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A Message to Your Kids: You Are Just Right As You Are

Our world speaks at us. It tells us what is valuable, what success looks like, what to believe, what to drive, how to live and on and on… With so many “directives” coming at us, how do we help our kids discover, develop and live who they really are?

We do it by helping them realize that they are just right as they are and that they should listen more to their own internal voice than the voices of others.

One of our greatest roles as a parent is to help our kids discover who they really are, and to accept it and be proud of it. It may show up as a passion for animals or technology, music or helping others. It may show up in an ability to write poetry, run a company, connect with others or solve complicated engineering challenges. It may show up as being gay, black, an immigrant, special needs or just different. We are who we are and that is just fine. The sooner we help our kids accept this, the sooner they will stop trying to be something they are not and spend more of their time and energy delivering their certain special “something” to their lives and our world.

Each of us is different for a reason

Our differences are to help us deal with whatever life sends us. We all have abilities that when used, can deliver something special to the moments of our lives – and for the benefit of all of us. We can self-realize with the support of our parents and families to be who we are born to be – to figure it out, accept it and to live it boldly and unapologetically.

Many times we are more concerned with what it looks like to have a son or daughter who embraces his/her uniqueness. Instead of supporting them to be the best version of their unique selves, we pressured them to change, comply and blend. Be like the others. Go and do what they do. Study where they study. Work where the work. Make your parents proud by acting like others or by living to the standards that others set.

Here is the question

Why is it more important to raise unhappy kids who are encouraged to look and act like others than to focus on helping each kid become happy and successful by living a life that makes sense for who they really are?

I spent most of my life all twisted and fearful as the gay kid in my big Italian family. So much effort went into trying to to pretend to be “normal” or hide that it took me so many more years to discover and develop my greatest abilities and connect myself to a career and a life that really fit me. With the distraction and effort of trying to be someone or something I wasn’t, so much of my life was spent looking over my shoulder – not moving forward – not living into my greatest abilities and using them to make a profound difference in my world and life. Pretending and hiding shortchanges our lives and our world.

You are just right as you are

Help your kids accept and be who they really are and embrace what makes them different and unique. They will be better able to live lives that they love and to deliver to the world those things that only they can deliver. Remember, they certainly can’t deliver something great when being an average copy instead of a truly amazing original.

Do You Use Labels To Make Yourself Right And Others Wrong?

Democrat. Republican. Gay. Straight. Single mom. Divorced Dad. Middle class. Celebrity. Millionaire. Extremist. Loser. Athlete. Nerd. Retiree. Smart. Stupid.

Labels – we use them everywhere. Most of the time we use them to separate ourselves from others – to create a “them” and an “us.” We are right, they are wrong. We are good, they are bad. If you are Christian you are right, if you are Muslim you are wrong. If you are straight you are normal, if you are trans or gay you are abnormal. If you follow the New England Patriots you are good, if you follow the Denver Broncos there is something wrong with you. Labels show how different we are from each other in ways that don’t matter – they distract us from seeing how we are similar in ways that do matter. Labels can create judgments.

We are people, not labels

Remember that behind every label is a human – a person looking to find his or her way in life, connecting to a life that matters, to be happy, successful and to love his or her life. From our basic human nature, we share many of the same wants and desires – success, love, socialization, support, connection, fun. Without the labels (and their corresponding judgments), we are better able to focus on the shared values instead of those that somehow separate us. With this awareness of our similarities, we become more open and accepting – to seeing the distinct value in others – instead of focusing on our differences. We realize that our success in life is in our collaboration, in our learning to see the greatness in others and to work to connect all of us to what is great in us. This is how we coexist in a world that needs all of our abilities to find our way and build a world that values all of our lives.

We know we are different – it is intentional. On a planet of 7 billion people, our uniqueness is the key to our finding our own way in the world – of connecting what is best in us to the places and opportunities in our world.

