Individuality is what most of us work towards once we begin to define our identity. It takes time to truly understand the substances that we’re made of. The beauty in this process is that it’s never-ending. I remember when I was working at M.A.C. at age 19. Mirrors surrounded me at all hours in the store, but one day I gazed at myself like so many other times and realized that I was looking at a stranger. There was a foreign-looking pool of mystery behind my deep brown eyes; questions began surging to the surface like bubbles rising from undersea creatures. I realized it was my mission to solve the puzzle that lay in front of me. Who am I? It was a magical moment in my life where my soul called attention to my mind to accept myself completely with all of my faults and attributes. The time had come to clearly define my identity.
Why did it take me so long to get there? 19 is relatively young, but since then I have wondered the reason behind not having this epiphany sooner. I feel that when I was growing up there was a lack of focus on the connection between mind, body, and soul and the importance of exercising the three to be complete. You would accept what you were told and do as you were asked. That’s wonderful when learning about respect, but it also inhibits feelings that are healthy to externalize. It has been a mission of my generation to break out of the binds of a homogenous society and embrace individuality as part of the constitution of our diverse and ever-changing world. As a mother, I want my Binky to look in the mirror and be certain of who she is as young as I can get her to understand that she is an individual amongst a myriad of people. I’ve been wondering how I’m going to promote this self-awareness and even though she is little, here are a few ideas I’ve been come up with:
- Accept her likes and dislikes and try not to influence them unless it’s for her own wellbeing.
- Do not compare her to other children. This is a challenge for me that began when the so-called “milestones” started happening. She will do and not do things on her own time. Even though those milestones are important, the ages that they are supposed to happen are simple guidelines that can get young parents carried away with the idea that something may be wrong with their child if they’re not defined by a statistic.
- Looking in the mirror will be an activity of progressive exploration. She needs to know herself through her own perspective. Encouraging a positive body image will allow for her confidence to look beyond vanity and define virtues rather than shortcomings.
- Finally, I will encourage individuality when she starts socializing with other kids on a more regular basis. I want to teach her tools to defend her quirks in a positive way rather than suppress those defining characteristics that make her unique. Blending in for comfort will not offer her the opportunities of developing her own talents. Life is about standing securely on your own two feet. That balance is found within the certainty of acceptance and confidence in oneself.
It takes a strong character to identify and work on all aspects of our personalities. This is something that develops with time and honesty. Sometimes a little help from those we love can aide in the process. If we as parents know that life for our children will evolve to a point where they will be celebrated for their individuality, lets promote their originality. As long as respect and humility are foremost, I think we should teach them that loving themselves is the most special affection that they will need when overcoming obstacles. What do you do to help your child accept who he or she is? I would love to hear your tactics and opinions on this matter! Once upon a time it was said that it took a village to raise a child, lets help guide each other with all the positive advice we can…