How to Raise Children that Are Full of Self-Love, Not Pride
The emotional education of children is a great responsibility. It’s more complex than teaching them how to use a fork or put their shoes on correctly. And that’s because it involves helping them comprehend and manage their emotions. The line that separates self-love and pride is a thin one and, on occasion, a blurry one. However, it’s important to be clear on the difference between both concepts and teach children to be full of self-love, not pride.
When we attempt to instill values in our children, in general, we concentrate on reminding them to be polite, friendly, and considerate toward others. We teach them to develop empathy, ask for forgiveness, and do favors. However, many times, we forget to cultivate self-love and to help them practice the aforementioned habits toward themselves.
When a classmate tries to take advantage of our child, or we feel like our child is too influenced by the opinions of others, we might insist that they “defend themselves” or that they have more pride. But, upon doing so, we may end up encouraging the wrong attitude.
Differences between pride and self-love
Action or reaction
Pride leads us to react in an automatic and impulsive way toward what others do or say. So, a child that’s proud may talk back, be defiant, and not be very thoughtful.
Children that are proud may have learned to jump like a spring when they don’t like another person’s behavior. And, even though our intentions are for them to learn to defend themselves at school, they’re likely to act the same way at home.
On the other hand, self-love helps us act in a calmer manner and with more awareness of what we’re doing. It allows us to reflect and to choose the most appropriate response. In the face of an offense, children that are full of self-love won’t react with aggression or insults. Rather, they’ll be able to reason that it’s better to set boundaries with others or simply keep their distance.
From a prideful perspective, children will perceive social relations like power struggles. Someone is always on top, and someone else is always underneath. For example, a proud child will likely be haughty and always want to be right. What’s more, he or she will be reluctant to listen to other points of view.
They view their relationships with family members and friends as a sort of battle, and they’re always ready to defend themselves. Pride will be both their sword and shield at the same time. In that sense, they won’t be afraid to express hurtful words in order to be victorious. What’s more, these children are likely to be more susceptible and tend to feel under attack more often.
On the other hand, children that are full of self-love will have learned to love themselves and, therefore, love others. They’ll see relationships as a positive and pleasant exchange and be able to perceive the friendlier side of others. Therefore, they won’t feel the need to be superior, nor will they feel inferior.
Furthermore, these children understand that everyone is valuable – both themselves and others. Therefore, they’ll be friendly and empathetic toward those around them. But, at the same time, they’ll also be capable of expressing their opinion with respect, and without fear. They’ll listen to the opinions of others without losing sight of the fact that their own opinions are just as important.
Last, while it may seem like prideful people possess higher self-esteem, just the opposite is true. Pride is a sort of armor, a wall that we put up when we feel insecure. We need to raise a barrier because we feel like others may attack us or perceive us as fragile. Pride is a mask that hides internal fear.
Children that have developed a healthy sense of self-love will feel at ease. That’s because they know that they’re valuable, capable and that they good enough. They don’t need to belittle others in order to feel important, because they already know that they are. Likewise, they don’t need to get into battles or arguments. When it comes to the opinions of others, they’re not as vulnerable because their self-esteem is solid.
Self-love is the key
Self-love is truly what allows us to set healthy boundaries so that others don’t harm us, without feeling the need to hurt others. Therefore, help your child cultivate self-love that’s strong and sincere. Remember that this is a task that requires consistency, meaning you need to work on it every day. But it’ll be well worth it when your child enjoys a happy life full of healthy relationships.