We become self-aware when we begin the process of getting to know ourselves. This comes from introspection, solitude, facing our inner demons, accepting our flaws, dropping our ego. It is a process that takes years, and actually never ends.
But children are born knowing. In fact, they know more than adults. Their concept of right vs.wrong is more accurate than that of a spiritual guru. If you listen to them carefully, you’ll hear their inner wisdom. Those little gems of truth, are signs of enlightenment. Children are born enlightened.
We begin the process of indoctrinating them, when we instruct them to listen to us, instead of the wisdom they already possess. When they challenge us to explain, we do more to discourage them from thinking for themselves, when we tell them “because I am your parent”, “because I said so”, “because you’re just a kid”, “because you’re to little”, “listen to grown-ups”. We challenge the wisdom they already possess, by teaching them to not trust that inner guidance system, and trust us instead.
Of course, as parents we walk a tight line, between wanting our children to be safe, secure and learn, and giving them the freedom to trust themselves most of all. This means letting them make mistakes, because they will learn from them.
How many of us have spent years trying to unlearn what society and culture taught us? As women we must unlearn to be dependent, to criticize ourselves and other women, unlearn the idea that women are weaker, and replace that with knowing that we are meant to set our own standards, make our own rules, and that we only owe that to ourselves, no one else.
But, part of what we have learned as kids, came from our own parents. They defined us at a very young age, and then we spent decades trying to redefine ourselves. How many of you chose your own religion? How many of you simply accepted the religion your parents gave you? How many of you have the same relationship with money, as your parents had? How many of you believe in the same limitations your mothers experienced?
So, when we tell a child you can’t have that, you can’t be that, don’t think what you want, think like me, you are chipping away at that inner wisdom every child has. Over time they stop questioning, and start accepting. And the more they accept that identity we are projecting onto them, the more they trust those toxic messages from media, peers, and society.
It isn’t easy, as protectiveness is a natural part of good parenthood. But, do your best to let your daughters define themselves. They will make mistakes, they will get hurt, but they will thank you one day that you allowed them to think for themselves, and express themselves. Allow that little Goddess to define herself.