I've been struggling with my children even though I am very loving and consciously consistent and firm with them, and now I see it as if it were a light shining straight in my eyes all along and I was just blind! My children saw my self doubt! I can think of a perfect example to share!
My little girl is 4 years old and has been in love with dance since she could crawl. One of our favorite things to do when she was 8 months old was to watch "Dancing With the Stars" just to watch her! She would move to the music even then and she was so fascinated by the beautiful costumes that the women wore. We knew even then that we had to find a way to put her into dance class. When she turned 4 our birthday gift to her was a year of dance. She loves it. There are days when she doesn't want to go, but 9 times out of 10 she is very excited and ready to get there and perform, and that's saying a lot for someone so small.
Still, even with her passion for dance, I find myself feeling out of place because of our family's social status. Until tonight I didn't realize exactly how ridiculous that is...regardless of how many times my dearest friends have tried to reassure me. I felt out of place because of the sacrifices that it requires of us to allow our little girl to do dance. I felt out of place because we drive an old vehicle and our clothes are showing some wear. I allowed my fears of rejection to keep me from reaching out to the other mothers around me, and guess what all of those women are...THEY ARE MOTHERS TOO. They are mothers with their own sets of doubts, struggles, and issues; with their own sets of weaknesses and strengths. I may not know what they are, but I'm not the only one wondering if I'll be rejected and by doubting myself I have allowed myself to be the one doing the rejecting and that is unacceptable to me.
By hearing me say aloud "I'd like to invite Tina over for coffee, but what will she think of my floor?" or "what would she think about the fact that our fence is broken in the back and because we rent we have no control over when it gets fixed?" my children are learning that mommy doubts herself, and are therefore learning that mommy is to be doubted. They need to see confidence and strength, even when I don't feel it. So, here's the plan.
Have you heard the phrase "Act enthusiastic and you'll be enthusiastic"? Well, I am going to behave with confidence whether I feel confident or not. I'm going to replace the negative and false thoughts with simple truths, such as...when I think "Tina will think poorly of me because my home is small and rented and I need new linoleum." I will replace it with "I have an acquaintance that I think could become a really dear friend and she is coming to visit with me, not with my floors!"
I know that this is not going to be an overnight change, but it's a start. I thank my dear friend for the wake-up call.