So, this lovely client of mine has agreed to allow me to assist him on his journey through 7 days of blog posts. Today is the intro. The focus? You guessed it, self-love! For clarification purposes, self-love is “Regard for one’s own well-being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable rather than narcissistic characteristic).”not subject to any conditions.
“unconditional surrender”…you are left with – Regard for one’s own well-being and happiness without any conditions.
I can only assume that we are all born as unconditionally loving beings. From the moment each of my beautiful children were born, I felt this deep, unconditional love they felt towards me. Beyond their love for me, I honestly felt their love for themselves. When they were hungry, the spoke up. When they were tired, they definitely let me know. When they wanted nurturing, it was somehow obvious. When they wanted time to sit in stillness, once again, it was obvious.
My children were incredibly happy little beings. I breastfed each of the until they were 2, except my oldest daughter who was so independent that she weened herself when she was 13 months old. I didn’t stand in her way, nor did I take her decision to heart. I saw her need to expand beyond me and feel in charge of her own nourishment. When she was 2 years old, I had a firm boundary established with her.
She clearly understood that she was not to pick up her 6 month old brother without supervision. Every single time I turned my back for 2 seconds or more, I would turn around to find that she had taken him out of his crib (and kept him asleep I might add). She was bound and determined to be her own self and make her own decisions right from the beginning. I could have fought her…oh we could have had constant conflict.
Instead, I chose to support her in her independence. I taught her everything I knew and did my best to help her truly understand my point of view. When she was an adolescent, she wanted to attend a co-ed sleep over. Everything in me wanted to scream NO! I wanted to stamp my feet and assert my motherly powers. My intention? To keep her safe and save her from some of the nasty challenges I faced as a young girl growing up in this world.
Instead, I reasoned with her. That did not go over so well. I seem to remember slamming of doors, hot tears, and a whole lot of rebellion. SO I agreed to let her go. I gave her only one condition. I asked her to imagine herself as a mother in my position and to imagine her own daughter in her position. I said “If you can tell me that, if you were facing the exact same situation with your daughter, you would let her go…then you may go.”
Man was she pissed! Along the way she had learned enough to know that she would NOT let her own daughter attend a co-ed sleep over at such a vulnerable age. I agreed to pick her up at 1 am (this was a Salt Spring adolescent party, so this was totally acceptable by Salt Spring standards). Turns out there was only one boy there and he might have even been gay, but that’s not the point.
The point is that I fought to protect my daughter. Not only did I fight to protect her, I managed to find a way to teach her how to make healthy decisions for herself. Throughout my parenting, I have found it incredibly hard to draw firm boundaries. Boundaries with me flow like water. If you can justify your position in a way that makes sense…you are likely to get your way.
I know that this is counter intuitive to most parents. Most parents spend their entire parenting career forcing their will upon their kids. I spent my entire parenting career trying to teach my kids how to manage their shit! Eden is 18 now and has fallen in love for the first time. She is not only blinded by love, she is transformed by love. The logical, practical girl I raised has at least temporarily put her own life on hold to be with this boy she loves.
So many people confront me about the path she has chosen. That’s what they don’t get…it is her path! I have done my best. I have taught her as many tools as I could possibly force into her self-awareness/help tool box. The rest is up to her. I am here. Her dad and I are and will continue to be her rock…when she needs us, we will be here. Honestly, even though I might have chosen a slightly different path for her, this is her life!
Getting back to self-love…if we do not trust our children, how are they to trust themselves? If we don’t empower our children, how are they supposed to become empowered adults? If we don’t let our kids fall down a couple of stairs before catching them…or jump off a couple of cliffs before they are forced to cliff dive into their adult lives, how ill they know how to survive?
I was not raised to believe in myself. In fact, I was raised to feel lost without my parents. I was abused by my adopted father, and my mother needed me to be in crisis so that she could feel needed. In fact, all these years later, she still feels more relaxed and motherly when I am in crisis. This approach did not lead to me easily and naturally becoming the empowered woman i am today.
I had to fight for it! I am not saying that I was the best parent I could be, nor am I promoting my approach compared to yours, or compared to the upbringing you endured. What I am saying is that…there is no right path to parenting, which means that you likely did not have the support you required to be a fulfilled, empowered, competent adult. It might be an uphill battle to get to where you want to be, but you are worth the effort!
You cannot unconditionally love yourself tomorrow, or at some other undefined time in the future. You cannot put off learning how to unconditionally love yourself. You MUST at least begin the path to self love RIGHT EFFING NOW! There is no time like the present. This will not and should not wait until you get the boob job you’ve always wanted. This will not and should not wait until you lose the extra weight you think you are carrying around.
Today…IS…the FIRST…day…of the REST…of YOUR LIFE! Seize the moment. Live for yourself. Love yourself. UNCONDITIONALLY! In this moment…as you are and as you shall become. Because whether you know it or not, unconditionally loving yourself is the first step to living the life you love and loving the life you live. Truly.
From my heart to yours,