Disclaimer: I honestly have no idea what I'm doing as a parent. My daughter is almost two, and I'm literally winging it.
Growing up, my mom was superwoman and if I disappointed her in the slightest it would break my heart. I looked up to her as a powerful, successful, loving woman who could do no wrong. I wanted to BE her.
That being said, I definitely got into trouble. Not always serious trouble, but trouble nonetheless. I remember getting grounded... a lot. And, from what I remember, I also had some serious attitude problems. (Shocker). This and a whole lotta other things going on in the world make me wonder: where does respect come from? How did my mom teach me to respect her? Am I teaching my daughter to respect me, and more importantly... herself? I often worry that I'm not.
I don't have the answers to those questions. But I do know that teaching her to respect herself is one of my biggest parenting goals. In order to teach her that, I need to lead by example. Showing her how to love herself from the inside out is key. I haven't always been the best about this. I often sell myself short, and assume I am not capable of doing certain things. This is something I still struggle with and have to constantly work at.
It took me a while to figure out that if I put my mind to something and am passionate about it, I can do it. Teachers and grown ups will tell you things like that all the time, but I needed to figure it out for myself. I still sometimes find myself trying to figure it all out. Building my career and getting to where I am today hasn't been easy. I am still building a career for myself, while also trying to build a family and embrace a beautiful marriage.
If I really examine myself, a lot of the self respect issues I had stemmed from problems I had at school. School was always hard for me because I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am not a good test taker and I scored terribly on my SAT. I was bored during most of my classes, unless they really engaged me (I loved English class and Theater). College was super tough for me; I really wanted to be doing something I was passionate about, but instead I was sitting in an awfully boring Math class which wasn't engaging me at all.
Long story short, it took me dropping out and hitting a few bumps on the way to see what I was really capable of doing. I ended up going to a community college where I got the kind of help I needed from my instructors, which in turn, resulted in me getting straight A's. This made it possible for me to transfer into my dream college, where I found my passion for filmmaking, designing, and writing.
That is just a small glimpse into one way to think about respecting yourself. Every day, take a moment to remember:
You are worthy. You are smart. You can DO THIS.
Chase after your dreams and know that you're capable. You don't need to settle for anything less. Find something you truly love, and go after it.
So again, I ask myself: how do I teach my daughter to respect herself? Maybe I don't. Maybe I just need to teach her to chase her dreams.
This article was originally published on Life in the Fashion Lane, a blog that I write for weekly. Photography by my talented husband, who captured these photos one day when I came home from work.