In the last two years, my world has been made smaller by trauma and grief (that’s what it does to you, SAFETY becomes the order of the day). The losses have been huge and I’ve opted for self isolating and more therapy.
The good news? I’m coming out the other side. I’m not the girl I used to be and I’m RARING to go again and with renewed vigour and determination.
So, my question:
Have you ever wished that you were living somebody else’s life?
I have *gulp* …here we go with the Smiley confessional…
Often, I will dive into a Hallmark romcom and merrily daydream that I am the owner of a quaint bakery in a small town where a handsome man comes in to buy a latte, only to find that we fall in love and live happily ever after.
Yep. That’s me. (Pssst: they are on Channel 5 every afternoon right now in the lead up to Christmas and I’m recording them all!!)
Often, I’ve scrolled through Instagram and looked at other people’s lives and felt overwhelmed by their success. (Inner critic says: ‘that ain’t happening to you!’)
More than I’d like to admit, I find myself turning into the equivalent of a virtual ‘stalker’ fascinated by a complete stranger’s life, and feeling like they’re my friend.
That is nothing like a REAL relationship with REAL intimacy. Is that what a relationship could look like for kids growing up today though?
That’s why I wrote a new episode of the kids podcast this week to help them. You can listen to Episode 16 – The One with the Green Eyed Monster here.
Comparison is the devil
Did you know that social media was intentionally designed to condition us – so it’s waaay more than an addiction. It’s actually a MIND VIRUS. It was set up to drive us to compulsively scroll and click. Do you know why?
It’s driven by envy. (Envy is not the same as jealousy). Jealousy can motivate and inspire us to go to work on ourselves. Envy on the other hand is aggressive. It makes us feel resentful and discontent that we don’t have what somebody else has.
Children who don’t feel seen for whom they are and who are compared to other children or their siblings, are always unconsciously competing. That was me as a child. Why can’t you be less angry like your sister? I wrote more about that before in this blog.
Parents don’t realise they are doing it. It’s often the child that we can least relate to that feels unseen by a parent. Or the one that the parent finds challenging to parent. This is everything about the parent and nothing to do with the child.
What bridges that gap? Empathy. Seeing the world through your child’s eyes and understanding that their behaviour is not for you to take personally but instead remember that whatever your child is stirring in you, is an old wound (most likely from your childhood) which requires your attention.
I see a lot of twins in coaching because naturally, people compare twins. They are not ‘the twins’ but TWO SEPARATE PEOPLE.My sister and I are 14 months apart and we were compared constantly. I spoke for her. She was the shy one. No wonder, she couldn’t get a word in edgeways. She was kind and modest. I was a show off and more overt in my quest for love and attention.
In a family there is enough love on the table for everybody, BUT everybody feels love in different ways. Everybody has different needs and unique qualities. We all need to be appreciated for those.
My ‘Be Your Own Best Friend’ learning pack will boost your child’s self esteem. It will give them the tools to stand up for themselves and believe in themselves. It will help them to see all the good that they are.
Competing for love is a sign of low self esteem
That feeling of NOT GOOD ENOUGH. When we go searching for something else that we don’t have, we’re rejecting ourselves. When we’re rejecting ourselves, other people will follow suit and do that to us too.
- Start by noticing where you might be comparing
- Or where you might be rejecting parts of them unconsciously by asking them to be something you need them to be in order for you to feel ok.
Some examples of how parents don’t see their children could be:
- The Dad who never made it into the football or rugby team, so he lives his dream through his son.
- The Mum who is uncomfortable with her anger because she is raised to believe that nice girls don’t get angry, will shut down and be triggered by her angry child. She teaches the child, don’t be angry and don’t make a fuss. Suck it up cupcake!
- A parent who is uncomfortable with their own parental authority and when their child asserts themselves or stands up for themselves, they feel shame and want their child to stay ‘small’.
- A perfectionistic parent who worries about what things look like or what other people think, will abandon themselves and their child in order to protect that all important image. I see a lot of that where I live in leafy Surrey where there is a lot of money and importance placed of materialism.
- A parent who doesn’t believe their child or challenges their child’s feelings – nobody can tell us how we feel even if we can’t imagine how it might feel for them.
That’s tough I know but the truth is what will set you and your child free. If you want to look at how your child triggers you, listen in here and work out your Mum stress response.
Since watching and enthusiastically sharing that video about the shocking and damaging impact of social media. I’ve been thinking a lot.
I feel stuck because social media is the way I connect with people who are looking for support. However, I know that I spend way too much time on it and I feed the beast. I play the comparison game and it feeds my low self worth. I don’t want to place my energy there. I want to build myself up and feel confident and capable in my ability. I want to role model that to all the children I coach.
Like any Catch-22, I have choices.
I can continue in the world of crazy, or I can leave.
I could also settle for a compromise. So that’s what I’ve decided to do. I’m going to walk my talk.
I mentioned a few things I had posted about on Facebook recently to a Mum and she said she hadn’t seen those posts. That’s because of the way that Facebook works. And so why would I spend my time (hours and hours) crafting and making posts which might reach you. I want to reach you.
(I currently post 3 time a day and people aren’t really engaging which is the point of being ‘social’ right?!)
Instead, I’m going to stick to:
- creating and promoting regular Truly Madly Smiley Podcast episodes – make sure you’re subscribed so you don’t miss an episode.
- sending out my weekly newsletter – if you’re not on the list and want to receive weekly love letters from me, sign up here.
- using the Facebook Group function to run my ever popular family club The Energy Pod
This is the best use of my time and the best way I can connect to you and your family.
I want to connect with you so I can help you!
No – that’s not a good use of my time. Besides, people find my line of work a deeply personal and private subject so there isn’t much discussion on my page either. Facebook doesn’t reward silence – it wants clicks, likes and scrolling. It wants us to be ‘sociable’. Although if you watch the video, you will see that it’s the least sociable invention ever and it’s affecting our true levels of intimacy.
I’m also going to investigate other ways to spread the magic of the podcast because for me that’s my whole objective: to reach those kids who need it the most.
And you know, you can help me with that
By telling all your friends about it or leaving me a review on iTunes. Or writing in the comments on one of my blogs. Or if you are connected to a school or work with children, please get in touch and point me in the right direction.