“Mirror, mirror on the wall…
It doesn’t matter if I’m short or tall…
It only matters who I am inside…
Blue eyes, brown eyes, black or green…
What makes me most beautiful cannot be seen…
When you look at me, don’t judge me by my parts…
The most beautiful thing about me is my heart.”
I absolutely LOVE working with children and teens, their beautiful minds and big hearts warm my soul. This past month I have been working with a teenager who came to me heartbroken, feeling (and I quote) “worthless, stupid, ugly, and will never be popular.”
Hearing a child talk this way makes my stomach churn in a million different directions. It’s not a new story. I’ve heard it with many other young (and older) clients. The story doesn’t discriminate by gender, age, skin colour, what a person looks like or social status.
It took a couple of meetings for this beautiful soul to share more of her story with me – none of which I will share here. Suffice it to say her story contains characters who are mean, who bully, a family that works really hard to provide, but are ‘busy’ and a young girl with a lot of time to figure life out on her own.
She has until recently, been filling that time on the internet, on Snapchat, on Instagram and watching Riverdale and a few other shows that seem popular with teenagers.
She like many other young adults, had been using these venues as a platform to gauge her popularity, to gain acceptance from her peers, as a learning tool on how to engage, how to dress, what is the ‘in’ thing to do and as a source of validation of her self-worth and her place in this world. The problem was it was making her feel horrible.
Her parents thought I could ‘fix’ her. When I told them there was nothing to fix they were skeptical. I asked them to give us time.
During our conversations, I asked her why she continued to engage when she was having such intense negative feelings. Her response was “because everyone else is doing it.” My initial reaction was to get her to see how unhealthy it was to keep doing something that felt wrong, that made her feel bad and make bad choices. That the opinion of others didn’t define who she was.
I wanted to tell her that she wasn’t broken, there was nothing to fix, what a bright, caring and loving person she was, but it wasn’t the time. I knew that wouldn’t help her at that moment. I had to let go of my own agenda, my own beliefs and listen. Really listen, and just listen.
Thought Bomb Moment: When we listen, we give our children the space to explore, to look deep within themselves and the stories they have come to accept as truth, we also give them the opportunity to work through their own feelings. Doing so helps them realize their own resilience and well-being.
We shared some beautiful conversations about how human experience works and where our feelings come from. I love that kids get this so quickly. It’s an easy mistake to believe that the number of followers or likes a post gets on social media reflects something more meaningful, or that self-worth, love, and acceptance come from an experience, other people, money, etc. In reality, none of this is true.
Everyone is born whole and complete. There is only one of you in this entire Universe. You are unique and one of a kind. There is no person or experience that can take away from your innate resilience, your significance. All the feelings of love, self-worth, and validation come from within. The only requirement is a heartbeat.
We spent time uncovering who she was at this point in her life, what brought her good feelings and what thoughts were behind the feelings she was having…there is so much information in the feeling!
She really blossomed during our time together. I was so honoured to receive a lovely drawing from her today. She sent me a beautiful picture of a heart with the words “I am a heartbeat, I am love, I am me and that is beautiful. I am perfect just as I am.”
Some parents think as our children grow that they need us less. I would argue that they need us more. Our children are growing up in a much different world with the internet and social media. Helping our children understand that they will never find validation, love, acceptance, etc. from an external source (friends, alcohol, drugs, etc) and encourage them to look inward changes everything.
When they understand that all the answers they need are within themselves, within the feelings (a built-in GPS) – they are much more likely to trust their inner wisdom, to look inward for solutions, and to go through the ebb and flow of life with grace and love.
With this in mind, I invite you to connect with your kids, listen to them. Have beautiful conversations about social media, friendships, their feelings, and more importantly, their innate resilience and wholeness, their beautiful space in this Universe.
Be well. Be present. Be you.
Do you ever have those moments when you are so caught up in the busyness of life that you feel completely overwhelmed? As a single parent, taking care of my mom and running a business I often get that feeling. More often than not, it is topped up with pangs of insecurity that I should be more organized, I could do better, if only this, then that! Ugh, it’s exhausting!!
I was having one of those days recently. I was cooking two separate things for dinner, mom doesn’t eat vegetables, my little guy doesn’t eat potatoes. I was busy watching the clock as I had to drop my son off at his friends in an hour. In addition to the cooking and getting my son ready, I also had some major drama unfolding in my head about what was happening.
