What a lot to ask. Especially of a child.
I’m a grown up and I can think of a heavy handful of instances in the past year when I haven’t stood up for my own truth. When moms at my sons’ school are gossiping about another parent or child. When someone makes a cutting remark about me and I pretend it’s nothing or ignore it instead of speaking out. I tell myself that they’re little things, not very important, but each time I’m making a choice by not saying anything.
There’s a Japanese adage that the nail that stands out gets hammered down. But what hurts more - staying small or standing up for ourselves, our loved ones, and our own truth?
In the past, I have been careful not to stick up too much. Standing out is a scary place to be. It takes a lot of courage to be the one who disagrees, the one who tells the truth, the one who calmly and confidently says, “Enough.” I am enough. My family is enough. What I bring to this life is enough. Brene Brown writes in “Daring Greatly” that the opposite of scarcity isn’t abundance. The opposite of scarcity is enough, what she calls Wholeheartedness.
“Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”
But how do we become brave? How do we show up and know that our enough is enough, especially as we parent our children? Brene whittles it down to courage, compassion, and connection. We find the courage to take off our armor - with the people who have earned their places in our inner circle - and show our children what it means to be vulnerable, what it means to make mistakes and learn from them, what it means to love ourselves inside and out, warts and all. We live our lives compassionately and model acceptance of ourselves and others for our kids. We connect with our children, loving them in all of their sweet, sweaty, silly selves, and listen to what they have to say. Brene writes, “In terms of teaching our children to dare greatly in the ‘never enough’ culture, the question isn’t so much ‘Are you parenting the right way?’ as it is: ‘Are you the adult that you want your child to grow up to be?’’’
And that, my friends, hits the nail on the head.