As a partially reformed perfectionist it can be easy for me to see tasks done by myself or others that aren’t quite up to snuff. Whose snuff is a question that begs an answer – mine or that of the imaginary person looking over my shoulder and judging me? I grew up thinking I had to be perfect in order to be liked. If I’m not careful that thought can still haunt me. This is problematic not only in how it shows up in my life but also in how I sometimes see others, namely my kids.
There are times when I can be just as hard on my children as I am on myself. Do I honestly think my kids will not be liked if they are not perfect? Because I answer no to this, I have to answer the same for myself. So I’ve let go and allowed mistakes and mess to creep in.
Exploring the idea so well discussed by Brené Brown that we are all doing the best we can in any given situation has allowed me to soften and brings in more compassion for myself and my children. Read this week’s column in Jackson Hole News&Guide to ponder whether you can take the stance that your kids are doing the best they can with what they have in any given situation – and that actually we all are!
Jackson Hole News & Guide: “I know my life is better when I work from the assumption that everyone is doing the best they can.” — Brené Brown, “Dare to Lead.”
An article with that quote recently showed up in my inbox, smacking me in the face. The thought that everyone is doing the best they can isn’t always my first tendency when it applies to my kids.
I don’t think I’m alone. Whether you tend toward optimism or pessimism, many of us can go to the place of not assuming the best intent from our children.
The combination of our children’s challenging behaviors, the expectations we have of them (whether realistic or not) and our busy lives can leave a bad taste in our mouths when our kids aren’t doing what we want them to. We tell ourselves stories or develop beliefs: My child is lazy. She never listens. He’s out of control. She can’t get along with her sister. They don’t care. He has no respect. She is manipulative. They are trying to make me mad. And so on.
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