I wish I could report that I’ve been somewhere remote. And tropical. With beverages. But I’ve been garden-variety busy. So not exciting.
I’ve missed Only the K. I have so much on my mind, and I’m not beyond bribing you to listen. If you were in my kitchen right now, you could help yourself to anything in the fridge… although I admit I’ve eaten all the leftover cake. But I still have wine. And Prozac chocolate! Do stop by.
You know I’m not the most confident person in the world. Yeah, if confidence were vitamin C, I would definitely be deficient. I have my moments of feeling at peace, where I’m satisfied with my lot. But then something — or someone — will remind me of my inadequacies, whether they be personal or financial or what have you. And I doubt and second guess. It’s ugly.
One of my favorite quotes is, “We all do nothing equally well.” It’s my mantra, and I’m raising my children to remember this truth. There will always be someone who is more successful (though how we define success is another topic for discussion), more financially secure. There will be someone who is more patient with their children, who breastfeeds longer, who runs faster. There will always be someone who is more organized and better dressed and has a more stylish home. Did I mention I lack confidence?
Deep down, I know I have my own strengths. I think I’m a good listener, and I’m proud of that. I think I’m understanding and compassionate. That must be why I have such a difficult time hanging up on telemarketers, right?
I admit I find it easy to focus on my children’s weaknesses, perhaps because I’m looking for further evidence of my shortcomings as a mother. My son isn’t particularly athletic, and he talks a little too much about his imaginary friend. My daughter isn’t talking in sentences the way my mother swears I was at her age. And she’s a picky eater.
If we transcend my neuroses (because, come on, my children are awesome), we come to the book I’m itching to read: Your Child’s Strengths by Jenifer Fox. It’s on my bookshelf and any minute now I’m going to read it. It appeals to me beyond measure, focusing not on our shortcomings, but on where we excel. Because we all excel somewhere.
No, my son may not be the quarterback. But he is logical and sensitive and passionate. Who knows: my daughter may not be potty trained until she’s 4 (please no please no please no) but she’s compassionate and a veritable ray of sunshine.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we approached everyone in our lives this way? If instead of needling each other about how we need to fix our personalities or lifestyles, we could appreciate each other for what we have to offer? If we exuded confidence and had confidence in each other?
I find myself comparing my family to my friends’. What’s up with that? I’m so happy with us. Why do I feel a twinge of insecurity when I hear of someone else’s accomplishment? How do I get over it?
Quite seriously, I think it’s a component of my penchant for depression and anxiety. But I see it everywhere, especially in the media. We pick at people who we perceive as somehow better off than we are.
I remind myself. A lot. I’m trying to build up that confidence. And I hope to send my children out into the world knowing they’re good at something, that they’re important and make a difference. And that they don’t have to compare themselves to anyone — or belittle anyone — to feel good about themselves.
In the meantime, if you see me lashing myself for not equaling Martha Stewart in the execution of my son’s fifth birthday party, remind me the cake I *purchased* was delicious. Buying good cake is a strength, right?