Author: Karin Arne
When we are children, we see a world where we make ongoing decisions about the nature of reality. We can make some very strong decisions that can affect the rest of our lives. And it could take many years of effort after we “grow up” to undo some of those decisions.
If we are ridiculed as a child, we can become afraid to share our thoughts. If we are sharply rebuked, we learn to keep our opinions to ourselves.
My perspective has been altered by criticism, judgment, and harsh words. When you laugh sarcastically and say “ya think!” as though what I am thinking is stupid, it brings up many issues with me. This was the 5th time you had done that today. This time I became upset. Prior to this, I had quietly said to myself, each time, that my opinion is just as valuable as yours.
If I give my opinion and you don’t respect it, I learn to not respect myself. If I tell you how I feel, and you say I shouldn’t feel that way, I learn how I SHOULD feel, but not how I DO feel. If I do something the way I see best, and you tell me I should have done it differently, I learn to not respect my decisions. I learn to think that I should have done it some other way rather than the way I chose. I learn to second-guess myself and to mistrust myself.
I realize that you do the best you know how to do, and I see that you have your own insecurities. And I see that this can cause you to judge, criticize, and blame as we all do when we are unhappy with ourselves. Just think how much better we would all feel if we stopped doing that.
If I allow you to berate me in any way, then I am not honoring myself. If I let it go without correcting you, then I am giving in and go on accepting that you are right. I have worked through many of these feelings I am sharing with you now, but it has been difficult for me to get to the point where I feel I can stand up for myself.
I am however very glad to be learning to value myself, Karin. Others can only respect me as much as I do myself. The clearer I become with that, the less people will criticize me and instead accept what I say. I do not need to change other people to accept me, I only need to change myself.
I am grateful for you and for our family, and it is my desire to love you for who you really are, accepting the good and the bad, the weak and the strong. . . the whole of you. Please accept me for who I am. I too am trying to be the best person I can be, and I am not whole yet either.
Let’s try harder to find what is “better” in each other and overlook the faults and weaknesses. We will be so much happier with ourselves if we learn to do this for others.