Conscious Choice For Inner Freedom

We, as parents and teachers, often focus on and seek ways we can raise self-esteem in our children – but building self-esteem in children is NOT a goal in and of itself. Self-esteem is not a thing that can be taught. It is a result.

In reality, self-esteem is the natural consequence that comes from consciously practicing personal choice. Teaching children that how they see their life situation determines how they feel – that it is not what happens but what they tell themselves about the happening that determines whether they feel good, or not so good. Nothing builds a child's esteem faster than putting the power of making choices in their hands.

The effort is in teaching children that they indeed are the person in charge of their personal emotional reality.  WOW! Potent stuff indeed.  It is hard to see ourselves as victims of external circumstances when we, whatever age we are, know the simple, powerful truth that we get to decide how we will think and feel about what happens in our life. Teaching our children, the power of such choice provides them with real tools for building a healthy belief in themselves.  It provides them with keys to freedom from unhappiness & mental suffering that empowers them for the rest of their life.

Reframing unhappy thoughts into more positive ones is a lifetime practice that leads to a sense of being comfortable in our own skin. Just imagine a world where this is widely understood and practiced … can you?

Such reframing leads to a degree of self-acceptance that is key to personal freedom Consciously choosing a kinder way to see a particular situation that might otherwise be seen as highly stressful generates positive feelings for us, and more acceptance of others (Notice it is about reframing our OWN unhappy thoughts, not changing THEIR mind that sets us free)

How do we reframe our negative judgments and accusations? The willingness to look beyond blame is essential.  We are not talking about ignoring or denying what others do but refusing to take it personally. Understanding instead that every human being does what they do because they believe what they think (which might be very confusing and distorted) rather than personalizing their reactions and therefore rendering ourselves as victims at their mercy.

When we believe we are victims without choice, we resort to defensive reactions that only perpetuate victim consciousness. When we know that what they are doing has nothing to do with us, we can remember that whatever happens holds an opportunity for something better. and respond in ways that are more loving and kinder.

This brings to mind the time a neighbor boy, a young man still living with his parents, stole and cashed personal checks from me  When I discovered what had happened, I confronted him, but without blame, threats, or ultimatums  Although I did file a police report on him (he was arrested, convicted, and served a short sentence in jail) he and I talked about the opportunity his being found out was offering him to change his life direction He chose to take positive self-action instead of denying and defending his act. I stayed kind and understanding, yet consistent in my choice to allow him the right to experience the results of his choices. I felt compassion for him, remembering my wild youth but at the same time, I recalled the lessons that my painful deeds and mistakes had afforded me. I knew that truly the most loving act that I could offer this young man was to allow him to experience the consequences of his own choices. It paid off. My neighbor chose to use the opportunity presented as a turning point for himself. He got help for drug abuse, and the last time I heard from him, he was living a sober, and much more responsible life.

When others mistreat you, look hard for the opportunity being offered. For instance, look inside your own mind for how you perhaps have mistreated yourself similarly Forgive yourself and forgive them. Forgiveness does not mean covering for or make excuses for us or those who have wronged us. It is simply to reframe through kindness.

Self-esteem is cultivated through a practice of accepting responsibility for how we see life. Model for your children how to see life in a way that looks for opportunities being offered for something better, regardless of what life delivers to us. Refuse to blame or to deny. Look for purpose and meaning even in the darkest moments and teach your children to do the same for a happier world, all round.

2 Responses

  1. Some people have ptsd and are extremely sensitive to noise. Wind chimes bother me terribly, just as much as a fire alarm, car alarm, or a timer beeping. Perhaps you didn’t think of it from that perspective.

  2. This is explained so beautifully. Just the right time to hear it. I have figured out a resolution or next response to a negative neighbor who insist I take down my wind chime b/c he doesn’t like it . Told me I was ruining his joy! I have compromised and it only makes a sound when I’m sit outside. This is unacceptable to him!

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