Each child is born with a unique range and combination of gifts, traits, skills and talents. This is the basis for their potential. Each attribute or skill can be positive or negative depending on how it is nurtured. If a child shows a particular talent then it is common for parents and society to expect that child to excel and pursue that talent to the highest level. But that is not the whole child.
One dimensional individual
In pursuing one talented dimension we are often overlooking many others and thus create a monochrome individual rather than a well-rounded individual who has made their own commitment to their particular skills or talents. This can lead to burn-out, depression and many other disorders that prevent someone achieving their potential in life holistically as a whole and balanced person. This is what we all need to find in our lives, balance, harmony, inner peace, motivation that arises naturally and joyfully, commitment and determination that is measured against quality of life.
Insidious narcissistic parenting
Sometimes parents want to make up for what they see as their own lack of opportunity and realised potential and they look for this in their children. They can convince themselves that it is for the child because they want to make sure their child does not lack the support that perhaps they didn’t have. But sometimes their real aim is to gain vicarious success through the child/children. This is an insidious form of narcissism which does not recognise the child’s own needs at all. It instead projects the parents own inner issues onto the child and then channel their life into this apparently easily controlled and manipulated object, their child. This with a layer of guilt icing, saying look what I gave up for you, look what I do for you, you would be nothing without me. If any of those phrases feel even slightly familiar then this is probably part of your make up. It can be changed, fixed, undone and remedied.
Setting your ego aside for peak experience
When you can come at a goal or challenge with love, excitement and enjoyment in your heart, your mind will find it easy to overcome the challenges that go along with it. You won’t be fighting against yourself to force something, it will flow from you and be all the better for it. Our ego gets in the way at the best of times and a damaged ego can be the most destructive thing to possess. When you really soar your ego drops away, your mind stills and it is just you and the talent you are expressing. It is almost as if it flows through you and is not from you directly. It is just expressing itself through your body and your mind and your skills and experience. This is called flow or peak experience. It occurs when someone truly is able to let go of all the agendas and burdens they carry and fly with their potential becoming manifest.
Failing is one of the most crucial parts of learning to excel too, because fear of failure can paralyse you. So facing failure, embracing failure, making it your friend will enable you to go through that too. Failure allows you to learn how not to do things, how not to force yourself but rather to allow and encourage yourself to excel.
to my friend Sylvia Clare for writing this article which she took from her book Releasing Your Child’s Potential (2000).
Sylvia Clare runs mindfulness retreats. Prior to that she has had academic papers published and taught in academia, written columns in newspapers and magazines and was a psychological therapist for 22 years.
Sylvia’s books are:
Trusting your Intuition, Living the Life you want, Raising the Successful child, Releasing your Child’s Potential, Heaven Sent Parents