I love this quote, “Failure is a feeling, long before it’s an actual result.” Michele Obama
Warning: This post is not about academic or work-related success or failure. It’s about releasing the blockages that create limiting beliefs about you or your child’s self-worth.
What creates success or failure? Your thoughts do!
As parents, we want to protect our kids from pain, lack of self-worth, and failure. It’s natural.
When your child says, “I can’t.” or I’m not good at that!” what do you say? Do you say, “That’s not true.” and leave it at that? Or do you dig a bit deeper?
I wish my parents had explored my feelings more. It took me years to learn how to release the motivation for negative beliefs. Here’s an example from my life.
My father and my sister are very smart, which created a lot of pressure for me as a kid. As an adult, I’ve realized that I am smart, just in a very different way than my father or my sister.
My first article was about my grandmother’s death. When I shared it with my mom, she criticized everything about it, even though my writer’s group loved it. As a result, I decided I wasn’t a writer!
I’ve since realized that reading my article was painful for Mom. It caused her to relive her mother’s death; her reaction to my article had nothing to do with my writing. However, at the time, I filled in the blanks of what I imagined had happened by blaming and diminishing myself. I didn’t write for years. And when I finally did, I had to climb a huge mountain of lack of self-worth each time I faced a blank page.
When lack-of-self-worth rears its ugly head, whether it’s inside your head or inside your child’s head, challenge it. Ask yourself some questions.
• Is there any evidence that what was said is true? Or was I caught in the middle of a learning moment?
• Was the person who said those diminishing remarks focused on you, or something else when (s)he spoke?
• What thoughts / beliefs about myself and my capabilities have I created as a result of what was said?
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” is bullsh*t—words do HURT.
Don’t let negative beliefs get a hold of you. Teach kids to disassemble any remarks that are causing lack-of-self-worth, rather than simply telling them to ignore it.
This life skill empowers them and provides them with the skills they’ll need to move forward in life. In other words, pull the root of the weed called lack-of-self-worth before it becomes “the actual result.” If words aren’t challenged, they will become an unconscious repetitive loop of diminishing untruths that can dictate or interfere with our lives.