"We have been raised to FEAR the YES within ourselves." ~ Audre Lorde
When I first heard this quote, it stopped me in my tracks. I spend a lot of time thinking about the ways FEAR impacts our relationships with children. The idea that we parents are teaching our children to FEAR the YES within themselves is worthy of reflection and action.
I love the concept of the YES within ourselves. The YES within our children. Our role as parents is to help our children FIND their YES and learn to love, follow, feed, and grow their YES. Help support them to live into the YES within themselves.
Why then are we raising children to FEAR the YES within themselves?
For me, part of finding the answer is digging into the word "RAISE." Do we RAISE our children?
The reality is, that children simply ARE the YES within themselves. Of course, young children need to be cared for so they can thrive and become the best version of themselves possible. Making sure our children's basic needs are met is critical for their growth and development.
But I think when we talk about "raising" our kids, it's about more than just making sure they have healthy food and a warm place to sleep. Feeling like we are RAISING our kids can mean imposing our ideas, values, beliefs, and yes... FEARS onto our children. We are older and we know better. We are raising them.
Parents, are we willing to take a deep breath and ask ourselves if we are raising our children to FEAR the YES within themselves? If we're honest with ourselves, we do this because deep in our core being, we FEAR the YES within ourselves (because we were raised to fear the YES within ourselves. Rinse and repeat.)
Our work as parents is to UNLEARN the fear of the YES within us we were raised to feel. It's challenging, vital work we must do. We can UNLEARN the fear of the YES within ourselves by UNCONDITIONALLY loving who we truly are inside. We can make it our practice to live from a deep self-acceptance that embraces our mistakes, faults, limitations, gifts, passions, our unique, amazing, true, flawed and sacred selves.
When we FEAR the YES within ourselves, will we choose to name it as FEAR we were taught and not what is actually true? Whatever is our deep YES is what makes us unique and amazing. Our YES is nothing to FEAR. We can learn to embrace, accept and unconditionally love the YES within ourselves.
We can teach our children to embrace, accept and unconditionally love the YES within themselves.
What if our children's mantra becomes...
"We have been 'raised' to LOVE the YES within ourselves."