When my son was in grade school he never wore bright colors but he liked all kinds of t-shirts. When he started 6th grade the only tees he’d ever wear were blank white ones (the kind Haines sells in packages of three). When I asked him about it he launched into a detailed description of the school’s social hierarchy and where he fit in. (A notch above the losers.) Losers wore whatever they wanted because they were invisible and lacked social aspirations. Popular kids wore whatever they wanted and instantly spawned new trends. The rest of the kids (95% of the class) were very cautious with their wardrobe choices. From my son’s perspective, wearing a plain white tee was a low risk move. All he could afford to make. As he patiently explained, “I’m not cool enough to be different.” In other words, he wasn’t confident enough to be himself.
You expect insecurity from tweens and teens. “Do I look OK?” “When am I going to learn to keep my big mouth shut?” “Did anyone just notice what I did?” But many adults still work overtime keeping our ‘unacceptable’ selves in check. We wait at the corner forever looking both ways before we make an assertive move. In doing so, not only are we holding ourselves back from truly enjoying our lives and relationships, we’re also missing in action when it comes to showing our kids how a self-assured authentic adult operates.
I’ve been thinking about this stuff for a long time. That’s why I was drawn to Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken: Transform Your Life with the Power of Authenticity by Mike Robbins. In this week’s Family Confidential podcast, Mike and I talk about removing the barriers to being ourselves so we can be better people and better parents.
Have a listen here:
If you have iTunes, you can subscribe to this podcast in the iTunes Store.
Or, you can download an MP3 version here.
Upcoming guest authors include:
- Lynn Goodwin – You Want Me To Do What? Journaling for Caregivers
- Carol Normandi and Lauralee Roark – Over it: A Teen’s Guide To Getting Beyond Obsessions with Food and Weight
- Ayelet Waldman – Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace
- Wednesday Martin – Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do
- Robert Rummel-Hudson – Schuyler’s Monster: A Father’s Journey With His Wordless Daughter
Subscribe to Family Confidential and tune in each time!
*What’s a podcast? “A podcast is a series of digital media files, usually either digital audio or video, that is made available for download via web syndication.” — Wikipedia… So, in this case, there’s an audio file for you to listen to (in addition to reading the above).