I wanted to bare my soul a little in this post and share some insecurities that I struggle with and some things I have learned to help me overcome them. These things I have learned through experience and from others along the way. I am not fishing for compliments to stroke my ego. I am writing this in the hopes that it can help someone conquer their insecurities.
I am a super sensitive person. I pick up on vibes from people very easily which is a good and bad thing. The good side is that it helps me be more sensitive to people’s needs and to be compassionate when someone is hurting or struggling. The bad side is that if I pick up on a negative or unfriendly vibe it can bring up all kinds of insecurities in me.
What did they mean by that? Why did they say it like that? Why did they interrupt me when I was speaking? Do they really want to hear what I have to say?
I feel that moms can be super critical of others and themselves. We judge one another’s diaper choice, choice of stroller, choice of lotion, to bottle or breastfeed, to go to public school or to home school, organic vs. non-organic. The list goes on. We forget that these are preferences and not the absolute, only way to rear a child. On top of that we judge ourselves for not looking like a victoria secret model a month after having a baby. Momma, let’s get real for a moment while I divulge the inner workings of my mommy brain.
The other day I was at Target in the checkout line and my older son asks for some tic tacs. I tell him that we have cookies that he made with my mom at home so it’s no to the tic tacs. I was totally unprepared for the crying that ensued. He screamed at the top of his lungs that he needed those. I stood wide-eyed and shocked that he was acting this way in public. How did I react?
A: Yell at him to stop yelling.
B: Look around to see if others were seeing if I was trying to kill him.
C: Become embarrassed at the thought of others judging my parenting.
D: Give him what he wanted to make him stop screaming.
E: None of the above.
If you answered E, you are correct.
I remembered what I had heard from many other parents that your child is not trying to embarrass you (at least at this age) they are merely expressing some very strong feelings. Appropriate for the situation or not, expressing strong feelings none the less.
I took a deep breath, walked over to the shopping cart, gave him a hug and said, “I’m sorry that you are sad that you can’t have the tics tacs but the answer is still no.” Then I went back to putting my items on the belt to check out. He didn’t stop crying until after I was finished but I think I could have made things a lot worse had I become angry with him.
I would like to say that I handle every single situation like that but that wouldn’t be honest. It is easy to get frustrated on only a few hours sleep. And then trying to meet the daily demands that we put on ourselves is exhausting. But these next steps help foster the kind of parenting that will be gentle but firm.
#1 Remember Whose You Are.
When you remember that you are a child of God you don’t have to look around to see what others are doing. You don’t need to measure yourself against anyone’s else standards because they don’t matter. You won’t need to look around for others approval.
It reminds me of a great children’s book by Max Lucado called “You are Special” about a wooden wemmick named Punchinello. He lives in a town with other wemmicks and they judge each other by giving gold stars or gray dots. Awesome, beautiful, amazing wemmicks get gold stars and lame, mediocre and awful wemmicks get gray dots. Punchinello, no matter how hard he tries, only gets gray dots and feels bad about himself for having them.
He meets a wemmick named Lucia and she doesn’t have any dots or stars! She tells him that the secret lies with the Woodcarver Himself. So Punchinello decides to visit the Woodcarver, Eli. When Punchinello come to His workshop the Woodcarver notices that he has many dots. Punchinello tries to justify himself but the Eli says,
“I don’t care what the other wemmicks think. All that matters is what I think, and I think you are pretty special. The gray dots only stick if you let them.”
At the end of their conversation, Eli tells Punchinello to come and visit Him every day. As Punchinello is leaving Eli says “Remember, you are special because I made you and I don’t make mistakes.” Punchinello says to himself “I think He really means it.” And a gray dot falls to the floor.
I have to remind myself quite often that people’s negative thoughts, words, actions only stick if I let them. My Heavenly Father doesn’t think that way about me. David wrote Psalm 139:17 saying “How precious also are Your thoughts towards me, O God! How great is the sum of them!”
#2 It’s Not About You
When we remember that other people’s problems are not about us it is much easier to let them go. I was trying to park at an event the other day and went the wrong way. One of the workers acted like any smart person would have known better when they were telling me that I went the wrong way. At first I was embarrassed by my mistake but then quickly thought to myself “I can’t let someone else’s rude behavior ruin the rest of the event for me.” So I gave it to God and let it go.
Many times we pick up the negative baggage that others give us because we think how could they treat me like that? We are not meant to carry that around. From the book of 1 Peter 5:7, Peter says that we should give all of our cares (including negativity from others) to God because he cares for us.
The next time someone is rude or harsh towards you remember that it is coming from a place of insecurity or hurt. One of my favorite quotes, and I am not sure who said it, is
“Hurt people, hurt people.”
Again it goes back to step #1. We are children of God and shouldn’t let others dictate our feelings or how we act in any given situation.
#3 Pray For Them
This might be the hardest thing for me to remember to do. I want to be upset because I have a right to be, don’t I? But when I look at the life of Christ I can see he has a different way of handling things. He prayed while on the cross, “Father, Forgive them. For they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34. If Jesus could pray for those who had crucified him and forgive them, then I could certainly pray for the person that just cut me off in traffic, talked behind my back or for rude comments made to my face.
The bible also says to bless those who curse you and pray for those who spitefully use you, Luke 6:28. I’ll admit that the first thing that comes to my mind is not praying for someone who has just been rude or hurt me but I want Christ to be so much in my thoughts that I begin to start thinking that way. Which means that I won’t end up thinking about how they hurt me and again focusing on myself. Instead, I will be looking at the real issue. That the one trying to hurt me, knowingly or unknowingly, is the one who needs my prayers most.
What are some things that you do to help you be a more confident mom? I’d love to hear from you!
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