When I was a young child, I would always hear the things that I was not doing right instead of all the things that I was doing correctly. Between what I was hearing at home and getting made fun of at school, my inner voice was not very nice to me. My inner voice never celebrated me; my inner voice never saw any good in me. Throughout the years of growing up and changing my perspective on life, I’ve realized that we have an opportunity to change our inner voice. That’s really what I worked on because, as I raised my two children, who are now adults, I realized I too gave them an inner voice of not being enough, of always seeing what’s wrong, and I learned that I had to let go of the baggage.
What we say to our children is so imperative, especially because their brains are growing from the time they are born to 12, from the experiences they have to the influences they have. We, as parents, are their biggest influencers. We have to be able to give them an inner voice where they’re actually building themselves instead of beating themselves. How many of us as adults have learned how to self-beat so much? We think if we see everything that’s wrong with us, we’ll be able to make it better and fix it. What if there was nothing to fix? What if we were already okay and just weren’t told that? It’s time to put our baggage down and parent with fresh eyes.
I talked about this before: how to let go of that baggage. How do we see our kids with fresh eyes and give them the words that they need to hear? What words would you want your children to hear from you? What would you want them to go to school thinking about when they’re not doing well on a test or they feel intimidated walking down the halls? What would you want them to hear in their minds? Would you want them to hear, “You got this! I am so proud of you. No matter what the challenges are, I know you can face them and you will come out on top. No matter how many times you fall in life, I know that I’ve set you up to win and you’re going to come up on top. You’re going to know how to get up on your own feet; you don’t need me to pick you up anymore because you got this.”? Can you imagine if that was your inner voice growing up? Where would you be today?
We have a chance as parents to redefine the way we parent. We don’t have to parent the way that we were brought up. We have an opportunity to change it now, and it’s not too late. Even with my children that are adults, my stepdaughters that come and visit me, twins that are only nine, and even my granddaughter who’s four, we have now started to teach them new languages. We start to see what’s right versus what’s wrong; we celebrate what they’re doing right instead of always telling them what they’re not doing right. We give them the opportunity to make choices and let them know. There are no labels; we don’t have to say, “What you did was wrong” or “What you did was right.” You either make a good choice or a not-so-good choice, but when you don’t make a good choice, guess what? You learn from it. It’s a learning opportunity. We don’t always learn from all the greatness that we accomplish in our lives; sometimes we have to learn from the struggles and the challenges that we’re faced with.
The key is the inner voice, though; what are we telling ourselves? What are we saying to ourselves? When are we in that moment of vulnerability? Are we saying to ourselves, “I’m not worth it. I’m not enough. I’m dumb. Nobody believes in me anyway”? If we’re saying that, I challenge you now to think about how you could change those words to create your own self-worth and empower yourself. When you can start to do that, you’re also able to start doing this with your children; you’re able to change their inner voice just by seeing the greatness they’re doing. You too can help them stack this, so when they’re our age, when they’re adults, they have that self-worth, they have that self-confidence because you, as their parents, learned how to give them their self-worth; you’ve taught them that they’re enough.
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