Click on the link. Watch. Then read:
A friend posted this link on her facebook page. Cute? Incredibly. Really great to see a happy child who firmly believes everything in her little world is fantastic. She'll catch on soon enough, right? School bullies will beat her down. Teachers will be mean and unfair. Even her best friends will disappoint her, and many of the relationships in her life turn out to be a lot less than she'd hoped. Ah, children and their fantasy worlds. Catch a clue, little girl. You're really not so hot, and things in your life are probably already beginning to crumble.
I don't believe most of what I just wrote — but I used to. Knowing what I know now, I think it's the very best thing a girl her age could be doing. Why is it that, from an early age and on into our adult lives, we take all of the bad things everyone has ever said about us, and make them our realities? We get so good at it, the negativity doesn't even have to be directed toward us. "This just falls in line with everything else everybody's said about me, so it must be true," we think. We go from one bad relationship to another, and the similarities are uncanny. Our therapists help us realize it all traces back to our our relationships with our parents/families starting from our very early years. If that's true — and I firmly believe it is — then little Jessica's got an incredible head start. She's learning to love herself. EXACTLY the way she is!
One of my favorite books is Louise Hay's You Can Heal Your Life. A friend recommended it to me when I was at about the lowest point in my life. There's so much wisdom in that book, but the resounding theme is that everything in our lives, good or bad, revolves around how we think about ourSELVES. And if there are any negative thoughts in there, they will play out in ALL of the decisions we make in our lives. Whatever it is: "I'm overweight," "I don't handle money well," "I'm not smart enough" — they all stop us from achieving our goals, expressing ourselves creatively, and living out our deepest dreams and desires. They'll also play out physically and are likely to become the primary sources of our ailments and illnesses. Hey, with all that bad karma going on inside us, something's gotta give.
But, she proclaims, we have the power to change our thoughts, and literally turn the negatives into positives. And it begins with something she calls "daily affirmations" — exactly what little Jessica was doing in front of the mirror. For example, the belief: "I hate my job" will get you nowhere. But "I now accept a wonderful new job," opens the channels for you to actually create that. In the video, one of Jessica's affirmations is "I like my sister." She says this at the very moment a baby — likely the little sister she's talking about — is wailing in the background! Take that! One of the exercises Louise Hay has you do is look into the mirror and say, "I approve of myself." Over and over again. For days, weeks, months, years. Until it becomes your belief. Try it. It's super hard to do! But extremely effective if you hang in there. (I've been at it five years and have made significant progress, though I'm certainly not "there" yet — by a longshot!)
I believe that what you know about yourself from a young age IS your reality. At my home preschool, I could tell from the minute a child walked into the door on the first day if he was given positive affirmation at home — and it was confirmed as I came to know the child and his parents. Very simple: The parents most involved in their kids' lives generally had the happier children. (Not to be confused with spoiling — it takes a much more involved parent to discipline a child than to let him run around with no boundaries at all.) I don't know if Jessica's just a really wise little girl, or if her parents have made it part of her routine to practice these affirmations, but how much better would we be — dare I day the world would be — if it was a requirement for every child to look in the mirror and give himself positive affirmations every day? (At the very least it would significantly lower the crime rate!) And why aren't all of the parenting books recommending we do this with our children?
I wasn't educated on the whole "positive affirmation" thing when my kids were little — or I certainly would've made it prominent on their list of childhood routines. But I have tried to instill in them the belief that they are completely loved and accepted — exactly as they are. On Mothers Day I asked my kids what they thought I rated highest at in my job as a mom. Melissa's response: "You make great lunches!" She's right … I really do! Cliffie's surprised me though: "You support me and believe in me — whatever I choose to do." Or something like that. Best Moms Day gift ever. I must be doing something right. And I make a hellofa tuna salad sandwich!