For women, the idea of not loving ourselves or not feeling worthy is strikingly epidemic in our society. Low self esteem, feelings of not being worthy of love, difficulty in receiving and giving love is sadly almost the norm. As a coach I see this tendency clearly. I am going to guess that 98% of all the moms that have come to me for support have ultimately been searching for permission to love themselves. So, I really wanted to write a post to explore my thoughts on why….why do we think so little of ourselves as women?
I am going to venture out and make a bold statement. I think how we feel love towards ourselves comes mainly from how we have been mothered by our own mothers, how we are taught the art of emotional health and wellness. Now, I don’t know your mother, but if you are struggling with feelings of love and worthiness for yourself I am going to bet you are able to recognize your mother’s part in all this. Sorry mother’s of the world, but this is a wake up call for all of us!
It is so easy to love a baby. Maybe it is because they are so helpless and so in need of us when they are so small. From a biological standpoint, a mother’s love is vital particularly at this stage for healthy brain development in the child. So it is easy for most of us to feel love for our young babies and give this baby buckets of love. Not just with hugs, kisses and lots of TLC, but with our thoughts, our energy. We typically send out heaps of loving energy towards our children when they are new to us – we can’t believe we got so lucky!
But then they grow up, they need us less and things become more familiar. What does that do? Well, firstly, with time, we separate from the grand love – the miraculousness of creating life. It’s like getting a new car – you can’t believe how beautiful this new car is, the new car smell, how it feels to drive, you can’t wait to get into every morning. And then that new enthusiasm dies and you notice yourself getting into the car without a thought of gratitude or love. Now, comparing children to cars may be a stretch, but it is the much of the same emotional process. We get used to our kids, so much so that we often stop seeing them. Secondly, as our children grow and need us less, it gives us time to think, worry, stress about our own lives – our roles and responsibilities, the meaning of life. So we go from being absorbed in this baby to being absorbed in ourselves. We make the switch early on from parenting from the heart to parenting from the head.
Our mother’s were no different. Maybe even worse….
The problem with not being conscious to love throughout life this that we fail to see that children need awake, conscious, focused love throughout their lives! Even as adults, we need a healthy loving relationship to our parents. If we don’t get it, we suffer on some level. I have coached 50 year old women and men about their stagnant relationship with their parents…our need for heartfelt parenting never ends.
Because what happens when we don’t get that? We don’t feel seen.
What does that mean? Being seen?
Think of it this way. Did your mother look at you, interact with you from judgement, through mommy-tainted glasses or did she truly SEE you and interact with the real you? You know that feeling of being truly seen? It makes you feel like you really exist, that you are worthy, that you are loved, that you are special and uniquely YOU. A mother’s unique ability to SEE her child gives that child wings to fly…confidence to soar, and the understanding that failure only makes us stronger.
If your mother had on her mommy-tainted glasses you were probably left wanting emotionally. Many people in this situation end up searching for that love, that recognition in others – bosses and jobs, partners and even our children.
If we are not AWAKE and fall into unconsciously stepping away from love, we will repeat this same tendency. We will see and interact with our children through our own personalized pair of mommy-tainted glasses and fail to give them the gift of seeing them for who they are. You may have your moments when loving your children is easier, but I would like to challenge you to NEVER stray to far away from love, even when parenting gets hard, stressful, chaotic and unnerving.
I think it is important to get to the root of what is fueling our thoughts and feelings of feeling unloved – where these thoughts originated. Contemplate it, but don’t dwell on it. See it, accept it and move on the joys of filling yourself up with love consciousness. It is surprisingly simple! Here are my tips:
- In every moment love is right there. Open up to seeing it and feeling it. Say to yourself “I see love easily“.
- Look in the mirror every morning and every night and say to your reflection: “I LOVE YOU!” You may not believe it, but keep saying it until you do!!
- Celebrate yourself! We so often focus on what we do wrong or the mistakes we have made. At the end of every day, write in your journal 5 successes you had that day. 5 ways that you succeeded to improve a situation or contribute to a relationship or some way that you showed up that left you feeling PROUD. (Pride is deeply linked with cultivating feelings of self-love.)
- Forgive yourself. Let it go. Whatever it is that you are hanging onto that makes you feel bad about yourself. L E T I T G O….by saying: “I forgive myself for past mistakes, I release them and instead focus right now on loving me.“
- When you are stressed, annoyed, irritated and your children are driving you nuts, shift to LOVE. So often when we feel negativity, we react to our children in ways we regret soon after. Make a commitment to yourself that your words and actions always reflect the love you have in your heart.