All of a sudden my son split an entire bag of milk all over the counter and newly washed floor. It wasn’t a proud moment for me. I lost it. I yelled at him (not something that happens often in our house), he was scared and upset. He went to his room, he felt horrible. While I started to clean up the mess I tuned back into the drama unfolding in my thoughts. Now I had something to add to it, not only did I have to cook dinner and get my son ready and delivered to his friends – but also clean up the kitchen. I was in a rage.
As I wiped the floor something popped into my head that made me giggle – I was cleaning up spilt milk. I was in a rage about spilt milk. Did I really just lose it over spilt milk? Although it felt like it at the time, it really wasn’t the spilt milk I was angry about, it was the story I had created in my head at that moment. The story about how rushed I felt, how busy this day was, how overwhelmed I was feeling. The spilt milk was an accident and I let the story unfolding in my head determine my behaviour. It wasn’t a proud moment.
My son was upstairs, upset, hadn’t eaten – and all because I was reacting to the drama in my thoughts of busyness, feelings of overwhelm and the story I was telling myself that I could be doing a better job. I went upstairs and talked to him, I apologized, we hugged it out. The evening worked out just fine. When I was tucking him into bed that night we chatted about what had happened. It was a great teachable moment to show him that I too am human, and make mistakes.
For me, it was something more profound. Yes, I am human and make mistakes, but what bothered me was that my reaction was really based on the thought storm brewing in my head. I didn’t get upset because my son had spilt milk, I reacted because I was feeling stressed, feeling like I should be doing better, etc. Perhaps I should have stepped back and taken a few deep breaths, or taken the time to regroup and realize where my thoughts were before I reacted.
The power of thought is really incredible – it is the driving force of our feelings. At any moment we all have the ability to step back, take a deep breath and see what thoughts are behind the way we feel before we speak, respond or react. I often engage with the dialogue in my mind about how I can do better, be more organized…blah, blah, blah. These are just thoughts I am contributing to and these thoughts feed the drama unfolding in my mind.
THOUGHT BOMB MOMENT: the reality is that I am human. I got caught up in my own story rather than what was really happening in that moment. If I had taken a few moments to step back, take a deep breath and realize it was just spilt milk perhaps I would have reacted differently. But I didn’t, and I reacted poorly. The blessing of life is that I am human, and next time maybe I’ll remember this moment and take a step back. What an amazing lesson, so simple yet so profound! This is the message I want to teach my son.
So maybe not my proudest parenting moment, but an incredible teachable moment (I’m all about that right now). This is a perfect example for my son to see how reacting in the moment may not be the wisest choice. We have since talked about this and laughed about it. He gets it. Kids are smart that way.
I have a challenge for the next time you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or angry, I invite you to consider what thoughts are running through your mind in that moment before you take any type of action. What story is unfolding for you? Is there a chance that it is just your thoughts? Is this a teachable moment? Be well, be you.
Much love, Jessie-Lynn
When you woke up this morning and looked in the mirror you had a lot to say, I heard you, I replied but I’m not sure you heard me.
You whispered: Oh God, look at me. I don’t want to leave the house today. I hate my hair, my face, my body.
I whispered: I wish you could see the beauty I see, you are so beautiful. You are perfect, your body gives you life – appreciate it for all it is and does. There is NOTHING wrong with you. Most importantly, hear me when I say you NEVER need the approval of others to be appreciated.
You said: I’m not good enough.
I whispered: You are more than enough. You ALWAYS were, you are now and you ALWAYS will be.
You whispered: My life is a mess.
I whispered: Has there been any moment when this wasn’t true? Is every single part of your life a mess? Let your mind quiet and look for the good. Life ebbs and flows, this moment shall pass. Most important, stop looking outside for answers. You already have all you need – and you always will.
You whispered: Nobody loves me. I am so lonely.
I whispered: You were created from love. You ARE pure love, you are loveable and so loved. Most important, NEVER look outside yourself for love, validation, acceptance. They are within, there is a limitless supply.
You whispered: I feel so lost.
I whispered: Your feelings are a barometer of your thinking. By understanding the connection between thoughts and feelings you would see that you already have all that you need, it’s innate and always with you. Allow your thinking to quiet and your wisdom will appear, look for beautiful feelings, once you find them your search is over. Just be with those feelings. When you find these beautiful feelings you are home. It is easy to get caught up in a thought storm. Don’t feed it, don’t fight it – let it flow.
Embrace the beautiful, unique, amazing and powerful person that you are. I am always with you. All you have to do is allow your thoughts to settle and listen.
Love from your innate wisdom.