how handsome he was. She does this routinely, takes every opportunity to share with him how much he is loved, how special he is, how beautiful, how remarkable, how truly unique.
Her mother pulled her aside and said, “You’ve got to stop talking to him like that.”
Um, excuse me? She wondered what her mother was talking about and inquired, only to hear, “The whole world isn’t going to feel that way about him, and he’d better get used to it.”
Ah….light bulb. If we have any residual self-esteem or confidence issues from childhood, perhaps they emanate from a perspective like this? From the idea that too much love would “spoil” a child? That basking in the glow of our children’s great qualities, unique characteristics and special traits would give them a big head and an unrealistic perspective on their abysmal worth in the world?
Sorry, but those old family stories have got to stop with this generation.
So many women my age feel they’re not good enough, and that low self-worth undoubtedly comes from years of being told as much. When was the last time someone close to you told you you’re beautiful? Brilliant? Special?
What was your running storyline as a child? Bossy? Too quiet? Shy? Awkward?
There is something counter-intuitive – almost scary – about believing that if you build up your children with the truth about their greatness, they won’t be able to face the world.
Sure, there is enough hatred and lack of acceptance out there that every person eventually needs to deal with it. But imagine doing so if you’re steeled with confidence from the start, so that if someone takes issue with you, you don’t let it chip away at your vision of yourself.
In yoga, the navel center or core strength is said to relate to self-worth and self-esteem. Interesting, that in this nation, belly fat is a chronic problem. Most of us are weakest at our core. What a pity.
This subconscious storytelling from earliest childhood chips away at what could be a strong center.
But the good news is that you can change the story any time you wake up. Hit adulthood or even earlier if you’re lucky, and change the storyline. Shut out the negative voices and connect with source, where the truth resides.
And what is truth?
Anything can be viewed through a lens of good or a lens of bad. Your bossy, brash exterior? Leader! Independent! Strong-minded! Your shyness? Careful observation of the world around you!
Spin it any way you want. That’s the brilliance of owning your identity. You get to choose who you are and what your natural qualities really mean.
Don’t let someone else write an unhappy, depressed, self-hating ending. Write your own.
It IS that easy.