“You owe yourself the love that you so freely give to other people.”
I’ve spent a lot of my time here on earth re-learning what I was naturally gifted at birth- the knowledge that I am loved. My little one entered this world fully and unconditionally loved as well, we all did.
I watch Miles dance and laugh and scream and eat and talk without concern. Little ones do not care what others think of them, they know how incredible they are. It’s us, our world, that teaches them to be concerned.
We shush and we scold. We reward quiet, obedient behavior. We tell little ones they are “good” when they are quiet and small. We are ripped away from the inherent knowledge that we are loved unconditionally, and shaped by the world into something else. We are told we are not pretty enough, young enough- not good enough. The world, and often the way we are told to parent, shames us into shapes unrecognizable from the bouncing, joyful form we showed up in.
Ask any parent what they want their child to grow up to be and you’ll hear the opposite of quiet, obedient, and small. We want our babies to be resilient and strong. Wise and kind. Creative and successful.
Our long term goal of raising wild, passionate, intelligent creatures (and being wild, passionate, intelligent creatures) does not match the way we parent short term. Time outs and sticker charts do not create a generation of free thinkers.
Unconditional love and parenting is possible and I believe it starts with the self. If we do not love ourselves fully- if we cannot recognize the parts of ourselves we are working on- how can we parent unconditionally? After all, we know little ones learn through role modeling. It does not matter how many times you say something, little ones learn by watching you. Others learn about you by watching you.
If you stand in front of the mirror picking yourself apart and shaming your body, your little one will too. If you yell at your partner and solve conflicts with violence, your little one will too. If you gossip and shame others, your little one will too.
If you celebrate your body and women’s bodies everywhere, your little one will too. If you treat your partner like your best friend and work everyday to see the best in them, your little one will too.
I’ve been honored recently reading your messages and comments about what a wonderful mama I am, and while it is very kind, at the end of the day it does not matter. I don’t mean that you don’t matter or that I don’t appreciate your kindness. What I mean is that I already know. I know that I am an exceptional mama and an awesome wife. I know what I bring to the table at work. I know this because I know I am loved.
Unconditionally, I am loved. Not by any one else, but by myself.
I am not defined by the world around me, by the people that love me, or by the people that don’t love me. I am loved fully and completely and messily all on my own. I am not defined by past decisions or mistakes, I am defined by the next decision I make.
This superpower of loving myself means that my relationships with my baby, my husband my family, and my friends naturally improve and grow because I am no longer doubting myself. I do not rely on external validation to tell me what I already know- that I am loved. And so are you.
The more you love yourself, the less toxic nonsense you will tolerate. The more love you pour into yourself the more your cup will fill, and eventually, overflow and spill on to the people in your life.
You can be the love you never received.
You are not defined by your childhood, by your job title, or by your roles in life. You can examine these things to unpack your bad habits or the mean things your subconscious is telling you- but you are in control here. You can change your life and it all starts with reminding yourself that you are loved.
If you want to change your life, your country, your world- start with yourself.