Watch this video and be reminded WHY self-love isn't selfish, but essential and then leads you through a personal boost of love to leave you feeling that self-love promise of "I will never settle for less than my heart and soul desire."
If you were your own best friend, if you never settled for less than you heart and soul desired, what choices would you make differently?
Dare to love yourself and make those choices today - you are depending on you.
You can be anything. You can do anything. You can have anything.
Now get going.
There is much to do. So much that you will never feel like you've done it all.
Allow me to introduce you to your new lifetime companion Her name is "To-Do List"
She will follow you everywhere from now on She will be there to greet you when you wake She will hang out near you all day long And she will be there when you lay your head down to rest Making sure that you don't forget her, even as you try to sleep
You will learn to wear her as a badge of honor This flashing symbol of busy-ness She thrives on attention, lives for compliments, She seeks out acknowledgments of her busyness, and ability to 'get it all done' without a sweat, and with a smile
She is not stingy She loves to share accolades with her sister super women Swooning and commenting on their multi-tasking feats As if their doingness was the latest, most fabulous, all-the-rage hat
Some days you will be tired And will want to set down the to dos Take a break from your badge, Whose weight you notice has become quiet heavy
You will try to unpin it Pull it, tear it, yank it, But no matter how hard you try Your badge of busyness Will not budge
Your to-do list Doesn't take kindly to being set down Or Forgotten She is fiercely intent on Staying alive Remaining on center stage Where she can always be seen
What they (we) didn't tell you When you accepted your to-do list as a rite of passage And fashioned on your badge with pride Was that try as you might When you tire No matter how hard you try You can't hide You can't run You can't even pin that relentless list on some other unsuspecting soul
But YOU can choose
Girl, woman, sister You have a choice to NEVER pick up This badge of busyness You have the choice to walk away and NEVER look back Not because you stop doing and achieving Which I know is one of your (my) greatest, unspoken fears But because you know that you don't need a Badge of busyness or a never-ending list of to-dos To prove your worth
Stand tall Turn on your heel now Do not follow us A generation of women who unknowningly ran down the aisle To marry busy-ness And ended up with a sense of self Tied to 'what I've accomplished and gotten done in a day"
Turn away Run away And change your sense of self for the good of us all
As you turn away We will burn our badges And together we will change The decree of women forever
"Yes I can do anything." "Yes I can be anything." "Yes I can have anything."
BUT NO ... I DON'T NEED TO DO BE AND HAVE EVERYTHING
I am valuable simply because I am Even if I never pick up another to do Even when I am doing nothing Especially when I am just being I am worthy
Being Wise... taking in the wisdom across generations by Christine, age 38
My mother and I do not have what most people would call a 'close' relationship. We talk at the most once a month, we live in different states and I don't always see her when I visit Chicago. And for me, this has been the best our relationship has been. It's not what I would have hoped for when I was standing at the mother and daughter line in heaven picking out my parents. "I'll take the relationship that is distant please." No, of course, if I could go back to that line behind the pearly gates, I would have much rather said, "I'll take that mom with whom I am super close, who sees me as me, loves me for me and can express herself fully in her life and in our relationship." But since I am already here on earth, I have one of two choices - 1. Try to make my current mother into the mother that I would have liked. 2. Accept my mother for who she is, and create my life around that.
For the first 20 something years of my life I tried #1, and it sucked. It was full of lots of pain and suffering. Somewhere in my early 30's I started trying #2 and honestly, although on the outside, our relationship doesn't look as good by the Norman Rockwell standards, it is better than ever. Because it is better with me, and that is because of these 3 things:
1. Honest Expectations. I know who my mother is as a person and what I can expect from her and what I can't. It doesnt mean that I like it, but I do accept it. I've had to accept that she will never be the person to have deep conversations with me about all I love to talk about. And as so long as I don't try to have those kind of talks with her, things work out. It was when I kept getting angry that she just 'couldn't go there' that it was much tougher on me.
2. Honest Feelings. I am not going to lie to you and tell you that I haven't been sad about the fact that my mother and I have a distant relationship, because that would have been my old behavior. The truth is that I have been sad, and the thing that made our relationship better, was me actually having those feelings. Whether I said them out loud to myself, told a friend, or even wrote her a letter, which I didnt have to send, it felt good to release my feelings, and to do it for me.
