It’s not easy to self assess and it’s even harder to admit when we are wrong or have weaknesses in important areas. It’s uncomfortable to try and fix those weak qualities and many times, we can’t even see the areas we need to educate ourselves on if no one is willing to call us out on our bullsh**.
I was recently lucky enough to have a friend be brave enough to call me out on some of my weaknesses that I was inadvertently blind to. It was a chance she took, the chance of offending me and ruining our friendship, but it paid off. Because as hard as it was to hear what she was saying, it needed to be said and once I swallowed my pride, I realized she was right. I have this huge area of my life that needs to be addressed. Not only is it important to accept and then change this weakness for myself, it’s incredibly important that I do so for the sake of my children. I do not want to subconsciously spread my own insecurities to my children, creating lifelong struggles for them, when they could’ve seen me model confidence and kindness.
It’s no secret that our kids observe us, watching like hawks and learning habits from us that we never intended to pass on. We often censor ourselves and recognize obvious behaviors we don’t want our toddlers mimicking, like the swear words we use or the road rage we feel. We train ourselves to keep these on the inside and try to model the best of what our kids should learn. But every single parent will fail at perfection. Every single parent will be human and make mistakes. And our kids will inevitably pick up opinions or habits we aren’t proud of that they’ve learned directly from us.
Even though it’s a fact of life that there’s no perfect way to parent, that’s not an excuse to get lazy with our resolve to better ourselves. And I think, more often than not, most parents succeed in overcoming their insecurities, for the sake of their children. Our kids are a huge source of motivation. We can use their innocence and potential to remind ourselves that we are worthy of living a better life, and modeling a better life, too.
An obvious example would be body image and self shaming. In a world where our kids, especially our daughters, are bombarded with images and expectations of the “perfect” body, they don’t need to get it from their own parents, too. They don’t need to hear us putting ourselves down in passive aggressive ways. They don’t need to witness our frustration at the stubborn pounds that never go away or the wrinkles that show the passing of years. Many times, this resolve to be more consciously positive will require you to “fake it til you make it.” I don’t have a strong confidence in my own body image but I work every day to hide that from my daughter and teach her self-love and acceptance, instead. And you know what? The longer I do this, the more I have actually come to believe in myself. Though I’m nowhere near perfect, and despite some recent weight gain, my physical insecurities are nowhere near what they were a few years ago and I can directly thank my daughter for this. And I can see how it’s working for her, too. I tell her she’s beautiful; she responds with a casual, “I know, thanks!”
So decide now and decide every day: What do I want to model for my kids? My insecurities? Or my dreams for what they have the potential to become? It’s time, parents. It’s time to turn our insecurities into our empowerment, for the sake of our children.