Love Who You Are (And Who You Are Not)
We are often told that self-love is the foundation for our ability to extend love to others but sometimes that can be a challenge. Instead of seeing the best of who we are, we tend to focus on what we are lacking or our imperfections. I am never going to be good at math or figuring out social media (still don't know how I share this blog with you), but thankfully I get my message out. I am not a technical person but we have a wonderful person who is good at this and figures it out. I don't feel bad about my inability to fully embrace the technology of the 21 st century or feel inadequate because other people are better at this than me. I do some things very well and others not so well and that's OK. If we could stop the habit of comparing ourselves (often with complete strangers) we might discover how unique and awesome we really are.
The amount of media and advertising we are exposed to daily is constantly giving us the message that we are lacking. We are encouraged to compare our life and accomplishments against a perceived "norm" to determine if we measure up. What we need is a different measurement based on embracing self-love and acceptance of who we are. Science has proven that no two people are exactly the same, so it seems that nature supports our unique qualities as well.
As parents, we want to guide and encourage our children to be the best that they can be. We want them to thrive and live a happy, healthy life. What we need to keep in mind is that this outcome can take many paths. No two children are the same and comparing one to the other has a negative impact on self-esteem and self-expression. Some children start talking at a younger age than others, some are more athletic than academic, some more extroverted than introverted. None of these traits are better than the other – they are just different expressions of their unique self.
If there is real concern that a child is having developmental or emotional difficulties than, of course, that should be recognized and acted on. What's important is to recognize the individuality of each child and encourage them to love who they are and who they are not. They can then grow into adults who will extend this same acceptance to the people around them.