Learning self love through listening

My daughter was uncontrollably crying the other night. It was a bad day for her. She had a day of a few falls on the playground and off of the balance beam. This was followed by an extra hard workout at gymnastics with her team mates who were willing to put in more practice time and work harder and longer at developing skills.
She said her coaches made her feel worthless because they were telling her to tighten up. I know they do not want her to get physically hurt while she is performing new skills, thus it is imperative that she listens.

It is mentally hard to feel like you are not measuring up to your peers. It is frustrating trying to do things over again, thinking you have it, just to be shot down. Competition is tough and so is developing discipline to listen.

Hearing is automatic. There are so many noises and constant chatter in our brain so it is easy to tune things out.

Listening is a gift we give to others.
Listening is doing so without the force to have to fix or change something.
Listening is putting our own needs aside and dulling the brain chatter.
Listening is sometimes just asking the other person to tell you more.
Listening is accepting yourself enough in order to be there for another person.

We all feel like we do not measure up compared to others. In this feeling of not being enough, we won’t be loved or accepted. In this space, we will die. We need others acceptance in order to feel alive.

I had to put my own desire to fix things for her aside. I had to face the “yeah, me too, I don’t feel good enough either” state of vulnerability. I had to have enough self love in order to just be there for her because it is easy to say to her, just listen to your coaches and you will get the results. This wasn’t about results of her physical actions.

Conversations with Cadance

Bullying can be a broad subject from somebody saying something that you don’t like that hurts your feelings to fistfights.

Who do you want to win?

There will always be bullies.  There will always be someone prettier than the bully that they want to take down.  Like a pack of lionesses, sometimes one cat cannot take down the elephant.  She recruits those who may be slower and more docile however the numbers work to subdue and sink its prey.

Bullies can either thicken your skin or destroy you.

Having the conversation with my daughter, I asked this question, “Do you think Jesus had critics?”  Her answer was yes.  I then proceeded to ask her, “Why?”  She said because the people were afraid of him and afraid of the changes that he would incite.  I asked,  “Do you think they tried to trick him?”  She said yes.  I asked “Do you think he cared what they said it did?”  She said no.  I said “Exactly.”

I told her he was sent by God. He was perfect and if a perfect man had to deal with the cretins of society with grace, then so would we.

I had her practice this phrase to her bully, “Your opinion means nothing.”

I never want my daughter to hurt or be angry or sad when it comes to other people.  I cannot fight her battles for her.  I teach her kindness and compassion are the only ways to work in the world.  Some parents neglect their children and their anger gets expressed in bullying.

My beautiful daughter gets called ugly by some cretin girl and it caused her to cry and wither.  I know this girl is jealous of her but in the midst of the sadness, it is so hard to have her see that.

Leveling

My daughter asks me why people say mean things about her. She asks if it is sometimes because they are jealous. She asks this pretty routinely because girls can be mean. Boys just fight it out. If my nephews have a disagreement with each other, they duke it out. It goes underground with girls

I tell her there is something called leveling. A lot of people are dealing with their own insecurity issues. This could be the appearance, or their general perception of themselves feeling unloved or ignored at home. In their heat of the insecurity, they try to bring them down to their level by saying something nasty to get the other person to feel bad about themselves, too. Misery loves company.

I have watched a part of a reality show because I really can’t get myself to sit and watch the whole thing. I have actually met the woman on this show and couldn’t believe how mean she was to her husband in front of a large group of people. I assumed she felt insecure, afraid and insignificant in front of a group of dentists but another word was in my mind describing her. She is actually doing the same thing in front of an even larger audience now. It makes me cringe how she has no regard for other people. It’s the need for significance, I know. It’s blatantly obvious. If you are competing for significance, your life will always be empty because you are always competing. There is always going to be somebody better, prettier, smarter, more famous. It is a very empty existence.

People have always been mean. The quicker you can ignore these people the easier your life will get. I know it doesn’t seem like they are insecure or jealous of what you have. These people do this for one thing only – to make themselves feel better and bring you down to their miserable existence.

My assistant has the perfect quote for people like this, “What’s wrong with them that they don’t like me?” I love it. She is putting the responsibility on the other person instead internalizing the question, “what’s wrong with me that I am so unlovable and undeserving that they aren’t nice to me?”

Trying to get yourself and your kids to feel good about themselves is a challenge. You tell them you love them No Matter What you do. They don’t need to prove anything to you in order to get your love and admiration.

I think our kids are the first people we really love no matter what. A lot of us love people until something happens and then they bail out.

Are you cool or funny? What does it take to be likeable?

I asked my daughter if I was funny. She said yes. I asked how funny? She said “medium”. “Can you write a joke for me and put it into the lunchbox for me?” I asked if she wanted a medium funny joke. She said yes. Ten minutes later, she said she didn’t want it. I asked if she didn’t think I was funny any more. She said, “you’re still medium funny but I just don’t want a joke.”

She is 8 right now. So, she finds me amusing. I am sure by the time 13 hits, I will be a complete and utter embarrassment to her. Not funny, not cool and I think in her eyes my I.Q. will plummet. I am getting ready for it. Right now I just like to hear the answers.

