Recently I’ve been meeting with a lot of individuals who come to me beating themselves up, holding themselves to the highest standards of not only parenting, but of everything in their life. They expect themselves to get everything right the first time and have a deeply held belief that beating themselves up over their mistakes will somehow make them better.
And it’s no wonder so many of us hold this belief. Think back to the first time you got a bad grade at school. Most of us took the feedback of that grade and made changes to better ourselves so it wouldn’t happen again. Even if we didn’t, we were likely given feedback from others about how we should. The people around us- our families and others of influence- told us how we MUST do better. They weren’t intending to harm us for they too were raised this way, yet they contributed to this belief that was mustn’t fail and if we do, we must beat ourselves up and do better. And sometimes it worked, reinforcing the belief that being hard on ourselves will make us better.
We are taught to follow the rules, achieve and meet expectations in order to get love and praise. We aren’t taught that we can love ourselves no matter what and give ourselves that much needed praise. Maybe someone told us, but they didn’t give us the skills or the example of how its done.
What if the truth wasn’t that treating yourself harshly will help you do or be better, but in fact is the opposite?
All actions we take in life are driven by how we feel. When we create shame about our failures, we cannot create the life we are wanting. And we cannot be examples to our children of unconditional self love.
Think about it. What we are trying to teach our kids is to love themselves for who they are yet we provide an example of self criticism and a drive to do things perfectly. We beat ourselves up for making a mistake in pronouns or how we approach an unsupportive neighbor. And our kids are watching.
They see us providing grace and compassion to others but not ourselves. They watch us avoid the pain of our errors but numbing out with food, alcohol, Netflix and social media. Then we expect them to do differently, all the while learning skills of grace and self compassion.
We expect ourselves to be superhuman yet tell them that it’s unattainable and they should love themselves even when others insult or bully them. We have to consider the example we are setting and learn new skills.
In order to teach our children this level of love and acceptance, we must first learn these skills ourselves. We must give ourselves permission to fail and thereby learn resilience. We must give ourselves permission to learn and grow.
We must give ourselves permission to be human.
We somehow believe that our mistakes make us worse parents or supporters. But this is a lie our brain tells. It is simply not true. It is in our humanness that we create other amazing humans.
This is what we do in coaching- become better humans, better examples of self love and growth and people with the skills to create whatever it is we want in life. Reach out to me here on the website www.sarahkennedycoaching.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.