Teaching our children healthy self-image and encouraging self-worth – when you’re still working on that yourself – can be a difficult task, to put it mildly. So often we exhaust ourselves forcing a false reality on others that we forget who it is we really are. Our social media accounts are full of images of smiling faces and monumental moments that encourage our “friends” to believe we are the perfect beings. What if we posted photos of the times we sat quietly and counted our losses or obsessed about our fears? I’m pretty sure no one would “like” those posts. But just as the birthdays, concerts and family trips encompass our finest moments. The times we sit and sip a glass of wine – hoping it will banish the negativity from our souls – are also a part of who we really are.
Admitting The Problem Is Half The Battle, Right?
Looking back I now realize that the one obstacle that has held me back, again and again, is fear. Not my fear of singing on stage or performing for strangers. It was my fear that someone or many “someones” would realize how insignificant and mildly talented I was. Instead of focusing on cultivating my skills I kept my talents hidden for fright that the flaws would be exposed alongside them. I told myself even though people complimented my gifts – someday the “truth” of how unimportant I am would be painfully exposed. My negative inner voice would convince me that even with the moments of validation I could receive along the way the fall from glory wouldn’t be worth it.
Growing older is a terrifying process but at the same time, it’s eye-opening. Time (and becoming a parent) has given me a few “A-Ha” moments to step outside of myself and ask, don’t I deserve more? After all, they say a sense of inner fulfillment can make us better spouses, better parents and better people…maybe it even slows the inevitability of aging! Am I alone or do many or even most of us struggle with this extremely negative self-regard? Even more important, how do I not allow my kids to go through life with an internal voice that says don’t bother?
The Taylor Swift Effect
Recently I took my middle child to her first concert – Taylor Swift. I missed most of the show because I couldn’t take my eyes off of her awestruck expression. Tears filled my eyes because I saw something I had forgotten existed…promise, inspiration, and hopefulness. I’ve spent years looking for ways to inspire my kids to become their potential and at that moment I realized that it was they who inspired me.
Between sets, Taylor preached about conquering that inner voice that tells us not to dance in public, not to let loose and have fun with life because someone might tell us we’re not worth it. I watched my daughter absorb her words and I realized this wasn’t just her chance to listen to a worthy mentor but it was also mine.
Who says that once we’re grown and married with children that we can’t throw our fears under the proverbial bus and achieve our dreams? Why do we wait for the loss of a loved one to realize how truly important LIVING is? After all, that is the best way to make damn sure my kids follow their instincts and RUN – not walk – towards the opportunities that will open the doors to the rest of their lives!
Better Late Than Never!
So…I’m putting it out there for the world to see so that I can be the example that my children deserve. “I am a former (and by “former” I mean five minutes ago) insecure nay-sayer who has walked away from dreams and closed doors that were wide open, out of fear. Today and almost every day from here on out I will do my best (there will be days I’m not feeling up to it) to NOT walk past open doors and not worry about what others might think. I will walk hand in hand with my little mini-me(s) and be the example!”
So, I guess the 2.5 hours of traffic and the $165 tickets to see Taylor Swift were worth more than I realized.