I am my own worst critic. I am the most toxic person to myself. I know that I bring myself down and tear myself down about things. I’m not good at anything. Everything I try to do goes wrong. I should just stop trying to do anything. I know I say these things and do these things. I am however trying very hard to reverse these behaviors. I am trying to be proud of the things I accomplish no matter how big or small. I am amazing, the things I do are amazing, and I am good at a lot of things.
The thing I’ve realized is how much I actually show these behaviors. Being down on myself for things not turning out how I expected or not being as good as someone else at something. It has become such second nature that for the longest time I didn’t realize I was doing it. It came so naturally to me. Now I see my kids exhibiting those behaviors. It kills me. But I can’t be the person telling them how amazing they are at something when I’m showing them it’s okay for me to be hard on myself. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, kids are little sponges watching and absorbing all the things they see and hear.
Recently we went to the doctor for a normal well child checkup. The medical assistant was asking my kids all the usual questions – how’s school going? Do you have friends? Are you dealing with bullying? Then she got to the question, ‘What do you like about yourself?’ This is when I really knew my kids were paying way more attention to me and how I treat myself than I thought. They both looked at her and said, ‘I don’t know.’ You guys that absolutely killed me. I always tell them how smart, talented, creative, beautiful, loyal, and honest they are or what an amazing friend or kid they are. I couldn’t believe they couldn’t think of anything. Had I failed them? Was I so hard on myself that they too had become hard on themselves?
I praise my kids for everything they do. Every picture colored or drawn. Everything they build on Minecraft. All the good grades they get. Every accomplishment no matter how big or small is celebrated. I tell them constantly what amazing, smart, talented, creative individuals they are. I tell them what amazing friends and kids they are. But was it enough? Will it ever be enough if they see me being toxic and critical of myself? My behaviors towards myself have become the behaviors of my kids. It kills me. It makes me hate myself and doubt myself as a mother. Am I a terrible mother though? Should I hate myself for this? The answers are no.
Despite the fact that my kids are seeing these behaviors from me and learning them from me, I have the power to change that within myself and my kids. I recognize these behaviors within myself and I am working to correct them. It won’t happen overnight and it will take time. Kids learn by watching and I will be leading to the best of my abilities from here on out. I know I need to do better for myself and my kids, so I will do better. If anything this is a learning experience for them. We get to learn together to love ourselves and be proud of ourselves for everything we do.
Remember your kids are watching everything you do. They are learning and absorbing everything. We’re not perfect and we weren’t born to be perfect. Recognizing behaviors that need to change within yourself and working to fix them is the first step. It’s hard leading by example when little eyes are constantly watching and we all do the best we can. Nothing will happen overnight. You aren’t just born naturally good at something, it takes time. Be proud of where you are now. Keep going. Keep growing. Keep working to be a better you. I am my own worst enemy, but someday I won’t be.