My father was not a perfect one, but there is one thing that he did perfectly, and that was building our self-confidence. He was very aware of the fact that there will always be someone who will criticize you, and by trying to please everyone, you just end up by losing your sanity and peace of mind. For this reason, he never explained to us children the fact that we will be one day criticized for being the way we want, so he used to tell us this story:
Once upon a time, many many centuries ago, there was a monastery, and there a community of monks lived working the land and producing handicrafts to sustain their lives and the orphans that they hosted.
One day, one of the monks had to go to the weekly market to sell the products and asked to be accompanied by one of the little orphans.
He loaded the merchandise on the donkey and let the boy sit on the donkey's back as he would walk.
Everything went well until they reached the first town.
"Look at that!" exclaimed the people of the town. "Oh, shame on that bad boy, who leaves the poor, elderly monk walk, instead of allowing him to sit on the donkey."
The monk felt embarrassed but he didn't want people to think anything wrong about the boy, so he switched the place and he would continue the trip on the donkey's back.
As they reached the second little town, "Look at that!" yelled the people enraged. "Look at that evil man who is letting that little boy walking as he is comfortably sitting on the donkey. Shame on you!"
Once again, not wanting any discussion, he decided that perhaps it would have been better if both of them would be seated on the donkey's back, and so they did.
This was not yet over, because, at the third town, people started to scream "Oh poor donkey! Look at those inconsiderate people who are literally killing him under their weight!"
Once again the monk felt guilty and decided that from that moment on, they would both walk leaving the donkey to carry only the merchandise.
"Look at those fools!" yelled the people of the fourth town. "They have a donkey, and they walk!"
Now you know what and who you are, you cannot change that, and the best of all is that there is no wrong and no right way of being. Whatever makes you happy, that is the right way you should be, and the only person you need to please is yourself because as all the others come and go, you will be with yourself for the rest of your life. Therefore, be loyal to who you are and be sure you feel real everytime you look at the mirror.
Tell this story to your children, not just once, but many times. And for many other times tell this story to yourself.