My daughter is her biggest cheerleader. It’s not that she doesn’t have competition. Believe me, her dad and I think pretty much everything she does is the most impressive thing we’ve ever seen. But this child is something else – she has her hands together in exuberant applause for herself before my neurons even have time to send the signal to my proud mommy hands to move.
She stacks blocks 3 high – YES!!! Opens and then shuts a door herself? Definitely applause-worthy. Just this past Saturday she took her first steps down stairs walking, rather than crawling backwards, and clapped. (She raised her arms up to take both of my hands, which she held tightly as she took those 2 steps. I’m not trying to take anything away from her, I’m just painting a picture here..)
I can remember a time when I thought that everything I did was fantastic. In fact, one of my dad’s favorite stories is when, after jumping into the swimming pool I emerged and exclaimed, “Aren’t I STUPENDOUS?” at the ripe age of 5. But then I can also recall being in the 2nd grade and beating myself up for weeks over losing the school spelling bee (I spelled the word “I” without saying “capital I”). An easy mistake, to be sure, but was I going to cut myself any slack? Of course not! Do you? When did we start berating ourselves for not being perfect instead of being amazed at what we accomplish in life on a daily basis?
Seeing my daughter’s enthusiasm for her own accomplishments reminds me that we are often, or dare I say almost always, far too hard on ourselves. Our expectations of ourselves get even higher after we become wives and mothers. So the next time you have a self-deprecating thought, take that pause to ask yourself: “Is this really true?” Or the equally perspective-shifting: “If my best friend/someone I respect/almost any other mother I know except myself had done this, would I be judging her so harshly?”
And if you really want to change your life, how about the next time you do something that makes you feel good – something you did a little better than you thought you might – something you just did for the very first time – you give yourself a little credit? Channel your younger self, who believed almost everything you accomplished was worth celebrating. Go ahead, and clap out loud – I bet your kids will too!
“See me clap so fast for the 3 blocks I stacked that you can’t even get a good picture! I AM AWESOME!”
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