Free to Be…..You and Me…: Three Rules for Personal Comfort

7 Apr

Part Four of Four

And finally – wrapping up and rounding out my previous posts (Part One, Part Two and Part Three) on personal comfort – we’ve reached the end! And as we know as the adults we are – the end is usually just the beginning….

 

For adults to understand and share with their children:

  1. Be True to Thyself

 

An important point to consider for any of us who tend to succumb to peer pressure: Those friends trying to get you to have a little under-aged cocktail (or adults – just one MORE), skip class, hit a joint or stay out past curfew? You know the ones who put pressure on you to ‘do what everyone is doing’? They are the ones anxious to be accepted, often lacking the self-respect to stick to their values. If you join them, you validate that insecurity. They NEED you to do what they’re doing or hate who they hate because if they can’t orchestrate others to do or think something, then it is no longer cool. And if others don’t follow their lead, it kind of takes away their power.

 

For adults, our peer pressure might come in the form of surrendering to gossip we would rather not take part in (is anyone still doing the Gossip-No Gossip Challenge ____LINK?), turning a blind eye to the activities that our kids might be involved in so that they can stay with the perceived ‘it’ crowd, living beyond our means to look like we are worthy of certain friends or bowing under the pressure to be successful in the corporate world.

 

What I tell Ben is that if it doesn’t look or sound right; if it’s secretive or illegal and most importantly if it just doesn’t feel right, strive to FIND the courage to politely walk away or decline. In the end, the kids and adults who have the guts to decline anything that is not their thing, believe it or not, end up being the ones that are pretty damn cool. And everyone knows it… (We have also told Ben that when it’s hard to find that voice and until he is comfortable saying no or staying away from trouble, blame it on us!)

 

To help Ben navigate through the waters of self-comfort: First, I insist on (or try to) and model (or try to) kindness and inclusiveness. I go out of my way to let him know all the times when I didn’t – or don’t – concede to someone else’s route if it isn’t a fit for me. Kids need to see by example what it looks like to be true to oneself. And then I praise the hell out of him when I see him do the same – even if it means reading one of his texts in which he apologized to someone or didn’t join in a nasty group chat where someone’s feelings could be hurt.

 

The end note for me is to remember how far a casual acknowledgement or compliment goes when you see your kid – or anyone else for that matter – do their own thing, do the right thing or do the hard thing…

 

Be True To YourselfKID TALK:

(What to instill in kids) The most important person you have to answer to is yourself… You can say ‘no thanks’ to going along with the crowd if you aren’t interested in what they’re doing or saying. You can re-evaluate your opinions of others. You can find your comfort zone knowing that YOU are being true to YOU.

And sometimes – and this is hard and true for adults, as well – you are truest to yourself when you ‘undo’ or ‘unbecome’ something that isn’t filling your bucket as it should. Nothing feels as good as going to bed proud and knowing that you are living honestly and true to yourself, right? A hard road often filled with difficult and hurtful lessons and experiences, but one that is worth it in the end.

One more time for the quote that says it all:

 

“Be careful when you blindly follow the masses.

Sometimes the ‘M’ is missing!”

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