I love this post by Megan from Meaningful Mommy. I can relate SO much to trying to be a people pleaser and worrying so much about other’s opinions of me. I’ve grown a lot as a mom and now that I have three kids, I worry about that a lot less. But, I’m still not perfect. I love how she learned this meaningful lesson from her daughter. Make sure you stop by her blog and check it out. It’s thought provoking, beautifully written, and she write about everything from being a mom, to travel, to gardening. And, I can tell that she really does try to find meaning in the big and little things. Don’t miss out! If you want to be part of my Be Brave Guest Post Series, go here.
A few months ago I wrote ‘A Letter to My Daughter’ about an experience at swimming lessons where my daughter showed extreme bravery. I watched her from the side of the pool and she brought me to tears. That day I really saw her and her struggle to choose what felt right inside. I thought about the courage it took for her to admit her fear and make the choice she did. Her courage to tell her swim instructor and her mommy that she was afraid because what she was asked to do didn’t feel safe. I am still thinking about that day. I don’t want her to do anything that makes her feel afraid. Challenged, yes. Maybe a teensy bit nervous, sure. But afraid? No. That feeling inside when you just know something doesn’t feel right to you…I want her to keep connected to her intuition. That day at the pool the floor to ceiling water slide and my daughter taught me something huge about bravery.
Here is an excerpt from my letter
“You listened to your heart. You understand there are times to be brave and there are times to know your limits. That sometimes it takes even more bravery to not do something and to stand up for yourself………You didn’t lament the fact that you weren’t doing what the other kids were doing. You didn’t do something in fear because you were worried about my reaction or because you thought it was expected of you. It is this courageous act of bravery that makes me the most proud of you…..”
My daughter listens to her heart. She showed me recently that this is what bravery can look like. I wish I was as confident in myself. I wish I had understood before that moment that bravery comes in many forms. Since becoming a mother I am often afraid. Afraid for my children’s safety as they challenge themselves to ride a bike or climb the tallest monkey bars. Afraid that I may be screwing up my role as mommy with every mistake. Afraid of what other moms may think of me if I don’t join the new ‘you’d do this if you want your kids to succeed’ trend. It’s time I took note of what I
could should be learning from my daughter.
My daughter, so wise for her five years. She seems to know her limits. When to push herself and when to just say no. When to stand her ground no matter what. For herself. When I think about it almost all children are good at this. They challenge themselves (and us) trying new things daily. Sometimes we understand why they are doing this, them pushing limits and standing their ground, and other times we don’t. I think they do it because they haven’t lost their sense of self. They haven’t tried to mold in to any pre-conceived notions of how they ‘should be’. They are trying to safely build their personal character.
I have not been very good at that. I seem to say ‘yes’ often out of fear of some outside opinion. I should be saying ‘no’ out of respect to my heart. Bravery can be saying no just as often as it can be saying yes. I think that for some of us (including me) it may take more bravery to walk away when something isn’t working. To not do what ‘others’ are doing because it isn’t what’s right for ourselves or our family. Sometimes it’s more brave to stand outside of the pack. To go back and find that sense of self from childhood we may have pushed so far down it’s hard to hear any more.
I know as my daughter gets older, the more times she is brave by listening to her heart, by saying no, her confidence will grow. I know her confidence will also grow when she does challenge herself by saying yes, but there will be a balance. A balance of external and internal bravery that will make her a strong well-rounded woman. I know that by my respecting her decisions of when to push herself and when to back away will strengthen her self-esteem. I hope that every time I validate her feelings when she says she is not ready that I help her stay connected to her inner bravery. I hope it will be easier for her to continue to say no, when it will really matter, throughout her life. This of-course applies to situations that make her feel afraid or just icky inside (not when she doesn’t want to try a new vegetable). 😉
From now on I will try to be brave like my daughter. Externally and internally brave. Standing up for what feels right for myself and my children. Not worrying about what other mom’s (or anyone) may think of me. I know what may work for a family might not work for us and that it is perfectly okay to say so. We all have our own paths to travel, our personal journey ahead. I will be brave, blazing my own trail through life with my head held high. No longer afraid…
*Well, until the next time I see my daughter hanging upside down from the highest monkey bars, or when she learns to drive, or when she sets out on her own, and many, many times in-between…but hopefully both my girls will be brave and strong and only challenge themselves in ways that make them feel confident and safe. And I will be right there to support them.
When have you possibly been even more brave by listening to your heart and saying no?
“A Meaningful Life is not being rich, being popular, being highly educated or being perfect. It Is about being real, being humble, being strong and being able to share ourselves and touch the lives of others. It Is only then that we could have a full, happy and contented life.” ~Unknown
I am a wearer of many hats…a mommy, wife, daughter, sister, friend, ex-teacher, stay-at-home mommy, wanna-be perfectionist but constant mistake maker trying to find a balance between being a mommy, being me and leading a meaningful life.