“You like me. You really like me.” –
Sally Field in her acceptance speech when she received an
Oscar for “Places in the Heart,” 1984
In his daily spiritual blog, Pastor Gregg Kennard ( www.nspireoutreach.org ) quotes Sally Field, ” You like me. You REALLY like me.”
Pastor Gregg goes on to write,
“It is fun to be liked, but the reality is everyone will not
like you nor are they supposed to.
Don’t allow yourself to suffer with “approval addiction,” feeling less than, because someone doesn’t “get” you.
You will fit in some settings and will be a misfit in others.
Stay true to yourself, do your thing, be you, not obnoxiously of course.
But even when you are your best, loving, authentic self, many will disapprove.
It’s ok, it is a big planet with billions of people, and quite a few of those you will connect with; they will understand you and you them.
Those are your people. ”
As parents of teens, we watch as our kids go through the roller coaster ride of self-esteem-based-on-others’-opinions. It’s heart wrenching. But the process of coming to terms with who we ARE and who we AREN’T is a key developmental task which everyone, EVERYONE, has to complete in order to be a well-balanced adult.
Some years ago, I was leading a “Girlz Power Night” event in which middle school girls and their moms were discussing just this topic, accepting who you are. One woman in the room was brilliantly gorgeous, a real stand-out beauty, stunningly flawless. As the group spoke of never feeling pretty enough, we were surprised when she raised her hand to say she understood just what the girls were feeling. I confess to disbelief that she’d EVER not felt pretty enough. Then she said, “When I was in sixth grade I was this tall.” She stood, unfolding upward to her glorious, easily 6’2″ flat footed. The girls gasped; they KNEW what that must have been like for her!
What kids cannot know is that everyone wonders, at some time or another, if they are “enough.” Pretty enough. Smart enough. Tough enough. Wealthy enough. Loved enough. It may be easy for Pastor Gregg to write, “Stay true to yourself; do your thing.” But our kids need to hear how that might look. They need to hear how that went for us…or for some other role model. They need to hear reassurance that even being their best, there will be some who disapprove. Hearing a carefully-selected story from your library of experiences (yours or someone else’s), can be very reassuring. Can you answer with them questions like
What did you look like at my age?
Was there an experience in which you learned, “I just have to be ME?”
What did you worry about at my age that turned out not to be important?
What do you know now that you wish you’d known at my age?
What trait do I have (specific) which you believe will serve me well in the future?
What did you do that worked well when others did not approve of you?
It turns out that “YOU like me. You really like me” is not anywhere near as important as “I LIKE ME.” They can’t know that yet but you can surely shed some light on that path! Let me know how it goes.