I make a lot of mistakes. And I am pretty hard on myself about them. I feel a lot of responsibility in being a parent. And I don't cut myself slack, forgive mistakes or give myself grace the way that I think I probably should. For one thing, being hard on myself makes it harder to improve, not easier. So when I read Michelle's words this morning for the blogging challenge I thought she was talking to me, and I am a long way from being a student in middle school!
What kinds of things do you tell yourself inside your head? I always tell my girls to tell themselves good things, but I don't do that. I tell myself things like, "you're fat," "you always get it wrong" "you are not like other people" and things much worse. The "you are not like other people" is confusing sometimes because no one is like other people, we are all like ourselves. And I tell this to my girls as a good thing, a comfort and sometimes simply as a statement of fact. Maybe the reason that you stand apart is because you are not like your peers. That is what I tell my Punky and the Redhead. I know that affirmations work. I know that if I practice diligently, I can change the negative self-talk. I am going to need that. I am going to need to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I can do this big transitional teaching year. And part of me is excited beyond words and part of me is equally as panicked and the feeling of inadequacy is welling up inside. But the truth is, I am not inadequate, I am inexperienced. There's a difference. My goal is to catch the negative self-talk and replace it with positive truths.
Last night I had a very grown up talk with my almost ten year old. Somehow we got on the subject of judgment and homosexuality. Wow. And she was very, very grown up about it. It was interesting to see the world through her eyes a little bit and get a chance to put my two cents worth in before she is so grown that my influence doesn't matter anymore. And I am not going to stir up a moral discussion here or any other discussion about orientation. I did want to say that I am impressed with what a deep thinker my daughter is. And it fits with the rest of my post because she told me "Mom, I am that kid that is sitting in the corner all alone." Aw..... ouch. As a Mom, I kind of want to fix it. I tried to get her to think about ways she can curb some of her behaviors, because some of them do not attract people to her. I don't think it is necessary to change her thoughts so much, but she doesn't always have to have things her way. And she doesn't have to express every differing view that she has. I was telling someone yesterday about this snippet of a conversation we recently had, "Punky, you are very argumentative right now." "What does that mean?" "That you argue with me, no matter what I say." "No I don't."
She is going to a new school this year, and there probably ARE some things she can do to fit in better. I really want her to find a niche and fit in. I DON'T want her to squash who she is to be who someone thinks she should be. It's hard to be the guiding force and not give a message of "you're not good enough" or "you should be different." I tried really hard not to give those messages to the Redhead, but I know that she "heard" that somehow anyways. But perhaps all the responsibility does not lie with me. Perhaps some of it lies with fact that she listens to her inner voices too, and she may not tell herself good words, words that lend themselves to success and acceptance.