Self Reliance In A Codependent World: Lessons For My Teenage Daughter

Learning to be self reliant in a codependent world is a rare gift that I hope you will find to be extremely liberating.  To my sweet Elisabeth, remember that everything I say and do for you is a calculated move.  That’s one of the blessings of motherhood.  You’re forced to think ahead for the sake of your children.  

It’s a funny thing to sit and chat with children about how you grew up.  The dynamics in every family and culture are so different. The times have changed drastically too.  I remember being in school and participating in various activities during our field day. Remember those?  That was the best day of the whole school year for me.  Getting your class to compete against your friends and their home room teachers in games of tug o’ war, what a blast! The number one thing I remember was winning in order to get a medal and ribbon.  Mediocrity wasn’t celebrated.  We didn’t get ribbons for participating.  We didn’t get our names printed on the school newsletter or paper for acknowledgement of participation.  We had to earn that.  Nobody ever suffered everlasting scars of torment from it.  Everything is so different now.  You can’t celebrate one person’s accomplishments without acknowledging every last tidbit everyone else did.  I’m here to tell you sweetheart, that you need to grow up.  You’ll have to be tougher than that if you want to be a strong, independent individual.  Being coddled that way isn’t teaching you anything other than to feel entitled.  The bad news is-The world doesn’t owe you a thing, okay?  

Recently, I was on Facebook, swiftly reading through posts and I came across one that caught my attention.  A young woman was on a tangent about how no one she knew ever liked pictures of her and her husband, she continued on about how she speculated this was probably due to jealousy.  Jealousy?  What if people weren’t on Facebook that day, or use automated posting apps like I do?  I seldomly have time to get on and actually read posts.  Most of my stuff is auto scheduled a month out.  Besides, why did people have to comment or like these posts?  Was she waiting on people to celebrate a picture she’d shared?   Naturally, my mind wandered the more I read on this….I forgot to like it and comment.. but that’s neither here nor there. 

As my oldest I hope I’ve instilled in you the caliber of my very pungently strong being so that you don’t feel you have to rely on the amounts of likes and comments left on social media platforms as a means of validity for anything.  You my dear, should know your worth and what you bring to the table.  Never wait for anyone to celebrate anything for you as a means of definition as to who or what you are or what your happiest moments mean to you.  Remember what I always say, it’s quality over quantity. I’d rather have 4 quarters than 100 pennies when it comes to the people I surround myself with.  I thought about this young lady and her post for several days, I began to think maybe she felt entitled to have people falling all over themselves to compliment her and comment and like what she was sharing.  I’m supposing no one ever explained to her that someone else’s opinions shouldn’t matter to her so long as she’s happy.  As I delved deeper in thought I came to the conclusion that only a person wearing a mask would care what anyone else thinks.  When you’re truly happy with yourself and what you’ve accomplished is someone else’s happiness for you really that relevant to your being?  Is that what you’re going to allow to gauge your overall happiness?   

Gloria Steinem Quote

I guess your old lady could be wrong where this young woman is concerned, I mean I’m no expert.  I’m just an over analytical fart.  In essence what I’m saying is, thank you for listening when we talk to you.  I hope you never change.  My hopes for you are that you continue to march to the beat of your own drum.  You’ve taken risks in competitions at school that ultimately would’ve scared the bejeezus out of me, and that makes me proud of you.  You’ve never stopped to check and see if the world is going to applaud you.  That thrills me because the world doesn’t stop to applaud you.  It doesn’t have to.  You’re doing what makes you proud and happy.  You’re not stopping to look around to see who’s watching.  You’re only stopping to help others along the way.  That’s a sign of a flourishing young woman.  Your self reliance and self confidence are shaping you each and every day and they change and grow with you.  Continue on with your balance of confidence and humility.  Stay hungry, stay focused, stay humble. 

Love, 

Mom

Continue Reading

Rebel Without A Cause

 

Wild Woman

Have you ever felt like a rebel without a cause?  I’m talking, “I am woman hear me roar” rebellious.  More and more I’m finding myself to be more rebellious the older I get.  I’m not sure what’s happening here.  I’m finding that I’m challenging things that have been placed in front of me, questioning authority, pushing myself a little harder and not backing down for the sake of argument anymore.  I suppose it isn’t rebellion so much as growing up.  Although, most of the time it feels as though I’m rebelling.  Maybe, finding my voice; is a better choice of words.  I’m sure many would argue that, that has never been a problem for me.  I will agree that there was a point in my life where I had no filter on my mouth. There was no censoring of what I was feeling. I’m not sure why that stopped. Some would say that I matured, some that motherhood changed me.  Maybe it was a little of both. I remember at one point feeling that there was no use in stating what I felt because it fell on deaf ears.  Now, I feel like I should say it, whatever it is, for my own sanity; for the sake of not bottling things up, for the reason that I don’t want to return to feeling that what I say falls on deaf ears.  I’m not afraid of arguing anymore.  I’m not afraid to fight anymore.
I think of my grandmother a lot when I think about how my life is changing, about how I’m changing. I think about her wild spirit and how my grandfather always tried to tame her, to tame it.  Is this what happens with age?  With maturity?  We end up reverting back to the freest version of ourselves?  I should hope so.
Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess:

Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.
Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples’ affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.
Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains — they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.

I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn’t agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.

Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint — it is so hard to live with some of them — but a harsh old person is one of the devil’s masterpieces.

Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so.

Amen

by  Margot Benary-Isbert

Continue Reading