Younger Self

My oldest son turns 16 years old tomorrow. Milestones, like this one get you thinking about how much time has gone by and of course how quickly times goes by. When Nick was born I fell head over heels in love. Literally! Who knew what joy a little version of yourself, offspring could be. I don’t think my mother loved me like that but who knows. I am glad I loved like that.

Looking through some photos of him as a baby I came across this one.

(no make up, no filters, smiling 🙂 , in love)

Nick Baby

I was a bit sad to see a spark in my eye that I didn’t see in a recent selfie I had taken of myself.

15 years plus a few months later……

(Recent Selfie-no make up Monday, no filters, no smile )

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At first, I felt sad about that missing spark I perceived. Ultimately, I know I am really just being hard on myself. Then, I wondered, what would I tell this younger version of myself today and so I wrote..

You knew the moment you found out you were pregnant what a special love you had and the joy that followed was more than you imagined. While you already knew life wasn’t all rainbows and pink cotton candy. You knew the birth of a child, your child was a new beginning, a new start. An opportunity, to love and experience love, a complete unconditional love. In the moments, right after birth, you knew it wasn’t just about you anymore. Your child first and your were second and that was perfectly okay. Most things you worried about before the birth, were not nearly as important. What a relief that was. A fresh breeze. A state of happiness. Your child’s happiness, well being and upbringing was in the forefront. Your mission was to raise a child that knew he was loved and cared for, no matter what. Something, you didn’t feel you had. Your mission was to raise a child that would have no fear showing affection, crawling into bed with you, never would he be afraid or doubt your love. Your child would have know a loving, kind mother. A mother who’s  eyes brightened when you walked in the room and wouldn’t hesitate to scoop you up in open welcoming arms.

You never knew that a couple years later you would be in the fight of your life. That the shock of such news would shake you to your very core. You didn’t know that your children would be the ones that gave you purpose to rise every morning. You had a mission! Your children needed you.

Shaken to the core you were. You had no idea the long term effects socially, emotionally and physically. But you fought, fought, fought and continue to fight! Fall down seven times, get up eight.

While some of your carefree innocence and spark faded with your fight, your love for your children only grew, your life adventures multiplied, you pushed through fear after fear and you learned to be truly grateful, less self-fish and have compassion and kindness for others. The mission you set for motherhood never faulted, didn’t fail. The gratitude you have for each day with your children  makes your heart overflow. Your relationship with God and faith is solid.

Your spark maybe more cautious and more mature with riding the waves of life but I’m proud of you. Maturity, isn’t all the bad. Don’t ever let anyone take away from you your struggles, your victories, for they know not the shoes you wore. Be grateful for those who shared the road. Continue to be grateful and celebrate all occasions in style.  Continue with your Mom mission you are doing a great job!

 

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Summer Reflection Part Two: Pure Loving Self Kindness

IMG_6018Who does it?

What does it?

 When does it happen?

How does it happen?

Where does it happen?

Why at some early point in our life do we begin to feel unworthy?

It is these questions that will begin the discovery to identifying the people and events that have contributed to feelings of unworthiness.

Let’s go a bit deeper here. I have confidence. I am successful. I am a great mother. I am funny. I am strong. I set goals and achieve them but something deep down says I am not worthy. It happens when I don’t even realize it. If you were to ask me if I was worthy I would say “ Your damn right I am.”  I believe this to be true. I am worthy. But my actions more so my internal dialogue doesn’t think so. Your internal dialogue is that voice in your head that tells you all kinds of things about yourself. Sometimes you have the same tape that plays over and over again with the same message. If this internal dialogue was saying “ your awesome”, “ you look fantastic”, “your the best thing since sliced bread” there would be no problem. But most times it tells us all about the things we don’t like about ourselves and it is relentless. If you haven’t heard you internal dialogue just try to stop and listen to what you tell yourself. Here are some examples. This dress makes me look fat. I am fat, I will never be skinny. That person is skinny, They look good. I don’t look good. I am fat. I don’t look good. I am fat and ugly. Now, how do you feel after all that negative self talk?  You feel fat and ugly. You feel like you are not good enough. You feel very badly about yourself. Stopping this internal dialogue can be very challenging. It can be so automatic you don’t even know really know what is it saying,  you just know you feel really bad about yourself.  Awareness of this internal dialogue is the first step to changing the tape.

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If we begin to practice self-kindness we can begin to change how we feel about ourself. Basically, self-kindness is being your own best friend. When your friend is having a difficult time or is feeling down what do you say to your friend to help her feel better and get her back on track? Most likely, you tell her how wonderful she is, comfort her and let her know that you there for her. You show empathy, understanding, compassion, kindness. Now, how do you treat yourself during a challenge? Do you show understanding or tell yourself to get over it already? Do you show self-empathy? Self-compassion? Self-kindness?

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I have an invisible disability.

I am not understanding of myself in regards to this disability. I lack compassion for myself. I am not my own best friend, in fact I wouldn’t treat anyone the way I treat myself  in regards to this disability.  I was asked if I was not worthy of this compassion and understanding. Once again my first thought is “of course I am” but knowing I am and treating myself as if I am is in conflict. My internal dialogue is being mean, really mean, nasty.

So here is my project to practice pure loving self kindness. This really is not easy for someone that tends to be very hard on herself. Being hard on yourself can have its perks in getting things done and accomplishing goals but not so much when you need understanding. Changing your negative internal dialogue is major work. Listening to and identifying the negative thoughts is a good beginning.

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