Recently my sister gave me a book, “What I Know For Sure,” by Oprah. If you watch her interviews she frequently asks her guests this question. I LOVE this question and hearing the subsequent answers. I enjoyed reading this book but as I began reading I thought that there was really no earth shattering lessons or any “new” information I hadn’t heard from her before. That is until I came to a part 109 pages in. In this chapter she discusses how for years she would deflect praise in an attempt to not make others uncomfortable or dislike her. It stems from a time the kids in her class told her she thought she was so smart; she began downplaying her intelligence so no one would think she was arrogant.
This jumped out at me and I know this was the reason I read this book. I am a BIG believer that every conversation, every book, every encounter lies in your path for some sort of lesson. It sounds so minor but really every teeny, tiny piece of information you pick up along the way helps you evolve into your whole self. It’s easy to dismiss this if you’re not looking for it, but open your eyes and mind and you will be amazed at how messages you need seem to fall into your lap.
I don’t think I was ever able to articulate why I go out of my way not to brag or even intentionally “hide” things that I think will make people envious, but I think Oprah nailed it. She says, “Instead of being filled with all of the passion and purpose that enable us to offer our best to the world, we empty ourselves in an effort to silence our critics.” Ahhhh I LOVE that. That’s why I love reading. Words can be so beautiful, so meaningful. In that sentence Oprah summed up for me something I didn’t even realize I felt. Now that I know I feel it, I can work to overcome it and continue to GROW.
It’s actually quite annoying if you think about it. Recently someone said some wonderful things about my children and their behavior and told me I was doing a great job. You know how I responded, “Oh they were born great and I just got really lucky and now I’m trying to not screw them up.” And then I think in an attempt to be funny and relatable (like usual) I said “Let’s see how they all turn out before I go patting myself on the back.” That’s seriously obnoxious. You know what’s not obnoxious? Being yourself, loving yourself and SHARING it with others. I don’t think I’m better than anyone so why the hell do I worry if I would ever come across that way? In that one encounter I tried to downplay my parenting. I didn’t want that other person to assume that I thought I was better than anyone else or, gasp, too highly of myself. Listen, I put a huge deal of effort into raising my kids (like most of you) and I take it super seriously (like most of you). I’d say at this point in my life it’s my passion, so if someone acknowledges my efforts, why should I not own it? There are enough naysayers in the world that will attempt to bring me down, so why should I do it to myself? One thing Oprah knows for sure (and now I do too) is that, “You are not built to shrink down to less but blossom into more. To be more splendid. To be more extraordinary. To use every moment to fill yourself up.” Ahhhh, word porn.
I don’t EVER want my kids to shrivel up or hide who they are. They are wonderful people and they need to live it and share it. So once again I’m reminded how important it is to walk the walk when raising our kids. Like I always say, they SEE everything you do and who you ARE. I want them to see me shine.
The Enlightened Mama