One of the first things you realize as a parent is that you tend to give a whole lot of advice to your kids that you don’t actually follow. Now I do tend to look both ways before crossing the street, and I haven’t put my fingers in an electrical socket lately… But on less lethal issues I’m not always listening to my own wisdom. What sort of ideas do you try to instill in your children?
10 Things We Tell our Children that we Should be Telling Ourselves.
- You don’t have to be perfect to be great. Nobody is perfect, and maybe in some way that makes everybody perfectly imperfect. For example, I was afraid to start writing this blog… I told myself that other people were already writing about this stuff, and what could I possibly bring to the table? But somebody told me that, “You are You, and nobody else can tell the story from YOUR perspective.” Indeed!
- I believe in you. We are always telling our children we believe in them. We know that if they just stay focused they can accomplish great things. But sometimes we stop believing this for ourselves. Do you think you can make a big career move? Do you think you can retire early? Well, whatever your goal… You have to believe in you.
- We all make mistakes. We expect our kids to make mistakes, but we expect ourselves to not. I see this in Corporate America all the time. Even though mistakes are the fastest way to learn, everyone is so afraid of making one that it becomes hard to get anything done. Perfection is Paralysis, and sometimes you have to make mistakes to learn how not to do something.
- You can be anything you want to be. This is a big one for me, I never truly believed it, but should have. I realize now that I really could have made some pretty amazing things happen earlier in my life than I did. If your child was passionate about becoming a scientist would you tell them they could never do that? Of course not… What are you passionate about that you’re telling yourself you can’t do?
- You did your best. Sometimes you just have to give yourself an “A” for effort. You tried, it didn’t work, you learned from it, and that’s just how life goes sometimes.
- Don’t be afraid to be you. I love this, and wish puberty mixed with social media didn’t grind it out of so many folks. You’re the only you… You don’t need to look like some celebrity to fit in. Being you is being authentic, and in the long run people choose authentic over trendy.
- I forgive you. There’s nothing my children could do that I couldn’t forgive them for; if you have kids you get that. The question is can you forgive yourself? If we dwell on the bad decisions of the past, we can’t focus on the great decisions we will be making in the future.
- You can try again tomorrow. If my 5-year-old son misses all his tries at making a basket, I tell him he just needs more practice and can try again tomorrow. When I fail at something I tend to be a lot harder on myself. But sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and tell yourself you need a little more time to get it right.
- Not everyone will like you, and that’s OK. There’s a quote by John Lydgate that says, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” You’ll never make everyone happy; some people will just complain about everything no matter what. But that’s OK because if you are authentic at being you, you will attract other authentic people and build wonderful relationships with those people.
- You are beautiful. There’s nothing in all the observable Universe exactly like you. Billions of stars and planets,,, light-years of space,,, yet not another YOU anywhere. You’re the only you. If you think about that for a second…. It’s a very beautiful thing… own it.
Photo by Valeria Zoncoll
C.J. is the blogger behind the Vow of Practicality. “Let’s grow your wealth, increase your productivity, and maximize your happiness.”