As parents we strive for our children to have a better life than we did. It isn’t necessarily material things. It can sometimes be personality qualities. My oldest daughter had a therapy appointment and her therapist and I always have a little chat, with her present, before and afterwards. When I first was told about her anxiety and self-esteem issues my heart broke. As the weeks went by and after each session her therapist would always fill me in on things on a need to know basis. So it took awhile for me to put it together. But this evening I was able to put it all together and it was like I was looking in the mirror.
This intelligent, beautiful, creative, fun-loving, silly little girl struggles to see how wonderful she is. And right in front of her, I looked at her and her therapist and said, “Oh my gosh I am looking at me.” She looked up at me and just smiled. It was one of those smiles like you get me! Boy do I ever get you! On the car ride home, I asked her if there was anything I could do to help her. I told her that we need to work on this and how I wanted her to learn sooner than later. She smiled at me and it was one of the moments that I longed for with my own mom.
I know how she feels about herself isn’t something I did. But I feel like it is. I never spoke up for myself. I never questioned anything even if I knew it was not right. I never did anything to make anyone mad at me. I hated conflict. I struggled to find anything good about myself. I didn’t have anyone to encourage me to not be or feel like this about myself. I was just so insecure and I just – ugh! I think back and I gringe at the thought of it. This is not what I want for her.
I have feared this from the moment she was born. I have always feared I wouldn’t be able to have a relationship with her like I always wanted growing up. I admit I can overcompensate because of it. Not so much recently but when she was little. I just did whatever I could to make memories with her (all of my children). Now it is more of a conscious effort to really pay attention to her, listen, and just be there. I try to make an effort to let her know I am interested in knowing what is important to her. I try to make time for just the two of us.
I look at her and I have such a hard time understanding why she doesn’t see what I see. What so many people see when they look at her. I want her to be better than I ever was or will be. I want that for all of my children. I know she knows I love her with all I am. My kids actually tell me I say it too much. I know this is something she needs to learn to see and start to believe on her own and with my help. I just hope it doesn’t take as long as it has taken for me. This is just so hard for me to know she feels this way. I want to shake her and say~ Look at you! You are beautiful. You are brave. You are so smart. You are everything and more I could ever want in a daughter. I don’t like seeing my insecurities in her. But this isn’t about me. This is about her. So I may see my younger self in her now but she is going to learn sooner than I did how to be the best she can be.