It can feel really vulnerable to share yourself with another human and this is something our children offer us everyday; opportunities to see and know them.
While other people are not entirely responsible for how we view ourselves, the dynamic between a parent and child is one of increased influence and can contribute to the formation of a child’s internal narrative. It is a huge responsibility as parents. And the way that we react to a person, contributes to either their comfort or discomfort in connecting with us.
So how can we show our appreciation for our children? How can we invest in our connection?
We all have things in our life that we feel passionate about and are often excited to share this with others. Have you experienced that sting when somebody dismisses or belittles something you enjoy? It can inspire a person to retreat into themselves, feeling as though their perspective is inferior and not worthwhile sharing.
When we take an interest in the things that are important to somebody else, we are showing them that they are important to us. Interest makes space for somebody to recognise their worth.
We show interest when we listen, remember and when we make time to spend with them doing the things they enjoy.
How a person feels about something is deeply personal. Can you remember a time that we were shamed for having a reaction somebody else didn’t approve of? It is a really distressing feeling; not only do you have these intense emotions but you are also left feeling alone in them.
By empathising, we can let somebody know we are there for them. We communicate that we value them and their perspective of their experience. Empathy makes space for somebody to recognise their validity.
We show empathy when we withhold judgement, try to understand what the other person is feeling and acknowledge that this is valid.
Being able to trust the people around you is so important to feeling safe. Do you recall a time when you were lied to? It can feel frightening to suddenly realise things were not what you thought they were.
When we are honest with somebody, we are communicating to them how much we value them by not compromising their ability to make an informed choice. We are allowing them insight into the reality of their existence, we are letting them know they deserve knowledge. Honesty can be uncomfortable but by investing in it we are saying we value them more than our own discomfort in opening up or sharing difficult truths. Honesty makes space for somebody to recognise their reality.
We show honesty when we do not manipulate information, when we offer pertinent knowledge and when we keep our promises.
Being able to invest in our authenticity is crucial to reduced internal confliction. Was there a moment that somebody made you feel unacceptable? This can lead a person to feel not good enough and doubt their preferences.
How people respond to who we are can influence how we demonstrate that externally. When we accept somebody for who they are, they feel security in us. Acceptance makes space for somebody to recognise their legitimacy.
We show unconditional acceptance when we celebrate ones success, support them through their mistakes and truly see a person for who they are without reservation.
People crave inclusion, they want to feel a part of their community. Have you ever been excluded? It can lead you to feel incapable and inadequate.
Including somebody in your life and within the things that are important to you demonstrates that you see worth in their contribution. Inviting somebody to assist us communicates that they are significant. Inclusion makes space for somebody to recognise their importance.
We include somebody in our life by inviting them to join us in the things we enjoy, by sharing our thoughts and feelings and by asking for help when needed.
What helps you to feel valued by others? Are you being these things for your child?