Assigning labels distracts us from seeing and connecting to what is best in each us – labels can make us feel like we don’t fit, don’t belong or that there is something wrong with us. Distracted from our greatness, we show up small to our world, our lives and relationships. We hide what we don’t want others to see – we want to be normal in their definition of normal, when in fact, normal, right and good is personal. We decide this for ourselves. My normal is not your normal. It is the labels that can keep us from discovering what is great in us – and bringing it to our world and accepting ourselves as normal, right and okay as we are. It is the labels that distract us from living who we really are and building our lives around what we do and love best.

Labels can destroy our self-esteem

One simple label delivered can make us second guess who we are. We spend much of our adult life undoing the labels we took on early in life. Stupid, non-athletic, gifted, fag, genius – made us think things about ourselves that came from the judgmental perceptions of others. They said it. We heard it. We believed it. As Don Miguel Ruiz shares in his book, The Four Agreements, “The word is not just a sound or a written symbol. The word is a force; it is the power you have to express and communicate, to think and thereby to create the events in your life. You can speak. The world is the most powerful tool you have as a human; it is the tool of magic. But like a sword, it has two edges, your word can create the most beautiful dream, or your word can destroy everything around you. All the magic you possess is based on your word.”

What labels do you use with others – in the workplace, in life, in your political discussions, in your church, with your kids? How do these labels encourage and expand others’ view of themselves – or limit and demean them?

Babies don’t have labels – as they grow, we teach them labels. If we have been taught to use labels then we can learn to stop using labels. Simply remember how it feels to be labeled as something you felt were true or valuable for you, but that others didn’t agree with. How did this distract you from realizing and living your greatest abilities – your gifts? How did this make you rethink who you are and how you want life to be for you?

We are different – as it should be. Different isn’t bad – it’s just different. Difference creates opportunities. Learning to appreciate differences can be learned the way we learned to not value differences.

Fighting to be who you really are is a waste of energy. We should all use our energy to develop into the best version of ourselves, not to navigate around the labels and judgments from others. Look confidently in the mirror and commit to being the best version of yourself – ignore the labels. And if you find yourself labeling the world around you, notice it and commit to change.

Wisdom to help you be ready for life…

How to Talk To Your Kids About Being Proud Of Who They Are, With Rick Clemons, RFL019

How To Talk To Your Kids About Being Proud of Who They Are – Episode Overview

You were born awesome. This isn’t just some feel-good talk. This is a fact. You were born with unique talents, strengths and passions – your identity is yours – and whatever you got is just right. On a planet of over 7 billion people, your uniqueness is your built-in performance and competitive advantage – the way to find your way in life. You are unique on purpose. But to tap into what is great about you first have to discover it, then develop the courage to embrace it.

As the saying goes, “be an amazing original, not an average copy”. Our world constantly tells us who to be – to look, act and think like others – it wants us to be copies. What if, instead, we were able to be who we truly are, and were able to help our kids do the same? Imagine how it would feel to bring to today’s world that thing or things that only you can deliver?

Being proud of who you are means you must discover who you are, then accept and embrace it – whatever it is. In this acceptance, you allow yourself  to then start to sort through life for the places that really fit you – not the ones that other say you should connect with. It’s your life – you must own it and act as its leader – this comes only after you know who you, accept it and be proud, regardless of what others say.

Attention and Intention

This week, my attention is on discovering who we are – down deep. And my intention is to help parents learn to be true to who they are so they then can guide support and coach their kids to do the same. You can’t live a great and amazing life pretending to be someone else.

Rick Clemons being proudMeet our guest Rick Clemons

Rick Clemons is a talented life and identity coach, speaker, podcaster, author and blogger. He is the host of the Coming Out Lounge podcast, author the soon to be released book, Frankly My Dear, I’m Gay – A Late Bloomers Guide to Coming Out and of 2 other upcoming books, is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, Your Tango and Healthy Gay Lifestyles.com. He is the creator of the .1 Project, an awareness that we are 99% alike and 1% different – and that we should embrace this difference. As an openly gay coach and dad, Rick coaches others in self-acceptance, getting past limitations, authenticity and embracing our uniqueness and differentness. See the links for more on Rick.

