With my birthday approaching, I find myself in introspection looking at my life thus far. With every passing year, I recognize how much I don’t know. I reflect with both admiration and embarassment at how I used to think I had this life figured out. I used to have the answers… Or so I thought. Ironically, I was completely lost in labels of my experience trying to figure out exactly who I was. If I can label it, I can speak in a language that is understood by the masses. I can fool everyone (including myself) that I have it together. Messages of what we are supposed to want out of life and who we are supposed to be in order to be socially acceptable flood our everyday lives. I have lived much of my life in fear of ridicule and out of fear chosen to conform and dim myself in order to fit in. The fear of not being enough has paralyzed me in many ways. It was when I met my match, my husband, I see the glimmer of hope in my past. I didn’t see it that way then, I just knew I loved him and wanted to share my life with him. It is only now I am beginning to understand how the reflection of his love has shown me the love that I AM. It is through his complete acceptance of everything I embody that I was able to begin to reveal more of myself and start to peel back the layers I piled on through the years. He offered up a Dr. Seuss quote when we were dating that sums things up nicely, “We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love—true love.” We framed the quote and displayed it at our wedding. It was through his acceptance of my quirks that I was able to begin the letting go process. I now feel safe in that continual letting go and that has been the best gift of all. I wish I could say that I was able to find my way back to love on my own, because what I know now is that I didn’t need the love of someone else to make me whole. What I know now is my husband’s love does not complete me. My identity does not rely on him, rather, his love allowed me to see what I always had inside. Coming back to your true nature can begin at any time, anywhere. The teacher shows up when the student is ready.
My next teacher would be my children. It was through birthing them, I gave birth to my next level of consciousness. I am learning more about myself now than ever. It is innate to place their needs before my own, forcing me to step outside of myself. On the other hand, it can be a slippery slope to always place your children before you as this becomes just another way to hide out, losing yourself to yet another label. The great balancing act of motherhood has been harder than anything else I have done to date. Moving through my decisions with consciousness about each fragile element is like piecing together a glass jigsaw puzzle, gently placing needs and wants to create our masterpiece of living as a healthy family, trying not to break any spirits or egos along the way. Functioning on little to no sleep and shifting through hormonal tidal waves while playing puzzle master has brought me to my knees. It is only thorough my connection to God, I believe I have been able to stand back up and keep moving forward.
In motherhood, I can see my patterns more clearly. I am a more of a witness to my reactions because I am motivated to model healthy decision making for the little people who rely on me. When I miserably fail, I don’t just stop trying. I dust myself off and come back to center. I will make mistakes, but I will choose to do better as I know better. Motherhood has shown me what I am capable of. It has revealed how much more of an introvert I am than I ever thought. It has pulled me away from toxic or draining relationships by refocusing on what matters. Motherhood has been the ultimate teacher of letting go. I cannot control my children or the experiences they will have, I can only choose to love them in each moment.
What I want for my children is to love themselves so much that their spirit is unshakable and they are able to freely share that love the world so badly needs. Children learn from watching us. I must personify that love. Loving your “self” is where we begin. Looking for love outside of yourself will foster insecurity. You already have everything you need within. I love my husband and my children fiercely, but I know that if I look to them to complete me and make me happy, I will fail.
Loving someone else is a risk. Loving yourself is the safest bet there is.