As my daughter is reaching teenage, I am so aware of the subtle fragility behind her behavior. Teenagers are like tender leaves who we want to protect as they grow stronger. I feel it is my duty as a mother to have even more compassion for my teenage daughter.
As the children were invited on a play date to a boy and his father’s home (we met them during our last holiday), lots of questions remained unanswered. My children feel envy when they compare themselves to this boy’s lifestyle. How come he is surrounded by devices and video games and not them? How can I help them to stay in gratitude and not become trapped into the “greener grass” mindset?
In honor of Maya Angelou who I admire so much, may we stop complaining and choose gratitude instead. It has become my lifestyle and a way of raising my children.
Read Maya Angelou here. She notably wrote “I know why the caged bird sings“:
After years of having to pretend I did not have children to get a flat as a single mother and a job within a big law firm, it feels so good to tell the truth. This is the reason why I decided not to edit my videos nor to photoshop my photos. If my skin is not 100% perfect, it means I am a human. Choosing the truth is so much easier and feels very good.
Again I recommend Tera Warner’ website about being a communication ninja like she is.
Lastly, choosing to tell the truth is one of the four agreements: “be impeccable with your word“.
Humiliation is dangerous because it always backlashes badly at some point.
Some research (for eg the French philosopher Gaspard Koenig) describes a universal income, without any conditions. The anguish of poverty disappears. There would be no humiliating moments begging social services for financial aids.
I also remember reading a book by Jacques Attali in which he advocates never using humiliation in diplomatic international relations. However tempting that may be, humiliating the opposite party is never a good bet.
I also have in my head the image of a man being taken in front of the judge because he pointed a gun at a doorman’s face. He had just been refused entry to a nightclub. He replied to the judge that he had been humiliated by the doorman. It was, in his mind, the justification of his act.
I felt very humiliated by several events. However, I make my best not to stay in that feeling. The reason is simple. Whoever humiliates you is saying much about him/her, not about you. It is not personal.
I read The Four Agreements one year after having escaped a dangerous and toxic relationship and one year prior going back to college to become a lawyer. This book literally changed my life. The four core life principles are:
- May we be impeccable with our word: I teach my children that their mouth shall be clean both ways. As much as we strive to feed ourselves the most nourishing food, we must strive to talk in a respectful way, without bad language, making sure we do not hurt the feelings of others with the words we speak,
- May we do not take anything personally: other people criticism and judgement of ourselves has in fact nothing to do with us, we are their mirror so how they behave towards us only means so much as regard to them, their mindset and their values,
- May we do not make assumptions: again, judgement is useless because if only we could take a bird’s-eye view, we could see all the missing data on a given situation, we cannot see the full picture so may we keep an open mind and an open heart while walking bravely on the path, even if they are some circumstances which we cannot understand fully right now, and
- May we always do our best: may be honestly assess if we have given our all to something, if the answer is yes, we are enough, and we can be proud of ourselves sister.
Rebuilding our life implies identifying our own core values, in an intense and clear manner. Knowing who we are also allows us to become a better mother. Children are a mirror of who we are. May we be strong and trustful in our education principles, even before we give birth. Such self-knowledge can help us to build our life, to rebuild our life and to build the life of our child. A huge thank you to Jean Liedloff for a revolutionary book “The Continuum Concept: In Search Of Happiness Lost“.
“Sometimes you get discouraged
Because I am so small
And always leave my fingerprints
On furniture and walls.
But every day I’m growing –
I’ll be grown some day
And all those tiny handprints
Will surely fade away.
So here’s a little handprint
Just so you can recall
Exactly how my fingers looked
When I was very small.”
May we always remember this. May we learn patience. May we grow as a mother but also as a woman so that children are not guilty when they become adults.
I am doing my best to raise happy and healthy kids. I want to be a good mother. However, I refuse to sacrifice myself for them because I want to avoid resentment on my part and guilt on their part. However, finding the right balance is so difficult. During the holiday, I had the opportunity to dance in the hotel bar in the evening. It transformed me, because I have not danced in more than ten years while dancing has been my main passion since I am a little girl. When both of my children whined and forced me to go back to the hotel room while I was dancing, it pained me. My friend, my sister, did you find a way to find such a balance?
The manipulator would sometimes spend dozens of minutes during the day to repeat: “Do you know I love you? You do believe me, don’t you? This is very important“. Today, I am a different person because I learned my lesson. However beautiful and convincing the words of a man, they are worthless if his actions do not match. Moreover, I expect a congruence between my own words and actions. It is a matter of integrity and authenticity. I do what I say and I say what I do. Lastly, such an effort is essential to the positive education I want to provide for my children. Acting in alignment with my words means I teach the good example to my children, while it fosters a trustful relationship between us.