When children are treated with respect, they conclude that they deserve respect and hence develop self-respect. When children are treated with acceptance, they develop self-acceptance; when they are cherished, they conclude that they deserve to be loved, and they develop self-esteem.
Stephanie Martson (20th century), U.S. family therapist, author. The Magic of Encouragement, ch. 1 (1990).
As this thread is way old, I wasn't goign to say anything. Then I saw this.
You kicked me in the stomach.
My mom, growing up, didn't recieve compliments. Instead she recieved abuse of every sort. She never got compliments, and no one ever told her she was good at anything.
She says she tried hard to not carry that on to her kids, and tried to hand out compliments liberally.
Truth is, she can't give a compliment without it behing very backhanded, complete with a real smack down.
I love my mother, and I wouldn't call it abuse, but I have never been so insulted in my life as after she's "complimented" me.
I quit drawing and painting and all that, and tried to fall into something intellectual and "easy". Something I didn't have to engage that part of me for. Something I could just do without having it hurt so much. I wanted acceptance, and to be cherished and loved and supported, and I wasn't going to get it. Even if the people who stung me the most were to spontaneously be proud of me for something I did, somethign I created, it wouldn't matter. The wounds were so deep that they'd never heal.
Somewhere along the line, everything fell apart for me. My plan wasn't working, and I was terrified. I'd always been told and believed that artists were a crazy lot, insane at best and barely held back from being institutionalized at worst. Well, obviously, I didn't want to be there. I finally somehow managed to figure that out, though. I accepted that what I wanted to do I wanted to do for *me* and that anyone else who wanted to insult me or failed to accept me for who I am and what I did could not-very-kindly go blow themselves.
It took a long time.
I still get blocked. I spent easily 10 or 12 years not drawing or painting or anything. I knew I had the talents in there, but not the fine tuning. I could do it.. If I'd tried. I spent all kinds of time writing with calligraphy, scrapbooking.. that sort of thing. Why couldn't I get off my bum and just draw? So finally, one day when I was stuck overnight in a hotel in Antigua alone, I picked up my sketchbook that was previously unused, and my brand new pencils and drew.
And I haven't stopped since.
I get blocked on occaision, and I get depressed. I don't get compliments from my mother, or my father, and heaven forbid should anyone in my blood-family ever consider complimenting me.
But it's okay. The only critique and input that matters is right here, right now. I care what my husband thinks, and he knows it. And if he doesn't like it, he tells me why, and he knows when to and not to say "But that's because I don't like that style" and that's okay. It's not an insult, or a slap in the face.
I get a lot of input from people, and that's hindered a lot more lately than helped. I've done quite well for myself and this journey of becoming who you're meant to be never ends. Now I accept who and what I am, and I don't mind that some folk think we're insane or not quite right. Call me an artist, I'll happily accept that I'm "not normal" and will grin like the maniac that I can be.
I figured out somewhere in there that if I'm afraid of picking up the brushes, maybe I should pick up somethign else instead. Just because I can't paint today doesn't mean I can't tomorrow. Today, maybe I'll just make a horrible mess with my soft pastels. Or string beads in a totally obscure fashion.
Or maybe... maybe I'll just build castles in the sky.