Brandon and I have a back and forth game we play where he says, "You're AWESOME!" and then I tell him the same thing. Then he whispers, "Mom, be QUIET! You're awesome." I'm not sure how it started, nor am I sure he knows what "awesome" actually means, but it's a fun little game to play with him anyway.
This morning I was sitting at the table eating breakfast with the boys. I looked at Jason, who was being his adorable self and said, "Hey Jason, you're awesome." He looked at me and said, very matter of factly, "I know."
He knows he's awesome. Both my kids know they're awesome. I thought about some other kids we know, and they too, believe they are awesome. I can't think of any kid I know that is consistently telling me he's not good at something or wondering why they aren't as good at coloring or something like the kid down the street.
But I know plenty of adults who wonder why they aren't as talented or pretty or something as so-and-so next door. We all started out as children, and we all thought we were awesome.
Where did all our awesome go?
I think if we lived in a Mayberry-type of world, we'd have more of it than by living in our current Real Housewives of (somewhere)-world. People can be so mean! And misery loves company. Our awesomeness is beaten down by people who are unkind, by people who feel the need to point out the flaws in others to take the focus off their own, by people who are cruel.
At some point we start comparing ourselves to other people, and it's a slippery slope from that point. I can't think of a faster way to start feeling bad about myself then when I compare myself to other people. Why do we do this? What purpose does it serve, except to make us feel rotten and inadequate? Could that be why we do it? I think Satan has a very powerful tool in causing us to compare ourselves to other people.
I came across this quote recently and I LOVE it, it speaks to my soul :)
How many times have I done this? How much energy have I wasted by not moving forward, because I'd never be as good as so-and-so? I've spent more time and energy than I'd like to admit, that's for sure!
Recently I was looking for a good bubble bath book (as in a book I read while taking a bubble bath, not a book about bubble baths, that'd be boring) and Brett grabbed me one on time management, 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman. I read it and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Part of this book focused on how to cultivate your talents so you can do work that you love. There's a whole section on embracing your weaknesses, and to try things, and not fear failure. It was like a lightbulb went on in my brain. The reason I don't try new things is because I doubt I will be as good as *expert* so-and-so, so why bother? I'll never be as good as them. THIS is why I don't like to try new things?!? That's so LAME!
You know, as I write that, it's so easy to see the stupid laced throughout that logic! Of course I'll never be as good of a runner as my husband, sister, sister-in-law, neighbors, etc if I never run! Of course I'll never be as good as Julia Child if I never cook! Why is this so surprising to me?
My friend once gave an analogy in Relief Society that has stuck with me. She mentioned watching her children learn to walk. When they fell over, she'd applaud their effort and help them up and let them try again. Over and over again she would encourage their efforts and help them try until they were little walking experts. Then she asked if her kids would have learned to walk if every time they fell, she just told them to stay on the ground because obviously they weren't any good at it. Would a loving parent do that? No. Doesn't our Heavenly Father want us to succeed when we try things? Yes. So who is keeping us down when we fall? Not Heavenly Father. Bam! Logic.
You know, I spent most of my life thinking I hated running. I was pretty sure it was physically impossible for me to run more than a mile. Even in high school, when I remember being in great shape, I didn't like running. So what chance would this larger, post-kid version of my body have? I once asked my sister in law how much one of her races cost, and then thought, "Why would anyone pay to run?" The idea was so foreign to me. (And I'm cheap, but that's another story.)
Then one night, the kids were driving me crazy, and I wanted to run. I had all this frustrated energy I wanted to get rid of, so on a whim, I went for a run, and I didn't die! I even kinda liked it! Several weeks later I ran my very first race with my bestie Stephanie.
|It was a costume race, which explains the Oompa Loompa in the background. Steph and I were dressed up as "athletes." We're terribly creative. :)|
Last summer I also completed not one, but two half-marathons. They were so fun!
I'm pretty proud of how far I've come as a runner. Will I ever run a 4:00 mile? Probably not. I'll be happy if I can get into the single digit minutes for my miles! But I'm way better than I used to be, and that makes me feel like gotten some of my childhood awesome back.
I want to be better at competing with myself, instead of with everyone else. There will always be someone who is better at doing something than I am, but that doesn't exempt me from even trying. They may not even be better, they may just be more practiced. In 18 Minutes the author mentions a study done at the Berlin Academy of Music, where researchers looked at violinists and their correlating number of practice hours. Every single star performer had practiced at least ten thousand hours, so ten thousand hours is all that keeping an individual from becoming a star violinist.
I had a math teacher say something similar, when we would accuse him of being a "natural" at math, and then complain that we weren't good at it. He'd say, "If you spent as much time teaching and doing the same problems over and over again, you'd be just as good as I am. It's not me, it's the time I put into it."
I've been thinking about the parable of the talents lately. Am I going to go to heaven (hopefully!) and realize potential that I had hidden away, just because I was afraid to try? How sad would it be to find I had been given some wonderful gifts, but was too afraid to use them because of a crappy, why bother attitude?
I really hope that isn't the case. I've decided to make a middle of the year resolution (it's too late for a New Year's resolution!) and start trying new things, even if I think I will fail at them. Because I want to reach the end of my life and have my Savior say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
But until then, I want to tell my kids they are awesome, and for them to know it without me telling them.