Of the many gifts I received from my father, one of the most endearing was his modeling of good communication.
We had a large family (seven children) and my mother, one of the first female lawyers in the 1950s, had passed away from an accidental death at 36 years old. My Dad’s business revolved around the theme of communication. He owned a printing company that promoted other businesses and many well known artists.
I helped a lot with the parenting of my younger siblings as I was one of the oldest and took over as matriarch of the family. My Dad knew how essential it was to hold us capable of solving our own problems and rarely wanted to interfere. He was also pretty tired from working long hours and wanted table conversation to be pleasant and fun especially at dinner; I loved our family dinners because of that. Once a week, if there were any major issues he would hold a family meeting after dinner where we could express deeper concerns if we needed, especially if it involved him or bigger issues.
Overall one of his guiding principles was to “solve your own problems” especially if it was a conflict or argument with siblings. He showed confidence that we were capable of working it out and taught us how to express our feelings with our words using consideration of the other person’s perspective.
As a parent he never physically hit us as he did not believe that was an effective way of discipline. It was magnificent as it was the 50’s and 60’s and there were many parents that disciplined differently (hitting and screaming). There were always lots of hugs, and kisses and his ability to acknowledge and appreciate were amazing. His parents were Russian Jews and part of the history of our people is lots of touch, affection and love.
Another guiding principle of my father’s was to tell us, “If you are not the cause, you will be the effect!” This principle has come in handy. I have used it so many times in my life and it has done a great deal to build my own self esteem. If you express to people how you are feeling rather than holding your feelings inside, you can stand your ground instead of feeling like you’ve been run over. Now I do not recommend “blatantly” telling people how you feel (in knee- jerk reactive mode) or how they made you feel without the words hitting your wisdom teeth.
I invite you to press the pause button, reflect on how you want to respond to another person, and talk with them in a non- blaming way. An example would be to let them know, I felt this way, when you did such and such to me rather that saying, ‘you did this to me.’ The more we express our emotions, are honest with ourselves, and respectful of others, the bigger the muscle builds for self esteem. What we have to say and express in every relationship is so important and essential for great relationships with ourselves and others. So the next time you are holding your important feelings inside, I invite you to build the self esteem muscle and present your perspective with love and grace.
A guiding principles for expressing yourself could be, “There are no wrong perspectives!” So feel free to express your own in your own authentic way!
Thanks to my Dad I have carried on his wonderful legacy of being the cause, not the effect. Cheers to using his wisdom in your own daily acts and building better self-esteem. You are truly important and what you have to say in life is important too. Practice clear communication and stay in your heart. L’Chaim! (To life, your health, and well-being)
Love and blessings,
Andrea Scott- Health Empowerment Coach