Photo courtesy of apdk on Flickr
This weekend Jerry and I took a quick trip to the beach. We left Oscar with my folks and drove east until we hit the water. We relaxed, played cards got some sun and really just unplugged. Well, except for the hours spent watching the History Channel. We don’t have cable so we love to see what we are missing when we go on vacation 🙂 We spent Saturday morning soaking up the sun and playing in the waves and then went for a dip in the pool. I LOVE swimming in a pool after coming off the beach. It’s so refreshing!
Anyway, so we were drying off and these two girls came and started to swim. They were maybe 11 or 12 and showing each other all the cool water tricks they knew. One was really good at hand stands and then flipping over to land on her feet. The other one couldn’t quite get it so she decided to up the ante by getting out of the pool and doing a choreographed cheer that ended in a cannonball.
I watched these girls laugh and posture and try to impress each other and I was instantly transported to my childhood. I did these exact things. And in a lot of ways, I still do. If I am not careful, I can 100% place my security eggs all in the basket of positive affirmation from others. Is my hand stand the best one? No? Well then I can do something else better! Just wait!
Of course this is completely unhealthy and especially as a Christian who strives to find my value in love from God, it seems misguided at best. But I am human after all, and we humans like to be told we are on the right track.
I think the key is not getting so wrapped up in others’ approval (be it from a friend, boss, spouse or the online masses) that we get bent out of shape if we don’t have it for a while. After all, the absence of affirmation does NOT equal disapproval. Lessons learned each and every day of my life.
As I watched these girls jockeying for position of alpha-tween, I wondered if they even knew they were doing it. My guess is they had no idea. It makes me a little sad that we as women seem to keep going in circles when it comes to our own self image. When will being at peace with our lives be the norm? When will we stop competing not only with others, but with our inner “perfect selves” that we never seem to become? I hope today is that day for me.
How about you?