One of the overriding aspects I’ve found to be true in parenting is how hard it is to be kind to ourselves when we’ve acted in a way that disturbs us. I know, when I became a mama I thought I was going to be easy going, playful and patient. Little did I know I was going to face the opposite of my fantasy. I found myself being rigid, serious and intolerant and no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t break out of those feelings. I would wake up every morning determined to be easy going, playful and patient. Then by 10 am, I was yelling and demanding, which led to spending the next few hours washed in guilt. It was extremely painful and I couldn’t find a way out.
Then one day my mentor asked me if I would be willing to commit to being rigid, serious and intolerant for the rest of my life unless I chose differently. I remember looking at him like he was crazy and said, “now why would I do that?” “Because isn’t that is what you are doing?”, he said.
Instead of hating what you are doing why don’t you go ahead and commit to what you are actually doing. In that moment a light bulb went off and I realized that most of my life I’d been trying to be somewhere other than where I was. I didn’t want to be here or I wanted to be over there.
Staying with what was presenting itself arising instead of wanting to escape became a powerful practice. Just giving myself permission to love myself in the moment instead of beating myself up opened the door to glimpse the “scared” child inside that felt so powerless and out of control. She was the one who needed my love not my condemnation. I’d been running away from the part of myself that was desperately wanting to be seen and heard.
When I finally turned inward and began listening to the “scared” child inside, instead of beating her up, I began to experience a deep and lasting shift in my parenting.
Once I was able to do this I began to have choice about how I acted instead of thinking I was a victim of my self-hatred. What a relief!
It was not easy to offer the eyes of kindness to myself and yet until I did I couldn’t see my daughter through those kind eyes.