September 15, 2010

Nurturing Self

As mother's we can be hard on ourselves, as women we can be hard on ourselves and as home educators we can be hard on ourselves.  It is an easy pattern to fall into and a hard one to get out of.  During those first years of motherhood and then home educating I often felt like I was just winging in (ok I still feel this way) and making my way through life moment by moment figuring it out as I went along.  When something did not meet my expectation or go the way I would have preferred it to I immediately blamed myself and would feel like I had somehow screwed up.  Sometimes mistakes were my fault, often though they were just part of life and I needed to work not on preventing them or living a perfect life but rolling with the waves of life better as they came along.

Life, marriage, parenthood, teaching, and the myriad of other jobs we have in this life are not easy and are not without their pitfalls and waves, we can not control this no matter how hard we try.  Our reactions and the way we move forward in these moments, those are the things we can and should try to manage.  I am learning compassion, kindness, gentleness, forgiveness, encouragement, and love are for me too, not just for everyone else.  I know my children need all of the above. I know my family and friends need all of the above. I am learning it is not only okay but essential that I treat myself the same.

When a friend is in need how do we respond?  Most of us with love, gentleness, compassion and kindness.  We meet and love them where they are at with understanding and forgiveness.  But how do we treat ourselves in the same situations?  Maybe you already know to be gentle and forgiving with yourself, good for you and keep up the great work.  Maybe you are more like me and initially react toward yourself with some judgement, harshness, and unforgiveness, feeling you need to hold yourself at a higher standard. I fret, I worry, I feel I need to improve and stop screwing up. I am learning and I am getting better at being gentle with myself.

Gentleness does not mean throwing in the towel, it just means being kinder and more fair to myself.  It means treating myself the way I need to in order to be healthy.  I still have standards that are too high, I still struggle to not compare myself to others and feel I am a failure, I still have a hard time forgiving myself for my mistakes, I am learning to be better.  I am learning to readjust my expectations of myself and the world around me, I am learning to forgive myself, to love myself and to be more fair with myself.   I am still continually striving for excellence, desiring to do more, while also learning to be more patient and understanding toward myself. I am learning to support, nurture and encourage the woman, mother and teacher I am, rather than try to become someone I am not.

I am listening to God tell me He loves me, He made me, He cares for me.  I am leaning on Him and trusting in Him.  I am surrounding myself with healthy people who love, support and encourage me.  I am sheltering myself more from those who drag me down with them.  I am filling my head with the tada's instead of the todo's.  I am letting my husband and children encourage and support me as they can too.  I am learning to be my own cheerleader in a real and positive way.  I am learning to let go and just be.

Be excellent to each other.  Treat others the way you want to be treated.  Love one another.  We have heard these lessons from childhood.  Somehow we lose sight of remembering we deserve and need the same respect, love, kindness, gentleness, forgiveness, support and encouragement we share with others.  Love yourself today, buy yourself flowers, stop and have some tea, forgive yourself for a mistake, encourage and support yourself for the woman you are.  Be free to be you today.

A special thanks to my friend Connie:a wise, gentle, loving and encouraging woman who reminds me it is okay and good to be me and to love myself where I am at.  A woman who lives out what she says and is learning to be free herself.

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