We all mean well as parents. Well most of us. We mess up trying to overcompensate for the advantages we didn’t have as children. We spoil them and we coddle them when all they really need is our undivided attention and our faith in them. But the one thing many of us seem to overlook is that how we treat ourselves shows them how to treat themselves. And that is only a good story if we are good to ourselves.
There is a woman at the exercise gym I belong to who teaches several fitness classes. And her hyper self-loathing comes out when she talks about her body. And we all disagree with her but she judges herself so harshly. And she has a daughter and two sons.
I have busted myself for self-bullying within the past year so I am very empathetic to this pattern of behavior. Both societal messages of women’s worth and our inherited ancestral low self-esteem have conspired against us to create these running dialogues. Damaging enough until we consider that, unchecked, we will pass these hateful messages on to our daughters. Because they do what they see, not what we tell them to do. They respond to the mirrors we have of ourselves as much if not more than the mirrors of love and worth we think we’re doing so well to reflect to them.
The opposite of hate is love. The opposite of judgment is compassion. If we can even be aware of what we are doing to ourselves and talk with our daughters about their amazing value as thinkers and kind and creative souls then we could change the tide of self-bullying. To show our children, boys and girls, what it means to be human and compassionate and honest is truly the kind of parenting we want to be doing instead.
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