Isn’t it interesting how quickly we criticise ourselves and our children? Sometimes it can be very subtle but it’s there – any time we see a behaviour or a quality that is ‘less than’ desirable from our perspective.
Parenting has, at times, morphed into a series of subtle criticisms of our children. Sometimes these are silent and other times these are vocal. We forget that our children are biologically hardwired to want to grow up into successful humans. We think that we have to teach them and point out where they get it wrong in order for them to learn the right way.
The truth is that, just like us, our children are doing their best. When we let go of criticism and we support and guide our child, embracing who they are as a unique individual, we see joy, peace, growth and development emerge.
We can do this for ourselves too.
• Where might you be criticising yourself, perhaps without even noticing it?
• Where might you be criticising your child without even noticing it?
I have spent years in self-criticism. My motivation was trying to live according to a high set of invisible and unspoken expectations that I perceived from others or set for myself.
I still fall into this behaviour sometimes – just this weekend I had two moments of self criticism that took me out of self-love. Both were times when I experienced who I am as not being good enough, thinking I should be better. In that moment of self-criticism I also seamlessly stepped into comparison too. Comparison is the thief of joy – incredibly evident by the agitation, tears and frustration that accompanied my criticism and comparison.
The best part of these experiences was my awareness. Becoming aware of the self-criticism and comparison helped me to begin to find new words with which to speak to myself. It also gave me an opportunity to move back into self-love.
I invite you to give yourself permission to choose self-love instead of criticism and comparison. And to choose acceptance of your children instead of criticism and comparison. What do you think?