“When people put you down enough you start to believe it, the bad stuff is easier to believe, you ever notice that?”
This is a quote from my favourite film, and when it comes to real life this is true. The heroine is discussing why her life is on this path and despite the fact that others can see what a “bright and special” woman she is it’s still hard for her to believe in herself.
Im sure if we are honest many of us no matter how good things are often feel like this, it’s the bad stuff, the unkind words that hurt us and what we seem to remember. Of course this can be more confounded if we haven’t been surrounded by positive people to encourage the beautiful qualities inside us or who cast doubts on our worth as a person.
We all meet people in life that find joy in putting others down. There can be many reasons for this, jealousy, a desire to control, to make themselves appear a better person or frustration at their own journey in life. When however the person or the people doing this are those closest to us the damage can be severe and long lasting.
Of course the worst time for this is when we are young, when minds are at their most impressionable and we are learning about life and the world around us. When we are put down as a child the pattern becomes learned and can affect not only the person we become but the choices and path we may take in life. As adults it can take many years to overcome feelings of low self esteem. If we have been subject to being put down for many years seeing our own beauty can be hard. We can doubt our own abilities, talents and gifts and accepting compliments and praise can be difficult. We may find that we do not chase our dreams but instead ‘settle’ believing that we do not deserve more.
When we are a mother and caring for our beautiful children it can be especially challenging to not believe the bad stuff. With the big world of the media we are often bombarded with what we should be. There isn’t a day goes by when there aren’t more articles to put you down regarding your parenting choices and the way you look after your little ones. Add to this the opinion of family, friends and health professionals and as mothers we can feel overwhelmed and low doubting ourselves and our abilities.
So what can we do to help ourselves but also make sure we give our precious children a good foundation for life?
When I was growing up I was taught to believe the world was a scary place, chances were to be doubted and questioned in favour of the ‘safe option’ and people weren’t to be trusted. I wasn’t allowed opinion and had to do what was expected of me, when I did good it was hardly noticed but I felt that the slightest step out of line was to be feared for the punishment that would follow. I didn’t feel I had choices but only expectations. I know my parents believed they we doing their best, but it taught me so much about how not to be a parent.
When I had my own children I could have followed similar patterns, I struggled massively with the expectations of others and what I felt others believed I should do with my children. Deep down I knew that how I wanted to parent was right. I wanted calm parenting, I picked my babies up, I let them breastfeed when and for as long as they wanted, I didn’t push them to clear their plates or go to bed but tried to let them lead the way when they were ready. This didn’t go down well with others and at times I felt I was fighting what felt like the whole world to do what was right for them. I know that everyday my choices were questioned and I was made to feel like everything I was doing was wrong.
I had however a stronger desire in me and that was to give my children a good foundation for the future. I knew that I had issues with self esteem, confidence and self worth. I knew that choices I had made in life had been based on other people’s views and expectations. I knew that I felt many of my choices had been taken from me and I doubted myself and my abilities and I didn’t want that for my children.
I wanted to make sure that they grew up confident and happy, able to reach the best they could be. I wanted them to believe in themselves and others, and more importantly be who they wanted to be, whether that be a doctor or a scientist or a homemaker. I didn’t want the world to be a scary place but a place full of opportunity and wonder and I didn’t want them to ‘settle’ but reach out for their dreams. I wanted the choices they made to be theirs, mistakes and all. I didn’t want them to feel the the bad stuff was easier to believe.
It hasn’t been easy been an easy journey I have at times fought battles with my own demons and stood alone against everyone to do this for my children but I believe that it is the greatest gift apart from my love that I could give them.
When cames to my children I learnt to be flexible, they are where different and needed different things. I learnt humour was my biggest friend and could turn even the most difficult time into laughter. Praise and encouragement builds strong hearts in children and so does allowing freedom of ideas and creativity.
The greatest thing however I could give them was my time and love which hasn’t changed, it meant at times sacrifice both emotionally and financially but it was worth it.
Never should we put our beautiful children down, berate their ideas, or force them to take a path that we choose. A child is like a canvas beautiful and pure waiting for the picture to take shape, we can either paint the picture for them making it our own scene or we can encourage our children to paint their own picture, with all the colours and shapes that they chose making it individual and unique to them.
It’s taken me many years to not not believe the bad stuff, and it is definitely easier to allow it to shape your mind. Slowly I have become stronger and made choices that are right for me. Along the way I have met some amazing beautiful souls who have given me gifts in the form of love, praise and self belief. One dear friend gave me card when I was going through a bad time, making big changes to my life and barely hanging on. Inside they told me I was stronger than I knew that this was the beginning of my journey and I was emerging from my cocoon, my wings unfolding into a butterfly. I will never forget those words and when I doubt myself I hang on and remember that a butterfly goes through much to become what it is, delicate but beautiful and free.
Believe that you can too! Believe you can be who you want to be, that you can reach your goals. Remember your amazing and have many gifts and talents inside you. Surround yourself with those that see your light and reflect it back for you to see. The heroine in the movie got her happy ending as they do in movies, but don’t let the bad stuff be the thing you believe, even though at times it’s easier, but believe in more and become everything you’re meant to be.