The second of the five dimensions of human development is emotional.
Our “participation trophy” society has tragically distorted the true meaning of self-esteem. But instead of dwelling on the negative, let’s focus on the positive, and in particular, on the role self-esteem, boundaries, and resilience plays in healthy emotional development.
True self-esteem is primarily based upon three things:
1. God’s unconditional love for you. There is nothing that you can do or say, to make God love you more or less, than He already does.
2. Excellence of effort, not “outcomes.” Whatever is praised becomes valued. Therefore, it is far better to value the excellence of effort (which will eventually produce results) over a specific outcome (which often leads to cutting whatever corners are necessary to achieve the outcome).
3. Personal accomplishment, not in comparison to others. It is absolutely liberating to do your best…not someone else’s.
Secondly, establishing healthy boundaries helps our children to develop separateness as an important aspect of their unique identity. When we are grounded in who we are, we become free to connect to others without losing our individuality.
Boundaries also allow us to have a greater sense of what is part of us…and what is not part of us…of what we will allow, and what we won’t allow…of what we will choose to do, and what we will choose not to do.
Lastly, resilience can be described as the crucial ability to adapt to various experiences (especially difficult ones) and continue to thrive. However, developing this inner strength during those difficult experiences, depends upon feeling loved and secure in our relationship with our primary caretakers.
Over time, the self-confidence to be independent, assertive, and strong is encouraged by entering new situations and coping with them, by being away from Mom at times (e.g. playdates, sleepovers, classes, etc.), and learning to successfully navigate new environments.
Our children also need to be coached through overcoming mistakes and failures without becoming angry, critical, and over-reactive. Something, by the way, that I’m still working on myself.
My next post will highlight some ways you can engage your children in the third of the five dimensions of human development...mental.