I have written on more than one occasion about the life lessons gleaned from my children. While I'm usually the one offering advice to them, sometimes I think it is I, who still has so much more to learn.
The thing is, I probably have a lot of wise words to offer them, but in all honesty, I don't always practice what I preach. It's hard to break old habits and thought patterns. But I am constantly amazed at the lessons I learn from situations with my children.
My daughter came home really discouraged this last week. She had tried out for a district sports team where only 3 girls were to be selected. I knew the odds weren't in her favour as she has only begun playing that particular sport this year, whereas some of the other girls had been playing at club level for several years. But, she wanted to try and I encouraged her to do so.
Needless to say, she missed out on selection. That afternoon, she was absolutely deflated. We talked about her disappointment, and I assured her it was okay to feel that way. I also said that I still loved her no matter what she did, because her successes don't change the way I see her. (See how wise I am?!) And then I let her be. I left her alone to think through her feelings on her own terms, because disappointment is not something that can easily disappear with the click of a finger.
It wasn't just the sporting team that led to her feeling down. She had also missed out on school captain, as well as sports captain. And this was yet another thing to rub into the wound of disappointment. And while I was trying to reassure her that it didn't matter, she did her best, her worth does not come from what she does etc., - I couldn't help but think how hypocritical I sounded.
Here I was, trying to be empathetic, when really I doubted my own words. You see, I know what it feels like to be overlooked, to be invisible. I know what it feels like to try my hardest and not be picked. You give your best, but somehow it's just not quite enough. Doubt sets in and you wonder why you even tried in the first place. And when that happens repeatedly, you can't help but think that perhaps you're not good enough after all. (Which, as an aside, is perhaps part of the reason why I haven't posted here for quite some time.)
The thing is, life is full of disappointments. Someone else will always be better, faster, smarter. But when we continue to face set-backs, it's easy to think, "What's wrong with me?"
I don't have all the answers for my children. Heck, I'm still figuring stuff out for myself. But I do know that dealing with disappointment and rejection can take some time to learn. It is as simple and as complex as this:
Your worth does not come from what you do.
Don't get me wrong, it's great when people succeed. Achievements are awesome, and I think we should always give our best. But when the accolades fade, and the next best thing comes along, or when we completely miss the mark, it's easy to fall down the same hole of self-doubt - "What's wrong with me?" "Why am I not good enough?"
My worth does not come from what I do.
My worth comes from who I am - and the One who created me.
Life will always hold disappointments and rejection for us. There will always be times where we won't measure up, or be chosen, or be successful. But we keep on trying, because our worth doesn't change. That's the lesson that I obviously needed to learn from my daughter. I still love her regardless of her achievements and disappointments. And I know that the One who created me, still loves me, regardless of my successes and all my failures.
When we remember that, and hold fast to that, all else fades. Everything we achieve is a bonus.
Joining in with IBOT.