These are the words of my very confident and innocent 2 year old. She is just repeating what I say to her when she accomplishes something “amazing” to me. She readily accepts that she is amazing. It’s funny to hear, yet wonderful.
It’s funny because we automatically assume as adults that if someone says that they are amazing that they are being arrogant, but I am not talking about the kind of “amazing” that is arrogant. Not in the entitlement way. I am talking about the kind of amazing that says I actually have some self worth. I am loved. I am accepted. I am ok. This is a healthy kind of amazing…not a delusional one…right? Perhaps. Let’s investigate.
So…the question is…at what age do we stop believing that we are amazing?
Most likely it is as soon as we are aware of not just ourselves but others – how we add up, compare and contrast on a sliding scale of perceived good to bad. Sadly, my oldest daughter already doubts that she is amazing. I saw this happen somewhere between Kindergarten and 1st grade.
And then I think of myself and I know I stopped believing I was amazing at probably 3 or 4 when my mom was having severe mental break downs and calling me terrible names as she shouted out at voices that didn’t really exist and blaming me for things that were not even visible.
We are robbed of our innocence as soon as awareness is conceived that we are a burden, full of flaws, or are not as good as someone else.
It makes me think back to the garden of Eden. If you believe, great, if you don’t then entertain the thought anyway. The idea is this whole concept and awareness of good and evil. Adam and Eve only knew good. Innocence. They didn’t have the burden of even knowing right from wrong – if they were doing good or bad. They had one simple command. Don’t eat that freaking fruit!
Well…any parent knows – don’t tell a kid what they CAN’T do! Forgive me – I am not suggesting that God is not a good parent, but come on…He was a first timer here. Looking back I can just see God thinking…yes…I should have not even mentioned that fruit – then they probably never would have even thought about it!
But this is my limited perspective of God…my silly way of looking at things just for fun. But the truth is that God is all knowing. He knew what He was doing from day one. That is hard to understand in itself. But that is for a different conversation.
What I want to stick with for this post is this idea of awareness. It wasn’t until they finally gave in to that irresistible forbidden fruit – that they were even aware of right and wrong, good and evil. And how harsh was their payment. I mean I think I am being hard on my child for giving her a time out – but banishing them from the garden of Eden forever?! Wow…that is some hard core parenting right there.
Adam and Eve knew at that very moment…they were no longer amazing.
An even deeper question. I wonder if they even felt loved anymore? And is that really the bigger issue at hand? Is what my youngest, innocent daughter saying is that she is loved? Is what my oldest daughter and me and everyone else that doesn’t feel “amazing” is saying is that we don’t feel loved? Maybe…maybe not. Maybe sometimes…
I guess – it is just the natural order of things. I guess we can’t really think of ourselves as amazing. But wouldn’t it be good to think of ourselves as loved and wanted. Are these two concepts tied together?
I mean, isn’t it strange how when you love someone, you want so much for them to feel amazing? Don’t you want your kids or your friends to know how thankful you are they are in your life? Doesn’t it just break your heart to see a beautiful friend or daughter tearing herself apart and down because she knows without a shadow of a doubt that she is NOT amazing.
It’s such a strange phenomenon – how you could desire that for someone else so much, yet at the same time not be able to apply it or accept it for yourself.
Innocence and self worth is strange…It’s like what is acceptable and wonderful for kids is taboo for grown ups. Something as innocent as saying “I’m amazing” is really cute and wonderful to hear from a 2 year old…not so great to hear from a 32 year old. This age/time continuum applies to all kinds of things though, doesn’t it?
For instance…Seeing my two year old walk around the house in nothing but a diaper, cowgirl boots that are too big for her and a cowgirl hat is absolutley adorable and cute. It is picture worthy! It is innocent and sweet.
But me walking around the house in nothing but boots, undies and a hat…that would be down right strange and unacceptable. (well…this would depend on the circumstances perhaps – come on, spank me cowboy…but I am digressing now…) The point is that it is not so innocent and sweet anymore – it has become something very different – just because of age and awareness.
Alrighty then…I want you to go the mirror and say to yourself, “I’m smart enough, I’m good enough, and dogonit…people like me!” ~ Stuart Smalley/Al Franken (SNL). Or think about Ron Burgandy and how is “Kind of a big deal”.
See? It becomes funny. How can anyone be serious and say that stuff? Let alone believe it.
Getting back to the taboo thing and how age changes things…When I think of grown adults who actually believe they are amazing…I don’t really find them amazing at all. I find them dull, egocentric, selfish and not amazing. Take Paris Hilton for instance, the poor easy target that she is. Now that is a girl that has some self esteem to the extreme. But she is not doing anything positive with it! I wonder if Paris Hilton really knows “love”?
Mother Theresa on the other extreme was one of the most amazing women of our lifetime. And she definitely did not see herself as amazing. in fact, it wasn’t about her at all. She was motivated out of love for others. Her own desires and “self” was completely removed from the picture. I don’t think she really cared what anyone thought about her. But I do think that she knew and felt loved.
SO – maybe this idea of love and “being amazing” ARE tied togther, but not as I originally thought. Maybe we don’t feel loved from being told we are amazing, but maybe we feel amazing when we are actually loved.
Maybe we can do amazing things when we are not focusing on ourselves at all but instead – by focusing on loving others -we can actually do amazing things.
I’m amazed at how amazingly complicated yet simple this is all becoming.
Tell someone they are amazing today – but more importantly – tell them WHY they are amazing. Because I bet cha it has something to do with how they make you or others feel when they are around. The most amazing people in this world are simply the ones that make you feel loved. Even when you are not amazing.
Sigh…it is hard being so amazing.