3. Let her love me the way she can. I have never questioned whether or not my mother loves me. Of course she does. She just can't show it or express it in the way I really needed it, and so I spent a lot of energy protecting myself from her, not letting her in, not letting her give in the ways that she could. After my grandmother died -- a woman who I did feel super connected to and very loved by -- I decided that I would just let my mother love me the way that she could. I'm still in process with this one, but I will tell you that it has opened up a place in my heart that had been long in need of healing.
And in the end, no matter what our relationships are with our mothers, I do think they are about healing.
Olive, age 14, says: Three things that I have done to create a better relationship with my mother? Spent more time with her, shared anything with her, and loved her.
My mom and I have always had a good relationship but when she got remarried I wasn't used to having to share her attention. Most kids with divorced parents have difficulties "sharing" their parents but I find that just spending some time together really helps.
Communication is also always key. Although it does not always go smoothly, it always feels better to tell my mom how I feel as opposed to bottling it up. For a long time I would bottle things up but then when I started going to therapy and realizing that my mom was always there I no longer had issues. The problem with bottling up your feelings is that you may bottle them up, but that does not mean that they go away. So then one day everything will come rolling out and it truly feels awful.
Being affectionate with my mom is something that I have always felt good about. I love it when I sit next to my mom while watching a movie and I can snuggle with her. I also love goodnight kisses and hugs.
Love comes in many different shapes and sizes but love is the key to life.
Janet, age 24, says:
Building a strong relationship with my mom has always been a big part of my life. She is my best friend and confidant. We have always been close, but as I am getting older in my 20s we have an even stronger bond. Our conversations are about anything and everything. We talk about our problems with significant others, issues we are having at work, and relationships with other women in our lives. I find my mom is very real and honest with me all of the time. She is the person I can trust who will give me the most real advice. She provides advice I don't always like to hear, but know she is right in the long run.
To maintain a strong relationship with my mom, I find I am sharing more details about my personal relationships with her. I tell her about the great times I have with my boyfriend and she laughs with me. But I know I can also tell her about the hard times I have with him. She listens and points out when I am wrong. At first, I tend to get angry with her for not 'listening' to my point of view on the situation, but then I take time to reflect and realize she tells me these things because she loves me and knows me best. It takes a lot of trust to have these conversations with her, but I know she always has my best interest in mind.
I have also been making a greater effort to make plans with my mom. I make plans to see her at least once every two weeks. I find when we are together in person, our conversations are deeper and more real. One of my favorite things to do with my mom is go for a long walk. We walk the trails near her house or down on the lake. During our walks, we talk about life. I find we connect on a different level when we are together. Some of my favorite memories with her are the trips we have taken together. We have laughed, cried, and get up set with one another, but at the end of the day, we always know we are there for each other. I feel blessed my mom and I are so close. It is a part of my life I love and sharing my life with her has been a great gift!.
Jenn, age 36, says:
About four years ago my 92-year old grandfather had a heart attack and my mother moved in with him to take care of him (until he passed away a two months later). I flew from San Diego to Pennsylvania to spend 11 days with them. I helped prepare meals, assisted and entertained my grandfather, and housecleaned at night while he slept. I was pleased to be able to have the time with him. What I didn't realize was that this experience would be the first time I would switch roles from child to adult, and nurturee to nurturer, in my family.
Since I was there, my mother was able to get away for a couple days with my father and have a desperately needed respite from the stressful situation. I was terrified by the responsibility but knew it was the right thing to do. I would creep into my grandfather's bedroom at night to make sure he was still breathing.
My grandfather loved the time with me. My mother was incredibly grateful and I could feel that her perspective on me had shifted. We hugged and cried and hugged some more when she dropped me off at the airport. I felt a new sort of pride in myself in my ability to handle uncomfortable and scary responsibilities.
Since that time, I've paid attention to being more present with my mother when we talk on the phone, instead of multitasking. I'm also much more likely to share my personal growth experiences, even when they are difficult issues or topics around which I may feel particularly uncomfortable with my family (e.g., finances or my organizational struggles). It keeps us closer over the long distance, and allows her a role as a large and vital part of my life. The experience with my grandfather was empowering for me in my role in my family, and I cherish how my mother and I can continue to both nurture each other.
