I keep a secret from my daughter. There is something I don’t tell her, when I’m giving her a time-out or discussing the reason for the bad report from her teacher.
I am secretly happy that she gets into trouble.
Beanie isn’t angry. She doesn’t get in trouble for deliberately harming anyone.
What Beanie does is test limits. She conducts social experiments. She’ll put her hand on the fire alarm to observe her teachers’ reactions. She’ll say a bad word, to see what happens. She hits her friends, because she thinks it’s funny.
Of course, we show her what happens when she crosses a line. We don’t encourage her to “misbehave.”
But I still like that she does it. I like that she believes enough in her own worth to be unafraid of making mistakes. She’s not afraid to try new things, make mistakes, and learn.
Can we say the same for ourselves?
I know that I have always been a people-pleaser. I have always been terrified of doing anything that might offend, or lead someone to “not like me.” Being socially shunned has always been my fear.
And because of this fear, I have been afraid to try. Better not to rock the boat, than to do something “wrong.” And when I inevitably made mistakes anyway, it led to a ridiculous drama in my head. I admonished myself for being so stupid, and spent more time regretting the fact that I tried something that didn’t work, rather than learning from it.
Beanie is not a people-pleaser. She doesn’t feel the need to do anything or be a certain way in order to be loved. Yet she also has no desire to hurt anyone’s feelings. She realizes that her experiments won’t hurt anyone’ feelings, at least not in a way that a hug and an “I’m sorry” won’t fix.
Beanie doesn’t freak out when she makes a mistake. She thinks no less of herself. She merely learns from it, and, if not, she repeats the “lesson.”
And the most amazing part of it all? While staying true to herself, Beanie DOES have a lot of friends. In the three schools she has attended, she has been quite popular in all of them. She is very successful, socially, even after being the “new kid” twice.