In keeping with the Valentines theme of love February was a month to focus on self love and self acceptance. This is not an easy thing for many of us. Many mom’s I know are the most incredible, giving, productive and loving people but to hear then tell it you would think they accomplish nothing. Most don’t acknowledge the amazing feats we accomplish daily. Oh yes we can totally see it in others, we can dole out praise for someone else but never ourselves.
I recently heard a mom of a 3 month old talk about how she has been struggling to get her baby to eat and is waking up hourly to feed him all night long. All this while she has a full-time job and another child to care for! She gets an average of 3 hours of sleep per night but talks about it as if it is something everyone does. No… no they don’t. She is an amazing mom!
Often we are hyper critical of ourselves and only see our flaws and failures. We downplay the amazing things we do as if everyone does them. That is what makes a month like this so difficult. This 28 days we are challenged to like ourselves and toot our own horn. This month is also intended for us to accept ourselves and accept some of the praise others give us. Not just blow it off or pretend it is intended for someone else.
I struggle with this because, like most Mom’s, I always feel I am failing in some area. Even through we know it is an impossibility, we still strive to be everything to everyone. What we see in this endeavor is our contant unending failure. (You can check out last weeks post “Morning in the MommyHood for my own verision.)
It took a long time before I was even about to graciously accept a compliment without trying to negate it in some way. So this month is about trying to move past my gut instinct to see only failure and try to see the good I produce. There were a few tasks for this month included making a list of things we like about ourselves and another list of what people say they like about us. The intent is to see how we view ourselves and if we see ourselves as other see us. Finally this month we take note of how we have accept ourselves. Ok here goes…
What do I like about myself?
What do I like? This is so hard because this month I have been under the weather and short tempered ect. Ok I know I know I am only seeing the negative again and that is not what this is about. Here goes 5 things I like about myself. (Boy this feels awkward.)
- I am honest,
- I am faithful to my friends and family
- I am good at creating memories for my family
- People know I am consistent and I keep my word.
- I love to learn
- OK there (this took me an entire day.)
What others like about me
Now on to list 2. Some of the things others have said about me.
- I am a good mom (This mad me feel awesome!)
- I am a good cook (Also made me feel awesome)
- I am an encouraging friend (I hope so)
- I am a hard worker
- I am funny (this one from my kids)
Seeing these lists did make me feel pretty awesome. Especially when I hear what my children and my husband like about me. Making the list about myself was tough. It took a lot longer then I thought it would which tells me I have a bit of work to do concerning my confidence and belief in my abilities.
Now for the hardest part about this month. The accepting yourself. Over the weekend I had an unexpected incident with another adult. I innocently made an offer of help I believed to be with the intent to offer understanding and empathy. However to his ears it sounded like an insult. He came back at me with harsh words and I felt my dignity and self worth crawl into a little ball inside of me and blink out of existence.
I spent the majority of the weekend running the confrontation over again and again and wondering how he could have taken my words so wrong. I felt like a total jerk. In the end my husband tried to help me too understand. Because of my co-dependency issues when I see someone struggling I feel like I need to fix their problem. It is some weird responsibility to remedy every situation, even when it has nothing to do with me. My offer of help was not viewed as kindness because it was out of place. It was not asked for, not wanted and made the person feel like a screw-up.
Even if it was not my intent, my over zealous feelings of responsibility for everyone and everything, insulted this person. As if they were incompetent and in need of rescue. As if I was somehow better. It took a lot to see this side of my actions. It was really hard to accept that I made someone feel this way. You know that “road to hell” and all.
In the past I would have insisted he was the jerk. However, having learned about myself this way I can accept the same sensitivity that makes me good at empathizing and understanding others, can also contribute to my inappropriate feelings of responsibility for them. I think I finally understand I do not have to save everyone, or offer help that was never asked for. I accept I am not selfish if I don’t take on everyone’s problems, especially when they never asked for my help.
This also could be the reason I saddle myself with so much to do and then complain about feeling overwhelmed. I take on problems that are none of my business. Before this month I never realized I did this. I never realized how it could make another person feel bad about themselves.
This month in an effort to love and care for myself better I am unburdening myself of all of the problems are not mine to solve. I am letting go of all the situations I may have unknowingly forced myself into because I felt like I needed to help, even if my help was never asked for. This will free up time to help the ones who really do need me like my children, my husband. In the end I think this will make me a better mom, friend and a more fulfilled person.
Did you make your lists this month? What did you discover about yourself? How did it make you feel? Would love to hear how you felt about this month. Please share in the comments