The biggest thing I can say I have done with regards to changing myself so I could create a better relationship with my mother was to grow up. It's so very easy to fall back into habits from our youth when we are around our relatives, isn't it? I'm sure I'm not the only person who has attended a family gathering and suddenly reverted back to the age of 12 or younger! Why is that? Family, whatever that looks like for us, is the place where we were probably our most vulnerable, especially if we stayed in the family unit until becoming a young adult. They, the family, know everything about you! At least that's how you might feel at first glance.
Once I was married and on my own, I realized that I was a grown up and started to react to talks with my mother from the place of being an equal. Although, obviously my mother will always be the elder in the relationship, I noticed as I gained more life experience, I was able to shift the way in which I communicated with her. Instead of child to mother, it became woman to woman. This didn't happen over night! I also learned over time to stand in my own power and not let her push my buttons, as it were. Bringing up old family history or trying to manipulate the conversation so that I felt like a 3 year old certainly challenged my belief at times in my self worth.
I think it's natural to reach out to your mother for comfort and support. I found that by reaching out to other people in my life for those things, I didn't have to rely solely on my mother for that. I guess the answer is that I learned to love myself and not to depend on my mother or anyone outside of me for my happiness. Each time I speak to her from the place of my own knowing of who I am in the present moment (and not in the past of my childhood), our conversations are deeper and more profound and I walk away with my power intact.
Being Wise... taking in the wisdom across generations by Christine, age 38
There are lots of questions I have asked my mother that for some reason or another she has not been able to answer. I either get the "I can't remember" answer or the kind of blank stare with a less than satisfying response. So honestly, I have stopped asking questions that require her to divulge anything that is too personal or too 'deep.' And I've accepted that our relationship and the conversations we have will remain at the surface.
So in the perfect world with the perfect relationship - which of course doesn't really exist, what would I ask this mother figure of mine? Well I think of some of the questions I did ask my grandmother that allowed me to create a loving, intimate bond with her during the last six years of her life. I asked her questions about her... "What was it like growing up during the depression?" "Why did you marry Grandpa?" "Tell me about you and Grandpa dancing at big dance halls?" "What did you never do that you always wanted?" She would always answer my questions, and sometimes the answers would be, "I don't know Christine, that is just how life was back then." And I began to realize that this woman was a unique person with her own dreams and desires AND she was also the product of her generation of women. And even though she worked full time, was a divorced mother in the early 1950s when you just didn't leave your husband, supported her mother, and wasn't afraid to share her opinions, she also believed that you did what your husband wanted to do... that you played it safe financially... and that it was the woman's job to worry about her family. Of course some of her choices made me crazy!! But her answers also endeared me to her, because she was honest, and in that honesty I got to know not only the wonderful woman that was my grandmother, but I also got to understand an entire generation of women.
She was part of the inspiration that led me to start this blog and Girltalk... that we may understand each other as women first so that we can heal ourselves, our world and live the lives we were meant to live.
Olive, age 14, says: Unlike most kids, I can talk to my\mother about anything. It doesn't always go down well if she finds out that i was on the computer instead of doing homework but then at least I've told her the truth. I find though that my case is very rare.
First of all, most kids "hate" their parents. Some of them do have good reasons but I don't have any reasons to hate my parents. They feed me, love me, support me, put a roof over my head, etc. I just don't have a good reason.
My parents give me a lot of freedom which is what most parents don't give their kids. This is a main reason why kids "hate" their parents. If the parents don't let them go and take public transportation by themselves or at least with a friend it is only telling the child that "I am way to protective over you" and/or "I don't trust you". Some parents could argue that they are just doing this because they are just protecting you but if you protect your kid too much, when they go off to college they will be scared out of their minds! Can you imagine if your parents NEVER let you just go and hang out with your friends even at a safe place like a mall? They would be so un-independent! We risk our lives everyday and it's important to let your kids take a few risks too otherwise they will end up scared, alone, and afraid. That doesn't really sound like fun, does it?
Janet, age 24, says:
I have always wanted to have a very real conversation about her life experiences when she was in her 20s. My mom has taught me to live with no regrets, but I want to hear about what she would have done differently and when she had the best times. I would love to know what her advice would be to herself in her 20s. We have talked about her college experience and the way she lived her life, but I want to know how decisions she made in her 20s have shaped her life 30 years later. She is my best friend and confidant, and I know her 20s were filled with many ups and downs because of the way she talks about that time of her life. I want to know what moments in her life were difficult for her and how it shaped her. My mom has so much strength and hearing about her life experience gives me an insight as to how her life has taken shape.
