Today I would like to share some thoughts about self-acceptance.
Many parents and teachers of little children say that it is so difficult to hear them say things like, ‘I am not good enough’, ‘I am so ugly’, ‘I don’t want to go to the party because everyone will laugh at my hair’.
It is not only a challenge for children but also for us grown-ups.
How do we convince them that they are good enough?
How do we reassure them that no one is going to laugh at them?
How do we move beyond our own feelings of insecurity?
So many times, as parents and teachers, we offer reassurances to comfort our children but deep inside we are worried.
Worried that maybe someone will laugh at them.
Worried that they give more importance to other people’s opinions of them than is healthy.
The easiest thing for us to do is offer a practical solution. ‘OK, we won’t go to the party, we’ll go get ice-cream instead.’
The hardest thing for us to do is sit next to them and listen, without trying to fix it for them.
A middle way is to share the moment with them whilst giving them resources to work on self-acceptance.
Stories are a good resource to help develop self acceptance because they allow children to think about themselves through the experience of others.
Let’s use the story, The Stag at the Pool by Aesop, as an example.
A thirsty stag went down to a pool to drink.
As he bent over the surface he saw his own reflection in the water. ‘Wow’, he thought to himself, ‘look at my antlers, they are so beautiful.’
Then he looked at his legs and he felt sad and disappointed, ‘But look at my legs, they are so skinny and weak and ugly.’
While he stood there looking at himself, he was seen and attacked by a lion but he ran away he managed to go so fast that the lion could not keep up.
The stag had managed to escape!
‘Oh, he thought to himself, ‘had it not been for my legs I would have been caught.’
After that day he never thought badly of his legs because he knew that when he needed them to save his life, they did.
Using the stag as an example, we can spend some time helping children to appreciate who they are.
We can use the lesson that the stag learnt about his legs to show children that they are good enough.
Using the story as an example, we can help them find positive things about the parts of themselves they like least.
Repeatedly offering them stories about self acceptance helps children change the negative thoughts they have about themselves into positive ones.
If you need help finding the right stories for your children, email us to ask about our new programme called 21 Stories for 21 Days.
In this programme (launching 1st December) we send you a story a day for 21 days (because in 21 days you can change negative patterns into positive ones). Our email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org