This morning I sat down to write a letter to my 13 year old daughter. The letter was not really to her… yet. It was written to her 18 year old self. She is putting together a time capsule and thought that my words may be a valuable inclusion.
So I write to my beautiful daughter – imagining who she will be in 5 years’ time. I feel a weight of responsibility to make each word count and for each sentence to be an offering of insight, wisdom, lessons and guidance. Whilst I express the admiration and wonder I feel at watching her move and achieve milestones in her life, I try to reach deeper. I feel that if I can configure just the right words they will help her discover life’s answers. I want these words to be the key that unlocks life’s hidden secrets – where assurance is stored, where fears are put to rest and where the knowledge that all will be ok is unveiled.
I keep writing in the hope that some gems will spill out. I have so much I want to say and I don’t want to leave out any important parts. I want to keep writing and telling her how wonderful she is and how she needn’t worry so much and I realise that as much as I try, my words cannot prepare her for the life that lies ahead. These words are more pertinent to the life I have lived. They are my lessons, ones that I have learnt from my life experience, and she will have her own. I have wrestled with, learnt from and grown through these experiences and I now realise that the person I am best placed to give advice to is ME.
As women we have access to an inner voice. Mine eagerly rises to the task with confidence when I want to offer guidance to my children. However, when I am searching for my own answers or direction I forget to turn to my intuition. I forget to access her calm, confident voice and her nurturing, reassuring wisdom. Sometimes when I step back from the intensity of a situation I am surprised to find clear solutions and words of comfort where I didn’t trust there were any. As women and mothers we know how to tap into the source that holds this intuitive knowledge – we find the right words to soothe a broken heart, we know the perfect remedy for a tummy ache and we know when when a hug is the only thing that can comfort.
We know how to mother our children but do we know how to mother ourselves?
Our inner child needs our love too. We need to extend our patience and forgiveness to ourselves. We need to give ourselves a break and rest when we are feeling overwhelmed. We need to show kindness and compassion toward ourselves. We need to take care of ourselves physically and emotionally, just as we do our own children. I do not consider taking care of their needs as optional. I consider it to be the utmost priority, and I recognise that in order to live a healthy, happy life we should not consider our own needs as optional either.
Often we find ourselves turning to others for answers to our questions, or support for our ventures, or reassurance in times of fear and I realise that the place I go to in order to give all of this to my own children is also the source I can tap into to offer it to myself. I have a mother right inside me. She has all the necessary qualities and qualifications to do a great job with my children. Why would I not trust her with myself?
Do you mother yourself well?Are you kind and compassionate to yourself? Are you a good listener when your body or heart is telling you something? Do you recognise when you need time out?
As part of her time capsule my daughter also wrote a letter to herself at 18. As I read her words my mind wonders to the future, to a time when she may have her own daughter. What wisdom will she want to pass on? I know her life will unfold differently to mine and she will have her own insights to offer.
Until then I am here to mother her and teach her how to mother herself.