I find my 20s have been filled with many challenges that I couldn't anticipate which make life even more fun! Some have been easier than others to get through, but my mom has always been there with sound advice to help me. She doesn't have to reference a specific time of her 20s, but I think her advice stems from her experience. When I am having a tough time with my brothers, she talks to me about her relationships with her brothers during that time of her life. The wisdom she shares is invaluable to me.
Another questions I haven't asked my mom is how she became such a great parent. I would love to know what life experiences have helped to shape her parenting skills. As a stay at home mom, she has raised 4 children with strong values, opinions, and independence. My brothers and I know we can always call her to talk about anything. My mom taught us how to walk with our heads high and stay true to ourselves. My childhood was filled with great memories of being with her at home, running errands, and great vacations. She really did it all for us and made sure we all happy. I admire the way my mom has always stayed true to herself. She is always following her dreams; because of her I have always followed mine.
Jenn, age 36, says:
I am very grateful that I have a close relationship with my mother (who lives in PA). I share a lot with her, am authentic, and ask the questions that are valuable to know. And with the recent passing of my grandmother, my mother and I have had even more deep conversations about family, death, beliefs, and purpose.
My parents are incredibly supportive of my unique work in the field of sex education and intimacy counseling. Even when I started a women's sex toy company a few years ago, my mom took it in stride and asked if I offered a senior citizen discount for her and my dad (which, incidentally, she thought was hysterical, while it made me cringe ☺).
My mom means the world to me.Three years ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and a month later underwent a double mastectomy. It was such a terrifying experience, but remarkably she kept an amazing positive attitude throughout and continues to be healthy and thrive. We are always learning from each other, sharing our successes and crying over the fearful aspects of life. My biggest fear is losing my mother. I don't know that my mother knows that.
It's important to me to not compartmentalize my life and not have different facades depending on whether I'm interacting with friends, clients, lovers, family, or students. My career is my passion. My life is my passion. I wear my emotions and vulnerabilities on my sleeve. I never want to feel that I have to hide certain aspects of myself because they will be judged or not accepted. Oddly enough, with all the outright affection and nurturing between my mother and I, we don't end phone conversations with an "I love you." I know my mother knows how deeply I love and cherish her, but I guess this is a good reminder that it never hurts to be explicit with the depth of our feelings.
Anne, age 42, says: The one question I have always wanted to ask my mother is why did she marry my dad? Over the years, I've gotten some interesting responses to say the least. Such as "because he was the one" or "we had so much fun together" or my personal favorite, "because he was ready." I have a feeling the real answer has yet to reveal itself.
What I think is that at the time my mother got married, she didn't feel like waiting was an option. She was 19 when they first started talking about it and in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1964, that's just what you did. I am sure she loved my dad, very sure. Unfortunately, she didn't feel she could make a decision that started with her. I don't think she has regrets, but I think her psyche could accommodate gray.
For me, marriage is a dicey subject. I waited and explored and still did not end up with a good situation. I wonder how my daughters will decide what is best for them.
Believe it or not, the one thing I never asked my mother for was advice on how to have a healthy romantic relationship. Until recently, I was married for 30 years. So, on the surface it appears that I figured this one out - at least for 30 years. But not really!
My parents just celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary. I truly believe they are a happy couple but when I was growing up I thought what I was observing was a not-so-happy couple. What I didn't understand at the time was that couples disagree. It's part of life. If everyone agreed on everything it would be a boring world! I think youth is wasted on the young. As I got older, my parents got wiser and so did I. But I never felt comfortable enough in my own skin when I was younger to muster up the courage to ask my mom how to keep the man in my life happy. Or how to be happy myself.
When I was a newlywed and my husband and I had our first argument, I remember wanting to rush to the phone and call mommy. I didn't do it. Something stopped me from taking that vulnerable moment and allowing my mother and her wisdom in to soothe me and comfort me. I think I got the "I can take care of myself" gene from her, actually. You might say we've both been stubborn. Once I got married, letting our hair down and being real with each other rarely happened. I found "extended family" to do that with over the years. But I feel I missed a golden opportunity to connect with her for all those years in that heart centered way.
So much water is under the bridge now, there's no need for me to think about what could've been. That's a waste of energy. What I do know is that both she and my dad love me, and I love them. If you are musing over something you want to talk to you mother about, or reveal to her, go for it. I wish I had all those years ago.