Practice PROFOUND Acceptance
Practicing profound acceptance is perhaps
the most important action you can take
to help your kids develop self-esteem.
Let your kids always feel that you accept them
no matter what they do or say.
This is a fundamental and very deep need in kids
(and in us too I would say!)
It is very important to understand that
young people crave our acceptance.
As they grow they are figuring out who they are.
They are forming their self-concept or self-image.
The way it turns out is largely dependent upon how we see them.
We are Mirrors
We are mirrors to them.
The messages that we reflect to them
deeply affect how they end up seeing themselves.
If we want our kids to know at the deepest level
that they are good people and unconditionally worthy of love
then this must be the primary message we sent to them.
We Were Not Given Unconditional Acceptance
The difficulty in practicing profound acceptance
is that we rarely have experienced it ourselves.
We do not have it in our memory banks
so we have to create this feeling from scratch.
In order to do this we must go
beyond our own programming.
We must resist our habitual tendencies
and offer our kids something extraordinary.
Dramatic Change is Painful
Anytime we do this kind of work
it is always painful.
It is always a struggle.
And there’s always the desire to
go back to the familiar.
It requires a lot of internal work.
Making conscious choices,
instead of reacting to the situation.
You might ask – if parenting is already so difficult
why would I add extra struggle into the mix?
Increased Self-Esteem Benefits Everyone
Well the fact is that working to increase
the level of your child’s self-esteem
will have a direct positive effect
upon your experience as a parent.
Children who know and like themselves for who they are,
without having to compare themselves to others,
without having to achieve goals to please others,
they are notoriously easy to get along with.
Kids Act Out To Deal With Their Pain
It is the struggle to deal with
the pain of non-acceptance inside
that causes a lot of the conflict-ridden and resistance based
behaviour that young people engage in.
My saying is
“Kids are not acting out,
they are reaching out.”
The fact is that most negative behaviours
come from pain of some sort
and pain comes from a lack of love.
Therefore in its simplest terms
the solution to a lack of love is more love.
Change Criticism to Connection
The challenge with these kinds of concepts
is always putting them into action.
The next time your kid does something that you are tempted to criticize
Instead find something positive in that moment
And try and form a connection with them.
This will require looking beyond the surface of what is happening
Because what is happening is very annoying!
If you are able to achieve this
and look into their heart rather than at their actions
you will find you are able to choose a different reaction.
I Don’t Want To Put My Jacket On
It’s 20 degrees below zero and your kid refuses to put their jacket on.
You don’t want them to freeze so you insist
and they, predictably freak out.
Just before the moment of freak out
take a breath and change your tactic.
Try saying something instead like
“So you don’t want to put your jacket on eh?
I think it is really wonderful that you know exactly what you want
and can express your needs so clearly.
It’s important for you to know your own body
and what kind of clothes you think are best for you to wear.
I am very impressed that you know what you need in this moment.”
The Dramatically Different can Feel Insane
It may seem ridiculous to do this.
Traditional wisdom would say that you’re rewarding bad behaviour.
But traditional wisdom is concerned with
Modifying behaviour and creating compliance.
It is not concerned with instilling deep, strong
and lasting qualities in our children.
What happens in this moment, when a kid hears this kind of talk
is they feel that they are suddenly seen and heard in a new way.
Their Behaviour Makes Sense To Them
It’s important to understand that their behaviour
makes sense to them in those circumstances.
It may seem totally rude, defiant and unproductive to us,
but they are working with what they have.
Your Love and Acceptance in Difficult Moments Turns on The Light Inside
If we can recognize the good in them
rather than criticize
then it touches them deeply
and it turns on a little light inside.
Doing this repeatedly makes the light
Burn brighter and brighter
Until they are positively lit up on the inside
And that light will shine through them
To everyone and everything around them.
This is the true essence of self-esteem.
0 thoughts on “Acceptance as a Tool For Building Self-Esteem”
Loving the power of what can feel counter-intuitive. I needed this reminder.
This feels really challenging and counter-intuitive when my child is doing something that I really feel is wrong. I get the overall philosophy but in the moment it really seems that I would be endorsing the poor choice. What about boundaries for kids who need boundaries? Do we let them fall? I know that boundaries feel safe to me and I didn’t get enough boundaries in my growing up. I am confused.
Thank you for your question.
So much of this is about knowing what your goal is.
For example I find it more important to teach my daughter to know and respect her own boundaries
than to impose my boundaries upon her.
I find it more important to teach decision making through learning from experience
rather than judging any particular choice.
I want my kid to know how to sense if something feels wrong to her, and to follow that knowing
rather than communicate to her that I feel something is wrong.
I always want to go for the deeper lesson,
even though it’s usually more difficult
and requires much more inner work and patience from me.
I am guessing that your lack of boundaries wasn’t compensated for
with deep communication and consistent learning guidance.
I’m not advocating uninvolved permissiveness.
Conscious parenting is MORE involved!
It requires creating and fostering a relationship where learning together is the norm.
Real learning and co-inspiration can only happen in an atmosphere of acceptance and freedom.
I hope this makes it a bit more clear.
please do ask if you have any other questions.
Vivek, because we have been in situations in our friendship, where I have asked you what should I do? I have felt this Way of Seeing in your words and your eyes and your heart. I have felt how you trust my deepest intelligence. So that I know I can also trust my deepest intelligence. I learn to listen to my own body and mind and I know whether it makes sense for me to wear the coat.