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 choice in their own hands
The effort is in teaching a child 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 w/ real tools for building a healthy belief in themselves And it provides them with keys to freedom from unhappiness & mental suffering that empowers them for the rest of their life
Reframing unhappy thoughts to 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 ourselves 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 personal Understanding instead that every human being does what they do because they believe what they think (which might be very confused and distorted) rather than personalizing their reactions and seeing 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 their doing has nothing to do with our being we are able to respond in ways that are more loving and kinder Instead we remember that whatever happens holds an opportunity for something better
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 own 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 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 havc mistreated yourself similarly Forgive yourself and forgive them Forgiveness does not mean to cover for or make excuses for ourselves 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 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