Yesterday was a busy day here at the Jones' residence. We had our little niece over and I spent my day taking care of her and my two-year-old, both of them being cranky from a nasty cold. Diaper changes and constantly wiping their little runny noses pretty much sums up the day. Oh, those poor little red noses!
But we also enjoyed lots of cuddle time with wool blankets and good picture books. We baked a loaf of bread and I managed to cook a root vegetable soup for dinner to warm up our body. Cooking and eating well always makes me happy, so that must have been the kindness of the day, I suppose.
I fell asleep on the chesterfield sofa, curled up like a shrimp with my chin tucked to my chest. When I woke up at four in the morning with a sore neck, shivering from sleeping without a blanket, this random thought came to my mind out of nowhere.
I need to let go of the negative inner voice that keeps nagging me.
Where did it come from, I wondered, my mind still foggy from the sleep.
Growing up, my parents gave me many positive affirmations that made me feel good. They would tell me "you always do a great job no matter what you do" and "you'll accomplish many great things," and those messages still empower me to this day.
But at the same time, I was often criticized too, usually for the things that I could not change. Looking back, it was more of a cultural practice than a parenting choice, because Japanese mothers tend to be very critical of their daughters (please correct me if I'm wrong).
I know that's the way those mothers are trying to "correct" us daughters, to help us become a lady they can be proud of. I understand the good intentions behind that mentality. But living with those negative messages would make you feel as if you are not enough. That unfortunately becomes part of who we are, and it hurts.
When I became a parent, I brought that negative voice into my own parenting. I often nag my boys for being fussy and difficult, and I know that makes them feel bad. I can see that in their reactions and that hurts me.
Trust me, I'm not choosing to behave that way. It's rather like a default parenting mode that shows up when I'm feeling stressed and overwhelmed. So, instead of helping them learn how to calm themselves down when they get upset, I get frustrated and criticize their behavior. How can that be helpful to them?
The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice they carry throughout their life.
|image via The Silver Pen|
During the healing circle I attended the other day, I realized how important it is for parents to accept their child for who he or she is. Children learn how they feel about themselves from early on by the way adults speak to them. Many of us carry that pattern into adulthood and that inner voice, let it be positive or negative, navigates our life.
As children transition into young adulthood, I can see the issue of parental acceptance might take different forms but it still exists. A parent might deny the child's newly blossoming identity by criticizing the career path he chose, his sexuality, the person he chose to marry to, or spiritual or religious choices he's made.
It sure doesn't feel good to be denied who we truly are. What can we do?
|image via Pinterest. original source unknown.|
Can we just accept who we are and start appreciating our unique design, including all the good and some of the faults?
I want to feel good about myself.
I want my boys to feel good about themselves.
I want you to feel good about yourself.
Can we release the negative inner monster that torment us and let us just be who we deeply are?
I am enough.
You are enough.
We are enough.
Just the way we are.
You may be temperamental, clumsy, messy, anxious, or (fill in the blank), but that's exactly how God wanted you to be. They are part of your unique design. And you know, He doesn't make mistakes. We are exactly how He designed us to be.
Thank you for being me, Yuko. I love you just the way you are.
Thank you for being you. I love you just the way you are.
Today, I am releasing the negative inner voice that pushes me and my loved ones around. I am going to replace that with the voice of love and positive affirmations. I am slowly learning to be kind to myself and kind to others around me as well.
Hush, inner monster. You don't belong here anymore.
This is my second kindness post of the week. You can read the first post here.
Today, I'm also linking up to The Nester for the un-word link party. I also wrote my word for the year here and here. Please visit Nesting Place for more un-word inspiration!