I ask her a lot of questions and then say, “tell me more about that.” Trying to teach her a little bit about the Dale Carnegie system of how to be interesting by being Interested. She doesn’t really understand that right now.

I am trying to teach her about not having to compete with other people’s stories. This is called upping the ante. She doesn’t need to do that. We all want to do it because everyone’s favorite subject is about themselves. If you are the one asking the questions, you are the one in control of the conversation. No one likes a bragger. Well, maybe it’s just me. I don’t like a bragger but I understand it is out of that persons need for significance and connection so I play with it and acknowledge the need by giving it to them. Likeability is huge in the marketplace. If people don’t like you, you are going to have a tough time. People don’t want to deal with you unless they have to deal with you.

Keys to being likeable
don’t lie
don’t be the smelly kid
don’t brag
don’t be a conversation hog
limit your complaining

OK, that’s enough of what not to do
Here’s what to do
Be genuine
Be nice
Be a good listener
Ask people about themselves
Be generous
Be thankful

By the way, her dad is also medium funny, so we are in good company. I find him medium funny as well *but I think I am more funny than his medium funny.

Friends are like underwear

Coming home from a family vacation last year, my daughter was talking about her friend, Chloe. They had been in the same school for 6 years together and she was wondering about the likelihood of friendship for the length of time.
In my brilliance, I said to her, friends are like underwear, sometimes you grow out of them.
This led to a whole new list of how they correlated which after a while just plain annoyed her, but I will be happy to share how, indeed they are like underwear:
Some times they just come in the pack
Some you have for a long time because they are reliable
Some just don’t match
Some make you feel good
Some crawl up your butt
Some just make it out for special occasions
Sometimes you lose them
Some are cheap
Sometimes it’s easier to go without them
Some don’t fit
Some you like and don’t care what others think about them
Some keep up turning up
Some are holy
Some rub you the wrong way
Some are tight
Some are loose
Some make you feel uncomfortable
And, some are just your favorites.

The brilliance of this is you get to decide.

Bullying, or not?

My nephew is 10 years old. Recently he received detention for get this, calling another little boy “annoying”. No curse words, no bruising, biting, punching or kicking occurred. But it hurt this little boy’s feelings so my nephew received a punishment. This was also paired with a letter, not from the teacher or principal, but the superintendent of schools. Seriously!? Because this is considered bullying. My goodness, I say the boy ought to man up or the next time he annoys someone, he might get punched.
This is like poking a sleeping bear. If you antagonize people long enough, no one is going to like you.
Basic needs psychology explains this by the need for connection, certainty, variety and attention. People do what works in order to stand out. If you don’t get good positive attention, you will create negative attention.
Bringing this on to my daughter. She has a very muscular build for her age. She is not a stick figure. Last week, a girl said “move it, fatty.” It broke my heart because I was also made fun of for my size. Eating disorders are affecting girls as young as 8 and 10 year olds simply because of the media.
I cannot always be there to fight her battles for her.
My teaching to her was this

there is always going to be that mean girl. The quicker you learn not to pay attention to them, the better the quality of your life will be. You guard what is in your head and don’t let them in.

Teaching a daughter

I have the beautiful opportunity to live with and learn from an amazing little girl. She has taught me so much. When she was an infant, she taught me patience in a major way.
I am a dentist. I am also a solo owner of a practice. Having employees rely on me to support their families had me delay starting a family. When I announced I was pregnant and was needing time off for recovery, my hygienist announced she had found another job because I could not provide her the stability that a single parent needed.
Doing the research, I thought I could come back to work in 10 days after having her. No problem, right? I am an overachiever finishing dental school and college In a record amount of time. I set a goal. Of course I could master breast feeding in his amount of time as well. Millions of women do this around the world so how hard could it be?
Ha! This was the hardest time of my life! After 7 days of trying to get nutrition to her, the pain and suffering matched no task I had ever attempted. Yup, nothing the matter with formula supplementation at this point. OK,time to use the breast pump. Trying to get laundry done and her calmed to take a nap led me to believe I was going crazy.
I am a task master. I don’t like being interrupted. Didn’t she know this? Wasn’t she hanging out with me for 9 months she should know my routine. We needed to get on to the next phase of business. She was crying, I was crying. I couldn’t keep track of the math of when she ate, how often she needed changing,when she slept, when I slept. Who knew. What a blur.
Then I realized I needed to get back to work, people depended on me. I shortened my maternity leave and came back slowly-3 days per week compared to 4. What a knucklehead and missed opportunity.
I was worried about losing my business and my employees and my patients because I had lost key employees. My hygienist came back and stayed taking good care of my clients for 5 more years following her brief stint at another office.
I had a choice to make and unfortunately for both of us,wasn’t her at the time. I missed that magical bonding time and falling into a routine that is deep seeded on love.

My teaching to her is this –

time is the most precious commodity. Once it is spent you can never get it back. If you don’t have the time to do it right the first time, you won’t have the time to do it over.