Just recently I have been thinking a lot about the choices Tim and I make as parents. There are times when we blunder along blindly, with no idea what the "right" answer is or whether a "right answer" even exists. If I'm honest, I find myself unsure of the best way forward far more than I find myself in situations when I know exactly what is right for us and our situation.
And I know I am far from alone in feeling this way - parenting is hard and there is no easy shortcut or guidebook to get us from A to B without tripping and falling every now and again. I'll always remember a very wise friend of mine (who has grown up children) telling me no matter what we do there will always be things that we screw up. We're humans, we're imperfect, we make mistakes, we learn.
Her message was that rather than trying to get it right all the time, we should just accept that we will make mistakes and work to ensure that we are aware when we fall short, we use it as an opportunity to learn and grow, and we are honest with ourselves and our children about our imperfections. When we do this, we drop the pressure and start living our lives as we are. We show our children that it is okay to fail, that it's okay to make mistakes, and that rather than being this awful thing it is actually all just a part of being human.
This same message came up once again this morning when I was watching Marianne Williamson's most recent talk based on A Course in Miracles. If you didn't know, Marianne gives a talk every Monday night in LA and has started live streaming the event every week to enable people around the world to join in.
This week the focus of the talk was on our incessant need to have more, do more, see more, be more. We are so caught up in believing that if only we had that new job, or a bigger house, or more money, or another baby, or a loving partner, or recognition of our worth we would be happy. When the reality is that none of those things will make us happy, because they are all outside influences. They are all things that the ego tells us we must have to feel worthy, to feel like we have made it in the world, that we matter.
But the Truth is that we matter just as we are. We don't have to do or be anything more than what we are, because what we are is good enough. When we achieve great things we feel great about ourselves, but when we put too much emphasis on that achievement rather than who we are, as we are, then that feeling is fleeting.
I think that, as parents, there is so much pressure on us to "get it right". There are a limitless number of books, DVDs, videos, blogs, magazine articles etc that tell us what we should be doing and how we should be doing it. Parenting "experts" show us how things should be done, and parenting profiles online often show only the high gloss version of what family life is really like. I don't know about you, but my house is as far from Pinterest-worthy as possible!
We compare ourselves to the ideals, the things that the media and modern society make us feel are so important. We worry that we are not giving our children enough time, attention, or opportunities and we focus on who they are becoming rather than who they already are. And all the while we add more and more guilt to those areas where we feel we are failing most. And we look for ways to make that guilt go away.
But what happens if we accept that we are worthy, no matter what?
Marianne puts it so beautifully in this week's talk when she says: "nothing on this earth is the mountaintop - the mountaintop is when we fall to our knees. That's the interesting thing about power - it's when you realise that of yourself you are powerless, that you become powerful in the world."
For me this means letting go of all those feelings of inadequacy, all those times when I feel like I'm not good enough, and accept that even when I feel like the biggest failure I am still so worthy. They say that what you see in the world is a mirror reflecting back to you what is within yourself, and I find this is so true when I am with WB.
Like me, he is a "high achiever" and already at the age of 4 I can see him pinning his worth on what he achieves rather than who he is, as he is. It breaks my heart to see this, because I recognise the pattern within myself and I desperately want him to avoid that. But I know I can't protect him from it, I know he has to learn it for himself, in his own way. All I can hope is that as he reflects to me the areas where I feel less than "good enough" I can reflect back to him what it is like to try and accept yourself as worthy, just as you are.
How can I do that? Well one step at a time, how else do we learn anything? Today I am starting by reminding myself it is okay to get things wrong, and it is okay to not feel "good enough". Because within accepting that I realise that good enough is all there is.
As usual, I am joining in with the #sharethejoy linky hosted by The Joy Chaser. What can bring us more joy as parents than realising that we are "good enough" just as we are?
Whilst Spirit Kid Network is still very new, I hope that you can see where I'm going with it, and that the content I have already written has been helpful, encouraging and inspiring.
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