Guest Links:

Episode’s Key TakeAways

  1. You have to do your own work to discover who you are. Once you discover what makes you different, unique and amazing, it is then up to you to live it. This is where parents are tremendous help to kids – to help them discover and embrace who they are, so that they show up right, big and interested in their lives.
  2. One-size-fits-all parenting doesn’t work. Modify how you parent with each child to help them connect with and find their own uniqueness.
  3. You already have everything you need – the right talents, passions and strengths – for you to have your great life.  Can you be open enough to see what you have, and courageous enough to live it? This is for both parents and kids.
  4. The greatest negative voices about us come from ourselves. We let the outside world influence what we think of ourselves. What if we were able to give ourselves and our kids permission to be who they are – with no other requirement? How might this change how you approach your life – and how you help your kids approach theirs?
  5. Give your kids permission to create their own blueprint, roadmap for life. Watch when you successfully guide them and when you are pulling or pushing them in your direction.
  6. Celebrate your kids’ differentness whenever possible. Honoring it creates a safe space for your kids to be who they really are.
  7. Security and stability are not key in your kids minds (these are in our minds as parents); what is in their minds is curiosity, adventure and exploration. This is how they discover who they are and start to find their place in their world.
  8. Millennials are most fearful of not having the freedom to be who they really are – they are most afraid of needing to blend and be like others.
  9. Ask more than tell with your kids – it creates the ability to get your kids minds to sort through information, to share their perspective and to create the safe space to discuss things. In the absence of this, they may not deal with what they feel makes them different until it becomes urgent or a problem. A high number of teen and young adult suicides come from kids being unable to discuss and deal with their uniqueness and differentness.

Some question for parents:

  1. Do you embrace your “differentness?”  How can you encourage and support your kids’ “differentness?”
  2. How can you be okay with allowing your kids to be who they really?
  3. How is your fear of our world stopping your kids from being who they really are?
  4. Could you ask your kids these questions:
  5. If there were no judgments who would you really be?
  6. If you knew the impact you could have could change the world, how would you act?
  7. How can I help you be courageous enough to think your own way?
  8. How can you see that what makes you different is what makes you great?
  9. How can I create a safe space for you to discover, understand and accept who you really are?
  10. Can you allow and support your kids to be different than what society tells you – could you accept them as gay, wanting to follow a different (or no) faith, move to another country, think about a career that isn’t in line with your thinking?
  11. What needs to change in you as a parent to be able to accept and support your kids as they are, not as you need them to be?

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Stop and Notice Challenge

Each week we ask you to stop and notice – to develop your skill of tuning in to you and your world. This week’s stop and notice challenge is:

  1.    Stop and Notice one thing that is different and unique about each of your kids. What are you doing to help them see, develop, accept and embrace it?
  2.    Stop and Notice when your fear of the world is holding your kids back from discovering and living who they are. What can you do to address this fear?
  3.    Stop and Notice the change in your kids when they are encouraged, supported and accepted to be who they are. How does this make you feel as a parent? How does this make your kids feel?
  4.    Stop and Notice how the world constantly tells you who and what you should be – and that it does it to your kids. How will all of you trust your own voices more than the loud voices of others?

We are each born just right – we get what we get – and what we get is enough to be amazing in life. To access this, we have to get better at accepting and being proud of who we are, then to create the safe space for our kids to do the same.

Suggested Resource  – Infinite Possibilities by Mike Dooley

Resource

This is a masterwork from teacher, author, and featured speaker Mike Dooley. As the next step beyond his immensely popular Notes from the Universe trilogy, and his follow up, Choose them Wisely, this book contains even more enriching wisdom for living an abundant, joyous life.

Mike Dooley knows that we create our own reality, our own fate, and our own luck. We’re beings filled with infinite possibility—just ready to explore how powerful we truly are. Manifesting the magnificence of our dreams isn’t about hard work, but rather about belief and expectation. These principles transcend belief, realizing the truth about our human nature.

Your dreams are not accidental, nor inconsequential. And if someone were tell the truth about life, reality, and the powers we all possessed, would it be recognized? Our lives are full of adventures—and not exactly the sky-diving, mountain-climbing variety—but something better. Readers will laugh, applaud, and be inspired by Mike Dooley’s wit and wisdom.

This is a great book for parents to remind them that they and their kids are filled with infinite possibilities – if they just discover, accept and live who they really are.