I’ve been making some big changes lately by uncovering my subconscious beliefs about love and dependency. I wrote earlier about how this revelation has helped my son’s sleep troubles. It’s also having an impact on my daughter’s speech therapy. I’m learning to express to her that I love her, while also encouraging her to use words to express her needs rather than just gestures and non-verbal communication. (She was tongue tied as a baby and is behind in learning to use that tongue now that it is untethered!)
Another aspect of this is learning to love imperfection. In order for my kids to feel safe to grow and learn, they need to know that I love them even when they are struggling. They need to feel confident that my love is unconditional. Otherwise, they freeze up when they sense me withdrawing my love, and they regress rather than progress!
Can I love Aden in those moments when he isn’t meeting my expectations, when he is instead testing my limits?
Can I love myself when I don’t meet my expectations?
I know I personally struggle with loving myself when I fall short of an expectation I have. This causes in me an intense and often paralyzing perfectionism. If I don’t know I can succeed at something, I will analyze and research, but I will not take action. I’m too afraid to fail. I’m addressing this in a number of ways, such as meditation, self awareness, and self growth.
That brings up another question: Can I lovingly encourage Aden, Annalise, or myself to grow?
I think the key for me is to see the perfection in imperfection – to acknowledge that everything happens for a reason, even if that reason is yet unknown to me. The challenges that I and my children face are part of our unique journeys. In order for any of us to feel the self confidence necessary for long term, healthy growth, we need to first learn to love ourselves where we are.