I have breathed my gifts into life, and my kids are learning to do the same.
People fighting depression have my deepest sympathies. My children have bounced from depression to anxiety, with a healthy helping of genetic predisposition and I have battled my own panic attacks.
As I have shared in previous posts, I did not believe I was capable of much when I was younger.
At the age of 32, I returned to college but felt as though I possessed merely a dim flair for any aptitude.
I certainly wasn’t math-smart. That honor belonged to other family members.
I wasn’t bad looking but wasn’t enough of a knockout to be a model.
Yet, I tried to leverage my physical appearance for years.
Everything I attempted felt as though I skated on the baseline. I could complete the work, and do marginally well.
But I never felt smart.
I felt persecuted.
Like I was victim and I wondered what was the point? Why was I even here?
I wondered why some people seemed to have all the luck, from the family they were born into to their finances and smarts…why was I not one of those people?
Why was my life so different? Destined for suffering?
My discernible truth was that I tried. It didn’t matter what it was.
I did all my homework and worked as hard as I could. My GPA was a 3.9.
When I earned my way to the Dean’s List, I began to think there could be more to my life.
That maybe there was more to success than just serendipity.
Maybe other people struggled with their lots in life, too, but I had been blind to their struggles because I had felt sorry for myself for so long.
The ability to see that I could apply myself and make a difference was eye-opening.
Even if I failed at what I intended to do (often camouflaged as the shifting of my expectations), I realized I could still make an impact, and it could be my impact. I could own the ripple.
I don’t remember one day waking up and blaming the world, and the next rising with an epiphany, but my attitude change happened over time.
I had to practice it every day.
I had to retrain myself to look for the blessing.
Issue challenges to improve my work and outlook.
Living this way is deliberate.
My blessings are different, but my gifts are now magic I have breathed into life.
They are there because I say they are.
This is the magic wand.
Years of practicing this mindset, the belief that I am as worthy as anyone else, has bestowed my life with the Midas Touch of my own making.
Last week, I learned my daughter was paying attention.
She is applying resilience and objectivity to her life.
She is practicing positivity.
Defending her right to just treatment.
“Mom, I was getting ready for my test and put on positive affirmation recordings.”
The size of my smile defied measurement.
She was listening. She was watching the way my husband and I conduct our lives. Always looking for the gift.
We can think we are drifting through this life untouched. That we live in a vacuum and what we do or say never affects anyone else.
But we emit an energy that influences and defines our energy.
People pay attention to how you lead (or don’t) in your life.
Are you a person who examines a situation for what is missing? Yes, that was a wonderful opportunity but it could have been better—does that sound like you?
Are you a person who is open to the surprises of life? To the ever-changing pliant paths we travel down? Do you cede any semblance of control to reach your greater purpose?
We get stuck in what others are doing. We don’t see our signature talents that will fulfill our exclusive missions. The reason we are here. It is not to be an emotional doppelganger to anyone else.
Our kids are paying attention and learning from us every day.
My abilities are not the reason my business is bustling, not the reason my nonprofit has grown substantial legs.
It is not the reason people read what I write.
The only reason is because I never stop.
I never let doubt weigh down potential.
Because when you ceaselessly work in your purpose, you will cut through the clutter wherever you are.
As you do, you teach others the joy of living a life unleashed from judgment and misery.
Do you want to be better? To feel the weight lift off and exist with the belief that you are a valuable person?
Do you want to demonstrate to your child they can live this way?
This is the secret. Do it.
We are in control of our actions every single waking moment of our lives.
When we live with negativity it is because we choose to do so.
We can overcome anything and it starts with making a decision to stop living life under a dark veil of “not good enough.”
When you practice this toxic habit, you teach it to your kids.
I can tell the difference when my kids go off for a visit to someone’s house who is a habitual complainer and “victim.” When I see them again, we have work to do. Their mindset has been damaged. Their positivity and belief in themselves are no longer whole.
Helping your child nurture and take care of their frame of mind is just as important as ensuring they eat breakfast, or get their homework done.
It is an advantage you will give them for life.
Original article appeared at The Good Men Project. Reprinted with permission.
Photo credit: Getty Images