There has been a lot of talk about feeling good in our skin, self esteem and what we all do to feel beautiful. From Chris Rock's movie "Good Hair' to Glamour Magazine's November issue about real woman and their bodies, we all want to feel good about ourselves.
At my children's school, they are embarking on an "I believe" campaign for self-esteem. The children will wear special shirts and listen to song on special days. I think it is silly but I bought the shirts because I would never want my children to think that their mother didn't believe in them enough to buy the shirts to wear on the special "believe" days. I am sure this program makes certain administrators feel like they are covering this developmental area. I don't think it is so easy. One comment from a special teacher or administrator to a child would mean a lot more than a silly song.
How we develop our self-esteem starts with our parents. If we feel loved and cherished in an atmosphere without fear and anger, self-esteem can flourish. As a child, I told I was pretty and smart but when I got to high school, I wasn't sure anymore. Peers can take so much away from a teenage girl. I then went to college and had a great experience. People were smart around me and I loved learning. The parties weren't too bad either. My self-esteem flourished.
Fast forward ten years to motherhood. It rocks your world. Who you were and how you feel about yourself is torn apart and reconstructed. That is not a bad thing. For awhile, you lose yourself in your children. You become a mother. You then spend a couple of years trying to regain your mojo while taking care of your family.
And just when you think you have figured out how to be OK in your skin, something surprises you. Maybe you hear from an old friend and the old memories come flooding back. Maybe you attend a class reunion. Maybe you talk to someone and they don't remember meeting you before. Maybe you aren't chosen for a project that you really wanted. Maybe someone says something negative about you. Maybe your child isn't invited to a party and they are disappointed. Maybe you aren't invited. You tell yourself that you are all grown-up and that it doesn't hurt. But, you know otherwise.
I have heard from older woman that the older you get, the more comfortable you feel in your skin. Nothing excites me more about getting older. And as I get older, I realize that self-esteem doesn't come from labels or money spent on things. Someone will always have more than you. I feel best when I help others and reach out to people. The love I get as a result makes me feel good. This has taken me years to learn.
So, I will dress my boys in their silly "I believe" t-shirts twice a month for school while teaching them at home that there is more to self-esteem. It is a journey and not a destination. I believe.
The Open Road
4 years ago