Sunday, May 22, 2011

Self Respect; For You and Your Children

Pictured above is me at age 5, chubby and happy. Most of my childhood and adolescence was riddled with weight issues and having to be the "new chubby kid" in school, too many times to mention ,which leads to teasing and lots of belly aches (my parents liked to buy and sell houses). Through it all, my stability came from being from a very large and loving Italian family and a father who told me that I was "the most beautiful girl in the world" on a daily basis. My mother lead by example, showing me that being a strong and independent woman was something to be proud of and to strive for. I could have gone either way when it came to my self image.

 After all was said and done, I chose to believe my dad: that I was special and that I could be whoever I wanted because I was worthy. Being innately outgoing, becoming a strong and proud woman was probably inevitable, but through my mom, I knew I wanted to be like her. This was one of the greatest gifts my family could have given to me. After making some bad choices during my teenage years and in my early 20's, it was the basic instilled belief in myself that contributed to me becoming the self confident woman that I am.

The reason for my sharing this with you is to explain the basis of my belief of how important and vital it is to have a healthy sense of self respect and worth. When you respect yourself you do not allow others to mistreat you and you base all of your decisions with great confidence and in some cases, when appropriate, with tenacity.

When having children, I knew that the gift of a positive self image, would be one of the greatest assets that they would eventually leave home with, helping to guide them throughout their lives. I feel that it a most vital tool to posses in the pursuit of a healthy, happy, and fulfilling life. As a parent I would lead by example; for there are no "victims" in my household because when you play victim so do your children and this is never a good idea.

Basically speaking, I feel that the very first steps in building a positive self image for your children is to start out with them when they are very young. Teaching them the concept of respect for others through discipline, limits, and routine. All of these being taught with great love and empathy. Doing so will make them feel safe and secure. They will know what to expect and when to expect it. This will, in turn, give them the tools needed to want to please themselves after they have worked so hard to please you. Moving forward, they will be used to the idea that what makes them feel good also makes others feel the same way. The rest, with more guidance, will build upon itself  to produce an adult with self love, respect, and the confidence to be an example to others.

Even if you are not the most confident and secure individual, by teaching these lessons to your children, you will in turn be reinforcing these beliefs in yourself and grow along with them. It's a beautiful thing.