This Sunday is Mother’s Day, and depending on who you are, it can be a difficult day to navigate.
One of the last memories I have of my mother prior to her cancer diagnosis was during an argument she had with my dad. I tried to mediate the situation, but was so overcome with emotion I started to cry. She came over to me and gave me a hug, told me how strong I was and that everything would be ok.
As I stood in the middle of my apartment on earlier this week, and thought to myself, “I could really use one of Mama’s hugs right now”. The tears came pouring out. Not so much due to the 16th anniversary of her death being last week, or that the first holiday I experienced after her death was Mother’s Day (although that also sucked), but because I realized in that moment how self critical I am of myself.
Earlier this week, I read an article on 5 strategies for self-compassion, and Dr. Kristin Neff shared:
“Self-compassion acts like a nurturing parent. So even when you don’t do well, you’re still supportive and accepting of yourself. Like a kind parent, your support and love are unconditional, and you realize that it’s perfectly OK to be imperfect.”
Isn’t it interesting how easy it is to show compassion for others, but not so much for ourselves?
When a sister or a close friend is going through something and they confide in us, we do whatever we can to make them feel better though affirmations, spending time together, or helping them seek solutions to their worries. Yet we feel that we have to hold it together. That we’re strong and shouldn’t let others see us sweat. And when we begin to sweat, the negative self talk and judgment creeps in. We wouldn’t dare say the negative things we say to ourselves to someone else. Yet it feels like second nature to participate in negative self-talk all the time.
When we show kindness to ourselves, we become intentional in being aware of how we’re hurting. It may be difficult to do in the moment, but when we catch ourselves before the negative self-talk begins, instead ask:
How can I show compassion to myself right now? How can I be kind to myself in this moment?
We do this by practicing non-judgment as much as possible and we remind ourselves that, in spite of how things look, we’re not as alone as we think. You can also reach out to a friend or loved one, focus on giving yourself encouraging words. Anything else positive someone can say to you will be icing on the cake.
And speaking of not being alone, there are many instances where I’ve felt my mother’s connection. In the last 1-2 years of my mother’s life, she would awaken at 4:20am to get ready for work. As a teen, I would wake up at 4:19am to watch the clock. When it was 4:20am, I would heat my parents’ bedroom door open like clockwork. In fact, I still wake up at 4:20am on most mornings, regardless if I was in a deep sleep just to look at the clock for a while before writing back to sleep.
Another thing that brings me peace is this quite from Law of Attraction guru and motivational speaker Gabrielle Bernstein:
“Though the physical form is gone, the spiritual connection never leaves. This is just the beginning of a different kind of relationship, a relationship that may be more profound than it was in the physical form. Always trust that loved ones who have departed are always supporting you, no matter what.”
The next time the negative self-talk creep up (especially on a day that may be triggering), use it as a reminder to be kind to yourself.