I was driving into work one morning thinking about all the kids who were going BACK TO SCHOOL and I asked myself what comes up for me when about BACK TO SCHOOL. I have to say I was a bit surprised at what showed up. And how the awareness from this question has allowed me to connect to my current growth of being more of me.
The very words BACK TO SCHOOL imply returning to where I was at the time I left. As I explored going back to school what came up for me was the same feeling of anxiety that I felt much throughout my school years.
My anxiety wasn't so much about having a difficult time learning, although I had some of those, it was more about the social aspect of school and my feelings of not belonging or fitting in and very much wanting to. My perception was that I couldn’t draw, color, dress, move, perform, be popular or pretty like the other girls in my class. I never measured up to those perceived standards. I carried a cloud of self-judgment throughout my years in academia. I lost myself.
As an adult some 45 years later, those same feelings come over me in certain settings and I feel much like I did in school. I also see how I tend to avoid certain situations or events because of those experiences from school. This was great information for me as I examined it further. The awareness that I had been shutting myself off and allowing these judgments to keep me from being free to express and share my true self with others became very clear.
In that moment, I said, “No more, I want to be able to choose freely to interact with others and to show up without any fear. To be me.” It felt so freeing to step into this different way of being, that wasn’t encased in self-judgment.
I am now more confident to be who I choose to be because I don’t need to buy into any of that silliness that gets created in school. I know that being me is more vital to my life than being someone I'm not. I also now know that I have gifts that wouldn't be available to myself or others if I continued to contort myself to be like others. I see the value of being me and I like it!
The other concept that I struggled with in school that surfaced through my BACK TO SCHOOL question was that I felt I needed to know what I wanted to be or do when I got out of school. I see many kids today also struggle with this.
I didn't know, and people kept telling me I needed to know. So, I made myself wrong for not being able to have a plan for the rest of my life. Ugh!
I still can't make a 5-year plan and I discovered that this is not a wrongness; it is just a different way of navigating through life. This was another self-judgment that I could let go of and be free to live by choice; to choose what I want, when I want it. It also isn’t about making those who do have a plan wrong. We all have what works for us. Being free to make those choices without being judged allows each of us more freedom.
Have you ever tried to live your life by other people’s standards? Never asking any questions about whether that would work for you or not? Never being encouraged to follow your knowing, your instinct, your intuition? Never being able to trust yourself? Again, this awareness opened more for me in this area that will contribute to me being kinder to myself by being in allowance of my differences and accepting who I am.
Both of these golden nuggets came from one question that I would have concluded would not have applied to me. Surprise! I am grateful for the awareness that has come up and to see clearly how those have been limitations to living a fuller, richer life of being me.
I wonder what comes up for you when you consider the words BACK TO SCHOOL. Maybe nothing, or maybe you will receive a golden nugget or two.
Now consider is what it means for your child to go BACK TO SCHOOL? Are they going back to where they left off, or do they know that they can go forward and create a totally different experience of school than previously? Are they living in heaps of self-judgment? Do you know how your child feels about school and how they perceive themselves in the school setting- educationally as well as socially?
Discussing new ideas about a fresh, new approach, may give them hope that things can be different. Talking with them can open up clues as to how your child is perceiving them-self, any self-judgment that they have about not being enough. You will have an opportunity to connect with your child and help them to see what is true for them and how they might try a different way of seeing this new school year. This will also require you to be in regular check-ins to see how things are going and what other adjustments or changes may be needed as they move through the new school year. Is this the year that they develop greater confidence in who they be?
Mary shares her desire to create different possibilities for families and individuals who are looking to live a more conscious and aware lifestyle. BE YOU Parenting is for parents who want to BE all that they truly BE and to allow their kids the same privilege.