I often say that I wish for every kid (and adults too) to find that one thing that they love themselves while they are doing it. This is how self-esteem is built. That they find a community of people who will join in the mutual appreciation of these efforts and thus build their esteem further. That is some of the good stuff that life has the potential to hand you.
The converse of this scenario is a child who feels worthless and bored. Who can not see themselves in what they do or their surroundings or the faces of their family. And this leads to darker places and choices.
A mother of another three-year-old in our story group expressed her concern that our rural sleepy town didn’t posses enough interesting things for the teens to do. And she felt this boredom was what led to their use of drugs, alcohol, etc. I offered that these were just choices these kids make to squelch a deeper pain. One wrought from the sense of unworthiness from their family situations. I said even rich kids do heroine. She said her husband is a cop, she knows that.
From a person who experimented with illegal substances and took unhealthy risks, had I had any activities at all in my life where I felt valued, where my identity was more than a grade or a boyfriend, other choices would have shown themselves. But I was left to my own devices, to fend and survive and I chose the wrong things to kill my pain with. The wrong people’s opinions to value. Because I didn’t value me. I was invisible to me.
My son found the piano quite early in his life. And he’s gone from an anxiety riddled seven year-old to a confident piano playing 11 year-old. He has no stage fright whatsoever which blows my mind. What he sees in our eyes and the eyes of the world watching him is admiration and support. And he’s confident that he can fulfill their expectations if not surpass them. Wow!
You can do it. You can parent, you can run the marathon, you can start a business, art every day, lose the weight, make your amends, write a book, learn a language, ice skate, or paint. All it takes is the belief that it is what you want and you deserve to show yourself you can do it. You’re worthy of a dream that fulfills you and you deserve the unyielding support that gets you there. That is what I’m giving my kids and I discovered I needed to give this to myself too.
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