Tired of being a mind reader?
The first time one of my sons revealed to me he had been doing something he knew we didn’t approve of, my first instinct was to worry about what this said about me as a mom. However, I remember, when I was in the throes of wondering what so-and-so would think about me when she found out, I suddenly had a stark realization: I could spend my time worrying about what other people would think about me as a mom OR I could focus my attention on my son and help him, but there really wasn’t room in my mind for both at the same time.
We spend so much time trying to control what people think of us (or our children), trying to get approval from others, trying to “look good” for them. But, you can’t really control someone else’s opinion. In fact, you can never really know what someone else is thinking. You are actually only thinking your own thoughts about the other person’s opinions.
This isn’t to say other people don’t have judgments about how we parent or about what our kids are doing, but I will tell you this: their opinions tell you something about them, not you. Really. I mean, my husband loves Rocky Road ice cream but I think it’s gross. The fact that I don’t like Rocky Road ice cream doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with it; it just means it’s not for me.
Other people can believe I don’t really love my son because I didn’t force him to go to Seminary (see “Just because they say it, doesn’t mean it’s true” for the full story). But I know better; I know how much love I have for each one of my children ~ even if other people don’t know it. And that’s the point. Judgment in and of itself isn’t what hurts. The pain comes from believing the other person’s judgment, and only you can decide to believe it… or not.
The thing about approval is this ~ we can spend so much time trying to get it from others when, ultimately, even that will feel empty if we don’t have our own approval. And when you have your own approval you can make room in your life for the opinions of others and not make their judgments mean you’re unworthy, incapable, or just not good enough. Doesn’t that sound freeing?!?!
If you’re tired of making parenting choices in hopes of gaining the approval of others, but you’re not sure how to break the cycle, schedule a free mini-session NOW and I’ll show you how I can help.