I appreciate Mother’s Day in a whole new way now that I’m a Mother myself.
I realize that it’s not just about honoring my mother, but it’s really about taking a day to get the importance of being mothered – of being nurtured, loved, seen, appreciated, taken care of.
For some of us, this is exactly how our mothers mothered us. For others, not so much.
Here’s what I’ve come to learn: no matter how loving your mother has been, no matter how nurturing your mother has been, no matter how encouraging your mother has been, there is no mother on the face of this earth who is perfect. Period. Not even me (though sometimes I tell myself I am!).
In other words, none of us have found in our mothers the opportunity to ALWAYS be seen, always be heard, always have our opinion valued, always be given the benefit of the doubt, always be respected.
And because of it, as you grow up, you might feel a little unseen in the world, undervalued, unheard. Or perhaps somehow your relationship with your mother created for you the feeling that you were always responsible for her or your family, or that it was unacceptable to break the pattern of illness or addiction or lack in your family, or that you would be unloved if you became your own, separate person. Perhaps somehow you were told that you were “too much” or “not enough”. Or maybe the message was you’ll never REALLY be successful, or that you’re not attractive enough.
Whatever the story was for you, chances are there is a story, and that story has had a profound effect on your life and your image of yourself.
For as much as I love my own mother, and know she did the best she could, she left some not-so-savory held beliefs inside of me.
I forgive my mother fully AND I also had to come to recognize that she will never be able to give me what that little girl inside of me needs, to give me that full acceptance and permission to be my own person that is so essential to being a happy, healthy person in the world.
When I came to recognize this, I wasn’t willing to just let it go. I decided I was going to do whatever it took to find that acceptance, that nurturance, that permission to be big and fully successful. And I found it…..
This is who can give all this and more to you: the Mother inside of yourself. Call her your inner mother, or the Great Mother, or the Goddess – whatever language you like. It is She who can mother you into fully loving yourself, valuing yourself, knowing how sacred and important you are.
How do access your Inner Mother? By cultivating a relationship with her. One of the best ways to do this is to dialogue with her, and write letters to yourself from her.
And that’s your “homework”! Write a letter to yourself from your inner mother.
Here’s an example of a letter to myself from my Inner Mother: I call her “The Real Mama”
You are so important to me. I see you and love you, for YOU, for who YOU are, not for whom I think you should be.
I don’t need for you to be anything for me. I want you to be YOU. You, beautiful, you. You can be yourself with me, I will love you no matter what.
Because I see how valuable you are, how magical you are, how wonderful you are, how alive you are. I love every last bit of what I see, both in your strengths and in your imperfections.
Joanna, I don’t need for you to do or be anything. You owe me nothing. I am here to love you and keep you safe, and doing this and being in your gorgeous presence is ALL I need from you.
I don’t want or need or expect you to take care of me – I will do that on my own.
I trust you and your instinct and your heart. I respect you. I honor you.
And my wish is that you enjoy your life, and also remember to have fun often.
Love yourself fiercely, The Real Mama
My deepest hope among hopes is that I am this kind of mother for my daughter, and also continue to cultivate it for myself.
And you get to do this too, to choose how you get mothered, nurtured, supported, loved. So I ask you: What does YOUR inner mama want to say to you